‘Revenge’ Recap: Grayson Family Secrets Come to Light

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ABC’s Revenge sure is known for its cliffhanger endings for individual episodes, not just season finales. But last week’s “White Haired Man turns on Emily” left a liiitle something to be desired, because Aiden (Barry Sloane) had to rescue the damsel in distress. And if Season 1 (or even the underwater scene in the second season premiere) taught us anything, it is that Emily (Emily VanCamp) can take care of herself!

But the complications that would surface from Aiden coming to Emily’s aid and potentially opening old wounds from their shared past would set up a layer to the twisty journey on which Emily plans to take the Graysons.

With the White Haired Man’s chapter of Revenge closed — and not the way Emily would have liked — she is playing things closer to the vest and manipulating the men in her life to do their own dirty work. And that happens to coincide with her own master plan. She is one heroine who is trying to have her cake and eat it too. And other than that pesky Amanda (Margarita Levieva) having Jack’s (Nick Wechsler) baby problem, she might just be succeeding.

Note: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched Sunday’s episode, “Confidence.”

“Confidence” began in the past, when Emily and Aiden were still in training with Takeda (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). In this particular exercise, they were running from some dogs who honestly looked too happy to be as vicious as their barks wanted us to think. But, Emily didn’t quite meet his standards because she wasn’t ruthless enough. It may not have been direct foreshadowing back then of how she has, a number of times, allowed her emotions to get in the way of her mission while in the Hamptons, but it was certainly an on-the-nose sentiment to express now as Aiden had just come to her rescue with the White Haired Man. Though Takeda didn’t send Aiden this time, Emily seemed to emote that this reality was worse: If Aiden felt compelled to protect her because of his own attachment or emotions, things were bound to get even messier.

We had to be really grateful for these rare moments of “seeing” rather than “telling” on “Confidence.” While we learned about Aiden and Emily’s relationship by actually flashing to moments of it, the majority of the rest of the story dribbled out in convoluted hearsay. You’ll see what we mean in a minute…

Aiden and Emily searched the White Haired Man’s body for information and items that would divulge his identity. Aiden pocketed something we didn’t see (but would come clear later on the episode, through exposition), and after an argument over who should get to keep the White Haired Man’s phone (he wanted to keep it to track the rest of his team; she wanted it in case it held her mother’s contact information), Emily finally took matters into her own hands. She hit him over the head with a wine bottle and somehow got him a plane ticket in the middle of the night before she dumped him away from her house. She really didn’t take his physical presence — or the implications of it — lightly. For that, we must applaud her.

Aiden didn’t follow Emily’s trail, but somehow ended up at a motel where he found the flight recorder from Victoria’s plane hidden in the bed. Where he got his lead remained a mystery, but it was a plot point that killed two birds with one stone. It retrieved a key bargaining tool and revealed the very alive former Mrs. Clarke (guest star Jennifer Jason Leigh).

That’s right, when Aiden was stopped on the way out of the motel by the manager, she turned out to be none other than Emily’s mom. He gave her a line about being a detective and warned her against the White Haired Man, who was wanted for kidnapping and general “dangerousness.” No stranger to the White Haired Man — or to lies — though, she was smart enough to actually call and check on his credentials, which, of course, turned out to be fake. But maybe she shouldn’t throw stones: After all, she’s being fake by masquerading in her new life while her loved ones think she’s dead, right?

Meanwhile over at the Graysons’, Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) spun quite the yarn for her son Daniel (Josh Bowman) about her terrible, arduous, near-fatal flight. Apparently, in her version of the story, still sticking with the kidnapping and blackmail, the White Haired Man only wanted half of Charlotte’s (Christa B. Allen) inheritance. He said if she would split it with him, he’d let her live. Perhaps surprisingly, that didhave Daniel’s Spidey senses tingling. We’ll admit it: We didn’t know he had it in him. Let’s face it, he always was more of a pretty face than a practical thinker, right? Emily’s influence must have rubbed off on him — it certainly shoved some common sense back into his brain, at least.

