'Revenge' Season 2: Why Is Emily Thorne Not As Exciting Anymore?


Revenge was one of the most buzzed about shows of last season. It marked the return of the nighttime soap, with its Hamptons backdrop and extra wealthy characters hiding dark secrets. In season 1, the show had a singular focus: Emily Thorne and her quest for vengeance on a family who ruined her life. The family in question is the Grayson's, who were responsible for the demise of Emily's family and her father ending up in prison.

Guided by the precision of Emily van Camp and Madeline Stowe, playing evil Victoria Grayson, the show had a spark and not too much camp. But that was season 1, and as so often happens with soaps, the story lines get messy and convoluted. When this happens, the audience moves on to something else.

Season 2 gave way to a new time slot on Sunday nights, which never helps a show keep its ratings high. Especially when Revenge was doing so well in its original time slot on Wednesday nights. But what actually happened and the reason viewers have lost interest is because the show shifted focus away from extracting revenge, and away from Emily Thorne.

Too many characters and too many subplots have killed countless primetime shows. Last season had Emily on a mission with a single minded goal of seeking revenge on the people who wronged her. Systematically and with purpose, she went about her mission. But this season she is caught up in the mess that is Grayson Global, but she has no clear-cut designs on eliminating individuals within the company who have caused her harm. That was what gave the first season it's crackle. Now, she's lost in the mix.

What hooks a viewer is a singular purpose. Right now, Revenge has gotten away from this. Instead there are more characters and more wayward sub-plots. Emily's mother has returned, but character is not helpful to the storyline. Too, Emily had a dynamic with Nolan as they plotted her calculating moves in season one. This pairing creating much needed comic relief and a sense of amusement amidst destruction. Sadly, this fun is missing from the current season. 

Emily is not on a rampage anymore. She's subdued. Every audience of a soap desires their main characters be consistent. Last season she was beating people up and taking them down one by one. While this season, she's practically stuffed in an office. It's these inconsistencies that drives an audience away from a once good show. If Revenge will bring back the main concept, Emily seeking revenge, the audience will come back gleefully. Colorful characters and outrageous plots always bring people back, but only if the outrageous plots have purpose. Right now, Revenge lacks a singular pursuit, and the audience needs to be reminded of its original intent.