A narratively significant episode wraps up the main season four arc, leaving us wondering what’s next for ABC’s troubled Hamptons series.
Let’s bitch it out…Welcome to Talk Back, a new regular feature wherein we ask questions to start a discussion about shows we’re not regularly reviewing. In this case I’m talking about the most recent developments on Revenge. I haven’t covered the series this year (opting for the more mature and consistently enjoyable The Good Wife) but after the events of ‘Abduction’ I’ve got a bunch of honest questions about where the series goes from here and whether it should be coming to an end?
Let’s review the current state of things at Revenge. In the last fourteen episodes, the series has killed off two of its main characters (Conrad, in the S3 finale, and most recently Daniel Grayson in 4×10 ‘Atonement’). The writers also shipped perennial wallflower Charlotte Grayson to rehab – to the joy of everyone with a pulse and a light in their heart – in 4×06 ‘Damage’. Hell even Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) opening narration has been given the boot this season!
In their place the series has added a back-from-the-grave David Clarke (James Tupper) and with him a brand new conspiracy and villain in the form of Malcolm Black (Tommy Flanagan, filling the screen with meh). While most people I’ve talked with have agreed that the series rebounded from the lows of the Initiative in S2, the last year and a half have still been touch and go. David’s evil streak and the ridiculousness of Malcolm Black, his corrupt FBI daughter and the general “been there, done that” narrative has left a sour taste in some viewers’ mouths.
Which brings us to the SPOILER events of ‘Abduction.’ With Emily and Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) on the chopping block at Malcolm’s hands, Jack (Nick Wechsler) and David in danger and another S4 newbie, Ben (Jennifer Love Hewitt squeeze Brian Hallisay) having just discovered Em’s secret identity, we’ve got plenty of questions:
- With Malcolm Black turned into a crispy toaster-strudel, is Revenge‘s new Big Bad now Margaux (Karine Vanasse) as the climatic finale (and preview) suggests? The blonde media mogul has proven to be one of the show’s least effectively used characters (her entire tenure with Daniel dropped my IQ 10 points). Will finally giving her something meaningful to do bring Margaux back from the margins and perform the necessary character rehab she needs?
- Considering how long they’ve been at each other’s throats, is it shocking that the person who is now actively seeking the titular act on Emily isn’t Victoria Grayson?
- With the case more or less sown up, is there anything left for Ben or Jack to do on the series? Clearly Ben is being groomed to be Emily’s latest sexytimes conquest. Jack, meanwhile, has been downgraded to…something that doesn’t involve anything remotely sexual with Emily, despite being the third part of a love triangle with her and Daniel/Aiden for the first two years of the series.
- Speaking of Jack, where is baby Carl? Jack’s S4 remodel seemingly involved a complete 180 career change and what clearly amounts to the best babysitter coverage in the world.
- Victoria and David have seemingly parted ways. Apparently learning that your lover planned to fake your suicide by throwing you off a lighthouse will douse the flame in anyone’s romantic relationship. Does this mean that we’re just going to watch David bond with Emily at fancy Hamptons parties or on long walks on the beach? Will Victoria just sit around try on new plum coloured dresses and listening to Margaux rant?
- The show has been working overtime to establish a B-plot with Nolan (Gabriel Mann) and the other S4 newcomer, Louise (Elena Satine). Tonight the pair got married after Ellis matriarch Penelope (the sublime Carolyn Hennesy) threatened to revoke Louise’s inheritance. A few questions about this: A) do we care at all? B) What about if Louise is actually crazy and/or homicidal, as Penelope infers? C) Do we like that Nolan has been sequestered in this storyline all season? and D) Is it realistic that David and Jack would really use their own tech skills instead of “involving” Nolan, especially since Emily’s life is in grave danger?! (That last one may be rhetorical)
- Honest question: does this show have enough life in it to sustain more than nine episodes (aka the rest of the season)? Where can this possibly go that it won’t just seem silly or repetitive? And if Margaux truly is in the driver’s seat, where do you think she’ll strike Emily first?
What are your thoughts on S4 overall and, more specifically, the recent developments in ‘Abduction’? Sound off below.
Revenge airs Sundays at 10pm EST on ABC. Here’s a taste of things to come next week as the series heads into the back half of what may its final season.