ABC’s Revenge returns this Sunday, and surprise, surprise Emily is set for conflict and chaos with the Graysons. She is currently trying to make Daniel’s life hell as his wife and also likely has an explosion set with Conrad after mysteriously showing up in his bedroom. The series from the start has been about Emily’s conflict with the Grayson family and her complex plan to exact revenge for their part in her father’s death.

Since the series premiere, Revenge has evolved and many of the supporting characters have started getting their own major storylines. The show has become much more than one lady’s obsession with vengeance. It is still called Revenge and Emily is still the most important character. Her journey deserves to be the focal point and should be the story that grips us.

This is why I think it is time for Emily to finally enact her final revenge plan on the Graysons. She needs a new Big Bad to drive her fiery desire for revenge.

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Revenge Trail Goes Cold

The concept of Revenge always felt more like something better suited for a mini-series or a feature length motion picture. The writers have surprisingly made it work for three seasons and have turned it into both a compelling and colorful drama that has been very fresh compared to other network offerings.

After three seasons, it is beginning to get a little hard to believe Emily has been able to keep up her alter ego for this long. The even harder part is trusting that whatever major master plan Emily has in store that it has been worth almost three years of being set-up and manipulated.

The series in the past has playfully toyed with popular soap opera tropes. The whole setting in the Hamptons feels like a loving nod to typical soap formula. Recently, ABC’s Revenge has been embracing the most cliche and well-worn of soap storylines in an attempt to drag out the final execution of Emily’s plot for Grayson destruction. It seems to be an unwritten rule that every soap needs a key character to be struck with amnesia (Emnesia?) but this time it felt like a convenient way to prolong Emily from reaching her goal.

This isn’t to say that Revenge isn’t entertaining. It is still an over-the-top drama with memorable and fun characters like Nolan and Victoria. The thing that made the series stand out was the revenge plot, but it is going to get harder and harder to root for Emily if she can’t pull the trigger. Season three started with Emily feeling rushed and knowing it was time to finish things, but it seems like the promise of syndication has stalled it.

Time to Shake Things Up

The original premise of this series was Emily getting revenge on the people responsible for ruining and ending her father’s life. For most of the time the main adversaries have been the Graysons. Obviously, the series doesn’t want to lose the main purpose of the show, especially considering the title. Likely even more importantly, they don’t want to lose their biggest star, Madeleine Stowe.

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Stick Around, Victoria

It is possible to wrap up the major issues with the Graysons while still keeping the show’s premise chugging along and Stowe on board. It has been clear from the start that Emily’s plan doesn’t actually involve death and it may not even involve jail time. A financially ruined Grayson family doesn’t mean they need to disappear.

There have also been hints dropped since season one that Victoria still has strong feelings and attachments to David. There has always been an underlying sense that the story is being set-up where she seeks and finds redemption. Of course, it is usually then followed by her doing something dastardly.

While Victoria has shown glimmers of virtue and compassion, Conrad has slipped more into the role of the manically laughing villain. Conrad is likely the most disliked person on the show and the one every viewer really wants to see get his comeuppance. Revenge season 3 could end very satisfyingly with Conrad being gloriously written out and Victoria finally settling things with Emily. We could then get the super team up of Emily and Victoria that got teased back at the start of season two.

Enter the New Big Bad

Of course, the Graysons being vanquished leaves the problem of Emily left without anything to revenge against. One route could be to continue the “clear David’s name and take out the evil doers that harmed him” story by introducing another villain that has secretly been lurking the entire time.

I realize they tried that with the Initiative, and it turned out to be one of the most convoluted and frustrating storylines of the series. The problem was they tried to make the group some terrorist global super power straight out of a Bond series when it needs to be something more intimate. Of course, Revenge has now essentially retconned the group out of existence anyway.

The Evil from the Shadows

The big season three finale could be that Conrad has a business partner that nobody else knew about. Some nefarious being that was really behind things. It could even be a situation where Emily has to track this person down, and that this time it is the villain who has taken on an alter ego to hide away in the shadows.

It would help freshen up the show and also allow Emily to finally reveal she really is Amanda. Most of the important characters already know anyway. It could also open intriguing storylines like Emily reconciling with her half-sister, Charlotte, and trying to create a real relationship with her mother. 

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Can We Trust Niko?

There is also a chance to completely end the “revenge for David” storyline. Instead, introduce a villain who has perpetuated an entirely new crime. The cast of Revenge is fairly large and could afford someone close to Emily getting murdered. I’d obviously never throw Nolan in that direction, but Aiden could be a great candidate for meeting an end of the season demise. Niko is already the perfect person to literally cut Aiden out of the show with her katana.

Of course, things will need to be tweaked from where they currently stand. It would be hard to root for Emily to get revenge on Niko if she just killed Aiden for him killing her own father. But Satoshi Takeda was always a mysterious character and there seemed to be a dark side of him. I’m pretty sure I’m not just thinking that because the character at one point was played by the bad guy from Mortal Kombat.

After Aiden’s proposed death, it could be revealed that Takeda was part of an evil underground group. A group now controlled by Niko, and one that Emily must stop. Yes, we’re now drifting back into Initiative land. This time around it doesn’t need to be as secretive or allude to being so big. There just needs to be some major catalyst to make Niko’s killing of Aiden more sinister than her own simple revenge. Plus Emily would need a reason to feel betrayed by her former mentor and be put on another mission for justice.

The New Revenge

It is clear that these proposals are veering far off the original story that drove this show. The once brilliant premise is a hard one to believe can sustain for countless seasons. This also wouldn’t be the first show to delineate from what had originally been set. Alias, Fringe and Angel are examples of successful and popular series that drastically evolved from the initial premise but continued to churn out quality stories.

Revenge will hopefully continue to provide interesting plots for supporting characters like Nolan, Jack and Charlotte. The series has a chance for many great and memorable moments. In order for Emily to remain our interesting hero and someone that we believe in, she needs to enact the last stage of her revenge plot against the Graysons now. Then we can all get ready for her new big bad.

What do you think, does Emily need a new big bad? Tell us your thoughts in the comments. 

Revenge returns Sunday March 9 at 10pm on ABC.  

Chris Spicer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV