‘Revenge’ Series Finale: Madeleine Stowe on Two Shocking Deaths

Spoiler Alert: This Q&A discusses plot details from the “Revenge” series finale, “Two Graves.”

Madeleine Stowe has played the evil queen of the Hamptons on the ABC primetime soap “Revenge” for four seasons leading up to Sunday night’s series finale. As the episode title suggests, Victoria’s story ended fatally in a confrontation with Emily that was four seasons in the making. Stowe spoke with Variety about her thoughts about the show’s conclusion.

The finale ends with two deaths. Are they the two graves you expected to be filled?

I always saw the graves as being more metaphoric. That’s just where my mind travels, which I think that’s what Confucius was talking about, so I took it in that spirit. I loved Victoria. I loved this character beyond belief because I got her and understood her. And I kept wanting her to be happy and to find that path because ultimately she wanted to find her way to the light, which is why I’m wearing a white dress at the end. She’s totally prepared for her death.

This final confrontation was definitely a long time coming. Is this the ending you were expecting?

There were two different points that I thought that her story could have ended beautifully. One was at the end of season one when she gets ready to board that plane and she’s ready to meet her maker, but she also wants to do the right thing. Of course they couldn’t have that and Charlotte was threatened so that’s what brings her out. But there’s a certain courage that she has. And I think she’s very true in a lot of ways. People tend to see her as a false person and a liar, but there’s a certain truthfulness that she has. And that is that she has a complete love for her children and she doesn’t want them exposed to the horrors she was exposed to.

Yeah, your parents were absolute monsters. Do you think if you had better parents your story might be different?

I think that when they opened up and showed a little bit of her backstory, you could see there was a really conscientious … she tried like hell to keep her son Patrick. She never wants to appear like the victim. And after being through a couple of rapes … It’s awful. She wants to become invincible seeming. A grand woman. Because that’s the only way that she could wipe that past away. And she chose the wrong husband. And I think there’s a really sweet, loving human being there.

She was definitely prepared for Emily to try to kill her.

Oh, yeah. She wasn’t using Louise. She also wanted to make that right. She’s saying, “I’m here. I can’t have you believing I’m dead. It’s the wrong thing to do.” She means every word that she’s saying. But she’s also smart enough to know that Louise is going to go back and tell people and that’s why she put the cameras up there.

Do you think she was foolish? Or do you think she just knew her death was inevitable regardless of who killed her?

I don’t think it mattered to her. I think that there was nothing else to be around for. The veil had been ripped away from her life, what she had done to bolster herself was gone. More importantly, her children were gone. One dead, another didn’t understand her and another she had to send away because of self-destructive tendencies. And she was a wonderful mother when he came back. She was accepting, and protective, and worried about him. And she fell on her own sword to make sure he stayed away and not continue this pattern of self-destruction that was in her. So that’s the thing. She’s just completely isolated and ready to go.

And it was very interesting shooting it with Emily because I think Emily had a different point of view. I think she came in with a tremendous amount of fire and did exactly what she should do. And she was a little bit deprived when I stepped up to the gun. I said, “No, this character wants to die.” She stayed marvelously true to her performance, and I think mine stayed true to where she thought her next step had to be which was to go down.

Do you think Victoria got the justice she deserved?

No, I don’t. But I think by this season — to keep true to the Amanda story and perspective of a girl who had been wronged and trying to right that — they kept just pushing Victoria into more self-destructive behavior. But that said, I think that works for a lot of people, and I don’t judge it. That’s not my thing. Everybody will have a different opinion about that.

They were toying with the idea that David was actually a bad guy and a mastermind who had fooled a lot of people, and that was a way to spin the story around. And that would have become part of the tragedy for Amanda, who devoted her whole life to reclaiming her father’s name, and now all of a sudden he’s not that guy. So there’s an allusion to that at the end of season three where I said, “The man I know and the father you remember are very different.” Because the writers were entertaining going down that path.

So what that does, it plays with the audience’s idea of justice, or reality and perception. And if they went along for the ride, it would have been a real shock to the system for the audience. But I think this definitely satisfied your core audience.

So now that the show is over, what are you going to miss about Victoria?

It’s a really weird thing because it was time to end her story. And I always think about this from a storytelling perspective and a character can only be so elastic and I thought that we had reached that point. They didn’t feel that way about her. So I thought I’d be really ready to shake her, but I just really love her so much. It’s really weird. A couple characters I’ve played have really resonated with me up until now. And they’re as much about missed opportunities. Like the characters missed their chances in life. I tend to hold onto people like that.

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