"Just because you think you know something, it doesn't make it true."
There are certain truths in Revenge. Emily Thorne's path of revenge is a righteous one. The Graysons and all of their allies deserve to be revenged for what they did. Charlotte is a useless bastard. David Clarke was a good man.
"Was" is the operative word in regards to David Clarke. In retrospect, the man got what he deserved.
Let me back up.
David Clarke is (now that we can use the present tense) a terrible father. He apparently went to the John Winchester School of Terrible Parenting, leaving as many emotional scars on his children as he could in his unnecessary absence. Of course, nothing prior to these past few episodes of Revenge would suggest that David Clarke was faking his death while his eldest daughter suffered and became a shell—a badass shell, but a shell nonetheless—of her former self to avenge him. Honestly, Conrad Grayson (may he now rest in peace...or not) was quite possibly a better father to Emily Thorne than David Clarke was.
I'm obviously getting ahead of myself. "Execution" is another excellent showing for Revenge, and as far as season finales go, it definitely sets a rather grandiose scene for the next season. Emily continues to ride the wave of "Impetus," savoring her victories against the Graysons once and for all. With Conrad in prison with an open and shut case, the only loose end is Victoria, the way it was always meant to be. Unfortunately, Emily never factored in Victoria working on her own revenge schemes. As implied in "Impetus," the test of the DNA results show that there is no DNA match between Charlotte and Carl. There's no beating around the bush, and it's made clear immediately that Victoria now knows the Thorne in her side (I'm so sorry) is the real Amanda Clarke.
The episode continues like a game of chess between Victoria and Emily, each anticipating the other's moves while also underestimating the skills of their opponent. Victoria expects Emily to go to David Clarke's cabin, but she doesn't expect Emily to completely whoop her hired gun. Emily sends Aiden to convince Dr. Michelle Banks to turn Victoria in, but Victoria gets to her first and drugs Aiden's tea (way to be a British stereotype, Aiden—sorry about the Jenny Calendar-esque reveal of your death though). Victoria gets Charlotte to tell her where Emily is next, but she doesn't expect to get a shovel to the face mid-conversation. Or to be framed for digging up Amanda Clarke's grave.
Given the backstory of David Clarke and Victoria's relationship from day one of Revenge, Pascal as Victoria's absolute one true love has never really made much sense. Sure, you can love more than one person in your lifetime, but the way Victoria speaks of her love of Pascal, it's like she's saying "David Clarke, who?" So the moment Victoria tells her that David Clarke the father and David Clarke the lover were two very different men, it plants the seeds that we don't have the full story about the supposedly perfect father. So when he shows up in those final moments, having sprung Conrad out of prison simply to kill him, you have to wonder if this is the result of years of hiding underneath the radar, or if this is the sort of thing he was capable of all along. Either way, it still makes David Clarke a terrible father, and hopefully Emily calls him out for it when they finally encounter each other.
The Grayson/Thorne/Clarke saga isn't the only family drama of the finale, though.
Enter Margaux's half-brother, Gideon, looking like he just stumbled off the set of Twisted. No French accent, so you know he's evil. That's a stereotype, right? Anyway, Nolan offers to team up with Gideon, because the enemy of his enemy is a viable option for business partner. Which reminds, will we ever see Javier again, or was his one scene in this episode also his last scene? Considering he hasn't interacted with Charlotte, his girlfriend, in a few episodes, I'm going to assume this was his farewell episode, and I am perfectly content with that. Thanks for creating some absurd computer software, Javi.
Margaux has never spoken fondly of Gideon, but considering how she can't see how big of a sleazeball Daniel is, no one can exactly accuse her of being a good judge of character. However, Gideon proves his sister right when he arranges for Daniel to end up in bed with a dead girl who overdosed on cocaine, a truly Graysonian move to be honest.
Clearly the Gideon situation will continue in the fourth season, but while it's great to see someone ruin Daniel's life (though not as great to see Nolan trust the wrong person, yet again), non-French, boarding school Gideon isn't exactly what I'd call an interesting character. Then again, I'd say that about Margaux and Aiden—though one of those problems has now been eliminated.
I think we all knew the writing was on the wall for Aiden from the moment Emily uttered those three small words to him. Emily saying "I love you" to Aiden might was essentially the kiss of death. My biggest problem with Aiden has always been a lack of seeing chemistry between him and Emily. These two have constantly been stated as having this amazing love, for being the each other's reasons for living even, but it's been the rare moment that I even have believed that Emily actually likes Aiden or being in his presence at all. With "Impetus," I talked about how Emily getting a happy ending could possibly rob the show of any potential greatness, but here, we do have Emily getting that happy ending, with a price. Her father's name is cleared, Conrad Grayson is dying in the middle of the road, and Victoria Grayson is locked up in a psychiatric hospital, just like she had been in her childhood. But in order to get there, the love of her life is murdered and propped up on display for her to see, and her sister can't even stand to be in the same room as her.
Speaking of Emily's sister, Charlotte may have been integral to Conrad finally being locked up, but this week was a return to her standard uselessness. There might be something wrong with a character when other characters constantly use her ineptitude in order to get what they want. Here, Emily uses Charlotte's Charlotte-ness to lure Victoria over to the cemetery for the frame-up job. But then Charlotte does something I don't even think Declan would have done in the height of his stupidity—she gets Jack arrested for kidnapping her. I suppose it's not 100 percent her fault—if only Emily would come clean to Charlotte about all of the shenanigans, there would be so many less obstacles. Especially since it could most likely turn Charlotte against Daniel once and for all. Instead, we're left with the Charlotte who has kidnapping PTSD flashbacks and turns Jack, of all people on this show, in to the police. There's no way that telling Charlotte the truth can be any more emotionally scarring than her being kidnapped just last week.
"Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is fully-grown, gives birth to death." - James 1:15
Despite the cliffhangers, "Execution" would have made a terrific series finale for Revenge. Luckily, we'll have another season, and if it can continue the moment these last few episodes have had, it will surely be the best season since the first. With such a shifting of the tide, there's only one way the season should go: absolutely soap operatic annihilation. I'll be waiting with anticipation, but until then, there's still so much to talk about.