When I first saw the advertisements for Revenge, I did not think that I would watch it, let alone love it for its strong and progressive female characters.
I was mistaken on both counts.
Revenge comes on ABC on Sunday evenings, right after Once Upon A Time. Though Once is probably nearer and dearer to me (I love magic and I love Disney enough to forgive the odd choices that the writers frequently make), I adore Revenge.
The protagonist, who now goes by the name Emily Thorne, grew up the daughter of a man who was framed as a conspirator who handles money for a diabolical terrorist organization. Her father was taken from her, and her childhood from then on was a nightmare—until, after emerging from a juvenile detention facility, she learned of her father’s innocence, that he had been framed through an elaborate cover-up, and that she was now an incredibly wealthy woman thanks to a clever investment that her father had made long ago.
Her father had already died in prison, but Emily sets out on a long mission to destroy (not kill—but to emotionally, financially, and socially ruin) the people who conspired to frame her father (to hide their own involvement with this terrorist group).
Emily is a beautiful woman. Posing as “just another wealthy heiress” (not revealing that she is actually much, much wealthier than almost any other character on a show full of rich people), she moves in and begins her machinations.
You watch and, early on, you think that this is is going to be a show about soap opera-like maneuvers. An adult Gossip Girl with blackmail and affairs?
I won’t lie, there are both of those. Catty exchanges, hidden cameras, cheating spouses.
But there is also a brilliant bisexual hacker, Nolan, who is one of the main characters. There’s Emily’s childhood sweetheart who does not recognize her as an adult (and she wants to keep it that way—as “Emily” is a pseudonym for a reason).
And Emily is the main character. She is brilliant and extremely competent. She also has more weapons at her disposal than wealth, beauty, charm, and a friendly computer genius. Part of her backstory (this is not, I think, an actual spoiler) is that she traveled around the world and received training in survival, weapons, and martial arts.
A wealthy orphan who adopts a pseudonym and pretends to be another spoiled rich kid spending time on luxury and charities while actually being a physical and intellectual badass, hell-bent on being vengeance personified?
That sounds familiar to me.
Watch Revenge. It’s a compelling story with complex, enjoyable characters. And it’s nice to see a drama star a woman who is also qualified to make Gotham City a safer place.