Warning: This story contains spoilers from the series finale of Revenge. Read at your own risk!
Emily Thorne’s quest for Revenge came to an end in the aptly titled “Two Graves.” And yes, two graves were filled—but not in the way viewers expected.
During Revenge’s swan song, Emily (Emily VanCamp) escaped jail with an eye toward proving Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) was still alive. But once Jack (Nick Wechsler) was caught in the crossfire, Emily vowed to kill her nemesis once and for all.
However, both Margaux (Karine Vanasse) and Louise (Elena Satine) eventually turned on Victoria and helped lead Emily to her final showdown with the Grayson matriarch. Though Emily had every intention of killing Victoria, David (James Tupper) spared her soul by pulling the trigger first. Still, Victoria got a shot off, making viewers believe for a split second that Emily would fill that second grave.
Instead, it was David who eventually perished from cancer after a judge granted him leniency for killing Victoria and let him spend his final days at home with his daughter. Emily got her happy ending by marrying Jack, while Nolan (Gabriel Mann) took up the mantle of righting other people’s wrongs. But was this ending always the plan for Amanda Clarke? And what did that reveal about the identity of Victoria’s real father actually mean? EW caught up with showrunner Sunil Nayar to find out:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was it always the plan to give Emily a happy ending?
SUNIL NAYAR: No, certainly not. The plan was to discuss every kind of ending possible as we got to the end of this journey. At the end of the day, at the end of the show, it felt that she deserves to be with Jack. She deserves to sail off into the sunset, though not without experiencing great loss and great tragedy. But it felt that she deserved it. I think and I hope that when the audience and you guys saw it, you agreed. But I think it felt really right.
What were some of the alternate endings you considered?
We explored anything you could think of. We explored both women actually being dead, we explored only Emily dying and Victoria living. We took a look at every single majorly dramatic option from the viewpoint of how do we want to the story to end, and also from our audience’s point of view who have been such fans of the show. Really, to try to experience it from their moment-to-moment lens and thinking, if I’m taking the end of this journey, where do I want to feel I’ve gotten to by the very end? At the end of that day, it felt that Amanda needed and wanted to be alive and needed and wanted to be with Jack. So there was an end to the journey as opposed to a stop, which felt like it could’ve been too dark for what I think the audience deserved by the end of all of this.
The dream Emily was having about Charlotte giving her Victoria’s heart was just a dream, right? Is that just your way of saying Emily can never really let her go?
That’s a question that we’ll never know the actual answer to. What I was very much hoping for, and in speaking to Emily [VanCamp] and Madeleine about it was, what are the psychological ramifications of what Victoria had done to Emily? Or, if it in fact it is a physical reality of Victoria keeping Emily alive, I like that idea that is a question that is going to resonate. Because even though you’ve seen this nightmare, some nightmares are based in reality and some are not—as this show has shown many times through both Emily and Victoria’s psyche. So, for me, there is no answer to that question. I think that the debate of the question is fun, and I think people have definitive opinions of whether it’s a “yay” or “nay.” But I just like the idea that, like anything else, you don’t know and you’ll never know.
I didn’t quite understand the reveal about who Victoria’s father really is. Were you trying to say it’s Conrad? Can you explain?
When we tapped deep into the history of the show in that flashback episode, where we first met Marian Harper, you learned that Victoria had taken the fall for this thing that her mother did when she killed a man. When she came back, her mother was dating a new man who essentially molested Victoria—and her mother, being such a horrible human being, blamed her daughter for essentially enticing the man who Victoria, in that scene that you saw last night, learned to be her father. It went much farther back. But her mother was trying to say that you didn’t get your heart from your father, your father was an even more lecherous person than I was.
Can you talk about Victoria’s decision to shoot Emily? Was that just a last-ditch effort to take her down and ensure she didn’t get a happy ending?
I think to some extent, yes. Also, because the thing that’s always rattling through Victoria’s mind is the people that she still cares about and the people she still needs to protect. Knowing that David Clarke, because she still had vague consciousness when David Clarke was saying everything he was doing—but she doesn’t know how Emily feels about Charlotte, or Patrick, or the few people out there that she cares about. There’s also this undercurrent of, it’s her last act of revenge but also of protection, but it is to ensure Emily/Amanda doesn’t get her happy ending.
Are we to infer that Emily reconciled with Charlotte (Christa B. Allen)?
