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Revenge S03E05: "Control"


Oh, Revenge. Let me preface this by stating that I do so love you and your icy cold stares and your thinly veiled contempt. But you've been faltering in your character-building moments for, like, ever. Rationally, I know every episode be all revenge all the time, but I don't think any of the romantic entanglements you're throwing at viewers are adding that much to the story. And this is a problem.

All television shows need character development to keep moving forward. Revenge is stuck in a rut where characters don't change, or feel anything at all. Nolan expertly spelled this out for both Emily and viewers last night in "Control." After Daniel called off the wedding because Emily hasn't been supporting him or loving him or doing much of anything related to/concerning him, Emily was at a loss about how to win him back. And it's because Emily has been so focused on this mission to destroy the Graysons for so long that she doesn't understand real human emotion anymore. Nolan told her that people just want their partners to be open and honest with them, to share a piece of themselves—something he recently learned thanks to Patrick. And that's all I'm asking of Revenge: Share something real with me, please? Because otherwise, what's to stop me from throwing my hands up and pulling a Daniel?


Revenge has been devoid of any real heart for a long time, and it's really starting to hurt the series. It's hard to buy Emily feeling anything for Jack or Aiden or anyone else at this point. Season 1 worked so well because it balanced the revenge-ing with actual emotion. It looked as if Emily started to develop actual feelings for Daniel at one point, which made her relatable to viewers and added depth to the story. But now Emily claims that she can't stand to be around him, which, fine that's fair. But we've never actually seen that. Last week she exposed his DUI out of spite and anger, but that's the one and only time we've seen her display any sort of emotion in her relationship with Daniel. And him calling off the wedding this week was absolutely the right call, I just wish it had stuck. It was nice to see Emily finally share a bit of herself with Daniel, even if it was all part of her master revenge plan, but it proved she's not completely heartless. That being said, homeboy deserves better. He's distanced himself from his parents, he struck out on his own with this magazine venture— which launched this week, by the way—and he's doing really well. And fine, I admit it: I really like Daniel. He's a good guy and he deserves better than to be stuck in this dead-end relationship with Emily. For a long time I really wished she'd eventually find a way to love him, but that yacht has sailed and now I'm moving in a different direction.

I don't necessarily identify as a Jack and Emily shipper, but they're the closest thing the series has to real honest love. Which is why I wish Revenge would stop trying to make Aiden happen. He's never going to happen. He's volatile, he can't be trusted, he lets his emotions control him, and his personal agenda comes before Emily's. The series has told us time and again that Emily loves Jack; he's her Dawson and her Pacey, basically. So why do the writers keep throwing Aiden at us? Having Emily tell Aiden that he means everything to her tears at the fabric of the universe the series has spent the last two-plus years building. Yes, she came to this conclusion after seeing Jack kiss Margaux, but bottom line: This isn't working. Maybe I have a lump of coal where my heart is supposed to be, but I am straight up not feeling it. I can't remember the last time I felt an ounce of emotion between Emily and a man who wasn't Nolan. 


If the show plans to continue this storyline with Aiden, I don't see how it can be successful. That lame-o kiss at the end of "Control" was about as enticing as smooching a porcupine that's covered in tar. Part of me wants to believe the lack of emotion was purposeful, as if to say, "Emily doesn't love Aiden, she loves Jack and she's only choosing Aiden because she can't have Jack." And if so I'd be like BRAVO, REVENGE! But to be honest, I don't necessarily believe that's the entire reason the scene played so false. The show really does seem to want us to believe that Emily loves Aiden back, at least a little bit, but their lack of chemistry is hurting the storyline. It's the show trying to shoehorn in some character drama between car crashes, fake diseases, bankruptcy, and shady firstborn children. And there's no way it can succeed if Emily spends 95 percent of the series showing no emotion other than contempt.

Last week, in a fit of schoolboy jealousy, Aiden told Conrad that someone had tampered with his brakes, and that person was Jack. It wasn't, of course, and I'll get to that in a moment, but the point of the matter is that Aiden's disregard for anyone and everything other than himself means he's a liability in this revenge game. Emily didn't want the Graysons to know about the brakes at all, but whoops, now they do because someone threw a hissy fit. I truthfully believe Aiden loves Emily and wants to help her succeed in her mission to bring down the Graysons, but even though he apologized for putting Conrad on Jack's tail for selfish reasons, and then for telling Jack to get the F out of town, that's a really shitty thing to do. There's no other way to say it: Aiden is not good for Emily and he's not good for Revenge


What is good for Revenge, though? Whatever the hell is happening with Patrick. I don't know the general consensus on him, but like him. At first, it was simply for Justin Hartley's face, sculpted back, etc. And then it was for his attraction to Nolan. But finding out what we suspected to be true all along—he's not as innocent as he appeared at first glance—was an added bonus. When Charlotte walked in and tearfully confessed to tampering with Conrad's brakes, I groaned. I knew once she really got going, however, that it was a sham. It wasn't her style. As I stated last week, Charlotte is the passive aggressive type, not the take action type. Besides, not only do I not believe she would know what to do, but I don't believe she'd kill anyone either, no matter how much she hated them. I am surprised that she just went along with Victoria's cover up, though. She's becoming more and more like her mother every day. 

I also don't really believe that Victoria and Patrick were on it the brakes together. Nope. Would it be a good twist? Sure. Maybe. But I think I would much rather prefer it if Patrick joined Team Revenge. He's wormed his way into Victoria's life, and Nolan's heart (and pants), and we don't know what he's really up to, but it would be downright delightful if that were the case. The fact that Victoria knows "the truth" now and the fact that she covered it up leads me to believe that she's even more crazy than we thought, and this will possibly lead to a showdown in the future, because even though Victoria doesn't love Conrad, that doesn't mean she needs or wants him dead. And who's to say Patrick would stop at Conrad? 

No matter the case, Patrick is probably going to need some allies, and having Emily and Nolan on his side would be a good start. Which is why it's important for me to know if his attraction to Nolan is actually genuine. In my cold dead heart, I hope it is. Because Nolan deserves to be happy, I would like Hartley's abs to be something that might show up every Sunday evening, and because if Emily can't show any emotion, maybe the two of them can help balance out the cold, harsh emotionless Hamptons. But if he's playing Nolan, we're going to have to fight. And I can get pretty scrappy when I need to be.



NOTES

– Nolan's rocking the colorful blazers lately. His first one of this episode—the pink one he wore with white pants and red shoes—takes the cake for the best look this week.

 Adios, Carl! I don't know where Jack sent you, but I hope it was to a warm, loving family far, far away from the Hamptons.

 Do you like Margaux? Also, Margaux and Jack: Do you ship it?

 Do you think Daniel deserves better?

 Do you think Patrick is evil? Better yet, do you think his intentions with Nolan are pure?

– What did you think of this episode?


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