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Friday, May 17, 2013

REVENGE Hides the "Truth"

Article first published as REVENGE Hides the "Truth" on TheTVKing.

ABC's Revenge brings its second season to an explosive close this week in the two-hour long "Truth." The Initiative strikes, killing an important character. The results of the election are in, a hidden identity is revealed, a choice in loyalties must be made, and the secret behind who the Initiative is is now known. Basically, as one would expect from this soapy drama, a lot comes out, and many changes are made.

The Initiative is the shady organization responsible for what happened to David Clarke (James Tupper), the basis for Emily's (Emily VanCamp) mission of revenge. As such, figuring out who they are and what they are trying to do is a primary focus of her life. At first, she sets her sights solely on the Graysons. But this year, that has expanded somewhat as she has learned more about the Initiative.

Won't Emily be surprised when she learns Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny) and a few of his friends are the Initiative? Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) doesn't even know this until Conrad reveals it in "Truth." It makes total sense, given his involvement in the proceedings, using the shadowy Initiative as a convenient scape goat. It also solidifies Conrad at the villain of the show, now that we know just how much Conrad has control of the situation, and he'll have even power to carry out his schemes from the governor's office.

I don't think that will mean Victoria will switch sides, though. Despite a couple of heartfelt moments for her in this season finale, including one where she truly does seem to understand Jack's (Nick Wechsler) pain and feel bad for him, she isn't altruistic. We've seen, in the flashbacks, how Victoria is complicit in a lot of the bad things that happen, and she is not above some manipulation herself. She may not be the Big Bad, but she isn't joining Team Emily anytime soon, either, more interested in her own status than helping others.

Jack may very well be on the revenge team, though, after the events of "Truth." Bent on getting even with Conrad, whom Jack is convinced killed his wife, Amanda, Jack goes off the grid. When Conrad tries to wipe out Jack permanently, Jack's brother, Declan (Connor Paolo), is caught in the crossfire, and is killed. Now Jack has even more reason to want to take out Conrad.

Emily stops him by admitting to Jack that she is the true Amanda Clarke. It's a hard thing for her to say, but the only thing that would make him pause in his rage. Jack is furious at Emily before for keeping secrets, but in this particular instance, I think the "Truth" will help him understand and forgive her. She knows a more promising path to balancing the scales with Conrad than cold-blooded murder, and Jack should only be too-eager to help he now.

Of course, the Revenge mission will have to make a detour, since Nolan (Gabriel Mann) has been arrested and framed as a terrorist. As much as Jack and Emily want to avenge their loved ones, they also want to take care of those still among them, and Nolan is one of the closest friends they both have. He is also useful in helping them out. So look for Save Nolan to be the priority for at least a time next year, before the main arc can continue.

Other characters still have not chosen a side. Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) has played to both groups from time to time. Season two ends with her helping the heroes, so that is probably the direction she'll go for now, and with Nolan locked up, they probably need her help. I still don't trust her, and think she can be flipped again with ease. But it's good to have one less person to worry about for awhile.

Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) would likely quickly join Emily and Jack if she knew the truth, especially about her dad killing Declan, the father of her unborn baby. I do not know if Charlotte will carry the infant to term, but if she does, she will likely remain ignorantly ensconced within Grayson Manor, protected both from harm and from reality. Eventually, she will learn what has happened, but until she does, she can't be counted on.

Lastly, there's Daniel (Joshua Bowman), who is a good man, used as a pawn by both his parents and Emily. He tries to do the right thing, and I think Emily, Conrad, and Victoria all care for him, but none of them put his welfare ahead of their own desires. Were he to be let in on what's going on, there is no telling where he would land, since neither party has done right by him.

I do think that Emily might actually love Daniel. She enjoys their fake relationship a little too much, and keeps coming back to him. After falling out with Aiden (Barry Sloane), who never really feels right for Emily, her heart isn't torn anymore. She could be with Daniel for real, maybe even eventually telling him who she is and what she's done.

Though, Jack will be the unknown factor here. Now that he knows Emily is his beloved Amanda from childhood, he may want to pick up where they left off, assuming he can see past recent events. It is doubtful he will be as content as Aiden to sit by and watch Emily play house with Daniel, not that Aiden is very understanding. So Jack is the one who could stand in the way of an Emily / Daniel marriage, Emily having long wanted Jack, too.

Revenge is fun because it's a juicy mess, full of ever-shifting allegiances, and constantly pulling new information out of the closet. "Truth" is a fitting finale because it goes big, mixing death, major action, and plot developments with a heartbreaking story. I'm very interested to see what the writers come up with for season three.

Revenge has been renewed by ABC, and will return next fall.

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