No! Not that kind! Get your minds out of the gutter. I'm talking about ABC's new drama, Revenge.
The lead actress, while gorgeous, seemed talent-less, playing every scene she was in without emotion, her eyes completely dead of any connection to life, let alone to those around her. Both episodes had ended with flashback reveals to what I could only assume were supposed to be secret "surprise twist" moments in the episodes' plots, but were so integrally crucial to the basic concept of the show - that Amanda was manipulating the lives of the Hamptonites to ruin them - that their absence seemed like a forgetful omission that I then glossed over. I assumed that somehow Amanda had caused Conrad Greyson's faux heart attack, and that it was an element of the plot that the writers just hadn't bothered to flush out. The entire take down was so well tied together that the end of episode reveal, that she had slipped in as a maid and drugged his soup, couldn't possibly have been a surprise to anyone.
And there were plenty of other little details that didn't seem right with the show, but for some reason, like the worst of highway side collisions, I found I just couldn't look away. Worse though, was that I was smiling as I watched. I couldn't figure out what it was about the show that kept me so enthralled, and so I assumed it was my baser mind coming to the fore, and overcoming my education and refined viewing palette. A possibility I had not considered was that my subconscious mind had recognized something that my conscious mind could not fathom. That this show had quite a bit of potential.
But when I put on the third episode, it started to dawn on me. Maybe this actress wasn't so terrible after all. It's possible that her dead, lifeless eyes are a character choice. After all, Amanda Clarke is dead inside. Psychotically so. It makes sense that this girl, while smiling, or looking embarrassed, or crying over her dead father, would never let the emotion touch her eyes, because all emotion is put on, and for show. The Hamptonites, so focused on appearances, don't notice what's lying in wait beneath the surface of Emily Thorne, but we do. It's actually the central point of the show, that the viewers can see what the people in the world can not, the inner workings of Amanda Clarke's mind. Maybe we're not just seeing it in her duplicitous actions and manipulative schemes. Maybe we're seeing it in her eyes.
As the third episode drew to a close, I noticed something else: a conspicuous lack of the poorly executed Leverage-esque end of episode reveal. This time, it seemed, the audience had been allowed to see all of Amanda's tactics in the order that they happened without the pitiful attempt at trickery displayed in the last two episodes. Thinking back, I realized that there had been a marked rise in the continuity of the plot in this episode as well. Whether or not it was simply because there didn't seem to be a chunk missing from the middle, I can't say for certain, but that's my opinion.
Apparently the head writer on Revenge, a man named Mike Kelley, recognized the problems with the show's format and made the appropriate changes. Kudos to Mr. Kelley, for doing what so few executive producers are willing to do with their shows. Change them.
Now it seems that new rules have been established. Before now, Emily's take downs had been limited to people in the company picture in her locked chest. Now, apparently, anyone from Amanda's past associated with the dissolution of her childhood, whether directly involved in framing her father or not, are fair game. The playing field for Amanda's revenge has broadened, and the story is expanding with it. I'm curious to see if she ever makes a mistake, and takes down someone innocent of wrongdoing. Heck, I'm just curious to see what happens at all.
I had been worried that the show would have trouble reaching past its first season, both because of the limited number of people available to be taken down, and because of the already established ending which was provided for us in the opening minutes of the pilot episode. Now I'm content to just sit back and enjoy the ride, knowing that the story can sustain itself as long as the show can sustain its viewership.