"Obviously, we're going to end with a cliff-hanger," Kelley said Sunday at the show's PaleyFest panel, moderated by TV Guide Magazine's Debra Birnbaum.
Heading into the season finale, there will be new drama, new alliances, and "a lot more questions, so we have a great launching pad for Season 2," Kelley said. Although he knows a renewal is "not a guarantee," everyone is hopeful. Either way, a tentative plan is better than no plan at all, especially after the success the show has had with planning ahead (see also: the Labor Day weekend Fire & Ice Ball). "Flying blind is not as fun as knowing where you're going," Kelley said.
What else should fans should expect before the end of the year? Here are nine points ahead on Emily's twisty road to revenge:
1. Emily's waitressing days revealed. Kelley said that an entire upcoming episode will take place in 2002 at Lydia's New Year's Eve party, at which Emily served her future revenge targets (as seen in the photo Lydia found shortly before her disastrous fall). "We just thought it would be really terrific to do an entire episode... that takes place in 2002," Kelley said. "We get to bring back all of the people that [Emily's] taken down in Season 1." At the time of the party, Emily was still trying to grapple with all the information her father left her in his journals. "There's a really big event at the New Year's Eve party and its really sort of solidifies what her father has been telling her in these journals," she said. Producers will push the clock back even further when the show flashes back to when Victoria first met David Clarke back in 1990.
2. And what about the original Mrs. David Clarke? Very little is known about Emily's mom, but new information will slowly surface later this season. "We'll find out certainly more about what happened to her mother," Kelley said. "It's really exciting and it's all ... leading towards a lot more story if we get a Season 2." Could the mysterious woman in question make an appearance, whether it be in present time or a flashback? "I think it'd be great to see her mother," Kelley teased. There's even the possibility that David Clarke may not really be dead. When asked, Kelley said "My answer is...," before a taking a sip of water. If David comes back from the dead, Kelley said it wouldn't happen until Season 2.
3. Will she or won't she? That question will come up not once, but twice for Emily. The first will be when she must face "the ultimate line," Kelley teased. "Will she or won't she cross it? It's really interesting to me to see just how far she'll go." That dilemma rises just as Emily loses her way a bit and starts to feel guilty about the consequences of (some of) her actions. "I think there is definitely a line she won't cross, but that's what interesting about her," Emily VanCamp said. I don't think she thought through a lot of the collateral damage." The second time that question comes up will be in regards to her unrequited — and well-hidden — feelings for Jack while Daniel is locked up. "[Amanda] leaving again and Daniel being removed from the equation, that could open some door of possibility," Nick Wechsler said. However, Emily won't be able to turn off her growing feelings for Daniel. "Someone makes a decision and that betrays that relationship. ... It kind of steers one way coming up," VanCamp said. "You get to see how far she is willing to go for Daniel as well as Jack."
4. Emily's revengenda is growing. "The list will expand," Kelley said of Emily's targets, "and we'll get a lot more specific." Looking further into the future, Kelley said he is excited to dive into the many videotaped interviews author Mason Treadwell catalogued for his book on David Clarke. Those interviews will only add to the information David already provided Emily in his journals. "We look forward to exploring all those next season," he said.
5. Revenge is not about to turn into Law & Order. It usually takes months for a murder allegation to even make it to trial, but in Southampton, the allegations against Daniel will be swiftly handled in the next three episodes, when the series presses the fast-forward button to mid-December and the middle of his trial. "We wrap up the prosecution's case in the first couple of minutes of Episode 18 and then we launch into the defense of Daniel Grayson," Kelley said. "I believe the trial is done in Episode 19, so we take care of this in short order."
6. Mommie Dearest. In the next episode, Daniel will get very bloodied and bruised by several other inmates, who we will later find out were sent by ... his mother?! "Victoria would do anything to protect her son," Madeleine Stowe said. "In reality, would you do that for your son if you know he could receive much worse in prison?" However, it will definitely cause some problems when Daniel finds out the truth. "He'll have to find someone new [to trust]," Kelley said, adding that Daniel will gain "a new respect and understanding" for his father.
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7. No more Mr. Nice (and Slightly Clueless) Grayson. When Daniel is (presumably) freed from prison, he won't return to the Grayson compound the same man he was before. "He remembers quite a bit and he's definitely catching on to something," Josh Bowman said. "He's going to come to a crossroads about making a decision between good and evil." He is, after all, a Grayson. Added Kelley: "He's no angel. He shot a guy. He didn't have to. He could have done something different with that moment but he didn't."
8. Who will save Charlotte? After learning the real identity of her father, Charlotte has been in a deep downward spiral that might be too much for her and Declan's young love to overcome. "I don't think Declan understands the scope of how deep it goes or how shattered she is," Connor Paolo said. But "he's more of a rock than he might have otherwise appeared." Christa B. Allen isn't so convinced her on-screen boyfriend will be her knight in shining armor. "I think ultimately Charlotte needs somebody to step in and guide her in the right direction and it remains to be seen whether it is Declan," she says.
9. Ashley may go to the dark side. "I think that there's a duality in her. Nobody is all good or all bad," Ashley Madekwe said. And although the actress believes that Ashley and Emily's relationship started as a genuine friendship, it may not stay that way for long. "She'll have a definite shift in loyalty coming up," Kelley said. "She's going to do something that she has to make a big decision about regarding [Emily]." One thing is for sure, Madekwe is ready and willing to fill in the void left by dearly departed psycho villain Tyler. "If I had my way, she would be running around with an ax killing everybody," she said with a laugh.
Revenge airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.