Revenge Mid-season Finale Review: Who Shot Emily Thorne?
All season long we've watched with rapt attention as Emily Thorne schemed and finalized her plans to take down the Graysons—Victoria, Conrad, and Daniel—once and for all. This episode was the culmination of two-and-a-half years of red sharpies, thinly veiled barbs, bandage dresses, amazing Nolan ensembles, and emotionless love scenes. And I'd say "Exodus" delivered what it promised to deliver, but, unfortunately, I was left feeling a bit empty inside after it was over. It's not that I disliked the shooter reveal—in fact, the more I think about it, the more I'm actually very on board with it—but I'm worried about where the series goes from here. But before I start worrying about the future, let's chat for a bit about the present.
Let's start with the obvious; Daniel shot Emily after overhearing her confess to Victoria that she wasn't really pregnant and made up the lie to ensure Daniel wouldn't leave her for Sara before the wedding. I've suspected for awhile now that Daniel would be the one to pull the trigger, and I don't want to say I told you so, but I told at least like, one person so (fine, it was my dog. He still counts though, right?). All season long I've been championing for Daniel to discover Emily's a fraud, if only because I was worried that he might be the densest person on the planet and because Emily's emotionless relationship with Daniel has been one of the weaker parts of Season 3. I really needed him to wake up and smell the thorny roses so we could put this drawn out engagement storyline to bed. I know I'm in the minority when it comes to not hating Daniel's character, and I know he isn't necessarily innocent by any means (especially after tonight's reveal), but I've wanted the series to shake up this relationship for awhile now. And this was a good start, because the series cannot survive another season of the same Emily and Daniel relationship drama (I haven't seen the preview for the next episode, so I have no idea what is to come for these two, but shaking things up for them this way is definitely a good thing in my opinion).
Unfortunately, while I am satisfied with the reveal that Daniel shot up Emily on their wedding day (even if I did roll my eyes a bit), I do take issue with the why of it all. I wish that Daniel's anger had been driven by the discovery that Emily was actually Amanda Clarke and not by his anger that she tricked him into going through with their marriage with a fake baby. I think it would have had a greater and deeper impact on the overall direction of the series if that had been the driving factor of his rage, and not the fact that he married the wrong woman. As I've mentioned several times this season, we just didn't have enough time to get to know Sara, to get to care about her and her burning love with Daniel. I think the actual shooting would have held more weight if: A) Sara had been introduced earlier and viewers were able to bond with the character, or B) Daniel had discovered the Amanda Clarke connection. But alas, I do not write Revenge and the writers have stopped returning my tweets. On another note: I laughed really, really hard at the way Josh Bowman played that scene. It felt over-acted, to be honest. But I suppose that comes with the territory; drunk, angry, and devastated over the possible death of Sara (seriously?) was one of the soapiest ways for the scene to go down.
In addition to taking issue with Daniel's reasoning for pulling the trigger, I also have a problem with the fact that the writers didn't make the more bold choice and have Charlotte be the shooter. In my discussions with other Revenge fans, she was the only other real possibility. Victoria is too cunning and smart. Conrad, while obviously capable of murder, doesn't really have a motive, and Lydia wanted to ruin her, not kill her. Of the people on the yacht, Daniel and Charlotte were the two people Emily had hurt the most over the years, whether intentional (Daniel) or not (Charlotte), so it was easy to narrow down the suspects, but I do think the writers took the easier way out. It would have been more shocking, more bold, and less laughable (seriously, just rewind that scene with Josh Bowman and tell me you don't chuckle a bit at the way he played that entire scene) if it had been Charlotte to pull the trigger.
She's been a pain in the ass for awhile now, flipping between personalities as often as she changes her clothes, but she is Emily's half-sister. Imagine if she had discovered Emily's true identity in this episode (everything comes back to that). Imagine the pain and the suffering she'd feel at the moment she discovered that she'd been lied to for two years. Imagine the emotions that would have accompanied that moment. I think viewers would have been more willing to buy that reveal than Daniel's, but at least it wasn't like, Declan back from the dead or something.
