Revenge Season 3 Finale Review: Execution
So for those of you still watching, Revenge ended its third season last night in America.
Was it as good as “It’s me, Jack. I’m Amanda!!!” ? Well yes actually, and probably better.
Revenge not only has impressed in recent weeks by path-correcting a diabolical seven episode stretch, but in this finale it has now hit reset on the entire show’s concept as a whole. The episode not only changed everything you know about the show, but it also gave viewers the resolution we’ve all been after since the first episode of the show.
This begs the question….what’s next?
Suffice to say, epic levels of spoilers ahead.
So Victoria finally figured it all out. Jesus, it took her a while. But the speed at her skills of deduction when it finally clocked on that Emily was actually Amanda was pretty great. I also think her plans of entrapment were promising, will Season4 be all about Victoria – a woman scorned – out for Revenge from Emily?
I have to say it’s good to see Madeline Stowe is back on form after this show has repeatedly tried to flesh out Victoria as more than just a monster. It’s been successful in a lot of ways – but she is no Regina in Once Upon a Time (that is a truly well fleshed out villain) and instead Victoria’s strength is and always will be in ludicrous displays of true malice.
Thankfully we got just that when she was on top of Aiden smothering him with a pillow. If Emily didn’t have a reason to nail Victoria to the wall before, she sure as hell had one now – and seeing Victoria accidentally stoke the dragon that is Emily Thorne was deeply satisfying.
In the largest “what the fuck” moment in the entire show, David Clarke turned out to be alive all along. He’s also a murderer now, so there’s that. When Victoria said he wasn’t the man Amanda thought he was, maybe she wasn’t kidding.
Maybe David was kind of a dick. In which case the entire concept of Amanda fighting for Revenge for her father has now been ripped away. So im kind of hoping they don’t fuck this up – as Revenge has a really good knack for taking a great kernel of an idea then absolutely ripping all over the show in the most horrible way.
Season 3 has been an absolute mess in terms of quality. The first half showed promise with an exciting première and a great episode resolving that cliffhanger, but it was followed by a stretch that proved to be the absolute worst to the stage where it felt like the show was trying to get itself cancelled.
Thankfully the rescue plot for the show from ABC seems to have worked with a much stronger concluding stretch, but I gotta say I’m not sure if a whole “David Clarke Lives and is actually kind of Evil” thing is going to go down well….
SHE FINALLY GOT REVENGE!
Probably the most satisfying moment of the show’s three year history happened in this episode where both Conrad and Victoria finally got what they deserved.
Conrad, of course, is dead – but Victoria being treated to the same mental facility treatment as Emily endured was a sharp knife; a delicious twist giving way to a grand final show of revenged out Amanda.
EMILY VAN CAMP AND MADELINE STOWE
Though Madeline Stowe gets the high fives for her showy performance as Victoria from most, Emily Van Camp is a sorely under-rated actress who does heavy lifting in the show on the whole, and in this episode really showed her dramatic range. Van Camp isn’t blessed with the most expressive face, but it works in her favour for a show which requires duplicity. She did a great job of making you feel her pain, and exhilaration in this episode.
Charlotte KNOWS IT WAS JACK!
Charlotte has made a sort of welcome return in the past few episodes, and I say welcome because she reminds us that Revenge is totally clogged up to its arteries with new irrelevant characters no one likes (Margaux, Javier and now Gideon) that it actually becomes an exciting sight to see an old irrelevant character on-screen.
Charlotte knowing that Jack was somehow involved in the kidnapping of her dumb ass from the way he squeezed her shoulder was not only ridiculous, but it was manipulative of the audience. We all know this shit will be resolved in a one episode golden bullet that Emily will pull out next season in the first twenty five minutes. We can only HOPE that will be the case because otherwise we will have a long protracted Jack in jail situation which is almost too boring to bear thinking about.
Conrad dying was something that was always going to happen. Where Victoria may suffer, Conrad was always too calculating and callous to be allowed to live. However killing him off a full season before the show was due to end has effectively offed one of the shows more talented actors and watchable characters.
Without Conrad in the scene, there is one less player for Emily to finally wipeout when the show reaches is apex, and lets be clear – by hitting the big button that has essentially given the viewers the resolve they had required from season one’s first episode, Revenge has a lot of thinking to do about how they are going to keep the stakes high enough to make the real finale a payoff worth watching.
Daniel Grayson framed again.
At this stage Revenge has pretty quickly moved Daniel Grayson from “central character” to “really annoying side character” about five or six times over the season.
I think they’ve fucked around with the Daniel character enough now that he’s not only just unlikable, but he has no function or purpose. With a lost character who’s essential value ended when he saw Emily for who she really was, it feels like they are clutching at straws to keep him in conflict. Who cares what Daniel has to give up now he’s been framed for killing a prostitute by some irrelevant side characters? At least it gave a struggling actress a $300 fee for the day though.
Too many fucking characters.
What this season finale really needed was the offices of Voluez to go up in flames with half of the cast inside it.
Revenge at its core is about Emily, Victoria and Conrad. Jack is necessary because he’s obviously the romantic endgame, Nolan is the supporting friend, Daniel has a history with Emily and Charlotte is only still around because she’s Emily’s sister. Why the fuck the writers keep trying to ply sub-stories about Margaux et all into the show at this stage is baffling, because surely the runners knew the show had a season more left in it at best, so why bore viewers with clearly unpopular sub-plots and then proceed to introduce MORE NEW CHARACTERS THAT HAVE NO FUNCTION WITH THE CORE STORY?
Revenge has taken many unsuccessful left turns during most of season 2 and half of season 3, and these characters are relics of the failures that the show has had. Sure its a great show by and large but having people like Gideon on-screen is totally totally un-necessary.
So Revenge delivered. It was probably one of the most exciting major network drama finales i’ve seen in many years. Revenge is always good for delivering on a cliff-hangery, gripping finale, but what we’ve learned from the past two years is that though it can plant the seed, letting it grow is a much more difficult affair for the show.
It’s a shame because Revenge started out as a compelling drama in it’s still unmatched first season, yet then very quickly in it’s second season folded into complete soapy ridiculousness. I can’t help but think Revenge should have been an amazing two season affair rather than an uneven four season one.
Looking forward its hard to see how they are going to give the show the pay off it now deserves. It has 22 episodes left, so its going to be an action packed year – but with David now alive and Emily apparently already having her Revenge, the question that should be exciting but actually is a little worrying is….”Where do we go from here?”
Hopefully, somewhere on that writing team – somebody knows.