Well smack me in the face with a shovel and institutionalize me! That was a mother effin’ season finale.
Let’s bitch it out…
Last week’s episode was pretty much the best episode of Revenge ever: the series paid off three season’s worth of running-in-circle narratives by finally putting Conrad (Henry Cznery) behind bars. ‘Impetus’ is an insta-classic, worthy of a couple dozen fist-pumps and more than a few eff yeahs. Perhaps most remarkably, it wasn’t even the finale, which begs the question, what did Revenge save for ‘Execution’?
Batshit craziness, that’s what. This is an episode that basically pulls out all of the stops to such an extent that it probably could have served as a series finale if the show hadn’t been renewed for a fourth season earlier this week. In honour of this milestone hour of Revenge, I’m going to forego a traditional review in favour of a list of the Most Insane Moments from the finale:
5 – Daniel’s (Josh Bowman) is framed: Daniel spends the majority of the finale completely removed from the other characters, which explains why he’s at the bottom of the leaderboard when it comes to crazy finale finishes. Also: Daniel is boring. We still don’t really know what his plans are for Voulez and Margaux (Karine Varnasse), and I can’t honestly say that I care to find out. And while his cliffhanger is arguable pretty juicy, at this point who hasn’t woken up after an absinthe bender with a dead girl in their bed and convenient incriminating photo evidence ready to go viral? This cliffhanger just feels so circa 1998. I dunno, this cliffhanger isn’t bad, but it also seems like something that Daniel will just worm his way out of in the first few episodes of the new season.
4 – Jack (Nick Wechsler) is arrested: Only slightly ahead of Daniel is Jack, who has definitely become more interesting this season now that he knows Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) secret and has gotten in on more of the crazy antics. Unfortunately this plot feels more like a cliffhanger for cliffhanger’s sake – as though the writers needed to give Jack and Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) something significant to do because it was the finale (remember when they had her overdose in S1 and then just go to Europe instead? Ugh). I did laugh that Charlotte’s immediate response to Jack’s touchy-feely squeeze is to break into his car and feel the upholstery. Don’t you know, folks, that’s enough to get your ass hauled downtown for questioning in the Hamptons!
3 – Aiden (Barry Sloane) is murdered: There’s basically a quantum-leap in “holy shit” factor between #3 and #4. In all honesty, I practically stopped breathing alongside Aiden when Victoria snuffed him out. We knew that Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) would seek retribution against Emily for her (presumed) role in Pascal’s death, but who could have anticipated Victoria would actually murder Aiden? I figured Victoria would do something dumb like threaten him or deport him or something. It literally never occurred to me she would just casually paralyze him and then put a throw pillow over his face until he died. Jaw, meet floor.
2 – Conrad (Henry Cznery) is stabbed…by David Clarke (James Tupper)?! The question mark and exclamation are a little sarcastic because bringing back a long-thought-dead character is such a Revenge / night-time soap cliché thing to do. And, oh hey, it actually already happened earlier this year! With that said, however, bringing Lydia back is significantly different to reintroducing a character who has been dead for the entire lifespan of the show. Is it silly to have David Clarke miraculously organize a jailbreak for Conrad solely for the purposes of stabbing him in the middle of the night on an abandoned country road? Absolutely! And yet, it is SO appropriate for this show to do something this outrageous (I also liked that Conrad is left for dead dressed as a man of the cloth, which is a nice callback to his role Father Paul’s roadside death in ‘Confession’)
1 – Emily takes out Victoria: While her father is taking care of the Grayson patriarch, Emily seeks final revenge on Victoria. Obviously she was never going to kill Victoria since that would pretty much end the series, but damn if I didn’t wonder if Emily was going to bury Victoria alive after she smashed the Ice Queen in the face with a shovel. (Side Note: Someone needs to post a GIF of that below because that just became my go-to image whenever I need to regain my happy). All in all I would argue that Emily’s plan for Victoria is actually worse than death because she’s discredit Victoria and destroying her reputation. For the Grayson matriarch to end up in the loony bin screaming about Emily’s plots after spending the latter half of the season slowly uncovering the truth is an absolutely delicious piece of payback. I also like that Ems uses Dr. Michelle Branch (Amy Landecker), whom Victoria manipulated earlier – it makes the REVENGE! just a little bit sweeter (even if it makes no sense for Branch to let Victoria use her office for murder and then turn around and help Emily institutionalize her. Overall I just think she’s a shitty doctor).
Just in case you didn’t know that that final moment is absolutely perfect, we get the closing image of Emily power-strutting down the hallway, looking fabulously glam in a pair of shades (she rocks the same look at Conrad’s parole hearing). This strut is equivalent to a Revenge victory dance: a fashionable fuck you to the Graysons. Suck on that until S4.
- Nolan (Gabriel Mann) and Javier (Henri Esteve) make up and blah blah blah. Memo to the writers: let MyClone go the way of the Initiative and all of the other naughty words we swore we never wanted to hear again on this show.
- While we’re making requests: please, please, please do not bring back Gideon LeMarchal next season. Not only is he gross and sleazy looking, but the actor is pretty awful in the talent department (my notes read “personality void”). Seriously the last we need is another freaking LeMarchal running around. Margaux was barely tolerable and Pascal was awkwardly shoehorned; we definitely don’t need the brother.
- Someone completely dropped the ball when Barry Sloane was allowed to keep that facial expression as his “death visage”. It looked like a cross between constipation and orgasm and is hilarious (which I’m pretty sure is not the reaction they were looking for. Feel free to throw in a GIF of that in the comments, too). Aiden’s death is particularly unsurprising given a) the reports that he landed a pilot and b) should have left or been killed last season and/or at mid-season with Niko. Still, I always kind of enjoyed Aiden, regardless of his placeholder position as a barrier to the inevitable Jack/Emily relationship. Ah well…
- Nolan (to Javier): “It has been an eventful few weeks.”
- Victoria (after poisoning Aiden’s tea): “Please excuse my tardiness. I know how sacred afternoon tea is to you Brits.”
Your turn: what was the most memorable cliffhanger of the finale for you? Are you more surprised that Aiden died or that Victoria did the dirty work herself? Is Conrad really dead? (In this world, that wound should be fairly easy to recover from) Should Charlotte get spun-off into her own CSI upholstery forensic series? Do you think James Tupper will join the show full-time? What about Gideon (ugh)? Sound off below.
Revenge has now finished airing its third season. It has been picked up by ABC for a fourth season, which will likely begin in the fall.