Revenge is a well-oiled machine. And like the good students of years and years of television obsession that we are, most of us can spot those cogs and wheels turning every step of the way, but that doesn’t make it any less riveting. Revenge is toying with us and it’s not too hard to see what’s happening, but we still lay down on the train tracks and let the steam engine of twists and turns run us over. So what if we knew that Emily wasn’t burying the white haired man or Nolan in that flash forward scene at the beginning? So what if we knew it was a plot device to create suspense that had us on the edge of our seats all episode and trusting no one? It worked and that’s all that matters.
Aside from the usual themes of duplicity and deceit, as exhibited by even the writers team for Revenge (now that’s commitment), this week’s episode was centered on another blanket topic: Grief and more importantly it’s fifth stage of acceptance. It’s a stage Emily is resisting with all her might because as we know, she’s given up forgiveness and acceptance for its bloody alternative... Pop quiz just to see who’s paying attention: That’s right, the bloody alternative is Revenge.
We begin with the aforementioned burial, which we later find is that of Jack’s dog Sammy. And while we knew it wasn’t anyone integral to Emily’s master plan and therefore main cast members we can’t live without, it still evoked a sense of “What? Who is Amanda burying? She’s certainly not covering up her rage about her dead father’s demise. What is going on?” When we time jump to 36 hours before the burial, we’re just unsure enough to give every character the stink eye until we find out whose body is going in that midnight beach grave.
Candidate number one is the mysterious White Haired Man and either Emily doesn’t actually know the guy’s name, or it’s a Voldemort/He Who Shall Not Be Named situation. Well, I’m not afraid. Voldemort it is. Anyway, Emily plans to smoke out the Dark Lord by planting a little (creepy) package in Conrad’s inbox: A video Emily secretly took of her and Daniel sleeping. Conrad takes it as a threat and goes straight to Voldemort, threatening to unleash the evidence and take Voldemort down with him should he harm one little hair on dear Daniel’s head. Voldemort didn’t do anything, he was just hanging out at home practicing his Parseltongue, so he knows the game is afoot and he hightails it out of his secret Brooklyn meeting spot as Nolan tails him.
Possibility number two (but not really) is Daniel. When Emily catches Conrad telling the White Haired Man where to meet him, she tries to book it to Brooklyn but Daniel and Ashley trap her with the wedding plans for the Brangelina-level gala that is part Kardashian reality stunt and part Grayson Global image handi-wipe. Daniel continually catches Emily on the phone, trying to communicate with Nolan about tracking down Voldemort, and while he’s the one who ends up storming out followed closely by Ashley, it almost seemed like Emily was desperate enough to whack them both over the head with Ashley’s wedding binders and bury them in her front yard. She’s got revenging to do, after all.
Option number three (and the one we really didn’t see coming) is Sammy, Jack’s dog who at one point belonged to Emily back when she was baby Amanda. When Daniel silences Jack with a “generous” one million dollar check, we see that Sammy won’t drink water, and the worry begins. Then, Jack says he wants to use his check to start a charity with Emily: And now we know why poor Sammy is dying. His purpose is to bring Jack and Emily together and his passing does just that. When Sammy shows up on Emily’s porch, Jack comes over and they watch him pass away while Jack cries in Emily’s arms before looking up at her longingly. Between the memory of her first days of playing with Jack and Sammy on the beach, her grief over his passing, and the disconnect she feels with Daniel, Emily lunges headfirst into the makeout session we’ve been waiting for all season. But this is Revenge, so Ashley is being the life-ruiner and part time stalker she is and catches the moment through one of Emily’s many uncovered windows. And while it seemed like Emily finally gave herself up with her overwhelming tears and her involuntary “so were you” when Jack says Sammy was a good friend, Jack still thinks she’s Emily and that Sammy liked her so much because he was trying to get him to move on. Did removing the goatee mess with your brain, Jack?
Meanwhile, Charlotte’s grief isn’t the kind that gets buried in the ground. Instead, she’s in an uphill battle to refrain from turning back to her Oxy addiction. Her doctor wants to do a family therapy session because Charlotte needs them to learn to forgive so she can too. That sentence alone assured that hers is a path to sheer destruction. While her parents eventually agree to sit down, they turn her therapy session into their own power struggle over Victoria’s possession of incriminating secrets and she storms out, heading to Declan’s for comfort. When she gets there, Declan’s presumptuous study buddy from Yonkers has hopped in the shower and claimed one of Declan’s t-shirts as her own brand of evening wear. Charlotte trades verbal barbs with the girl before storming off to buy some more Oxy. Her grief is clearly directed at the death of all hope. If she keeps this up, she might end up on one of our “Who’s Emily burying this week?” lists.
