Revenge, Ep. 1.10, “Loyalty”: Emotional upheaval all around

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Revenge Review, Season 1, Episode 10: “Loyalty”
Written by Wendy Calhoun & Nikki Toscano
Directed by J. Miller Tobin
Airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET on ABC

Clea Major: Okay, I’m now willing to forgive the comparative lack of violence we’ve seen lately from Revenge, because while no one’s life got per se ruined in this last episode, there were laptops thrown into swimming pools, secrets got exposed, and Emily Van Camp at least got to rough up her mentor in a classic Karate training sequence. Not to mention that the next episode promises to bring the Tyler plotline to a head in a fantastically dramatic–and Klonozopam-induced, apparently!–fashion.

Louis Godfrey: In our last entry I joked about the possibility of a karate training sequence, and then this episode turns around and gives us one!  It is like this show has a pipeline right into the collective id.  I love it!

Lots of plot strands to grasp at, but I think we have to start with Nolan and Tyler

From the get go, Nolan has always wanted to be a player in Amanda’s revenge scheme. He is the only one who has grasp on who Amanda is and what she is up to, but she has never trusted him because she can’t control him. And he knows it, and it has made him a somewhat self-destructive character, as was clear this week. After Amanda went over his head to essentially deliver his and Tyler’s sex tape to the Graysons, Nolan just sat cowering as Tyler trashed his laptop and took his flash drive. It’s kind of sad how love starved he is, and how clearly hurt he was when Amanda berated him for “falling for a hooker” (such a classic line!).

CM: What was sad to me about that scene was how Nolan was obviously trying to tell Amanda that he didn’t rat her out because he cared about her, and was on her side–but before he could say anything nearly that touchy-feely, Amanda snarled at him that she knew he hadn’t given her up because surely, he must know that if she were to go down, she’d take him with her. The extent to which Amanda shuts people out and refuses to trust anyone was never clearer than in this scene, and it’s interesting that this comes in the same episode when Takeda accuses her of letting her emotions get the best of her, and falling in love with Daniel.

Which, oh man do I feel sorry for Daniel. The scene in which Amanda translates for him, sweetly telling him that Takeda respects his business accumen while Takeda tells her that “the boy is weak” (another classic line), was both comical and very sad. It was a perfectly over-the-top obvious metaphor for the way Amanda’s been manipulating her beau all season. Poor Daniel: he’s, well, a spoiled rich kid who hasn’t had many bad things happen to him his whole life; nothing has prepared him for someone who is as untrustworthy and blatantly out to get him (or at least his family through him) as Amanda.

LG: That scene was comically bruising for sure. In many ways this was the week of weak men. After Nolan and Daniel, there is Jack, who continues to creepily project his ten year old self’s school yard crush onto the real Emily Thorn, now passing herself off as Amanda Clarke. There is something kind of ridiculous about how his dog (originally Amanda’s dog) knows more about the girl he is infatuated with than he does. The show seems to be setting him up for a tragic fall.

And then there is the new player, a lawyer who smoothly approaches Victoria at brunch, offering to handle her divorce from Conrad. Of course, then he says that he needs total financial transparency if he’s going to get her everything she deserves, and what the show thinks she deserves is to grovel at Amanda’s feet. In a flash back it seems that the lawyer, who was yet another person who helped send Daddy Clarke up the creek, is really answering to Amanda. It’s an intriguing set up, because it shows just how Amanda’s plan is working: she splits up the Grayson’s marriage, gets Daniel in a position where he can feed financials to his mother (whom he is loyal to in the divorce), who will then feed them to the lawyer. She has smashed up the Grayson family into a seemingly neat row that will work to her advantage. That is until everything goes to hell.

CM: If her plan all along has been to isolate the Graysons from each other, it has worked so well that I’m a little incredulous. For all the melodrama of the series so far, Emily has yet to screw up in a way that has seriously messed with her plans. I am probably doubting too soon, however–between Takeda’s insistence that she’s let her heart get in the way with Daniel and the volatility of the real Emily Thorn and Tyler (not to mention the possible loss of Nolan as an ally), I get the feeling that Amanda may have to pull out all her stops to stay ahead soon.

And because I can’t resist being mean about this, my last favorite thing about this episode? Declan and Charlotte were barely in it!  I can only hope that their teenage whinery will stay far, far in the background for a while yet as the adults play out their far more interesting drama.

Clea Major and Louis Godfrey

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