'Revenge' Postmortem: Showrunner on Emily's Shocking Shooter, Her Big Revelation and What's Next
Sunil Nayar answers burning questions about Sunday's episode and reveals what's in store for Emily, the Graysons and all the other key players in the Hamptons-set saga.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Sunday's episode of Revenge.]
Emily Thorne's shooter finally has been revealed.
At the beginning of this season of Revenge, viewers got a look at Emily (Emily Van Camp) and Daniel's (Joshua Bowman) wedding day, during which she was shot onboard a yacht by an unidentified gunman while still in her wedding dress. As viewers learned throughout the season, it was supposed to be part of Emily's plan to set up Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), after which Emily and Aiden (Barry Sloane) would leave the Hamptons and finally have their happily-ever-after ending.
But the plan went terribly awry: After Lydia (Amber Valletta) showed Victoria an old photograph in which Emily can be seen working as a server at a Grayson Global bash, the matriarch's suspicions were confirmed that Emily wasn't being entirely honest about her past. She confronted Emily, who admitted she had lied about being pregnant and had been leading Daniel on. The problem? Daniel heard the entire conversation and ended up using the gun to shoot Emily himself.
In the teaser for the upcoming episode (Revenge returns with three new episodes in January before moving to its new 10 p.m. time slot March 9), Emily wakes up in the hospital with amnesia. So what's next in her plan to get revenge? Sunil Nayar, who took over showrunning duties this season, spoke to reporters last week about what's in store for Emily, the Graysons and all the other key players in the Hamptons-set saga.
Was it always the plan for Daniel to be the shooter?
We played around with lots of different options. We had about three different people we seriously considered and tried to make it work, and also the stories we wanted to tell that would come out of the shooting. There were lots of great setups [as to whom] the shooter could be. [Nayar says the writers considered making Aiden the shooter, but "we thought that would seem too incongruous with this couple as we know them. Even to try to think about getting to that point wouldn't work."] We wanted to do the one that … would ultimately change the show as much as possible. We wanted to almost paint ourselves into a corner and think, "How do we get ourselves out of this?" We've established so many realities that we can't deny are true now, and I think we found really elegant ways out of these problems. It really gives us a lot more stories going into the back half of the season.
When did Josh Bowman find out Daniel was the shooter, and what was his reaction?
He was blown away. … Once we knew we were doing the storyline, we thought, "We have to talk to Josh before anybody." Also from his acting standpoint, we wanted to give him as much time to prepare for it and make sure he was nuancing his performances that led up to it, and he was obviously very concerned because it's a big move. We kept assuring him, "We're going to get you to an emotional place where [viewers] are going to believe that you did it. … I think he did a fabulous job.
Jack told Emily she isn't a nice person. Is that true?
She's a person who has been created by circumstances. Really the elements you've seen and what we tried to explore in the first half of the season is what her mission has turned her into, and sort of answering who shot her and why. The second half of the season answers the humanity of Emily Thorne and we get back to the girl who really was destroyed by what the Graysons did.
Has Emily really lost her memory?
She has at the moment lost her memory, or almost all of it. … It's quite the soap opera trope, and I think what we've done with it is the way Revenge would do it in a way that is extremely satisfying. You'll see in the first episode back. We wanted to do it, but in the way the show is capable of doing things, where you never know who's telling the truth in any given moment, and so we play with the amnesia idea in many different ways that I'm very happy about.
Now that Victoria has evidence Emily is hiding something, and Emily's own admission that she's been lying, how does that impact their dynamic moving forward?
You'll see how that changes things. You saw that Patrick [Justin Hartley] saw where the infinity box is hidden. [We tried] to put as many game changers as we can coming into January to sort of realize, "Oh, some of the secrets are going to be out." Again, Victoria saw that picture, and there's no going back on that.
Does Victoria suspect she's Amanda Clarke?
It seems this photograph is sort of the catalyst that starts her on a journey to really have something on Emily. She's been looking for a piece of information. She doesn't have any idea she's Amanda Clarke, but she definitely knows this woman is not on the level and that some of her suspicions are actually correct. … [Victoria] now has the power in the relationship, which she hasn't had obviously in the first half of the season.
How will Emily's amnesia impact her plan for revenge?
She definitely still wants to take the Graysons down. That will never be a mission that leaves her. But again, with Victoria knowing who she is and as we sort of play things out coming back, she's going to understand that the way she has to go about this is going to be completely different than the way she's done it in the past.
And how will her amnesia affect the police investigation?
There are a couple of different people who become primary suspects … and so obviously Emily is not a benefit to [the police] in the nature of the investigation. But [there is] evidence on the boat they are pursuing, and they'll have photo evidence from what Margaux [Karine Vanasse] is doing on the boat, so that the Voulez part is sort of primary in the investigation. And in classic Revenge style, you'll see how one person becomes a real suspect, and then it sort of shifts over to someone else.
How does this change things between Jack [Nick Wechsler] and Emily?
We'll come to see in the aftermath of the shooting that it was really his ultimatum that led her to be in this position, and there's a bit of culpability he has for it. And so you're going to start seeing a thaw between Emily and Jack in the second half of the season. He accused Emily of taking everything from him, but he now carries with him a little bit that he's taken things from her too.
What's next for Patrick and Nolan [Gabriel Mann]?
We're really going to put them through their paces when we come back. Happy relationships are all fine and dandy, but that's not where this show thrives. Patrick kind of seeing that there's this space between this painting that Nolan obviously bought from his mother is going to have him call into question with whom his fidelities lie, and I think the answers are going to cause great conflict in the Victoria-Nolan-Patrick triangle.
How long can the story of Emily's revenge keep going?
There is so much story left to tell, surprisingly, and … one of the things we've been talking about is how Emily needs a measure of success by season's end. Just so we understand she is good at what she does, and that's something we're working on very hard is, OK, you're satisfied by the nature of what she's doing as we get into season four. [On the chances of the series getting a season-four renewal, Nayar says he feels "very confident."]
Other teases Nayar shared:
-- Sara [Annabelle Stephenson] isn't truly gone. Her fate will be revealed in the new episodes airing in January.
-- Daniel realizes that getting an annulment isn't his best option. And "you're going to see a real transformation in him. There's regret that will come from that initially, but then it will grow into kind of a strength, a hardening in Daniel Grayson, because the person he trusted the most has kind of offended that trust."
-- Charlotte [Christa B. Allen] will not only begin to "see Emily in a different way, which is going to cause that rift between her and the sister she's always tried to get closer to," but she also gets a love interest.
-- Viewers will get to meet Conrad's [Henry Czerny] ex-wife; casting is underway for the role. "She brings secrets that will blow you guys away."
-- Lydia "becomes such a great suspect in what's going to happen, and she brings Conrad into the story in a way we haven't seen."
-- Viewers also will learn more about Aiden: "There's [a] great introduction into the nature of the Aiden backstory that sort of … shakes things up between him and Emily."