May 2, 2013 by Susan Miller
Susan: We’ve had a few weeks off recently. Are you ready to talk about Revenge yet? What did you think of this week’s episode?
Steven: What did I think? What did I think? I thought that I don’t like how they dispense with enemies anymore. For a show half-obsessed with Japanese warrior culture, we haven’t met a great many worthy adversaries yet. Okay, okay, the Graysons have been formidable foes, but these Initiative folks have all been counting on weird traps and power-plays. When push comes to shove they just get shot and fall over. Yawn. Then this hacker girl, the Falcon, is doped into uploading a remote access program onto her computer because another hacker beat her at Street Fighter? I’m going to have to call Shenanigans. Shenanigans! So this show has never been as complicated or calculated as a chess game. I recognize that fact. But does it have to be so much like a game of Chutes and Ladders?
Susan: The show is really starting to tick me off because it’s beginning to feel like a giant waste of my time. There are just so many other things that I would rather be watching. It’s unfortunate, because I did really love the first season. However, I watched the first season over the course of three days last summer, so maybe I had unrealistic expectations for the show. For me, it’s just not fun anymore, and it makes me sad. The Falcon thing made me roll my eyes, the Aiden and Takeda thing went nowhere, Conrad is a buffoonish cartoon character with no real sense of menace anymore and Jack and Emily are kaput until she comes clean to him. Worse still – Nolan has become Charlotte and Declan levels of annoying. Ugh. Why are they still wasting time on separate storylines for Charlotte and Declan? This show is a mess.
What about you? Is there anything to like any more? Do you care who Patrick is?
Steven: I care so little who Patrick is. Most likely it will just be another Eli James scenario.
I think that what this show needs is a good old fashion Lost-up (a shake-up by means of absurd, transcendental plot-twist). They could jump over to a new timeline, one where David Clarke wasn’t framed for the Initiative thingy. You could keep all of the same actors, but make their characters all 25% more interesting/ 25% less painfully annoying. Victoria could actually be a good person, instead of a bad/good/bad/good/whateverthisplotarcneeds character. I need to believe that the writers have a plan. This is something I do not know, however. Ooo, and then in the end we could realize that both timelines are actually just two dreams Emily has simultaneously while accidentally drowning herself back in Japan. Roll credits… Or it’s aliens.
Susan: I love your timeline idea. I hope this show is crazy enough to do it. Though I do think you need to let go of this idea of Victoria as a good person. Why are you so eager for her to turn into a good person?
As for the aliens… let this be a record that Steven Miller guessed the series finale first. If there’s any network that has tried to make aliens happen, it’s ABC. (See: V, The Neighbors, Flash Forward, etc.)
Steven: Whoa, Flash Forward. I totally forgot that existed. Or did I? (For you folks who don’t remember the show that almost was: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezWlSxsWah0. Favorite line: “In my flash forward, I was dead.”)
In answer to your question, I keep saying that Victoria is a good person because that’s totally going to be the shocking reveal! They’ve already bludgeoned us over the head with her tragic childhood, and then there’s the back and forth with the Initiative, which opens up the possibility. I am not going to be surprised when she enables Emily to get her revenge and move on with her life. Maybe it will be the Ghost of Hamptons Future that does it. Maybe it will be the good people of Stowawayville, singing even though their liquor has been stolen in the night. Whatever it is, Victoria will turn good in the end. That is something you can hang your hat on (aka, a hat rack).
Susan: I refuse to hang my hat upon the “Victoria is good” hat rack. It’s so boring. She needs to be a good ol fashioned Lifetime movie bad lady who dies when Emily finally pushes her over a cliff. Ooh, you know what would be really satisfying? If Conrad is the one who eats it in the finale. They’ve been saying for the past few months that someone from the original cast will die in the finale. Other than Charlotte and Declan, wouldn’t Conrad be the most satisfying death for the future of the show?
Steven: When I first read that sentence about Conrad, I thought you had written wouldn’t it be satisfying if Conrad “eats her in the end.” That would be odd and interesting, two things this show has not been, so yes! I’m calling the finale: Conrad eats Victoria, who we find out was a good person all along.
Susan: Nooo! You have to choose. If we don’t predict something, what are we doing here? Who dies in the finale? Go.
Also, Victoria was not a good person all along. She abandoned Patrick to go to art school.
Steven: Aiden dies. Argument: Jack and Emily are destined to be together. Or at least that’s what we’ve been led to believe since episode 1. There are two obstacles to that end. One is charming-today, evil-tomorrow Daniel Grayson. He will be dispensed along with the other Graysons when their time comes. The other obstacle is upstanding, sister-less, growing-less-revengy-everyday Aiden. In the battle for Emily’s heart, Aiden is trouncing less-than-interesting Jack. Sorry, that’s a bit of an understatement. If the battle for Emily’s heart were a boxing match, Aiden would’ve already K.O.ed Jack to the point of a full on coma and he would now be stuffing Jack’s limp body into his trunk so he could dump him in the Atlantic ocean, preferably by way of that dock beside the Stowaway. You know, the one where people are always getting shot and getting caught with drugs and such.
