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Revenge S03E15: "Struggle"


Contrary to what Revenge might like us to believe, there's more to the Hamptons than just the Graysons and Emily's revengenda against them. The show doesn't have a huge regular cast, and there are only so many times Emily can declare she's going to destroy the Graysons only to exchange death glares with Victoria instead, which means the writers often create and introduce new characters in order to expand the show's horizons and heighten the drama. Unfortunately, Revenge also has a horrible habit of letting them languish in relatively poorly drawn storylines that only mildly affect the main cast, thus leading viewers to wonder what their purpose in the Hamptons actually is. 

The latest victim to fall prey to Revenge's secondary character disease is Justin Hartley's abs Patrick, Victoria's first-born son. When he was introduced at the beginning of Season 3, he was an intriguing mystery—who was he and where did he come from? What was his life like before he was reunited with his mother? Did he have an ulterior motive for moving to the Hamptons? Nolan tracked down Patrick's ex-wife to get the dirt on the newcomer in town, but Patrick's storyline was never as good as it should have been. That ultimately wasn't surprising, given the series' proclivity to stumble in these situations, but when he first showed up, he was the first character to feel like he could have been as unpredictable and interesting as he appeared to be. His oddly close relationship with his mother, a woman he'd just met, was weird enough to make viewers sit up and take notice, as was his growing relationship with Nolan.

But by the time Patrick packed his bags and hopped a plane to Italy in "Struggle," he was nothing more than another wasted character in a long line of them (see also: Ashley, and to an extent, Declan). His once intriguing relationship with the mother he'd only known for five minutes became unhealthy. He was a twice murderer who blamed his rapist father for the darkness that dwelled within his soul, rather than someone who could accept that his actions were his and his alone. His every move was made for one reason—to please his mother, a woman who wasn't asking him to clean up her messes. It was horribly cliched for Patrick to blame his father for his actions simply because he was born from a horrible situation, but we never got to know Patrick well enough to truly know whether or not this was a recent development or something he'd lived with his entire life. And the result was a rather hollow exit from the series as Victoria eventually realized that Patrick was never going to stop trying to protect her, and schemed with Nolan to save him from himself. 

I won't miss Patrick, and I wish him well in his next life as an apprentice to a famous artist, but the writers obviously thought he was far more interesting than he actually was. Instead, his presence in the Hamptons hindered the story, rather than added to it. Not only did he make Victoria go soft, but it took time away from other arcs the series should've been concentrating, like Emily's revenge.


From where I sit, it's pretty clear that the reason Revenge keeps introducing mysterious new characters like Patrick and Stevie Grayson isn't to expand the world of the Hamptons, but to avoid having to spend too much time on Emily's mission to ruin the Graysons. The show is stalling, and although that could be a good business decision that might help the show's creative team remain employed for a longer period of time, it's not a great call, narratively. Stevie's storyline is still too new to know what effect she'll have on the show, but she's far more integrated into the Revenge saga after three episodes than Patrick ever was.

Stevie is the owner of Grayson Manor, which pits her against Victoria—a situation that could bring back the venomous Queen Vee we've missed this season—but she's also Jack's birth mother, and she might be tied to Emily's father. The lady's got lots of secrets (like, I'm confused as to why her hair isn't bigger in an effort to conceal them all), but I worry that Stevie will suffer a similar fate as Patrick, who went from the intriguing new man in town to a stereotypical character written out of the series because he'd run his course. I don't trust Stevie, but that's part of the reason she's exciting. She hates the Graysons as much as Emily—who discovered this week that the cause of her blackouts was a hidden memory that revealed she actually blamed her father for everything that happened—and that could lead to a partnership down the road. Stevie feels like the type of woman who could take on Victoria, and while I'm steeling myself to eventually see her lifeless body in a ditch, I'm looking forward to the shockwaves her presence will inevitably cause. Plus, now that Patrick's gone, her life expectancy probably just went way, way up.


"Struggle" was an episode that tied up lingering storylines while introducing new ones, so it's hard to judge it beyond the fact that it was merely an in-betweener. But it also proves the sad truth of Revenge: The series excels at creating new and interesting storylines and characters, but often fails in its execution of them. Emily's blackouts are gone, having been swept under the rug like the failed Initiative plot of Season 2, and Patrick is gone because he wasn't interesting enough to keep around. He was the human embodiment of all that's wrong with Revenge, and it's my hope that Stevie will finally buck the trend and get the series back on its once-exciting path. She's injecting life back into the series, and it's my hope that she'll help Emily refocus her plans, because despite the name of the series, it's been far too long since she's actually done much to reach her goals.



NOTES

– Stevie helped Jack get his house—which okay, if anyone would like to come forward and help me buy a house (preferably by paying for it in full), I'd be grateful. That woman is sneaky and I don't trust her and I love it so much.

– Charlotte pretending to be an actual adult might be the funniest thing Revenge has ever tried to convince us of. 

– "Stop torturing yourself about the past." Oh, Victoria, if we did that, you wouldn't have a show!

– LOL @ Daniel's P.I. because he's like 12 years old. But now Daniel has photographic evidence that could be used to annul his marriage to Emily, or blackmail Emily into doing what he wants.

– Nolan's new infinity box was a sweet gesture. Smart, too, since it can only be opened with Emily's fingerprint. One day that will probably come back to bite Nolan in the ass, I'm sure. 


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AIRS ON 11/30/2014

Season 4 : Episode 9

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