After a season filled with unbelievable plot twists, deaths and returns from the dead, Season 4 of Revenge began with a fairly low-key episode, taking place six months after the events of Season 3. In the fourth-season opener, “Renaissance,” Emily hosts a party full of surprises and Victoria tries to turn her misfortune into something beneficial. Meanwhile, David Clarke secretly plots his return.
Emily and Nolan are living in Grayson Manor, Jack is now a cop, Daniel is a few weeks away from becoming a rent-boy, Charlotte is a mess and Victoria is still locked up at the mental institution. Let’s get on to the Revenge review, shall we?
Clinging onto the False Present |With her Revenge-agenda (aka Revengenda) complete, Emily has found herself in a weird place. With her nemesis under lock and key, Emily is working to do some good with her wealth and power. One would think with nothing left to fear, Emily Thorne would be reborn as the real Amanda Clarke. Unfortunately, it took a lot of broken bodies for her to reach this point in her life, but what does she have to show for it? If Emily didn’t know it before, she certainly does now – revenge is the loneliest number.
“Everyone she loved is dead. The Graysons killed them all. They left me nothing to go back to, Nolan. This is all I have left.” – Emily Thorne to Nolan.
The Fallen Graysons | No one was hit harder by the Grayson’s fall from grace more than Daniel and Charlotte. Daniel, the heir apparent to the Grayson fortune, has been struggling to rehabilitate his family’s name while also playing up his image as a playboy. Unfortunately for Daniel, thanks to Gideon LeMarchal’s blackmail, he was forced to leave Voulez with former partner Margaux none the wiser. With no income coming in, but plenty going out (including paying for Charlotte’s $7000 a month rent), Daniel has resorted to selling off prized possessions to keep up appearances of wealth. If we thought Daniel took a turn to the darkside last season, I can only imagine what he’ll do this year with nothing left to lose. By the end of the episode, Daniel comes clean with Margaux about why he left the company. I know I probably shouldn’t want Daniel/Margaux together, but I think there’s a bond there that comes from being damaged from their families.
Meanwhile, Charlotte has taken to playing her own mind games, this time with Jack. After breaking of contact with Jack, she suddenly reappears his in life, taking his son without permission. Of course Charlotte just wanted Jack to feel the fear she felt last season when she was kidnapped and terrorized by Emily (which Jack was an accomplice to). When she’s not screwing with Jack, she’s screwing the sexy Gideo LeMarchal, boozing it up and snorting coke. A near arrest allows for Jack to come to her rescue, but I have a feeling Charlotte will all harder and deeper into the abyss before she’s reached.
Revengenda Gone Wrong | Though Nolan believed Emily had put her red sharpie behind her, it turns out that Ms. Thorne was simply being less conspicuous with her extracurricular activities. Fans were led to believe she had abandoned her cause as well, unaware that she was still weaving webs for prey. What seemed like an innocent fender bender was really the result of a carefully orchestrated scheme to bring peace and closure to a woman named Nancy who lost her fiancé in a boating accident the previous year. In reality, Nancy’s fiancé was killed due to one of the Hamptons’ elite’s negligence. Emily’s public takedown only brought back Nancy’s feelings of pain and loss.
Nancy: You know when you hit my car? It was kind of the best thing that had happened to me in a long time. It felt good to get upset about something so trivial. For so long, I couldn’t feel anything but hatred for that man out there. I got sick of hating. It is a useless, crippling emotion.
Emily: At least now he’ll be charged.
Nancy: Then what? He’s gonna hire fancy lawyers to fight it. If there’s a trial, it would take months, if not years, right? While I live the worst day of my life over and over again. Even if they find him guilty, what’s it all for? Nothing can bring back the people we love. Nothing.
It was a reminder that rang too close to home for Em, who, after finally bringing down everyone who had wronged her family, was still alone.
Bloodthirsty Snowflake | As Nolan pointed out, Emily’s addicted to the revenge games. But whereas Nolan thought she craved the power that came from being able to destroy those who’ve done wrong, Amanda’s reluctance to let go of her life as Emily Thorne has a deeper meaning. Without Emily Thorne, who is Amanda Clarke? She’s lost everyone she’s ever loved. Her father is dead (or so she thinks). The love of her life was murdered by her Victoria. She ruined any chance of happiness with Jack, and Daniel is just not an option (ever). When Emily called Nolan to apologize for her revenge-agenda gone wrong, she admitted a harsh truth about herself. While she may have empathized with Nancy and wanted to protect her from becoming like her, she realized there’s no one like her. Nolan, the ever loyal friend was there to offer support in a way that only he could.
“You’re a snowflake. A unique, bloodthirsty snowflake,” he tells her.
“That’s just it isn’t it? Like you said, I’m an addict,” Emily responded. “That thirst has become a part of me. I don’t know who I am without it. Maybe I don’t want to.”
I don’t want to read too much into that line, but it reminded me of a vigilante comic-book hero who loses his/herself once they’ve avenged all there is to avenge. Who is Bruce Wayne without Batman? Who is Peter Parker without Spiderman? Who is Amanda Clarke without Emily Thorne? Better yet, who is Emily Thorne without her revenge? That’s something I want to see explored this season.
Get Me Out of Here | “I made my peace with those who have wronged me and with those who I’ve wronged.” If only that were true.
As far as the world is concerned, Victoria fled after the death of her fiancée and ex-husband. In reality, Victoria’s been institutionalized for the past six months thanks to Emily. When the new season begins, Victoria’s still inside, plotting her escape and the downfall of the woman who put her in there. Victoria plays nice, all the while scheming to find a way out. She manages to get hold of a cell phone, making her first contact with the outside world – unfortunately for Mrs. Grayson, it’s with the woman who locked her up in the first place. Undeterred, Victoria enlists a new inmate to help her plan an escape. And what a glorious escape it is.
Dancing with the Devil | It wouldn’t be Revenge if there wasn’t at least one face-to-face bitchoff between Emily and Victoria, and “Renaissance” didn’t disappoint. After fleeing the mental institution, Victoria makes a beeline straight for Grayson Manor. “Oh, you didn’t invite me to your party,” snarked Victoria upon Emily opening the door. After setting the tone by calling Emily by her given name, Victoria tells Emily she now knows how she felt when she first returned to the Hamptons.
Victoria warns Emily about the hell she’s about to bring on herself. “If you’d only come clean then. You could have known the truth. You could have reunited with your sister and prevented her so much pain, but instead you chose revenge. Now it’s my turn.”
Emily is responsible for the way her life has turned out since returning to the Hamptons. Victoria is right, Emily could have handled this very differently, but she has to live with the consequences of her actions. I’m sure Victoria is planning a special vortex of hell to unleash upon Emily, that is if she escapes Daniel Clarke’s clutches unscathed.
Final Thoughts | Solid premiere. I wouldn’t call the premiere a complete “reset” of the show, but more of a “re-shift”. Characters had to be moved to a different place than we last saw and it worked for the most part. I’m not really sure how David Clarke fits into this season (and for the moment I don’t care), but I’m willing to give the show a chance to make it work. I don’t want a retread of David’s hatred for the Graysons, that’s been carried out through Emily. I’d rather the show throw us a plot twist and have David and Victoria reunite. Emily’s head would explode!
Next week on Revenge: Emily stops at nothing in her search for Victoria, who’s at the mercy of her own sinister secret.