Revenge season premiere recap: 'Renaissance' |

TV Recaps | Revenge

Revenge season premiere recap: 'Renaissance'

Emily Thorne has taken over Grayson Manor, and it seems to suit her well.


IT'S ALL MINE As the new Queen Bee, Emily gets to throw the lavish Memorial Day party. (Kelsey McNeal/ABC)


Season 4, Ep. 1 | Aired Sep 28

A lot can change in six months. Revenge’s fourth season began with a decidedly different tone Sunday night. A tone a little older, but with the same fervor. Mainly because it was the not the voice of our beloved narrator Emily Thorne, but of Victoria Grayson. And now, Emily’s the one who’s looking out from Grayson Manor to the kingdom below her, perched on the same balcony from which Victoria used to watch her.

Victoria’s still locked up in a mental institution, where, in typical Victoria Grayson fashion, she’s managed to have everyone believing a web of lies: “In my lifetime, I’ve come to understand that there are three ways for a person to disappear. The first is to die. The second is to lie. And the last is to be reborn,” she tells her therapy group. “It was after my former husband’s death six months ago that my transformation began. I made my peace with those who have wronged me and with those who I’ve wronged. No one more so than Emily Thorne.”

Made peace? With Emily Thorne? Sorry, Vic, I just don’t buy it. After all, Emily’s not only the one who locked you up, but she’s also the one who tore your entire family apart.

And Emily’s quite proud of that. “Conrad’s dead, I committed Victoria, and Daniel’s self-destructing all on his own,” the new owner of Grayson Manor boasts to Nolan Ross while she’s planning a Memorial Day party like none of this ever happened.

So if everyone has paid their dues, what the hell is she still doing here? Sure, she later explains to Nolan that she’s stayed in the Hamptons to try to salvage a relationship with her “only family”—if only you knew—Charlotte, but does she really feel all that much loyalty to her half sister? I mean, Emily did kidnap her, after all. And, if her revenge is complete and her father’s name has been cleared, why is she still going by the name Emily Thorne?

On the surface, our antihero seems to be happy—but it’s very much the happiness that the character she created pined for, not Amanda Clarke. She’s living in one of the most expensive mansions in America. She drives around Nolan Ross’ white convertible with red leather interior and blasts Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” (and then she backs into a car behind her). But she’s still wearing that mask of hers—the one we’ve only seen come off in the most intimate and heartbreaking moments. We’ve seen it come off when her childhood dog dies and she kisses Jack, when Amanda dies, and most recently, after the death of Aiden. And underneath that mask, it’s clear that revenge hasn’t brought any peace to Amanda Clarke.

Meanwhile, her ex-fiance seems to be in a similar state of mind. He’s living in a penthouse in uptown Manhattan. He’s canoodling with leggy models and drives six-figure cars. He’s a portrait of a young Conrad, only minus a job—as he unexpectedly quit his job as second-in-command of Margaux’s magazine.

Oh wait? But what about David Clarke? Yes, let’s get to that. Unbeknownst to his daughter, Clarke is very much alive, with the blood of Conrad Grayson on his hands, he announces his return to South Hampton because “I’ve got some unfinished business.” Cue dramatic Revenge music.

Jack has just started his new job as a cop, and when a fellow officer asks why the switch, he says: “I guess I thought this would be good for the soul. I’ve seen too many people get away with murder, and I want to do something about it.” His coworker, however, made a joke about the kidnapping of Charlotte Grayson, which he was locked up for during last season’s finale despite his innocence. (And which Charlotte has yet to forget, as she decides to pick up his son, Carl, and scare the living hell out of him.)

Back at the loony bin, Victoria has made a new friend in Phyllis (Yeardley Smith), who helps her steal an iPhone from one of the doctors. Unfortunately for Victoria, she makes the mistake of calling the Grayson manor landline—which come on, who answers landlines anymore? I digress. Emily Thorne picks up, and in a rare moment, Victoria finds herself begging her to let them put the past behind them. But Emily’s not hearing it: “As far as everything I’ve done, I’d do it all again.” And was it just me, or did I see a little bit of light in our heroine’s eyes at the thought of doing it all over again?

In Daniel’s words, “That bitch never knows when to quit, does she?” He says this when Charlotte visits his penthouse and informs him that Emily has invited her to the Memorial Day party. But as flip as the comment was, the guy’s got a point. The real reason Charlotte’s come is to ask her brother for help paying her $7,000 rent for an apartment downtown. And while he says “anything for my sister,” it’s clear that that’s no longer pocket change for the unemployed Mr. Grayson. (We later find out that he’s quickly becoming broke, having to resort to selling his cars for cash.)

NEXT: The annual start of Revenge the Hamptons season