10   +   9   =  

revenge s1e5‘Guilt’

Whilst previous episodes have featured a different revenge target each week, there was no new target in this one. Don’t be fooled in to thinking that this means the plot is dying out. Au contraire. It was jam-packed with twists and edge of your seat moments that prove the show is only just hotting up.

Lydia returns to the Hamptons playing her part as the bitterly rebuffed woman, determined to carry out her vendetta against Emily and the Grayson’s, and recover her old life. We know that right from the start of the episode it doesn’t end well for her.

In revenge, as in life, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In the end, the guilty always fall.’ Tell that to Lydia, who in the first scene comes falling from the sky and crashes onto a taxi. In a flash-forward similar to the one we saw in the pilot we’re left wondering what happened to poor Lydia Davis to cause her to go crashing to her death. Here’s what.

As Victoria continues to slink around in overly tight dresses, sipping tea (or possibly whiskey?) from china teacups, Frank informs her that Conrad spent the night in the city with Lydia and bares the transfer receipt detailing the money Conrad gave her. Frank is constantly over-stepping the mark and his loyalty to Victoria is evidently driven by personal feelings towards her. When questioned by his wife, Conrad, who by this stage we know has a complete lack of conscience, says he had no choice but to give her the money.  Victoria slaps him in an action reminiscent of something out of Eastenders.  This might have seemed too soap opera like for some viewers, but I can appreciate it. It took the theatrical factor up a notch and that’s not a bad thing in my eyes.

Tyler lingers in the background listening in on people’s conversations, wheedling his way into the Grayson family and proving to be a cunning snitch. He’s a constant annoyance and I feel his comeuppance is long overdue already.

I have to praise the Revenge producers for allowing Ashley to stand out by giving her overly British phraseology that seems so out of place next to all the Americanisms. It really helps to give a sense of the character being a fish out of water, which is exactly what she is. Up until now Emily’s friendship with Ashley has seemed very genuine, but this episode sees her using Ashley as a pawn in her schemes. It’s saddening because Ashley might be the only sincere friend Emily has at this point.

Lydia does the rounds and visits Emily, declaring that she wants her house back. When Emily politely tells her it isn’t going to happen Lydia decides her new mission is to find Emily’s weak spot in order to exploit it. Continuing to get on everyone’s bad side, Lydia tries to integrate herself back into the inner circle, fuelled by a need for Victoria to forgive and accept her. It would seem at first that her wishes have been granted.

Nolan plants a camera disguised as a decorative whale in Emily’s house, but Emily, thinking it’s Lydia’s, packs it up in a box and sends it to her. Shamu-cam is equal measures of creepy and ingenious, allowing Nolan to be the ultimate spy.

Surprisingly, Charlotte and Dec have become a welcome breath of fresh air amidst the ruthlessness and ulterior motives of Revenge. Whilst on their own both characters have irritating traits, together they redeem themselves. Their blossoming relationship is sweet and earnest and I find myself rooting for them, despite the obstacles they face.

Another relationship that seems to be getting more sincere is Emily and Daniels. After ironing out the bumps produced by Tyler, they rekindle their romance, something I’m startled to realise I’m actually pleased about.

Lydia spots Emily as a waitress in the background of an old photo of her and Victoria and realises she’s struck gold. Thankfully Nolan witnesses this discovery via shamu-cam (which Lydia put on her shelf) and warns Emily. She enlists his help in retrieving the evidence from Lydia’s apartment whilst everyone else attends a lavish gala.

After being scorned by Conrad, Lydia is on the warpath and is ready to air the Grayson’s dirty laundry to the gala attendees. Victoria swiftly works her magic and only just saves the day, before laying into Lydia with admiral venom. Victoria makes it crystal clear that their apparent friendship is for appearances only and the river of hate is still very much in existence.

When a distraught Lydia goes back to her apartment she is greeted by Frank who attacks her. Lydia puts up a good fight, but runs to her balcony instead of her front door. If I were being chased by a crazy man I would run somewhere I knew I could escape, not a dead-end balcony where the only way to escape is to fall to my death. It’s survival 101! Frank ultimately follows Lydia and after a short struggle knocks her off the roof and we witness the scene we previewed at the beginning.

Nolan narrowly misses both Frank and the police when he goes to Lydia’s apartment to destroy the evidence, a company employee list faxed to Lydia just after she fell to her death, which would have revealed Emily’s real identity. Phew! I don’t however know how Nolan managed to get in and out of Lydia’s apartment without being spotted by the police – perhaps he’s a superhero and invisibility is his power?

Charlotte and Dec go for a speed-demon joy ride in Charlotte’s new car, only to get pulled over by the police. Emily and Daniel collect Charlotte from the station and Jack collects Dec. This is probably not only the most awkward moment of the episode, but perhaps also the series so far. Daniel, having decided to step away from the rich and famous lifestyle, asks Jack for a bar-tending job at the stowaway. Emily’s face says it all – worst idea ever. It’ll be interesting to see how Daniel will get on living like the rest of us – a normal person. I’m sure Jack won’t make it easy for him.

Daniel is slowly shedding the boring persona that has previously been hovering over him like a bad smell. It’s clear he would make a great big brother, a trusty friend and whilst I still hate to admit it, an adoring boyfriend. He’s still trailing behind Jack, who was at an advantage from the start, but didn’t the tortoise beat the hare in the end? This race for Emily’s heart is far from over and I’m leaving it wide open as to who the winner will be.

Emily and Victoria proved in this episode that they’re actually more alike than we thought. Both women are more vulnerable than they would let on and both can play the innocent and devilish acts perfectly. I’m aching for their claws to come out though. The animosity radiating from them is so strong I’m amazed one of them hasn’t spontaneously combusted yet.

It became apparent to me that the women are carrying this show at the moment. The men are either weak like Daniel, crooked like Conrad or not given nearly enough screen-time like Jack. It’s nice to see a cast of resilient and ferocious female characters who are very much the heart of the story.

This episode seemed less clear-cut than the others. Up until now Emily’s revenge had almost been too easy. Cracks are starting to appear in her seemingly fool-proof plan and her revenge antics have finally gone off course, with possibly awful consequences. Could this be the end of Lydia?

I imagine the revenge characters to be like pieces on a Harry-Potteresque chessboard. One wrong move and instead of being knocked to the side, they’re destroyed. With so many players in the game it’s difficult to judge who will fall by the wayside and who will reign supreme.

★★★★★

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