'Revenge': 10 of Emily's Vengeance Tactics, Explained
The Rachel Leigh
In a flashback, we saw Emily wearing an outfit that made her look like Annie Hall in Portland circa 1993 (left). She was spying on a soused and poetry-quoting Daniel Grayson. Daniel actually spoke to Emily, but he didn't recognize her when they met in the Hamptons. Why? Because, as we learned from Rachel Leigh Cook's performance in She's All That (right), taking off your glasses makes you into an entirely different and vastly more memorable person. (The ''Rachel Leigh'' is a derivation of the ''Clark Kent,'' but with more frump.)
The Big-Budget Simon Pegg
Every protagonist needs their own private Magic Computer Sidekick — the person who can hack into government mainframes or install a futuristic surveillance camera or invent new quantum technology before breakfast. Usually, the Magic Computer Sidekick accomplishes these feats of technical virtuosity by going over to a keyboard and tapping a couple buttons. Emily Thorne has Nolan Ross, a cosmically successful Internet gazillionaire. No doubt Emily realized she needed Nolan's help after watching Simon Pegg's masterful work as J.J. Abrams' boy Friday in Star Trek and the two most recent Mission: Impossible movies. Like Pegg, Nolan is utterly infallible except in situations where his fallibility will create exciting problems for his commanding officer. (Pegg's got better fashion sense, though.)
The Bud Fox Back$tab
The only thing more fun than making a fortune on Wall Street is destroying somebody else's fortune on Wall Street. Way back in the second episode of Revenge, Emily annihilated the fortune of hedge fund guru Bill Harmon by giving him one piece of faulty inside information. She was just following the playbook established by Bud Fox in Wall Street, who strikes back against his nemesis using the same method. In both cases, the complex financial process of working within the stock market is accurately portrayed as a mob of people running around yelling ''The stocks are falling! We're ruined!''
The Inverted Mr. Ripley
In Patricia Highsmith's classic dirty-deeds thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley, the lead character becomes obsessed with glamourboy Dickie Greenleaf and struggles to seize the other man's identity. Emily Thorne brilliantly turned this strategy on its head by paying fellow juvie inmate Amanda Clarke to swap identities with her. It was a brilliant move. The identity swap turned Amanda — a girl with, let's say, somewhat low self-esteem — into an adoring Wormtongue-esque love slave. It also gave our Emily a handy made-to-order patsy — with ''Amanda Clarke'' around, no one would ever suspect Emily Thorne.
The Michael Dawson Bullet Wound; or, ''Ow, My Arm Hurts!''
When you're plotting a bit of skullduggery, the easiest way to throw the authorities off the trail is to make yourself a victim. Emily's takedown of traitorous shrink Dr. Banks climaxed when she played the psychiatrist's top-secret videotapes in full view of the Hamptons elite. Everyone in attendance was embarrassed: Revelations included ''I drove my children to summer camp loaded on painkillers and vodka'' and ''How can I explain to my husband that I slept with his sister?'' Most damaging of all was Victoria Grayson's admission that she sometimes wished she had never had her daughter Charlotte.
Emily was mindful to slip in her own embarrassing video, although her particular revelation was comically unembarrassing: ''It takes a lot for me to get physical. With anybody.'' (What a weirdo!) This was a vintage bait-and-switch in the grand tradition of Michael Dawson, the turncoat Lost castaway who killed two people and then covered up his crime by shooting himself in the arm.
The Samurai Batman
All the best superheroes have an East Asian origin story, in which we discover that an already awesome protagonist received a mystical combination of ninja and/or samurai training, thereby making them roughly 150 percent more awesome. The most famous example in recent years comes from Batman Begins, which built on a late-'80s story arc by Christoper Priest and revealed Batman's training as a Tibetan warrior monk. Emily Thorne even has her own personal Liam Neeson: Satoshi Takeda, semi-omniscient businessman and all-purpose shadowman. (Fun fact: Takeda is played by Hiroyuki Sanada, who played a samurai in The Last Samurai, which also starred Ken Watanabe, who played a role in Batman's East Asian origin story in Batman Begins.)
The Carrie Mathison
Emily spent the middle part of the season in a chess game with Tyler Barrol, Daniel's buddy from Harvard. The devious, unhinged Tyler knew that Emily was up to something. Rather than throw him off the scent, though, Emily pulled a classic espionage move: She drove the already half-crazy Tyler completely insane by making him paranoid about something that was actually true. Tyler was the only person in the Hamptons wise to Emily's game...but no one ever believes the crazypants guy holding a gun. Clearly, Emily was watching the first season of Homeland, where CIA agent Carrie Mathison slowly descends into madness by ranting about a secret conspiracy that might actually be real.
The Mia Kirshner Cat Burglar Explosion
Let's say you've committed a bit of petty theft and you're in need of a cover-up. Here's an idea: Burn everything. When Emily broke into writer Mason Treadwell's house to steal his videotapes, she covered up her crime by burning his house to the ground. It's a strategy perfected by femme fatale Mia Kirshner way back in the series premiere of 24. Onboard an airplane, Kirshner stole an ID card off the man in the seat next to her. Then she blew up the plane.
The Olivia Dunham Hair-Color Mood Ring
Blonde Emily is nice, pleasant, always quick with a smile. But that all goes out the window whenever she puts on a dark-hued wig; Brunette Emily is devious, cunning, prone to seducing strangers and poisoning food. It's a dichotomy familiar to viewers of Fringe, which features heroic blonde Olivia and the decidedly more devious ginger-brunette Fauxlivia. (Note Emily's Rachel Leigh glasses.)
The Caprica Six
Let's say you're an attractive young lady/robot. You've got a big vengeance plan, and the entire plot hinges on your ability to seduce an important man. Sounds easy, right? I mean, Mata Hari did it, and she was Dutch! Alas, as Emily has discovered over the course of the season, sometimes fake love can feel confusingly like real love. If only Emily had found the time — at some point in her years at Professor Takeda's Vengeance University — to watch Battlestar Galactica, in which Caprica Six's sexspionage act gets complicated by her feelings for perpetual patsy Gaius Baltar.