'Revenge' premiere react: Return of the red sharpie

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Image Credit: Carin Baer/ABC

Our favorite Hamptons heiress/Revengess is back for another summer.

After a lackluster season two that played out more like a soap opera running out of cast members to cannibalize and less like the thrilling hairpin-turn ride that was season one, there’s a lot riding on season three to deliver for fans. So is the brilliant, masterminding Emily that we knew and loved from season one back for good?

After last night’s premiere? Not so sure yet. But we do see the return of her lifetime supply of permanent markers, a much-needed departure of Ashley, a reappearance of friend/foe Aidan, and some steamy Emily/Jack romantic action. In terms of past Revenge premieres, this one ranks the lowest, because it lacked edge-of-your-seat-surprise and it focused mostly on tying up dangling plot ends.

It begins with that flash forward of Emily getting shot twice in wedding dress and we never return to the scene, except later on we know Emily has finally set a date to get married on August 8. Which is “8/8,” and also the infinity symbol that has so much meaning to her. At a Memorial Day celebration, Emily poisons Conrad and fixes his test results to indicate that he has Huntington’s Disease. The diagnosis is leaked to the press and Conrad must resign from his post as governor. Aware of Emily’s real identity, Jack takes a stand and gives Emily a revenge deadline: “Finish this by the end of the summer and leave for good. Or I’ll tell everyone the truth.”

Here’s where the characters stand:

Victoria: I don’t know what’s scarier – Victoria smiling when she’s being evil or Victoria smiling when she’s actually happy. Because of the reemergence of her long lost other bastard child, Patrick, Victoria’s as creepy-jubilant as ever. We see her riding horseback, her mouth so agape I’m half-expecting butterflies to come flying out. Emily even walks in on her playing “Clair de Lune” on the piano. Victoria is still suspect of Emily’s intentions with Daniel and still talks to Ems like she’s Daniel’s trashy girlfriend: “It’s a shame you still need to drop by unannounced.” Queen V’s happiness is short-lived, as Charlotte drives Patrick away and Conrad’s “diagnosis” sends her deep into a sadness spiral.

Charlotte: Boy has sweet Charlotte changed! She’s got a new look (bangs, leather get-ups, no more sundresses), and a full-blown sassy attitude. We learn that Charlotte lost the baby. She also decides to move out of the manor. Charlotte’s new ‘tude also means more quotability. On her mom’s cavorting with Patrick: “I almost caught Lady Chatterley with her lover.” To be fair, at the time, Charlotte didn’t know the shirtless man at the stables was her brother.

Nolan: Oh my favorite Nolan, so loyal to Emily and yet so susceptible to getting physically clobbered every time. Emily picks him up from prison, a reverse of when Nolan picked her up from juvie ten years ago. Biggest Nolan change? We may see him assisting Ems without his hacking skills this season, “Cyber-revenging has brought me nothing but trouble.”   In some cute sibling-like sweetness, Emily buys him a house and Nolan’s love for her is unflappable, “I will be by your side until we’ve taken down everyone who ruined your father and me.” Best Nolan moment? When he circumvents the high security at the Memorial Day party by parachuting into the crowd.
Best Nolan One-Liner: “So Ashley’s been Daven-deported?”

Jack: Poor Jack. He’s lost his brother, he’s lost his baby-mama, and probably at many points, his sanity. He and Emily reunite for a passionate kiss, says he understands her need for revenge, but then he burns her, “I’ll keep your secret, but it’s just me and Carl now, leave us alone.” He gives Emily the summer deadline to complete her plan. I like this rightfully bitter Jack! I hope we see him play more disciplinarian with Emily this season.

Daniel: Still Emily’s pawn, still an innocent, and still wanting “to make something of myself” outside of his father’s shadow, this looks very much like season one Daniel. Which could be a good thing? But I’m antsy to have Daniel find out about Emily for real this time, even just to see how his character handles it.

Conrad: As governor of NY, well before he has to resign due to his faux-Huntington’s diagnosis, Conrad is at the acme of his megalomania. When a painter fails to capture his blue eyes, Conrad scolds her, “Arctic pools, Layla, Arctic pools!” Convinced he’s going to die a slow and painful death, is Conrad now-neutralized as a threat?

Ashley: Oh Ashley, it’s unfortunate the writers always made you a pawn and never a real protagonist. Always playing someone’s side and never clear of her own trajectory. It’s true this character needed to go, but her exit was simply too convenient. Ashley barely gave a fight. She tries to beat Emily at her own revenge game threatening to tell everyone that Emily meant to save Jack from the explosion unless she introduces her to rich men. But Emily schemes with Victoria to take Ashley down. In a scene ripped out from a high-octane Pepsi commercial, Emily and Victoria meet Ashley on a runway and charter a plane to send her back across the pond. Earlier, Emily is seen looking at a photo of the two former friends with wistful eyes. At the end we see Emily burning said photo, with a conspicuous red “X” on Ashley’s face.

Aiden: He appears on Victoria’s balcony, which can only mean they team up to destroy her. Spurned and defeated, he seems more dangerous than ever.

New faces:
– We finally get a glimpse of Patrick (Justin Hartley) who spends most of his time shirtless before being bullied away by Charlotte: “My mother will draw you in, then destroy you, and if she doesn’t, I will.”
– An alluring French girl from Daniel’s past, Margaux (Karine Vanasse) comes to the Hamptons, staying in the U.S. to launch an American version of her father’s magazine. Will she wedge Daniel and Emily apart? Duh. She’s an alluring French girl.

Best line of the night: When Margaux asks Emily what she does for a living, she says she devotes her time to charities and “making sure people get what they deserve.”

What did you think of the premiere, PopWatchers? Did it give you hope for Season 3? Tell us in the comments.

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