Revenge, Season 2, Episode 7: “Penance”
Written by Elle Triedman
Directed by Colin Bucksey
Airs Sundays at 9 pm (ET) on ABC
“Don’t keep secrets, you only live to regret them”. Well, Victoria (Madeline Stowe) would know.
“Emily’s fate rests with you” Aidan (Barry Sloane) reminds Nolan. In making the biggest financial sacrifice, the writers have shown that Nolan’s (Gabriel Mann) really the only character willing to make compromises and sacrifices for other people. Emily might forget it sometimes but Nolan is really an important and massive player in her world.
Now that Treadwell knows Emily’s biggest secret, I’m curious to see in what direction the show will go. Before Treadwell was simply a nuisance. Now’s he’s a nuisance with a terrible secret and in telling Kara (Jennifer Jason Leigh) the truth about his book on David Clarke, he’s already made a major misstep. Amanda might have wanted to kill him but what Emily is able to do is much better. Her set up of Treadwell is a fitting punishment for everything that he had been a part of with the Graysons. He might be sitting in prison now but he still has a ticking time bomb in his possession.
“Penance” is a much slower and quieter episode then what we’ve been used to as of late but it’s important for the changes it’s bringing to the characters. Nolan possibly giving up his money and life’s work all to help Emily, Amanda slipping back into highly unstable territory with her attempted murder of Mason, Emily’s admission to Mason; not only is all of this massive plot development, these secrets also develop our characters.
I have a few problems with this episode. For starters, I do find it a little hard to believe that Mason would so willingly give up his freedom for another best-seller. The writers may have played this off as his penance to the Clarke family but it just seems thin. But even with its issues, “Penance” does drive us closer to answers regarding the season’s big mystery about the sunken boat when Amanda drops a simple line about wanting to get married on the boat Jack named after her.
“I say we drag them to hell with us”. Once again, the stand out is Stowe’s Victoria. What makes her so brilliant is her ability to turn deliciously evil and campy into complex and fun. You know she’s a character you should hate but she makes it darn near impossible.
But as I said last week, Aidan is proving to be an exciting and valuable new character. He might be searching for his own penance in helping Emily with her mother and Nolan, but I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something he has up his sleeve. Nolan is still my favorite character though. I was skeptical at first of his relationship with Padma but it’s growing on me, especially after the heartfelt concerns he shares with Padma.
“Penance” might have a few speed bumps, but every once and awhile it’s a good reminder that a show like Revenge needs a little time to catch up and lay out its twists and turns.