‘Revenge’ Brings Jack and Emily to a Crossroads in ‘Bait’ (RECAP)
Recap and review of Revenge – Season 4 Episode 15 – Bait:
For too long, Revenge has avoided directly addressing the feelings between Jack (Nick Wechsler) and Emily (Emily Van Camp). But “Bait” brings those feelings out into the open…and no one is really better for it.
The larger focus of the episode is on tying up loose ends, as Emily and Nolan (Gabriel Mann) launch into damage control mode in their attempt to erase the video of Jack confession to Kate Taylor’s murder — a video currently in Margaux’s (Karine Vanasse) possession. That provides the episode with a mission for the team to accomplish, all while things develop in the background, and I think it ends up being a pretty smart move. As much as I love Wechsler and VanCamp as actors, and as much chemistry as I feel they have on-screen together, I don’t think the entire episode could have centered around Jack and Emily’s relationship (or non-relationship, as it were) without major lag. Thankfully, the mission manages to keep the episode from ever getting boring, since Margaux is the perfect kind of villain for this show to have: she’s out for blood, but she’s not exactly wrong for feeling the way she does. After everything Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) told her about Emily/Amanda, and how she allowed Daniel’s name to be dragged through the mud, it’s only natural that Margaux would want to smear Emily’s reputation.
This creates an interesting cat-and-mouse game, as Nolan plants a mole named Simone into Margaux’s company while Jack attempts to use his former relationship with Margaux to get her to show leniency. In both cases, our protagonists aren’t as far ahead of the curve as they’d like to think. Simone is really working with Margaux, while Margaux already knows of Jack’s attempts to play on her sympathies. But it turns out that Louise (Elena Satine), of all people, proves to be the linchpin in this entire plot. She’s struggling with the feeling that she isn’t useful, so she offers herself up for the mission. She’s able to infiltrate Margaux’s office, and make it look like an accident when she’s caught. This results in a chip being placed in Margaux’s bracelet, which corrupts and erases the memory on her computer when she places her hand to the ID pad. Just like that, the video is gone and Jack is in the safe zone. But that isn’t exactly the only concern at the forefront of his mind…
After discovering that Emily and Ben (Brian Hallisay) have hooked up, Jack spends the day ruminating, even speaking with David (James Tupper). Not only does Jack leave the force, he also comes to the conclusion that he needs to tell Emily the truth. For a scene that’s been so long in the making, I thought Wechsler did a great job in communicating his internal struggle. He’s been trying to resist his feelings for Emily for so long, out of fidelity to Amanda, and out of the conflicted mentality towards Emily’s actions. She’s duplicitous, yes, but out of necessity. But it took Jack a long time to recognize that. Wechsler depicts Jack as someone desperate to grab once last chance at happiness. After all, things haven’t exactly been going his way, so — as twisted as it is — Emily is basically the only pure thing left in his life outside of Carl. They inherently get each other, because they share a childhood and an understanding of the sacrifices that have been made along this path of revenge. Jack even notes that he understood Emily needed space after Aiden died, so he gave her that space while trying to figure things out for himself. And yet, at least on Emily’s end, they just can’t be together. Not now.
Emily doesn’t particularly explain why, but it felt like part of it had to do with how much she cares about Jack. If she were to acknowledge her love for Jack, that love could then be used against her in the same way her love for Aiden was. This is her attempt at keeping Jack out of harm’s way. It isn’t that she likes Ben more than Jack (hell, I doubt Emily even likes Ben all that much at all), but she could get over losing someone like Ben. I doubt she could get over losing Jack, especially if her revenge mission were the cause. It’s a cruel way of viewing things, but Emily needs to keep she truly loves at arm’s length. That’s the explanation I’m going with anyway, although the alternative could easily be that Emily just doesn’t feel that way about Jack anymore, considering how he acted around her when they kissed in the Stowaway last season (essentially telling her that it took kissing her to recognize that he truly felt nothing romantic for her whatsoever. It can be hard to win affection back after something like that). Either way, Jack makes certain Emily understands that he won’t wait around for her forever, although I sincerely doubt that will ever be the case. Everything Revenge has built up over four seasons has suggested that Jack and Emily are the show’s endgame.
The rest of the episode is all over the place, and not all of it is interesting. Revealing that Natalie Waters (Gina Torres) married Edward “Teddy” Grayson before he died, and is thus the person who will inherit his entire estate, is a decent enough twist since it gives Victoria someone new to focus her ire upon. And I do like Victoria’s team with Lyman (Sebastion Pigott), who offers to take on her case and contest the will on her behalf. It even results in a wonderful scene where Victoria shows Lyman just how easily emotion can be faked. But none of it feels all that important in the grand scheme of the series, whether it’s Natalie telling Victoria, in a room full of people, just how much she loved old man Grayson, or whether it’s Victoria toasting Lyman on the success of her plan to get Natalie to publicly put her love story on the record. Maybe it’ll be fun watching Victoria systematically tear that love story apart, and it could even end up being explosive now that Natalie appears to be using David Clarke to get to Victoria, but I’m struggling to see the merit in the story so far. Hopefully, that all changes in subsequent weeks, because there’s a lot of talent on display in this storyline. It’d be a shame if they weren’t used to the best of their abilities.
“Bait” isn’t a perfect episode of Revenge, but it’s worth it for the painfully emotional, slightly awkward, but long overdue confession scene between Jack and Emily. Revenge still excels, four seasons in, at digging into the emotions of the past, when Emily was that little girl collecting pieces of colored glass on the beach with Jack while Sam the Formerly Immortal Dog prances around in the background. No matter how deep she gets into her revenge plot, Emily will always be little Amanda Clarke, carving double infinities with her father and having a fake wedding with Jack on the beach. And it’s always stirring to be reminded of that, even if Emily and Jack can’t be together just yet.