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Revenge recap: Flashback to Amanda Clarke’s 2002 Start

A flashback episode to 2002 shows the earliest origins of Amanda Clarke’s revenge plot. And, apparently, that everybody had terrible hair then

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Colleen Hayes/ABC


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe

Those percussive, cascading synth chords that opened “Legacy,” Revenge’s long-awaited flashback episode, could only mean two things: First, 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”! And second, it must be the year 2002, because let’s face it, that’s the last time Fitty, or “In Da Club,” was relevant.

Specifically, it was December of 2002. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was burning up the box office. Miramax and the Weinsteins were gearing up their Oscar push for Chicago. And NBC was trying—and failing—to launch a pre-Mad Men ‘60s nostalgia craze with American Dreams.

In the universe of Revenge, Amanda Clark had only been out of juvie for six months, partying her way through the fortune she’d gained as an investor in NolCorp. (Sadly, “In Da Club” was not being played for Charlotte Grayson’s eighth birthday party, despite the obvious “Go Charlotte, it’s your birthday” hook.) When we dropped in on Amanda she was dancing with some sleazy guy who thought that dancing was a free pass for groping. That didn’t bother her as much as when he went off with some other club-dweller for a quickie bathroom-stall tryst. A beating ensued. Because her father may have been convicted of treason and terrorism, her life may have been squandered in a juvenile detention center, and she may now miraculously be a multi-millionaire, but unleashing on a dancefloor creep is still Priority #1. As it would be for any 18-year-old. Amanda was quickly escorted outside…to Nolan’s waiting car. He scolded her for not having read her father’s journals, because if she knew the truth about what happened in the past she’d be better able to deal with the present.

So began a flashback episode that, for my money, was pretty darn disappointing. In fact, it may be the first episode of the series that I can truly call a letdown. The biggest issue was that, well, we already knew everything that was dramatized here. Amanda really thought her father was a terrorist but slowly came to know the truth about the Graysons’ conspiracy. She worked as a waitress at their December 31, 2002 New Year’s Eve bash to gain more intel on them, and started piecing together each of the players who did her daddy wrong. I, for one, had really been hoping that we’d learn more about her relationship with Takeda and the time she spent training with him Kill Bill-style in Japan. That maybe we’d learn what exactly his motivation is for pursuing an anti-Grayson vendetta. Not to mention what role the new Big Bad of the series, The White-Haired Man, has to play in all this.

The biggest crime of “Legacy,” though, may be that it was such a momentum killer after a couple of quicksilver episodes that left us begging for more. Commenter Matthew Johns0n may have said it best during our Revenge live chat on EW.com: “This is like the ‘Across the Sea’ episode of Lost…wrong time to air THIS episode.” That would be that unfortunate installment of Lost that introduced a whole new mythology to the series, including a bizarre turn by Allison Janney as the mystical island matriarch…two episodes before the series finale.

“Legacy” suffered from a similar problem. Its plot hinged around a character we’ve never seen before and who has never even been mentioned up till now: Roger Halsted, a nervous, schlubby former Grayson employee who knew the truth about David Clarke being set up. And felt really bad about it. “Legacy” did have a few moments of oddball fun, as we got to see some of our characters’ younger selves or characters that are no longer with us, like dearly departed Daddy Porter. And Frank, the stubbly Grayson henchman with a soft spot for Victoria who didn’t see Faux-Manda’s tire iron until it was too late.

NEXT: Where were you in 2002? Actually we still don’t know where Daniel and Charlotte were…