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'Revenge' fan react: Three times the charm

Season 4 | Episode 16 | “Retaliation” | Aired Mar 15, 2015

Batman has his belt, Wonder Woman has her lasso, but on ABC’s Revenge, Emily Thorne only needs one trademark accessory when saving the day: her red sharpie. While “Retaliation” didn’t bring back the familiar friend we Revenge fans have sorely missed, the essence of a “red-sharpie takedown” came back in full force … even if Emily herself wasn’t primarily involved in all the plans.

Revenge’s takedowns are the highlights of the series. And when the symbolic red sharpie appears, it’s the cherry on top. Never have I loved something you can buy at an office supply store more than I love the red sharpie!

As a Revenge fan since the first episode aired, I look forward to the standalone “sharpie” episodes. The characters are at their best when using all their stealthy skills, manipulation, and physical prowess to stop their enemies. When all the moves and planning come together perfectly, it can create a truly memorable moment.

Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) enjoying a glass of champagne.

“Retaliation” promoted itself as the night of the red-sharpie takedown. And there wasn’t just one takedown—there were three. At least three people saw their plans foiled. While physically seeing the sharpie would have been nostalgic, the takedowns did live up to the hype. Well, for the most part.

Let’s take a look at Revenge‘s biggest plans this week:

Margaux’s meddling

Emily’s new big bad this season, Margaux, is going with Plan B for destroying our main heroine. Instead of attacking Emily directly, she’s intent on manipulating Ben, Emily’s plaything, to get the dirt she needs. Margaux is blackmailing Ben with the location of his missing ex-wife, April. She plans to send April’s whereabouts to his wife’s former abusive boyfriend, Wes Perkins. The media mogul isn’t playing games anymore. And while I don’t agree with her actions (Perkins wants April dead!), Margaux is showing great determination in getting things done.

Ben ultimately decides to work with Emily and Nolan instead. He opts to give Margaux a fake birth certificate saying “Amanda Clarke” to bide time until he can save April. But Margaux discovers it’s fake and sends Perkins after her. When the attacker arrives at the diner where April works, Emily and Ben are already waiting undercover to catch the creep. A fight ensues, but Perkins is arrested, and due to his previous offenses, he’s going away for life. April is now free to live her life without fear.

Compared to most of the betrayals on Revenge, Emily’s takedowns usually affect those who have done wrong. April’s life can go back to normal now because of Emily, Ben, and Nolan. It’s a bright win for the crime-fighting team.

Sibling rivalry

Lyman has no morals nor luck when it comes to achieving his political aspirations. He gets fired for failing to help Victoria win her lawsuit against Natalie, and he’s running out of options fast. He tries to make amends with his sister, Louise. And while it seems genuine at first, it’s all just an underhanded plan to get financial backing from Margaux.

Margaux is paying Lyman to steal information from Nolan’s computer. For once, it looks like he’s going to win. But Louise has the best timing for accidental victories: She catches her brother stealing from her husband’s computer. She takes the flash drive and plans to throw it into the sea. Her brother wrestles it out of her hands, but falls over the mansion’s cliff, dying on the beach below in the process.

His death wasn’t a fully calculated takedown; Louise just accidentally killed him. Though, from the moment his money-grubbing ways were discovered, I knew it was only a matter of time before the cold hand of karma would come to bite Lyman. I just thought he would seduce Nolan first, before leaving.

Natalie (Gina Torres) and David (James Tupper) walking the red carpet at the annual Fourth of July party.

Natalie holds royal court

As I mentioned in last week’s Revenge react, the Hamptons is like a royal monarchy. A chess game, as it were, with its queens fighting over the social ladder. Natalie is on a winning streak: She’s winning her court case, and her relationship with David Clarke is heating up. She’s also getting the chance to run the annual Fourth of July party at the country club, a tradition that Victoria used to hold. Victoria doesn’t trust Natalie or her hidden agenda. She warns David that Natalie is hiding something.

Victoria is ultimately a great judge of character. Natalie does try to ruin David, first by hinting to media that he’s a monster and then by setting a scene where he attacked her. She’s been hiding a secret all along! Natalie isn’t just Edward Grayson’s new wife; she was Conrad’s former mistress. Just like Lydia, Conrad promised her the world, and she loved him in return. Once Conrad died, she sought revenge and the chance to get the money she deserved.

Unbeknownst to Natalie, Victoria is recording her conversation with help from David. Victoria orchestrated her own takedown to eliminate Natalie as a threat and get back the Grayson inheritance. The former queen of the Hamptons is usually more indirect in her approach, so it was great to see her defeat her enemy personally.

Natalie, Lyman, and Margaux had the chance to win the war this episode. They had their pieces lined up perfectly. But each got sloppy and didn’t expect their enemies to work together. You know what they say: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Other episode highlights:

  • Margaux had a Plan C in case Perkins failed: She got Jack arrested! Thanks to her associate’s help, the police arrested Jack for “drunk driving” and took his baby son, Carl, away. Margaux’s tactic is an emotional (and strategic) blow to Emily’s team—especially seeing Carl cry. Poor Carl.

Revenge airs on Sundays at 10/9C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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