Revenge-Struggle-Justin Hartley

We all know, Revenge is a dish best served cold, but just how icy should it be? Struggle was supposed to highlight Emily’s turmoil, but instead it focused on the show’s slowed pace. What is it going to take to light a fire under these writers?

The Players:

  • Director: Chris Misiano
  • Writer: Michael J. Cinquemani
  • Cast: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Henry Czerny, Josh Bowman, Nick Wechsler, Gabriel Mann, Christa B. Allen, Barry Sloane, Karine Vanasse, Justin Hartley, Gail O’Grady

Episode Title: “Struggle”

Emily’s blackouts threaten everything.

The So-So:

  • Mama Mayhem: Stevie Grayson may have visited David Clarke in prison back in her drunk and disbarred days. All Emily has to go on are a few non-specific sentences in her father’s journal, but everything Emily says is gospel so it’s probably true. We just wish she hadn’t waited to the last second of the episode to figure it out. It was important for Jack to spend time tolerating the idea of forming a relationship with Stevie. Stevie would have long since divorced Conrad when David was incarcerated, so her involvement is highly suspicious. Depending on the explanation it could also mean Jack having to choose between getting to know his biological mother and supporting Emily. That kind of tension is exactly what this show needs; perhaps it can wind us into a real story.
  • Noble Nolan: It’s not our fault that Nolan can do no wrong. Though Victoria was able to play on Nolan’s emotions and make him feel guilty for feeding Patrick the truth that sent him spiraling. We’re having a hard time buying that. Surely some of the blame lies on the woman who lied to her son repeatedly? Still, Nolan worked behind the scenes with Victoria to create an opportunity for Patrick far from the Hamptons. His job in a Tuscan studio might help stop him from killing more people. Though like everyone who can’t hack it in the Grayson’s world of murder, mayhem, and manipulation, there’s always the potential for a surprise return. We just wish Victoria and Nolan’s fake murder scheme and magical apprentice job wasn’t such an obvious set-up.

The Bad:

  • Daddy Drama: The fact that Emily never realized she was being tailed shows how bad her blackouts were. We hoped that self-sabotaging behavior would drive her to a therapist. Though it would be risky, it would add an element of danger and surprise that she show needs. Instead, Aiden employed Takeda’s ice bath dunking method to draw out Emily’s conflicted subconscious.   A memory of her father shouting at her while in bed with Victoria clouded her addled mind’s judgment. After fully fleshing out the confusing memory and the full reconciliation had with her caring father afterwards, Emily was right back where she started. With no added element of danger or ammunition and no terrible truth realized, the entire blackout plot ends as pointlessly as it began.
  • Voulez Vacancy: So Conrad is strolling around Voulez, while Charlotte follows him with an adoring and watchful eye.  What exactly was stopping Margaux and her father Pascal from returning from Paris to reclaim control of their magazine this week?  If characters can make it to the other side Montauk in between scenes—or even worse, from Manhattan to Montauk—why are we still waiting on the family LeMarchal? Nothing will be gained from this, though the writers have wasted a week that could have focused on Charlotte doing some real reconnaissance on her father. Instead she got coffee while we got inherently bored.


“Struggle” had us searching for a reason to stay interested. Revenge is better than this. We deserve some payout for staying loyal to this show. Next week looks potentially Earth-shattering for Emily. If her character’s turmoil is the focus, we’re in. The writers need to go to extremes or we’re going to change the channel.

Rating: 6.5/10

Revenge airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of this episode?