'Revenge' Season 2 Finale Review: 'Truth'
Grimm recently completed a near year long arc in which one character couldn't remember another character. Revenge just completed two seasons in which a character who should've known everything from the beginning didn't. Instead, Jack Porter's gone from horrible plot to horrible plot while Emily goes about her revengin' despite the havoc she's unintentionally causing. Tonight's two hour season finale had Jack reach his breaking point, and Emily desperately trying anything to prevent him from ruining his life. Jack learns Emily's actual identity in the final scene of the episode just as he's about to pull the trigger on a shot that'll kill governor-elect Conrad Grayson. Just as Jack's reached the end of his rope because he thinks everyone he cares about has been taken from him by Conrad, his childhood friend/soul mate reveals herself in his darkest hour.
The action in "Truth" is driven by Conrad, Emily, Aiden, and the other characters who are collateral damage. Normally I'd kick myself for not seeing the Initiative twist coming, but I don't think about this show at all after I publish the post. Conrad becomes the master villain in "Truth." He's accidentally killed Charlotte's baby daddy; he admits to orchestrating tragedies for profit, to be one of the driving forces of what he's named The Initiative; he admits to committing horrible acts and then bullies whomever may feel disgusted; he tried to kill Jack. There was no way he would've been killed off, not when he's going to be hated by Revenge's most hated fans. Victoria, meanwhile, begins her redemptive arc. There are several moments to choose from: she hits bottom by telling Conrad about Jack's actual plan; she warns Emily to not marry Daniel so that she may avoid the misery and emptiness of her own life for marrying Conrad for the wrong reasons; she asks Jack to shoot her, which is TV's way of telling the audience that it is okay to finally root for a character even after other failed ways to make the character sympathetic, like through failed trysts with David Clarke or an abandoned child. Patrick, Victoria's lost son, returns in the finale's penultimate scene (which concludes on a cliché shot of glass shattering (come on, J. Miller Tobin, you're better than that)).
The Conrad/Jack/Emily/Aiden/Daniel nonsense is, for the most part, fine and entertaining. The blackout during hour one affects cell phone calls. None of the characters think to use a landline to call anyone since this is 2012 (in show's timeline) and landlines are for lame people (landlines are not for lame people but awesome people). The only surprise of the A story is the explanation of The Initiative. I had horrible expectations for the shadowy organization. Conrad's explication really gave a new perspective to 'shadowy.' The show's still hacky for shooting those conference call scenes with the big business folks shot in shadow. A Grayson needed to drive the horrible acts; it couldn't be passed off to characters the audience won't care about such as Helen and Trask. So, yeah, good on Mike Kelley for fully embracing Conrad as master villain of Revenge.
Takeda would've shook his head in a disapproving way had Aiden not stabbed him dead last episode. Emily's rattled, frazzled, and dazed once the bomb goes off. She takes Aiden's confession about killing Takeda badly, and the thought that Jack is dead nearly destroys her. She's pulled in different directions. She helps Nolan fight the cyber attack, then she runs the gamut of emotions after finding Takea dead and about who killed him, and then the bomb goes off and she's desperate to find Jack. Emily tries to save Jack from doing something stupid while she play-acts with the Graysons. Her plan's never in danger of falling apart in front of her, but she's dealing with the what her plan's wrought. Victoria's right when she tells Emily they are more alike than Emily knows. Emily's similar to Conrad, too, as far as plans go. Conrad doesn't care about consequences. Emily cares when her actions affect people she cares about. I wouldn't think Aiden would need to preach to her about the reasons she'd be better off leaving her plan behind. Declan's dead, Jack's life in absolute shit, Fake Amanda is dead, her mentor is dead, anything good Nolan experienced didn't end well, Daniel's a puppet with less free will than a tree, and Aiden's transformed into a Lifetime Movie of the Week character. The show dies if Emily decides to live out the rest of her life in peace on the Cayman Islands. Plus, someone needs to take down Conrad or elsethe bad guy wins on network television, and the bad guy never wins. Emily accomplished nothing in season two.
Indeed, Emily accomplished nothing this season unless one counts the ruination of lives she cares about. Mike Kelley left the show because he didn't like to stretch a season of Revenge over 22 episodes, according to reports. I'll wager a 13 episode season of Revenge would be as wasteful as season 2. The fireworks in "Truth" were absent for the majority of the season, except for the Fake Amanda/Ryan brothers climax. I suppose the writers wanted to show a side of Emily wherein she's not in control. I don't know. Characters changed on a writer's whim. Storyline after storyline was filler. I often pitch my idea for networks to forget about profit by shifting their focus to telling a great story without stretching it beyond its initial premise. Revenge is an example of why I avoid mainstream thriller novels one finds in grocery stores or airports. Revenge could've told this story in its first season and disappeared forever; however, people watched, ABC renewed the show, gave it too many episodes, and the horrible season that is season 2 happened.
The teased storylines for season 3 should be fine if you're invested in Revenge. Nolan's the chief suspect in the terror attack. Padma turned on him from beyond the grave in a video made before her untimely death. Aiden's possibly dead, and Daniel's possibly his murderer. I care more about a fork a character uses in a dinner scene than I care about any story Daniel's involved in. Charlotte's yet to learn about Declan's death; however, no one cares about Charlotte/Declan stories. Another baby in Revenge is not what it needs. "Truth" basically re-focused the series since this series definitely got off track.
I, for one, do not care where the show goes from here for I will not continue watching or writing about the show. Leaving Revenge in the past is part of my plan to change it up. I've never liked Revenge. I gave it a chance for two seasons. I wrote many, many words about its 44 episodes. Indeed, I only wrote about season 2 because of the number of hits for season 1 reviews. The numbers did not remain consistent. So, good day, Revenge. It has not been fun.