With fans still reeling from the blood spilled during the Revenge series finale on Sunday, actress Madeleine Stowe, 56, shares with PEOPLE her thoughts on playing the deliciously devious Victoria Grayson for the last time:
To be honest, I don’t know that I ever will really be able say goodbye to Victoria. For me, she is a really hard character to shake.
I think the audience believed in Amanda’s fight so much that they couldn’t see Victoria as anything other than a villain. But this woman went through really terrible things.
She had horrible parenting and was violated repeatedly. Those violations of her youth turned to madness where she would see people and anything that would threaten her children’s well-being had to be vanquished.
I loved that she was a tenacious mother. I loved her attachment to her son.
She was just really tough and cool. I kind of admire her. Other people don’t, but I do.
RELATED VIDEO: Revenge Star James Tupper Shares Secrets from the Set
I don’t speak with the melodrama that Victoria does. I rarely cry. But I identified with her fortitude. She was in it for a marathon, and doing a television series is like running a marathon.
There are going to be these massive highs and then other times that you’re just rolling a boulder up a hill. It can be a struggle. Her thing was that she could never really find happiness, and I am hell-bent on never descending into that.
By the end, Victoria was a woman who is completely ready to die. There was a round of press that I did after the mansion exploded a few weeks ago, and I was not lying when I told people that Victoria had a death wish.
The scar tissue from the things she suffered through at an early age was just too great. She’d lost everything. She was completely ready to go. When she asked Emily (Emily VanCamp), “Are you ready now?” in the final episode, I think she was totally ready to say goodbye. I think she was at peace.
And I’m also at peace with saying goodbye. Though, I will always think of those what-could-have-beens and how Victoria may have found happiness.
If she had just gone off with David (James Tupper), maybe she would have been happy. (Although I don t really think they were meant for each other.) Had she just gone of with the artist Those might-have-beens seem incredibly real for me because we all have them. That’s how I relate to her.
I just always wanted her to be happy.
• As told to PATRICK GOMEZ