Revenge / Screen

Revenge “Allegiance” Review

How many times do I have to tell Revenge that I don’t care about its boring recurring characters before it gets it? One more time apparently. And probably more, and more, and more. There’s nothing to say about these people – Margaux, Pascal, Javier, Charlotte (who isn’t recurring, I know, but still). They’re all so boring that it only works to talk about them when they stop being that way. But for the first time, these boring characters actually gave way to some exciting developments for other, more interesting characters. 

Pascal’s getting a little more interesting, at least because Revenge is going full-fledged villian on his part. He seems to rich to be doing his own assassinating if you ask me, but now that he’s in this role of blackmailing Conrad and killing off Oscar Chapman when he wanted to make his story public, it works far better than whatever simpering and tepid romance Revenge is peddling between him and Victoria even if that romance is being used as Pascal’s motivation for all that he’s done, including murdering Aiden’s father. Now that Aiden’s got a reason to put Pascal in his sights, it’s unlikely Pascal will make it through the season (thank God), but Aiden’s daddy issues felt contrived. Of course Trevor was murdered, and of course he didn’t intend on blowing up that plane and killing all those people. It was such no-brainer than Aiden’s grief and anger over his father’s imagined cowardice felt unnecessary.

Margaux on the other hand is still boring, only relieving me because of Jack’s inability to deal with her ridiculous friendship with Daniel and breaking up with her. When he and Emily talked about it later, and Jack said he felt fine about it, I wasn’t surprised because why would he be broken up about ending a relationship with the most boring person alive? Margaux’s ambition could be interesting, and I remember that time when she was about to expose the Graysons for something or other and actually do something, and then it went away. Now she’s being led around by the nose by Daniel, and it’s a further step down than where she was before.

Being manipulated by Daniel would be so embarrassing. He’s so bad at it that when he actually succeeds in turning Margaux and Charlotte onto his causes it just makes them look terrible. And Daniel still looks terrible as well because you can’t fake decent manipulation, and Daniel’s got none of his mother’s skills. His attempts at going after Emily are so indirect that they’re not actually doing anything to Emily. To get to Emily he’s going after Nolan, and he’s going after Nolan by going after Javier. As expected, Javier went for Daniel and Margaux’s offer, and left Nolan in the dust, but Nolan is the only thing keeping this storyline even somewhat afloat. And that flotation device only started working after he blew some fuses above the unsuspecting heads of Charlotte and Daniel and declared war on them for stealing Javier away. Sometimes Nolan flies so under the radar with his sidekick gig to Emily that you forget how formidable he can be on his own, and even wearing an over-the-top all black get up and being ridiculous, it was fun. I couldn’t tell if Daniel’s face when Nolan departed was supposed to be determined or afraid, but either way Daniel’s in so over his head with Nolan and Emily that it’s laughable. 

Victoria on the other hand remains a more fun and effective villain as she ended up figuring out that the elaborate takedowns of former Grayson employees is out of revenge for David Clarke. Considering the way this season’s been unfolding, it would have taken some giant suspensions of disbelief if someone didn’t figure out that Emily’s not motivated by the Graysons’ mounds of money, and it being Victoria adds immediate stakes. Now Victoria’s working with more information, which makes her only a more dangerous enemy, but without her knowing just who Emily is, there’s always the chance she’ll underestimate Emily’s resolve for payback. And since Emily’s identity is the one secret she has left, what would it mean for it to come out?

Luke Gilliam (Tim DeKay) wasn’t the most exciting of Emily’s takedowns by any means, appearing as some terrible and wealthy dude poisoning the underprivileged people living on his land. The only interesting thing about him was that he was going to be Conrad’s scapegoat before he figured it out and turned the tables, leaving David Clarke to be destroyed. But Revenge has no taste for subtlety, and Gilliam and Victoria’s argument at the races felt just as staged (on Victoria’s end) as she revealed it to be with her screaming about the secret of how he got all of his money as if she really wanted everyone to know that they’d framed an innocent man, which was all just a lure to see if Emily would take the bait.

The best part of the actual act of taking Gilliam down was Jack’s involvement. It’s just so nice to see him and Emily talking honestly about things and Jack being a willing and informed participant in her schemes rather than a piece to be moved around a board. This season’s done such a great job with Jack, and especially his relationship with Emily that it makes the albatross of his relationship with Margaux extra offensive.

Revenge still doesn’t know how to deal with its non-central characters, and I doubt they’ll ever figure it out. This has been a problem since season one, and part of the problem may be that I keep expecting this to be recognized as an issue. After the horrible quality of season two and the show’s dedication to turning the show back around, it’s easy to expect them to iron out all their wrinkles, but if season one is considered the hey-day of Revenge, which featured characters like Ashley and Tyler, then you can’t have Revenge without its awful minor characters. I’ll try to accept this.

Stray Observations

  • Why is it that Daniel can afford to buy Charlotte a Bentley, but he can’t afford a place of his own? Does he like living in his mom’s pool house?
  • Pascal has recordings of all of his and Conrad’s conversations about David Clarke from the nineties. Here’s hoping Emily gets her hands on those sometime before the season is up or Conrad finds a way to bury them.
  • Revenge has something in common with Leverage in that, whenever Emily goes to work on a mark, the mark is totally stupid. Gilliam fell for Emily’s tepid but snippy dismissal of Jack’s pretend grievances against him right away and offered her a job with him as if there was something actually impressive about that aside from her ability to pretty much tell someone to shut up.

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