Deception Is The New Revenge

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Deception show

Ever since I first saw the previews for DeceptionI knew I wanted to watch the show. Its motto basically channeled my outlook on life and I honestly can't tell you how many times I told someone, “to find the truth, I shall become a lie.” In fact, that's exactly what I said to the bouncer at my college bar every time I showed him my fake ID. So from the very beginning I knew I'd like the show. Even if it didn't involve an underage college student sneaking into bars to solve crimes.

And I did like it! I'm certainly not in love with the show and I'm certainly not unaware that there are already gaping plot holes, but it's the first drama since Revenge that set up a good mystery in the first episode. Except unlike Revenge I think that it has a chance to avoid that horrible season two slump where the writers scramble so hard to continue the mystery that they introduce ridiculous plot lines, unbelievable characters and made-up financial jargon.

Just like Revenge it centers around a young woman who returns to her childhood home to solve a mystery. Despite imminent danger and angsty adolescent girls, she manages to infiltrate their secretive family through the use of Instagram-style flashbacks and seduction.

On the slight chance you missed the premiere, let me give you the basic details. The Bowers are an extremely wealthy family who live in a house built for extremely wealthy people. Since it's a show about a mansion of mystery, we're going to see lots of sweeping shots of the estate throughout the series. So prepare yourself to see it from all angles, to one day be watching and shout in delight “I never noticed they owned and operated a dalmatian fur coat factory in their backyard before!”

The Bowers consist of father Robert Bowers (Victor Garber), stepmother Sophia Bowers (Katherine LaNasa), son Edward Bowers (Tate Donovan), daughter Vivian Bowers, son Julian Bowers (Wes Brown) and daughter Mia Bowers (Ella Rae Peck). In the first five minutes of the show Vivian Bowers dies of a drug overdose. Or should I say, “a drug overdose.” Her father falls apart, her stepmother remains together, her brothers almost care and Mia freaks the fuck out out. So yes, we're looking at a completely dysfunctional family. A family in need of a good family friend to bring them together  then divide them, then accuse them of unspeakable crimes and then marry one of them

Enter Joanna Lacosto (Meagan Good). Her mother worked for the Bowers back in the day and she grew up in their house. She loved Vivian like a sister, but weirdly loved Julian like a boyfriend. It's very Flowers in the Attic. Despite growing up with the family, she became estranged over the years and hasn't seen them for ages.

Until (dun dun dun) her friend/ex-boyfriend shows up and is like “yo your friend Vivian died and I need you to go undercover with her family and find out what happened.” And Joanna is like “um where have you been you bastard, but yes, I will do that, sure, okay, definitely. Even though I'm a cop and even though that's DEFINITELY something that would come up if anyone googled me, I will return to my childhood home and live there like it's normal.” Her ex is all like “That was so easy that I'll be bold enough to ask if you want sex later in the episode.” Joanna is like “you bastard, but yes. I would like that very much. I would also like to set up a love triangle between you (my present) and Julian Bowers (my past).”

So she returns home for the funearl  all wired and shit, and easily moves back into their home. Within an hour she uncovers all kinds of secrets.  Like the fact Vivian secretly gave birth back in the '90s on the same day that Mia was born. Also Jimmy Cooper doesn't want her snooping around. Scooby Doo Logic 101 tells me that means he's guilty of something. Could it be covering up his sister's pregnancy? Getting his own sister pregnant and then telling his father and stepmother to raise the child? Letting Mischa Barton leave The OC for a vague film career that never surfaced? That's the mystery that we're going to see unfold this season.

It's stupid, but I'm in. I want to know who killed Vivian Bowers and who fathered Mia Bowers. I also want to know why Victor Garber built Rose such a bad ship. But that's an entirely other issue that I will inevitably address in my memoirs of other people's regret

So that's the show. Flaws and all, I think it has that Revenge-y feel. The problem now is making sure it doesn't turn into Revenge season two. And by that a mean a jumbled mess of nonsense that's completely lost its sense of direction. The only way to not make that happen on a show that revolves around solving a mystery is to make it a one-season show.

Just accept the fact that it will only be good for one season. Then the writers can actually create interesting twists and turns that create suspense without asking the viewers to suspend their belief. If a show lasts more than one season, you can't kill off main characters, you can't resolve problems quickly, you can't create lasting romances.  Instead you you have to almost-kill characters, almost resolve problems and almost get characters together before introducing a mysterious ex who gets in the way. It gets old fast.

So from now on it would be great it networks treated mystery dramas like mini-series. If only Revenge went that route, I wouldn't be sitting at my desk right now hoping that a tidal wave overtakes the Hamptons and wipes them all out.

(Photo: Clutch)