My brain has melted. Not since the “What’s in the hatch?” heyday of Lost have we seen a network show with as many WTF-worthy cliff-hangers as Revenge. But after last night’s doozy of an ending, consider my mind well and truly blown. And it will likely remain blown until next week’s undoubtedly even more mind-blowing Fire + Ice extravaganza that will take us full circle to the Daniel-offing events of the pilot.
“Perception,” the title of last night’s episode, is indeed everything. It’s the filter that allows people to believe many things that are obviously at odds with reality: that Victoria was raped by David Clarke, when she was actually having a long-standing—passionately consensual—affair with him; that David actually believed Victoria was a victim too; that Emily with brown hair and glasses isn’t worthy of a second glance from the Grayson scion, while blond Emily is worthy of a proposal; that Grandpa Grayson is 80, when actor William Devane is only 72; that the noticeable application of “Just for Men” to Henry Czerny’s hair makes Conrad Grayson look demonstrably younger than his father; that Nolan’s suggested larger-than-life porn is a good way to mend a broken heart; the idea that Declan is charming. I could go on. But, most importantly, I have a feeling our perception of Revenge is about to be radically altered.
Up till now we’ve thought our Emily, Amanda Clarke hiding in plain sight, was the series’ ultimate puppet master. She could destroy her enemies, without implicating herself in the slightest, by having them destroy each other. She didn’t even have to worry about finding a way to expose Charlotte’s paternity—Conrad Grayson did that quite publicly enough himself. But with that final reveal, that somebody dug up her “Revenge Box” out of the floorboards and filled out her engagement party invite with “Miss Emily Thorne will attend,” somebody else wants Emily to know that they know who she really is. That means Emily may not be pulling all the strings, after all. And I have a sneaking suspicion I know who it is. In fact, if you’ll allow me, I’ll dispense with the conventional plot summary this week—I mean, if you haven’t seen last night’s episode, why the hell are you reading this recap? Get thee to Hulu.—and propose a theory.
A Theory of Ashley
Ah, “Victoria’s Little Bird,” as Connie called her, has played a masterful game. In fact, I think she’s maneuvered herself into a position of confidence with the Graysons even more effectively than our Emily has. And I don’t think that’s an accident. Think about it: we know almost nothing about her background other than that, presumably, she’s British and somehow befriended “Emily Thorne” in the time before Emily moved to the Hamptons.
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