Calling 'Revenge' Fans: Is David Clarke Worth Rooting For?

When ABC’s tale of revenge and blood feuds began it was as an ode to Alexander Dumas’ classic novel “The Count of Monte Cristo” with the twist being the beleaguered victim’s daughter would take up the mantle to avenge her dead father and clear his name.

One of the series’ greatest challenges has been exploring the depths of Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) ruthless disregard for others in her quest to avenge a man that she treats, as if he were a saint. Her idealized opinion of him has led to the destruction of countless people, some worthy, others not and as we learned at the end of the last season, it was all done in the name of a man who has been alive this entire time.

Before the truth of his status among the living was revealed, David Clarke (James Tupper) had already seen his tarnishing share of reveals. He was an adulterer, who tangled with the wife of a very powerful man, a man who was supposedly his friend and most definitely his employer. The reckless lack of concern he showed for Conrad (Henry Czerny) and his family was one thing.

His worst failing was in jeopardizing his daughter in the process, allowing her to fall to the wayside as he explored his selfish desires. The only person to blame for putting David Clarke in the line of fire was David Clarke. Yet all viewers have listened to for the past four seasons has been his daughter whining about the injustice done to her and her father by everyone else. Never once acknowledging the central role her father played in all of it.

Since David’s return he has killed Conrad (still holding out hope he is alive), attempted to kill Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), treated the daughter who’s sacrificed everything and everyone for him like a second-rate citizen and in general, acted like a maniac. He has shown no contrition or personal growth whatsoever.

The icing on the cake was in the midseason premiere. Right after Daniel’s death (he died saving Emily) he was already concocting a scheme to frame Daniel as the fall guy to “protect” everyone from the big bad Malcolm Black (Tommy Flanagan). Keep in mind, Conrad and Victoria basically did the same thing framing David to protect their family. You have to love the hypocritical symmetry.

As it turns out, David is also responsible for bringing this latest villain onto his family’s doorstep. Back in the day, David stole a bunch of money from Black, a man he knew was evil incarnate, incensing Black and putting all of David’s loved ones in danger.

David is somehow blaming this all on the Grayson’s, which is preposterous given that he acted alone. However, in the world according to this obnoxious character, it will soon be their fault for the rising cost of groceries, global warming and everything else he can conjure up. There is no self-accountability with this character.

The coup de grace on the David Clarke sucks sandwich came in last week’s episode, when he put Victoria on blast for betraying him to save the life of her son, all those years ago. As avid viewers will remember, Victoria and Conrad were both coerced by a group known as “The Initiative” to frame David to protect the life of their son.

While, “Revenge” would probably prefer viewers forget that storyline it is a non-ignorable plot point that makes their misdeeds a little more understandable, all the while having zero effect on David’s guilt. Of course, Conrad struggled less with The Initiative’s demands given David was sleeping with his wife. He was getting revenge, something the Clarkes know all about.

Victoria made her choice for the safety of her son. Who could begrudge her doing whatever she had to, as a mother, to save her child? David harshly judging this and demanding that he, a “manstress” be put above her son is the death nail for this character. At the end of the day, Victoria for all her faults (and there are many) had her priorities straight in this instance. She put her son above her lover and the same cannot be said for David.

He willingly chose to endanger his daughter for his married lover. He does not deserve a happy ending and unless Emily can see the light regarding his transgressions, she does not deserve one either.

None of the characters on this show are “good people” or really all that redeemable. The saving grace for some of them is that they own up to it. Emily and David live in an alternate reality where they are never wrong and always saints, a ridiculous suggestion. After forcing Victoria’s hand into lying about Daniel, Emily would not even respect Victoria and Margaux’s (Karine Vanesse) wish that she not attend his funeral. Emily’s narcissism and overall lack of empathy is quite frankly, psychopathic.

At least with the wicked Victoria, people know the brand of crazy they are dealing with. Emily is a cloaked psychopath, devoid of much humanity. She has consumed more than double her pound of flesh from the Graysons and yet her appetite is insatiable. This viewer has about had their fill of watching.

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