Critics’ Roundtable: “Revenge”

We’ve had five episodes thus far in the second season of the saucy drama Revenge and, frankly, there’s cause to be concern.

What was once the must-watch-live show of the week has found itself in a new, challenging timeslot, but it has also kicked off its sophomore season with some tough-to-take stories such as the lackluster risen from the dead Mom (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Nolan (Gabriel Mann) getting all moony eyed over a chick, not a dude, and scrappy Declan (Connor Paolo) turning to thievery because…zzzzzzzz…..oh…I’m sorry, I nodded off there. (See what I mean?)

Anyway, we wanted to take a step back and cast a deconstructive eye as to why the Hamptons peeps aren’t wow-ing us and, more importantly, whether there’s still hope that the ABC soap will bounce back.

Contributing to this Critics’ Roundtable are: Jarett Wieselman, (Editorial Director, ETOnline & The Robyn Ross (Staff Editor,, Louis Peitzman (covers Revenge for, Shaunna Murphy (LA Staff editor, and our own Jim Halterman.

AfterElton: Emily could be with a number of men – Aiden (Barry Sloane)
, Daniel (Josh Bowman), Jack or even Nolan. Who is her true love and why?

Jarett Wieselman: Ideally, Emily could be with Aiden, Jack and Daniel (maybe simultaneously, I don’t know, I’m not a writer) since her ultimate plan for revenge probably involves the sexual manipulation of all three at some point. And while the show would like us to think Jack is her soulmate, based on the caliber of scheming he’s embraced this season, it’s very clear that Daniel and Emily are perfect for one another. Jack is too pure for Emily now. Emily then, sure, but she’s not the same girl he grew up with.

Louis Peitzman: Jack is obviously Emily’s true love, but she shouldn’t settle for someone so boring. Aiden seems like the only sensible option at this point, as long as she can keep him in line. And maybe sleep with Daniel on the side.

Shaunna Murphy: Honestly? I think Emily’s ability to give herself fully to love may have been beaten to death by all of the betrayal she’s experienced in her life. She’s going to need years of therapy (and not by Victoria’s chick in the Hamptons) if she’s ever going to be in a real, trusting relationship. That being said, I think Aiden — who clearly has also lost people, and is motivated by hatred — will understand her the best. I think Jack is far too innocent to end up with the new Emily, and she and Daniel have far too much family history. And Nolan? No.

Stop holding back, Jennifer Jason Leigh. We want – and need – the crazy!

AE: How’s Jennifer Jason Leigh doing as Emily’s mother? How do you feel about her addition to the show?

Jarett Wieselman: When I heard JJL was coming on board, I was totally psyched (after a momentary mourning of what could have been if Michelle Pfeiffer had been cast). But, sadly, the show isn’t giving her anything that capitalizes on Jennifer’s innate insanity. Hello, this is Single White Female, people. Give the bitch a stiletto and let her go to work on the less interesting characters (I’m looking at YOU, Declan!)

Robyn Ross: The problem with this role is that I’m not rooting for or against her, which is never a good thing.

Jim Halterman: I’m definitely disappointed and not feeling a spark upon her arrival. I was hoping we’d see something when she finally shared a scene with Stowe but it just felt hollow to me. I’m hoping things shift soon.

AE: Has Victoria lost some of her bite this season Or is she as lethal as ever?

Robyn Ross: Only Victoria can answer the phone and scare the crap out of me. She hasn’t done anything too extreme yet this season, but I don’t doubt that what’s coming from her could bring anyone who opposes her down.

Louis Peitzman: Victoria is still regaining her footing, so it’s OK that she’s not quite at full capacity. She’s still a total ice queen, and it’s actually refreshing that she’s not completely in charge. Her very real fear of the Initiative adds another level of foreboding to the show.

Shaunna Murphy: I don’t think she’s lost her bite, they’ve just spent so much time exploring other plot lines that we haven’t been able to see it. Right now she’s sort of powerless, but I have full faith that she’ll find her way back to the top. I want to see Mama Bear fighting for her Daniel again — those are always some of her best moments. Having Daniel locked away with Ashley and his father hasn’t been great for the Daniel/Victoria dynamic I oh-so love. Come on, producers — give her something to fight for, again!

Has Queen Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) lost her bite in Season 2?

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