Revenge Season 2 Finale Review: The Dark Lowlights Rises

By Lily Sparks

May 13, 2013

Revenge S02E22: "Truth"

Hey guys. It’s been a long time since I tried to wrap my mind around the roller-coaster that is Revenge, but I’m filling in for the amazing Dru Moorhouse as I hear she’s joined an extremely nudist cult. Or was busy attending Survivor's live finale, it's one of those two. In the meantime, let’s talk about the Dark Knight Rises remake we saw last night, a.k.a. the Revenge Season 2 finale, which was pretty freaking intense.

For one thing, this show has always been about domestic terrorism at its heart, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would involve a plot point about a skyscraper blowing up in New York. That sort of theme usually sits uneasily next to soapy, high-society hijinks, and there were moments when I wondered if a college freshman had broken into the writers room and whipped everyone into a frenzy with a frantic speech about how “9/11 was an inside job.” We'd need someone more informed than I to thoughtfully unpack those themes, but I’m just going to go ahead and give Revenge a general pass with regard to last night’s finale. The show's world has grown so comic-booky (The Falcon! A citywide blackout!) that I think we can group it together with the same pop-culture philosophizing that brought us The Dark Knight and allow the show to paint big ideas in broad strokes without asking ourselves to criticize Revenge as harshly as a genuine political discourse.

So while there were definite Dark Knight overtones, there was also a Marley & Me B-plot, with Jack as essentially this big dumb innocent animal who Nolan and Emily had to keep shepherding out of and around disaster. How many times did Jack (who's looking very much like a cross between Jon Snow and Capt. Jack Sparrow these days) do something that caused Emily and Nolan to leap on their phones and come to the rescue? He just could not stay out of unnecessary trouble.

It's almost like Emily and Nolan are the parents of an extremely tall toddler and have to check in with each other about what he’s up to constantly. “Oh no… Jack is walking into a set-up!”  “Oh no… Jack is in the building and the building is exploding!”  “Oh no… Jack is going to shoot Conrad!” “Oh no… Jack is trying to get the toast out of the toaster with a fork and he chewed all the stuffing out of the couch!”

No joke, a lot of the finale happened on the phone. Maybe it's just the nature of our digital age, but roughly 20 minutes of dialogue were angrily whispered into a Windows phone and almost every inciting incident involved a text, or a search for a computer, or a zip drive. There were major plot points based around phonery (like Regina’s video of Charlotte proving Regina had ill intentions). Even Declan’s last words to Jack were, like, a Vine video prayer circle; the offscreen death was more about phone product placement and less about Declan faking his demise. Because killing off Declan is easily the best decision this show has ever made.

Another great decision: An obsessive socialite in a fur coat busting Declan’s balls all episode. What is her deal? I’m very intrigued. Leaving Charlotte a widowed teen mom is a crazy move for next season (although I’m still not 100 percent certain that Declan is dead), but I really hope Regina steps up to the plate in terms of crazy, steals that baby, and swings it by the ankle from a skyscraper.

Although how insane was it that Victoria found the pregnancy test? PUHLEASE. She has a flock of maids. Victoria Grayson hasn’t touched the lid of a trash can in years. And then she sort of dug through the garbage to get it? That may have been the least believable moment in the entire two hours. (She would have, at the very least, stopped and gotten salad tongs.

Still, for all the unprecedented contact with refuse containers and sorta cinematic special effects, one thing that I was shocked by (having been away from Revenge so long) was how Season 2, in my absence, managed to circle right back to where Season 1 started, sloughing off all the characters that season 2 worked to establish.

Daniel and Emily are engaged! Emily secretly still loves Jack! Emily keeps throwing away all meaningful relationships in favor of an extremely slow, dubious revenge! The Graysons are doing as well, if not better than ever! Emily... get it together, girl! You might have been better off simply having Nolan hack into the Graysons’ bank account and shriveling their credit scores the first day you got back to the Hamptons, and then just running out and hitting the beach. Sometimes less is more. Emily continues to be strong, heroic, beautiful… but at this point we can all agree, she is just not effective at actually getting revenge.

Also did I misinterpret things, or did Conrad reveal that the Initiative was, in essence, imaginary? I think when he said that the Initiative is nothing more formal than a group of businessmen with interests in airline security machines or something, he meant that he’d been in cahoots with Helen and neither they nor Daniel had ever truly been in harm’s way? Which... what? I am very dim, guys. I felt like Jack some times during this episode, and not just because my eyeliner was looking tight.

I’m not sure how the Illuminati-like “powerful men playing games with the world” message affects the mindgames the Intiative has been playing with Aidan, but maybe Aidan is actually a psychotic murderer. I mean, he did skewer Takeda in a “fair fight” and then lie about it, and Takeda was like he and Emily’s Revenge Father or whatever. The revelation that Takeda had had personal reasons for fueling Emily’s revenge… is that really so bad?  She was a soldier in his army, but knowing the man made her the hero we love, with much more discipline (not to mention foreign language skills) than she enjoyed in her previous life of going to tha club and beating people up with toilet seats.

