Revenge: Series review

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Finally, it’s over. After 4 seasons, Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke (Emily Van Camp) can finally put her journey of revenge to rest. While it’s sad to see a good show go, I still think that the series finale couldn’t have come any later. Seriously. The plot has been spread so thin that I thought it would have got cancelled faster than Emily can take down a rookie henchman..

When I first discovered the series back in 2012, what drew me in was how the show had a unique level of cleverness (A pretty female lead helped) and charm. I mean, every episode but 2 has had a one-worded title that sums up the main theme of said episode. Moreover, the show seemed to have a plot with a pretty definitive ending; Emily succeeds in her quest, or she doesn’t, for extra drama. This would seem pretty detrimental to any TV pilot.  To get four 20-plus episode seasons — that is either an amazing feat of writing or just another studio milking the series dry. Unfortunately, though it was still otherwise a pretty good show, Revenge falls into the latter.

Before looking at the series as a whole, let’s go through the finale first. As it starts, we are greeted with the last happy-childhood Amanda flashback, maybe to remind viewers of Amanda’s love for her father (James Tupper), or their signature double infinity, as if viewers would forget the things the entire series was based upon. Or, maybe it was just a some exposition for the tone of the episode, “it’s our decisions that define who we are”. Post flashback, we are back to Amanda in jail, finding out that her decisions got Ben killed by White Gold (Courtney Love) (Still a terrible name for a hitwoman in my opinion), which then makes her change her mind and plead guilty for the murder of the still very alive Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), who makes her way to Margaux (Karine Vanasse) in their secret penthouse hideaway to discuss her escape plans. Here we learn that Victoria used her own mother’s body to fake her death, via yet another flashback. While that happens, Jack (Nick Wechsler) and Nolan (Gabriel Mann) are busy planning Emily’s escape, which is played out following Victoria and Margaux’s conversation. The escape scene is something that loyal viewers would expect, Nolan using his skills to disable security, and Amanda using her skills to sneak out of prison.

Next up, Victoria’s funeral. Louise  gives her sappy speech about her convoluted view of Victoria, about how Vicki had a soft side that she hid from the world. This again? Even after Louise has begun to suspect that Victoria had something to do with her own apparent death? The camera zooms past a few pews, and surprise-surprise, in attendance is Victoria herself, finally acknowledging Louise’s loyalty to her, probably because none of her actual children have shown up. At this point, we would just be jumping back and forth between Amanda and Victoria’s scenes. Emily and Jack prove that Ben was murdered; Victoria argues with Margaux to bring Louise to her; Emily and Jack enjoy some good lovin’ between all of this, Louise is brought to Victoria, Emily goes hunting for proof, nothing unexpected here. Finally, something interesting happens when all that build-up leads to Jack getting stabbed by White Gold, who manages to escape. Of course, being Emily’s love interest from the beginning, most would know that Jack was going to survive this. Nolan then proceeds to confront the hitwoman’s employer, Margaux, and it’s time for Nolan to tell Margaux, “it’s our decisions that define who we are”.

Jumping to the scene we’ve all been waiting for, Victoria embracing Louise! Just kidding, Louise finally comes to her senses, and tells Amanda where Victoria is hiding. This is where it ends, the final showdown. But, as probably the biggest cockblock in the series, we have to see Margaux’s redemption by helping Nolan capture White Gold, after all, “it’s our decisions that define who we are”. With that over, we finally see the conclusion. Victoria thinks she would have cornered Emily if she had installed cameras all over, and accepting the inevitability of death. *Boom* Victoria is shot, but not by Emily, but by David, who would rather himself get the blame for killing Victoria, I mean, the man has cancer, what’s worse that could happen? Of course, Victoria manages to shoot Emily before taking her final breath.

