TV Report Card | 'Revenge' Season 3 Review

Overview: Emily won a battle but not the war, against the Graysons. Conrad schemed and sparred with Victoria, who finally learned Emily’s big secret. Daniel lost more IQ points and Charlotte, well, she was Charlotte.

Storyline Direction Pros: The infighting and bickering in the Grayson household continued to play with ferocious excitement. In the second half of the season the show seemed to be hurtling towards a definitive resolution. The introduction of Stevie offered a refreshing angle to the Grayson dysfunction and an unanswered paternity question was left to linger. Stevie’s battle with alcoholism and her addiction to the Hamptons served as a possible omen to Emily’s and other characters’ future. 

The Stevie/Victoria/Conrad exchanges were lively although the timeline and previously established connections between the characters underwent a retcon whiplash. In the first season, it was known that Conrad had a son with his first wife and that son was in full knowledge of his parents.

It cannot be emphasized enough that Conrad and Victoria are the most entertaining aspect of the series. If the series actually decides to lose Conrad, the best character on the show and the crucial dynamic he shares with Victoria, the show’s quality will take a nosedive. He is central to the series. The best thing about the finale was bidding farewell to Aiden Mathis.

Storyline Direction Cons: Emily’s omnipotence got out of hand and the awful lengths she was willing to go to, sullied the character exponentially. She went overboard and as it turns out, it was all for nothing. She continually fails to grasp her father’s sole responsibility in what happened to her. This lack of a reality check and brilliant characters like Nolan who continue to prop her in this misguided journey has made the show feel one-sided in its rhetoric.

There is no amount of torture or torment that Emily isn’t allowed to perpetrate in the context of the series and she’s supposed to be the “heroine”. Meanwhile Conrad and Victoria justify doing similar things and they are villains. Last season (poor as it was) cannot be ignored and what it shared was that the Graysons had been forced to commit the frame, in order to protect their family’s lives. Wouldn’t Emily have done the same thing?

Here's to hoping next season offers Nolan the storyline he deserves. This year he was subjugated to basically being Emily's servant. As for the other characters arcs; Jack was holier than thou judgmental, Charlotte whined non-stop and Daniel was just boring. What happened to Daniel’s “true love”, by the way? She was there one minute and gone the next. That wasn’t the only character to incur that wrath. Patrick and Stevie were similarly rushed out of town.

Performance Quality: It cannot be reinforced enough that Henry Czerny and Madeline Stowe’s performances made this show worth watching every week; sophisticated, cunning and with a flair of vicious malice. They reigned supreme as the king and queen of “Revenge”. The great Gail O’Grady gave a memorable turn as the struggling Stevie, capturing the character’s longing for normality.

Musical Score: The signature theme of “Revenge” haunted every plot twist with lush instrumentation.

Overall Grade: B-, if the show truly wants to reboot and stay around longer, they will really need to change it up next season. Emily’s arc needs to come to an end. She has become the thorn (no pun intended) in the side of the plot progressing. Victoria and Conrad are the key to the series and with them front and center, taking on all of their enemies, the show could easily last just as long as the original “Dallas”.

[Image by ABC]