Revenge, Season 2, Episode 1: “Destiny”
Written by Mike Kelley and Mark B. Perry
Directed by Kenneth Fink
Airs Sundays at 9 pm (ET) on ABC
Emily (Emily VanCamp) might have started to see the light at the end of the tunnel at the end of last season, but things started to fall apart pretty quickly when Amanda (Margarita Levieva) returned pregnant with Jack’s (Nick Wechsler) baby, Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) tried to kill herself, Victoria’s (Madeleine Stowe) plane crashed, Daniel (Josh Bowman) and Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) began an affair, and Nolan (Gabriel Mann) informed Emily that her mother was possibly alive.
As the new season opens, we learn that Charlotte is still alive and in a sober living facility, hoping to take her mother’s place at her Memorial Day art auction, Jack is pulling away from the now heavily pregnant Amanda after his one night stand with Emily, and Emily has disappeared to Japan, where she is attempting to unlock memories about her mother with Takeda (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). Conrad (Henry Czemy) has apparently been under heavy scrutiny since Victoria’s apparent death and Ashley has moved quite comfortably into her place while planning her memorial.
Emily returns to the Hamptons and with Nolan (who shows off a pretty impressive physique and snazzy new haircut) back at her side they investigate the hospital where her mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) was held in the psychiatric ward. They learn that weeks before her father’s arrest both he and Victoria visited her on separate occasions. “Do you think Victoria could have had your mother declared cray cray and had her locked up?” Nolan asks in his perfectly off kilter way.
“Destiny” proves that Revenge’s first season wasn’t just a flash in the pan. I had my fair share of worries about how the show’s creators would be able to keep the momentum it had built from the first season, there is only so much revenge one person can seek and it seemed like Emily had gotten her fair share of it, but this episode grabs you from the get go and doesn’t let up.
Of course, the episode’s best moment comes at the Memorial Day party when Charlotte whispers a massive secret in Emily’s ear- where exactly her mother has been hidden. What makes this particular party so wonderful is its throw back to the party where Emily and Daniel first met. Only a year may have passed but a million things have changed, and watching Daniel, Emily, and Ashley’s strained encounter is delicious. It also manages to showcase why Gabriel Mann is so important to the show. On the outside Nolan might not look like much, but the second he walks into a situation he puts everything in perspective, making a snarky comment in the way only he can, saying the one thing the viewers have on their mind. Things are crazy on this show; you know it, the writers know it, and Nolan isn’t going to let the situation slip by without notice.
For a show full of pretty unlikeable characters, Mann still manages to be a standout, probably the only truly sympathetic character on the show. And even with her limited time in this episode, Stowe still manages to be great fun to watch. I had never put much stock in the Charlotte character but with Victoria “gone” she’s taken a much more interesting character turn. Being one of the only people who knows that her mother is actually alive gives her power she’s never had before as a character.
Revenge has always been best when it takes a formula that’s been done before and then flips the whole thing upside down and “Destiny” does just that, kicking off the new season perfectly. It’s just as fun and frothy as it was last season and by the end of the episode, the mysteries are already starting to pile up. It’s going to be an unbelievably fun season.