As much as we think main-character voiceover narration is a cheesy storytelling device, we kinda missed it with last night’s episode. Then again, they were hitting the one theme so hard – that revenge is cyclical and that it plays out again and again with each generation – that it may have been considered too obvious to mention by the writers.
We admit it: we’re getting a little lost in the plot this season. We don’t know yet if that’s a flaw in the writing or if we’re just not paying as close attention to the story as we need to. We’ve always approached this show as a high camp-fest, but we couldn’t shake the feeling last night that the show is taking itself more seriously than we ever did and we can’t decide yet if we like that or not.
One thing we do like is how the show quite clearly treats Hamptons Batman as the superheroic character she is, turning her backstory into something approaching epic and filling her origin story with a bunch of players that are still having a major effect on her in the present day, from Takeda to Aidan to Fauxmanda and Nolan, and even with a cameo from Ashley, it’s clear that everything Emily’s doing in 2011/12 stretches back many years and involves many people with a vested interest in making sure she gets the revenge she so desperately needs to enact. This is Batman Begins levels of plotting and it adds a depth to the story that takes it slightly away from campy and more towards the operatic.
Having said that, we were fairly un-invested in the whole Aidan and Emily meet-cute. And we really have no idea what it means to the larger story of Grayson Global and the Initiative. Something-something Russian mobsters something-something human trafficking something Aidan’s dead sister something? Allrighty then. We were paying more attention to Emily’s insanely tight slutty dresses and wondering if Ashley has more to do with the backstory than we ever thought possible. Like we said, we’re fairly surface-oriented in our approach to this show.
In other superhero origin stories, like all good supervillains, Victoria Grayson has a past that’ll break your heart and have you rooting for her more often than against her. This was the part of the episode we found most delicious because there were furs, diamonds, fine china and unholy retribution all wrapped up in a couple of tight little scenes. Madeline Stowe got to play Victoria to the hilt, we got some backstory that deepened her character for us, and we saw Conrad and Victoria as the power couple they really are when they’re not at each other’s throats. All this, and they managed to ruin Daniel’s life by the time the plates were cleared. You’ve gotta love that.
In other Hampton’s news, Jack’s father was involved in the murder of the father of the guy who nowZZZZZZzzzzzzz. Sorry. But anything having to do with that bar and that family is a total buzzkill and we really, REALLY don’t give a shit about it. If it somehow plays back into the main story of Emily and her Grayson revenge, we’ll perk right back up, but it seems to us, we’re sorry to say, that the show is re-positioning itself slightly away from Emily’s main goals and more toward an examination of revenge in all its forms. That gave us the fun of watching Victoria take her revenge out on her mother, but it also gave us the story of Kenny and his revenge against the sons of the man he thinks killed his father. Bleh.
Also: Nolan, in any time period, seems to have terrible taste in the people he sleeps with. But it did give us a holy-shit moment when it became obvious that Daniel’s thisclose to figuring out who Emily is. Unless he’s so stupid that he thinks Nolan gave Fauxmanda half a billion dollars and that’s why she’s living in relative poverty over Jack’s bar. Then again, he never was very bright.