Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Review of Revenge's 2x15: "Retribution"

Written by Nikki Toscano And Ellie Triedman
Directed by Helen Hunt

Aiden: “So back to basics?”
Emily: “No more distractions.”

Usually when it comes to television shows being meta textual about themselves, it’s either a sign of lazy writing or perhaps the series wanting to amend things for dissatisfied viewers. While the second season of this show has been far from a disaster area, it’s hard to deny that it has suffered from it’s many distractions and I’m not sure if this episode really did remedy anything really.

First of all, for all of Emily’s declarations of no more distractions at the end of this episode – was it really bright of her to destroy that computer by throwing it in the ocean? Aiden tried to dissuade her but she wouldn’t listen and more importantly, how else is Emily going to get her own back on the Graysons without having to resort to murder that is?

More importantly – Eli James, really? I will keep an open mind but did Emily really need a foster brother thrown into the mix? Especially that standing over Amanda’s grave on a rainy night with her seemed to realise that his foster sister wasn’t dead and buried after all? Again, I will keep an open mind but it does seem like Eli is the very type of distraction both Emily and the show arguably don’t need at the moment.

Besides, her renewed focus on taking Victoria and Conrad down aside, Emily’s brief interaction with Trask probably went and put her on the Initiative’s radar as well. He didn’t seem altogether convinced when she said she was looking for some clothes for Jack and given that Trask doesn’t seem to trust anyone, Emily might want to watch her back with him.

Speaking of Jack, I don’t often praise Nick Wechsler enough on this show but in this episode, I actually thought he was really brilliant. Jack’s grief for Amanda was one thing but confronting Emily on their shared history in juvenile detention was another and I also liked that he seemed convinced that the Graysons were involved in Amanda’s death.

Perhaps this will finally mean that Jack will be more of an interesting character and have a purpose on this show. If that’s the case, then it definitely means Amanda’s death wasn’t in vein and while I did feel bad for Emily that Jack was cold towards her at the funeral, Nolan was right when he told her to back off as well. That was probably one of Nolan’s better scenes in this episode.

Less good was Nolan handing over Carrion to Padma in exchange for her father. I completely understand why he did it but it was still a little frustrating to watch as well. More annoying was Daniel’s pathetic attempts of bullying Nolan into doing his bidding as well. I can take Daniel being ruthless at times but I am really hoping that Nolan finds some way of outsmarting him within the next few weeks.

As for Victoria and Conrad – some interesting moments in this one. I particularly liked Victoria’s scenes with Emily at the morgue and the funeral where both times it felt like she was letting her guard down as Emily barely concealed her anger towards Victoria. More scenes like that between Emily Van Camp and Madeleine Stowe would be nice. Emily and Victoria really work off each other so well.

As for Conrad – insisting to pay Jack’s expenses and using Amanda’s death in line with his campaign felt pretty sleazy that even Ashley seemed appalled by it. However I did see some flickers of regret of the whole Amanda situation but Conrad’s self preservation did come out once again with his scenes with Trask. If I were Conrad, I’d make sure to have some kind of ace up my sleeve for when the Initiative really do find out what happened to Helen Crowley.

Also in “Retribution”

It was Charlotte who brought Eli James to the Hamptons but I think mainly for her own misguided good intentions for Amanda.

Emily (to Nolan): “I took a breath and now Amanda’s dead.”

Jack found the key to presumably where the laptop was being kept in Amanda’s jar of glass which he knocked over.

Ashley: “Did you kill Amanda Clarke?”
Conrad: “Good morning to you too, Miss Davenport.”

Victoria: “You try to protect your children from all pain but I cannot be able to stop what’s going on behind those steel doors.”
Emily: “You must feel so helpless.”

I know the character wasn’t well received but I’m surprised that the writers didn’t bring Kara back for this episode. Are we ever going to see her again?

Nolan (to Emily): “I guess I’m life’s pawn. I have to figure out who’s moving me next.”

Emily: “I hadn’t heard from you in a couple of days.”
Charlotte: “I guess I’m more private than the rest of my family.”

Daniel seemed to inadvertently have gotten rid of one of the cameras watching him at the office, while Aiden mentioned his involvement in sabotaging Prosser from a few episodes ago.

Emily: “Death is a thief. It takes and keeps all that a person is, a person was.”

Emily (re Jack): “I wanted to tell him the truth. He deserves that.”
Nolan: “Someday maybe but not right now.”

Chronology: Exactly from where “Sacrifice” left off.

“Retribution” didn’t actually offer much in the way of retribution but was a solid episode that at the very least seemed to promise a return to focus for Emily. I just hope that Eli’s arrival on the Hamptons doesn’t deter that though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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