Revenge recap – 1×22: ‘Reckoning’

Courtesy of ABC via WetPaint

Well, that’s a wrap on the buzziest, most compulsively addictive show of the season. And if you liked cliffhangers, then you scored the mother load as Revenge broke out every twist and turn it could think of.

Let’s bitch it out…

All season long, critics and fans alike have described Revenge as a ‘guilty pleasure’. After 22 episodes, I’m inclined to both agree and disagree with this title as the show has proven that it has the capacity to both surprise and delight just as often as it is unable to overcome it’s pulpy, soapy roots. The finale was a perfect demonstration of that as a few story lines ended with a genuinely unexpected flourish, while others ended exactly the way we figured they would.

So how did things end up? Let’s run down the list of cliffhangers:

Cliffhanger 1: Emily (Emily VanCamp) rescues Nolan (Gabriel Mann) from the clutches of the James Morrison’s White Haired Man (WHM) and they have a kick-ass, Alias-worthy smack down involving an axe, a scalpel and some Takeda-taught Kung Fu. If you were looking for an adversary worthy of our blonde heroine, WHM proved a solid match. Boo on dear old dad, David Clarke (James Tupper) for chiming in as  Emily’s conscience and preventing the kill, though.

Verdict:  Admittedly this is more of an event than a cliffhanger, but whatever it is, it’s solid. The fight scene is well executed, appropriately gritty and offers a sliver of redemption for our frequently morally challenged protagonist.

Cliffhanger 2: Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) convinces professional flip-flipper Lydia (Amber Valletta) to join her on the SEC plane to testify against Conrad (Henry Czerny) in Washington. In one of the night’s most obvious – and soapy – plot lines, the jet explodes, killing everyone on board.

Verdict: Obviously the Ice Queen is NOT dead. Creator Mike Kelly would be insane to get rid of the most hissable villain on primetime in years AND Stowe brings a credibility (and awards-worthy) buzz to the show. Expect the Grayson matriarch to return as an amnesiac after a stint on a deserted island or something before resuming her ultra-beyotch duties. Everyone else? Likely not so lucky. I fear we may have heard the last of poor Lydia. Though she has proven herself adept at surviving a fall from great heights, someone has to die in the crash, right? Put your bets on the blonde bimbo and call it a day.

Cliffhanger 3: In the other obvious storyline, Charlotte (waste of space Christa B. Allen) finally ODs on pills after hearing the news about Victoria and getting the brush off from Declan (Connor Paolo). Unfortunately it looks like Conrad finds her in time…

Verdict: …so I doubt that we’re free of this blank slate just yet. Plus, you know they’re going to want to do more with dull boring Charlotte since she’s Emily’s sister. Hope you’re saving those paychecks, sweetie, because if the show ever figures out what a drag you are, you’ll be back at the bottom of the pill bottle before you can say “unemployed actress”

Courtesy of ABC via SpoilerTV

Cliffhanger 4: The biggest stunner of the night for me: Fauxmanda (Margarita Levieva) returns…and she’s not riding solo. Holy cow, the girl is the size of a house and the baby is Jack’s (Nick Wechsler)!

Verdict: In hindsight this is a great way to let Jack and Emily inch closer to a relationship while still keeping them apart. It is also undeniably frustrating after the kiss last week. The pained looks on both their faces in the Stowaway is heartbreaking (and great acting). Kudos to VanCamp for the raw display of emotion after she bails and then falls apart on the pier outside. Tears for everyone!

Cliffhanger 5: The episode ends with news of the jet crash, which causes Em further grief since it contains the only evidence that could have exonerated her dad. Luckily she’s still best-ies with Nolan, who swoops in with a convenient back-up of all the decrypted files that just happen to reveal that Em’s mother is still alive. Dum dum dum!

Verdict: This is pretty familiar territory for (nighttime) soaps, especially when we don’t see the actual death. I think most of us expected that David Clarke is still alive, so the introduction of a barely mentioned mother character has all sorts of potential and circumvents the “ugh…boo!” reaction most of us would have had if David Clarke strolled through the door. That will likely happen at the end of season three or something!

Other Observations:

  • The final other pseudo-cliffhanger? Tattle-tell Ashley (Ashley Madewke) finally gets her hands dirty by breaking up Daniel (Joshua Bowman) and Em after revealing she saw the latter kiss Jack. The two ends up drinking expensive scotch in his party boy guest house at Grayson manor and the obvious suggestion is that they’ll start season two sans clothing (or mid coitus).  Verdict: Meh. I’ve been waiting for Ashley’s big move for most of the season so this feels like a good step towards becoming a younger, more British version of Victoria (though if we’re being honest this behaviour is much more of what we’d expect from Lydia). If this is the first step in making Ashley the villain we all expect her to be, then it’s okay. If she never goes beyond the pretty, but boring Grayson Global employee, then I reserve the right to wish she had been on a certain jet to Washington.
  • Does anyone care about Charlotte’s sabotage of new prep student Jamie? Obviously the main reason this mini-plot exists is to a) separate Declan and Charlotte so that he won’t take her calls in her hour of need and b) to show that Charlotte is as bad as Conrad and Victoria. I mostly just enjoyed Victoria’s advice about retribution: it’s okay if they deserved it, and if they didn’t, forgive yourself and move on. Umm…does that not seem right to anyone else? Lol
  • I’ve gathered that Lydia may not be anyone’s favourite character on the show, but I thought the way that Conrad “said goodbye” to her after she flipped back to Victoria and testifying was really poignant. It was a nice tender moment because they both know what she’s about to do, and he knows that he’s going to blow her out of the sky.
  • The song playing during the hyper-melodramatic closing montage is Florence & The Machine’s ‘Seven Devils.’ It was also prominently featured in one of the Game Of Thrones trailers and likely an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (or a forthcoming one), which means that Florence Welch has basically cornered the market on dramatically epic music. Watch your back Clint Mansell (Lux Aeterna)!
  • Speaking of epic, the best line of the night goes to Victoria regarding her empty box engagement present to Emily. “I knew even before your engagement party that your future with Daniel was as empty as that box.” Zing! That’s almost as good as her line to Lydia in ‘Guilt’ (from 0:18-0:44)

And that, Revenge-rs, is our first season. Care to share your favourite moments? Which cliffhanger did you enjoy the most? And what do you think will happen in season two? See you all in fall 2012!

Revenge has concluded its first season on ABC. The show moves to Sundays at 9pm EST in the fall.

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

One thought on “Revenge recap – 1×22: ‘Reckoning’

  1. The fight was definitely the high point, but did you get the impression that Ems and WHM have an understanding? I mean, he winked at her via the camera in Conrad’s office, and he didn’t tell Conrad about her. Something’s up there. Maybe because at the time he thought she had all the evidence.

    Fauxmanda’s return…damn damn damn! (where’s that punch bowl?)

    Funny how the younger Grayson clique mirrors the older folks. Daniel/Conrad, Charlotte/Victoria, Ashley/Lydia.

    The big season 2 reveal will be centered around Jack and the Amandas (the new singing sensation).

    So not looking forward to the very Alias-esque cliffhanger. I mean, the mother is still alive? Really? Why? #Ugh

    Hurry up and post that #Awake recap. That was a great finale.

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