“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, build two graves.” —Confucius (504 B.C.)
Revenge‘s pilot, which aired in 2011, opened with this ominous quote indicating that its The Count of Monte Cristo-inspired tale was serious. It wasn’t merely concerned with delivering soapy plot twists and schadenfreude amusement from Emily Thorne’s takedowns of the One Percent. It was interested the consequences of Emily’s revengenda: What would be the costs of her quest? Once it was over, would there be anything left of Amanda Clarke in her to go back to? Emily’s life wasn’t just at stake, her soul was, too. Throughout its fourth season, this theme was brought into sharper relief as more of the characters found out her real identity and the show neared its finish line.
As the title suggests, the series finale revisits the above quote. Wasting no time diving into the state of Emily’s soul, “Two Graves” opens with a flashback—the first of many—to little Amanda Clarke practicing her double infinities as grown up Emily waxes poetic about how the delineation of good and evil becomes blurred when life becomes more complicated and you have to rationalize crossing it. David joins little Amanda on the steps and tells her that people aren’t born bad; it is their actions that make them bad. Unaware of what’s to come—his arrest—David promises that should his little girl ever stray off the path of good, he’ll be there to steer her back on. It’s terribly on the nose, but this is classic Revenge, so we’re not complaining.
Jumping forward to the present, a detective passing Emily’s cell informs her of Ben’s passing, thus making him the latest casualty in her four-season-long war against Victoria. It’s time to get back into the game and to initiate a plan she and Nolan formulated should one of them ever be incarcerated again. After confessing in court to murdering Victoria, Emily is transferred to a maximum security prison—one for which she and Nolan have an escape plan.
Following the “horrific” events in Mary Gaines’ home, Victoria returns to the city to meet up with Margaux, who has prepared for her a new identity and safe passage to France on a private airline. News of Emily’s in-court confession reaches Margaux and Victoria’s ears. The conversation eventually turns to the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, and it is here that Victoria reveals she used her mother’s corpse in the fire.
In another flashback, we see that Victoria paid her ailing mother a visit in the hospital shortly after Emily’s interview. Victoria’s mother, Marion Harper, a.k.a Mary Gaines, is more wicked than her daughter. She explains that she changed her name just to hide from her daughter. Victoria demands to know who her father, and her mother cruelly tells her that it was her fiancée, the one with whom Marion found Victoria in bed. This entire scene is by far one of Revenge‘s more ridiculous plot twists. It’s unnecessary to the plot and merely serves a thematic purpose. We’re meant to see that Victoria, unlike Emily, never had a parent, or anyone for that matter, who cared enough to save her from her path of darkness. Did Revenge need to introduce incest into the equation to drive this point home? No. However, it is with this tortured history with her own mother that Victoria promises to go to her grave before letting anyone hurt her children again after hearing about Emily’s in-court confession.
With ease, Emily escapes from prison. This news quickly reaches Margaux, who is horrified after she finds out that Victoria attended her own funeral to see her children one last time. Sadly, neither Charlotte nor Patrick was in attendance. (Real talk: She just wanted to attend her own funeral because who wouldn’t want to do that). Moved by Louise’s heartfelt words and grief, Victoria decides to tell Louise that she’s alive. “Hello, Poppet,” she says to a stunned Louise, thus revealing her secret love of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
Meanwhile, Jack and a newly freed Emily head to New Jersey to search Mary Gaines’ home. They find evidence that Victoria was there and Ben was killed there. News of Emily’s escape is already out, so Nolan commands them to stay put to avoid capture. It doesn’t take long for Emily to grow restless, but thankfully Jack is there to calm her down and make her feel safe. In one of several meta moments from tonight’s finale, Jack passionately kisses Emily because he doesn’t want this whole mess to end without doing that. After four years of build-up, Hamptons’ most annoying will-they-or-won’t-they couple finally sleeps together.
When Emily wakes up, she finds a note from Jack saying he went out to get food. With him gone, there’s no one there to stop her from tracking down another lead: how Victoria faked her dental records. Emily heads to a dentists’ office and finds Mary Gaines’ original records. Unfortunately, this victory is short-lived because Nolan, who has been monitoring Margaux’s accounts, informs her that Margaux recently transferred money to a notorious assassin’s (White Gold) account. Naturally, the assassin’s first stop is Mary Gaines’ home, where she finds and near fatally stabs Jack, who puts up a helluva fight before falling.
NEXT: A spin-off?