Revenge’s midseason finale a few weeks back was most assuredly one of the finest hours the show ever produced, and I’m pleased to report that the second half of the season is off to a riveting start.
Although I found myself somewhat questioning the writers’ decision to kill off Daniel (a character who was just starting to get his groove his back), I have to admit that his demise has created a superb character arc for Victoria. Our villainess had become far too cartoon-ish over the course of the past year (particularly after her murder of Aiden which is rarely mentioned), so having her suffer such an enormous loss makes her supremely sympathetic (and creates a further parallel with her arch-nemesis Emily). I was particularly amazed by the gorgeous and subdued sequence that had Victoria fixing Daniel’ tie before the reveal of her holding his suit all by herself in front of the mirror. It’s a gut-wrenching performance by Madeline Stowe, and she’s reliably phenomenal throughout the entire hour.
Daniel’s death is also tremendously enlightening for Emily’s character. I pretty much adored her interrogation scene in which she finally admitted that Daniel was a “genuinely good guy” underneath it all, and this was beautifully contrasted by the stunning choice of flashbacks as she watched the funeral from afar. I know a lot of fans wanted Emily and Daniel to find their way back into each other’s arms again at some point (hell I was loving their rejuvenated dynamic), but little Grayson’s tragic ending fits the show’s narrative flawlessly.
And finally, Malcolm Black is in town! As I’ve mentioned countless times before, Revenge needs a sinister antagonist to maintain a sense of urgency, and Black does exactly that. He’s certainly menacing, and Clarke built him up well throughout the hour by mentioning his penchant for sadism and torture. Black’s arrival in the Hamptons also gave us a thrilling ending, the apparent fatal stabbing of Chief Alvarez (who was staring to get on my nerves). Bravo show.
– Harrowing opening sequence with Victoria sobbing over Daniel’s body and Emily casually resetting her dislocated shoulder. The set-up of the fake crime scene intercut with Emily’s statement to the police was also immaculate.
– Charlotte’s not coming home! Hallelujah. I couldn’t possibly handle any more scenes with that atrocious excuse of a character.
– Pure sitcom scene: David making Emily watch Victoria in the Manor. Although extremely unbelievable (even in the show’s world), it was worth it in the end simply for that epic shot of the two women staring each other down and walking away.
– David confirmed what we’d all been thinking: Chief Alvarez has a creepy crush on Vicky. Yuck.
– Emily mentioned the infamous wedding on the boat during the interrogation. Continuity props!
– Beautiful gem of a moment: Emily telling Vicky she’s sorry about Daniel… and the latter’s response (“I know”).
– I guess we can now add Margaux to the list of people hellbent on revenge. Her target… Emily! Yeah, this is not going to end well for Daniel’s widow.
– I loved seeing Emily, David, Nolan working together with Vicky in the background drinking. These four would make a hell of a black-ops team.
– “My cup runneth over” transitioning to Emily spilling her cup on Daniel way back in the pilot? Yeah, that was incredible.
– So David finally told Emily he was planning on killing Victoria. Now what? And why does his character still feel like a non-presence this season?
– Hilarious funeral attire aside, this was the first time I actually got annoyed by Louise. Her machinations distracted from the main plot, although having her act as Vicky’s mole inside Nolan’s house has potential. Also, why did Vicky decide not to take the envelope at the end? Will she start to change her ways now?
Louise: I think I’ll bake something for her before my Xanax wears off.
Victoria: I won’t be a prisoner to your lies anymore.
Conrad: I was a prisoner for two decades because of yours.
David: You don’t have cause.
Alvarez: My cause is that you’re a sketchy son of a bitch.
Louise: I was taught to deflect grief with baked goods and comfort food, thus the abundance of starches.
Daniel: What kind of grown man still needs help with a tie?
Victoria: A man who I think can do it with his eyes closed but still wants his mother to feel worthwhile.
A formidable return from Revenge packed with touching moments and some much-needed momentum.