Thursday, October 02, 2014

My Review of Revenge's 4x01: "Renaissance"

Written by Sunil Nayar And Sallie Patrick
Directed by John Terlesky

Nolan (to Emily): “Look at you solving conflict without a red sharpie.”

Last season Emily managed to actually achieve her goal – her father’s name was cleared, Conrad ended up disgraced and killed (though that had nothing to do with her) and Victoria was locked away. Typing that out, it makes me wonder why this show is even airing a fourth season and it occurred to me – Emily isn’t done with revenge.

Not only did she decide to buy Grayson Manor and remodel it in her own image, but she openly lied to Nolan about being done with the sharpie antics only for the episode to reveal that she was now helping other people without their permission achieve some vengeance too. Not only was Nolan pissed off with her actions and called her out on being an addict but the woman in question – Nancy, that Emily got revenge on behalf of wasn’t exactly grateful either.

If there’s one thing this episode had in it’s favour, it was the guest characters. I liked that Nancy wasn’t initially charmed by Emily’s offer to repair the car she crashed into and I also liked that she told Emily that hate was a useless emotion. It gave Emily the wake up call she needed and motivated her into apologising to Nolan, though their whole fight/make up scenes weren’t exactly a first for either of them.

However while Emily realised that she was wrong to take revenge on behalf of other people who didn’t ask for it, her anger towards Victoria remained as burning as ever. She gloated over Victoria’s helplessness at Claremont and when the latter escaped and confronted her, Emily was more than happy to let Victoria rant away and vow revenge.

The Emily/Victoria now with the addition of the latter truly knowing the former’s identity certainly had a renewed spark to them but aside from Victoria’s almost too easy escape from Claremont (both Louise and Phyllis turned out to be useful allies to her), I can’t get behind her desire for revenge. Everything that has happened to Victoria has been of her own doing and her attempts of trying to justify a revenge mission against Emily is kind of laughable as well.

However I did like the last moment where she reunited with David, only to be knocked out by him. I’m surprised that Victoria was the first person who came into contact with David (aside from Conrad, may he rest in hell, lol). A part of me was hoping that would be Emily but mostly I’m concerned with how David’s inclusion is going to change the show’s dynamics overall. I’m still not sold on the idea of him not actually being dead.

As for the rest of the episode – it was a bit of borefest. Jack suddenly becoming a cop, despite some onscreen explanations still felt a bit off and Charlotte’s millionth self destructive bout didn’t exactly prove to be riveting viewing. The inclusion of Margaux’s irritating brother, Gideon is also not something I’m enjoying either. It doesn’t help that the actor playing him is pretty bad as well.

As for Daniel – it’s a little hard to feel bad for him when being poor for him is still being well off for any regular person. Not to mention the fact that he’s still an obnoxious jerk but at least the whole fiasco with him, the redhead and Gideon was quickly dealt with and I suppose Margaux probably deserve a medal for not wanting to kill him. Or an award if she actually does but either way, I’d happily take more scenes of her than either of the Grayson kids or Gideon.

Also in “Renaissance”

Will all of this season have the narration from Victoria? It’s not like she actually justifies having a revenge plot.

Nolan: “So there won’t be any poisonings?”
Emily: “Afraid not.”

Nolan being escorted by some hunk sailors on Emily’s ‘throne’ was delightfully camp as was Victoria in a black dress holding an umbrella as she strolled out of Claremont.

Ben (to Jack): “Just remember two things – why you became a cop and I got your back. Why did you become a cop?”

Phyllis (to Victoria): “I haven’t had this much fun in years without acid.”

Phyllis was voiced by Lisa Simpson herself, Yeardley Smith while Victoria seemed to take on a maternal/manipulative role with Louise, the latter we’ll be seeing again soon.

Victoria: “I’ve hurt you, I admit it but you’ve hurt me too. I just want this cycle to end please.”
Emily: “I want my childhood. I want Aiden.”

Louise (re Conrad): “I’m sorry for your loss.”
Victoria: “I’m not. That man was a tyrant.”

I quite like Jack’s cop partner, Ben, who seemed to instantly smitten with both Margaux and Emily. Speaking of Margaux – that hairdo is not a good look. Nolan’s also looks a bit crazy too.

Emily (to Nolan, re Amanda): “Everyone she loved is dead. The Graysons killed them all. They left me nothing to go back to Nolan. This is all I have left.”

Standout music: Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”.

Nolan (to Emily): “You’re a special snowflake. A unique, bloodthirsty snowflake.”

Chronology: Six months since the events of “Execution”. This season did a first by not kicking off with a flash forward.

“Renaissance” talked about a rebirth for the show and I think that while this episode certainly attempted it, I’m not sure if the show should go past this upcoming season. As an opening episode, it was engaging enough in parts but I can’t help feeling that creatively, this show could be done. Even David’s return and Victoria’s own quest for revenge aren’t sustainable for further seasons than this one.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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