Revenge – Recap: Mr. and Mrs. Ross
Recap and review of Revenge – Season 4 Episode 14 – Kindred:
Revenge is in a bit of a transitional period now that Malcolm Black has been killed and no immediate threats are present. Sure, Margaux (Karine Vanasse) is on the margins, waiting to strike once she is able to dig up the appropriate dirt on Emily (Emily VanCamp). But there isn’t a sense of urgency about it. In a lot of ways, it’s a change of pace for Revenge.
That said, I actually really enjoyed that sense of narrative freedom. Not every episode has to be a matter of life and death. In fact, the episodes that are deathly urgent have more impact when there are episodes like “Kindred” to give us breathing room. It’s easier to appreciate the severity of the danger these characters face when we can better recall a time where they weren’t facing such danger at all. So it makes sense that we’d get an episode where the primary storyline centers not on Emily or Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), but on Louise (Elena Satine) and her mission to prove she didn’t kill her father. After brother Lyman (Sebastian Pigott) gives her a police report that implicates her in her father’s death, Louise seeks Emily’s help in getting to the bottom of the mystery. Using a memory recall tactic she learned in Japan, Emily induces Louise to remember having pushed her father down a flight of stairs (who knew a game of “five finger filet” could bring back repressed memories?).
However, thanks to Nolan (Gabriel Mann), Louise gets a hold of the original police report that exonerates her of any wrongdoing. It was Louise’s mother who pushed her father down the stairs, after he discovered the affair she was having with a local judge. Louise essentially gets her revenge, and Emily and Nolan get to play a part in catalyzing that development, as not only do they help Louise regain her confidence (allowing her to not only tell her mother off, but also cut off the financial support for Lyman’s campaign), they also manage to deliver a helping of revenge to someone wholly deserving. In a way, it resembled the Revenge of old, in which each week featured Emily and Nolan taking down a different Hamptonite in increasingly interesting ways. Hell, Emily pretending to be an inspector for the New York State Department of Mental Health in order to bust Louise out of Claremont is one of the most amusing moments of the episode, and Nolan “moving Heaven and Earth” to track down the first respondent on the night of Louise’s father’s murder is one of the sweetest. Emily and Nolan are a team, and it’s amazing what they can do when they’re compelled by a cause they believe in. And, for better or worse, they believe in Louise.
But Emily has bigger problems on her horizon than just Louise, as Margaux is still looking for the smoking gun to ruin her once and for all. Although Margaux plays nice to Emily’s face by saying she doesn’t want to diminish Daniel’s sacrifice by bringing Emily down, Margaux hires her henchman to dig up dirt. This includes taking photos that imply Emily is David’s new lover, a story that is then leaked to the tabloid. Margaux, however, is unsatisfied and demands something more substantial. This ultimately leads to Margaux’s henchman surveilling Emily and Jack (Nick Wechsler), in which Jack expresses his angst over having killed Kate and dumped the body. In essence, Jack is on tape implicating both himself and Emily in the murder of a federal agent. One would think Margaux would be thrilled, but because she and Jack have a history, and because she seems to have fondness and respect for Jack, she’s furious at the henchman for digging this up. She wants to bring down Emily without the collateral damage this would cause, and while she has a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of resources at her disposal, I’m not exactly sure what it is she’ll catch Emily doing that will ruin Emily’s name.
Of course, Jack actually does catch Emily doing something he doesn’t expect. After admitting how guilty he feels about the things he’s done over the past few weeks, and after expressing hesitation to accept the Mayor’s medal of honor for the Malcolm Black bust, Jack ends up quitting the force. An angry Ben (Brian Hallisay) texts Jack and demands an explanation. So Jack leaves Nolan and Louise’s wedding reception in order to talk it out with Ben. However, once he gets there, he finds Ben and Emily sucking face, since Emily now feels safe enough in her pursuit of normalcy that she can now mack it with a normal dude like Ben. It’s actually an interesting romantic development, not because Ben is the least bit interesting, but because Emily expresses how the apparent end of her revenge journey has changed her. Despite David (James Tupper) attempting to talk her back into reclaiming the name Amanda Clarke, Emily doesn’t feel she can resume the life she left behind. In a moment of genuine introspection, Emily admits to Ben that she never thought she’d be Amanda Clarke again. She simply thought she’d complete her revenge, and then disappear into a new life and a new identity, letting Emily Thorne go as well. This prompts a cheesy line from Ben, in which he asks Emily not to make him imagine “a world without Emily Thorne,” yet cheesy appears to be exactly the kind of normal Emily is looking for. So she more or less jumps his bones, and Jack arrives at Ben’s house just in time to see them moving their makeout session from the patio into the bedroom. There have been subtle hints, here and there, that Jack might be carrying a torch for Emily, but I feel as though this is the first real evidence we’ve had in years that Jack might view Emily in a way that corresponds to how he viewed her in his youth. Just the look of heartbreak on his face seemed to indicate that even he is surprised at how attached he’s grown towards Emily over the past few months. I like this development a lot, since I like the chemistry between VanCamp and Wechsler. I simply wish there was a more compelling third wheel for the love triangle than Ben, but that’s not Brian Hallisay’s fault. He does a fine job with what he’s given. I just don’t feel Ben Hunter is much of a character.
That said, it could just be that he appears rather tame next to someone like Victoria, who has a terrific takedown moment when she essentially blackmails the women in her social circle after they fail to attend an art auction in benefit of a foundation in Daniel’s name. Their fear is that associating with a man whose final moments were spent allegedly trying to kill his ex would be “unseemly”. But Victoria quickly proves she’s not someone these women want to anger, since she knows all their secrets and would have no qualms about revealing them to the world. It’s a power play that not only opens her friends’ checkbooks, but also earns her the respect of a Hampton newcomer/possible social climber, Natalie Waters (Gina Torres). Still, the show doesn’t tell us why Victoria is still keeping the nature of Daniel’s death a secret, since Malcolm Black is now dead and unable to harass them. But I guess it’s just as well that it wasn’t explained, since I’m not sure the secret ever made that much sense to begin with. Besides, she has bigger concerns: she gets a phone call at the end of the episode informing her of a death in the family. Could the death be Charlotte? Patrick? Could it be someone Victoria knows that we don’t? I sort of expect the latter, but I don’t think any of the three would surprise me.
“Kindred” is a bit of a breather episode, allowing Revenge to reshuffle the cards in its deck as we head towards the second half of Season 4. I’m not sure what the major conflict is going to be, or who the villain will end up being, but I’m confident the show will deliver a satisfying TV experience. And, really, that’s all I ask of any primetime drama.