With that over, we flash forward to some time in the future. Amanda is back to health, and the title phrase appears when Emily spends her last moments with her father, “Upon embarking on a path of revenge, Confucius warns that one should dig two graves. Confucius was right, the second of the two graves was meant for me”, and David passes on peacefully by her daughter’s side. After that, we have Emily and Jack’s wedding. Yay! Happy endings!  We are presented a scene where Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) discusses with a doctor how Amanda was given Victoria’s heart. This was shown as Amanda’s nightmare, but we will never know what really happened. As such, Jack and Amanda sail off into the sunset. But, before the episode ends, we see a man asking Nolan to help prove his mother’s innocence. A possible spinoff perhaps? Finally, the credits roll.

The finale was not exactly full of plot-twists and shock value, most of the events were pretty predictable. Emily has never directly killed anyone throughout the series, so I was not expecting Victoria to actually get shot, I mean, even before Emily confronts Victoria, she mentions that she wants to put Victoria in an institution. Sure, it ended up to be David shooting Victoria, but that moment was still pretty unexpected. Overall, though still predictable: the finale gave fans what they wanted, and the characters got the endings they deserved.

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Predictability and questionable writing decisions were what plagued the show. Season 1 kicks the series off with a bang (quite literally), making it seem that Daniel has been shot. The episodes following are in a crime-drama style; with a new target for Emily in every episode. After every takedown, she crosses them off the list with a red Sharpie. It wouldn’t take much thought to realise that the show couldn’t keep up with one takedown per episode lest it wants less than 2 seasons, after all, there are only so many people involved in framing David Clarke, or so we think. Sure, the takedowns mostly involve publicly revealing some scandalous details of the victim, but they still provide something fresh every episode. This lasts about 5 episodes through the first season, and the rest of the season is just drama drama with some takedowns here and there; some fleshing out of the main characters’ pasts and their relationships; and some further revelations about the downing of flight 197. In the season 1 finale, Victoria’s plane crashes, Charlotte downs a bunch of pills, and there may be something larger than the Grayons looming. End Season 1. SUSPENSE.

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Season 2 starts off with a boat crash, making it obvious that it was Jack’s boat. MORE SUSPENSE. Victoria’s alive, Charlotte is fine and pregnant even, and more about the scary terrorist organisation? Shocking. Season 2 is mostly just more complications and a few deaths thrown in; oh, and Emily reveals her true identity to a grieving Jack. Moving on to Season 3, Emily is seen in a white dress, and is shot as she utters “I’m sorry.” before falling into the ocean. Come on, another cliffhanger season premier? Personally, Season 3 is just filler. No new plotline is set in season 3, just the introduction of new characters who would disappear next season. Season 3 makes Conrad look more evil, victimizes Victoria even more, and more drama drama in the life of Emily Thorne. The biggest moment in Season 3 would have to be the reveal that David Clarke is still alive, though not in a good way. That moment made me shout at the screen. Really? After so long, Amanda’s reason for revenge, that her father’s life was taken, is pretty much null the whole time? If you leave that David part out, Season 3’s finale would have been pretty satisfying. Victoria is seen being locked up in an insane asylum, by Emily’s doing of course, Conrad is dead, and Emily finally tastes success. But of course, success is never so easy, and there is still Season 4. I have to commend Season 3’s poster, though, depicting Emily getting cut by the rose’s’ thorn(e)s, which shows that revenge is a double edged sword.

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And finally, we reach season 4. As the promotional posters suggest, season 4 revolves around Emily battling Victoria. While this is pretty refreshing, the show still falls into its old bad habits. Introducing Malcolm Black, yet another scary, dark, unknown force, is almost parallel to the American Initiative in seasons 1 and 2. Moreover, Black’s character doesn’t have as much build up or impact as the terrorist group did. Malcolm Black seems to appear just to give the plot some  much-needed spice. The back and forth of Louise’s loyalty is questionable. Nolan pretty much saves her life, but she still runs back to Victoria’s arms? Sounds so much like Ashley’s story arc in Season 1 and 2.  So, throughout the entire series, we’ve had convenient greater evils, shaky alliances, and it seems that Victoria finds a new love of her life every season.

Regardless, Revenge has been an enjoyable show, of course through the span of 4 years, you would forgive some repetitive plotlines. It will definitely be missed. I give the show a 7/10.

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