Have we become unnecessarily cruel to the strange, dull people of Montauk and East Hampton?
Susan: Cruel? Yes. Unnecessarily? Maybe. You’re certainly unnecessarily cruel to poor Jack, who is grieving and confused and has to live with Declan, of all people. I think Jack is holding up well, considering his circumstances.
I still maintain that Conrad dying would be the most interesting development in terms of plot. One, you could pin all the initiative business on Conrad and get rid of that story for good. Two, you wouldn’t have any of this money nonsense between the company and NolCorp and Daniel and Ashley and the mayor and blah, blah, blah. Three, Victoria would be free to scheme on her own, and she’d have to scrap a little harder to maintain her rich and mighty place in the world. My dream scenario would be for Emily to find a new suitor for Victoria so that she could work another inside love angle with the Grayson family. Then, that suitor would get tricked by Victoria into thinking she was actually a good person and come clean about all of Emily’s shenanigans. Then Emily and Victoria would be fighting each other openly. End result: Emily takes Victoria to the dock, plants drugs on her, shoots her, she falls into the water with all the other dead Revenge bodies, Jack sees her, falls in love with her again because she killed a Grayson, and they walk off into the sunset with a new dog by her side. Roll credits.
Also, Aiden might die, because he’s become pointless to the story, but he’s not one of the original cast members from season one, so it can’t be him.
How many more seasons do you think this show has? I’d say 1, maybe 1.5 at most. It’s starting to seem like it’s on the Ugly Betty trajectory: white hot to hot mess. Didn’t that show only get 3.5 seasons?
Steven: If I had to make a rough approximation, I’d say this show has -1/2 seasons left. It is definitely working on negative plot from my perspective. I had almost forgotten about Ugly Betty! What a truly strange show. I think that show went from impossibly fun to impossibly unrealistic to impossibly hard to follow. What even happened those last few episodes?
Susan: I don’t even think we watched them. I think we rented it several times and then always returned it before watching them. So sad.
What worried me most about this last episode was Aiden’s talk with Takeda about how he killed Trask for killing his sister but he felt no relief about it. It seems like they’re setting Emily up to be less revenge-bot and more soft, squishy, romantic human. I mean, the name of the show is Revenge. The thing that made the first season so fun was the revenge. The thing that’s made this season so confusing and boring and tedious is all the silly, unearned emotions. I hope they don’t throw Emily’s mission out with the Initiative bathwater and assume that’s part of the problem. It’s literally the ONLY thing that’s still working.
Sigh. It’s okay to have a heroine who just wants revenge. And it’s okay for her to not feel fulfilled by it in the end. And it’s okay for Victoria to just be evil. I wish everyone would take their hands out of the show and just let it be what it is.
Steven: I completely agree. The point of this show is plot. That doesn’t mean that they have to have flat characters, but I also think it can’t be Parenthood amounts of rounded characters. (Yes, I do secretly listen to episodes from the other room while I read/write/pretend to clean up.) We should’ve known this was the direction the show was heading when Victoria failed to murder Faux-manda. I mean, they had to bring in the lame-o-brothers to do that deed, and then they couldn’t even keep the lame-o-brothers. Maybe Conrad is the next to go. That would certainly reduce the revenginess of the story substantially, which has been the aim of the writers this season.
New season finale prediction: Conrad dies. The Initiative is foiled by Nolan via an online game of Words with Friends. Victoria is revealed to be a good person. As are Ashley and…wow there really aren’t any other bad people left. Everyone takes a vacation to Amish country where they learn to make their own soap and coexist with the land. Mason Treadwell is released on a technicality. Season three consists of teary eyed psycho-therapy sessions in which all of the characters grow in their understanding of themselves and their relationships.
I wonder if this show is actually suffering from a form of political correctness, from this idea that all people are people. News flash: some people aren’t people. Hans Gruber did not have a cause. He did not actually want amnesty for anyone; he wanted money! Let the villains be villainy, people!
Susan: Y’know, Homeland had that problem in its second season too. By the time Homeland wrapped last year, every character was full of goodness and light, even Abu Nazir! I’m not saying that Revenge and Homeland are anywhere near the same kind of show, it’s just an example of how making your characters pure instead of complex leads to problems in all genres. Though, on second thought, we have tried to compare Revenge and Homeland on multiple occasions in this blog. So maybe they are the same show. And that show is infinitely worse than The Wire or Dexter or Friday Night Lights or The Office or Girls or Veep, where the characters are maddeningly self-destructive and dark and twisty in a believably human way.
Hans Gruber. Is that a Die Hard reference?
Steven: You know it is!
Could you imagine Booth Jonathan explaining–in a heart-warming scene–how he’s actually just making this non-art in order to send money to an African charity he started when he first came to New York? Yuck!
Susan: We’ve now managed to reference Booth Jonathan in a recap of Revenge. I think that’s as good a sign as any that we’ve strayed from the original topic. So…
Next week! More plots! Victoria scowls! Emily’s engaged to Daniel again! And the voice over promises that we’ll be “dying for the finale.” How did they know? I can hardly wait.