Anyone who tunes into the second season of Revenge without watching the first, will probably get a headache trying to get to grips with all the characters and interwoven plot details. If only there was a handy, but also mildly amusing guide to the first season somewhere on the internet…oh, what do we have here?
Got all that? Good. So, what has happened to the manipulative, scheming, but downright attractive residents of the Hamptons since we left them?
The big reveal at the end of the first season was that Eminda’s mother is ALIVE, when it was thought she had been dead for years. Therefore, our Eminda has seemingly said “Meh” to her plans for Grayson-based revenge and now appears solely focused on finding her mother. This is despite her mother trying to drown her as a child and also being played by Jennifer Jason Leigh – who, as anyone who has seen ‘Single White Female’ will attest – is particularly good at ‘crazy’.
Quite what Eminda will do if she finds her mother is anyone’s guess. I imagine it would be a bit like a puppy chasing a rabbit – desperate to catch it but not entirely sure what to do once it gets there.
Also at the end of the first season was the small matter of a plane crash, brought about by Conrad Grayson and the shady ‘Initiative’ group that have got him by his Grayson ‘globals’. Conrad’s mistress sadly perished in the crash, not that he seems all that bothered, and supposedly so did estranged wife Victoria.
But wait, Victoria is also ALIVE! Well, most of her is, but her facial muscles don’t seem to be able to move at all. Funny that. The good news is that she can still give good ‘glare’, which is vitally important in Revenge.
Victoria faked her own death in order to expose Conrad’s crimes and exonerate herself. However, her ruse is soon discovered by Conrad and so the duo, despite openly loathing each other, agree that the best way to protect themselves is to join forces. The Graysons are together again, it would seem.
Their son, Daniel, is morphing into his father by putting on a suit and joining Grayson Global, but is trying to undermine his father. He is also now in relationship with Eminda’s former friend, Ashley, who obviously took ‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls a bit too literally.
As for daughter Charlotte – Conrad tried to make her stay in rehab but she said ‘No, no, no’.
Eminda’s wealthy ‘partner-in-revenge’, Nolan, is spending his time in a boxing gym, toughening up in case he gets attacked again. The gym did seem a bit run down and you’d think that with all his cash he could at least afford a year’s membership of Virgin Active. Anyway, despite all this training, he still looks like a very pale Twiglet.
Barman Jack is struggling to come to terms with impending fatherhood, an unfulfilled fireplace snog with Eminda and the fact that the producers have confiscated his large collection of plaid shirts, meaning he can no longer dress like a forgotten member of Pearl Jam. His brother Declan, meanwhile, is still an irritating upstart with stupid hair.
Not content with our old favourites, the producers have also added some new characters alongside Eminda’s bonkers mum. For instance, there’s Aiden, a mysterious man from Eminda’s past. His time with Eminda is regularly shown in flashbacks to their mutual training in Japan, where they undertook all manner of exercises such as cheating death, fighting each other and trying to get a Pop Tart out of the toaster without burning their fingers.In the present, he arrives to help her, even though she just wants him to clear off.
We’ve all been there, Aiden – just let her go.
Meanwhile, popping up into Nolan’s life is Padma, his newly-appointed CFO, who has designs on Nolan’s bed-sheets and well as his spreadsheets. Maybe she wasn’t allowed Twiglets as a child?
In summary, Revenge is still addictive, preposterous fun, but I get the lingering feeling that all of the differing motives, manipulations and double-crossings of the protagonists may end up turning the show into a tangled mess that deviates so far from its original course that there is no way back. I sometimes think it would be nice if it just returned to its early days whereby, every week, Eminda would destroy someone who betrayed her father, paving the way for a final showdown with the Graysons. However, I guess this would be rather formulaic and, with the renewal of the show, the writers have to keep adding new layers in order to prolong its lifespan.
In the meantime though, if you can keep up with it, Revenge is still the very definition of a TV guilty pleasure.