On Sunday night, after four very up-and-down seasons, Revenge finally finished its story with plenty of last minute twists and a (mostly) happy ending for its protagonist, Emily Thorne. However, even though the series finale certainly did provide closure, killing off both Victoria and David, having Jack and Emily get married, and sending Nolan off to help someone new on a different journey of revenge, something still felt a little off. It was as if everything I had wanted to happen for years finally had, but not in the way I had hoped for or envisioned. There was less fulfillment than I predicted from watching a happy Jack and Emily sail away together, or Victoria lie bleeding and dying on the floor, and the answer is pretty simple: Revenge‘s series finale was overstuffed.
This happens a lot with shows and finales, whether they be season or series enders. Writers try to tie up so many loose ends or provide fans with tons of “wow” moments that the emotions connected with these scenes end up getting a little washed away or forgotten. Characters (and the audience) aren’t given anytime to breathe, as the episode continues to churn through plot, on its way to giving us another answer or twist, losing the motivations that got us there in the first place.
The Revenge finale suffered from this same type of problem. Everything that happened during the hour was strong stuff, particularly the scenes between Emily and Nolan and Emily and her father. In those brief moments, “Two Graves” had time to reflect on how far these characters have come over the past four seasons, despite how bumpy the road has been sometimes, and they were proper sendoffs to these individuals. Emily’s emotional goodbye to David just as he dies and her and Nolan’s conversation right before her wedding to Jack illustrated just how key those relationships have been throughout her life and how she would not have been able to make it without either of them. Nolan has always been the physical presence she could lean on for help, just as David has served as the spirit inside of Emily, motivating her to keep going, even when he wasn’t actually there to talk with her.
And because of how well those characters were treated in the finale, I wanted more from the other most important relationships in Emily’s life: the ones she had with Jack and Victoria. It’s not that I didn’t believe in the love that Jack and Emily had for each other, or that I felt like the writers were simply shoehorning their romance in to provide fanservice to some viewers. No, my problem with the two of them stems from how the writers took their relationship from 0 to 60 in the span of about 15 minutes, as Jack and Emily went from barely dating to being married, and despite the strong connection that was certainly apparent between the pair, Revenge simply had not given enough build-up to have their wedding work on a completely emotional level. Emily and Jack’s bond to each other has always been one the core elements of Revenge, but the romantic spark between the pair was lost in Season 2 and 3, when Aiden became the love of Emily’s life (even if I never truly bought into their romance) and wasn’t even a major focus of Season 4 until these final few episodes. Heck, Emily spent more time with Ben this season than she probably did with Jack, and that ultimately caused the couple’s material in the finale to lose a little of what had made it so special in the past.
Similarly, Emily’s confrontation with Victoria in “Two Graves” began and ended so quickly that I barely had time to enjoy Emily VanCamp and Madeline Stowe’s final scene together. Unlike their face-off in the Season 3 finale, “Execution,” the enemies’ final showdown lacked the electricity that so many past Emily and Victoria scenes in the past had been full of, and a major reason for that is, again, how rushed everything feels. Part of me believes that a two-hour finale could have served RevengeÂ better, or maybe if the show had not spent as much time with Margaux and Louise, two characters that the writers always seemed more interested in than the audience, these big moments and final exchanges could have been packed more of a punch and Revenge‘s last episode would not have felt so incredibly hasty and bloated.
Still, though, despite my issues with how certain developments were executed throughout the hour, I’d still argue that “Two Graves” was, for the most part, a pretty satisfying way to conclude Revenge‘s four-season story. It wasn’t perfect, but neither was Revenge throughout its run, even its best moments back in Season 1. At least “Two Graves” showed some of that old ambition the series used to have in its first year, even if it lacked some of the spark.
What did you think of the Revenge series finale? Were you satisfied with the ending, or did it leave you wanting more?
[Photos via ABC]