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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Revenge: “Disgrace”

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When battling Emily Thorne, the worst thing you can assume is that you have the upper hand. Victoria and Daniel spend most of “Disgrace” fairly certain they’ve scored a big victory in the fight to get Emily out of their lives. They might have successfully gotten Emily to agree to a divorce—getting her out of their house and out of their family—but the real end to this story is yet to come. “Disgrace” showed a focused Emily for the first time since she was shot on her wedding day, and this focus can only lead to very bad things for the Graysons in the future. Emily might be out of their house but she won’t stop coming after them until she’s successfully ruined their lives.

The framing device for this episode was a fun one, sending all of the main players to the Opera and then letting the big drama happen while everyone is in gorgeous ball gowns and tuxedos and surrounded by society press. When a gossip blast comes through in the middle of the performance leaking Emily’s medical records (and Revenge officially became Gossip Girl for a minute or two), records that showed she wasn’t pregnant when she was shot, Victoria and Daniel both soak in the drama of the scene by very loudly and publicly condemning Emily in front of all of New York society and the Page Six gossip mavens who cover them. It’s fairly obvious from the start Emily orchestrated this whole ordeal, but it’s certainly fun to watch Daniel and Victoria be so smug about their victory together, if only for a few moments.


But why did Emily do it? Why did she out herself, and publicly destroy her marriage? It seems she needed to make a clean break from the Graysons so she can plan her next steps without any outside encumbrance. After spending a lot of time this season coming up with revenge plots that barely connected with actually exonerating her father, it seems Stevie Grayson’s return to town has reignited Emily’s desire to do what she came to the Hamptons to do. What I like about Stevie’s presence is that it gives the revenge story a chance to almost reset itself. Here is this person who believes David Clarke was innocent, believes Conrad might have something to do with what went down (considering Conrad set her up for the DUI she got right after visiting David in jail), and strongly wants to see justice done for the sake of her son’s dead wife. Add in with that Jack’s sudden, and very welcome, interest in getting justice for what happened to Declan and Amanda, and it’s as if the show is setting up a pretty solid team to get a few things done in the last stretch of the season.

Where things get a bit murky is how Margaux and her father are suddenly involved. When Margaux came onto the scene this season, it seemed as if the writers didn’t quite know what to do with her; here’s this lovely, interesting actress, and they just sort of saddled her with some daddy issues and a pretty boring plot involving a magazine start-up. At times it appeared like they were testing what they wanted the character to be, having her do things like seduce Daniel, but in the end settled on “pleasantly bland” and left it there. Now, her father Pascal has finally appeared (played by Olivier Martinez, which, that’s some generous casting in the age department)—16 episodes after he was first mentioned!—and he is revealed as the hidden link Emily’s reinvigorated quest to take down everyone who was involved in setting up her father. It’s not a bad idea, but why the heck did it take so long? And why does Margaux seem to again be an afterthought in what should probably be her own story?

Everything involving Voulez, and Conrad’s hope to merge his American portion of the company with Pascal’s European one, and Conad’s reveal to Margaux about her father’s misdeeds with the magazine’s books is deadly boring. But Pascal as a target of Emily’s revenge scheme has promise, especially because Jack is involved now and it will give at least a little bit of spice to his dull relationship with Margaux. There’s also an interesting bit of something around the edges with Pascal and Victoria, where it seems Victoria might be the one thing Pascal always wanted but could never get. Luckily Conrad is around to offer up his ex-wife in some kind of sexual servitude as a trade for the merger of the two companies he wants. That Conrad, he has such a tender heart.

But by far the best thing about this episode was the random, fun caper Nolan and Jack pulled on the law firm in the middle. For so long, Revenge has been stuck in conversation mode—everyone sniping and talking and not really doing anything—but remember when the show pulled off fun little schemes in every episode? It was a brief little sequence but showed a fun spark I thought the show had mostly lost. If they want to send Nolan out on two or 22 more of these before the season ends, that would be perfectly fine by me.


Stray observations:

  • I like that Victoria is still sort of on to Emily, and has put a few of the pieces together about everything involving Emily potentially tying into the David Clarke scandal. Honestly, as many problems as Amanda caused when she was around, her coming to town (and then dying) is likely the one thing that’s keeping Victoria from putting together all the pieces.
  • Of course Charlotte is covering the gossip beat for Voulez. Of course she is, because that’s the most useless thing she could possibly be doing.
  • Everyone’s Opera wardrobe is divine, but Victoria looks especially fetching.
  • What, oh what, is this Javier up to? I certainly hope he only helps Nolan reignite his business and isn’t some huge problem. Poor Nolan could use a win for once.
  • Nolan: “Don’t call it a comeback; I’ve been here for years.”
  • Victoria: “Keep your distance, Pascal. This dress may touch my body, but you’ll never be so lucky.”

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