'Revenge' Review: 'Masquerade'
Revenge had Halloween on Easter, which worked as well a Community's Thanksgiving episode that aired in February. For an episode about masks and masquerading, the Halloween setting works. Of course, Revenge stages a party every week, so the necessity of the Halloween setting is debatable. Anyway, things are concealed and revealed in "Masquerade." Emily's opening narration about masks and what they mean is on-the-nose as every Emily narration is. It is among the worst narrations in Revenge's history. Revenge doesn't need narration to clarify already clear themes. I mean, the characters walk around in masks for half the episode. The consequences are the same for those who conceal and those who reveal, and those consequences are nonsense.
Six weeks have passed since the end of "Victory" and the beginning of "Masquerade." Conrad's campaign is in full-swing, with Jack playing a crucial role in the rise of Conrad's approval rating; Nolan's obsessively writing code and crazed over Padma's disappearance; Emily's using Victoria's lost child against her. We're treated to Victoria flashbacks to show what happened when she gave up her child as a teenager. The secret/lost child storyline actually yields the best writing in the show's history. One scene calls back to Emily's promise to get to Victoria through her children, which seemed like Emily would use Charlotte/Daniel; however, Emily likes Charlotte and Daniel, so they'll never be put into harm's way. The revelation of the lost/secret child allows for Emily to fulfill her promise but in her own special way. Indeed, the promise feels like foreshadowing now, like Revenge has an actual plan. Victoria's paranoia about her lost/secret child has its moments in the episode. She feels like she's being haunted by a ghost. Windows open and wind blows in. She even faints when she thinks she's spotted the son she gave away so long ago. The masked man stops by Emily on his way out to give her a nod.
Victoria's storyline isn't that interesting, though. She rarely moves beyond a Lifetime movie-of-the-week character. By the end of the season, we'll have learned nothing new about Victoria, just that she's selfish and vindictive. Conrad's in a slightly better storyline but only because of Jack Porter's involvement. Jack hasn't done anything but love Fake Amanda for months; now Jack is playing Conrad, and he's winning. In short, Jack used a town hall meeting to get Conrad to promise a presidential pardon for David Clarke, and he scared the hell out of him by playing the Nate Ryan tapes. The town hall meeting leads to a Jack/Ashley alliance after Conrad blames her for what happened. Jack's accomplished more in two months than Emily has since the "Pilot." I'd love for Jack to take the Graysons down in the finale and for the show to then end (in May, I mean). As always, the storyline is a slippery slope. It's going to go downhill when Conrad figures out what's going on and Jack's put through something horrible. Of course, the entire show is a slippery slope.
The never-ending Initiative storyline continues to be never-ending. Padma's dead. It seems a moronic plot to kill terrorists by using a girl as bait isn't the best idea. Aiden kills Trask after Trask gets fresh with him, which leads to Emily using Daniel again for Initiative access. Aiden doesn't like Daniel's involvement. Nolan, meanwhile, is sad because Padma died. What's the point of all this? I still don't get the need for a shadowy organization running things. The show's less interesting than ever. I know Padma's death is a catalyst for Nolan to crack the code and the Falcon. I'm disappointed the entire storyline seems to be a way to amplify romantic angst. It is debatable whether or not the characters care about whatever terror plot The Initiative is hatching, especially for Aiden. There is no way Plan B is going to be worth the build when it is revealed.
So, I guess it's good that stories are in motion in the show with three or four episodes left in the season. There have been some dimly lit spots this season. As a whole, Revenge needs a summer break to get rid of everything that didn't work. Season 2 is a slog.
-My Revenge reviews won't be posted until around this time for the rest of the season. Game of Thrones is the number one priority on Sunday nights.
-Charlotte got into a fist fight with a girl who liked calling Fake Amanda a slut. One waits with bated breath to see where this story is going.
-Emily Vancamp's white dress was fantastic. She showed off her stuff.
-Sunil Nayar & JaSheika James wrote the episode. Allison Liddi-Brown directed it.