We open to Amanda and Victoria, bloodied and weary from being held hostage in a rusty cage. They exchange acerbic one-liners, locked up in Malcolm Black’s personal Gitmo. The women are weak, but okay (hostages never get snacks); they’re mostly just annoyed by Malcolm’s dirty, Scottish henchmen. Local cops Jack and Ben team up with David Clarke to find them. But will they make it in time? And if they do, is anyone really going to save Victoria Grayson? Suddenly, David has until “noon tomorrow” to bring Malcolm his daughter or Amanda and Victoria die. Only one problem. Malcolm’s daughter, Kate, kinda died in that shootout last week. So David has some kinks to work out of his plan.
Meanwhile Nolan and Louise get a visit from…Louise’s mother?! Mrs. Ellis, played by Carolyn Hennesy (General Hospital) flat out denies drugging her daughter. With her charming, yet evil, Southern lilt, she reminds Louise that she will be financially cut off if she doesn’t keep quiet. Yes, it’s a little overwhelming for Louise, but it puts a much-needed conflict in the Louse and Nolan storyline. So Louise can’t tell anyone who drugged her or she loses her inheritance. Even if her doctor merely prescribed her a medication that had serious adverse effects, Louise would still be silenced. Who would she go to? Who would care? If a patient gets prescribed a Black Box medication, the doctor has no obligation to inform the patient what that means. A Black Box warning means the medication can cause death, whether physically or by inducing suicidal tendencies.
So when Louise finds out her Xanax is essentially a Black Box medication, who can she go to? The doctor is already being paid off (much like the FDA giving doctors “incentives” to keep patients on certain medications). And Louise is also silenced by her mother with the threat of bankruptcy (what could happen to any patient who tried to take on a doctor or better yet, a pharmaceutical company). I’m not saying that the FDA is evil or that Big Pharma is taking over. What I am saying is that prescription drug use is ubiquitous and largely unchecked. It’s pretty much like the Wild West out there. Getting a prescription for a dangerous medication is easier than paying a parking ticket.
Anyway, Louise is screwed. But Nolan can hack a way out, right?
Then boom, David Clarke tells Malcolm, “Cedar Hill. Sundown.” Daughter swap! What could go wrong? And how did Amanda not escape yet? What happened to her Dark Knight-level martial arts training? It appears to be too late — Malcolm has ordered his men to kill Amanda and Victoria if he doesn’t get his daughter. So David gets shot and Jack and Ben storm in, causing Amanda to finally remember her martial arts training. At last, some good group-fighting with crowbars and huge rocks. And then David shoots Malcolm roughly seven times, causing him to fall backwards into an incinerator. In Revenge, we call that an unambiguous death. Malcolm Black is dead and he’s not allowed to come back. Ever.
And guess who just got married? Nolan Ross and Louise Ellis! Nolan’s team found a legal loophole to ensure Louise’s inheritance. But her mother doesn’t think the marriage matters because Louise killed her father.
Louise killed her father?
And jump to Margaux threatening Amanda again. To which Victoria Grayson actually says, “Revenge is a dangerous game”– the main message of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. In The Count, Edmond Dantes spends the majority of his life plotting and exacting his revenge. Although he is warned, he carries out his revenge only to find complete emptiness. It is not until he lets himself truly love and trust that the book ends. And there is no happily ever after (the film has him joyfully reunite with son and wife). Happiness is not a goal of The Count’s in the book. Rather he is known for saying, “happiness blinds.” Ignorance is not bliss for The Count, it’s danger. So instead, he leaves France and moves to a private island with his Haitian slave girl.
Of course, the ending of the 1200 page book never makes it into the Hollywood film adaptations.
Yet, I really liked The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) with Guy Pearce and James Caviezel (Passion of Christ–yeah that guy gets whipped a lot). And I don’t blame Hollywood for chopping off the ending of the book. I mean, it’s not exactly a romantic drama if we have dashing James Caviezel give his Haitian slave freedom and then marry her. However, with adaptations and homages, from Revenge to Shawshank Redemption, what’s important in retelling this tale isn’t the ending, it’s the anti-revenge message.
What Revenge viewers (hopefully) have caught onto is that the title, Revenge is ironic. In the commercials and promos, what’s highlighted is the show’s realistic fighting (thank God, this is rare), murders, betrayals and of course, revenge. However, as the show loosely follows plotlines from The Count, we have characters realize that revenge should not be glorified.
It’s a cautionary tale.
And when we see Victoria in her rare moment of clarity, realizing revenge isn’t the way to go, it’s a beautiful thing. Of course Amanda should’ve learned that revenge is deadly when Aiden died. I know — Amanda can’t abandon her revenge. That’d be like giving Jack Bauer a desk job; it ends the show. So in the end, I really liked the episode. Malcolm Black and his shitty accent are dead. And next week, Ben and Amanda finally have their date?