Revenge-Two Graves-Emily VanCamp1
Four years ago, when Revenge was newly born, I was its most eager critic.  Even the earliest advertisements of the primetime soap opera relied heavily on comparing the show to the fantastic plight of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  A lofty ambition for any would-be drama, Revenge quickly rose and fell in the shadow of the classic novel’s looming shadow.  The first half of the premiere season quickly brought esteem thanks to all Emily and Nolan’s red sharpie takedowns.  After the show sputtered to a slow bucking pace midway through the first year.  The constant cycle of meandering episodes followed by a few baseless thrilling ones never filled the void.  The entire second season was awash with The Iniative, a plot so convoluted and bogged in failure the third began with the anti-hero Amanda swearing to never mention it again.  It wasn’t until the last season finale that Revenge truly challenged itself, finally accomplishing Amanda’s aims.  Stretching the shows concept and reintroducing David to the fray was a Hail Mary that fell short of being the drama’s saving grace.  And now fans are forced to tend to “Two Graves, mourning what might have been and what almost was.  Haphazard as it may have been, this is the end that Amanda Clarke has come to, regardless of whether Edmund Dantes would have approved.

To get to the ending we must start at the beginning, with the two pillars of Revenge escaping very different, but very secure custody.  The Ice Queen Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) finally reentered the real world, stealing up to Margaux’s (Karine Vanasse) new office floor.  Disguised as a construction worker Victoria is still reeling from witnessing White Gold (Courtney Love) murder Nosy Officer Ben.  House arrest with an assassin wasn’t nearly as secure as Amanda admitting to Victoria’s murder just to be transferred to a maximum security facility.  Considering how easy it was for Nolan (Gabriel Mann) and Jack (Nick Wechsler) to break her out they might as well have been one and the same.  As per usual, both set off on tasks with each other in mind, Victoria hoping to change her identity and disappear into a new life like Amanda did.  Amanda set off one last time to piece together clues to lead her to Victoria, who predictably sat in on her own funeral.  Though no one seemed to spot the Ice Queen’s impeccable bone structure just a few rows back ensconced in a very obvious red wig, she had a harder time putting eyes on her surviving children.  Certainly wasn’t because of the crowd—like a vast amount of people, Charlotte and Patrick decided to skip the ceremony.  Whether they can see through their mother’s constant orbit of ruses or they’re so far removed from Victoria’s drama they no longer care, bully for Patrick and Charlotte.

Louise (Elena Satine) manages to fill the role of weeping idolater, worshipping the few twisted memories she has of a skewed version of Victoria.  Somehow Victoria misconstrues the true and honest affection Louise has for the dark allegiances she’s used to, revealing herself alive only after Louise publicly grieved at Victoria’s funeral.  Turns out people don’t appreciate being used for their loyalty and quick emotions, pushing Louise to shuffle back to the only other person she knows: Nolan.  The men of Revenge needed the boost, because besides breaking Amanda out of jail nothing was being accomplished.  Okay, Jack finally managed to bed Amanda, but this was the series finale, so if not now, never.  Unfortunately their decision to use the house where Ben was murdered as a love nest backfires quickly.  Seriously, once they figured out that this was not only White Gold’s last place of attack, but the home of the woman’s body Victoria burned up in Grayson Manor, Amanda and Jack should have found a motel.  Especially once Amanda figured out it was also the home of Victoria’s deceased and predatory mother, whose body the Ice Queen used to fake her death.  Still, the day after their tryst Jack wandered the house looking for the already mission ensconced Amanda, putting himself right in White Gold’s path.  Stabbed twice, Jack’s injury pushes Amanda o that final hard choice.

The men of Revenge do their part in the final—Jack wraps Amanda in love and pushes her to the brink while Nolan sets Margaux straight and anchors Louise.  Without the fiery southern belle’s contempt for Victoria’s final manipulation, Amanda might never have found Victoria for their last showdown.  However without her father, Amanda might have finally fallen into that second grave of peril, crossing a moral line she could never undue.  There has always been a grave reserved for Victoria; her crimes to great and any attempt to trap her in the justice system has been thwarted.  Until now Amanda has had a staunch no kill zone around herself and her allies.  Vengeance minded Amanda snuck into the Margaux’s office in black, ready to slaughter her final obstacle: Victoria under online camera’s scope, ready to ruin Amanda forever by drawing her in for the kill. Here the episode, and series’, focus on the bond between father and daughter and David’s (James Tupper) decades long wish that Amanda learn to live in love takes center stage. Here, David’s terminal cancer serves its purpose, necessitating him popping up to shoot Victoria in the chest just before Amanda presses her own trigger.  Never mind how he found them, David takes his daughter’s crime from her, knowing it could never be over until Victoria was truly gone. Refusing to allow his daughter to lose the last bit of her soul in his name was his best act of love.  As Victoria bled out on the floor she managed to shoot the Head Revenger in the back, but our girl has survived much worse.

Everything after that felt disjointed, even if those final moments served as the series’ epilogue. Skip over Amanda’s miraculous recovery in favor of seeing her bury David. Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) made it back for the funeral, proving forever that Clarke blood is stronger than Grayson pride. A flashback during the brief look in the future shows David’s terminal cancer netted him a compassionate release from his sentence for Victoria’s murder.  Charlotte stuck around for Amanda and Jack’s nuptials, really driving home that hatred for Victoria.
  I had hoped that eventually the revamp of Revenge would mean a place of importance for Charlotte, but this paltry showing will have to suffice.  Amanda will always be plagued with terrifying thoughts—her honeymoon nightmare that Charlotte secretly bequeathed her Victoria’s heart during her recovery highlighted that pain.  Even as the newlyweds floated off in David’s boat, things felt unfinished.  That is, until Nolan appeared for the final shot, being begged by some young man to save his mother, framed for several crimes.  Amanda knew how to create life after Revenge for Nolan, and for us.  The thought that Nolan is out there somewhere, fighting the good fight and hacking with more style than any one person could hope for warms the cackles of my blacked heart.  Someone make that spinoff happen!  This wasn’t the perfect ending, but this hasn’t been the perfect show.  Better to end with the best character, in his best suit with his best line.  I could spend hours prattling on about what should have been. But as of eleven o’clock last night, Revenge no longer exists.  So, “Well Played Em,” thanks for letting everyone fade out on Gabriel Mann’s perfection.  He’s all I will ever choose to remember.