Another great choice: As much as it pains me to see Nolan flopped onto the floor like a ragdoll by the FBI—perennially good sport Gabriel Mann seems to take the lion’s share of bruises on the Revenge set—putting Nolan in danger will always raise the stakes, so it was a strong choice to leave the season sort of holding Nolan hostage. I have to make sure he is okay in Season 3, and I’m sure you all feel likewise. He is a fan favorite and the heart of the show and such a necessary balance to the relentless “sturm und drang” of Emily that the writers will sneak in merry little animations of him even at the most grim moments just to keep the audience invested.

I also absolutely loved Victoria’s speech about how she and Emily are more similar than Emily would like to admit. Um, no shit. These two are exactly the same psychological profile: Neither would bother to live in a world where they weren’t using spy cameras in ice sculptures to absolutely topple someone’s medical practice or whatever. And neither of them could truly enjoy a world where they did that and then their apt adversary didn’t notice. If a tree falls down and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? And if Victoria successfully hides a son for 23 years and Emily doesn’t call her out on it, would he even matter?

So basically, I had a lot of feelings about this episode. A lot of weird gray feelings. Seeing the bombed-out sky scraper which somehow Emily got into, seeing her continue to string Daniel along, watching her sever ties with yet another meaningful person in her life (just go to the damn Capri Villa, already. Take a freaking break, dear.)... it all definitely made it that much more of a release when she got in front of Jack and confessed the truth already. Although what his reaction will be is something I’m going to ponder right up until the start of Season 3.


… Can someone explain to me the true nature of the Initiative?

… What will Jack’s reaction be to Emily’s big reveal (and has he known it all along in some way)?

… How did Emily get up into a bombed skyscraper before first responders?

… How long will Nolan be in peril and didn’t you love his hair this episode?

… How many times did Declan ask Emily if she could hook him up with a gig on Captain America 2?

… Fantasy Cast: Victoria’s first-born son! Ian Somerholder is my dream choice. What’s yours?

… Aidan killing Takeda: For the best, or messed up?

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  • effkayzed Oct 11, 2013

    Another thing that you guys missed. Why on earth did they have to show Ashley trying to earn a living in the same shady club with Amanda and Aiden in the 2nd episode of S2? I know it is a small world but??

  • hawt_fta May 30, 2013

    I thought season 2 finale was way better than season 1 from what i remember. But as a whole season 1 was better than season 2. The whole declan, charlotte and regina situation was too gossip girlesque and regina has to go. What also bugs me is that they never explained why emily went to that nunnery place after victoria left!!???!!!??!! It would have been so much better if that was charlotte. Love nooolllaaaannnnnnnn and eemmmilllyy

  • fre_jim Aug 08, 2013

    What also bugs me is that they never explained why emily went to that nunnery place after victoria left!!?

    to find out the hospital the nun sent Victoria!!

  • likman666 May 27, 2013

    you people here surprise me i even just had to register to say this "revenge season 2 is probably the worse series this year what the hell happened ?" season 1 8/10 but season 2 i would give it a 3/10 seriously i think this series is too long for nothing the writers must have run of ideas you tell me the theme of "revenge" should take so long to execute even meriting a season 3 what!this show is probably the most overrated tv show at the moment i liked "once upon a time" far much better than revenge season 2 i just had to finish season 2 because i was already in too deep, the show has turned into a soap opera like "days of our lives".Its lost that "revenge vibe" it had in season 1 mike kelly the creator of the show only wanted 13 episodes for season 2 but abc refused i think thats why it turned to shit in season 2 he has even left the show,i am definately not watching season 3 which i am sure will be worse you have to be really creative to make a 22 episode series per season based on "revenge" as can be seen the show has lost its flavor

  • Lauren_Shole May 27, 2013

    Aiden is the best thing from Season 2. If he turns out to be dead next season, I am dropping Revenge. There was so much stalling and filler this season. Sometimes I feel like a show is better as a movie with sequels than a whole show. The show does not have enough plot to sustain it. I hope S3 is the last season and I hope it's super epic and does not flounder. I would rather Amanda kill the freaking Graysons already, have Mayson write her biography, and then watch her live her life on the run with Aiden <3 while raising Carl cuz Jack is dead. Then in the epilogue, Aiden is dead and Carl is all grown up living independently somewhere faraway where he watches his godmother get arrested by the FBI live on TV. But then Amanda commits suicide as a last act of defiance. No body knows Carl's relation to her. Ugh I hate that name! Carl's name is legally changed to Josiah as well.