Next: The return of Lydia.The catalyst for Charlotte’s turn to the dark side stems from Victoria’s SEC deal. Her word isn’t enough for a search warrant or a conviction, so she is going to have to use her excellent daytime sunglasses habit and become a spy to get the evidence herself. Conrad suspects that she’s the reason the SEC raided Grayson Global, so he’s guarding any and all evidence and using Dominik’s old apartment as his love nest with his love muffin in fuzzy pink heels, Lydia. (She’s back! And she’s not wearing a style cramping neck brace and invalid robe.)
As in sync as she and Conrad’s viper-like scotch-sipping faces and gestures are (it’s comical how matching they were when they kicked Victoria out), Lydia’s never been one to stay on anyone’s side for very long. She betrayed her boss David Clarke, she was supposedly on Victoria’s side on New Year’s Eve 2002 just minutes after having sex with Conrad in Victoria’s house, and here she is again, caught between loyalties. Victoria visits Lydia who’s clearly ditched her Hamptons whites and blues for the Manhattan mistress casuals line from Bergdorfs, and tells her about the SEC with the (total lie) that she’s asked them to grant Lydia immunity in exchange for what she knows. And while she’s got Lydia good an paralyzed by knowledge, she strolls over to Dominik’s forged painting which Conrad kept after speaking of it with such disdain and she cuts it open. Of course, it contains a box of cash and evidence. Good grief.
But, Conrad’s not just a scotch-drinking viper. He’s quick to do other things too, like use Daniel to get Victoria to relinquish the evidence. He threatens to cut her out of his life if she doesn’t turn them over, so she does and she waits by the door long enough to hear him tell his father that their little plan worked. Victoria is in tears, which are most likely due to the fact that her grief this week is the loss of her not-so-little boy to his scheming, no good father. But there’s no way she also lost the evidence, right? She had to have made a copy or photos of the evidence before she turned it over. Maybe she’s also crying because now Daniel is implicated in whatever illicit dealings led to David Clarke’s framing and the terrible plane crash. This cannot be the end of Victoria’s tirade.
Finally, we get our own moment of grief. Nolan is trying to convince Emily to back down on her plan to kill Voldemort, telling her that killing someone will change everything. Her righteous mission to get even will lose its righteousness and become a bloody mess. But she’s determined to move forward, so Nolan takes it upon himself to trick her and keep her from making a mistake. He gives her the wrong address to Voldemort’s house so that she runs into Aunt Carole instead and she can give Emily the pep talk about doing the right thing. But she’s still not biting, telling Carole “There might be a time for kindness and fairness, but this is not one of them.”
While she’s having a moral discussion with Carole, Nolan is doing the Voldemort job for her, posing as a cable guy and planting a camera in the Dark Lord’s cable box. Unfortunately, it’s clear Voldemort is too smart for that, but he humors Nolan and lets him implant the device. Just as Emily finishes telling Nolan he was right and that she’s proud of his amazing spy skills, Nolan realizes the clock in his “live feed” of Voldemort’s house is wrong. Just then, Voldemort appears in Nolan’s house and strangles him, but he’s not dead. He can’t be. He didn’t strangle him long enough. Nolan didn’t do that final kick twitching thing that people do when they’re strangled in movies. Whatever Voldemort did it was some variation of the vulcan neck pinch because we already saw the dungeon pictures of Nolan from next week’s season finale. Plus, we lost Sammy, we can’t lose Nolan too; and who’d help gloss over all those complicated technological schemes that none of us can ever, ever understand? Still, like most completely traceable and calculated plot points on Revenge, we allowed the shock to sink in a little bit before running out brains to the safe conclusion.
Now we run head first into the finale, which is set up to be a glorious mess of scandal, betrayal, violence, and if Emily’s lucky, some revenge. However, considering that Voldemort was introduced so late in the game, my guess is he’ll be a problem that will last past next week’s episode.
Where you shocked by Sammy’s death? Who did you think Emily was burying when the episode started. The White Haired Man has bosses, how high does this go? How much of a low level thug is Conrad? Share your conspiracy theories in the comments!
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