Emily and Victoria met up to discuss how much Emily should admit to knowing about Victoria’s remarkable return from the dead. Victoria, capitalizing on a newfound 15 minutes of fame from her ordeal, told her not to say anything, of course. And to her credit, Emily managed to sit and smile and agree to play dumb without reaching over and strangling the woman. To add insult to injury, Victoria had Emily removed by security from her home. Did she really think that wouldn’t stoke the fire? Or maybe she just didn’t care.

Victoria seemed even more brazen than ever tonight. Perhaps the title of the episode was really about her. She confronted Conrad (Henry Czerny) with a not-quite ultimatum and told him she planned to leave him for good at the end of the summer. Of course, as any good Revenger knows, a lot can happen in just a few short months!

Emily turned to Nolan (Gabriel Mann) for help with the White Haired Man fiasco, but even his technology prowess wasn’t enough this time. The SIM card in his phone was blank and no one can pull information out of thin air. The card being blank was suspect enough, but neither one of them put together the pieces of just what happened until Aiden jumped Nolan at her house. Then the pieces clicked and it appeared that what Aiden stole off the dead body was that SIM card.

Poor Nolan, though. He still couldn’t defend himself, even after all that time in the boxing ring. Better double up his training from now on!

Anyway, apparently Aiden has learned a few moves since he and Emily were in training together. Another flashback to their earlier time revealed he had a mission of his own back then: To save his sister. It wasn’t quite clear from what he had to save her — drugs? Kidnappers? A bad boyfriend? Pirates? Herself? But Takeda told him he knew where Aiden could find her and so he planned to take off. Only, he wanted Emily to go with him. They were an item. Or as much of an item as two people in high pressure circumstances who just glob onto the only other person there with whom they can expel all energies can be…

Snapping Emily back to the present, though, Nolan was asking too many questions about Aiden and this history. And wanting to keep some of her secrets guarded (and probably to also protect him), Emily had him packing up to move out of her house. However, she did confide in him that the White Haired Man is dead and that she found a locket on him, complete with a photo of her mother inside. She assumed this meant their relationship had turned romantic at a certain point, which carried extra weight with Aiden’s haunting warning about the circumstances in which she might find her mother.

Of course, first Emily returned to the Grayson mansion — and at the worst possible time for the family, too: When there was a press conference set up for Victoria to tell her tale to the public. Emily told Daniel that her mother banned her from the home and spoke to his heart, saying she hoped he didn’t feel the same way about her. A few months ago, Daniel wouldn’t have been the kind of kid to turn his back on his mommy. But his feelings for Emily, coupled with some new evidence he was just handed against Mommy Dearest allowed her appeal to win him over.

While Charlotte hijacked Victoria’s first interview, revealing the truth about her paternity after Amanda gave her her father’s diary, Daniel ran to his daddy with the passports proving Victoria wasn’t actually kidnapped but was planning to run away with the family money after all. Of course, Conrad tried to soften the situation, having made a slight deal with Victoria. And then Victoria turned it around on Daniel anyway and reminded him of all of the evidence she once tried to give him about his father. Oh poor Daniel’s emotions! And then to learn his sister was in on it, too. He needed to be hugged. Or to sail far, far away from there. Like maybe to the west coast instead. He can bunk with us. Oh, sorry, did we get off topic? Instead, though, he got a few words of wisdom from Emily, telling him to play the game better than Victoria — because that was the only way he could beat Victoria.

Victoria, though, refused to go down without a fight. Finally addressing her “public,” she admitted Charlotte’s paternity —though we’re not really sure why anyone would really care without the wholestory of what she did to David Clarke. And then, she  invited the rest of the family on stage with her: Conrad, Daniel, and…Amanda. Conrad was preoccupied with a mystery call about someone “taking action.” Daniel was reluctant, but heeded Emily’s advice and ultimately followed. And Amanda, Emily, and Ashley were shocked by Victoria’s announcement as the Grayson family “stood strong” against those who “wanted to harm this family.” You could pretty much see the wheels behind Emily’s eyes turning as she tried to jump ahead three new moves.