Absolutely, yeah. Yes, which is why you knew exactly what happened with Charlotte. They absolutely finally have the chance to be the sisters they never were.
So was Nolan’s happy ending just to be able to help other people who need revenge?
Yes, but also that he’s absolutely able to stand on his own. When we saw him say to Emily that he’s trained for four years under the best sensei and that he’s going to go take care of this Margaux situation, it’s a bold move for him because he’s going without her. And he learns, “Oh, I can do this. I’ve become my own person in the nature of this show.” One of the reasons we did the lovely arc with Tony dating him is that Nolan was with a real person, and he’s become a real person—still with his eccentricities and his brilliance, but it’s now grounded in the world where he doesn’t feel like an outsider. He could stand on his own two feet, and when that young man comes to him, and without Emily there, he says, “I can help you,” and knows that he can do it.
Was the plan for him to be in ABC’s Kingmakers, which failed to get a series order at ABC?
I don’t know that there was a plan for him to be the through-line, but definitely it had been discussed that had Kingmakers gone—and I’m very sad for Sallie Patrick that it didn’t—but there was definitely talk of him possibly showing up in the show because he is definitely still part of our universe. There definitely would’ve been an intention to have a character show up on Kingmakers.
You said there was going to be a small cliffhanger in the series finale. To which were you referring: the heart or Nolan?
It was the Nolan thing, mostly. Although ironically, the heart was a part of it too, because had the show gone on, we talked about the possibility in the most vague of ways that Nolan would help this young man and he sort of gets into the case. Emily and Jack are off living their lives, and the woman comes to her and says, “You have my son’s heart and he was wronged.” So, Emily is inspired to maybe help this woman because, “My gosh, it is the son’s heart, and maybe my nightmare isn’t true,” but also while this nightmare of Victoria still haunts her. But again, it was the most un-sketched out possibility because we all slowly got the sense the story was ending, and took a breath and let it end. But the Nolan thing was mostly the cliffhanger there.
Is Margaux behind bars? And Louise part of the inner circle?
Exactly. Margaux realized how far down the road she’d gone, and to do the honorable thing that her father never would. So, the belief has to be that Margaux is in jail or facing trial, and that Louise did come around. And that Louise understood that she didn’t see Victoria for who she was, and ultimately, did the most powerful thing she has ever done, which was go back to Emily and Nolan. We loved the idea that she was in the inner circle, because we had to build her in—because if there was another season, we basically were going to have her buy the land of Grayson Manor and build this beautiful Southern estate on it, and she would be another big player in the Hamptons.
Ultimately, did Emily need to leave the Hamptons to get her happy ending? And was Jack always the endgame?
I mean, he was always one of the major options that we discussed. It was always one that we could never really find a problem with, except that the audience expected it to some extent. It did feel right. But she did always need to get out of there, because that was always her plan, and she did need to get out of there with Jack because that was always his plan. They will be happy, but this world of the Hamptons doesn’t carry happy memories for them anymore. So this departure together for them felt earned and right.
Are there stories you wish you got to tell with these Revenge characters?
Not these characters. I wish we’d had more time as we got to the end to tell all the stories we were hoping to. I still feel, just because of time, Mason didn’t get a proper send off. We wanted to give him one, and if we’d had 30 more minutes in last night’s episode or if it was a two-hour episode, we could’ve worked it into the story where Mason also finishes up. There are just characters we wish we could’ve spent more time with in the finale. We had to cut the episode because so much great emotion came in. So there were even moments in this finale, moments with Stevie and moments with Charlotte that unfortunately we had to cut out, that I imagine will be on the DVD extras if people still even do DVD extras. But there’s a couple of other scenes that unfortunately got a short shrift because we needed to tell a lot of story in our 42 minutes.
Any in particular that you can share?
We were going to have Charlotte go off to college and get her life together while Jack moved out to California with Emily. And then we also set up with Louise and the Grayson Manor estate. Those little seeds that would spur a story on. But Mason we never managed to get to in the series finale, and Roger Bart did such an extraordinary job with that character. I would’ve loved to give the audience an idea of where his story resolved, but you never know: If Nolan gets a spin-off, we’ll stick Mason in it too.
What would’ve happened to Mason?
We don’t know, honestly. We had him in those nice scenes with Madeleine in the second-to-last episode, but the idea we would always talk about is the end of Silence of the Lambs—where you just see him put on his hat and disappear into a crowd, to go somewhere to live his life and be whatever he’s going to be.