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'Revenge' Recap - 'Union'

Christopher Monigle Christopher Monigle
February 11th, 2013 1:45pm EST

Revenge

Thirteen episodes in and Revenge's second season continues to feel directionless. There's a semblance of an arc with The Initiative, but, I don't know, friends and well-wishers. What's the point of Revenge's second season?

The Porters celebrate a rare victory in "Union." Jack marries the girl of his dreams, though the actual girl of his dreams is to Fake Amanda's right and struggling not to cry. Conrad gives up the bar after Fake Amanda threatens him with incriminating video footage. Jack's elated. His life is going just right. Naturally, the taller, angrier Ryan brother tagged along on board Jack and Fake Amanda's honeymoon-on-the-sea to kill them. The taller, angrier brother did not react well when Conrad told him the renovation of the waterfront wasn't happening because of certain threats. Conrad ratted out the Porters as the threats, which is ridiculous considering it is the Porters. The Porters are the Charlie Brown of Revenge. Rare victories are rare. I mean, angry Ryan brother's going to do something bad on the boat.

The most significant part of the Porter storyline involved Fake Amanda. Fake Amanda's a loose cannon. She overheard Jack commiserate with Declan about the wedding possibly not happening because of Conrad's refusal of Emily's check. Emily gave them money to buy back the bar so they wouldn't be indebted to the Graysons. Fake Amanda broke into Emily's computer to use to threaten Conrad, which is going to create all sorts of problem for Emily as Conrad has proof of who's been behind everything bad in the Hamptons over the last year. I'm sure this will lead to a very tangled web that'll take a few weeks to untangle, one that'll circle back on itself and make me want to throw myself through a window.

Emily was unusually emotional throughout "Union." Aiden's all over the place emotionally as he tries to figure out the specifics of his sister's death. You'll recall he left Emily after the previous episode's events. Emily feels especially alone. Jack and Fake Amanda are marrying. Memories of herself as a little girl marrying young Jack Porter run through her mind. Nolan tells her it's okay for her to feel conflicted over what's happening. She gave up a future with Jack for revenge. Aiden's departure really hurts her. Aiden blames Emily for his sister's death. Nolan cracks the mystery easily, though, after Aiden barges into the office and makes demands about it. The Initiative played Aiden for six years: his sister died six years ago. The coroner's report confirms it. Aiden still distances himself from Emily and sends her along her way after the coroner's report.

The strongest scene of the episode is between Aiden and Emily in the cemetery just before he sends her on her way. Emily doesn't fight for people. The girl is cold and numb. It's problematic when she feels for someone; however, Aiden's different. He knows her entirely and completely. Emily cries when she talks about her deceased father and how difficult it's been without him. Aiden accuses her of not understanding his situation, which hurts Emily. She pleads he not go. She needs him. This is her hour of need, and he leaves her. I always like it whenever Revenge shows Emily's vulnerable side. The moment makes their next moment special. Emily's at the wedding, crying, and she looks away to see Aiden returned to her, dressed as a character in a trashy romantic novel that's sold in grocery stores.

Aiden and Emily's plan for The Initiative gets screwed by the Graysons. First, Daniel detatches himself from her; then, in a nice twist, Victoria shoots Helen. Helen was a boring and bland villain. She threatened Daniel's well-being. Victoria took action. Unfortunately, Helen's just one character in The Initiative. There will be more, and I can certainly wait for that. Maybe the show will drop this plot thread like they dropped Jennifer Jason Leigh's character. Also, Padma's relationship with The Initiative is one-sided. Padma's being used. Nolan finally lucks out with a love interest. Padma has a reason, but I forgot what the reason is the second after she stated it.

Of course stuff happens in Revenge still, but all of it seems meaningless and filler. I didn't like the first season, but the first season had conviction in its storytelling the second season doesn't. Characters are just moving from story to story, from twist to twist, because it's a night-time soap, and that's what happens in night-time soaps. There's no urgency in the storytelling, even Daniel's imminent danger with The Initiative lacks dramatic tension. Revenge lacks punch right now.

Other Thoughts:

-I wondered, moments before Victoria shot Helen, why no one shoots Helen. Maybe Revenge should hire me. I've written scripts. I wrote a Jason X spec when I was 12.

-I noticed Ashley Madekwe's height tonight. Her height makes her more appealing. The shot of her listening in on Fake Amanda's threats to Conrad gives me hope the series will team Ashley and Emily up to kick ass.

-Wendey Stenzler directed the episode. Ted Sullivan and another writer who's name I don't recall right now co-wrote "Union." If you were wondering: yes, the theme of the episode is unions, how they form and how they disintegrate.

-Hi, Starpulse readers. If you want to read my reviews of past Revenge episodes, read them at my blog http://tvwiththefoot.blogspot.com

Photo Credits: © American Broadcasting Companies, Inc