Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Review of Revenge's 2x16: "Illumination"

Written by Michael Foley And Sallie Patrick
Directed by Bobby Roth

Aiden (re Eli): “Have you any reason to think he might wish you ill?”
Emily: “I burned down our house.”

Back in the first season when Amanda (the real Emily Thorne) was introduced, it was a very necessary plot development for the show to take due to the fact that we knew Emily was taking on another woman’s name and vice versa and it’s given us some of the best moments in the last two seasons.

I really don’t want to prejudge with Eli James, the foster brother who’s now crawled out of the woodwork but if anything, this episode kind of confirmed my reservations about him being more of a hindrance than an asset to the series and not just because he’s a potential thorn to Emily’s overall schemes but because I’m not sure if he’s actually needed in the long run.

From what we learned in this episode, both Amanda and Eli were close as foster siblings due to both of them being invisibles but the latter’s penchant for fires kind of wrecked their bond and now Eli’s a slick conman who immediately recognised Emily as Amanda and seemingly took some pleasure in outsmarting her in front of Victoria at a foundation party for the Amanda everyone else thinks died.

I guess after adding Aiden into the mix at the start of the season, perhaps it might have been too much for Emily to actually have another ally in her midst but at the same time, I found myself surprisingly annoyed at seeing Emily outwitted by both Eli and Victoria at the foundation party for Amanda.

I’m going to chalk it up to Emily being blind sighted by Eli’s arrival and her reckless attempts of using Ashley to try and oust him from the Hamptons but I am hoping that by next week, she does gain the upper hand over her scheming foster brother and also finds some method of outsmarting Victoria as well.

I suppose for the latter though, we should thank Daniel. His erratic behaviour might be annoying (one minute he has a conscience, the next he’s toeing the Grayson party line) but at least he let slip about Victoria and Conrad’s true motives in relation towards their ‘altruistic’ foundation for a woman they treated with contempt.

I’m not shocked at the fact that the Graysons are using Amanda’s foundation in order to have some backup cash for when the Initiative drop them in it again but it really does highlight how much they’ll do anything to save their own skin. And it’s rather disgusting too when you have Charlotte actually believing that her parents are capable of some basic human kindness as well. I’m at a point now where I really do want Emily to take Charlotte aside and actually fill her on everything right about now.

Speaking of filling people in on everything – Jack got fooled by Nolan into thinking that Kenny Ryan rescued him of all people. While Jack has a right to be angry at the Graysons and even Emily and Nolan to a degree, I also think it’s about time that someone really did enlighten as to what really is going on at the Hamptons. For a moment, it did look like Emily was going to but Eli ruined the bloody chance, didn’t he?

Last but not least – first we had Carrion to worry and now it’s a mystery hacker named the Falcon that’s causing problems for Emily and Nolan. Apparently, it’s this hacker that was instrumental in David’s downfall but to be honest, it really does feel like another distraction. I guess we’ll just have to hope that the identity of this hacker turns out to be genuinely interesting as the trailer for next week did indicate a shocking revelation for Emily.

Also in “Illumination”

There were some nice flashback scenes in this episode with David/Amanda, Amanda/Eli and David/Nolan.

Emily (to herself): “To carry a secret is to play with fire. Try to pass it on and you risk hurting someone else. Hold onto it and eventually you’ll get burned.”

Aiden’s little hideaway was a nice moment between him and Emily at the start of this episode. It’s a shame both Daniel and Conrad plan to make him the next David Clarke though.

Eli: “You look familiar, do I know you?”
Emily: “We met at the cemetery.”

Eli (to Emily): “It’s a nice tattoo. You’re looking pretty good for a dead girl.”

Yes, Emily’s game was given away by that double infinity tattoo that Eli managed to spot so quickly.

Daniel (to Aiden): “You think you want my life? Be careful what you wish for.”

Nolan: “Eli James, quite the criminal record, any relation to Jesse?”

Declan was a bit of a dick to Charlotte in this one. I mean, she didn’t talk him for a few hours and he gets narked about it? Cut the girl some slack – she thinks her sister is dead.

Nolan: “A man, a myth, the Falcon is back on the Graysons payroll.”
Emily: “Then let’s go hunting.”

Chronology: A few days since “Retribution”.

A better episode than last week, but “Illumination” still gave me doubts about both Eli and Falcon though. However, the increased desperation of the Graysons to save themselves and the tactics they’ll use did make for some good moments and there was a hug scene between Nolan and Jack that was one of the loveliest things we’ve seen on the show for a bit.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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