Revenge Post-Mortem: Madeleine Stowe Says Goodbye, Reveals Finale Storyline That Nearly Was

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Revenge is over.

But the chatter remains.

Following Revenge Season 4 Episode 23 on Sunday night, fans are still talking about that final showdown between enemies Emily Thorne (aka Amanda Clarke) and Victoria Grayson.

Madeleine Stowe, who has breathed life into the conniving, manipulative Victoria since day one, jumped on the phone with me yesterday to talk about Victoria’s death... her feelings regarding how the character had developed... and one part of the finale that could have gone a different way than what we inevitably saw.

Scroll down for excerpts from our exclusive Q&A...

Goodbye, Victoria Grayson - Revenge Season 4 Episode 23

TV Fanatic: What did you think of how things were wrapped up in the finale?

Madeleine Stowe: There are so many different pathways that could be taken to ending the story. You know what I kept thinking? I thought does this feel like the same show you want to know? There were a lot of callbacks to the pilot and a certain symmetry. I’m not sure that we necessarily fulfilled the meaning of the Confucius quote. I always took that as metaphor.…but, all in all, in terms of where we were all heading, there was a sense of inevitability that we were working towards.

I just like that Victoria was ready to go. She was ready to leave all of this and her mental state was really quite deteriorating even though she seems quite functioning. We think of her as being more powerful and high functioning than she actually is. She was a very reactive person and you have to understand the deep trauma of her real life and why she did the things that she did and why she was so protective of her children. The last thing she ever wanted to be was a victim and I think that was the veneer that she created. I really loved her. She cracked me up!

TVF: I was so glad we got to see her mother again because it filled in some questions for Victoria, obviously…

MS: Adrienne (Barbeau) is frightening and great. She was so good and she’s the sweetest woman on the planet.

TVF: Do you think Victoria needed that piece of information from her mother in order to be okay with her life ending.

MS: First of all, I think she’s been ready for her life to end multiple times. When she blew up the house…I did a few interviews and I let people know that Victoria was dead, it just wasn’t at that moment and that she’s long had a death wish. She had a death wish but she was hell bent on hoping to purify herself and clear David’s name and take Conrad down in her own wicked way…the choice of the white dress at the end of it, she’s so twisted and she believed that Emily was a horrible human being because she only knew horrible things early on…she wasn’t hiding behind her kids. She really was terrified that terrible things would happen to them.

TVF: All I could think of when she was shot in that white dress was that they’re never going to get the blood out of that white dress! It’s ruined!

MS: [laughs] I fell like a sack of potatoes!

Farewell, Victoria - Revenge Season 4 Episode 23

TVF: Do you think Emily or Amanda that in order for her to have her happy ending that Victoria had to be gone?

MS: I think for this core audience and this is split up in many ways but the strongest body would’ve been disturbed if Emily had died. But you would’ve had to tell the story from a different perspective, a more equal perspective but this is really driven through Amanda’s story and Victoria is the villain.

What was fascinating is that people believe so strongly in this woman’s villainy that they thought Victoria willingly seduced her own father. And I was amazed by that. She didn’t sleep with her father! The man came into her room and abused her but I guess some believed that she was wicked from the start but that’s not how it began.

TVF: I know it ended up being a dream but I liked the idea of Emily having Victoria’s heart in the end. I wish they had kept that a part of the reality but I guess Emily will just be haunted by that.

MS: When we did the read-thru I will tell you that she absolutely had [Victoria’s] heart. But she wasn’t to ever know and then I think they felt that maybe it was more damaging to the psyche to have her speculate and have a haunted feeling about that and that was a choice. But I will say that the original draft was that she had it, but had no knowledge.

There were big discussions. Sunil and I and then Emily and Sunil were having discussions. I said, ‘if this is going to be a dream why am I gearing up to shoot her?’ I’m shooting her because you need to get to the heart transplant. The thought being [Amanda] cannot ever get rid of her enemy and that she may share the same impulses and have a black heart. But I actually think Victoria has a really good heart despite the heinous stuff.

So that was a topic of debate but given that this is told from Amanda’s perspective, I think that her having a recurring dream and being haunted by it and she obviously saw the conversation [with Charlotte] through the anesthesia, it’s kind of cool.

TVF: You’ve had so many great roles, but are you someone who can let go of roles easily or is Victoria going to be with you for a while?

MS: I gotta be really honest, I was ready at different junctures to say ‘You know, this character needs to end.’ I like to look at from a storytelling perspective and I thought at the end of season one it was time to end her just for sheer power, right? You’re having her plan of trying to clear David’s name go unfulfilled and blowing up and being punished in the process for what she’s done. I thought that would have been great storytelling but they weren’t prepared to do that.

Then, at the end of season three, she just completely goes off the deep end and goes into a kind of madness after Olivier Martinez (Pascal) is butchered and she sees his body and then she murders Aiden. She actually saw Aiden as a real threat…I just forgot that Aiden did try to assassinate her. [laughs] It’s so crazy! But at the graveyard, she wasn’t there to have a conversation with Amanda, she wasn’t there to kill her, if you want to know the truth, but she is deranged.

So I can’t shake her is the answer to the question. I love her. I love her for her unfulfilled potential.

NOTE: The series has come to an end. But you can always watch Revenge online via TV Fanatic any time you have an urge for some quality Red Sharpie-ing!

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of Follow him on Twitter.

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Revenge Season 4 Episode 23 Quotes

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When I was a little girl the delineation between good and evil was as clear as night and day. But as life grows complicated that line blurs and we learn to justify our actions when we believe we've crossed it. If we aren't careful, those choices can fill us with darkness leaving us destined to never see light again.