'Revenge' Recap: Mission Creep - Rolling Stone
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‘Revenge’ Recap: Mission Creep

Missions put Emily and Aiden at odds, and Nolan realizes he’s been betrayed

Revenge, Emily VanCamp, Joshua Bowman

Emily VanCamp and Joshua Bowman as Emily and Daniel on 'Revenge'


One of the best things about Revenge is that the show doesn’t waste time letting people keep secrets. If a person reveals an ulterior motive or shifting allegiance at the end of one episode, that person’s deception will be exposed by the end of the next one. It makes sense; it’s more fun to watch people react to betrayals than it is to watch them sneak around.

It actually was a surprise to see Nolan discover that Padma was deceiving him so quickly, but I guess he is a genius, albeit one with an inexplicable disdain for regular old keys. The demise of his romance means Mr. Ross can get back to his quippy ways; if Marco’s nickname is “Groucho Snarks,” I shudder to think what he’ll come up with for his most recent ex. It’s also impressive that a man whose most identifiable physical attribute is “wears more than one shirt at all times” can look so good while simultaneously brooding and spying.

Is buying a house as a way to say thank you a thing that rich people do? Of all the things Emily could have offered Nolan in exchange for his help with Daniel’s corporate espionage mission, real estate seems like overkill. Perhaps it’s also another way for Emily to try to make up for forcing Nolan to give up his company. Nolan doesn’t need a house right now as much as he needs his friend’s help plotting revenge against Padma and the Initiative.

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It’s a special program that can make a company that profits off large-scale disasters an innocent pawn in a larger plot, but this is Revenge, so Stonehaven is just a family business dedicated to helping people. Daniel’s wheeling and dealing is not exactly compelling. Grayson Global’s acquisition of the company and Daniel’s next step towards becoming the Initiative’s servant was never really in doubt, was it? Victoria should have known that she couldn’t manipulate her son as she had in the past, even if she is right that he’s been steered by women for his whole life. If this show’s male characters needed a description, Victoria’s assessment of Daniel, that he rides on the “crests of women, unable to make his own decisions” would fit nicely.

Speaking of easily manipulated men, Aiden really didn’t take his own advice about keeping emotions in check while trying to carry out a revenge mission. But getting angry worked for Liam Neeson in Taken, and Aiden’s sister seems to be in a similar situation, so maybe there’s a method to his madness. Is there any form of television human trafficking that doesn’t involve stringing a young woman out on drugs and suggesting she’s being kept as a sex slave?

Just as I was getting used to Casual Conrad, he suits up and jumps back into scheming and backstabbing, this time in the service of his newly ignited political and business ambitions. Why, if the docks had so much commercial potential, does Conrad want to get involved with the Ryan brothers now? I think he must just miss tricking people out of their livelihoods, because why else would a titan of the finance industry decide to go into business with a couple of gangster types?

I’d really hoped that the Ryan brothers would leave after being paid off, but of course that was too much to ask from the writers. Amanda finally managed to convince Jack to ask the Graysons for help, Jack finally stopped being a stubborn idiot with a misplaced sense of family loyalty, and I still have no idea how this is going to lead to the Amanda sinking to the bottom of the ocean with someone who isn’t Jack in it.

It’s been a while, but the Poor Charlotte watch can make a triumphant return. This installment might be the best since her stint in the institution. Her brother forgets her birthday, her mother cancels their long-held tradition of going to the ballet in order to fly to California and trade sex for business deals, and no one cared enough about the fact that she decided to change her name to fight with her about it, or even to stay in the same room with her while she blew out the candles.

Amanda may not have had much to do but worry about her family in this episode, but she does continue her quest to be the most relatable character on the show, which means she’s almost certainly going to get killed off. Had the name of the strip club she worked at been mentioned before? The Beaver Dam is a little bit on the nose, don’t you think?

The Initiative’s plans will involve a massive loss of electrical power and a company that specializes in privatized disaster relief, presumably related to infrastructure, but the missing piece is what sort of disaster these people want to cause, and, of course, the WHY of it all. Does the Initiative want money? It clearly already has power, so why not just buy a utility company? Con Ed could certainly use a takeover.

If Nolan keeps the last bits of the Carrion program’s code in his head, how long until he gets kidnapped again? It’s been ages since he was whisked away and tortured. There’s been a lot of talk and not very much action of late, which means Helen Crowley will be calling in the orders shortly. Maybe Aiden will do it now that he’s decided to act as her henchman?

There was an awful lot of setup in this episode and not a lot of payoff, although now that Aiden and Emily have officially broken with one another over his sister’s supposed death, we viewers can rest easy knowing that we are safe from the sort of “honest moments” that make nighttime soap operas so dreadfully boring. Emily’s quests are always more fun with the more obstacles she faces, so let’s hope that Aiden’s single-minded pursuit of his sister’s kidnappers brings out the best in his partner in crime.

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