Every time I lose faith in Revenge, it goes ahead and shocks me with a brilliantly-executed episode that reminds me of its glory days. Although I still feel like the soapy thriller should have ended with one impeccably-constructed season, I have to admit that this was a sensational hour that beautifully brought one integral character’s journey to a fitting end.
Daniel Grayson has always been a divisive character. The lazy playboy was pretty likeable in season one, as many of us found ourselves rooting for him and Emily to hit it off (instead of boring ol’Jack). But somewhere around season three, Daniel became a full-on villain (shooting Emily certainly did him no favours), and he became a loathsome waste of space. As a further surprise, he became enjoyable again this year and the show’s fandom became especially vocal over their desire to have Emily and Daniel hook up once more. After all, these two were finally being honest with one another, and their banter became one of the season’s few highlights. Naturally, it turned out the Revenge writing team had other plans in mind, and in Atonement, they delivered the ultimate gut-punch by killing off junior Grayson in a powerfully-effective manner.
The flashbacks leading up to his death did a poignant job of conveying that Daniel always had the potential to be good, but eventually found himself corrupted by his demented upbringing. Ultimately, he chose to go out as a hero, saving the life of a woman who undoubtedly brought a great deal of tragedy into his life. On top of it all, he finally got confirmation that he and Emily did indeed share something special. All in all, Daniel’s sendoff was just perfect.
The repercussions of Daniel’s death are sure to reverberate across the entire cast. I’m most intrigued to see Victoria deal with the aftermath, although I do hope little Charlotte doesn’t make a surprise guest appearance as a result. It’ll also be fascinating to see Emily deal with her guilt for playing a part in involving Daniel in her vendetta. Even Jack has a fresh storyline now that he has to come to terms with the fact that he shot Kate dead. The possibilities are endless, and I find myself excited to see what Revenge cooks up next. I honestly haven’t felt this feeling since the season three finale.
It’s no secret that I’ve always wanted Revenge to embrace its action roots. After all, Emily is a trained fighter and she rarely gets any chance to showcase her prowess. In season one she was quite the badass, constantly putting Takeda’s trainings to good use. But since then, we’ve rarely ever seen her skills in action. Thankfully the midseason finale gave our heroine an incredible fight scene against Kate, revealed to be none other than Malcolm’s Black’s psychotic daughter. Their battle across Grayson Manor was expertly choreographed, punctuated by a number of adrenaline-pumping moments as the girls smashed their way through different parts of the house. So yes, I’m finally satisfied. Kudos show.
– Priceless sight: Nolan trying to fight Emily’s wooden practice thing.
– Although I was sick of Conrad by the end of season three, I loved seeing Henry Czerny again. This guy is undeniably important to the show’s legacy.
– Awesome little scene between Kate and Victoria as they veil their true motivations and discuss Malcolm Black.
– Loved Victoria and Margaux discussing Conrad and what exactly made him “cruel”. The answer: his father. Shocking.
– Seriously I love Louise and Nolan. Every one of Lolan’s scenes makes me smile.
– Brilliant Daniel scene: telling his mother that the Grayson family is a bunch of “cowards”. That might have been the first honest conversation they’ve ever had.
– I loved hearing Daniel admit that he shot Emily. I was worried the writers had forgotten about this little plot point.
– I was pleased to see that Emily had indeed taken Kate’s bullets. The girl always thinks ahead. And the fact that she lead her opponent away from the party before kicking her ass to avoid innocent casualties? Yep, our girl’s a hero whether she likes it or not.
– My jaw actually dropped when Emily and Kate flew off that balcony. Destruction in Grayson Manor is always a treat.
– I really don’t feel sorry for Margaux. Can she and her unborn baby leave town now?
– Why did David suddenly decide to poison Victoria? Why does David do anything? Can he please drink the wine instead?
– Vicky finally told David the truth about framing him. In another bit of great continuity, she mentioned Kara, Emily’s mom, who has completely disappeared from the show. I always wondered if she was going to be brought up again after being so integral to the first half of season two.
– Remarkably well done voiceover by Daniel as he dies (see below).
– The best comfort I can give all you Daniel/Emily shippers? The two are still together in real life 🙂
Conrad: I’ll tell you what your grandfather taught me. This world that we’ve created is made up of gods and insects. And it’s not fair, but that is the reality. Don’t concern yourself with the well-being of ants, son.
Kate: I work for the United States taxpayers, Mrs. Grayson.
Victoria; Ah. And I do so miss my dearly departed husband.
Emily: If everything goes right, Kate won’t even know I’m on to her.
Nolan: When does anything ever go right for the host of a Hamptons’ party… With you on the guest list?
Emily: I heard that.
Nolan: ‘Course you did.
Louise: We are the couple of the moment.
Nolan: Oh, yes. Lolan is trending.
Louise: Okay, we have to thank our fans with a selfie.
Nolan: What’s your good side?
Louise: Uh, same as you… All of them.
Emily: (after taking Kate’s bullets) Guess you didn’t notice this time, either.
Daniel: Dear Dad, my whole life, I’ve been told I was destined for greatness based solely on the virtue of my name. I was taught sacrifice was for the foolish. Survival was all that mattered. But now I find myself at a crossroads, and I must decide what I believe to be true. There is no such thing as destiny. Legacies must be earned by the choices we make. I now know that we write our own endings, and we can either choose to hide as villains or live as heroes.
Emily: You’re gonna be okay, Daniel. You’re gonna be okay.
Daniel: You’re still lying to me.
With thrilling action and a moving climax, Atonement is the season’s strongest episode thus far and one of the show’s standout hours. Outstanding.