‘Revenge’ Season Premiere Recap: Two Mothers Come Back From the Dead

Madeleine Stowe in "Revenge" (ABC)

Here are just a few of the many delicious things about the Season 1 premiere of “Revenge“:

+ Every single character got a dramatic introduction — except Declan.

+ Emanda first appeared tied to a log underwater in Japan.

+ Both Jack and Nolan were shirtless in their opening shots. This show knows its audience.

+ Nolan’s new, less nerdy look can be best described as Young Tim Gunn. It’s preppy being stodgy, with Nolan replacing his trademark layers with fashion forward suits and patterned shirts. Combined with his new shorter haircut, he is crazy hot. It is now even less believable that he is not swarmed by people who want to date the bisexual billionaire.

+ The whale cam has a new friend — the clam cam. 

+ We got our first glimpse of Jennifer Jason Leigh as Emanda’s mom, in flashbacks.

+ Not that there was ever any doubt, but Victoria Grayson is alive and well and bitchy as ever

A couple of less than great things about the premiere:

  • Declan continues to exist
  • Takeda 2.0 is nowehere near as cool as the original. That actor is busy filming “Wolverine,” so the show had to recast, daytime soap style. But it’s jarring that he’s not mostly bald and has a completely different vibe with Emanda.

We open on footage of the sunken Amanda the Boat. Helicopters search for the wreckage. There’s a severed arm. What happened? We’ll probably find out in thirteen episodes because the show quickly flashes back three months. New Takeda has Emanda (Emily VanCamp) tied to a log in the water as part of her training. Emanda flashes back to playing Marco Polo as a child with her mother. A mysterious hot guy gets her out. She kicks his ass. Takeda scolds her for not killing her father’s murderer. Emanda is determined to find out what happened to her mother and make people pay for keeping them apart– including Takeda.

Daniel (Josh Bowman) stands pensively in Victoria’s bedroom. He spends most of the episode drinking and looking pensive. The life of a young one-percenter can be pretty dull. Ashley (Ashley Madekewe)  kisses him on the cheek. Well, that was foreshadowed in the finale. She and her new assistant are preparing for yet another party, this time in Victoria’s memory. Victoria would want to be remembered with a cocktail party where everyone politely insults each other. Conrad (Henry Czerny) tells Daniel he’ll lift the restrictions on his trust fund provided he reinvests in Grayson Global. He reminds an already drunk Daniel that he pledged allegiance to Conrad.

On Amanda the Boat, Jack (Nick Wechsler) is hungover and shirtless. There are a lot of substances abused in this episode. Declan (Connor Paolo)  (sigh) exposits that Jack’s been a mess since Amily (Margarita Leveiva) returned. She is as big as a Hamptons estate and says she needs him. He promises it will be better once the baby is born. The health inspectors have shut down the Stowaway, a symbol of the decline of the guy who just wanted to help the orphans in Haiti.

Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) is completing sixty days in rehab and is about to be released. Maybe she will be more interesting now.

Nolan (Gabriel Mann) boxes, shirtless. Emanda watches him. He explains that he has been training in case he ends up getting attacked by one of her enemies again. He uses the word revenge-y. Now that it’s a callback, it’s much less amusing. He refers to Emanda’s “to screw list.” That’s more like it.  He tells her he sold his house because of the bad mojo and wants to crash with her. Ungrateful as ever, she is reluctant.

She remembers a hospital that was shut down right after her father was arrested. The dynamic duo visits what appears to be the set of “American Horror Story: Asylum”  hospital and Emanda flashes back to seeing her mom in restraints. They conveniently find proof that Victoria visited her mom right before she died.

Emanda visits Charlotte in rehab, on a fishing expedition about Victoria.

Nolan shares a bromantic hug with Jack and tells him that Emanda is back. He is such a shipper. Pregnant Amily makes her presence known, leading to an Emanda/Amily meeting.  Emand has her suspicions about the convenient pregnancy. When Jack arrives,  Emanda says Amily just asked her to be the baby’s godmother. Well played.  Jack decides to stop sleeping in the boat, and move back in with Amily.

The hot mystery man tells Takeda he wants to bring Emanda back so she won’t make the same mistake he did. Takeda warns that if he fails the mission is over for both of them.

Emanda shows up to Victoria’s memorial art auction wearing a red dress. Daniel has a daytime soap-style flashback to proposing to her. Daniel decides not to invest his money in Grayson.

Charlotte makes a speech promising to stay sober in her mother’s honor. Her doctor gets a call informing him that Charlotte tested positive for hydrocodone and she is dragged back to rehab. She blames Conrad, and whispers something in Emanda’s ear before she leaves. Whoa. Charlotte is actually important this season.

Cut to Emanda showing up at Victoria’s (Madeline Stowe) door! She says Charlotte sent her, and relays that Charlotte thinks there is a conspiracy to keep her locked up. She is right. The doctor finds Charlotte’s hidden cell phone when Victoria calls. Victoria tells Emanda she is under government protection while they build a case against Conrad. The evil doctor calls Conrad, and confirms he faked the drug test. Conrad promises that once he gets power of attorney over her inheritance, he will pay him. He truly does not give a damn about Charlotte now that he knows she is not his daughter. Emanda tells Nolan that Victoria is alive. She asks for his help in rigging a clam cam that she can plant at the safe house.

Jack and Emanda have a poignant conversation.  He says he didn’t know Amily was pregnant, wishes he could go back in time. He  plans to name the  baby Carl David after their dads. Emanda asks if he is sure the baby is his? Thank you! Speculation: the hot mystery man is the Baby Daddy. When Jack questions Amily, she volunteers to get a paternity test. Those can be faked, Jack.

Emanda returns to Victoria to plant the camera. She tells her the doctor has been sued six times and used three different names. Victoria wonders why Emanda is being so kind. She says she is just happy Victoria is alive, with many layers of irony.

It’s montage time! Daniel blows off Ashley, probably because he is too drunk for sex. Charlotte bangs on the door of her room in rehab. Victoria is unable to reach her by phone. Jack and Amily lie awake, both looking pensive. Daniel stares at Emanda from his balcony.  Nolan’s clam cam records footage of Victoria and the white haired man. Victoria tells him to eliminate the liability — Emanda. Emanda snarls that she will let them come for her.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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