September 22nd, 2011
11:20 AM ET
[Editor's Note: The post below contains spoilers to the September 21 premiere of "Revenge."]
In ABC’s version of the Hamptons, not all is well in paradise. The pilot of “Revenge” shows us that there is trouble lurking among the wealthy in the form of Emily Thorne.
The network has said “Revenge” is a modernized version of “The Count of Monte Cristo” with a female lead, and if you're into shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “Pretty Little Liars,” I think you'll appreciate the twists in this series.
Emily (played by Emily VanCamp) tells us in the opening scene that "this is not a story about forgiveness” as we see her fiancé Daniel being shot in the back by a stranger.
Flashback to five months earlier, and we are introduced to Emily as a new renter of a Hamptons home. Her neighbor is socialite and Hamptons queen, Victoria Grayson, played by the versatile Madeleine Stowe. Victoria’s best friend, Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta) is the owner of the house.
But besides having a connection through the house, Emily has a much deeper and darker connection with them. Seventeen years ago, Emily used to be Amanda Clarke, whose father David was an employee of Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny). Victoria, her husband Conrad and Lydia framed David for a horrible crime he never committed, sending him to prison for life. Amanda was forced to spend most of her childhood in a juvenile center.
Victoria and David used to love each other and were probably having an affair, making Victoria’s ultimate betrayal even worse. David eventually died. Amanda changed herself into Emily and began to plot her revenge with the financial help of Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann), her father’s friend and a tech genius who has the most money on the island. With careful planning, Emily begins to create rifts between the three and destroys their families.
VanCamp has an innocent look about her but she is able to carry off the bitter, scheming and wounded Emily quite well. At times her face is a little harder to read and she succeeds in masking her true intentions.
Madeleine Stowe has been perfectly cast as Victoria. The tension between Victoria and Emily is uncomfortably good. Victoria, in general, can make you squirm in your seat even as she smiles at you.
But how long “Revenge” can actually drag out? In the last scene of the pilot, Victoria suspects Emily of foul play and calls someone to find out more about her. It’s only a matter of time until Victoria and everyone else will figure out her identity. Then what? Emily is currently plotting her revenge on Victoria, Conrad and Lydia and others involved in the trial, but how long will it REALLY take? Unless the writers introduce more people deserving of revenge, or turn her childhood friend Jack Porter (Nick Wechsler) into an accomplice or hindrance, this show could end sooner than we think.
I also found the Hamptons to be an interesting backdrop, but it seems odd that this show is set at the start of summer when for all of us summer is pretty much over. A bit of poor timing, especially since "Royal Pains," another Hamptons-based drama, recently aired their mid-season finale.
Are you impressed by this tale of “Revenge?” Do you think this is a show you will commit to?
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