Friday, May 11, 2012

‘Revenge’ best served cold, sweet

(Published May 9, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

A young woman avenges her wronged father in “Revenge,” an addictive drama with lots of wish-fulfilment scenarios.

The show takes soap-tested situations and cleverly structures them to expand on the protagonist’s mission in every episode. There’s a never-ending list of villains that she must destroy without physically harming them.

Amanda Clarke (Emily VanCamp) has taken the identity of Emily Thorne, a rich young socialite. She returns to the Hamptons to systematically ruin the family responsible for the framing of her late father David (James Tupper), blamed for terrorism in the ‘90s.

Emily befriends the Graysons, getting close enough without arousing suspicion. She plots the downfall of the elegant but devious Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) and her philandering husband Conrad (Henry Czerny). Emily also targets the Graysons’ various accomplices that her father named in a letter.

The first few episodes focus on Emily’s well-planned schemes, elaborately humiliating specific persons from her list. The “game” becomes more intriguing when wild cards are thrown into the mix. Emily’s best friend from juvenile detention previously agreed to take the identity of Amanda Clarke, but her presence in the Hamptons complicates things. Another unexpected player is a charming con man whose activities often contradict Emily’s plans.

It’s easy to root for Emily, thanks to unending flashbacks that add bits and pieces of her suffering at the hands of the Graysons and their underlings. She’s also quite ruthless, attracting Daniel Grayson, Conrad and Victoria’s handsome son, who genuinely falls for Emily.

Stowe is incredible as the manipulative and condescending Victoria and VanCamp often utilizes a stoic facade that gives Emily an air of mystery.

It’s a familiar and worn-out concept, but it’s retooled appealingly. This particular revenge fantasy is sweet, a scandalous dish that’s consistently and rewardingly served cold.

“Revenge” airs Mondays (5 p.m.) and Tuesdays (5:05 p.m.) on Star World.

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