'Revenge' post-mortem: EP breaks down the finale's biggest twists
WARNING: This story contains spoilers from the season finale of Revenge. Proceed with caution, West Coast!
Fans of ABC’s twisted Hamptons drama-fest Revenge learned earlier this week that the show would be returning for a fourth season, and thank the TV Gods for that. Because after tonight’s season finale, which featured multiple deaths and one HUGE twist, we’re guessing there would have been a few not-so happy fans. “I was telling everyone, if we didn’t get picked up, that was going to be the ultimate act of revenge,” jokes exec producer Sunil Nayar, who called EW to break down the show’s boldest finale yet.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, woah! Victoria has been committed.
SUNIL NAYAR: She was always committed but she never thought she’d be committed like this.
Exactly! Obviously, this was a great cliffhanger because it’s very full circle. But tell me why you thought this was a good place to end her for the season.
We always knew that we wanted the end points to be big swings and let us get the audience to a place they thought we’d never go. And then, honestly, to go a few more steps past that. I think there’s been that sense of, ‘Oh my God, what happens when Victoria finds out who Emily is?’ And we wanted to answer that question but also reset the balance so it wasn’t like Victoria can just come charging back to the Hamptons and unmask Emily completely in front of everybody. It’s so they can both have victories and losses in the sense of this war that they are waging against each other. Each battle has kind of like psychological deliciousness. We wanted Emily to win in the moment because she knows Victoria will eventually get out of this asylum, and who knows what she’ll come back to be and armed with. It gave us a lot more psychological ammunition for both Emily and Victoria going forward.
Is there going to be a time jump next season?
That’s one of the things we’re really talking about. We have all these great cliffhangers that sort of dictate a direct pickup. By the same token, the same thing happened last year and we figured out a few ways to jump forward. So that’s one of the things we’re really looking to do. And ultimately, with next season, one of the things we’re really committed to doing is deliver the show people still love but also feels very different. We have a real opportunity to not only get the fans who have been with us for three years excited, but also bring in people who don’t have to know three years of mythology. So it’s a great question and it’s one we’re discussing.
What’s your goal for next season, storytelling-wise?
I think the last three episodes are a really good indication of the sort of tone and the dark and the delicious and the kind of shock that we love. We really want to get into the emotion that drives every single one of these characters. And now that we’ve reached the place where David Clark’s name is cleared and, obviously, David Clark himself is back to clear up a lot of the things that have happened to him in the last 20 years, I think we have the opportunity to change the form of it. Because it’s not going to be about crossing off names on a list of who wronged David Clark. By the same token, Emily now has to deal with the fact that Victoria has killed Aiden and Victoria believes Emily has had a hand in killing Pascal. So each of them has a new mission of revenge that’s very much in the present and one the audience doesn’t have to catch up with because they were there when these things happened. We think the concept of revenge is still vital, but we think we can approach it in different ways.
So, since you brought up David Clark — whaaaaaattt?!?! I said that about 10 times during the last five minutes, FYI. Walk me through this twist — why and how.
Again, it felt like it was one of those game-changing things we needed going into season 4. And I know people have always been like, ‘Is he [alive]?’ ‘Is he not?’ And I’m very curious to see what the audience’s reaction is going to be because my gut says it’s going to be a little bit polarizing. But I definitely think it’s going to be one of those things where’s there’s going to be nobody who won’t come back to see A) How he’s still alive and B) What on earth is going to happen when he shows up. We have the chance, again, [to explore] Emily. She had that conversation with Nolan where he said, ‘Who are you going to be when this is over?’ And she said, ‘I don’t know who Amanda Clark is anymore.’ The only way to up the ante of that is to make somebody who loves that girl so dearly return. But now he’ll be a man that she won’t really know. One of the reasons we really wanted to bring him back was because it gives us so many places to psychologically go with this story, for everybody. And the other thing we wanted to do was, when we reintroduced him, he’s no longer a man about forgiveness. So our audience knows something that our people don’t, which is, even though David Clark is back, this isn’t the guy that young Amanda knew, this isn’t the guy Victoria knew. It’s someone completely different. We think that’s going to be a great presence on the show and give us a lot of great stories.
He did kill Conrad in those last minutes, like you mentioned. Was that simply a sacrifice that had to be made?
Sadly it was. And you know, we haven’t actually seen him die. You never know what may or may not happen going into next season. Though, he looks pretty good and on the road to death. But it was one of those things we thought of as we got toward the end of the season. For us, for the audience, for the story, Emily really needed a win because she’s Emily Thorne. And so it’s a heartbreak because every human being and everyone on this cast and crew adores Henry [Czerny] and the character. The only sell that was happy about this was the creative sell. Every other sell, it broke my heart and everyone else’s heart. But it was the right choice to make.
You also killed Aiden. And he’s definitely dead. Thanks for the super creepy fireplace scene, by the way. Talk to me about how this revenge will be different than the one previously with her dad.
It certainly reignites her revenge in a way she’s never known before. She knows who she is with Aiden and she was an adult with Aiden. So it’s in that same sort of way that when someone loses a parent when they’re young and someone loses a parent in their 20s or 30s, it’s a very different impact. So we’ve seen what happens to a girl who’s lost her parent and…we’ve explored this season how she sort of idealized her father and we brought him back to show he’s not the man she knew. But when you lose the love of your life, it’s much more intense. There’s much more longing. And it’s a person with whom she planned to spend her life. And so the fact that he’s dead, again, is a great loss for the show because we adored Barry [Sloane]. But we thought if we’re bringing David back, something has to drive her fury in the present.
As much as Aiden grew on me and got me on board, will Aiden’s death make way for more Jack/Emily? Was that the plan or a happy accident?
I mean, it’s not a happy accident but it’s the nature of how these relationships work. We saw at the beginning of the season how Jack and Emily were completely blown apart. And in the second half of the season we were bringing them back together. But certainly the one person who will understand the loss she’s experiencing is Jack because he lost the woman he fell in love with and the mother of his child. So they get to connect not only on the level of what they mean to each other but there’s also an element of grief and anger. So we’re definitely going to see the relationship deepen and grow.
What’s on your wishlist for Nolan next season?
On our wishlist for Nolan is that we just let him embrace life again. We want a lot more of him and Emily together. Obviously, we’re going to explore some of the darker themes of the show, but we need to balance that with light and fun and intrigue and the glamor, and obviously, Nolan and Gabriel [Mann] is sort of our ticket to that land. And we want him to help balance out Emily in a way because she’s going to be grieving, certainly. But he wants her to enjoy the life they have and the victories they’ve had. So one of the things for Nolan is to enjoy life and another thing for Nolan is a sort of healthy love interest. Of course, in the world of Revenge there is no such thing as a healthy love, but something less crazy and murderous than the people he’s been involved with thus far.
Good news for him.