Revenge recap – 1×17: ‘Doubt’

Courtesy of ABC via TVline

Hey folks, remember six weeks ago when we were watching this great nighttime soap loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo that starred that chick from Everwood and Brothers & Sisters? Obviously you do or else why would you be here? But you’d be forgiven if you had forgotten, since it’s been forevah since the last episode of the most addictive new TV show this season!

Let’s dig in…and dish out some REVENGE

This episode reminds me of this week’s Ringer finale in that was an enjoyable hour of television, but it suffers due to certain expectations. Much like Ringer‘s “good, but not big enough for a finale”, last night’s episode of Revenge suffers because it is the first episode back after such a long hiatus. It’s not bad per say, but since it’s a set-up episode (moving people into places they need to be in anticipation of future story lines), it simply is not as exciting as one would have hoped for the show’s first episode back.

Why the mixed feelings? There’s one main reason: ‘Doubt’ introduces a new character, but it does so in a spectacularly random way. I’m referring, of course, to the artist (played by James Purefoy) who strikes up a sudden, intensely sexual relationship with Victoria (Madeleine Stowe). Who is this man? Some internet web searching lists Purefoy’s character as Dominik Wright, but you wouldn’t know this from watching the show because he’s never really introduced.

The only reason this kindasorta works is because Dominik is clearly meant to be a mysterious man from Victoria’s past. But it’s hard not to feel that he’s introduced in a very clunky manner when he buys her a drink at the bar and then suddenly they’re sexing up his loft. It’s as though the writers forgot that we’ve never actually met this guy and might like the smallest smidget of information about him (suddenly I was wishing for one of Ringer‘s flashbacks). It’s not a dealbreaker since it’s clear that Dominik is sticking around so we’ll likely delve deeper into their past, but there’s no denying that this is an awkward introduction and highlights one of the issues I’ve struggled with for the duration of the show’s run: random, arbitrary plotting.

Now let me put this into context: Revenge is a dishy, nighttime soap and it has never claimed to be the most realistic of shows. Part of the premise of the show is that we accept that people can take other people’s identities, and use copious amounts of money to exact a very premised laid plan that’s able to accommodate any outcome. This was more of a problem in the early episodes when Emily was capable of taking down foes with ease at the speed it takes to uncap a red sharpie marker. The show really righted itself around the time Lydia plunged off the roof (or rather it became so entertaining that we forgave it its trespasses), so this poorly conceived character introduction seems out of place for the show.

More awkward – and silly – plotting is Victoria’s decision to get Daniel (Joshua Bowman) out of Riker’s Island by paying some random to have her son beat up in prison. Between her rash decision to tumble into bed with Dominik and her prison pay-off, the show clearly wants to demonstrate how messed up Victoria is. Not unlike Ringer‘s Siobhan, Victoria is a character who, every time she thinks she’s helping, only ends up causing more damage. On the plus side her crazy plan works and Daniel is soon safe back at casa de Grayson on a $10 million bail.

Courtesy of ABC via TVline

The other parts of the episode are decent, but feel slightly perfunctory. The best of the rest is the reintroduction of Roger Bart’s Mason Treadwell, who Emily uses to decimate Charlotte’s (Christa B. Allen) proposed testimony before she can implicate Jack as the man in the hoodie. Kudos to the show for using both Charlotte and Declan (Connor Paolo) well in this episode (first time for everything!). I was especially fond of the vicious conversation between Treadwell and Victoria after he posts about Charlotte’s pill addiction, though I could have done without his overly dramatic line about his typewriter being an “unsightly heap of molten dreams.” Perhaps we’re meant to realize just how indulgent a writer he truly is?

Other Observations:

  • As the AV Club indicates, The Treadwell support is – naturally – a real web site, so feel free to check out the Hamptons dirt.
  • My initial draft of this post addressed that we didn’t know how Victoria met Lee (Derek Ray), the shady guy in the bar that Emily eventually beats the crap out of after recording all of his sleazy dealings with the Graysons. Then after waaay too much effort, I realized that this is the same flunky Victoria hired in 1X13 ‘Commitment‘ to break into Jack’s (Nick Weschler) place to steal the Treadwell tapes. (Side Note: Did anyone else get a Fringe / Fauxlivia vibe from Emily’s brown wig?)
  • Anyone else care to bet that Dominik will be bad news? Not only is he already causing friction between Conrad (Henry Czerny) and Victoria in advance of their messy divorce, but he got a lovely ominous line about copying her number from her phone while she was sleeping. Set creep factor to high!
  • In many ways I’m glad that the show doesn’t go the obvious route and sexually assault Daniel in jail (even though that’s clearly what we are initially meant to think when the scene opens with him naked and soapy). In thanks for this small service, we will overlook the fact that Daniel being concussed would definitely not be enough to get him out on bail (or else Oz would have been a show about stay at home convicts)
  • Ashley (Ashley Madewke) is, as usual, completely peripheral, but it is fun to see her acting as Grayson PR rep on TV. I’m still hopeful they do something with her, although I can just as easily see her being killed off come finale time.
  • Nolan (Gabriel Mann) barely gets anything fun to do besides convince Jack to head to Montreal to find Fauxmanda. This storyline is a snooze since we know that Faux isn’t there. I did, however, enjoy the French radio station that signals Jack has reached Montreal. Whew – without the French, how would we have known where he was?!

So overall, it’s an okay episode, but after six weeks this wasn’t the jaw-dropper that I’d hoped to return to. The promo for next week looks promising, so we’ll see what develops.

What did you think? Did the episode deliver the goods, or were you mildly disappointed like me? Were you surprised that Treadwell tipped his biased hand so quickly after being reintroduced? And where can we find vests with lobsters on them like the one Nolan wears?

Revenge airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on ABC

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

5 thoughts on “Revenge recap – 1×17: ‘Doubt’

  1. Nice recap. To answer your question, I was only disappointed because I was hoping to be blown away. Admittedly, Revenge has set the bar pretty high, but when taken for what it was, I thought it was a good episode. Mainly I’m happy to have this show back on the air, and—after what turned out to be a mild emergency dragged me out of the house moments before it started—I’m happy to have seen it at all. Luckily for me a coworker of mine at DISH talked me into getting the Hopper about a week ago. Its PrimeTime Anytime feature that records FOX, CBS, NBC, and ABC automatically every evening, saved the day because there’s no way I would have had the presence of mind to set the DVR as I was sprinting out of the house. But because of that feature I was able to relax a bit and watch Revenge before going to bed last night. So overall, I was happy with it.

    • Isn’t Revenge available online at ABC.coom the next day? Generally most of the networks make it easy to track down episodes in the event you miss them (or have mild emergencies – yikes).

      Agree – though. I felt like I should indicated that any episode of Revenge is still more enjoyable than many other shows, but I think in this case my expectations were too high because I was so anxious to have it back! (And I was honestly confused about why Purefoy was so randomly inserted – I thought perhaps I had missed an episode or something!)

      • Yeah Purefoy’s addition was a bit jarring wasn’t it? They probably could have handled that a bit better. I never looked at ABC(dot)com, for it. I know it’s available the next day on dishonline(dot)com, so it stands to reason that ABC would make it available on their site as well. Mainly I didn’t want to watch it the next day though, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go an entire day at work without someone spoiling something for me.

  2. I was not disappointed yet I think Revenge must come to the end as soon as possible. Introducing a new character was not right since we’re expecting some resolutions and there are some many characters already! We want Emily get even with Victoria. Period.