Written by Mike Kelley
Directed by Philip Noyce
Emily: “Like I said, this is not a story about forgiveness.”
I think the last time I got enamoured with something that heavily harkened on the theme of revenge, it was the Kill Bill movies from Quentin Tarantino and while it might be exciting if a future episode of this show has a samurai fight between Emily and Victoria, I have to admit this opening episode hooked me pretty well.
I wasn’t necessarily wary about watching this show but after latching onto Ringer, I didn’t know if I’d have enough time to check this one out. Thankfully I chose to watch the pilot today because this series certainly has a lot to recommend about it.
Emily Van Camp has a fun task on her hands playing a girl named Amanda Clarke, who had her entire life destroyed by the people who framed her father for working with terrorists and being responsible for sending her to a juvenile detention centre until she was eighteen. Because of that alone, is it any wonder that Amanda held a grudge so well?
Changing her name to Emily Thorne and moving back to the Hamptons to get back at the people for wrecking her father’s life is definitely a good premise for this show but is it one that can be sustained for multiple seasons? Maybe not but for now, I have to admit to having a weird admiration for Emily/Amanda’s takedown of certain people.
The opening episode made damn sure she got herself introduced to the Grayson lot very fast – first by attending their party and saying hello to new neighbour Victoria, then by dropping Conrad in it and also charming herself to playboy son, Daniel in the process. Like I said – weird admiration for this girl’s style.
Emily played a blinder as well by exposing both Lydia (the lawyer who doomed David) and Conrad’s affair with as little fuss as possible. Victoria banishing Lydia from the Hamptons during the charity auction at the Memorial Day was some good work on her part as well. Victoria’s sort of got that ice queen exterior down to a tee, with a little smidgen of humanity.
It seems that in flashbacks, Victoria was sleeping with David Clarke and while she played her part in his downfall, she also seems to have some remorse over it. Lydia and Conrad, don’t seem quite as remorseful, so it does make sense that Emily/Amanda targeted them first and it seems that she’s got more than exposing their affair as punishment for them as well. Conrad should probably watch what he eats from now on.
Of course, while Emily has been a crafty enough girl, at least one person actually spotted her for being Amanda. I was aware that billionaire fella Nolan Ross was gonna be a major player in the whole scheme of things but I did like that Emily showed some initial mistrust towards the guy. I don’t doubt he’s a good enemy but how threatening can Nolan really be?
His concern for Emily/Amanda stemmed from his loyalty to David and he was also the one who had to tell the scheming girl that her father had died, so perhaps he’s genuine after all. Perhaps it’s also wise if Emily does bring him on board because if her schemes get more and more ambitious, she’s gonna need help pulling them off.
After all, Victoria ended the episode by calling someone to find out as much dirt as they could on Emily and she wasn’t exactly welcoming when she saw Emily and Daniel getting to know each other. Apart from Emily and Nolan, Victoria probably was the only other character to really stand out. I have a feeling the writers are going to have a lot of fun with her character.
As for the rest of the characters – I think the show has fared okay. I’m not really that interested in either Declan or Charlotte as characters yet but in time, I might actually care for them. I do like party planner girl, Ashley who seems nice enough, even if she’s unaware that she’s being manipulated by Emily like everyone else.
Then there’s Jack – the very guy was friends with Amanda back in the old days and also the same fella whose dog actually recognised Emily for Amanda. Emily went to good lengths not to talk to him during their chance meeting but how much longer can she actually avoid interacting with the guy?
Last but not least, I should’ve mentioned that this episode actually opened with Emily and Daniel’s engagement (loved the fire and ice theme) and the latter winding up dead before flashing back to five months. Now that’s a way to open the series. Were both Emily and Jack responsible for Daniel’s death? It’s a bit hard to tell. I mean, it’s obvious that Emily is going to go to massive lengths but just far is she willing to go to get even on the people who ruined her and her father’s lives?
Also in “Revenge”
The episode opened with a proverb from Confucius (504 B.C.) – ‘before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves’. This might not end well for Emily/Amanda.
Emily: “Two wrongs can never a right because two wrongs can never equal each other.”
This is actually the fourth production that Emily Van Camp has actually played a character called Emily.
Victoria (re/to Emily): “In a word I approve and if anyone can tell you, approval isn’t something I give away freely. Where the hell is my son?”
Emily: “You love your life.”
Ashley: “Yeah, I want your money.”
Emily and her father have a double infinity symbol which we saw a few times in the episode. I think it was even on the box that Nolan gave her as well. Jack also named his boat Amanda, which he later sold to Nolan to help his father out.
Lydia: “Some good memories were made here.”
Emily: “I hope I can make some of my own.”
Ashley: “It’s a little too early for that. Have you seen Titanic?”
Ashley’s from Croydon and met Emily through volunteering. There’s also a romance of sorts between Declan and Charlotte, Victoria’s younger daughter.
Ashley (re Victoria): “I think she spotted you.”
Emily: “Good. Introduce us.”
Daniel: “I gotta admit, its nice meeting someone who doesn’t know the old me.”
Emily: “Yeah, know the feeling.”
Standout music: Angus And Julia Stone’s “Hold On” and Love Language’s “Summer Dust”.
Nolan: “Your father trusted me.”
Emily: “My father trusted everyone.”
Emily (re David): “His only option was to forgive, I have others.”
Chronology: The first five minutes of the episode were during Labour Day, the rest then went five months earlier for Memorial Day.
Well, as an opening went, I have to admit that I wish I had watched this show a little sooner. Revenge certainly has been a success story for ABC and considering that their choices this year for new shows have disappointed, this is definitely the best of the bunch. I can’t wait to see where Emily’s scheming goes from here.
Rating: 8 out of 10