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Revenge S03E08: "Secrecy"


Revenge is taking a three-week break before Emily and Daniel's wedding, and I think it's for the best, because "Secrecy" felt too much like a struggling writers' room blindly throwing ideas up in the area and just hoping some of them stuck. Emily is now pretending to be pregnant in order to manipulate Daniel into staying in a relationship he no longer wants to be in, Lydia Davis is unsurprisingly not dead, and Victoria tried to ruin Emily at her bridal shower by inviting her first husband. Oh, and there was a subplot with Aiden and Charlotte and some nude photographs that I completely spaced during. Guys, I'm not kidding, that is a storyline that actually happened. 

It's like the writers bought a Soap Opera for Dummies book and all of the originality of the series has been sucked away and replaced with boring cliches. At this point, I'd trade any of those plots for Conrad's faked Huntington's Disease story because despite being mostly unbelievable, at least it didn't reek of desperation.

If it sounds like I'm being harsh, it's because I'm being harsh, but that's only because Revenge used to be a series that surprised me with its twists and turns and now it's a series of bad ideas strung together by familiar faces just going through the motions. I applaud the writers for making Emily have to work for her plan to succeed, because for so long everything came so easily to her and it was wholly unbelievable. And I even like the idea that Daniel no longer wants to marry Emily (finally!). But the way that story has been executed has fallen short of my expectations. 

For so long Daniel was the one fighting for Emily, fighting for their relationship, and a few episodes ago I wondered why he even bothered, why he cared when Emily so obviously didn't. I was practically begging him to wake up and smell the roses. I know that I'm in the minority here when it comes to liking Daniel's character, but the way his storyline has been written this season has been a let down. Yes, he's striking out on his own and attempting to be less Grayson, more Daniel, but as soon as his ex-girlfriend reappeared in his life, the strides he'd made to separate himself from his family's legacy by partnering with Margaux for Voulez have almost been erased.

Here he was this week, in the Grayson Family Sex Den in the City, hooking up with Sarah, because their love was apparently so epic it moved mountains and angels sang about it. Wait, no, sorry. Daniel drunkenly crashed his car and sent her to the hospital where she almost died and then his family screwed her out of a lot of money so she's going to be in debt for the rest of her life paying off monstrous medical bills. But yeah, I'm sure she totally still loves him and has forgiven him for all of that in the span of a few weeks. Revenge has never been all that believable in its complicated and convoluted schemes (or in how long they think dogs actually live), but this is a little too far fetched.

I'm willing to accept, and even believe, that Daniel still feels all those feels, or thinks he does because their relationship is unfinished to him, but for Sarah to just throw aside all of her anger (remember her introduction two episodes ago? Yes, it was only two episodes ago), feels a bit ridiculous. I'm still mad at people who didn't call me back three months ago. I've hated people for far less than what Daniel and the Graysons did to Sarah, so I'm sorry, but I'm never going to believe that she just threw her anger in the nearest trash can and skipped off into the night with Daniel. 

The entire foundation of Revenge is about not letting grudges go, whether we're talking Emily's revenge plan, or Victoria and Charlotte hating Emily for something she did and attempting to make her life miserable. I'm not saying that's healthy, because obviously those three women are all in need of some therapy, but this series was built on basically never letting shit go. If I thought this was the series purposefully attempting to show us another side to the human psyche in which people aren't manipulative and don't hold grudges for years upon years, I'd be the first person to stand up and congratulate it. But it's not, it's just a plot device meant to make Emily flail a bit, so I'm calling shenanigans on Sarah, who has every right to hate Daniel and his family forever, for jumping back into bed with Daniel after two weeks. 

Wow, that got a little ranty. But I can only take so many rushed storylines before I snap. Emily might be robotic and single-minded, but I will give her props for remaining unswayed in her convictions. She's been working this con for years and she hasn't let up. It would have been more believable if Sarah had teamed up with Emily than it is that Sarah would be so quick to dismiss everything that happened. 

What's more upsetting about this particular storyline is that I don't dislike Sarah as a character. In fact, she seems perfectly nice and is the most down to earth character of anyone on Revenge, but it's frustrating that the writers want us to care about her when all we've seen is a 15 second glimpse at what Daniel and Sarah were like before the accident, and a few weeks of her wildly fluctuating between different ends of the emotional spectrum. We still don't know anything about her or about her relationship with Daniel, and we still don't have a reason to care about it either. This storyline could have worked if only the writers had taken the time to make us care, or if she'd been introduced in the beginning of Season 3 and had several months of build up, but instead, we're supposed to believe that their romance was rekindled in the span of a few weeks. 

When you add in the fact that Emily is now stooping to fake baby-levels of desperation to ensure that Daniel doesn't leave her, this entire series is beginning to feel a lot like Glee. And that's never a good thing. Faked pregnancies and storylines with absolutely zero build up are never a good thing. Faking a pregnancy will never turn out well, because there are only two ways for that story to end: Either Emily fakes nine months of pregnancy during which Daniel never touches her and then she finds a baby on the street to call their child, or she has to fake a miscarriage. The only thing that can save this storyline is if we find out Emily really is pregnant. As cliched as that storyline might be, it would be a hell of a lot more interesting to see Emily pregnant with a child she doesn't want with a man she doesn't love, than whatever mess is sure to be born from faking a pregnancy.

And after all that, I don't even have the energy to deal with the fact Lydia Davis is back from the dead and willing to spill all of the Grayson family secrets to Margaux. Especially when Conrad name dropped her in an earlier scene, basically ruining any surprise that scene could have held. Though, to be fair, that was also shown in promos for the episode last week, so that reveal not packing the punch it should have was not entirely the writers fault. I was never a fan of Lydia, but I felt that her death in the plane crash was a good move for the series, but I could be open to where her storyline with Margaux takes us.

In case you couldn't tell, this episode, and most of Season 3, has been frustrating for me to watch. I don't hate Revenge, but I am very disappointed in the direction it has taken. I like that Emily is flailing and grasping at straws because her plan is falling apart; it adds a bit of drama we've never seen before, and it means she's human and doesn't have superhero revenge powers in which everything goes pretty much to plan because she's Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke. But the emotional stakes that are supposedly thwarting her relationship with Daniel aren't there to make me care about the outcome either way. Give me some backstory, let me get to know Sarah and maybe I'll care about her relationship with Daniel. But right now, the series is lobbing unoriginal idea after unoriginal idea at us and expecting us to gasp in awe and shock. But I can't. And I won't. 



NOTES



— Did you see how quickly Emily was able to recover from Victoria's ambush with her first husband at the bridal shower? Daniel was right about one thing: Emily is exactly like his mother, and I'm so happy he's finally wised up to that.

— Nolan and Aiden are now roomies, and Nolan's Post-It notes were a nice touch.

— Charlotte: groan

— Conrad's memoirs: groan

— The butler at the Grayson Family Sex Den in the City: A+

— As if you couldn't have guessed, Nolan's best look this week was his lavender bridal shower ensemble:

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AIRS ON 11/30/2014

Season 4 : Episode 9

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