"Chaos" resembled a season finale and "Scandal" resembled a season premiere. Since I compliment TVD every week for such episodes, I'll salute Revenge for putting together two compelling episodes. I mean, I did talk to the TV aloud about various character choices, and even yelled at Jack to just tell his brother the whole truth instead of opting for complete silence because he's a soap-opera character. "Scandal" dealt with the fallout of Tyler's murder. Daniel searched under the floorboards for Emily's secrets, the Graysons performed damage control, Emily wore an expression of worry and fear for the first time in the series, Declan jumped around the major issue with his brother, Charlotte wanted to keep popping pills, etc. Things happened fast. Emily discovered Nolan's working relationship with Takeda and then threatened to kick his ass. A flashback informed the present. Characters communicated. The episode seemed slow at points even though each scene had substance, but chalk that up to the editing or the structure of the story. The episode absolutely succeeded though.
The flashbacks were a problem in past episodes. The flashback in "Scandal" isn't the first to inform the present narrative, but it was the most significant and substantial flashback. We've learned a great deal from the flashbacks. The flashbacks, thought, never entirely connected with the episode in which they were seen; however, "Scandal" shows Conrad and Victoria on the day of the plane crash, when the reality of prison and a disgraced life are tangible, and one sees how desperation caused the couple to throw David Clarke under the SEPTA bus. Daniel's situation is the opposite of them in that he's an innocent about to be crucified by the media and the public because he's part of the 1%. Victoria and Conrad's scenes show how cold they can be when desperate, and they immediately latch onto the idea of putting whoever the hooded man was in prison. I don't want to write about karma after the HIMYM review, because it nearly drove me insane, but the Graysons past actions have come back to bite them i.e. Daniel is the poor bastard paying the price for his parents' sins, karmically. It's nice to see though.
The final scene provided crucial clarity for the previous 42 minutes. The viewer learned the truth of the murder. Indeed, Takeda murdered Tyler, as I suspected. Takeda confessed his crimes to Emily 48 hours earlier, explaining that her lack of discipline caused chaos, and now she must choose between Daniel and Jack--she cannot save them both. The prospect of a who-dunnit mystery wasn't appealing because of the anvils dropped in "Chaos” regarding who actually did it. A complicated personal arc for Emily in midst of her grand schemes for revenge, in which she's conflicted between her plans for revenge and her issues of the human heart, is appealing. The scene also introduced a more compelling mystery in Takeda; specifically, one wonders what his true role in the grand scheme is, because his lines suggest that a set plan's gone awfully awry. Simply, why does he care so much?
There were many moving pieces in "Scandal." Mr. Brooks, Daniel's lawyer, is going to be a thorn in Emily Thorne's side (no pun intended). Nolan and Ashley had a moment in which he discovered something fishy within the photographs or about the photographs (I missed the two most important lines). Jack, despite Declan's urging, won't flee town despite the bad evidence against him once the investigators connect the dots and Charlotte positively IDs him. I also got a real sense that the Grayson empire will fall by the end of the season just from the flashback. I suddenly realized that the flashbacks have told a story that should naturally conclude with justice being served to those back-stabbing Grayson bastards; but that's neither here nor there.
"Scandal" needed to deal with the fallout of the murder and keep the masses intrigued and hooked enough to return when new episodes resume in April. I thought everything worked. From what I've seen on the message boards, folk can't believe they need to wait a whole month (and maybe 2 weeks in April) for the return of Revenge. Well, friends and well-wishers, the month will turn to March, and the networks take a nap as they save episodes for mid-to-late April and into May sweeps.
Elle Triedman wrote the episode. Kenneth Fink directed it.
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