Thursday, March 28, 2013


Episode 17: Victory
By: Carlos Uribe

Revenge is a show about Emily Thorne and her quest of revenge.

Spoilers Ahoy!

Whose side was Eli really on? When he was first introduced, he was a potential threat who could expose Emily's real identity. The next episode he appeared to be there to con himself into money but he stuck around after Emily gave him a check. He was an unknown factor going into this episode. The writers played with the audience on whose side he's really on. He might not be interested in exposing Emily but he could very well become a problem. He uses his co-chair post to get the Amanda Clarke foundation to pay a donation into their old foster home. It's a home that Amanda had gone to juvenile detention for burning down but Eli managed to sell it like a good idea. They agree. Emily isn't happy with this but she goes along when she learns that her father had been writing her letters. Their foster mother had kept them from her in a box. He claims that he's going to use this money to get her the letters and to seek vengeance on their foster mother for what she did to the two of them. He might be on Emily's side after all. On the other hand, the writers plant the seed of doubt that he might actually be working with the foster mother on an even bigger con game than Emily could have imagined. He could have taken a 60% cut on the checks and none of the money would have actually gone to the foster children. It would have been a perfect scam and his motive would have made sense. He might not like his foster mother but he claims to see it as a good opportunity. So whose side is Eli really on? He picks a side at a press conference.

In a strong moment of the episode, the characters all gather at the bar. It's been selected as the location for the press release to announce the Amanda Clarke foundation's donation into the foster home. It doubled as a campaign event where Conrad hoped to use the publicity to his advantage. This is urgent because it turns out that he's not polling well with anybody who isn't wealthy. That's not really that big of a surprise but it's a problem he's going to have to address. When it's time for Eli to go on the stage, it was hard to predict what he was going to do. Would he follow the Revenge custom of revealing evils in a speech? Would he accept the money and reveal he's conning the fake charity? He does the former. He picks to expose their foster mother for the abusive behavior towards the kids under her care. He chose to be on Emily's side. It's a strong moment but it's complicated when the foster mother tries to save face. She doesn't succeed in deflecting any blame but she does reveal that Emily had gone to jail for a fire that Eli had set. Emily is shocked to learn this. He soon admits that the fire that Emily had set had quickly burnt out. He wanted to get her in enough trouble that they wouldn't be separated so he restarted the fire. It got out of control but Emily was blamed. This is a huge betrayal of the trust that Eli was seeking to build with Emily. He doesn't give up on her. He basically tortures the foster mother to reveal where the letters are. It turns out that she sold them to Mason Treadwell. Sadly, all of the letters burned up when Emily burnt his house down. The biggest shocking reveal of the night is when Emily finds out that Victoria has a son from when she was a teenager.

Jack remains set on his path of trying to take the Grayson family down. They were behind his wife's murder but he lost his only leverage against them when the laptop was taken. He blames it on the Graysons so at least he doesn't suspect our protagonists of undermining him. He still hasn't forgiven Emily for lying to him but at least their relationship can be salvaged eventually. At the bar, Conrad offers him the chance to join the campaign on an official capacity. The point is for Jack to convince other blue-collar families to support Conrad. It's a post that allows Jack to get close to the family to take them down. He doesn't accept immediately but he does by the end of the episode. This is after he hears a recording where he believes that Conrad gave an order to have him killed. It's a strong plot that really works because Nick Weschler sells his determination. It's also great that Jack is actually a part of the show rather than having his own dull adventures.

The Padma story really does move forward this week. They have made contact with her and set up the drop. She's going to have to give them carrion in return for her father. They do prove that he's still alive so it's a solid plan. Aiden comes up with a plan to use a sniper rifle to take down the Initiative members transporting her dad. Once the trade is made, he can kill them and Padma and her father will be given new identities to start a new life. Only this doesn't happen because the Initiative is one step ahead of them. They not only remove the tracker that Nolan put on the USB drive but they take Padma rather than releasing the father. They make her tape a video and then we don't really hear from her. We don't know if she's been reunited with her father or if she's even alive. Nolan can't track them because the Falcon is now working for the Initiative. It's a pretty good plot that really moves forward the narrative momentum but I have two problems. The first is that it's a little too convenient to have the Falcon working with the Initiative. The Falcon's introduction had been rather forced but his presence counties to feel more like an arbitrary obstacle rather than an organic one. The second is that I don't really find myself caring all that much if Padma is alive or not. Considering how the plot now rests on this stake, it's a small flaw that really hurts me from really getting into the plot.

Victory is an episode that raises who exactly won? Nolan lost his girlfriend and the carrion program. Jack gets evidence that proves to him that Conrad was behind his wife's death but all he does is truly begin his path of revenge. A start of a journey is not a victory. The only victory I can count on is that Emily's foster mother has been crossed off by Emily. Eli gave her revenge but he lost her trust in the aftermath. I guess the real victory is the revelation that Victoria had a son that went into the foster system. Revenge delivers a pretty good episode that kept things exciting and moved forward all of the plots.

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