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‘Revenge’ Season 3 Finale Review: The Price of War

ABC/Colleen Hayes

The third season of Revenge came to a close last night with some shocking events as well as a few entirely too predictable ones. It’s been a bumpy ride and it’s hard to believe that just 22 episodes ago, the season opened with Daniel and Emily returning to the Hamptons for the summer to plan their nuptials. That seems like it happened years ago along with their fairy tale wedding that ended with the groom shooting the bride and watching her fall overboard.

One of the biggest flaws with this show has always been its inability to keep momentum going for 22 episodes. If we were to chart the progress of all three seasons, the graphs would all follow the same pattern. They’d start out strong, begin to dip around episode four or five and then jump up when it was time for the midseason hiatus around episode 10 or 11. Next, would be the steep dive until around episode 18 when things would skyrocket once more leading into the finale. This happens every single season and it’s infuriating that the writers don’t seem to be in any hurry to break this pattern.

True to form, “Execution,” was a jam packed episode meant to keep viewers glued to their screens, only able to tweet or text ‘OMG!’ and ‘WTF?’ and ‘Did that just happen?!’ as they waited to see where the episode would go next until the final credits rolled. Unfortunately, a lot of the twists and turns were nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Sure, it gave Twitter plenty of things to buzz about, but the way power shifts in the Hamptons is starting to resemble rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. What difference does it make at this point?

Last week, Conrad Grayson, evil mastermind, was dumb enough to confess his sins after berating Charlotte, the one and only person he’s always loved (aside from that initial breakdown when he learned that she was David’s daughter). But fine, the show needed a way to put Conrad behind bars so they made his ego his downfall. This week, the investigation into the plane bombing was reopened and David Clarke was cleared of all charges. It was a lovely moment for Emily as she sat in the back of the courtroom while Conrad was hauled off. She’s waited a long time for this and it’s amazing that David’s name has finally been cleared. But we’re not ending the show there so it’s time to find new reasons for Emily to hate the Grayson family.

Enter Victoria. She’s broken up about her true love Pascal dying (wasn’t David Clarke her true love? And then there was that painter and that bodyguard…but fine, for the sake of this storyline, Pascal was her true love). So Queen Victoria goes straight into vengeance mode and decides to take away Emily’s true love so that she may suffer the same fate as Victoria. Even though I was expecting it, I still was not prepared to see Aiden die. Victoria teamed up with her former psychiatrist to lure Aiden into a trap and then she used some kind of paralyzing agent on him and smothered him with a pillow. How dare you, Victoria?

If all of that was not bad enough, Victoria placed his body upright on Emily’s couch for her to find when she got home (NONE of this is okay). Emily fell apart when she realized Aiden was dead (bravo to Emily VanCamp for once again being flawless). Nolan tried to console her as Emily talked about how much she loved Aiden and how they could have been happy together (seriously, they could have had it all!). After the breakdown scene, it was time for Emily to put her game face back on and go confront Victoria for what she’d done. Of course there was something Victoria wanted to confront Emily about as well.

Victoria had put the pieces together and knew the truth: Emily was Amanda. But Emily was careful not to confirm that in any way as she casually dug up David and Amanda’s graves because that’s a totally normal thing to do while you’re grieving. Emily and Victoria continued yelling at each other and then Emily turned around and knocked Victoria out with the shovel (BAMF). Was this the end of Victoria? Of course not, but for a moment, it seemed like it would be and that truly would have been a shocking, OMFG way to end a finale.

We’ll get back to those two later, but let’s talk about the other moments that had people talking. Charlotte continued to be angry at the world (mini Emily). She turned on Jack and when he tried to talk to her, something clicked in her brain and she realized he was one of her kidnappers. Charlotte instantly forgot about everything Jack has done for her over the years and she had him arrested. Seriously, Charlotte? Congratulations on doing the impossible: you’ve made me side with Jack. The question will be whether Jack actually takes the fall or conveniently blames everything on Aiden since he’s dead (sobs) and will make a good scapegoat.

Speaking of scapegoats, Daniel, aka the worst, is in for a sorry awakening of his own thanks to Nolan and Gideon. The two teamed up to take him down and Gideon’s solution was setting Daniel up with a dead woman in his bed and taking blackmail pictures. Nolan wasn’t too happy about being an accomplice to murder (technically she OD’d), but he’s also not complaining that much about having the goods on Daniel. Personally, I wish they’d just killed Daniel because I cannot take another moment of his ego or his snide remarks. But that might just be me. I know Daniel is a product of his parents and Emily and all the ways they’ve manipulated him over the years, but he’s also a grown man and has made plenty of his own bad choices so no sympathy.

Now for the moment fans have been predicting since season one. Conrad escaped from jail with some help from a guard. He was dressed as a priest (obviously) and escorted to a van that would get him to safety. But guess who was driving that van? David Clarke! And his first order of business was to stab Conrad and leave him for dead on the side of the road. I have so many issues with this entire thing. 1) Conrad better not be dead. 2) While David being alive is by far the most predictable thing ever, the manner in which he returned is the absolute worst. 3) What kind of father would let Amanda go through what she went through all of these years? It would be one thing if he’d been held prisoner somewhere, but it looks like he was just waiting for his own revenge opportunity. 4) If we’re supposed to root for him, this story is already failing.

Finally, the last scene is Victoria waking up in a mental hospital with Emily by her side. Victoria screams that Emily is Amanda and rants about everything she did while Emily just keeps a straight face and assures Victoria that she’s going to get the help she deserves. This was truly a brilliant move and I will applaud the show for this because it’s very much what she deserves. However, flipping the show on its head going into next season and having Victoria as the one out for revenge is a hard pill to swallow. Why would we root for the woman who has done so many terrible things, including killing Aiden? Amanda was an innocent girl who lost everything and that made us want to root for Emily (at least when this first started). I don’t see how we’re supposed to just throw all that out and want to watch Victoria take Emily down.

So there you have it – a messy end to a messy season. Emily got her revenge, but lost her true love. Victoria has lost everything. Charlotte and Daniel are the worst. Jack might be facing a prison sentence. Conrad may or may not be dead. And David Clarke has been alive all of this time, letting his daughter suffer. Seriously, who exactly are we supposed to be rooting for on this show?

Now it’s your turn. Did you enjoy the finale? Which surprise was your favorite? Did you think everything was predictable? Will you miss Aiden? Will you support Victoria’s quest for revenge? Where has David Clarke been? Hit the comments and share your thoughts and theories with us!

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.

  • Amber

    I’ll be real honest, I thought Emily was going to bury Victoria in Amanda’s grave. What actually happened is so much better.

  • Marcy

    I hate what they did to Aiden. Like, it was really fucked up. That was more painful to me than when fauxmanda died, which is saying a lot. I had high hopes for this season, thinking that it would be closer to its season one glory days, but that just wasn’t the case, and I left the finale feeling disappointed, confused, and hurt. I’m afraid to keep watching, honestly. I don’t want my view of the show to be completely tainted by this last season especially.
    Aiden dying was not a surprise; it’s been obvious that they were setting it up all season. (“A love that I would die for…”)
    The David Clarke thing wasn’t a surprise either, but they did it in a terrible way. Like, really Revenge? REALLY?!

  • Tovah

    I don’t think the writers want us to root for Victoria at all. In that moment, I was rooting for Emily and thinking, “Ok, step 1 is in place. What ELSE could she have in store for Victoria?” I see this as only the beginning of Emily’s revenge on Victoria, and I can’t wait.