Normally I try to put something innocuous in front of the cut, but in this case, there is literally nothing not a HUGE SPOILER to talk about, so… be warned.
1. So, Nolan is the new David Clarke. NOLAN IS THE NEW DAVID CLARKE, YOU GUYS. I CANNOT DEAL MY FEELS RIGHT NOW. And as the creator of Carrion, and with not only his history of visiting David Clarke in prison but also the one-two punch of a posthumous (and presumably coerced) recording from Padma accusing him of being a terrorist… the frame up is actually looking pretty air tight. WELL PLAYED, INITIATIVE, YOU DEVILISH BASTARDS.
Right now, I can see this going one of three ways next season: either Ems is going to clear him fairly quickly, or she’s going to break him out somehow, or he’ll stay locked up most of the season while the focus of the show becomes freeing him. And I could really live with anything that makes Nolan Emily’s priority, so… yay? But what will she do without her Watson? The Robin to her Batman? (p.s. I love you, Gabriel Mann.)
ALSO: NOLAN OMG NOLAN
I’M SO SCARED FOR YOU NOLAN
2. Unfortunately, Ems was too distracted to notice what was happening to her bestie because she spent basically the entire episode chasing Jack around town to make sure he didn’t do something extra stupid. This, as you can imagine, was something of a challenge.
I’m basically so fed up with Jack’s self-righteousness at this point that I almost don’t care that he’s finally learning the truth about Amanda Clarke. But no, THAT IS DIRTY A LIE, because there is literally nothing I love more than a good, soapy reveal. And after two seasons of build up, this was a good reveal. Too bad we have to wait all summer to see more of his reaction than gaping like a fish.
I will say this: Jack’s friendship with Nolan is basically the only thing I enjoy about him. So if learning the truth means he’ll be joining Team Revenge next season to save my boy, it will earn a lot of my good will back. Not enough to ever ‘ship him with Emily, but let’s be honest: that would require a minor miracle at this point.
(And seriously, my anti-Jack/Ems biases aside, all the “Jack is Emily’s one true love” anvils in this episode felt kind of out of left field after a season of them barely interacting, right? That wasn’t just me? I certainly haven’t had the impression either of them was pining for the other all this time. They both sold me pretty well on having moved on with Fauxmanda and Aiden, respectively.)
3. Oh, and speaking of Aiden, he might be dead? Which, no, I do not accept. Not because I particularly care about him, but if the guy who took out Takeda was done in by goddamn doorknob Daniel, I will throw seriously something at the screen protest. JE REFUSE, REVENGE!
BUT SERIOUSLY, HOW SATISFYING WAS THIS?
Also, we finally learned a little bit more about the source of Takeda’s vendetta against the Initiative! And… it’s not all that interesting. His ‘fridged girlfriend was on Flight 197, blah, blah, blah. Been there, done that. But at least it’s some sort of characterization, even if he is dead now.
(And apparently she was only 24 when she died? Which I only mention because the show made sure to emphasize it for some reason, and all I’m saying is that detail would have worked a lot better before they aged Takeda into his 60s this season. I’M JUDGING YOU AND YOUR CRADLE-ROBBING LIFE CHOICES, TAKEDA.)
4. Declan’s dead! I could lie and say I felt anything about that, but… sorry. Nope. And I usually cry at the drop of a hat! But the Porter brothers have been working my last nerve for a long time now, and I am a heartless monster, I guess.
It doesn’t help that his plot for the rest of the episode involved fighting with Charlotte’s InstantCrazyLesbianStalker (who’s in love with her after two episodes, I guess? I don’t even know you guys. This entire plot came out of nowhere and made basically no sense) and nobly mooning over the prospect of becoming a teenage father.
Or that his last words involved: 1) praising Jack’s parenting skills (BECAUSE DECLAN’S LIFE HOICES WORKED OUT SO WELL, RIGHT?) and 2) trying to convince Charlotte she’d make a good mother. CHARLOTTE. A GOOD MOTHER. (Yeah. I’ll just give you a moment to stop laughing, shall I?)
5. Victoria’s long lost son finally showed his face… to her and not us. But did anyone else immediately think he might be the assassin guy Emily saw at Grayson Global? HMMM.
Oh, and it turns out Conrad has actually been a full-fledged member of the Initiative basically all season, after striking a deal with the late, lamented Madam Initiative so he could get in on their evil-billionaires-who-enjoy-disasters-for-profit club.
I think this was meant to be a bigger shock than it was, and maybe if I had the will (or… the initiative? BA DUM BUM) to rewatch the season for clues, it might feel like a bigger deal. But honestly? All of the Grayson/Initiative back and forth this year has been less than compelling, and I just really can’t be bothered to care that much. Plus… it’s Conrad, you know? Learning he’s extra evil is not actually the surprise of the century.
Which brings me back to my big complaint with this season: they just didn’t have enough material to fill out a full network season, and it really damaged the overall arc. The same was true in the first season, except last year they crammed most of their plot into the first half to draw you in before slowing things to a crawl in the middle section.
Season two, on the other hand, felt like it was treading water through most of the early episodes and only really picked up with Fauxmanda’s death. I’ve thought for a while that the show would be much better served by shorter, 12-16 episode seasons instead of trying to stretch things with a lot of filler in the middle. So it’s both gratifying to hear that the show creator, Mike Kelley, has actually been lobbying for just that… and disappointing to learn that he’s actually leaving the show next year because ABC doesn’t agree.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we’re getting a third season — especially after this cliffhanger of a finale. I still love this show and these characters a lot. But let’s just say I’m less than filled with confidence by ABC’s refusal to learn from the mistakes of the past two seasons. (And really, it’s not like Once Upon a Time wouldn’t also benefit from some trimming of the episodic fat either — why not put them both on a 12 episode season, one airing in the Fall and one in the Spring?)
In any case, so long, Revenge! See you next year! I’ll just be here, crying about the beauty of Nolan’s faaaaaaace. You know, the usual.