Episode 20: Engagement
By: Carlos Uribe
Revenge is a show about Emily Thorne and her quest of revenge.
Revenge is a prime-time soap that can be a little over-the-top. One of the reasons this show can be so fun is that it often embraces it's soap opera tendencies. This is definably an episode that took it to the next level through the Aiden plot. It begins with Daniel finding out that Aiden's father was the baggage handler for the David Clarke flight. Daniel fires him but neglects to tell his family until it's too late to remove him from the Amanda Clarke foundation account. You know, the account where they hid all of their money. When Aiden finds out that Takeida revealed the truth to Daniel, he seeks out his former mentor and ally. The two have an actual sword fight. It's just ridiculous and awesome at the same time. Who settles things with sword fights in the modern day? Takeda does! There's a couple of hints dropped that Takeda has some nefarious purpose but then Aiden is able to kill him. This is after Aiden is somehow able to break a sword in half. I wasn't aware that steel could be so easily broken but I guess they just don't make swords like they used to-on the assumption that nobody actually uses them anymore. They tend to be used for fencing and ceremonial purposes but to actually settle feuds? Once Aiden disposes of Takeda, he decides that it's time for Emily to finish her revenge mission. He gets Nolan to hack into the bank account of the Amanda Clarke foundation so that it can be drained. Since Daniel didn't remove his access as soon as he was fired, Aiden is able to use his administrator account to send all of the Grayson money into an unnamed account. Literally-that's what the computer calls it. I like to think that when setting up the account, that's what they actually named it. The Grayson family are apparently broke now unless the blackout somehow saved their financials. Anyways, Emily isn't too happy that this happened before she was ready even though she was just a few episodes ago. I guess she was just being an obstacle for the sake of it. The Aiden plot was insane (SAMURAI SWORD FIGHT! BANKRUPTING GRAYSONS!) but it was very entertaining.
The only thing more fun in this episode is just the general snark flowing around. Victoria and Emily have largely remained separate this season. They might have a scene together every episode but their lives no longer intertwined like they used to. This changes now that Emily and Daniel have become engaged once again. This leads to some of the best written scenes all season as Victoria and Emily don't even bother to hide their dislike for each other anymore. Victoria points out how she doesn't think Emily is in love with Daniel but then Emily uses Victoria's guilt over David Clarke against her. The snark isn't just relegated between the two of them. Daniel gets some pretty great barbs at his mother while Conrad remains the delight he's been all season. Revenge has had a lot of problems in the second season and this episode has some as well but they're easy to forgive whenever Madeline Stowe or any of the other cast members are put together and are given lines meant to emotionally decimate their opponent. If I want anything from Revenge it's more scenes like the one where Victoria and Emily talked during the engagement party. Well that and some actual revenge. There were also some emotional beats that didn't involve as much stark that worked well. Such as that scene between Jack and Emily where they discuss their relationship. Jack learns that Emily had broken up with Daniel because of their kiss together. Jack wonders why Emily didn't say anything but then she brings up that Amanda was pregnant with his child. Jack had a whole happy future with her and Emily didn't feel it was right for her to interfere. It's a pretty great answer but what's great is the layer beneath it all. The two are trying to accomplish the same goals (stop the Graysosns!) but they are a world apart. For one thing, the two are barely talking to each other anymore as Jack can't trust Emily. For a second thing, the two are targeting two different Graysons. Jack is more interested in making Conrad pay while Emily believes that the primary antagonist is Victoria. The two might have their own revenge plays going on and yet their at odds.
Jack's revenge plot seems like it goes nowhere but it's hard to hate it when it's so fun to watch it stumble. He's trying to keep Conrad from reaching the Governor's office but he doesn't know how. His attempts at getting Conrad to admit to the murder have largely failed. The only weakness he has are those pictures of Conrad and his opponent's wife. He has to play the risky maneuver of giving Victoria a copy of the pictures. If this is an affair then eroding Victoria's support for Conrad might be a step in keeping the man away from the Governor's mansion. Only this backfires because Victoria finds out that Conrad isn't sleeping with the wife. He's actually getting leaks from his opponent's campaign from her. Why would she sabotage her husband's political career? It's because the incumbent Governor has a heart disease and the office might kill him. There's a silly point where the wife calls the office a death sentence and Victoria can barely control her glee at the prospect of Conrad being killed by public office. Of course, it's only a death sentence if Conrad has a heart condition where he can't handle the stress or the long hours but I guess Victoria can concentrate on the details later. Victoria basically leaks the conversation word-by-word to the media. Conrad's polls shoot up and victory is all but certain. Victoria basically lies to Jack to keep him as an ally but pretending that it was Conrad who had released the tape. She also finds out that Jack thinks Conrad ordered the hit on Amanda by playing the recording he has. There's a lot of scheming against Conrad but for now it all seems to backfire on the man. Jack might not be very good at his revenge plan but it's still very fun to watch it fail miserably. This is just a fun episode.
It ends with a city-wide blackout. The whole city goes dark and it's very cool to see all of the lights turning off. The characters are all shocked since the city runs on separate, independent power grids but carrion is blamed. I'm a bit confused since I thought carrion was modified so that it could only be activated by the Falcon but she's in jail. Her smile does seem to imply that she thinks the Initiative is going to break her out of jail. The Initiative plot has always been a mixed one as we don't know who they are. Their objectives remain vague (profit from disaster) and we never found out much about it. It was supposed to be a mysterious organization that was planning something but it was all so abstract as to lose any meaning. This is still partially true but at least they are actually doing something rather than the writers delivering more vague warnings of what's to come. It's a pretty exciting cliff-hanger to end the episode on.
Engagement is a a fun and juicy episode of Revenge. It was ridiculous, over-the-top, and the most fun I've had all season. The sword fight was awesome and I hope that the writers follow through on bankrupting the Grayson family. I guess Daniel technically has that check that separates his trust fund but considering how he waited to remove Aiden from handling his family's fortune, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't withdraw the fund in time. The snarkiness of the characters really was just so much fun and I realized how lacking it's relatively been this season outside of Conrad. Jack's revenge plan might not be going anywhere but it's epic fails is high-quality entertainment. Finally, the blackout is exciting.
Charlotte gets arrested for being a party girl. Daniel wants to know why his sister has been acting out and he figures out she's pregnant. Ridiculous plot twist! Of course, Charlotte shows warning signs that she would be a terrible mother seeing as she's been drinking and probably doing drugs.
Declan and Regina decide to collect $3,000 from ATMs to bail out Charlotte (nobody bothers to tell them her brother bailed her out) when they get stuck in a bank due to the blackout. I don't care whatsoever! Their banter was kind-of-fun though.