And speaking of Declan, let's talk about Jack for a minute. When we began this journey in 2011, I think we all thought Jack would have ultimately played a larger part in the series than he has recently. After Season 1, the series became less about Emily and Jack and more about Emily's ultimate revenge plan. In "Exodus," Jack and Emily shared a rather emotional goodbye, but naturally, Emily ruined it by bringing up Fauxmanda and how she was with her when she died. Jack wasn't wrong when he angrily yelled that Emily had taken everything from him. Because barring Sammy the Wonder Dog, if Emily had never come back to the Hamptons, his life would probably be at least 40 percent less shitty. Sure, he wouldn't have Baby Carl (where is he?), but he also wouldn't be wrapped up in Emily's scheming and he'd still have a brother. That being said, we do have Jack to thank for speeding Emily's plan along. If he hadn't given her the ultimatum at the beginning of the season, who knows where we'd be at this moment. I shudder at the thought.
So where does Revenge go from here? With Daniel being the shooter and not some wackadoodle tertiary character (lookin' at you Tyler!), this will surely shape the rest of the season, and probably the series. I'm just not sure how much life the series has left in it. Since Daniel doesn't know that Emily is actually Amanda, and because Emily didn't take down the Graysons, the series could continue on into a fourth season should ABC renew it. The choices the series will make when it returns in January will decide that, but for now, let's talk about the consequences of Daniel's trigger happy moment on the yacht.
Everyone had to have heard the shots ring out, and obviously Emily is missing, so will Daniel just lie and pretend he didn't try to murder Emily over faking a baby? He didn't seem at all concerned about leaving her to die in the ocean, which actually bothered me. I know he was drunk and angry, but Daniel isn't a remorseless murderer, and he pulled the trigger in a fit of rage. The fact that he just watched Emily disappear in the water felt very un-Daniel like to be honest. So where does this leave them? Obviously Emily isn't going to die, so these next few episodes are crucial. Will she come to in a hospital somewhere and be all, "WTF, BRO? YOU SHOT ME?!" I mean, I'd complete understand her if she reacted that way, but it's not exactly her style. She's a planner and a schemer, so I'm sure she'll work something out, but it's going to have to be damn good if the series wants to continue on this path and live to see another season. As for Daniel, he's well on his way to becoming his father, now more than ever, and I could see him become cold and calculating like Conrad in the wake of this incident, while Emily could become even more like Victoria. I kind of love the idea that they become trapped in a two-sided loveless marriage as a result. BRB gotta go write some fan fiction.
The bigger question, however, is probably, "Where does this leave Victoria and Emily now?" Both Vee and Lydia know Emily is a fraud, and after Aiden knocked Victoria out, she's going to be hella suspicious when she comes to. I'm sure that photograph of Emily is long gone now, but you better believe that Vee's quest to ruin Emily will be even stronger now. I hope this means a return to form for the queen of the Hamptons, because I've missed her. She really deserves to win something soon, so I hope Santa's reading this and gets me what I want for Christmas.
All in all, I think this was a pretty satisfying fall finale for Revenge, even if the Daniel reveal seemed a bit too soapy at times. It will ultimately take the series in a new direction and hopefully breathe new life in to the entire show. I think we can all agree something needed to happen regarding the Emily and Daniel relationship, and although I still would have championed Charlotte being the shooter, Daniel is probably the next best thing. Let's hope the writers can take this moment and build upon it.
P.S. I still hate Aiden.
– Nolan Ross is still the best thing about this series. He was simply amazing in this episdoe from walking Emily down the aisle to dancing with her at the wedding to that shot of him sadly leaving her for what he believed to be the last time. Gabriel Mann deserves a lot of credit for portraying one of the few characters on Revenge with an actual heart. Bravo, man.
– It was great to see Justin Hartley back as Patrick, but it's ridiculous that Nolan couldn't track him down in Manhattan when Conrad was able to find him and get him to Hamptons in like four hours. I look forward to where this storyline will go in the second half of the season, even if it might end badly for Nolan now that Patrick found his safe and got all weird and suspicious on us.
– How do you feel about the Lydia/Conrad developments? I've been going back and forth, but I think Lydia will bring more excitement back to the series.
– Nolan's best outfit this week was obviously his wedding attire. I mean, come on, people. Duh.
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