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'Revenge' Review: Episode 'Surrender'

Alyssa Landau Alyssa Landau
December 9th, 2013 8:20am EST

Revenge

The night before a battle Japanese warriors engage in a ritual that includes sake and quiet contemplation. Although Emily takes part in this ritual, likely a nod to her dearly departed mentor Takeda, her own ritual before a battle is a little different. Instead, Emily is used to the ritual of effortlessly putting out fires all around her before setting somebody’s world ablaze.

In the penultimate fight before Emily’s wedding, she deals with multiple problems with seemingly no issues. When Lydia Davis returns from the dead, Emily uses her to get news of her faux pregnancy out in the open. The pregnancy news in turn helps ease bits of tension that have plagued Emily in the past few episodes. Daniel breaks things off with Sarah for good and mistakes his protective nature for his love for Emily. Charlotte drops her dumb vendetta against Emily and realizes that her Victoria-light project to break up Emily and Daniel was actually tearing Daniel apart. Meanwhile, Emily looks more sympathetic to the Graysons and the world than she ever has before.

It seems like everything is going Emily’s way, her wedding day death plan going perfectly. And as a cap to her perfect ritual, she does what she often does at the end of a hard day of revenging. She stands on the porch from her childhood, caresses the carved infinity sign, and remembers why she’s doing all of this.

Although I really liked where the episode was heading, it is that final moment on her porch that made me hesitate. The viewers know that something is going to go wrong with Emily’s plan and her ultimate revenge won’t take place because the show isn’t going to end in the middle of season three. But Emily doesn’t know that. She truly believes that her journey is just about over and she’s finally going to get some sort of justice for her father. It may have been more satisfying to see Emily think about her father and all the things she lost over the last few decades, rather than see her face off with a cheap side villain (Lydia) and try to win over her idiot fiancé.

Maybe she’ll have the opportunity to be more contemplative in the next episode. Or maybe if Emily spent more than just a few white hot angry moments thinking about her dad, she’d realize she’s ultimately wasting her life on revenge. And then the show would be over. No fun there.

However, if the show doesn’t do more to connect Emily’s plan with her father, much like it did every week in the first season, it will continue to feel like a constant back and forth between Emily and Victoria because they can’t stand looking at their mirror like reflection in each other’s eyes.

It would behoove the show, and Emily, to remember that Victoria is not just the cold hearted mother of her fiancé. The reason so much of Emily’s hatred is directed at her instead of, say, Conrad, who had more of a role in her father’s framing, is that Victoria’s betrayal was far worse. In another timeline, Victoria would have been Emily’s stepmother and perhaps they would have all had a happy life together. Victoria not only took that possibility away from her, she left David to rot in jail with a broken heart. This isn’t the cat and cat game the show has portrayed their relationship this season. It’s real, jaw clenching anger.

In the last scene, as Emily in on the porch, with her infinity sign and her memories of her father, Victoria throws a wrench in her plans once more. She declines the invitation to go to Emily and Daniel’s wedding. With no Victoria on the boat, she can’t be framed for Emily’s murder. Hopefully the next episode will explore Emily’s need for Victoria to be the ultimate victim of her revenge rather than portraying it as just another tiny scheme.

Other Musings:

  • Emily’s voice over starts, “When facing the enemy…” while she wears a wedding dress. For that reason, it was the first time I actually liked the voice over.
  • Lydia’s role in this episode was strange. She’s come for revenge against Conrad and Victoria, but her turning the focus to Emily and the catering picture from two seasons ago seemed contrived. The show needs Emily to have enemies, but wouldn’t it be logical for Lydia to want to HELP Emily? That would be a fun pairing.
  • Sarah isn’t an unlikeable character per se but she’s so stupid. I still can’t wrap my head around her wanting to be with Daniel after he “crippled” her. (We’ve still seen no proof that she was that badly hurt in the crash.)
  • Nolan is walking Emily down the aisle. He also got passports for Aiden and Emily with his last name. These two are the heart of this show.
  • Lydia survived because Victoria took her off the plane and then never mentioned her again. AKA the show needed a familiar face to throw in some complications.
  • Emily’s biggest mistake in her whole revenge plan is not acting more offended when Victoria would constantly throw her digs. If Emily had pretended that she was upset by the way Victoria treated her, even threw in a few tears every once in a while, Daniel, Charlotte, and even Victoria would have been more likely to buy her act.
  • About Lydia: “What does she want this time?” Nolan: “What every pretty blonde who comes to the Hamptons wants. Revenge.”
  • Nolan does something with Christmas lights and his computer. It might come into play later.
  • Daniel wants to marry Emily because she’s giving him the chance to “raise a child the right way.” So romantic.
  • Conrad plays his meeting with Lydia perfectly. He acts like he’s happy to see her and relieved she’s alive and it works way too easily on her.
  • Emily covers Victoria’s bracelet in gunshot residue at the gun range.
  • Daniel drops Sarah’s necklace in the water like he’s the old lady in Titanic.
  • Aiden proposes to Emily the night before her wedding. The more I think about it, I think Aiden will be the one to shoot Emily, but for real.
  • Jack finally found the boring person who would give up revenge for him. I hope they drive away in the boring sunset.
  • Daniel and Emily both lie to each other. “You’re the only one I want.”
  • Nolan: “I guess I’ll have to get a real hobby. What are your thoughts on spelunking?”



Photo Credits: American Broadcasting Companies, Inc