Episode 19: Identity
By: Carlos Uribe
Revenge is a show about Emily Thorne and her quest of revenge.
Mike Kelley is leaving Revenge. He's the creator of the show that gave us a fantastic first season that was skilled in it's focus. It was a season of television that not only knew what the objective of the characters were but it was able to expertly show the consequences of even the smallest of actions. It's a show that many fell in love with but then it came back for a second season and it disappointed. The focus that exhilarated us in the first season was lost as instead the writers kept putting in distractions. The whole show suffered as a consequence. The consequences became less impact and it's turned away a lot of fans as the events became less interesting. There is no doubt that the second season was a huge step down from the first. This isn't to suggest that one shouldn't watch this season because it does do a lot of significant character work and building relationships that should prove to be very fruitful going forward. It's just that in a lot of the excellent character work this season did, there were a lot of plot developments that simply failed to fire. Is Mike leaving the show a good thing? I don't buy that Revenge is necessarily one of those shows that are the vision of one man. It's possible that he could have course-corrected the third season by bringing back the sharp focus that this show has lost. Heck, this latter half of the season he's already begun the process. This is one of the episodes that was a step in the right direction. His passion about his own show has clearly shown through. It's not like he got fired for delivering a bad product (Revenge has always remained a good soap) but because he wanted a smaller episode count and the network resisted. He was trying to change the system but he ended up getting kicked out of it. The show might have yet to be renewed for a third season but it's expected to come back. The network seems to believe as it's promoted executive producer Sunil Nayar as the new showrunner. The episodes he has written are good (if one was close to being boring) but hopefully he's able to deliver the Revenge we fell in love with...not the one we got for most of this season.
Identity is an episode that has a lot going for it. I absolutely loved how the whole baby plot played this week. Victoria is pretending to have gotten an abortion when she was a young teenager but she actually had the baby. She didn't just have it but she raised it for a few months before giving it up to go to art school in Europe. It must have been a difficult decision but she acted in her own self-interest. She tries her best to keep her past buried. Conrad gets the smart decision to have a live interview with his family to get ahead of what he thinks is an abortion scandal. Any viewer should have seen that there was no way that the real truth wouldn't reveal itself in the middle of the interview. This does happen and Victoria is forced to admit she did give her child up. Conrad is furious at this betrayal. He was not only lied to but it's going to hurt his chances for Governor. The series has always been great when it's presented the strains of their marriage. The two might not be able to be honest with each other. They might not even like each other but they need each other in order to fulfill their ambition. Victoria gets the life she's always wanted and Conrad has been getting a political career out of it. Only now this unholy alliance might be coming back to hurt him as her secrets can't stay hidden. Now this is largely because of Emily's interference but they have yet to grow to suspect her. The whole family soap drama is delivering great spades of fun. I loved the ambush in the Nightline interview and I'm excited to see Victoria using Nolan to search for the son she gave up. How will his presence affect the family dynamics? Will Nolan even give her a real son or an actor? The possibilities are endless and I'm pretty excited about where this son can take the show.
Of course, there's getting the necessary proof of the cover-up to the press. This involves taking down the Falcon. Only how can they take down the world's best hacker? Nolan is devastated by Padma's death but he's convinced by Emily to bring the Falcon down. They set up a trap for the hacker. The hacker springs it and the two get to meet. It's no surprise that the Falcon turns out to be a female because of course she is. Nolan wants to hire her for a job to get his fingerprints off Padma's murder but the Falcon won't take money. They have to play Street Fighter for it and Nolan is able to win because he's really good at it. Like he won a championship when he was younger. The Falcon agrees to do it only the job non-surprisingly turns out to be a trap for her. The flash-drive handed to her has a ghost program that sends out the proof about Victoria's cover-up to the media. It also sends out her identity to the cops and her reputation is ruined when it's plastered across the internet. They even explain her association with the Grayson family because she had helped set up the internal software infrastructure for their company. They had used her to frame Daniel Clarke. This would imply that she should have been easier to find but I guess not. The Falcon gets taken down in a pretty good revenge take-down and Nolan is given the honors of crossing her out. This is where the relationship building this season really helps to land the emotional beat of Emily giving him that opportunity. The two have become close friends and it's really satisfying to see Nolan use the iPad to draw an X around her picture.
The Revenge take-down of the Falcon and the whole Victoria's son plot pay off very well. The other plots had pretty good results with one exception. The exception has to be with Charlotte. She decides that she's going to skip out helping Declan on a college essay to go party with this new girl named Regina. Charlotte proceeds to make out with Regina in front of the cameras. I'm sure those pictures won't help her father's campaign but it also makes little sense. There really was no reason for Charlotte to go with Regina. I get that Regina used her brother's suicide to connect with Charlotte but it just felt off. Like the writers needed a lesbian kiss to grab attention so they forced it into the plot. The plot came out of nowhere and didn't fit with Charlotte this season. Declan might be trying to process that his girlfriend cheated with him with another girl but Jack is cutting off all ties with Emily. When Emily proclaims in the interview that she would be open to marriage, Jack decides that Emily shouldn't be Carl's godmother anymore. He doesn't understand how Emily could become a Grayson knowing what they have become. From his perspective, it all makes perfect sense. He's actually acting smart. So smart that he's able to get Ashley back into Conrad's circle. This plot actually worked fine but it was overshadowed by other plot developments. Another plot development was where Aiden admitted that he didn't feel any satisfaction when he got revenge for his sister’s demise. There was nothing from him and a hole wasn't filled. He's going to help Emily take down the Grayson family but he plans to be there for her when she succeeds. It's a bit tragic but at least he's smart enough to know he can't stop her. Plus-they still deserve to go down.
Revenge has a pretty good episode. It has two plots that are working great: Victoria's son and the Falcon takedown. The rest of the episode is largely good but they easily get overshadowed. The Jack plot is working surprisingly well as he's acting the smartest on this show. Daniel's relationship with Emily is pushing her away from Jack but getting her closer to her goals. The only plot that didn't work? Charlotte deciding to randomly become a party girl again.
There's something going on with Conrad and the Governor's wife. The Governor he's running against. A hint? That newscast that talked about how the incumbent Governor keeps getting hurt by leak.