Monday, November 26, 2012

Revenge "Lineage" Review

Flashbacks to the past contextualize the present. Revenge's flashbacks to the past usually contextualize the present in advance of a climatic episode, unless it involves James Purefoy and art, like next week's winter finale. It's hard to think of "Lineage" as anything but a waste of an episode, except for the brief scenes set in the present in the final act, especially when the cataclysmic events of Thanksgiving Day 2006 could've been introduced in other less time consuming ways. Better writing is always the solution when something doesn't work.

"Lineage" traces the various storylines back to 2006 so we understand the charged history of Accent Guy and Emily, the reasons the Porters will get hurt in the immediate future and why they'll lose their most treasured possessions and the roles of the Graysons in Daniel's plan to assume full power in Grayson Global. I barely stayed awake during the first half of the episode as Emily and Accent Guy Aiden entered the plot of a direct-to-DVD/BluRay thriller about a Russian gang who traffic girls as prostitutes out of a nightclub and the steps Accent Guy and Emily take to bring him to justice, and as Daniel comes home for Thanksgiving with poetic aspirations, and as the Porter men just couldn't avoid nonsense. As for Nolan, his story involved money, hurt feelings, and a sexual relationship with his CFO, Marco, who will more than likely try to bring down Nolan's company next week.

The worthwhile part of the Emily's direct-to-DVD story with Aiden involved her bond with him and the series long exploration of her complicated character, i.e. her lover for her father motivates her plans for revenge, but she cannot succeed in her plan unless she's cold and distant with others. The Fire&Ice theme of the party that the series opened with was perfect for Emily. Takeda brought in Accent Guy because Emily lost her way with Daniel. Now, Emily might fall into the more danger by feeling for Accent Guy. She asks that he not leave her again, which suggests she still can't resolve her cold quest for revenge with her basic desires to be loved, to love, to cared and to be cared for, as a human being. Their history is intensely heightened by gun fights and the acting of saving each other's lives, so no wonder they have a rich sexual chemistry (that was no doubt enhanced by the rockin' dress Emily wore in the club). They don't need to playact. He knows her tragic past and she knows his; that matters in this nonsensical soap opera where no one really knows anybody; but I can't imagine their storyline ending any other way than Aiden leaving her again. The 2006 story was essentially Revenge's version of Taken but without any of the awesome. The emphasis was on Emily's connection with Aiden so that his inevitable abandonment will sting her.

Meanwhile, Conrad brought about his own ruination by denying his son's poetic dreams. Daniel the poet wrote about his family and wanted to be published, and he didn't comb his hair and cared not for family wealth for he is an artist. This story suggested relative poetic fame for Daniel would lead him to break with the family, which Conrad opposed, so he bribed magazines to reject his submissions. Conrad's a dick. Victoria, meanwhile, used to be a sweet teenage girl who was eager to please but her mother made her life miserable because she blamed Victoria for various romantic failures. It all led to Victoria taking the blame for murder, but the parallels were clear: the Graysons create their own monsters through neglect and manipulation. Victoria ruins her mother's life during Thanksgiving dinner. Conrad makes a remark about the darkness lifting, unaware of what's to come in the future with Emily and, also, his son's power play.

Of course, Daniel's trying to head a company that's in bed with a dangerous shadowy organization known as The Initiative. Victoria and Conrad wish to protect their son from them. Daniel, of course, is the least consistent character on the show. One week he wants to flee to Paris; the next week he's rigidly talking money and glaring evilly at Emily Thorne. Mike Kelley could drop the power play storyline next week and place Daniel in a barbershop quartet and I wouldn't raise an eyebrow about the change because why the hell not put him into a barbershop quartet; it's as in character as Daniel the poet, though at least his poetry was horrendous. Inconsistent writing hurts the writers' depiction of Daniel as a sympathetic victim of circumstance, which is a problem considering his inevitable victimhood at the hands of The Initiative.

The Porters' story just made sense of Declan's robbery fallout with Rich Bearded Guy. Rich Bearded Guy and brother think the Porters murdered their father so they're going to do a little murdering of their own. Jack's oblivious to it, but that's Jack Porter. Anyway, Fake Amanda's going to kill Rich Bearded Guy and his brother, though it's a damn shame the sailboat will sink.

"Lineage" was unnecessary. These backstories could've been condensed into exposition in the previous seven episodes. Flashbacks are a bore and momentum killers when not written by writers working under Joss Whedon or Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. 34 minutes were spent on the 2006 stories with nothing of significance happening until the final act. It's a mistake to jump back in time during sweeps. I guess everything's set for next week's winter finale.


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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.