Emily VanCamp. Picture: Bob D'Amico/ABC

Everything old is new again in the season return of addictive American super-soap Revenge. The murky and confusing world of The Initiative disappeared with the explosive season two finale that claimed Declan's life and the show is now very much refocused on Emily Thorne, real name Amanda Clarke, (Emily VanCamp), and her renewed plans to take revenge on the Grayson family for the wrongful imprisonment and death of her father David when she was just a child.

The first episode alone features a blackmail attempt, a poisoning and an ultimatum delivered to Emily by grieving single dad Jack (Nick Wechsler), who now knows that Emily is really his childhood friend Amanda; and that his late wife Amanda was the real Emily.

But it is soon obvious Emily is not going to get it all her own way. For starters, her partner in cybercrime, Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann), is still behind bars. And what of her lover Aiden Mathis (Barry Sloane); did he really go the way of Declan?

With so much turmoil in the Grayson clan, Emily sees setting a wedding date as the way forward. And that is where the action starts, of sorts; Emily is shot twice on her wedding night and plunges off a boat into murky water. . . from which point the story goes into reverse.

"She has been through the wringer I would say, that was a really great way to start the season I think, we love to start with a flash-forward," VanCamp said while on location in an industrial area of Los Angeles last month, while paparazzi tried to shoot her from across the road.

"The interesting thing was the wondering, was she really shot? It has been a really nice build-up and is actually very surprising how they actually get to that moment.

"I think it is shaping up to be a really interesting season and bringing back dynamics from the first season, trying to incorporated some of the old-school Revenge style, with a twist I think."

With Daniel busy pursuing a career in magazine publishing and some of her allies are now offside or AWOL, Emily is more vulnerable than ever before. "I think so and I think it just gets progressively worse for her ultimately," VanCamp agreed.

"This whole season has been about exploring her more vulnerable side and her battling that side of herself with this sort of learned sociopathic side of herself."

The tall and slim Canadian-born former ballerina puts in gruelling hours on the TV series but VanCamp has also managed to find time to play Agent Sharon Carter in the next Marvel big-screen adventure, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

She can usually snap out of playing troubled Emily at the end of the day but is often exhausted. "Now that I am in my third year of playing her it becomes a little bit more difficult; it's less of bringing the crazy home and more the exhaustion of having to emote those feelings," she explained.

"I am nothing like her, so you are constantly pushing your emotions to this place that is so exhausting.

"But you know that's a sacrifice you make to do a really awesome TV show."

With blood on her character's hands and conscience, does VanCamp ever feel the audience might wonder if they should still be on Emily's side?

"That's the biggest challenge I think for me as the actor," she said.

"Here's this character who is doing very terrible things. I guess for me the most important thing is we continue to villain-ise our villains. You have to have that contrast for anyone to be rooting for my character and I think we have successfully done that.

"I think there is also some exploration of her vulnerability and I would say her inner child that we are exploring this season.

"It definitely reminds the audience what she's been through, what these people have put her through and everything she has lost.

"I know if that I am feeling bad for her, hopefully that translates to the audience and I do, I feel for her every day that I play her whether I am doing good or bad.

"I genuinely empathise with the character."

The West Australian

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