Thursday, May 03, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 1x19: "Absolution"

Written by Nikki Toscano And Ryan Scott
Directed by Sanford Bookstaver

Nolan: “This is bigger to me than your revenge against the Graysons. This is my -”
Emily: “- Family. I know. I would’ve done anything to protect mine too.”

Now this was a joy of an episode to behold. Nolan’s been a little too underused for a bit now and finally we got an episode that gave more of an insight into his motives for helping Emily with her revenge scheming and it was completely satisfying in every way.

Nolan might not always come out with the truth but at this point in this show, I really cannot think of him badly so when he lied to Emily about David’s other journal from the Infinity box that went missing, I knew there was going to be a reasonable explanation for it. Nolan wouldn’t do anything to hurt Emily but at the same time, there was someone more important to him than Emily.

I liked the introduction of his Aunt Carole and I also liked the fact that he put Carole about Emily. It made sense and Emily herself even seemed to respect Nolan for it as well. Having Carole be the one who introduced Nolan to David and also the one who came close to clearing David’s name was a nice twist too.

It certainly made the whole plot with Carole faking her death more believable and hopefully even though Emily is privy to Carole’s existence; it won’t put the woman in danger. Carole was smart enough to deduce that Emily wasn’t an FBI agent and that was before Nolan put the kibosh on Emily’s latest scheming.

As for the man responsible for David’s death – he’s got white hair and looks scary but I’m sure within the next three episodes that Emily herself is going to make mincemeat out of him and the Graysons and with the latter, that might also include Daniel considering where he chose to place his loyalties to in this episode.

There was the implication that Daniel was brought up to speed by Conrad on what really happened to David Clarke but Daniel (who was cleared of killing Tyler) chose to stick by his father and the very company that Victoria’s blabbing to the feds has now endangered. Either Conrad really does have luck on his side or Daniel’s going to become his undoing but either way, I am really intrigued to see what will happen next.

Conrad was on fine form in this episode. He took complete pleasure in seeing Victoria openly distressed about losing Dominik, advised Daniel to look after Charlotte while getting him on side and even managed to get Ashley a job at Grayson Global after Victoria made her unemployable to Mr Brooks as well. As a character he’s certainly become far more formidable over the last few episodes and that’s been fun to watch.

As for Victoria herself, this wasn’t one of her best episodes but it wasn’t her worst one yet. Yeah, her snide attitude towards Emily seemed to lack her usual finesse but I did like that she actually took Charlotte to David’s grave and that they had an honest conversation about him. It was actually nice for once to see Victoria care about Charlotte instead of obsessing over Daniel. It probably won’t last but at least it made for a nice moment.

However, one thing that I’ve noticed online that people have complained about – Emily leaving the rose on David’s grave – was it sloppy? Maybe, seeing as Charlotte picked up on it but it was a lovely gesture and it’s tiny moments like that which are supposed to show us that Emily isn’t a total sociopath so for me, I’m willing to overlook it a bit.

This episode did have a lot of satisfying emotional beats for Emily. Her scenes with Jack and his warning about the Graysons was one, both her and Charlotte discussing David was another. Those also coupled with Nolan’s own family loyalties and Emily’s barely concealed disappointment with Daniel towing the party line were all just personal highlights for me when it came to Emily this week.

Also in “Absolution”

Is it me or has the snowy backdrop in the last two episodes made the show more visually gorgeous to watch? I almost want it to stay like that for a bit and we saw Emily pretending to be a nurse and from Homeland security this week.

Emily: “Absolution is the most powerful form of forgiveness.”

Declan in a bid to help Charlotte got her busted for drugs. She retaliated by having her dad stop paying for his school fees and then Nolan stepped in.

Charlotte (re David): “He doesn’t look like a monster, does he?”
Emily: “No, he looks scared.””
Charlotte: “That’s what I think too.”

Nolan: “I was honouring your father’s wishes.”
Emily: “Do you know how sick I am of hearing you say that?”

In flashbacks we saw that Nolan had darker hair and it was back in April 24th 2002 that Carole had disappeared/faked her own death. David died two days before that.

Emily: Then what are you saying?”
Jack: “That there are some things you might want to think about before marrying into that family.”

Nolan: “Aunt Carole meet Amanda Clarke, David Clarke’s daughter.”

Jack shouldn’t have told Daniel about the hoodie being his. That is obviously going to come back to haunt him pretty soon.

Daniel: “My parents raised me to be a Grayson. To put my name before everything, including the truth.”
Emily: “You don’t have to be that guy, Daniel. Maybe this interview is an opportunity for you to be honest, seperate yourself from your name.”

Victoria (to Daniel, re Emily): “The downside of taking the moral high ground is that you have a lot further to fall.”

Standout music: Warpaint’s “Stars” which played at the end of the episode.

Nolan: “So what are you gonna do now?”
Emily: “I’m gonna marry him and I’m gonna track down the man who killed my father.”
Nolan: “And what are you gonna do when you find him?”
Emily: “I’m gonna kill him.”

Chronology: Still set in December, though the David/Conrad/Carole flashbacks were in both 2002 and 1995.

Now this was an impressive episode. “Absolution” may not have given any character just that, but overall it was interesting to finally get more back story on Nolan, show the further levels that Emily, Victoria and Conrad will stoop to get what they want as well as Daniel’s sudden turnaround as well. This was definitely a compelling episode.

Rating: 10 out of 10

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