“Scandal” S1 / E16
- B Community Grade
This episode really didn’t grab me until the very end. It isn’t that it was bad—Revenge is basically running like a well-oiled machine dressed in designer fashion at this point. It’s that it was just so expected. Of course Daniel was going to be arrested. Of course Jack was going to ignore all reason and continue to search for Amanda. Of course Nolan was going to be snarky but helpful. And of course Emily was going to find a way to avoid exposure throughout the whole mess. Until the final reveal, I was beginning to believe the remainder of the season was going to be set up as almost a mirror image of the beginning, revolving around the mystery of what happened on the beach, except this time filtered through the drama of a courtroom battle.
I have never been so happy to be wrong. The saga of Daniel’s court case is obviously going to be the main focus of the rest of the season, but revealing what actually happened on the beach was a very smart storytelling choice. It was fairly obvious Takeda had something to do with how everything went down (and how fun was it to find out Nolan has been helping Takeda behind Emily’s back?), but adding the twist of Daniel actually firing the first shot is great. One thing Revenge has been consistently good about is adding moral complications to everyone’s actions, not allowing anyone to be truly evil or truly good. Just as Victoria is a horrible person who ruined David Clarke’s life in order to save her own family, she also truly loved David and has been paying for her poor choices ever since. So now, her son sits in jail without parole until his trial, for a murder he only half-committed and what part he did could be framed as self-defense.
More interesting than Victoria or even Daniel’s moral implications in this is how Emily is affected. Her long-term plan is to take down Victoria and Conrad. Was ruining Daniel’s life along with way always part of her plan? Or has she simply seized opportunity as it came her way? Her scene with Takeda right after the shooting is interesting in that she is so obviously upset, but it’s hard to decipher exactly why. Is it because she has feelings for Daniel, or is all of it worry her big secret is going to be revealed? Takeda made it very clear he took control of the situation because Emily was letting things get out of control, but what is causing this? She has steadily become a more complex character as the show goes on, but she still remains a bit of a revenge cipher. An unemotional character can be plenty interesting, but the conversation with Takeda seems to hint her emotions are what caused everything to boil over. I do hope the show gives those emotions room to show a bit.
If the party episode was paying off all of what came before, this episode was clearly setting up the rest of the season. Here’s where everything stands: Daniel is in jail, sort-of-falsely accused; Ashley is playing public relations for the Graysons but willing to blatantly exploit this opportunity to help herself get ahead; Jack is determined to find Amanda and find out if she killed Tyler; and Emily is playing the doting fiancé but clearly will be working her own angle as well. It’s strange, because although it’s easy to see how the court case portion of the show will play out, everything else is literally a blank. Will Emily continue to seek revenge against the people in the Grayson Global picture in a more controlled manner, like before? Or has her focus shifted solely to the Graysons?
I feel like all I’m doing is asking questions, but at this point I think that’s exactly what Revenge wants us to do. Daniel going to jail is a big shift in the status quo; whether this shift will be reflected in the stories the show decides to tell for the rest of the season is yet to be seen.
- I like that we finally got absolute confirmation Conrad was the one behind the money laundering. Unless they pull a twist on us, Conrad is a pretty horrible person, huh?
- Charlotte got two nice little moments this week, first asking Victoria about David Clarke and then talking about her “sister Amanda” with Emily.
- I wonder what Takeda meant when he said Amanda was “taken care of.” I’m sure she’s still out there, ready to return at the most inconvenient moment possible.
- Jack put his bloody hoodie in his drawer? Oh, Jack. So pretty. So dumb.
- “Maybe your time in the juvenile detention facility will end up being an asset in Daniel’s court case.” You have to love a not-so-subtle Victoria Grayson burn.
- Takeda: “Your lack of discipline has brought chaos.”