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Revenge season 3 thread


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#1 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted September 29 2013 - 07:19 PM

Season three premiered tonight, the first episode under new showrunner Sunil Nayar after creator Mike Kelley departed following the second season finale.

The show took a lot of crap last season for being overly complex and convoluted, but as someone who caught up via Netflix, I didn't find that to be a problem at all. Going through the season in one fell swoop must have smoothed over pacing issues that were more apparent watching week to week.

Ashley Madekwe has been dropped from the cast, with her character Ashley Davenport being written out in the season premiere. Season two's biggest mistake in my opinion, Aiden Mathis, will apparently continue to linger on the show as Barry Sloane has been made a series regular.

#2 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted September 29 2013 - 08:18 PM

Just watched the premiere. I really missed Mike Kelley's voice. All the pieces are there: the season-opening flash foward to a shocking event, intrigue and deception, strategic takedowns and red Sharpies.

But the problem was in the execution. The performances seemed broader and less subtle, and the dialog was often way too on the nose. One of the trademarks of the first two seasons was the way characters would say one thing and convey something else entirely. There was a flair and sophistication to way those scenes played out. Now the dialog feels a lot more written and less natural, and too often characters were saying exactly what they meant. Even Emily and Victoria's daggers of kindness didn't have the fun sort of fireworks I'd come to expect.

There were a few good bits -- Victoria's deliciously inappropriate relationship with her long lost son, Charlotte's line about not getting to enjoy the perks without the misery and of course Nolan's grand entrance to the unveiling.

But everything felt like it could have used one more polish before it went in front of the cameras. The first ten minutes, devoted to alternate disposing of or reiterating through exposition all of the various story threads that were set up with the second season finale, were damn near unbearable.

#3 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted October 07 2013 - 06:36 PM

The second episode was a big improvement over the season premiere. The show still lacks some of the flair and verbal jousting that it had under Mike Kelley's reign, but this episode raised interesting moral questions. And it certainly helped that the hour wasn't spent undoing 90 percent of what the previous finale had set up.

#4 of 26 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted October 08 2013 - 06:37 PM

This is an odd show. The first season was brilliant. Every character was distinctive. Emily's motivation was crystal clear and the story was complex but coherent. 

 

Unfortunately, Season 2 went like too many shows with a conspiracy concept: there's no where to go except more complex, and make the character motivations muddier. It was enjoyable, but was stretched out, had some silly side stories (Deckland thieving, Jack and his father's killers, in particular). 

 

Season 3: the premiere I felt like I was the one thrown overboard. I didn't know what was going on, and I struggled to connect it with the previous season. And the particulars of the episodes I don't find as compelling.

 

But I am entranced by the core emotional story: Emily is fundamentally destructive, to herself and those around her. I watch with wonder as the show plays this out, and I watch to see if they're willing to take it to its complete conclusion, possibly this season. She and Ashely were friends at the start of the show. At the start of season 3, Emily has consipred against her as she would a Grayson; she's nearly ruined Ashley's life. Emily is also responsible for the death of her oldest childhood friend "Amanda". She has a hand in death of Jack's brother, Deckland. And through this, she has been devastating to the one man she truly cares about. And the other man, Aidan, her insatiable quest for vengeance drew him in and hollowed him out. And her half-sister Charlotte, that Emily seems to actually care for, is mostly caught in the crossfire of Emily's machinatThe one person remaining loyal friend, Nolan, nearly gave up on her. I wait for him to realize that his loyalty to her father has its limits.

 

The underlying story, if it can be executed, is one where Emily loses everyone and destroys herself. And possibly, in a deep irony, is one where Victoria and Conrad are redeemed.

 

So while the details of a now overly-complex and motivationally-unclear show are not as exciting as they were to start, these touchstones of a deeply fascinating story keep me watching.



#5 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted October 08 2013 - 07:07 PM

This show is basically a gender reversed modern retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo. If the show follows through on the parallels, Emily/Amanda will get Conrad and Victoria to confess and -- if they do -- grant them absolution. She will further save Daniel from falling prey to the sins of his parents. In these acts, she will achieve redemption for herself. Her story will end with leaving the Hamptons with Jack, finally unburdened from the weight and poison of her drive for revenge.

That's if the show continues down the road of the story that inspired it. The final words of The Count of Monte Cristo were "wait and hope." Revenge opened with an epigraph from Confucius: "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."

Edited by Adam Lenhardt, October 08 2013 - 07:07 PM.


#6 of 26 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted October 13 2013 - 11:09 PM

Kinda like how nothing is going to plan this season for Emily.  Haha.


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#7 of 26 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted October 14 2013 - 08:25 AM

I think Emily's sister is who kills her.

 

Declan(Deckland?) dying and the loss of the baby falls squarely on Emily.

 

There is no atomement on that. Even if the atonement is met on behalf of her own father. There is still the collateral damage to her sister.



#8 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted October 27 2013 - 07:39 PM

The scene in the bedroom with Amanda/Emily, Daniel and the photograph of the real Emily's family was the first time this season that I thought the show raised its game to Mike Kelley's level of elegant storytelling. Just a brilliant scene where everything Amanda/Emily is saying is true, the emotion is true, but for completely different reasons than Daniel thinks. Just very well done.



#9 of 26 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted December 12 2013 - 08:30 PM

Surprise twist: Lydia isn't dead and is back!

The big problem this season is the sparkle is gone. First season, it was a rainbow of characters. Everyone stood out distinctly, a unique person with their own motivations. But three years later, everyone is mired in Emily's morass. Everyone, including dear Charlotte and even Jack, is cynical and gloomy. Emily and Daniel have no chemistry, their antagonism so near the surface, the facile conceit so obvious, it's inconceivable they're getting married or that anyone believes it. Even pregnant, I don't know how Daniel sticks it out.

The French lady, I like her well enough. (But a print magazine? Wealthy 30 something's would go online, not build a brand new dead-tree magazine)


Revenge isn't bad...the machinations continue to be interesting. I want to see Emily's endgame. But it's not popping this season.

What I'd like...and this is a crazy

#10 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted December 12 2013 - 09:01 PM

The big problem is the loss of Mike Kelley as showrunner. His dialog sparkled, and every character was sharply defined. The first season also had the advantage of veteran filmmaker Phillip Noyce as the producing director.

 

But then the second season sharply divided audiences. Having watched it over a couple weeks on Netflix, I can say that the complaints about the pacing and the confusing Initiative plot are greatly lessened when taken as whole. Kelley bristled under the demands of the 22-episode broadcast season, and I wouldn't be surprised if he introduced the Initiative as a way to pad out his 13-episode season season story into a full season. When he and the show parted ways at the end of the season -- after a tremendous second season finale -- I feel like Sunil Nayar was brought in with the mandate to give viewers more of what they loved about season one.

 

The problem is that season one was clearly the first chapter in Emily's "Count of Monte Cristo" story. Instead of the third chapter of that story, this year we're getting a junk food rehash of the first chapter. There are lots of big flashy moments designed to give fans what they claim to want, but it never amounts to anything. Jack finding out Emily is really Amanda was set up to be a game changer and should have been a game changer, but instead he just falls conveniently into line as one of Emily's lackeys. Conrad as governor opened up a world of new storytelling options, but no, we have to have him back in the mansion exchanging barbed quips with Victoria. The closely-guarded Victoria of the first two seasons that could convey worlds with a twitch at the corner of her mouth has been replaced by a Victoria that sweeps into "Dallas"-level histrionics at the drop of a hat. In the first two seasons, Emily had genuine feelings for Daniel that made her mission morally and emotionally difficult for her. Now the show's inexplicably shifted from the Daniel/Jack triangle to a left-field infatuation with the continually tiresome and unnecessary Aidan.

