Last week the power went off across New York after the most gonzo episode of Revenge yet. So how does the two part finale – in which we knew someone major would die – fare in wrapping up a contentious second season?
Let’s bitch it out…Umm…it freakin’ kills it (please note: by “it”, I am not referring to Connor Paolo’s Declan, though yes, Revenge, does also kill him).
Oh man, all season finales should be this good. Initially I was wary of having two hours of Revenge back-to-back, but as a whole, the double dose plays out really well. The first part of ‘Truth’ is a pulse-pounding hour of action leading up to the explosive destruction of Grayson Global, while the second part slows things down for a few nice emotional beats before building back up to the near assassination of Conrad (Henry Czerny) as he delivers his gubernatorial acceptance speech. All together, the two parts comprising ‘Truth’ mark one hell of a return to form for the series.
Admittedly I do wish that the show has gone through with Conrad’s shooting a) because I really don’t think the character adds much to the show and b) had he been shot under mysterious circumstances, we could have spent the summer pondering “Who Shot Conrad?” And we all know how much fun those speculative summers can be, amirite?
Despite the lack of fatal shootings, the final moments are not without their high drama. I think we’ve all been expecting Victoria’s (Madeleine Stowe) first-born son, Patrick, to show up so that’s not too much of a surprise. What’s more exciting is the prospect of next season exploring the new dynamic of Jack (Nick Wechsler) and Emily (Emily VanCamp) vs the Graysons. Now that Jack knows that she’s the real Amanda Clarke, there are all kinds of potential stories that can come out – and romances. (Side Note: how amazing is that conversation going to be when he figures out that he married some former stripper Emily knew in juvie?!)
What surprised me the most is the show’s ability to marry a 24-style pace with the traditional soapiness of the show. I mean, that first hour is 90% characters running around and 10% cell reception dropping out. I’ll freely admit that I thought the blackout was a precursor to something more horrific coming down the pike, so it was a strange mixture of relief and disappointment that it’s little more than an illusion designed to publicize Conrad’s campaign. When the Grayson patriarch confesses that the Initiative (or rather the conglomerate of companies posing as the Initiative) simply profit from fear, it makes sense that the blackout, like so many other things about them, is a sham.
This shouldn’t suggest that I’m okay with the entirety of the second season’s meandering Initiative plotlines coming down to “let’s make money from fear” (what is this, The Dark Knight Rises?), but the simplicity of the finale is that it undermines our expectations. There is no insidious terrorist plot or imminent threat. It’s just a bunch of rich people trying to get even more rich. And if that isn’t quintessential Revenge, well, then I think we’ve been watching different shows.
And, like any good episode of Revenge, Emily can’t control the fall-out of any of these ‘Truth’s (part 1 or 2). Whatever your feelings on the Initiative, you can’t deny that the reason this finale works is because Emily is put in a compromising position that she cannot control. This is why the early-to-mid part of S1 worked: whenever Emily incurred losses that she felt responsible for, but had no ability to control, that was when the show fired on all cylinders. At this point, the strength – and madness – of these last few episodes really make me sad that ABC said no to creator (and now former showrunner) Mike Kelley’s proposal to reduce the episode count down to a tight 13 next year. If he could have delivered this kind of crazy in a consistent manner for a shorter period, man what a ride that would have been!
- Good to see that stupid Padma (Dilshad Vadsaria) came back to make us all suffer one last time (posthumously no less!) The former CFO of Nolcorp stuck it to Nolan (Gabriel Mann) one last time by confessing that he’s a terrorist sympathizer who created the Carrion program. Hopefully the police will pull their heads out of their asses long enough to deduce that the tape was coerced under duress (she clearly videotaped it moments before she was killed). For now, however, Nolan is the fall guy for everything. *Gulp* You can’t put him in prison. He’s too pretty!
- This means that Aiden (Barry Sloane) walks away scott-free. After spending much of the two hours in hiding from the Graysons and the cops, the James Bond impersonator manages to beat the shit out of Daniel, but could still be in danger if Daniel shot him in Emily’s living room (My guess: if the show needs to cut costs next season, he’s a goner)
- RIP Declan. I never liked you, and wished death on both you and Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) many, many, many times over the last two seasons, but even you deserved more than an iPhone death tape. This means we’re now got another Porter baby growing up in a single parent household. And you just know that Charlotte is going to trainwreck her way through this pregnancy
- There’s only one thing to say about Regina (Seychelle Gabriel): good riddance. The stupidest character arc in this last batch of episodes and an emblem of everything wrong with the teen storyline. Why would Charlotte trust her after a few weeks? Why was Regina in love with her? WTF? Let’s never speak of it again
- Declan was definitely topping the leader board for likely deaths, but Ashley (Ashley Madewke) was a close-second. Could you taste the moment that she almost got a storyline in this two-part finale? But argh…foiled again. Better luck next year, Ash
- With that said, I did love it when she decided not to prevent Conrad from taking the stage after he revealed he hoped to profit off of Declan’s death. Again, I wish we could have seen that happen
- Finally, it just wouldn’t be Revenge without a verbal smackdown between Victoria and Emily, would it? I think their late in Part 2 confrontation was the most brutally honest one yet, no?
- Nolan (to Emily): “It’s going to be a while before Carrion likes daddy more than it likes mommy.”
- Victoria (when Emily turns up at the hospital): “Oh, the ubiquitous Emily Thorne.”
- Jack (to Victoria): “If I were you, I would break the news to Charlotte very gently. You know how she takes these things.” Yeah, with pills and BOOZE
Your turn: was this manic two-parter to your liking? Did you expect Declan to bite it? Were you hoping for Ashley or Conrad? Are you relieved that the terrible Initiative storyline might have come to a close? How will Nolan get out of this jam? And finally, who is your fantasy actor to play Victoria’s son (my vote is Gregory Smith so that we can have an Everwood reunion with VanCamp)? Comment away below
Revenge has finished airing its second season. It returns in the fall on ABC