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Love Is a Double-Edged Sword: Revenge ‘Dissolution’ Review

By on November 4, 2013
(ABC/Richard Cartwright)
JOSH BOWMAN, MADELEINE STOWE

(ABC/Richard Cartwright) JOSH BOWMAN, MADELEINE STOWE

A measure of strong medicine seasoned with a whiff of hope was served in “Dissolution,” Revenge’s fiftieth episode.

Halfway to the bullets-to-the bustier finish line of a season whose focus and resolve put the first two seasons to shame, Emily Thorne’s endgame emerged when Jack and Nolan force fed her a heaping helping of tough love.

So much happened in last night’s episode that, once again, it’s a challenge to choose which events were most noteworthy. In no particular order, let’s consider the contenders.

Nolan bared his soul to Jack, enraging him. Charlotte introduced Daniel’s adorable ex-girlfriend into the potpourri of life in the Hamptons hoping to bungle the wedding plans. Emily thwarted Conrad’s attempts to sell Grayson Manor to a Saudi prince by faking beach erosion. Patrick came this close to telling Nolan about the terrible thing he did, but ended up instead fighting for his new relationship with an angst-ridden Nolan, who waffled before allowing Jack to ensure Patrick’s disappearance. Jack told Conrad that Patrick was his would-be assassin, thereby painting a bullseye on Patrick’s chest. The Grayson fortune was restored when Aiden led Victoria to a warehouse full of gold bars. Victoria tearfully packed Patrick off to places unknown with a duffel bag full of supplies and cash (and hopefully a bunch of gold bars). And finally, Emily unveiled her plan to frame Victoria for her death. What did I tell you? A lot happened.

All of these events were significant and well executed all around. Intense emotions abounded, but were not overdone. Particularly impressive were the scenes between Nolan and Jack, Nolan and Emily, Daniel and Sara, Victoria and Patrick, and finally, the Nolan-Emily-Jack triad. If you didn’t have an exercise ball in your hand to relieve the stress, or a box of tissues by your side to dab away a tear or two, you probably needed a stiff drink by the end of the hour.

These events also paved the way for what comes next in the Revenge saga of ‘Who Faux Shot the Faux Emily Thorne?.’ So what are we to glean from this mixed bag of (mostly) gut wrenching events? That they are all about relationship and sacrifice.

Revenge has always been about the Emily, Nolan, and Jack triad, and the lengths to which one will go to protect and serve the others. In an exemplary feat of self-respect, Nolan threw off the untenable mantle of secrecy and unburdened himself to Jack, risking their friendship. Nolan simply couldn’t take it anymore. And why should he? His loyalty to Emily was a double edged sword, costing him an authentic friendship with Jack, and, more importantly, a love relationship with Patrick who he suspected could be his soulmate.

In learning about Nolan’s complicity in The Big Secret, Jack is faced with a choice. What is more important: holding a grudge over the deception, or honoring his affection for Nolan? Thankfully, Jack chose Nolan, and we all released a huge sigh of relief. This was a good move by the Revenge fairies as it allows all three characters to move forward in earnest … and relieves us of the responsibility of remembering who knows what and how. At this point in the season, I can’t remember why Charlotte is mad at Emily, or why Jack hates Patrick. And what ever happened to the revegenda Nolan was planning against the Graysons with Patrick as his pawn? That little plot line was simply dropped. So … this development simplifies the whole storyline.

In keeping with his campaign of full disclosure, Nolan told a stunned and furious Emily of all he’d revealed to her childhood playmate. In an impassioned tête-à-tête with Emily, Nolan voiced the aforementioned underlying theme of Revenge that, more than anything, people need connection, relationship, and love. These are at the root of everything else, even revenge.

Nolan never really cared about the Graysons. His only true interest was in helping Emily. Sure, the Grayson family sullied his name and temporarily infringed upon Nolan’s freedoms, but intellectual property and money have never been as precious to Nolan as friendship, belonging, and love. This he fervently admited to Emily as he fights for his relationship and for her happiness. Which brings us to Patrick.

Dang it all, Revenge. I hope you know what you are doing, because Justin Hartley’s Patrick Osbourn was a splendid addition to this drama on all levels. I, personally, hope he figures into the storyline later. Throughout his tenure on Revenge, Patrick repeatedly demonstrated his guileless devotion to his mother’s freedom, making Victoria’s impassioned dispatch of him absolutely heart breaking. Especially after he called her ‘Mom’ for the very first time. When she tells him, at the end, to ‘obey your mother’ … it was … well … indescribably emotional. Mothers and children of all ages out there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Gah!

