Friday, February 10, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 1x11: "Duress"

Written by Elle Triedman
Directed by Jamie Babbitt

Daniel: “I want you out of here and out of my life.”
Tyler: “That’s impossible. We know way too much about each other and I know way too much about your family.”

And you’d think with all those advantages in his corner that Tyler would’ve came out on top in the episode but alas for him, the very woman he despised completely ruined him again and without barely flinching. Emily’s craftiness really is bordering on the frightening at this point with her role in Tyler’s further downfall this week.

I’m not sure if the show needed to go down the route of having Tyler’s craziness be a result of a psychotic disorder but thinking on it logically, it’s consistent enough with his characterisation and his pathological obsession with the Graysons. He really did cling in there until Emily was finally able to prise him off that particular family.

Framing Tyler for Frank’s murder, simply by slipping his wallet into Tyler’s jacket when he really should’ve been looking was a masterstroke on Emily’s part and that was as well as the verbal smackdown she delivered to the conman but by doing that, I think Emily’s also caused a future problem for herself.

If Tyler can convince at least one person that something is awry with Emily, she’s definitely going to need a lot more than Nolan to get her out of this particular jam. Speaking of Nolan – poor guy. Getting stabbed and left bound and gagged in his own place by Tyler until the latter’s brother arrived wasn’t fun for him but at least Emily finally managed to acknowledge Nolan as a friend. That was a massive step in the right direction.

As for the birthday party from hell – way for Tyler to try and liven up Daniel’s birthday proceedings. I don’t think Truth Or Die is likely to catch as a party game, especially if you’re in a family desperate to keep their darkest secrets hidden and this family aren’t keen on having that secret discovered.

However, it certainly made for a tense scene when Tyler vowed to expose the Graysons secrets about David Clarke and blow Emily’s brains out with her own gun. At least Emily was clever enough not to have bullets in the bloody thing but she faked being distressed so well, even I was convinced with her reactions during that scene on the beach.

Of course while everyone got out of that particular little pickle unscathed, I did like the tension between Amanda and virtually everyone in this episode. Conrad wasn’t particularly pleased to learn she was back in town and Victoria went from being irked by Emily’s friendship with her to positively dismissing the girl at the party. Oh Victoria that one will surely come back to bite you in due course.

Keeping with Victoria and Conrad – I don’t know why I should be happy that their divorce proceedings are going to turn ugly but I guess because of the soapiness of this show, it’ll just make for great tension and these two certainly will play ugly. I mean, Victoria faked a pregnancy and miscarriage prior to signing a prenuptial agreement and now her lawyer is more than happy to falsify documentation so the bloody thing becomes null and void. It’s a horrible thing for her to do but it’s certainly believable as well.

Conrad too is playing rather hard to break as well. I liked that he promised not to go easy with Victoria during the proceedings and he’s already doing his best to try and keep both Daniel and Charlotte on side as well. Plus, I also got something of a kick with Conrad and Victoria’s sniping when they met with their lawyers and on the beach. More scenes like that please.

Last but not least – do I spy an Amanda/Jack/Emily/Daniel quadrangle? Of course I do. This week, it was Amanda’s turn to look somewhat jealous with the closeness of Jack and Emily’s relationship while for once, Jack actually did not seem that bothered about Emily and Daniel. Of course, I’m sure it’ll be a different story next week but I like the fact that Jack sees that Amanda is trying to hold back her anger as well. It’s an insight that will hopefully pay off in later episodes.

Also in “Duress”

While both Emily and Victoria faked duress in this episode, the only person who was in it was Nolan and even that didn’t stop the fun one liners.

Emily: “I’ve Googled friendship on the interwebs. Apparently when you have a fight with your friend, you’re supposed to apologise.”
Nolan: “Word of advice, leave the joke cracking to me. You suck at it.”

Where the hell was Big Ed when Nolan was getting attacked by Tyler? Seems like money can’t always buy you the best security.

Victoria (to Conrad): “Like so many things, it hasn’t aged well.”

Conrad: “You really are a son of a bitch, aren’t you?”
Tyler: “Yes. It does appear you people are rubbing off on me.”

For the first time in ages, I actually liked Ashley in this one, though her growing antipathy towards Emily is interesting.

Victoria: “There’s more ways to lose a child in divorce.”
Ryan: “You’re not gonna lose anything. I happen to be quite good at what I do, Victoria but I can’t do anything unless you trust me.”

In flashbacks we learned that David taught Jack and Amanda how to clam bake, which is what Emily had for Daniel’s birthday.

Emily (re Tyler): “Are you sure?”
Nolan: “Positive. Unlike people, technology never lets me down.”

Tyler (to Nolan): “Now, what to do with you?”

Emily pretended to be Michelle Banks when she was getting info on Tyler (who broke his psychiatrist’s jaw), Lydia was mentioned again and both Emily and Victoria presented Daniel with memory books and Tyler came close to discovering Emily’s box of secrets.

Ashley (re Tyler): “He’s not a monster, Emily, he’s sick. It’s call empathy. You might want to try it sometime.”

Victoria (re Amanda): “So far, I’m not impressed. All I can see is a pretty girl with shoes and limited social graces.”
Conrad: “Sounds like someone I once knew.”

Standout music: Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata Part 1, Adagio Sostenuto” used to brilliant effect in this episode.

Emily (to Tyler): “Get out of my face. You know the Graysons can’t stand you, leaching off them all summer, who can blame them? Daniel told me you’ve always given him the creeps and even Ashley thinks you’re a lying hypocrite and as for me, well, I’ve always seen you for exactly what you are – an impotent little misfit who’s gonna spend the rest of his life on the outside looking in.”

Nolan: “Emily Thorne, displaying emotion while withholding her inner ninja at gunpoint. You must seem like a mere mortal tonight.”
Emily: “There’s a first and a last time for everything.”

Chronology: A few days from where “Loyalty” left off.

I loved “Duress”. This was riveting from start to finish. It had so many wonderful character moments, crazy twists and some interesting foreshadowing for later episodes. Easily another gem of an episode from an increasingly addictive series.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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