  • juliannathese May 27, 2013

    Jack is too weak and emotional. Don't like him at all. Why Emily aka Amanda likes him, I have no idea. So now Daniel is a murderer just like his parents, well guess the apple does not fall far from the tree huh! Poor Nolan, I knew Padma would eventually betray him. Always thought she was a shady one. Didn't trust her from the beginning. I didn't quite like Season 2 finale, Emily should not have revealed her true identity to Jack. Burst my bubble already. Hope Season 3 won't be a let down, that it will be more epic. I hope the story line won't stray away from the original plots.

  • Ava8606 May 24, 2013

    I registered just to say this:
    This is easily THE worst review of a TV episode I've ever read, ever. And I read a lot of those.

    Do you think you're funny with your yellow Impact text on episode screencaps? You're not. Stop trying to make memes, you haven't a clue what memes are. You're not funny. You're not deep. And your comparison with the Dark Knight... puh-leeze.

    Next time, how about you spare us your "humor" and go review Battlestar Galactica or something?

  • meaux512 Jun 06, 2013

    Yeeeeahhhh...I don't think you get how this works. Lily's recaps are THE BEST THING EVER and the entire reason to watch a show. Move along now; there's nothing here for someone like you.

  • azgr2792 May 26, 2013


  • AndreaMcCooey May 18, 2013

    Seriously people, basic maths, if Vickys son was born in 1973 that makes him 40, not 23, so clearly they will cast someone a bit more age appropriate than Ian Somerhalder. Especially when Daniel is about 20 years younger than Patrick, and Josh Bowman looks older than Iam Somerhalder.

  • rasa_radz May 25, 2013

    I thought so too, at first, but then I looked up Somerhalder's age, which is 34 (born in 1978), so there's only a 5 year difference between him and the character. I will admit to the actor looking younger than the role requires, but I would also love to see Somerhalder acting with his eyes/eyebrows like he does on TVD. It would look amazing in the context of this show.

  • KelseyMejlaen May 17, 2013

    You didn't mention Daniel possibly killing Aiden. If that's the case I'm going to be furious. Aiden is far more interesting than Jack and Daniel combined.
    Did anyone catch Aiden calling him "mon frere" aka "my brother" in French. Seemed to suggest he was the missing son, but the voice at the end confronting Victoria was not his...little confused.

  • juliannathese May 27, 2013

    Totally love Aiden. He and Emily aka Amanda are so well matched. I don't like Jack and Daniel,especially Jack, Yuk! So w eak. Among the two of them, Aiden is so strong, so manly and handsome too, my kind of man. I watched the ending of season 2, it didn't show Daniel killing Aiden, only him seeing the gun. I hope that Aiden isn't dead either. Maybe fatally wounded only.

  • sduvoisin May 17, 2013

    -- There is no Initiative was the gist that I got. It was just a few business men/women who knew that a terrorist group would spark consumer spending and that they could make money off that. It's insider trading taken to the next level.
    --I don't think he's known it all along in some way. I think he'll be pissed. Like REALLY pissed.
    --Revenge training includes running quickly up emergency exit stairs?
    --I think Season 3 Nolan in Prison is going to be the real thing. And Emily will visit him just as Nolan visited David Clarke. Symmetry and what have you.
    --I think Declan is dead. I can't believe that Nolan would lie to Jack about it. Emily? Sure. But Nolan? No way.
    --I actually was thinking of Ian too. (Weird coincidence - though it could be because I'm watching re-runs of Lost at the moment.)
    -- I'm going to say messed up because I don't know what the agenda of Takeda really was. So he had someone on the plane that he loved? That isn't that big of a deal. And Emily didn't approach Takeda to provide grief counseling and help her get over it but she approached him to become a revenge ninja. Which I kinda agree with you Lily she needs a refresher course.

  • rasa_radz May 15, 2013

    Nolan crying means I'm (almost) crying. Seriously, Revenge took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, at one point I actually had to pause the show just to fully grasp all that's happened. I'm also really worried about Aiden. I remember Lily calling him the Proud Protectoress in one of her earlier reviews, and that's the way I've referred to him ever since - it's a very fitting nickname!
    My one big gripe with the finale was Declan being in that explosion. I get they needed some extra drama from a (somewhat) major character's death, but what the hell was he even doing in that building?! That's the first question I asked myself and proceeded to shout at the screen when none of the people visiting him did. They'll probably just explain it away in some poor manner, like him wanting to talk to Daniel about the whole baby situation or whatever and asking for his support, but I just find it frustrating that no one even mentioned it.
    Other than that, I enjoyed the finale immensely and can't wait for season 3.

  • tjjjjjjjjjj Jun 05, 2013

    Declan was in the building because when he called Charlotte (when she was with Regina) and asked where she was, she lied and said she was with Daniel so he went to Grayson Global to find her.

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