Revenge / Screen

Revenge‘s “Struggle” Weakly Wraps Up Some Big Storylines

I remember when Patrick first came to the Hamptons. He was interesting because he had eyes for no one but Victoria, was singleminded in his pursuit of a relationship with her and was immune to everyone else’s charms. He and Nolan became a thing, and that was exciting because Nolan’s relationships inevitably fail, and maybe Patrick would be different? Unfortunately not since ended up being mostly the same and far more invested in his and Victoria’s borderline incestuousness than anything between him and Nolan. The almost disturbing nature of Victoria and Patrick’s relationship has been a quality Revenge hasn’t seemed that interested in exploring save for some snarky comments from Nolan here and there, but “Struggle” went all the way in examining how Patrick’s love for his mother ended up changing him.

There’s no hurt feelings on my end that Jimmy’s now dead, but Patrick was still on a guilt trip in the aftermath. His confusion and self-loathing prompted Victoria to ally herself with Nolan to get Patrick out of the Hamptons with an apprenticeship at a studio in Italy. Personally, I won’t miss him. The deterioration of Patrick’s character has been complete enough that I’m not interested in seeing more of him, and it feels as though Revenge has done all it can with him. The most we saw of Patrick was how homicidal he got when it came to Victoria, and that’s not exactly attractive so he can stay away for a while until he develops some more traits.  

It was probably a surprise to everyone what an adverse effect Patrick’s close proximity to his mother had, making him resort to murder whenever anyone disrespected her.  Victoria’s relationships with her kids are truly sad, and despite the incest-vibe rolling off of her and Patrick, they were the real deal. It’s unfortunate that Victoria’s other children can’t stand her, but the one who loved her was digging himself into a hole loving her so much. If there’s anything genuine about Victoria it’s her love for her children, and her sending Patrick off, even if it meant making him believe she wanted Stevie killed, was the most unselfish thing she’s ever done. She’s been so nice with Patrick, genuinely looking out for his interests without all the manipulation she employs with Daniel and Charlotte, that it’s kind of sad to think of her having to return to her mostly lonely life without him.

With him gone, Victoria has no reason to temper her ruthlessness, and there are a couple of people she still has to deal with. Besides Emily, the person near the top of Victoria’s list is Stevie who’s moving forward with her plans to claim Grayson manor for herself. She and Victoria are still good at the back-and-forth, and that’s all fun and games, but Stevie’s most interesting story was with Jack.

Jack actually has a storyline that isn’t connected to Emily and isn’t boring. This is a huge accomplishment, and I don’t even think Revenge knows it. With Margaux gone, Jack was able to devote his attentions to Stevie who explained to him the circumstances of her absence. Her alcoholism kept her away until she was sure she could return without threat of a relapse, and now she and Jack are building a relationship. It’s such a quality turn of events that I can’t believe it didn’t happen sooner. Jack’s way more likable when he’s having an organic reaction to something happening in his life instead of engaging in the most boring relationship ever with Margaux, and if Margaux would just evaporate and take Voulez with her this show would be gold. 

Stevie’s so immediately interesting, seamlessly crossing over from the posh world of the Hamptons elite to the Stowaway where she tried to connect with Jack, that she’s probably the best used guest character Revenge has had in a long time (ever?). She’s invested in the drama of the Hamptons, but she’s not immediately sketchy though she’s definitely hiding some things. There’s earnestness and sympathy attached to her that evades others while she still manages to be a contender in Hamptons warfare. When Emily realized Stevie visited her father in prison it made me anxious because I don’t want anything to happen to Stevie, and I certainly don’t want Emily to have to take her down because that’s just going to cause problems. 

Stevie’s return was also a nice facilitator for some sweet Jack and Emily interaction as Emily encouraged Jack to give his mother a chance and allow her the opportunity to make up for the mistake she made. Considering how bumpy Jack and Emily’s road has been, it would be disappointing to see their calm being jeopardized if Emily has to add Stevie to her takedown list. The jury’s still out on that though since the big question is: what did Stevie visit David for? If she was disbarred and dealing with her drinking, she wasn’t there to talk about representing him. We know she hates Victoria and Conrad so maybe she had plans to use David against them. This would be preferable since I’d rather see Emily, whose secret life has been exploded so thoroughly, have something of an ally than another enemy to contend with.

Stevie’s a question mark, but by episode’s end Emily had crossed one threat off her list: herself. With Aiden’s help, resorting to the good ole’ drowning method practiced by Takeda, Emily got her blackouts under control and figured out what she was angry about. She was led back to her father who she realized she blamed for everything. In a return to the David/Victoria flashbacks of forever ago, specifically the night Victoria and Emily exchanged The Look, Emily told David that Victoria hated her and she didn’t want her there, but David’s only response was that he loved Victoria and one day they’d all be a family.

I mean… I guess. It’s not rational by any means, but whoever said Emily was rational? It’s actually kind of stupid. What should have been a big deal, of Emily overcoming the psychological damage that caused her to nearly get Aiden killed, was just kind of…there. It felt like a stepping stone Revenge was in a hurry to cross, and it wasn’t as strong of a reasoning as it should have been. It works – on a superficial level that’s not up to par with what the show’s been peddling recently –  but that counts. If David had just seen Victoria for who she was, who Emily instantly knew her to be then he may still be alive. But he didn’t then he gave his daughter the tools for the destruction of all the people who ruined him. Then Emily got shot. Her father placing his trust in the wrong person was what got him wrongfully convicted and killed, and it almost got Emily killed, too. In response Emily’s been lashing out at the legacy he left her including the people she enlisted to help and the infinity symbol she’s treasured so much.

If “Struggle” was supposed to be hurrying the show along to something better then I’ll take it. I’ll deal with this one weak episode so I can see Revenge get back to business next Sunday. With Emily’s clarity she’s going to be getting back to top form soon. She’s still got some messes to contend with (including the findings of Daniel’s private investigator), but she’s also making the beach house hospitable again, and Nolan gifted her with a brand new infinity box.  When this season began Emily was in a mad dash to finish what she started which only led her into a spiral that almost destroyed her, and now that she’s figured things out, she can get back to her vengeance gig.

 Stray Observations

  • Killing the Graysons really would have been more expedient. Can you imagine that show? Emily just killing everyone, one after the other like Harper’s Island.
  • Patrick: “They called it an accident.”
    Nolan: “Which is fast becoming a euphemism for ‘Patrick did it.'”
  • Margaux’s father is coming. Does anybody care?

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