Revenge, "Trust": trust fund babies

Quick Take: Revenge, "Trust": trust fund babies
"In the end, the only person we can really trust is ourselves." - Emily 

Review: Revenge, "Trust": trust fund babies
(S0102) With their their absurd plot twists and overacting actors, I'm usually not a huge fan of soapy network dramas. So it shouldn't come as much of a shock that I wasn't expecting much from ABC's new hit show Revenge. But after two episodes, I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I'm enjoying it. Sure, Revenge is silly, campy and way over the top. But it's also very fun and, so far at least, pretty damn intriguing.

As the title would indicate, Revenge is a show about...well, revenge. Emily VanCamp stars as Emily, a young woman who moves into a beachfront mansion with the goal of infiltrating the Hamptons' exclusive and tightly knit social circle. She's not running a con or looking for a sugar daddy; her motivation for worming her way into the lives of the Hamptons' elite is a far more sinister one.

In last week's pilot we learn that Emily has a secret past. Emily is an assumed name, VanCamp's character was actually born an Amanda. Her father, David (James Tupper), was at one point a big shot in the Hamptons. But when Emily/Amanda was a little girl, David was set up by his powerful friends and colleagues and framed for a crime he didn't commit. The betrayal cost David his life and Amanda her childhood; she wound up in a juvenile group home until her 18th birthday. When she turned 18, she inherited what was left of her father's immense fortune, which she plans puts to use claiming her revenge on the people that destroyed her father's life.

What I like about the show is that isn't a just a run of the mill vengeance story. Revenge does a really effective job of doling out the details of Emily's back story in bits in pieces, which gives the show a mysterious vibe. The flashbacks and reveals are done in such a way that it keeps you guessing but doesn't frustrate you with countless false leads and red herrings. (I'm looking at you, The Killing).

In Revenge's second episode, "Trust", Emily and her unlikely ally, the nerdy, friendless Nolan (Gabriel Mann) set their sights on Bill Harmon (Matthew Glave), a former friend and co-worker of David's. Through a series of flashbacks we learn that Bill, a hedge fund manager, testified against Emily's father in court and accused him of funneling cash to a terrorist organization.

Harmon approaches Emily at a polo match (game?), sensing an opportunity to cash in on the community's newest sucker. He offers her his investment services and she jumps at the chance to get closer to her prey. Emily demands that Bill invest a substantial amount of his fund's capital in a telecom company that is set to merge with a company owned by the uber-rich Nolan. After Harmon has sunk a ton of cash into the deal, Nolan goes on television to announce that the merger is off, sending the value of Bill's investment into the crapper. Harmon's clients lose confidence in his ability to invest their money wisely, effectively bankrupting his hedge-fund. The specifics of this particular story thread are utterly absurd, but on a show like this it doesn't really take anything away from one's enjoyment.

Emily has savored her first taste of revenge and I've had my first two tastes of Revenge -- I'm mostly satisfied, she isn't. If the show keeps the intrigue up and the taking-itself-too-seriously-ness down, I just might tune in next week to see who Emily takes down next....at least until something better comes along on Wednesday nights at ten.

By Lucas High

About the author

Lucas High is a man on a mission. That mission: to watch television for a living. Drop him a line at lhigh2@gmail.com, on Facebook and on Twitter at twitter.com/LucasHigh.

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1 Comment
On: Saturday, October 1, 2011
Lisa said:

I don't know how you can complain about the plot if you can't accurately recap the mechanics of her revenge. Agree that the twists are absurd but still, it's annoying when it sounds like the reviewer fast-forwarded through the show.

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