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TV REVIEW: Revenge Begins Again with “Madness”

By on January 12, 2015

(ABC/Danny Feld) EMILY VANCAMP

The sadness of losing Daniel Grayson is in the rear view mirror this week as Revenge ramps up the drama with a proper introduction to new villain Malcolm Black.

Last week we said goodbye to one of our favorite Revengers as we lost Daniel, one of the most layered, complicated characters whom we grew to love, hate, then love again.

“Madness” was about beginnings and shifting story lines, offering a resurgence of sorts for our guilty Sunday pleasure.

Emily was still sad and sentimental, Nolan was on his game, Victoria created more havoc, David creeped us out, and Ben stepped up to a major storyline.

Oh, and Malcolm Black said there’s a new villain in town who makes Victoria and Conrad look like Bert and Ernie.

 

The Victoria/David Lovefest Is on Pause

“Madness” opens with a flashback of David in prison getting stabbed in the gut before being transported by ambulance to Malcolm Black, the bad guy who does enjoy his knives (remember the police chief last week?).

We flash to the present with David and Victoria talking, not at each other’s throats, with Clarke appreciative she poisoned her dead son’s reputation to help him. Things are still chilly but there are signs of a slight thawing.

“I find it hard to lie next to you after what you confessed,” admits David. So, all the other stuff is okay, but he had to draw the line somewhere.

He proposes they meet at their old rendezvous place, the lighthouse, to talk it out. Victoria is all in.

 

(ABC/Danny Feld) GABRIEL MANN, ELENA SATINE, SEBASTIAN PIGOTT

(ABC/Danny Feld)
GABRIEL MANN, ELENA SATINE, SEBASTIAN PIGOTT

 

Crazy, Sexy, Cool Louise

Lolan (Louise + Nolan) is preppy chic, meeting at the club to greet Louise’s brother who’s come to retrieve looney sis. Lyman Ellis is pure Southern snake, I mean charm, and a politician running for Congress. Nolan offers a campaign contribution to send him on his way. He takes the check and a dinner invitation.

Later, Nolan asks Louise, “When he asked you about going home, that’s really code for another stint in the mental facility?” He adds, “You can’t leave, we’re only halfway through our summer debauchery.”

What a great addition Louise has been to our cast of Revengatics … the banter with Nolan and those crazy, crazy episodes where dead mom shows up are priceless. Speaking of which…

Emily finally meets Louise and agrees to join bestie Nolan and his new red-headed buddy at dinner to feel out brother and see if his intentions are true.

“Frankly my dear I’m so glad you give a damn… I can’t tell if he deserves brother of the year award or the red Sharpie,” Nolan admits.

Emily checks on Louise in the bathroom catching her taking some “calm me the freak down” medicine given to her by sweet brother bear. “Everyone has two faces, some more disturbing than others. You can’t judge the honey by looking at the bee,” she tells Emily.

Ems says, “Any friend of Nolan’s…” She also grabs one of the pills.

Before the big dinner, Nolan struggles with what to wear. Priorities. “Something that says southern comfort without too much twang.”

The dinner is a scene where Louise channels Sybil with a little Kathy Bates in Misery thrown in. It starts innocuously enough with Lyman talking mental illness, “Did you know that Louise was institutionalized? She may have obsessive tendencies. She was charged with assault and battery. Her ex-roommate ended up in a coma.” Wow, way to keep the family skeletons in the closet, big bro.

He continues to bring up Louise’s struggles and hallucination mommy shows up at the table to chastise Louise. Red loses it going full on delusional. “You’re a waste of life,” mama berates. Louise goes in for a mama slap but hits Nolan instead. Those pesky hallucinations are hard to nail. Nolan’s ready to commit his new friend, but Emily basically says, hmmm, I like this girl.

Emily has the Louise crazy pill analyzed in about fifteen minutes and surprise, surprise, the family is drugging Red! The Xanax laced with a hallucination inducing add on is making Louise crazy. Or crazier.

Nolan confronts Lyman about the drug laced drugs and tells him to get the heck out of his fancy town. Brother promises he had nothing to do with it. I’m sure that’s not the last we’ve heard from liar Lymon.

