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'Revenge' recap: 'Burn'

Posted on

Richard Cartwright/ABC

Revenge

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
4
run date:
09/21/11
performer:
Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe
broadcaster:
ABC
genre:
Drama

Since Revenge returned for the second half of its season, the show has felt like it’s putting all the pieces in place for the endgame—and tonight’s episode amplified that feeling. (But of course whether it actually is ending is still a big question mark.) “Burn” returned to a question that the show has been toying around with all season: Will Emily—and Nolan, to an extent—ever really be done with the revenge? If there’s one thing television and movies have taught us, it’s that every time you think yo’reu out, you’re pulled right back in. After the ending of tonight’s episode, which eschewed subtlety and nailed this point on the head, it’s clear that Emily’s ending might not be so happy. 

Even in Revenge‘s less than engrossing post-season 1 years, the one thing the show has almost always gotten right is Emily and Nolan’s relationship. It is definitely one of the show’s strongest assets, so last week’s outing and the beginning of tonight’s have been rather hard on Revenge fans—as it sucks to see Nolan and Emily on the outs. Since their falling out last week, they’ve only talked about things that need to be handled and nothing else. While out shopping for a new suit at a fashion show, Tony, the child service worker, sees how much Nolan is hurting from the falling out and convinces him to go talk things through with Emily.

Nolan does just that and it’s exactly what the doctor orders. Yes, Emily is still rather annoyed that he kept the files, but she understands now how much her mission meant to him. Their conversation covers some of the same beats as last week, but eventually they reach a resolution and Emily reassures him that he’ll never lose her. With this handled, it’s time to turn their attention back to monitoring Victoria and making sure they’re ready should she try anything with the evidence. And, once this sitch is handled, they can both have real, normal lives. 

For the past week, Victoria has been channeling her inner hermit as she hides from the world inside her hotel room at Margaux’s suggestion. Watching a legitimately scared and defeated Victoria is compelling in a way that the show hasn’t been in a long time. The episode touches on what it is like to finally lose, to finally know what it feels like to be almost powerless. Louise thinks it’s time for Victoria to re-enter the world and the two decide to go out for lunch. Unfortunately, they have to cancel their lunch plans because someone attacks Victoria and steals something from her purse. Believing it to be Emily, the three women decide to turn the evidence stolen from Nolan’s computer over to the FBI. 

Nolan intercepts Margaux’s call to Victoria, thus giving Emily her opportunity to steal and destroy the evidence. During Margaux and Victoria’s meeting with the FBI, Emily pulls the hotel’s fire alarm to draw them out. Vic and Margaux know what’s up and hand the flashdrive over to the FBI agent, but as they evacuate, Emily, disguised as a fireman, manages to steal it from him. The moment Victoria, Margaux, and the FBI agent realize this is truly interesting because it sends Victoria into a panic attack of the likes we never expected to see the former Queen of the Hamptons go through. 

As Emily stole the evidence, Nolan was busy throwing a fundraiser for his new boyfriend’s cause. Emily told him to sit this one out because the fundraiser is Nolan’s first step toward building a post-red Sharpie life, and to bail on Tony would damage their relationship. Because this is the Hamptons, something does go wrong at the party: Hurricane Louise barrels through. She shows up and implies, in front of Tony’s boss, that Tony broke up her and Nolan’s marriage—which is the last thing you want to say about someone who works in child services. The scene she throws is all an attempt to get Nolan alone and record him confessing to his and Emily’s plans, but Nolan’s no idiot and handles her without a sweat. Louise has no idea who she is dealing with.

NEXT: A surprising return

[pagebreak]

At the beginning of tonight’s episode, Jack changed Amanda’s gravestone to her real name. Emily showed up to pay her respects, and in their ensuing conversation Jack realized that Emily would never really be done with this life. But, he is ready to done and is done waiting around for her. Jack decides to follow his mother back to Los Angeles with Carl and to put all of this behind him. Upon finding out, Nolan tries to convince him to stay, but Jack’s not hearing it. He told Emily how he felt and she turned him around for the 100th time. There’s only so much rejection a man can take! 

Nolan rushes to Emily’s home to talk some sense into her. He begs her to get over herself, to finally admit that Jack is the one, and to go after him. She refuses because she thinks she doesn’t deserve him after causing him so much pain. Unfortunately, Ben overhears their conversation and realizes what she did when his character was first introduced: The show Emily was just using him to hide from a post-revenge life and her feelings for Jack. With her and Ben officially over, Emily comes to her senses and decides to go after Jack. But, she’s too late. Jack ignores her phone call, and by time she gets to the airport, the plane has already taken off. 

Obviously, Emily’s feeling pretty low at this point, but Revenge never shies away from kicking her while she’s down. None other than Mason Treadwell shows up to rub her pain in. It’s not clear if he’s the one we saw circling her name at the end of last week’s episode, but let’s just assume that was him until we find out otherwise. Mason saw Emily’s interview, the interview she promised him a year ago, and has now returned to get what’s his. Of all of Conrad’s conspirators, Mason may be the one who understands Emily the most. He knows she was hoping for some kind of happy ending, but he’s there to tell her there isn’t one waiting for her at the end of this journey. Not only is she stuck in this cycle of hatred and revenge, but she’s alone inside of it because everyone close to her is moving on with their lives.

To an extent, Mason is right: She’ll never be done. While he’s monologuing, Victoria, dressed in a fabulous red sequin dress, is sitting in her beloved chair, which is back in its rightful place inside Grayson Manor. This is the end for her. She turns the fireplace gas on, and once gas has permeated through the living room, she ignites a lighter and the home explodes with her seemingly inside.

Let’s be real: Revenge is a soap opera and almost definitely doesn’t have the guts to kill off it’s second leading lady like this, nor do I believe Victoria is the type of person to commit suicide. But, the development is interesting nonetheless. This move is the last card she has to play. If Emily is insistent on taking her down, she’s going down with Victoria. Once her body is discovered, Emily will become the police’s main suspect, and the chance that Mason would provide her with an alibi is very slim. We’ll have to wait until next week to see how this plays out.

Let’s assume this is indeed the end of Revenge‘s run. It’s hard to imagine the show would actually follow through on Mason’s predictions. Throughout its run, Revenge has shied away from 100 percent committing to holding its heroine accountable—and that’s understandable. She’s the main character and it’s hard not to root for her. This isn’t Breaking Bad where we’re supposed to realize that Walter White is a monster; Emily has several redeeming qualities. So, we definitely don’t need to worry about a dark ending for Emily, but it’ll still be interesting to see if Revenge manages to craft a bittersweet-ish ending for her, or just commits fully to her and Jack happily ever after on a boat.

EXTRAS: 

  • David has lymphoma, but has not told Emily because he doesn’t want to ruin her good mood. She seems happy for once. 
  • At first Margaux objected to Louise’s involvement in Victoria’s life, but by the end of the episode, she’s put their past behind them and allies herself with Louise to take Emily and Nolan down. 
  • Tony is not upset about Louise’s scene at the fundraiser and comes back to Nolan, which surprises Nolan. Does Tony’s understanding make anyone else worried that he’ll turn out to be a bad guy? There aren’t good and understanding people in the world of Revenge.

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