It’s been said before, but I’m amazed at the turnaround Revenge made after the travesty that was its second season. I was so close to kissing this show goodbye for good, and then season three aired and hooked me instantly. I’m as excited for next week’s Infinity Wedding (which I hope to come and occupy a place in my heart right next to the Red Wedding) as I would be for a season finale, and it’s mostly due to the steps taken in tonight’s “Surrender”.
Lydia’s return, which excited me so much three weeks ago was a bit underwhelming if only because of her willingness to be distracted by Conrad’s complete and utter lack of charm. It started off well with Lydia making her return known by tossing Victoria’s clothes off of her balcony. Though it was due to Victoria that Lydia got off the plane where she’d have certainly died, Lydia wasn’t happy with Victoria’s return to the Hamptons while Lydia hung out in some obscure hideaway. Originally Lydia was happy to take down Victoria and Conrad, and she approached Margaux about the conspiracy to frame David Clarke, but her inability to remain off the grid pissed Margaux off enough to end their arrangement. And this is where it threatened to get annoying.
Lydia went back to Conrad, claiming to have come to her senses and remembered their love, and they picked up where they left off. Nevermind that he almost had her blown up once (it’s all in the past, water under the bridge, etc). Though I was holding out for some kind of double cross on Lydia’s part, it wasn’t meant to be because Lydia’s far more interested in revealing Emily. She quite purposefully located the photo from the Grayson Global New Year’s Eve party where Emily was in the background with her “brunette bangs and bad attitude”, and just when I thought Lydia’s return would be completely useless, Revenge proved me wrong. Though it would make more sense for Lydia’s wrath to be directed toward Victoria and Conrad, Lydia’s focus on Emily raises the stakes going into the Infinity Wedding, and if Lydia’s main goal is to reclaim the grand life she was forced to abandon, falling back in with Conrad is the quickest way to get it.
At least in the beginning, Lydia’s return served a positive purpose with Emily. Emily’s skillful provocation led Lydia to give her a shove, and Daniel (after having the slowest and most confused reaction ever) revealed to Victoria that Emily was pregnant. Three weeks later, and Emily’s fake pregnancy still cracks me up and fills me with delight. Unfortunately it wasn’t having the same effect on Daniel who wanted to keep the pregnancy a secret to make sure a frustrated Sara didn’t leave him for good, only revealing the pregnancy to Victoria after Emily’s fall. With the news out to at least one person, Emily was able to leak it to the press to make sure it reached Sara, and it led to what was the episode’s best scene between Daniel and Victoria.
Though Madeline Stowe’s been consistent in her excellence as Victoria, Josh Bowman’s never wowed me much as Daniel, but his and Stowe’s screaming match was both tense and exciting, with great performances from both. Every once in a while, Daniel’s gone against Victoria’s manipulation, but never in quite so verbal or so explosive a fashion. As soon as Victoria revealed that she’d told Emily about Daniel’s clandestine meeting with Sara, it got really good with Daniel assuring Victoria of her loss in her battle against Emily because he’s definitely going to marry her, and Bowman and Stowe did excellent work juxtaposing Daniel’s anger and frustration with Victoria’s desperation.
Despite Victoria’s (correct) belief that Emily’s pregnancy is fake, Daniel doesn’t believe her. No one believes her. Victoria’s that kid who cried wolf one too many times. If she hadn’t been gunning for Emily since she’d known her, her point about Emily trapping Daniel into the marriage because she knew about Sara would have more merit. But after everything, including Victoria’s very public trotting out of Emily’s ex-husband, Victoria’s lost all her credibility. Every move she makes, every word she says, just sounds like another desperate attempt at ruining a woman who appears to have done nothing to offend Victoria more than exist. The excellence in Victoria and Emily’s conflict is that Victoria’s never been wrong. Emily is deceiving Daniel, and the pregnancy is fake, but there’s nothing Victoria can do about it.
If anyone should be surrendering, it’s Victoria, but even with days left until the big event, she was still trying, and it was beginning to be tiresome to everyone who’s now convinced that Victoria’s losing her mind with her vendetta against Emily. Besides Victoria, the entire Grayson family has been completely fooled with Emily’s reserved charm. Even Charlotte gave up and devoted herself to being the best aunt and maid-of-honor possible. Meanwhile Daniel said goodbye to a woman who really loves him because he can’t walk away from Emily’s “pregnancy”. Though I’m not that invested in Daniel and Sara’s romance, I can appreciate the tragedy of it. Sara said they just weren’t meant to be, and I don’t know about fate, but Daniel and Sara would be a pretty decent couple and have an equally decent relationship. Despite Daniel’s assertions that he’s “all in” with Emily, there’s no doubt part of him is still with Sara wondering what could have been.
But Victoria was insistent on sticking it out until the end. She will go to her grave hating Emily Thorne. Equal to Emily in persistence and drive, Victoria decided if she couldn’t stop the wedding, she simply wouldn’t go. So it made me wonder what would make Emily wave the white flag and just leave Victoria and the Graysons alone. She’s got a whole life she can take up married to Aiden and going by Amanda Ross, and she could do that whether or not Victoria’s still standing. Despite Emily’s many efforts at destroying the Graysons, they just keep shaking it off, and all of Emily’s careful planning will mean nothing if Victoria doesn’t go to the wedding. How did no one (including us) consider that Victoria might hate Emily so much that she’d just cross her name off the attendance list?
Certainly, Victoria will be at the wedding. The promo promised! But if Emily’s plan goes a bit too well, and she actually gets shot, who is it that pulls the trigger? It’s probably not Victoria since she’ll be catching the blame for it. Perhaps it’s Lydia? Maybe Charlotte? I think I want to place my bet on Sara because we can’t have seen the last of her.
Leave your thoughts in the comments.