Sunday, January 20, 2013

Revenge "Collusion" Review

Daniel surprised Emily by taking her to Los Angeles for a meeting with Stonehaven, the disaster-relief company we heard about last week. Emily's caught off-guard and casually tries to get out of joining Daniel on the trip. Daniel's so much better when Emily's by his side. Emily smiles and agrees to accompany him to the west coast. It's rare for Emily to be surprised, but hasn't she been surprised alot this season? Emily's rarely been the driving force behind anything. Two weeks ago, when she got some good old fashioned revenge on a judge who did NOT help her father, it was refreshing, because the show remembered its premise. It happens, though---the show runner and the writers forgetting the premise of the show, getting distracted by new characters and secondary characters that got more interesting each day they were thought about and discussed in the writers’ room. It's cool. I don't really care about the premise of the show being followed through on. I'm just noticing how different the narrative's been this season without Emily driving the action.

Emily's really done damage control. I'd be tired if I was her. Daniel can't complete a deal with Stonehaven because of The Initiative's involvement. Victoria travels cross-country to be with her son for an important meeting, but Daniel doesn't trust her and accuses her of colluding with Jason Prosser to screw the deal up for Grayson Global. Meanwhile, Aiden travels to Los Angeles because Helen promised to release his sister once he killed Victoria Grayson. Aiden lies to Emily about his reason for traveling to Los Angeles. A hotel in Los Angeles becomes the scene of nonsense, where characters manipulate each other and Aiden fails to murder Victoria Grayson, saved, in fact, from doing it at the last minute by Emily.

Daniel's driven by motivation to separate himself from his family. His reunion with Emily is part of that. The Grayson parents only tolerated Emily. Grayson Global's reputation in the corporate world is horrible. Two generations of Graysons destroyed the public image. Daniel's trying to repair the company's image. Stonehaven represents a new era for Grayson Global. A partnership with a disaster-relief corporation is the opposite of the David Clarke plane crash terrorist ordeal of 1995. Victoria attempts to thwart Daniel's plan. Daniel, of course, is a pawn and unaware he is one, so he insults his mother and accuses her of playing Prosser just to screw him, her son. Of course, Victoria plans to screw Prosser, thereby screwing Daniel out of Stonehaven. Prosser wants sex if he's going to go after a company he isn't concerned with. Emily is a tricky spot, especially once Aiden shows up. Daniel's driven and focused. Prosser's presence just makes him more aggressive. He's determined to control his future, to not be used as he has been in the past.

Daniel's triumphant for a rare moment in the series. The speculation of mine some weeks ago about Daniel's descent into Ophelia-like madness once he learned Emily played him and intentionally led him at the behest of his mother did not pan out. Despite hurdles, Daniel succeeds in landing the Stonehaven deal. Stonehaven's going to destroy him, most likely, but a character's triumphant moment is his triumphant moment even if the audience knows it is not good because the character doesn't know that. Emily comes clean to Daniel about why she got back together with him, though she leaves out her continued involvement with Aiden. Daniel doesn't begin singing Elizabethan songs and speaking nonsense, nor does he travel alone to the Pacific Ocean to drown as Victoria will later relay the story in stunningly beautiful verse like Queen Gertrude. No, Daniel actually learned from the past. He's not a moron anymore. Emily comes back into his life and he's just going to trust her intentions are pure? No way. Daniel smiles in response to the admission of truth; he even lets her in on a little secret: he played her a little bit, too, because he suspected his mother asked Emily to involve herself in his life again. The formerly engaged couple laugh about their honesty, and it's nice to watch.

Aiden's actually the male character going mad in "Collusion." The Initiative have his sister. Her captor forces her to shoot heroin into her arm until Aiden saves her by taking Victoria's life. Aiden sets up a rifle in various spots around Los Angeles. He never pulls the trigger. Drapes stop him the first time; Emily stops him the second. Emily delivers an impassioned speech regarding the necessity of fighting The Initiative by refusing their orders. Aiden can't be bullied. The way to get to them is through resistance. The plan seemingly backfires. Aiden sees a video of his overdosed sister, lifeless and prone on a bed. He aggressively grabs Emily and tells her he's going to find who killed his sister and do something about it. Emily's not invited. Emily thinks the overdose is a trick, and it probably is considering this is Revenge and stuff like that is normal. Aiden's nonetheless transformed for the worst, which is exactly what a shadowy organization wants. TV characters are stupid for the sake of plotting.

Nolan finds out Padma's secret and consults Emily on how to proceed. Emily gives Nolan the advice she gave Aiden: play Padma the way she played him. The Nolan/Padma thread is one that'll be followed more in February. Conrad bails the Porters out of trouble until the older, more aggressive Ryan brother plays hard ball with him about leaving the docks with $50,000. The appeal of the Porter's bar, Stowaway, is the potential moneymaker of the docks once the old businesses are torn down. Conrad listens, because he's son of a bitch who's glaring lacking trait is loyalty, and, also, human decency. Just when one thought the Ryan brothers would be gone from the show, the writers contrive a way to keep them around. After all, the damn Amanda boat still needs to sink.

Every character is colluding with someone else in "Collusion." Emily opines in the opening narration about the way people collude for their entire lives, some knowingly and some not so knowingly. Again, it's one of those narrations Emily Van Camp tries to make really introspective and insightful, but she's using tired clich├ęs and old turns of phrase, so I get distracted and don't listen to the rest of it. I just think, "Yeah, yeah, collusion is the theme. MOVING ON!"

Charlotte turns 18 in the episode, a D story that's as much an afterthought as her actual birthday is an afterthought for her family. 18 is a significant age. She's legal now and able to be independent. So, she makes an active choice to separate herself from the Graysons. In Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, Juliet wonders what's in a name; a rose by any name is just a sweet. There's a ton in the Grayson name and any other name is so much sweeter. Charlotte legally changes her name to Clarke. Emily smiles genuinely for the first time in a long time after hearing that. So much is beyond the control of the characters. It's refreshing to see Charlotte do something; i.e. make an active choice about her life and she wants to live it, that it is her own and no one else's to control.

Other Thoughts:

-Dylan Walsh is a mirror of Madeline Stowe. I thought Purefoy was the worst actor Revenge would cast for Stowe to work with, but Walsh beats Purefoy. Walsh had a part in Everwood that required him to be in 1-3 episodes a season. Walsh sucked the energy from the show. He did the same on Revenge. I don't think his character will be seen again this season.

-The pool scenes in Los Angeles had a touch of Mad Men. I think that maybe Matt Shakman wanted that feeling for the scene. What was a missing was a scene set in a retro restaurant as Daniel acts like a dick and Emily disappears. Yes.

-Sunil Nayar & Sallie Patrick wrote the script. Matt Shakman directed it.

-Revenge will return on February 10 with new episodes. Good times.


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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.