ScreenSpy - big news from the small screen
Don't Miss

TV REVIEW: Who Got it, Who Dished it on Revenge’s “Payback”

By on March 10, 2014
(ABC/Richard Cartwright)
JUSTIN HARTLEY, MADELEINE STOWE

(ABC/Richard Cartwright) JUSTIN HARTLEY, MADELEINE STOWE

Everybody wanted “Payback” on last night’s post-hiatus Revenge episode. Emily, Patrick, Daniel, Niko, and Victoria. All for obvious reasons. Some get it, some don’t – and how!

Others seeking payback, Conrad and Stevie Grayson (the original Mrs. Conrad who alighted from a private jet from California last episode), have something up their sleeves, but the details are ambiguous until almost the very end of the episode. During her visit, Stevie meets with Emily and has several curious chats with Jack Porter. Oh, and she got and gave the second biggest shocker of the entire episode. More on that later.

As mentioned, Emily, who’s still having the occasional inexplicable blackout, meets with Stevie at The Stowaway though behaves as if she doesn’t recall having made the appointment or expressing the desire to divorce Daniel. Later, we learn that Em’s blackout episodes have been inducing erratic, sometimes abusive behavior, so eventually her confusion on this point makes sense, but during the scene the viewer is left scratching their head and wondering if Emily did indeed summon Stevie.

Ah ha! But then things begin to come together when we see Conrad meet Stevie at Southfork and offer her a mysterious white envelope. A clue! Maybe Conrad was the one who invited her to the Hamptons. Stevie, who appears to be a very self-possessed and successful lawyer all on her own, drops the envelope unopened in the garbage can. Later it becomes clear that the envelope contained documents confirming Stevie’s ownership of all undeveloped land and any of its current buildings owned by she and Conrad during their marriage. Therefore … drum roll, please … Grayson Manor belongs to Stevie. Snap! Can’t you just see Conrad rubbing his hands together and jibing Victoria with a scathing, “Take that, Victoria!” Prepare to see some delicious catfights in the near future, Revengers!

(ABC/Richard Cartwright) MADELEINE STOWE, JUSTIN HARTLEY

(ABC/Richard Cartwright)
MADELEINE STOWE, JUSTIN HARTLEY

A number of other doozies jolted the circulation in Revenge’s “Payback” last night.  Let’s just lay the biggest shockers out on the table.

First, Patrick, played by yummy guest star Justin Hartley, sets the art gallery on fire. What?! I recall he burned a rag and one of his paintings last episode, but the whole gallery? Dang! Well, we’ve already seen him kill a priest and beat up Nolan, so we shouldn’t be that surprised, right? I just keep hoping we’ll find out it’s all a lie and he’s a good guy deep down. He does look really good in that towel … I digress.

Another doozie involving Patrick. He and Victoria scuffle with Jimmy Brennan (Brett Cullen), Patrick’s birth father, who turns out to truly be the leering hot-turd-on-a-stick Victoria made him out to be. (That scene between Vic and Jimmy at the birthday party gave me the total creeps!). Though it can be a challenge to believe anything that slithers out of a Grayson mouth, we know have confirmation that Vicky was telling the truth about this lowlife. This was a great storyline that satisfyingly came full circle, albeit with a somewhat forced though horrifying delivery in the death scene. Just deserts, I say.

Third, as mentioned above, Emily has more blackouts and we begin to wonder if someone might be spiking her iced tea. We learn that she raged at Nolan and attacked Aiden trying to get him back. What is up? It’s difficult to tell where this plot is headed, but you can bet the ride is going to be dark for Emily and those she loves most. In other words, the Revenge fairies must have something up their sleeve that will surprise and delight us as we go forward. The last three episodes are proof that they have the skill and chutzpa to do it make twists and turns at a breakneck pace. We’ll just have to wait and see. Buckle your seatbelts!

Once last thing about Aiden and Emily. The tenderest scene of the episode belongs to these two. Emily confesses (once again, this is not new news) that she can’t give Aiden a full life including children, so she has nothing to give him. Aiden, bless his heart, replies that all he wants is her. Basically, for him nothing else matters. My heart cried out for him to stay and be her rock as she goes through her trials, but other plans are in the making, so I will trust the Revenge team to wow me yet again by the end of the season.

Fourth, Emily still hasn’t confirmed her infertility (Wha?). Someone needs to take this girl by the hand and get down to business. No one is looking out for her and she’s in a load of trouble. Nolan (that bowler hat button down shirt was to die for, btw) loves her, but why isn’t he stepping up more? His attempts have fallen way short, and his screen time has been scandalously limited. Emily and Nolan together on screen is what makes a Revenge episode great. Perhaps the lack of Nemily was the missing sparkle in “Payback.”

Fifth in the parade of surprises and what one can only assume was supposed to be la pièce de résistance was that Stevie Grayson delivered a Darthian announcement to Jack. “I am your mother.” What? How did that happen and is Stevie Declan’s mother as well? It’s a very strange world we live in, Master Jack.

Most chilling, in this critic’s opinion however, was the sixth reveal. Emily’s CT Scan shows swelling, but not enough to cause her blackouts. In a quiet scene where the unspoken was more shocking than the words echoing off the walls, we learn that Ems and Nolan suspect she may have inherited her mother’s challenging and life changing psychosis. Oh crap. Did anyone see this coming? One has to admit, as a plot device it’s clever and solidly plausible given what we know of Emily’s lineage. Bravo, Revenge fairies!

If that is the case, there is a great opportunity here for Revenge to shine a light on what it’s like to function in a world while battling mental illness. One could say that her single-minded obsession with her Revengenda bordered on the psychotic. In the end, we want Emily happy and loved, despite everything she’s done, and despite the biochemistry she inherited from her mother.

Regardless, this could be a complete game changer for Revenge. Lets have a moment of silence in deference to this possibility.

Elsewhere, Niko tries to kill Emily, but thankfully the REAL Emily shows up decked in black and kicks Niko’s butt. Jack finds a beautiful home for he and Margaux to live in. Conrad holds a team meeting at Voulez in Margaux’s absence alerting her that he has a history with her father whom he has a hidden agenda for. Charlotte has her 29th, er, 19th birthday and is as smashing as ever, if fairly useless to the plot.

All in all it, “Payback” introduced several lines of intrigue that will most likely take the rest of the season to unravel. This episode paled in comparison to the thrilling rides provided by the last three episodes, but we’ll chalk that up to needing time to prime the new storylines.

This is Revenge Rebooted, people, and anything goes. So, hang on to your bowler hats, people. It is definitely going to be a bumpy ride.

Catch “Struggle” when Revenge returns next Sunday March 16th (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC when Emily’s blackouts get more violent and Nolan and Patrick have a heart to heart.

2 Comments

  1. Stacie Davidson

    March 11, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Cat Cabanela knocks her reviews out of the ballpark. Not only does she completely analyze complex plots, but she does it with wit and humor.
    I always look forward to reading her articles. They are clever and brilliant!

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Stacie! Thanks so much for commenting. Revenge is a joy to review. : ) Have you seen the sneak peeks for the next three weeks? Pascal appears and it look like he may be bringing a gorgeous … son (?) with him. What do you think?

      Cat