But it was Conrad’s move that shocked everyone. Apparently, he told one of the reporters he and Victoria we getting remarried in Italy!? Oh buddy, stop trying to make yourself happen. You’re not going to happen. No one cares about you! He claimed the White Haired Man’s employers were now targeting him, which dragged he and Victoria into a “it’s your fault/no it’s your fault” ridiculous playground argument that really made no sense when you considered the fact that Victoria’s kidnapping story was bogus anyway.

Once again, we learned after the fact (i.e. through expositional and non-linear dialogue) that Aiden was the one who sent Daniel his mother’s passport. Apparently, he wanted to shake up the Graysons to prove to Emily that he was in this with her. He wanted them to work as a team, but Emily wasn’t letting him back in so easily. After all, back in the day, he never showed up for their rendezvous before they were supposed to go after his sister, and Takeda claimed it was because Aiden chose to leave her. His advice was for her to close her heart and toughen up. And while she may have been silly for blindly trusting him the way he was telling her not to do for anyone else seemingly ever again, it may just be exactly what she needs to get the job done now. It’s so much easier said than actually executed, though, right? Especially now that Emily listened to the White Haired Man’s voicemail and confirmed that not only is her mother alive, but she was in love with the White Haired Man…

Over in the Porter camp — sidenote: Is it us or does it almost feel like we’re watching two separate shows this season? There’s Emily and her cohorts, and then there is do-gooder Jack and his troubled brood. The two have to start crossing paths for more important things than baby gifts soon, or we’re going to start thinking the Amanda was sunk simply because the writers couldn’t think of anything interesting for those characters anymore! — anyway, over in the Porter camp, Declan (Connor Paolo) and that dumb preppy kid robbed a house, and of course left his driver’s license behind so guest star J.R. Bourne came looking for the younger Porter at his brother’s bar. How dumb can Declan be before the show can’t justify keeping him around anymore?

Fresh off an argument with Amanda over not wanting the Graysons in their baby’s life and then a tender moment with Emily where he thanked her for being in the baby’s life, Jack was on a roller coaster of emotions on the episode! This new trouble with Declan was not something he needed to be dealing with, but lo and behold, there it was. Unnecessary conflict to show the world canbe populated by those who are not duplicitous.

A slightly tarnished but still attempting to be noble knight-in-training just like his big bro, Declan refused to give up his “friend” when confronted with the fact that he was seen running away from the scene of the crime with another guy. He was told to return the property and charges wouldn’t be filed. Of course, that just meant Bourne looked around ominously at the bar and told Jack he may take him up on a favor some day. Um, what? Declan just gets off way too easily. Honestly, this better come back to bite him or it was just a completely wasted story that took time away from action we actually needed to see, rather than just hear about.

Jack stewed for a while, but ultimately bros proved before, well, anything — even a soon-to-be-born baby. When Amanda returned from the press conference, Jack lashed out at her, noting that Declan comes first for him the way Charlotte just proved to for her. Realizing he shouldn’t have tried to control her involvement with the Graysons, but still uncomfortable with it, he decided to just remove himself from the equation. Jack planned to do what’s right and be there for the baby, but he was done with her and her lies. Well, this is bound to get awkward when she goes into labor next week!

Buzz Moments

OMG!: Did Aiden know who Emily’s mother was when he came face-to-face with her?

Thank you, TV gods.: Emily now knows where to find her mother and it’s only Episode 3!

Awk-ward: After Daniel’s incredibly generous gesture toward his sister last episode, he learned she actually conspired with her mother to run away from the family. Something tells us he’s reversing that wire transfer and changing the locks on the guesthouse a.s.a.p.

Hotness: Steely, protective Aiden is really working for us!

Fab-u-lous: For someone who has to think on her feet whether she’s dealing with a scheming matriarch or a dead body on her living room floor, every outfit Emily pulls together is designer perfection.

Can. Not. Wait.: Is Aiden trying to make amends with Emily now, after ditching her way back when, or was Takeda just manipulating them both? Either way, we hope to see the push and pull between the two of them play out much more; he may be the only guy truly capable of keeping up with her!

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 7

If exposing some of the Grayson family secrets to the scrutiny of the public is just a diversion for Victoria’s true master plan — just what do you think that plan’s end game is!? Let us know your theories in the comments below.

Danielle Turchiano

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Tags: ABC, Revenge, TV Recap