I’ve never been so pleased with Revenge. I’m sure I have, probably earlier this season in fact, but “Impetus” is easily one of the best episodes to come after the failure of Emily’s wedding plans which has had some shaky episodes following it up. Not even Margaux and Daniel could sink this episode, the last before next week’s finale, which finally had Conrad’s crimes being made public. And at the center of all this excitement, wearing the camera that filmed Conrad’s raging confession, was Charlotte.
Revenge finally did something good with Charlotte! Just the opening minutes, where it’s revealed that it wasn’t the stalker (if he can even be called that) who kidnapped David but Emily and Aiden, instantly elevated Charlotte by a million levels. After Pascal’s sudden death last week Emily switched gears and abducted Charlotte, demanding that Victoria and Conrad confess their guilt or Charlotte would be killed. Deliveries of Charlotte being beaten plus an ear encouraged Conrad to arrange the press conference and rope Victoria in. Emily’s opening voiceover detailed how her time in the mental institution then foster care then juvie led her to where she is now, determined to take action against the people responsible for how her life ended up after her father’s wrongful imprisonment. If this could happen for Charlotte even a little, it would be worth it.
And it did! A little. After Jack (understandably kind of horrified to see Emily holding Charlotte captive) freed her on the beach, Charlotte confronted Conrad about his role in Flight 197. Emily showing her endless footage of Flight 197’s passengers and David Clarke’s trial (with some scenes from Amanda and Jack’s wedding and some Declan home videos) had the desired effect: making Charlotte realize that her parents are terrible, terrible people.
It’s hard to see which of them is the worst actually. Well, that’s not true because Conrad is definitely the worst. When Charlotte demanded that he confess or she’d tell the police herself he called her an “ungrateful bastard” and railed at her for turning against him when he loved her in spite of her not being his and even threatening to kill her if she said anything against him. Conrad’s done and said a lot of despicable things, but what he said to Charlotte seemed to be beyond anything he’d ever done before which seemed a purposeful move on the part of the writers considering the camera Emily had put on Charlotte’s coat that filmed the entire thing to be broadcast live. If the point was to make Conrad as horrible as possible in these moments before he was revealed, Revenge succeeded. After Conrad’s slipped past facing any real consequences, his confessions (about Flight 197, the Initiative, framing David and even killing Amanda) being out there and known by everyone is a huge move and a huge relief. Conrad could only go on escaping for so long.
It was a victory for Emily who shed tears of happiness watching the broadcast with Nolan. For years she’s been looking to clear her father’s name, and now she’s done it. But Victoria is still walking free, after getting information (from Charlotte’s “stalker) that made it clear that the abduction wasn’t real and refusing to participate in Conrad’s planned confession. What this information was wasn’t shown (though I imagine it’s a doozy), but Victoria’s perhaps an even bigger, more important target than Conrad was. Victoria was the woman David loved and his trust in her, and her betrayal, directly led to his framing. Conrad may have been the mastermind, picking and choosing who would take the fall for his crimes, but Victoria was a willing participant (however guilty she may feel about it from time to time) in destroying David’s and Emily’s lives so she can’t be left to float away into obscurity because Emily won’t be finished until Victoria is finished.
Victoria’s got it out for Emily even more now that Pascal is dead, and while I understand it on an intellectual level that Victoria “loved” him (I say “loved” because I refuse to accept Revenge‘s sloppy excuse for a romance) and now she wants vengeance on the people responsible for her death. And these people are Conrad (directly) and Emily (indirectly). But where the show fails is in making anything about Pascal and Victoria believable especially in comparison to Victoria’s love affair with David Clarke. It’s their relationship, and Victoria’s betrayal, that kicked off the show, and ignited Emily’s quest for vengeance, and Revenge barely scraped the surface of allowing Pascal and Victoria to live up to that relationship, as complicated as it was. Though it’s good to see Victoria and Emily barreling toward their confrontation, each hellbent on taking down the other, Victoria’s reasoning is so lacking in comparison to Emily’s that Revenge would have done better just to leave Pascal out of it and allow Victoria’s anger to coast along on Emily’s targeting of her family.
But I suspect leaving it that simply might have felt too, well, simple. There’s no doubt that the Graysons are the villains in the story of Flight 197, David’s framing and the destruction of Emily’s childhood, but things get murkier when it comes to the present day. Emily’s plans have caused a great deal of collateral damage and she’s seemed to have hurt more innocent people than she has the guilty ones. But then you factor in that Pascal also had a hand in David’s conviction (plus Conrad being the one to actually kill him) and that particular argument fizzles out. Emily’s our heroine, even compared to Victoria who, though compelling, is still kind of evil, and it’s still Emily who we want to come out on top.
But since next week is the season finale and not the series finale, just how much resolution can we have? The show couldn’t go on with Emily’s goals accomplished so can we really hope for a happy ending for her next week? And even if she does get one, what happens then? If she gets to go on living a life, and not pretending to be dead as was her plan a few months ago, then what is she going to do as Amanda Clarke? She’s been Emily Thorne for so long, and as she said, Emily’s as emotionless and singleminded as a machine, but what is Amanda now? Does she still exist? And if she doesn’t, who is Emily going to be without her vengeance?
- Emily and Victoria are like Harry Potter and Voldemort. Neither can live while the other survives.
- But really what the hell was Victoria doing with Charlotte’s “stalker?” If he had David’s ring we can assume it’s because Victoria gave it to him (at least that’s what I’m assuming), but why? What’s the point in sending her daughter creepy letters and then telling her not to worry about them anyway? These are the moments when I seriously doubt Victoria’s skills as a parent.
- Also I’m betting Victoria used Carl’s blood for a DNA test, likely to find out if he and Charlotte are actually related.
- Daniel said he gave up on having a soul after he found out how crappy his parents are, and now he needs Margaux to keep a tight hold on hers so she can save him one day. I wish – I really, really wish – I had taken a picture of my face when he said that so you could see how disgusted I was. If Daniel’s going to be intolerable can he at least get better lines?
- So what did Aiden attacking Daniel at the precinct accomplish exactly? And kudos to that detective for realizing Emily’s going to destroy Daniel one day, probably just for the hell of it.
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