 

The show was always heavy on soap opera, but under Kelley you always felt like a finite story with a definite beginning, middle and end was progressing. Now there's a lot of fan service, but the back bone of the show seems to be gone. Trotting Lydia out yet again is a perfect example. The shock value isn't especially great, and it undermines the sense that killing off characters has permanent consequences. It looks like the fall finale's going to be a doozy, but that only matters if the status quo afterwards is significantly different than the status quo before.

 

The ideal way to handle this show would have been for ABC and Mike Kelley to decide on a planned number of episodes from the get-go, and plot out the big game changers ahead of time so that the show would always know what it was building to next. And it would be wise for the show to remember that it's at its most interesting when Emily's hardened values about her mission are compromised. The show should never shock for the sake of shocking; the twists should always change how Emily or Victoria view the world. The reveal that Charlotte was Emily/Amanda's half-sister was great not because it shocked but because it changed Emily's understanding of things. Suddenly she had family. She could choose to embrace that family or she could continue on her path of revenge that would likely devastate that family. That's interesting, because it's a huge emotional cost either way. Likewise with telling Jack the truth. The show's really shown how it impacted Jack, but if Mike Kelley was still running the show he would have devoted way more attention to capturing how it impacted Emily. And making Daniel unlikable violates the unwritten rule that the show should never make Emily's mission easier.


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#11 of 26 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted December 14 2013 - 08:04 PM

Excellent summary, Adam. I agree wholly.

"The closely-guarded Victoria of the first two seasons that could convey worlds with a twitch at the corner of her mouth has been replaced by a Victoria that sweeps into "Dallas"-level histrionics at the drop of a hat."

I'm glad to I'm not mis-perceiving this. Victoria has seemed exceedingly melodramatic this season.
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#12 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 05 2014 - 07:44 PM

When the show trotted out the amnesia storyline, I think I actually shouted "Are you kidding me?" out loud at my TV screen.

I was seriously considering dumping the show until the scene in the hospital room where Charlotte asked her what her father's name was. That was the first time the show's genuinely excited me all season.

That, coupled with Patrick spotting the infinity box, leaves hope that we might actually get some forward momentum in future episodes.

#13 of 26 OFFLINE   DaveHof2

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Posted January 06 2014 - 01:07 AM

Unless the preview to next week's show was total misdirection, it appears we are finally headed toward an end game in the series' main story. But when the show began I looked forward to the moment when Emily would reveal her true identity to Victoria. The story is not as well-servied if Victoria finds out first.

 

Also, how dumb is Charlotte?  



#14 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted March 09 2014 - 08:28 PM

This show has become a self-parody.



#15 of 26 OFFLINE   Simon Massey

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Posted March 11 2014 - 01:57 PM

Agreed and last night's episode has me bowing out - there are too many other good things on to keep persevering with this.



#16 of 26 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted March 11 2014 - 09:24 PM

This show is great. The endless weaving and "oh, I'm your father/mother" bits makes it special. Not sure how many more skeletons they can create before they have to start a seance...

#17 of 26 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted March 12 2014 - 06:36 AM

Here's hoping they put this show out of its misery this season.


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#18 of 26 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted March 12 2014 - 10:15 AM

Maybe they take a cue from Dallas and this entire season "didn't happen"...

#19 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted April 07 2014 - 05:56 PM

Maybe they take a cue from Dallas and this entire season "didn't happen"...

I was just thinking the other day that if they got Mike Kelley back, he could open the next season with this season having been Mason Treadwell's imagined ending to Emily's story.

And then, poof, he appears. As much of a train wreck as this show has been for a while now, Roger Bart is still a lot of fun in the role.

#20 of 26 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted May 04 2014 - 09:06 PM

After a true train wreck of a season, tonight's episode finally got back to the heart of the series with a true game changer, and easily Emily's most satisfying takedown yet.

Next week's season finale also looks epic.




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