 

(ABC/Danny Feld) GABRIEL MANN, EMILY VANCAMP

(ABC/Danny Feld)
GABRIEL MANN, EMILY VANCAMP

 

Emily and her Band of Misfit Toys

Emily and dad bond further over happy memories, loss, and their penchant for revenge. They decide they better book it out of town before Malcolm Black tracks them down.

Speaking of the bad guy … Malcolm Black meets Jack saying he’s agent Kate’s dear old dad. Uh, oh. She’s missing. No way? Jack looks like he popped a blood vessel, calling David, “We have a problem.” You think?

Meanwhile, Emily and Ben take a stroll on the beach. Yes, Emily and BEN. What? He brags about his new promotion to detective. She tells him she’s leaving town or she’d be down with that date. I know it’s slim pickings with Aiden and now Daniel gone, but come on Emily. Not Ben!

 

A New Alliance

Margaux and Victoria almost bond over their grief. Vicky tries to give her a box of baby Danny items. “We’ll get through this together,” Victoria says. Margaux is still not buying the story of how Daniel died. “The only thing I want to give my child is the truth.” She storms out wanting nothing to do with the little box of memories from Daniel’s mother.

Ben calls Emily for a quickie, date that is, before she hightails it out of town. Margaux walks in right then (that perfect Revenge timing) accusing Ben of being more interested in bedding Emily than investigating her. She freaks out and quickly passes out, landing herself in the hospital.

Victoria visits Margaux to say they have each other and to reveal what really happened to Daniel. Danny didn’t die trying to hurt Emily, he died saving her. She tells the whole story of Emily, like the whole story of Amanda posing as Emily, David Clarke being her father, the whole deceiving Daniel to get in with the Graysons. And who is listening right outside the door? Ben (Revenge timing strikes again).

 

ABC/Peter "Hopper" Stone) JAMES TUPPER, NICK WECHSLER

ABC/Peter “Hopper” Stone)
JAMES TUPPER, NICK WECHSLER

 

Jack and David Go Black Ops

David and Malcolm have a phone conversation about daughters, death, and killing each other. Clarke assures him Kate is fine. Black threatens him with everyone he cares about, Victoria, his grandbaby. David knows this will not end well unless Black is gone. Permanently.

Jack and David begin working a covert op to bring Malcolm Black down. They’re meeting in the rain at night, of course, with Clarke talking like he may not make it out alive. He has a damning flash drive with all of Black’s illegal activities on it just in case. So…. why not just turn it into the authorities?

Jack won’t leave David alone to deal with Malcolm Black. He says he can’t let him do this.

Another flashback shows how dark Black will go. He’s making David choose, the life of a stranger or the life of his daugher. Clarke stabs the man in the stomach cementing his descent into that Black darkness.

Jack says he already turned over the flash drive to the cops; they’re arresting him right now.

“You can live your life,” says Jack.

“If only you knew how wrong you are,” David answered cryptically.

Jack makes it back to the station to check on the Malcolm Black arrest. Yep, they got their man. But then they lost their man. He was released for lack of evidence. Oh no, David was right.

 

Black Strikes Back

Emily sends a text to Victoria posing as David to meet at the lighthouse. Cue familiar, big confrontation where they play the blame game over Daniel’s death and proclaim their undying hatred for each other. But wait, Revenge is at its best when it shocks. Tonight it almost electrocuted.

Black is apparently villain by day, big game hunter by night. He shoots Victoria and Emily with tranquilizer darts, hauling in his prey in the ultimate act of Revenge against nemesis David Clarke. “Madness” leaves us a little mad as we have to wait a long week to find out how Ems is getting out of this one.

Tonight’s installment set up some interesting plot points in an episode that read more like a premiere than a midseason offering. A new villain took the upper hand, new alliances were formed, and new characters got a whole lot more interesting.

What did you think of this resurgence of our Sunday favorite? Will there be a big Emily/Victoria team up to escape the clutches of Malcolm Black? What will Ben do with his new Emily/Amanda intel? And most importantly, will Emily and Victoria still sport flawless makeup and hair even while kidnapped? Alright Revengers, we’ll see you back here next Sunday decked out in our hoodies ready to red Sharpie off a name or two.

Revenge airs Sundays on ABC at 10 p.m.

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