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ABC's Revenge -- The Story So Far

Updated on September 29, 2012
"Living well is the best revenge," says George Herbert. But what does he know?
"Living well is the best revenge," says George Herbert. But what does he know? | Source

New to Revenge? Need a refresher before the season begins again? You’ve come to the right place. Read more for the highlights of the first season and a refresher on the major characters.

ABC’s sophomore drama returns Sunday, September 30th at 9pm EST/8pm CST, and here’s hoping this season will be just as juicy and soapy as the last.

The Premise

Revenge tells you just about everything you need to know right in its title. It’s the story of a young woman, Emily Throne, who comes to the Hamptons and vows revenge against all those who have hurt her and her father. Her primary targets, the Grayson family, are among the most influential and powerful people in the Hamptons. As the season goes on, Emily chips away at the people who framed and killed her father, caring little for consequences or who else gets hurt along the way.

Beginning almost as a procedural “Revenge of the Week” type story, with Emily taking out one major player at a time, Revenge has evolved into a full-blown nighttime soap, complete with shocking twists, unexpected romance, and murderous double-crossings.

From left to right: Ashley Madekwe, Nick Wechsler, Connor Paolo, Gabriel Mann, Emily Van Camp, Christa B. Allen, Madeleine Stowe, Josh Bowman, and Henry Czerny.  ABC's Revenge, back this fall.
From left to right: Ashley Madekwe, Nick Wechsler, Connor Paolo, Gabriel Mann, Emily Van Camp, Christa B. Allen, Madeleine Stowe, Josh Bowman, and Henry Czerny. ABC's Revenge, back this fall. | Source

The Major Players

Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp)—At the beginning of Season One, Emily comes to The Hamptons with a secret—and a plan. At age eighteen, Emily, born Amanda Clarke, learns that her now-dead father was not the traitorous murder she’d believed him to be—and now she vows revenge on all those who wronged him. She sets her sights on the Graysons, a wealthy and powerful family who used their influence to frame David Clarke. As Emily slowly closes in on the Graysons, taking out others along the way, she discovers a web of lies, deceit, and control that expands farther than she’d ever imagined.

Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe)—The matriarch of the troubled Grayson family, Victoria once had a passionate affair with David Clarke—young Amanda’s father—before betraying him and working with her husband to frame him for their treasonous crimes. Victoria suspects there is more to Emily than meets the eye, and uses her sweeping influence in the Hamptons and beyond to effect change wherever she can. She has a strained relationship with her family, and at the end of the season, her fate remains a mystery.

Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny)—Papa Grayson is a powerful, relentless businessman whose influence is vast and whose family life is, well, complicated. He was instrumental in framing David Clarke, once his right-hand man and now seems to be part of a larger conspiracy. He seems even to be responsible for David Clarke’s eventual death.

Daniel Grayson (Josh Bowman)—Daniel, the Grayson heir apparent, is a well-meaning young man whose loyalties are stretched and pushed and tested many times throughout season one. He begins dating, and eventually proposes to, Emily Thorne—not knowing her secret anti-Grayson agenda.

Charlotte Grayson (Christa B. Allen)—A teenage socialite, Charlotte spends much of the first season flirting with working-class Declan Porter, much to her parents’ chagrin. Her life begins to spiral downwards with the shocking revelation that David Clarke, not Conrad, is her biological father. A pill addiction or two later, Charlotte’s life is a mess, and a season-ending overdose attempt leaves her fate up in the air as a new season begins.

Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann)—Eccentric billionaire Nolan Ross is Emily’s one true ally—and one of the few who know and understand her whole story. Loyal to David Clarke, the bisexual computer genius helps Emily in any way he can, while also attempting to act as her conscious and safety net.

Jack Porter (Nick Wechsler)—Jack is the owner and operator of the Stowaway Tavern, older brother and guardian of Declan Porter, and childhood love of one Amanda Clarke. He does not know Emily’s true identity, though she goes through pains to protect him from any fallout her wrath may incur.

Declan Porter (Connor Paolo)—Declan is Jack’s teenage brother and Charlotte’s sometimes paramour. When it comes to choosing between the two, however, Declan sides with his brother, leaving Charlotte in even greater despair.

Ashley Davenport (Ashley Madekwe)—Emily’s sometimes best friend, Ashley is an ambitious social climber with an eye on greatness and a dedication to all things Grayson—as long as it’s in her best interest.

