‘Revenge’: A Shocking Death is a Prelude to a Surprising Kiss

Gabriel Mann as Nolan on Revenge (ABC)

Wow. “Revenge“, that was an unexpected tragic turn.  The soap that ABC just rewarded with the plum Sunday night at 9PM time period next season proved that it is not afraid to kill off popular characters in the season’s penultimate episode, “Grief.” Don’t worry. It’s not Nolan. But it is someone that is equally difficult to despise.

The episode opens with Emanda (Emily VanCamp) digging a grave. Has she succeeded at avenging her father’s death? Well, the finale is next week, so probably not. We flashback 36 hours.

Conrad (Henry Czerny) and Daniel (Joshua Bowman) meet as Emanda listens via bug. He tells Daniel to cover up everything – and agrees to Daniel’s terms that when the SEC investigation of Grayson  is over there will be 100 percent transparency. So the Graysons will still do awful things but be open and honest about them? Baby steps. Conrad meets with the white haired man, who shall henceforth be known as WHM, who warns him that “the initiative” is not happy with him. The initiative? David was killed by the same people who implanted a morality chip in Spike’s brain on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer“? And David was originally played by Marc Blucas in the pilot, who played Riley on Buffy who originally worked with the initiative? We’re going way down the television rabbit hole, folks. WHM makes vague threats about the Grayson kids. Nobody will mind if you kill Charlotte, WHM. Emanda plans to orchestrate another meeting between the two men, follow WHM back to his lair, and kill him. Wow. Nothing could possibly go wrong with this well thought out scheme.

Emanda is not happy about newly villainous, three piece suit wearing Daniel and his plan for a big, public wedding that he hopes will rehabilitate the Graysons’ image. She hides a camera inside a hollowed out book by Orwell. That’s a nice subtle joke. She asks Nolan (Gabriel Mann) to encrypt and send the video the Orwell cam captured of her and Daniel sleeping to Conrad, knowing that he will view it as a threat from the WHM. It works. He sets up a meeting at a Brooklyn diner. As Emanda heads out to spy on her nemesis, Daniel and Ashley (Ashley Madekewe) show up for a wedding planning meeting. So she asks Nolan to fill in for her. Nolan, wearing a black ski hat that screams “I am incognito,” watches and live texts the meeting to Emanda. Conrad tells WHM he has evidence that will implicate him. If WHM ever threatens his son again, he will use it. WHM has no idea what Conrad is talking about. Daniel is angry that Emanda is texting instead of being a bridezilla. Nolan texts her an address, but warns her not to kill him.

WHM has a house full of clocks. He makes a mysterious phone call warning that someone else is onto him. The doorbell rings. It’s Nolan disguised as a cable guy, complete with coveralls and a fake porn star mustache! It’s surprising that WHM lets him in, since cable companies never send anyone over unannounced.. WHM needs to read The Gift of Fear. Nolan sent Emanda to another address where his aunt Carol (Tess Harper) lectures her about David’s desire that his daughter not commit murder. WHM grows suspicious after Nolan rewires his house, and asks him for a business card. Nolan claims he is paperless. Emanda is angry with Nolan, but he tells her that bugging WHM’s house is a better plan than murdering him.

Daniel offers Jack (Nick Wechsler), who is tending to a sick Sammy the Wonder Dog, a million dollar check as a payoff. No, not Sammy! Noble Jack is conflicted about the money, though he would like to start a charity and work with Emanda. Nolan advises him to take the check otherwise the Graysons will find a less pleasant way to deal with him. He forgets about the money when Sammy goes AWOL. Emanda finds him lying on her deck. For a sick dog, he managed to make the 35 mile trek from Montauk to Emanda’s house pretty quickly. Jack cries “I used to think he would live forever,” and credits Sammy with teaching him how to love. Whether you consider this poignant or hilarious or manipulative depends on whether you have ever had a dog. For the record, your recapper cried. To everyone who complained it was unrealistic that Sammy was still alive:  I hope you’re happy now. Emanda flashes back to going to the beach with her dad and puppy Sammy. Watch the clip to see what she does next.

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Yes, Emanda and Jack finally kiss. It’s the most romantic moment ever to happen next to a dog’s corpse. Ashley (Ashley Madekewe) spies on them through the window. Emanda and Jack bury Sammy on the beach. He thinks Sammy led him to her, and, stupid as ever, thinks it’s a sign that he needs to forget Amily — not that Emanda really is Amily. Sammy’s death and Jack’s kiss have made Emanda reconsider murdering WHM. Emanda calls Nolan and thanks him. She is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nolan watches footage of WHM and realizes the times on the clocks in his house are set to hours ago as WHM chokes him from behind!

Victoria (Madeline Stowe), determined to help the Feds put Conrad away, slices open the canvas of one of Dominick’s forged paintings, and finds all sorts of evidence. She tells Lydia, who is now discussing marriage with Conrad, that since she since she perjured herself at the trial the government could be coming after her. Victoria can get her immunity. Emanda listens in as Victoria shows Daniel all the evidence against Conrad and tells him it’s his decision what to do next. He phones Conrad who tells him to bring it in the morning. Victoria eavesdrops, disappointed.

Charlotte’s therapist convinces the Graysons to have a family therapy session. They use a technique in which everyone makes “I like/I need statements.” Victoria and Conrad use it as an opportunity to snipe at each other, because nobody cares about Charlotte. When she goes to cry on Declan’s (Connor Paolo) shoulder she discovers him with a classmate who is half naked because she got muddy searching for Sammy. Devastated, she implies that the girl is trash, threatens to expose Declan’s false testimony during Daniel’s trial, and buys drugs from a street dealer.




The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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