Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Pilot Watch: Revenge
by Kelly Bedard
Do you remember Amy Abbott? I do. She was sweet and funny, good natured and forgiving. Do you remember Rebeca Harper? I do. She was smart and self-assured, easy going and charming. Now, the woman who gave life to both is back on network TV in a dark show about the need for ruthless revenge. And who is Emily Thorne? Well she's actually Amanda Clarke, but she's also smart, self-assured, easy going, charming, sweet, funny and good natured. She's every Emily Van Camp character, sort of. I left out one important adjective, the absence of which undermines all the others, because, as we're told at least twice in the pilot alone, "this is not a story about forgiveness".
Van Camp's likability goes a long way in the excellent Revenge pilot. With her friend Ashley (Ashley Madewke), Emily (really Amanda) appears to be normal and fun, if mysteriously filthy rich. Putting on the act with people she despises to her very core, those same traits win her favour and set up her revenge plot with the credible possibility of deception she needs.
The charm Van Camp plays early on and the well-developed horror of Amanda's story allow the audience to jump on board with Emily's vengeful crusade in this well-shot, intelligently written, impeccably cast series. The drama and the characters are remarkably compelling and while Emily's actions aren't admirable, they're not kind and they're ultimately not forgivable- this isn't a story about forgiveness.