Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 1x04: "Duplicity"

Written by Wendy Calhoun
Directed by Matt Shakman

Michelle: “Emily, we’ve been circling this theme for a year now. It’s time for you to stop playing the victim. Time for you to start an active role in your own happiness. Until you do this, the only thing you can expect in this new relationship or any other is that it will end badly.”

Oh, Michelle and you should’ve expected that if you play a part in causing a young girl years of misery that one day, it will come back and bite you in the arse in a pretty spectacular way. Now, this was a compelling segment in Emily’s ongoing revenge scheme if ever there was one and Michelle was more than a deserving candidate to be taken down as well.

Victoria might have loved David but she clearly cared nothing for poor little Amanda if bribing Michelle with a lavish job for institutionalising the poor girl was anything to go by. Evil on Victoria’s part and even more evil on Michelle’s part too, who abused her position as a child psychological in such a horrendous manner.

I’ve got to praise the young actress playing Amanda. Very few kids on American TV nowadays seem to be naturalistic but this little girl was. I felt bad for Amanda trying to maintain the belief that her father was a good person while having Michelle constantly pick away at the girl’s faith in her father at the same time.

For those reasons alone, I think we’ve really gotten a better picture as to why Emily finds it difficult to allow herself to be vulnerable towards and why it’s another reason why Nolan should be careful when it comes to how far he can get away with pushing her. We all know at this point what Emily is capable of her and here was another blinder as well.

Grabbing Michelle’s recorded sessions with her clients (including her own session as well) and making sure they were displayed during the Mother/Daughter Tee was a masterstroke but one that made sense. Emily had already admitted to Victoria that she was a patient of Michelle’s so it would’ve looked awfully suspicious if her therapy sessions hadn’t been made public knowledge either.

Still I found it amazing to an extent that even with Emily covering herself that Frank would still be a tad suspicious but at the same, I love the idea that every now and then, Emily will have some difficulties in fooling people. It keeps the show interesting and it also keeps Emily on her toes as well, so kudos on that one.

As for Michelle – a bit of public humiliation, a vow that Victoria will ruin and Emily locking her in a storage facility owned by the Grayson’s, I’d almost be inclined to think that she got off lightly before remembering that Emily also vowed to ruin the woman’s career and when Emily said that, she actually did sound a bit scary as well. Perhaps this is proof that Van Camp is improving big time with her acting.

Of course, Michelle wasn’t the only headache for Emily in this episode – step forward Tyler Barrol. I thought he was a creepy little shite bag in the previous episode and this one went above and beyond to drive home that point, when he was trying his case on with Ashley of course.

His fixation on Daniel definitely violates several best friend codes. I mean, you don’t go out of your way to keep your friend away from his new girlfriend and you don’t get your friend steaming drunk when he’s trying to be more sober nowadays. Neither of those things seemed to be an issue for Tyler though.

I suppose though it’s good that we have Tyler on the show. He’s a character that we can take an active dislike to and he’s also someone that can go toe to toe with Emily, once she privies herself to the bloke’s true motives. Tyler didn’t exactly hold back his contempt for Emily when was he was talking to her and when Daniel believed she was cheating on him either.

As for the cheating thing – nah, Emily didn’t go there. Her meal with Jack was perfectly innocent but it’s pretty obvious that a Daniel/Emily/Jack triangle has been set up and while there are compelling arguments for which guy should get Emily, I think the bigger question should be – who does Emily love? She might be using Daniel to a degree but I think she cares something for him and her feelings for Jack were also highlighted in this episode, mostly through Nolan who was a joy if underused here.

Also in “Duplicity”

I think this episode felt more flashback heavy than the first three. I’m not complaining because they are needed and enjoyable though.

Victoria: “The future depresses me.”
Michelle: “Why is that?”
Victoria: “Because I can’t see things improving.”

I’m really enjoying the budding friendship between Jack and Nolan in this episode. I mean Jack seemed to actually enjoy the fella’s company.

Victoria: “So, I imagine I’ll be seeing you at the Tee then?”
Emily: “I wouldn’t miss it.”

Tyler: “Danny tells me you were an orphan, that sucks. Money can buy a lot of things but family isn’t one of them.”
Emily: “Family can be overrated.”

I felt bad for Charlotte discovering what Victoria seemed to think of her, though she does have a knack for making Declan more likeable though.

Nolan: “Jack and Emily sitting in a tree.”
Jack: “Really?”

Nolan (to Emily): “Correct me if I’m wrong but I smell the distinct aroma of retribution here.”

Lydia and Conrad have resumed their affair and I got the impression that Victoria has started one with Frank as well. Also was Tyler going to kiss an unconscious Daniel at one point?

Victoria: “You recorded my private sessions?”
Michelle: “For my own use.”
Victoria: “I am going to destroy you.”

Nolan: “You can be satisfied the good doctor will never practice again.”
Emily: “Count on it.”

Standout music: Agnes Obel’s “Riverside”.

Nolan (to Emily): “Boys will be boys. Come on down, testosterone is on the house.”

Emily: “The greatest weapon anyone can use against us is our own mind by preying on the doubts and uncertainty that already lurks there.”

Chronology: Not too long since the events of “Betrayal”.

I think “Duplicity” was my favourite one so far. I guess as a victim, Michelle was probably the more interesting of the bunch and perhaps every character apart from Ashley had something of interest to do as well. I can also say that four episodes in, I really am enjoying this show a lot.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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