Revenge, Ep. 1.08: “Treachery” deepens the relationship intrigue

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Revenge, Season 1, Episode 8:  “Treachery”
Written by Ryan Scott
Directed by Bobby Roth
Airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET on ABC

Cléa Major:  Episode 7 ended on a pretty significant cliffhanger: we had the murder of the Graysons’ henchman Frank; his reveal to Victoria that Amanda is not who she says she is; and the arrival of the real Emily Thorne in the Hamptons.  Things seemed to be shaken up and I was definitely intrigued, but Amanda neatly avoids getting herself wrapped up in the murder.  She’s always been a pro at thinking on her feet and getting out of tricky situations without losing a smidgen of face, but I was still surprised at how well things worked out for her, given how close Frank came to shouting her identity from the rooftops.

The possible wrench in her plans, because of course there’s always a wrench, is that the real Emily is sticking around instead of flying off to Paris.  I’m excited about this, because Emily and Amanda seem obsessed with each other in a distinctly lesbianic way that I really want to see more of.

Louis Godfrey:  Yes, by far the most interesting current in the episode was the relationship between Amanda and the real Emily Thorn, and the somewhat ambiguous power relations therein.  In a flashback, we see the warden of the juvenile detention facility where Amanda and Emily met basically coaching Amanda to foster loyalties within Emily – who we are told is not particularly smart – and exploit them.  And immediately prior to the flashbacks, we always see Amanda giving us what I’ve come to think of as her ‘dead-eyed sociopath’ look.

In the present, we see Amanda exercising a great deal of control over Emily, manipulating her by treating her like a little sister.  And yet those feelings of affection between the two also seem to be genuine.  It is really kind of fascinating, and as you said, tinged with an obsessive sexuality.

CM:  In one of the more interesting shots of the episode, we see Emily’s hand reaching out and lingering on Amanda’s hair, and towards the end of the episode Emily stares through the window at Amanda and Daniel embracing.  It’s quite clear that Emily is not as controllable as Amanda thinks–but how much of that relationship is manipulation, and how much is a genuine emotional connection on Amanda’s part?  It’s something that the episode leaves very unclear.

The staring-through-a-window visual motif is repeated throughout the episode. In addition to Emily being a peeping tom, we see Victoria’s face framed through blinds as she ponders Lydia in the hospital, and Tyler’s face is also framed through blinds as he watches Victoria later shredding Lydia’s would-be evil speech.  Partly this is because scheming people look even schemier when we see them through blinds, but it also echoes one of the major themes of this episode, which is that so many identities are slowly starting to become fractured: the Graysons’ marriage, the Grayson children’s senses of self, and the fragile hold that Amanda has on her secrets.

LG:  Tyler’s machinations are getting far more sinister, and he seems to be bringing out the worst in Ashley.  The two bond over their social-climbing ambitions and class resentment after Ashley is forced to – oh, the horror! – move Lydia’s boxes into the Grayson house (where she is being moved to recovery from her amnesia, naturally).  Because the most snobbish people on the show are not the ones with money, but the ones who desperately want it.

The only two characters who don’t really seem to want money are the bar owning brothers.  Declan just wants to impress the bland Grayson daughter (I have no idea why).  And Jack just wants Amanda (and to sail to Haiti to “do good,” or something), but it looks like (the real) Emily now has him in her sights, as part of her sociopathic plan to actually become Amanda.

CM:  Is Jack just going to continue to be everyone’s pawn, or will he soon drop his naiveté like everyone else seems to be doing? In our last recap, we mentioned how both of Amanda’s love interests are the most naive characters on the show, but Daniel grew a serious case of the shifty eyes during the voiceover montage at the end.

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