Keep your friends close and your enemies closer - or just kill the whole bally lot of them to be on the safe side, seems to be the emerging philosophy of sweet-faced heroine Emily in season two of Revenge, TV2, Tuesday.
We return to Emily's quest to right the wrongs done to her family, to find her taking zen combat and survival instruction from her mysterious Oriental mentor - and promising to come back and deal with him when she's through as well.
If Emily's confused about who's trying to help and who's not, it's a bit of a Rubik's cube for the viewer as well.
Continuing its dizzying high Gothic plot swoops, this elegant soap-cum-thriller has yet again thrown the whole pile of goodies and baddies into the air, and let them fall in new, maddening alliances.
Best of all is the return of Hamptons matron and uber-bitch Victoria Grayson. Instrumental in the plot to frame Emily's blameless father all those years ago, she apparently died in a plane crash organised by her evil husband, Conrad, last season.
That she didn't die after all is not the amazing bit. The real surprise is, now she's on Emily's side.Your enemies' enemies can become your friends, and now Victoria wants to stick it to Conrad because of their bitter divorce.
Apparently a little terrorism, embezzlement and perjury by one's husband can be borne silently, but hell hath no fury like someone on the wrong end of the matrimonial settlement.
In a further switcheroo, Victoria's assistant, Ashleigh, unaware she is alive, has moved in on Victoria's son, Daniel, and unwittingly becoming Conrad's creature, assisting him in his dastardly plots, which include hiring a corrupt psychiatrist to keep his daughter drugged so he can diddle her out of her inheritance.
The real Emily, known as Amanda, who swapped identities with the real Amanda (our heroine) in a youth correctional facility some years ago, is still having a baby with Jack, the childhood sweetheart of the real Amanda, who secretly still loves the faux Emily, really Amanda. As does Daniel. But she still loves Jack.
And now it turns out Emily/Amanda's long-dead mother is still alive, and being played by Jennifer Jason-Leigh.
Considering Revenge is neither high art nor intellectually challenging, it takes quite a lot of following. But like one trip a week to the takeaway shop, it's a small enough guilty pleasure which it would be silly to deny oneself.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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