Sometimes, it feels like Revenge is just doing stuff because its season has 22 episodes, and by golly, the show has to find a way to fill them up. There are a lot of things happening; things that don’t quite make complete sense, things that feel underdeveloped, things that feel like beginnings to plots that will likely never end satisfactorily. It’s strange because for the most part Revenge has been mostly ridiculously satisfying since Daniel shot Emily in the midseason finale, yet along the way the plot has slowly turned into a bit of a mess. The swagger is back, but the minutia of the plot is starting to get just as muddled as the much-less-satisfying season two.
The biggest head scratcher right now is Pascal and just why he’s suddenly so integral to every damn thing happening on the show. He was mentioned so often throughout the season prior to his arrival that it seemed as if he was going to be one of those television characters who are constantly discussed but never seen, and at this point I almost wish it could have stayed that way. Instead, he burst onto the scene and immediately was integrated into Victoria, Conrad, Daniel, Margaux, and Emily’s story all at once, like a really, really bland adrenaline shot to the show’s heart. Part of this indifference is due to Olivier Martinez, who just isn’t very interesting, but most of it is due to the fact that pretty much every part of his story is dull. Most dull is whatever is happening with Conrad attempting to usurp Pascal’s media empire, or something. Conrad is far too great to be stuck having random business meetings that no one cares about and leveraging threats against Pascal no one can really understand. Boardroom shenanigans were never Revenge’s strong suit in the past, and that continues here.
Slightly more compelling is Pascal and Margaux’s continued battle over his inability to respect her as a daughter or as a businesswoman, which has been a constant battle every episode since Pascal arrived in town. It was getting quite repetitive, so Pascal’s decision to finally reach out to Margaux and offer her the chance to be his successor when he retires was welcome, simply because another episode of Margaux stomping around and complaining about her father was really going to get old. Now that Pascal is retiring sooner than anticipated, Margaux might be thrown into the line of fire immediately. (But hopefully that will happen off camera, where we don’t have to see it.)
By far, though, the Pascal plot that seems like it is treading water the most is his connection to the David Clarke conspiracy. His connection to whatever is happening is so tenuously described and almost incidental to the actual plot so far, simply used as an excuse to do fun things like pull of a heist at a law firm and give the show a legitimate reason to bring Aiden back into the fold. In this episode (as Aiden and Emily take a trip to England and tentatively restart their relationship) it is revealed that a reporter named Oscar Chapman knows something about Pascal’s connection to Aiden’s father. Chapman is obviously the next Pascal rabbit hole the show is going to go down, but if they wait too long to connect all the dots it’s going to be pretty much impossible to remember how everything fits together.
The 22-episode season can be a hindrance, but it just as easily can be a blessing. In a shorter season, there would be no room to bring back good old Mason Treadwell basically just to have him give one bit of information before disappearing again. This would be a shame, because he’s such a wonderfully slimy piece of Revenge’s universe, like a living, breathing representation of the filth underneath the shiny Hamptons exterior. When Emily jettisoned him last season—getting him to confess to the White Haired Man’s murder and the bombing of Conrad’s plane—it always seemed like way too big of a dangling thread for Emily to leave untied. Would he really keep quiet, simply living with the promise of fame and fortune in the future? Emily’s gamble almost backfires when Victoria shows up offering Mason a deal of her own to get him to spill about Emily. But Emily manages to be one step ahead yet again; “killing” him via fancy face cream and using his supposed death to have Nolan transport his body out of the prison just in time for him to wake up. So now Mason is alive and waiting to tell Emily’s story when she’s finished, except this time he can wait from a nice secluded beach in the Maldives instead of a cold, dank prison cell. Looks like Mason now owes Victoria a big thank you for improving his living situation, however obliquely.
Little things like the Mason Treadwell moment in this episode are, despite the show dropping the ball with the overall plot in several places, why this season of Revenge is still mostly a great time. It’s hard to be too angry when Emily Thorne sets up someone’s fake death using poisoned face cream she somehow smuggled into a prison, you know?
- Daniel is getting more and more like his parents every week. His new vendetta appears to be getting the entire world to see Jack’s connection to Emily, concentrating specifically on Charlotte and Stevie. I like manipulative jackass Daniel quite a bit more than cardboard nice guy Daniel.
- I’ve never been Aiden’s biggest fan, but I enjoyed his story here with his mother. It added a nice bit of emotional heft to his backstory.
- Victoria seems endlessly happy with Pascal. Happy Victoria is a bit unsettling.
- Javier is still around, still romancing Charlotte, and it looks like he’s going to be causing trouble for Nolan. Poor Nolan can’t catch a break.
- If Stevie is really gone, that’s disappointing. She was a promising character that kind of fizzled into nothing at the end.
- “Out of My League” was playing during the first Jack and Margaux scene, which made me laugh. Yeah, she kind of is, Jack.
- Speaking of Jack, are they setting up a Jack/Margaux/Daniel love triangle? No thanks.
- Conrad: “I sense the stench of romance is in the air.”