There’s no way around it; I’ve been quite harsh on Revenge this year. Truth be told, when I look back on the Nad Ratings I gave the show this year, it rarely strayed below a B with quite a bit of A’s thrown in for good measure. However, the general feeling I got from the soapy thriller this year was that it frequently stumbled and misfired its way through its sophomore season. I guess after a debut season that was downright brilliant, the dip in quality became that much more glaring. Nevertheless, I had high hopes that this finale would rectify a lot of this year’s missteps, and I’m pleased to say that it was a pretty effective capper to the year.
Emily has become a compelling heroine again. She lost a lot of her drive and power this year, but I’m confident she can become a thrilling protagonist again. Not only did she lose a father figure in Takeda, she discovered that her fellow revenger Aiden was responsible. I thought Aiden was one of the show’s few high-points this year, so I’ve really enjoyed their layered relationship. And although Emily didn’t want her boyfriend to become “the next David Clarke”, she couldn’t exactly forgive him for hiding the truth. The show gained an intriguing tidbit to its mythology with the reveal that Takeda’s fiance was on the David Clarke flight, which essentially made Emily a soldier in “his war”. Aiden’s desire to protect Emily was commendable yet tragic, as he hid Takeda’s “revengenda” and allowed her to keep her faith in the one man she felt believed in her.
I can’t say I feel bad for Declan but he was definitely more likeable than usual as he asked Nolan to be there for his brother in addition to giving Charlotte one beautiful final memory. Giving the brat an off-screen death was an interesting creative decision (we’re all sick of death scenes) but of course this was followed by his video-goodbye which was suitably heartbreaking. I actually felt quite bad for Jack as he discovered an empty hospital bed and a choked-up Nolan. It gave his murderous intentions later on some actual gravitas.
Conrad got quite a bit of focus this week as he finally won the New York governorship, and revealed himself as the current leader of The Initiative. I have no idea if this move was planned from the beginning, but it at least gives the faceless “organization” a tangible antagonist to take over after Trask and Crowley. The fact that we already hate Conrad and he’s already at the top of Emily’s hitlist makes the states personal again which is an undeniable plus. Victoria on the other hand looks like she’s on some sort of redemptive arc as this finale felt like rock-bottom for her. Not only did she downright threaten Emily for once, she asked Jack to shoot her. It was fascinating to watch her so resigned to die. I guess self-loathing takes you to some harsh places.
Thankfully, the episode’s final sequence had me on the edge of my seat as Conrad’s speech was intercut with a number of developments. First Patrick arrived at Victoria’s doorstep (predictable and slightly cringe-worthy), but the real excitement came when Emily rushed to stop Jack’s assassination attempt in slow-motion. Honestly I quite wanted Porter to take out Conrad but what followed was even better as Emily finally proclaimed the epic line: “I am Amanda Clarke”. The moment was perfectly delivered by VanCamp, and gave me goosebumps as the show’s tumultuous second year came to a close. Somehow I have a feeling season three will be a return to form.
It’s worth mentioning that Revenge will have a new show-runner next year, and although Sunil Nayar only came on-board at the beginning of season two, I do hope he’ll be able to course-correct the show as the seeds were effectively planted with this finale.
– Laugh-out-loud moment: Regina saying the homeless guy is Declan’s dad. Her obsession with Charlotte however, was painful to watch.
– The Falcon reanimated the Nolan-falcon cartoon. How hilarious.
– Loved the flashback to Emily’s original training with Takeda, seeing her weak and fragile but hellbent on revenge.
– Eye-rollingly convenient: Victoria finding the pregnancy test in the trash.
– Emily VanCamp broke my heart when she discovered Aiden killed her master.
– Who else smiled when Aiden called Nolan “an unexpected friend” and shook his hand?
– Conrad sending texts from Ashley’s phone was wonderfully sneaky.
– Absolutely epic sequence: the long live David Clarke message arriving during Conrad’s speech culminating with the badass explosion (a mini-disaster film in fact) as Emily ducked for cover under debris. Gave me goosebumps. I wish the show did stuff like this more often.
– Loved the little touch of Aiden calling Emily “Amanda” as he bid her goodbye.
– Aiden beating up Daniel and calling him “a stupid arrogant boy” was especially satisfying. However are we really supposed to believe that Daniel killed Aiden off-screen with that bloody stain? If that’s the case, I WILL be pissed.
– I did NOT miss seeing Padma again as she was quite obviously forced to film the video implicating our favorite hacker.
– First Aiden and then Nolan got arrested! While I doubt Nolan will stay imprisoned for long, this could be a very intriguing arc.
– No Emily fight scene this year? How sad.
– I honestly wouldn’t have minded Charlotte’s demise along with Declan. Her character will be better off next year trying to raise the baby without her Romeo. Good riddance.
– Emily’s reaction to Declan’s death (much like her sobbing over Takeda’s dead body) really moved me.
– The guy who plays Patrick obviously hasn’t been cast yet. How cheap.
– Loved the flash of little Amanda in the episode’s final moments.
Emily: Darkness scares us. We yearn for the comfort of light, as it provides shape and form, allowing us to recognize, to define what’s before us. But what is it that we’re afraid of really? Not the darkness itself, but the truth we know hides within.
Aiden: Do you have a survival kit?
Nolan: Sadly my plans for the apocalypse consisted of making a list that started and ended with: Call Emily.
Conrad: I’ll instruct Ashley to keep him away from the gates.
Victoria: She’s in it with him you fool! My poor Conrad, yet another female conquest hellbent on your destruction. It’s like deja vu all over again.
Declan: There’s gotta be a mistake.
Victoria: Oh there is and I am DONE looking at it. Stay the hell away from her or your ability to procreate will be nothing but a distant memory.
Aiden: (to Emily) I hope you get what you’re looking for Amanda. No one has ever deserved it more than you.
Victoria: (as Emily walks in) Oh, the ubiquitous Emily Thorne.
Victoria: You and I have more in common than either one of us cares to admit.
Emily: Tell me.
Victoria: Ferocity. An embedded determination to get whatever we want no matter what the cost. Do not forget that I have been at this much longer than you. If you continue to try to tear my children away from me, I promise you will not only fail, you will suffer. And have no doubt, I will show no mercy.
Emily: How sad for you Victoria. That of your three children, the two that you decided to acknowledge want nothing to do with you. That’s the truth.
Conrad: (after Victoria spits on him) The hellcat that I married rears her de-classe head. Be sure to leave her at home when you join me tonight.
Truth was an emotional and often thrilling finale to a rocky year of Revenge.