Elsewhere, Patrick was straightforward and commitment to his relationship with Nolan. Nolan’s conflicted and angsty heart was equally gut wrenching. He and Patrick were a very good match. Aside from providing Revenge with the most romantically passionate scenes to date, they had chemistry any time they were on screen together. It was exciting, and good, and we all rooted for this pairing to last. Run after him, Nolan. It’s not too late! 

However, it came off awkward and out of character for the plot to lead to Patrick having been Conrad’s would-be assassin. It. Just. Didn’t. Add. Up. Everything we’ve seen of Patrick has shown him to be a stand-up guy. There may have been speculation in the beginning about him proving to be a psychopath, a freeloader with an Oedipus complex, or a pretender to the throne, but none of that materialized. In regard to his ex-wife’s comments about him, well, there will always be people willing to say nasty things about other people. There will also always be people willing to believe those nasty things. Nolan eschewed rationality and went with his gut and his heart, and, yes, other parts of his anatomy, choosing to trust Patrick. And it felt that that was how it should be. Enough said.

Not much to say about either Aiden or Daniel in their relationships with Emily except that she continues to play them both like a first and second chair fiddles, manipulative little wench that she is. However, the chemistry between Emily and Aiden shows a glimmer of hope. Perhaps Emily will have love in the end? However, it’s more likely that she’s leading him on to keep him in line. Time will tell. We still have six episodes on the docket.

Sara Munello resurfaced in “Dissolution,” thanks to the wily manipulations of Princess Charlotte. Sara (Annabelle Stephenson, H20: Just Add Water), is the ex-girlfriend whose spine was shattered when Daniel drunkenly drove into a tree trunk years ago. She has been in rehab ever since, refusing his attempt to see her. Her history and considerable chemistry with Daniel could justifiably derail the wedding. Now newly acquainted, Daniel seeks to earn her reluctant forgiveness for the accident and for his parents’ swindling her out of compensation for her rehabilitation. This little twist provided a tasty diversion in ‘Dissolution’. Not only is Stephenson as cute as the meme  fine viral of a puppy curled around a napping infant, she has a face that concurrently exudes righteous indignation. Daniel, yearning for someone to be a hero to, is walking blind into a potentially dangerous situation. Once again, however, he proves that he is the good guy we’ve always wanted him to be. He’s the kind of character, (just like Nolan) that audiences want good things for. Keep it up, Daniel!

This twist is both meaty and promising. If the Revenge writers can keep her around until the end, it could be just the thing to provide a real threat to Emily’s plan. And could I please have Patrick back for christmas? Please, with a cherry on top? Sorry, he’s a difficult character to see go. *sigh* As a matter of fact, I’ll trade you one Aiden for that Patrick. Deal?

Finally, we have Emily’s own need for relationship and belonging. As a result of the tough love both Nolan and Jack spoon-fed her during the episode, Emily is pondering the heaviness of her actions should she continue with her plan. In a scene that could have felt forced or turned maudlin, she comes clean with her boys. Her plan: to take the submersible crate and the homing beacon Nolan is holding for her, to fake her death, and to frame Victoria for her own murder. That is why she is planning a family honeymoon. That is why she needs the Grayson family to stay intact. That is why there needs to be a wedding. And that is why, like Julia Roberts in Sleeping With The Enemy, she is always going of for a swim. She needs to build her stamina so she can swim from the yacht, to her getaway stash in the submersable crate. Then she will disappear forever …  from the Hamptons and from Nolan and Jack’s lives.

Nolan and Jack are visibly stunned by this revelation, as they should be. Emily, perhaps, is stunned herself that this will spell the end of her relationships with the only two friends she’s ever had. There is a glimmer of hope that her early (we still have six episodes to come) revelation will give Nolan and Jack time to love her through making the right decision and abandoning her self-destructive plan.

Things are getting juicier and more intense by the minute on Revenge. Tune in on Sunday November 10  (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on ABC when Conrad hires famed party-girl turned PR mastermind Bizzy Preston (Ana Ortiz) to help restore the family name. Check out these first look images, courtesy of ABC, for the upcoming episode below.

“Resurgence” airs Sunday November 10  (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

One Comment

  1. Amy

    November 6, 2013 at 9:56 am

    What a bias article? Did she watch the right episode? Very evident that this author is a jack shipper . This was not all Emily, jack and Nolan centric. You saw one scene with all three at the end. All so, you missed a key point, aiden and Emily have made plans to runaway, and Emily did not even condsider Nolan and jack when he made that decision.