Amanda Clarke (Margarita Levieva)—The real Emily Thorne, Amanda Clarke agreed to switch identities with her best friend from Juvie. When she shows back up in Emily’s life, however, she causes an awful lot of trouble. She ends the season several months pregnant by Jack Porter, who believes her to be the real Amanda.

“We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.”― Heinrich Heine.  Now that's more like it.  ABC's Revenge.
“We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.”― Heinrich Heine. Now that's more like it. ABC's Revenge. | Source

The Story So Far -- Briefly

One article is hardly going to do justice to the full twists and turns of Revenge’s first season. This is a collection of the highlights—the big, plot shaking moments that drive the story and characters forward.

Emily Thorne, once known as Amanda Clarke, arrives in the Hamptons, immediately making a big splash at one of Victoria Grayson’s parties. AmandEmily is determined to have her revenge against all those who played any part in framing her widower father for treasonous acts he did not commit—and first on that list is Victoria Grayson. Working secretly, she reveals an affair between Victoria’s husband Conrad and her best friend Lydia Davis—her first Revenge of the season. Lydia, you see, was David Clarke’s secretary. She testified against him and helped get him convicted of crimes he didn’t commit.

Emily’s journey continues like this, subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) maneuvering circumstances so that those who have hurt her and her father get theirs. In the meantime, she buys her childhood home, makes a name for herself in the Hamptons, and gets closer to both Daniel Grayson, the son of her great enemies, and Jack Porter, her childhood love.

With the help of her eccentric friend Nolan Ross, Emily works her way into the Hamptons—and into the Grayson family. She begins dating Daniel and learning more of his family secrets, though she refuses to reveal any of her own.

Slowly, more of Emily’s secret Revenge network is revealed. Satoshi Takeda took Emily under his wing to teach her the ways of Revenge. The real Emily Thorne, a friend from Juvie, agreed to switch names and histories with her dedicated friend and is now going by Amanda Clarke. Even Emily’s old Juvie warden, played briefly by CCH Pounder, has helped her along the way.

Emily’s Revenge hasn’t been without bumps along the way, however. One of those came in the form of Daniel’s college roommate Tyler, slowly revealed to be a psychotic con man intent on replacing Daniel. A constant threat throughout the first half of the season, Tyler’s eventual murder at Emily and Daniel’s engagement party is pinned on Daniel Grayson himself, and the second half of the season follows the proceedings and Daniel’s eventual exoneration—at the hands of Emily.

Another complication comes in the form of friend Amanda, now dating Jack, who believes her to be the real Amanda from his past. Emily tries to protect her friend, but won’t risk her greater plan to do so. Eventually framing her for a terrible crime (and all the while making it look like Victoria had done so), Emily gets Amanda out of the picture—temporarily. A season-finale twist brings Amanda back to the Hamptons—pregnant with Jack’s child.

The Grayson family isn’t having too smooth a time of things, either. Victoria and Conrad quickly separate, and though they try to keep up appearances, their constant bickering and back-stabbing inevitably affect their children deeply. Daniel is continually torn between her parents, and Charlotte falls apart upon realizing that her biological father isn’t Conrad, but David Clarke—making her Emily’s half-sister. The marital and family strife eventually lead Victoria to decide to testify against her husband—but more on that later.

As she continues to Revenge, Emily learns more about the conspiracy that lead to her father’s framing, arrest, and eventual death. Conrad’s accomplice, the “white-haired” man Emily discovers is directly responsible for her father’s death, seems to be at the head of some terrible conspiracy whose influence reaches much farther than she previously realized.

The season finale packs in the twists, as Emily does battle with the White Haired Man, a pregnant Amanda returns, and Victoria convinces Lydia to accompany her to Washington to testify against Conrad. As their plane crashes and all aboard are presumed dead, a grief-stricken Charlotte overdoses on her pill collection, leaving the fates of all three in jeopardy. And Emily learns just how far the conspiracy stretches as Nolan finds a video implying that Emily’s long-dead mother may, in fact, be alive.

Revenge meets the classic nighttime Soap requirements and then some, playing everything completely straight and deadly serious. I, for one, can’t wait to watch more scene-stealing performances from Madeleine Stowe and Gabriel Mann, clever Revenge schemes from Emily, and crazy, mind-blowing twists from the show as a whole.

Catch Revenge Sunday Nights at 9pm EST / 8pm CST on ABC.


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