We catch up with the beginning on Revenge this week – the Fire & Ice engagement party is imminent, and the episode begins with that same set of jump cuts – Daniel falls face down into the sand, a gloved hand reaches over his body for a dropped photograph, and a gun fires.
No time is wasted in setting up the pieces on the chessboard. In the opening seconds Tyler is revealed as the thief of Emily’s revenge box, and he also has Stripper Emily tied up in a suitably dingy barn-like building. Tyler has given his psychiatrist and the law the slip, and returned to exact his own revenge on Emily (for planting Frank’s wallet on him) and Daniel (for being everything Tyler hates and loves). Or to blackmail Emily for money, whichever works.
Victoria and Conrad are concentrating on trading (utterly clichéd) threats while control of Grayson Global hangs in the balance, thanks to Grandpa Grayson, who wants to install Daniel as CEO.
Tyler finally breaks through Stripper Emily’s unwavering and slightly scary loyalty to Emily by showing SE evidence that Emily framed her for burning down Mason Treadwell’s house. But only for a moment, and Stripper Emily is wounded when Tyler shoots her from behind as she flees to warn Emily.
Finally the party is here, and we see those same scenes from episode 1 – the scuffle in the dunes, Emily wiping sand from her hands, Victoria demanding to know where (the hell) her son is. But in the form of reveal we’ve all come to know and love – with extra information that explains everything. Also, Nolan’s hair has changed radically since back then. What a nightmare for the continuity people!
Emily has reclaimed her revenge box from Tyler (somehow via Mr Miyagi – remember him?), and buried it on the beach, which is why her hands were sandy.
And the big moment: Daniel does hit the sand, but it was Tyler who took the bullets. Who shot him? Stripper Emily was there, and so was Daniel, but we never saw anyone fire. Jack steps in to cover things up, which explains why we saw him with the body in episode 1.
But before Tyler’s demise, he managed to show Daniel some of Emily’s revenge paraphernalia – specifically the photograph of her targets, which she helpfully crossed out in red pen as each revenge scenario was executed. Didn’t I say she needed to stop hoarding all this evidence!?
And all in 42 minutes.
While I do feel a little duped by the editing bait and switch that made us think Daniel was the one who bought the farm, I am still in awe of the effortless way Revenge led us down this tangled arc. The arc has wrapped up mid-season, rather than as a season finale, which might have been more exciting – probably because the network picked up the first 13 episodes before later OKing the remaining 9.
So where to from here? We did get more hints of Grandpa Grayson being truly evil this week – I suspect we might be seeing more of him in the coming weeks. Conrad and Victoria’s divorce still has to play out, plus Daniel and Emily’s wedding, and of course, will Emily’s real identity ever be revealed?
I’ve struggled to put my finger on the reason I don’t unconditionally love Revenge, and I think I finally have it: the plot design is excellent – detailed and intriguing, and so well constructed. But (with the possible exception of Nolan) I don’t care all that much about any of the characters. I don’t have that hunger, like I do with the best television shows, to know right now what happens to them – whether Victoria will be redeemed, whether Emily gets her revenge, or (least of all) whether Jack will find happiness with Emily or otherwise. So I watch each week, and I’m entertained, but at this stage I would probably never think of the characters again if the show was cancelled now.
Best moment: Tyler: “How do I look?” Stripper Emily: “Under-medicated.”
Worst moment: slimy Grandpa Grayson emotionally blackmailing (the increasingly unhappy and prescription pill-popping) Charlotte into cancelling her counselling appointment.