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Don’t Miss the Clues On ABC’s Revenge

By on February 23, 2012

Pictured Madeleine Stowe as Victoria Grayson & Emily Van Camp as Emily Thorne. Image © ABC.

One of the things that originally attracted me to ABC’s new show Revenge was the way they plotted and foreshadowed a very intriguing story line.  It’s a story of sadness, greed and tragedy, but the show’s writers have managed to teach us a few things about the lost art of foreshadowing.  What does it mean to foreshadow?


According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Definition of FORESHADOW

transitive verb

: to represent, indicate, or typify beforehand


The art of foreshadowing gives the audience the opportunity to participate in the drama.  Because clues are revealed in each episode, we are handed a mystery to unravel as we are given small pieces each week that are part of a very large puzzle.  We become detectives, so to speak.  In essence, we become a part of the show, trying to figure out what will happen next, comparing ideas with other Revenge detectives, sorting and figuring it out until the next surprising episode.

An example of foreshadowing happened a few weeks ago when Tyler broke into Emily’s (unprotected by an alarm system) house and began to snoop.  He snooped his way along until he found a secret compartment under her famous living room rug.  However, Emily walks in and Tyler must stall his investigation into the hidden compartment that holds the precious cargo called the Infinity Box.  That was a huge foreshadowing moment.  Tyler found the hidden compartment, but was unable to investigate; therefore, closure had to be brought to that particular scene.

……And, it was.  In episode 1.14, Emily walks into her house, sees the hidden compartment open, and finds that the Infinity Box has been stolen.  The obvious culprit?  Of course, it was Tyler, and Episode 1.15 brought closure regarding the whereabouts of the famous box.  It is now buried in the sand on the beach (just brilliant if there isn’t a thunderstorm).

Let us remember that sometimes the show’s writers will foreshadow the very next scene.   Sometimes they will foreshadow a scene that will happen in another episode.  In the following example, they managed to foreshadow two different timelines.  

Remember the famous Nolan and Tyler episode.  (How could anyone forget?)  Nolan tells Tyler that he is a #3 on the Kinsey Scale.  That was a foreshadowing of the very next scene where Nolan compromises himself with Tyler.  If you don’t remember what is means to be a #3 on the Kinsey Scale, you can do a little research here.  Not only did Nolan foreshadow the next scene with Tyler, he has mostly likely foreshadowed some more jaw-dropping action in future episodes.   Now, think about the last couple of episodes and see if you can find any clues!

Revenge is an excellent study in plot structure, character arcs and foreshadowing.  One of the main reasons the new show is so popular is because it forces people to think (whether they want to or not)!  Each week, we are handed another piece of the puzzle.  Each week, we must unravel a new and exciting mystery.  Revenge has managed to turn on that little part of our brains that makes us think, speculate and solve problems.  In turn, we compare notes and ideas with other Revenge detectives and prognosticators to figure out who will be the next unfortunate Hamptonite with a big, fat red X on their picture.

Moral of the story…..or the article?  Never dismiss a passing glance, a clever comment or an item handed from one character to another.  Don’t ignore the quiet clues and the subtle gestures.  Remember the casual glance exchanged by Nolan and Mr. Takeda during the Fire and Ice engagement party?  Never underestimate a powerful glance.

Don’t overlook the one clue that may foreshadow the next recipient of Emily’s favorite Red Sharpie!

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