Revenge "Disgrace" Review: A Night at the Opera
If you missed the memo about Bring Your Parents to the Hamptons Day, don't worry, because Conrad, Victoria, Stevie, and Margaux's father Pascal provided more than enough parental drama in "Disgrace" for all of us. Tucked inside a lovely visit to the opera—which is the kind of fun setting I think the show should embrace more often—the episode saw Emily outmaneuver Daniel and Victoria, who were planning to use the photos of her swapping saliva with Aiden to force a divorce, by releasing the medical records that stated she'd never been pregnant. By doing this, she was able to make a public break from Daniel, move back into her childhood home full-time, and regain the upper hand.
The biggest mistake any character can make on Revenge is believing that they've somehow beaten Emily Thorne. Is it ridiculous to believe Emily has an answer for everything after how many hiccups she's faced in her plan to take down the Graysons? Probably, but believing Emily is smarter and more cunning than her opponents is the foundation of the series, so it's not all that surprising when she pulls an idea out of her ass and it suddenly works. I'll always be skeptical of Emily's last minute heroic saves, but I've come to appreciate them the way, say, someone might appreciate a free kale smoothie. Do I necessarily want a kale smoothie? No, that's disgusting. But it's free, which means I'm going to take it and at least pretend to drink it, even if I think people who like kale have been brainwashed by an evil dictator behind the dumpster at Whole Foods.
Right now Daniel and Victoria are celebrating what they think is a victory, because they drank the kale smoothie. A smarter person would have attempted to uncover the person who released that information to Voulez's gossip column (which Charlotte and her Zoe Hart hand-me-downs run now), but Danny's never been the brightest crayon in the whitewashed crayon box of Grayson Manor, and Victoria really doesn't care as long as it means Emily's on her way out. We know it was Emily, but they don't, and if someone was willing to break all sorts of medical laws regarding privacy of information in order to do them a solid, you'd think Daniel and Vee would at least want to know where to send the fruit basket. This is why Danny didn't see Emily's betrayal coming and why Victoria constantly loses her battles against the wee little blonde next door; they're still just reacting to Emily's moves instead of making some of their own.
Elsewhere in the Hamptons, Margaux—who honestly deserves a better storyline—was dealing with her media mogul father, who flew in from France under the ruse that he was going to help Margaux oust Conrad from the company, but really just wanted to get into Victoria's pants. He has a weird bucket list, I guess. But he's also, unsurprisingly, involved in the David Clarke scandal. At this point, if you told me Walt Disney had been resurrected and was somehow involved in this scandal, I'd probably believe you, because literally everyone the show introduces is involved in it somehow. And I don't want to tell terrorists how to terrorize, but I feel like the less people involved, the better. I mean, how do you trust a major secret like that with so many people? Eventually someone's going to get drunk and spill the beans in a rousing game of Never Have I Ever when someone says they've never been involved in an act of terrorism. I've seen it a hundred times, guys. It's not pretty. And there's not a bone in my body that cares about Conrad's attempt to merge his portion of the company with Pascal's company, especially since he's now using his ex-wife's lady bits as leverage. I care even less about the doctoring of Voulez's books. Seriously, can we please just bomb the Voulez offices so we can end this storyline? I don't want to sound like I'm condoning terrorism, but this is so far removed from the main plot that Conrad is beginning to feel like Charlotte.
Stevie, meanwhile, is working on fulfilling my theory from last week about becoming an ally for Emily. After seeing her in Jack and Amanda's wedding photos, Stevie recognized a kindred spirit in Emily and offered her services to Team Revenge. Jack wanted no part in Emily's revengenda, and wanted to leave his mother out of it as well, but it wouldn't be Revenge if Jack didn't dip his toes in the murky waters of bad ideas, which is why we had a lovely scene in which Nolan took a meeting with Stevie's old law firm while Jack broke in to their archives and stole the evidence that later provided the clue about Pascal's involvement in the scandal.
At the recent PaleyFest panel for The Vampire Diaries, the show's executive producer, Julie Plec, made a comment about character development on that series and I think it mostly applies here, too. She said that most characters are created to die, and I think that in the case of Revenge, most characters are created to be involved in the David Clarke mystery. And maybe also to die, but definitely the first one. I was joking earlier when I mentioned the sheer number of people who seem to play a part in this, and I've never planned something larger than a birthday dinner, but the scope of this is beginning to feel far-fetched, even by Revenge standards. If we stretch our minds and remember back to all the men and women Emily red Sharpie-d in Season 1, it's baffling that there's anyone still left with a connection.
Pascal's involvement at least gives Margaux—who up until this point was mostly around to complain about her daddy issues, make cute faces at baby Carl, and kiss Jack—the possibility of a more exciting storyline. Will this bring her into the fold? Will she learn the truth about her father? Will she learn the truth about Jack and Amanda and Emily? Team Revenge could use more players, but outside of Nolan and pinch hitter Jack, can Emily afford to let more people in on her secret? "Disgrace" was a fun episode that I think, and hope, set the tone for the rest of the season. Most of the dangling storylines have been tied up, and Emily is back on her mission to destroy the Graysons. As long as the series avoids further detours, I don't see why the rest of the season can't be as fun as this opera outing.
– Revenge could use more scenes like the one in which Daniel almost jumped over the desk to get at Emily after she performed her little crying game. I honestly expected him to claw his way after her. In fact, I'm sad it didn't happen, because it would have elevated the series from nighttime soap to batshit crazy soap, which would not bother me in the least.
– I didn't think I'd enjoy the evil partnership between Daniel and Victoria as much as I do. They're way better together than Victoria and Conrad.
– How long do you think Nolan's prison buddy will be around? Is he going to become a member of the team without even realizing it? Do you like him? I still haven't made up my mind.
– How are you feeling about Stevie after this episode?
– "Your own worst Emily."
– Nolan's best outfit this week was OBVIOUSLY the one he wore to the law firm:
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