While Revenge fans are preparing for the last stretch of season two episodes, in Mike Kelley's mind, his creation is about to wrap up season four. That's because Mike mentally splits his 22-episode seasons in half, meaning fans are gifted with season finale cliffhangers (Victoria whispering "Don't say a word" in Daniel's ear on the beach, Amanda's death/sinking) twice as often.
Now, with only 5 episodes left in whatever season you want to call it, I rang up the ultimate Revenge-r to talk about Emily's renewed thirst for revenge, Victoria's secret son, Jack's descent into darkness, Nolan's big mistake, the end of The Initiative and what you can expect from season three (or, as Mike might call it, season five)!
ETonline: Emily's quest for revenge was clearly reinvigorated by Amanda's death. The character said she got side-tracked during the first half of the season, did you feel that way too?
Mike Kelley: Yeah. You have to keep growing the show, but when you do that, you don't have a choice but to get away from the core of what started it all. We always knew there were lots of other trails we wanted to explore with other characters while still filling in the pieces of Emily's life, but we didn't want that to take over the essence of the show. We wanted to get back to Emily's core revenge and in order to do that, we needed to remind Emily, and the audience, exactly why she was there, so the death of Amanda at the hands of The Grayson's pulls her back into focus.
ETonline: Amanda's death has also made Jack much darker. What excites you about telling that story?
Kelley: Well, it certainly provides a lot more story for Nick [Wechsler]. It got very frustrating to keep him behind the bar at the Stowaway while all these people were doing treacherous things around him. It's really exciting to have everything go pitch black for Jack because Emily is drawn to the purity Jack represents but he's going dark because she showed up. As he is turned to the dark side, it's up to Emily rescue him which forces her to take a long, hard look at what she is doing with her life. It also complicates her relationships with Aiden, who she loves, Daniel, who she does not love, and Jack, who she loves in an entirely different way.
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ETonline: So there's no chance for Emily and Daniel? Sometimes I feel like I see a hint of residual love in her.
Kelley: Whenever Daniel shows a glimmer of humanity and whenever his better angels trump his horrific genes, Emily has hope that Daniel can be a better person in those moments. Although, given how he's shown his true colors in a real Grayson way this season, it is no longer a possibility that those two can end up together. At the end of the day, Emily would like Daniel to be better than his parents, but I don't know what he could do to win her heart.
ETonline: Emily got a huge piece of The Grayson puzzle last week by learning Victoria has another son. Will we meet him this season?
Kelley: Your curiosity won't be [fully] satisfied by the end of the season. If Emily is successful by the end of season two, she will have, in some measure, torn Victoria's current children away from her. That's her focus now. So we're so excited about the opportunity to bring in Victoria's first born -- a third way for Emily to hurt Victoria -- in season three.
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ETonline: Lots of fans have speculated that The Falcon is Victoria's son. What do you say to that?
Kelley: I say that was a long, hard debate in the writer's room as well and you'll have to see what happens [laughs].
ETonline: What can you say about The Falcon?
Kelley: The Falcon is a really interesting addition to this world -- as we conceived him, he's kind of the photo negative to Nolan. Without saying too much, there's a huge storyline coming up regarding The Falcon's role in The Initiative and what happened to David Clarke. Through The Falcon and some other [characters] you'll meet, we'll tie up this entire Initiative storyline by the end of the season. I think it'll surprise and entertain and shock people.
ETonline: So The Initiative won't be a part of season three?
Kelley: The show will look different in season three. There will be a new Big Bad, different enemies, but for now, we're wrapping up what we've introduced all season long. It will, of course, affect the course of the show for season three.
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ETonline: In last week's episode, Nolan accidentally let Padma get abducted. Where do we pick up in Sunday's episode, Masquerade?
Kelley: This episode takes place six weeks later. We are fast-forwarding to Halloween as Nolan has spent the last six weeks desperately trying to find Padma. He has been holed up in his office, Howard Hughes-style, crazily trying to figure out how he can rescue her. Masquerade tells his story of how that plays out with Emily's help.
ETonline: Will the results of Conrad's political run be revealed this season?
Kelley: Yes. We are taking this season through the November election.
ETonline: Ashley is a character who seems prime for a breakout storyline. Does the election storyline offer her that?
Kelley: Ashley plays a much larger role in the end of this season. She's got moral decisions to make, and she teams up with Jack in an unexpected way. It's not what you think, but Ashley will have to decide who she is, what she stands for and it's going to be surprising.
ETonline: Let's talk about the finale. What can you reveal?
Kelley: We knew very early on what this finale was going to be, and it's going to rock Emily to her core. It will make the whole Initiative storyline resonate emotionally with everyone, so people understand what we've been laying down and why.
ETonline: And what about season three – any early teases?
Kelley: I would like to spend a little more time in The Hamptons next season. Get back in touch with that world -- especially those Hamptons parties. I'm also interested in looking into the idea of nature versus nurture -- whether Emily has a mental illness like her mother and if that will manifest. Emily is going to have a self-awareness revelation in season three where she needs to confront her father's imperfections [as she] learns new things about her father.
ETonline: Lastly, do you have an idea of how to keep telling the story of Revenge after you've wrapped up the David Clarke storyline?
Kelley: I have some thoughts on it, but it's always been my intention to wrap up this show with Emily's ultimate revenge or her failure to achieve it or decision to abandon it. One of those three resolutions was always my intention with the show.
Revenge airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABC.