Fellow Revenge-rs, I've gathered you here today to discuss a few very important things regarding our favorite (or least favorite) Hamptonites. It's not exactly a secret that I've felt a little let down by the bumpy road Revenge has traveled this season, but I do think (and hope, and pray) the worst is behind us. In "Control," Emily claimed that she couldn't stand being around Daniel. At the time it felt a little out of place, because although we all assumed as much, there wasn't really any empirical evidence to support such a statement. But Daniel's no longer in the dark, and he's playing full-time for Team Grayson.
Drunkenly shooting Emily out of anger at having been lied to and betrayed for two years was only the first step in Daniel's transformation from moderate good guy with a trigger-happy index finger to 100 percent full-on asshole. He then flaunted a relationship with Sara in front of Emily's face as she recovered from her wounds and fully embraced what his genes have been trying to make him his entire life: A selfish, always-looking-out-for-number-one Grayson. Now that Sara has seen the light and Emily has a real, true reason to hate him—she might never be able to have children of her own due to the surgery required post-shooting—I think we're looking at much smoother waters for the S.S. Revenge from here on out.
That isn't to say the series is without its flaws, because that's possibly even more ludicrous than the Initiative plot of Season 2, but I do think if there are certain aspects of the series that are clicking and have quite a bit of unrealized potential. If the series focuses on what's working while also fixing a few of its lingering problems, I could see the series returning for Season 4 without the rest of the world scratching their heads and wondering if Niko's been dosing us and everyone at ABC with drugs to give us temporary amnesia. I've laid out a plan of action below, and as long as the writers follow these three easy steps, I think we'll be well on our way toward a better show and a shot at that renewal.
Forget the shipping and embrace the possibility of all out war
As I mentioned back in January in my review of "Hatred," the last new episode before this horrendously long hiatus, a psychological war between Emily and Daniel has tremendous potential. It's far more exciting to watch a war in which both parties are aware of their participation in said war, rather than a one-sided secret offensive. As Emily continued to fake her feelings for Daniel in the episodes leading up to their doomed wedding, it became obvious that something needed to change. Watching this particular storyline was only slightly more exciting than watching grass grow, and I didn't want to be there anymore than Emily did.
Emily's relationship with Aiden isn't faring much better these days, and I think the series would be wise to cut all romantic ties, not just with Aiden, but with all future men, too. I've made no attempt to cover up my dislike for Aiden's character over the season, and I'll be the first person in line to help him pack his bags should it eventually come to that, but I think the series has wasted too much time on shipping in general. Sorry, I know that's a big thing for many viewers, but the series suffers when it spends too much time on the romantic storylines and not enough time on the actual revenging. Simply put, too much has happened to Emily lately that she needs to forget boyfriends and focus on her mission.
The promise of a new war between Daniel and Emily has gained considerable momentum since the shooting. Although many fans wish Daniel would fall right into a dumpster, I think the series is far better off with a Daniel who's embracing his inner Grayson than a Revenge without his character entirely. His time spent with Emily means that whether she admits to it or not, he probably knows her quite well. Sure, he doesn't know that she's actually Amanda Clarke, and he doesn't know her true motives, but he knows her well enough to know how to push her buttons, get under her skin, and undermine her every move. He hasn't exactly given us any reason to believe he's as smart or as cunning as his parents, or smarter than Emily for that matter, but he's probably the series' best bet—outside of Victoria, who I will get to in a moment—to go up against Emily in a psychological battle of wills.
Long live the Ice Queen!
The Emily/Victoria hatred is the bedrock upon which Revenge has built its professionally decorated mansions. Seriously, those two women make Hannibal Lecter seem friendly and warm. Every word that comes out of their mouths is either a thinly veiled threat or outright hatred for the other. More than any other relationship, it has been Emily's ice-off with Victoria that's given the show its necessary spark. But somewhere in the middle of Season 3 it became abundantly clear that Queen Vee was put on a leash. I don't know who made this decision, but if the series wants any hope at sustaining itself long enough to earn a Season 4 renewal from the network, they need to reverse that decision as quickly as possible. We know that Emily eventually has to win this battle against the Graysons—she has to—but just as Emily's relationship with Daniel began to flame out, so too did the fire that once ignited her feud with Victoria.
Emily began to thwart Vee at every turn this season, and while we're essentially rooting for that to happen, there are no stakes if one side wins every time. Given that Emily is now officially a Grayson, and that Victoria knows the truth—or what she thinks is the truth—about who Emily is and what her agenda has been along, one would think that now is the perfect time for each side to regroup for the next round. And that's how it should be. An Emily who's backed into a corner by both a husband she doesn't love and the mother-in-law from hell, can only bring out the best in her. It'll only fuel the fire that's been burning since the moment she learned the truth about what really happened to her family. I know I've been hard on Emily for the cold, heartless, emotionless robot she's become, but maybe it's time to embrace that side of her personality. It's probably her best option to take down the Graysons once and for all.
Get rid of the dead weight
At first I enjoyed the presence of Justin Hartley's Patrick as a possible boyfriend for Nolan, but ohmygod has he not lived up to his potential or what? Hartley's provided a nice visual all season long, but Patrick has proven time and again that he's untrustworthy and he's unstable, but more importantly, he's simply not adding anything to the story at this point. And you know what happens to characters who've overstayed their welcome? They die. They either get shot out at sea and sink to the bottom of the ocean like a Jack Dawson wannabe, or they're injured in a bombing and succumb to their injuries off-screen. It's time for Patrick to fall off a cliff, or at the very least, run away to Italy to practice his angry painting skills. His presence is at least partly responsible for Victoria having thawed out this season, and while I'm happy that she's rekindled her relationship with her first born child, it's made her too soft. Not to mention the fact that their relationship borders on weirdly sexual and it's entirely uncomfortable to watch.
The problem with Revenge has always been that it spreads itself too thin while attempting to tackle too many storylines that are seemingly disconnected. The show has scaled back considerably from the widespread mess of Season 2, but this season, while better, is still not as focused as it should be. Now that Emily has a renewed sense of vengeance, the show needs to capitalize on it and have her face the Graysons head-on. Otherwise, I'm not sure there's much life left in the series.
What do you think, Revenge fans? Do you have any ideas to add?
AIRED ON 5/11/2014
Season 3 : Episode 22