‘Revenge’ Recap: Flashback Filler Reveals Skeletons in Family Closets

'Revenge': All About Mason
The Initiative makes a house call.
With “Lineage,” ABC’s Revenge delivered an atypical look back at the lives of Emily (Emily VanCamp), Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), Nolan (Gabriel Mann), and even Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) designed to offer insight into their present day behaviors.

While we certainly enjoyed seeing Nolan’s early style and former flame (guest star EJ Bonilla) and learning that young Daniel Grayson (Josh Bowman) actually wanted to be a poet (!!), the majority of the episode was just repetitive filler.

Rather than seeing how Emily and Aiden (Barry Sloane) first met, for example, we’d rather see them make out some more in present day!

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

First things first: back in 2006, Emily was on her first mission for Takeda, and this led her to meet Ashley, who was working as a hooker because her art degree just wasn’t paying the rent. Sure, because there were no Starbucks in 2006… Oh wait…

Emily stepped in for Ashley when she was supposed to meet a human trafficker, because Takeda wanted to take him down in the name of justice for a teenage girl who went missing in the early ‘90s. The girl just happened to be Aiden’s sister, and he just happened to be on-hand, keeping tabs on this human trafficker for a revenge plan of his own. He couldn’t keep his emotions as in check as Emily can these days, though, and he ended up executing the man who turned his sister out and then had the audacity to speak ill of the assumed dead. He was the cautionary tale from which Emily learned.

But as the episode itself intimated, there was nothing random about this: Takeda had a plan for Emily and Aiden all along. He saw the potential in matching them up — and not just from the romantic perspective.

Worst things worst, though: It turned out Victoria’s mother (guest star Adrienne Barbeau) pimped out her daughter when she was only 15 and then made her daughter shoot the man who was planning to leave her. Her young age, and the lies her mother spun about self defense kept Victoria from going to hardcore jail, but she still did a stint in a psychiatric facility. Maybe that’s how she learned the ins and outs to help her with Kara (Jennifer Jason Leigh). We learned all of this in a flashback within a flashback, as Victoria regaled the men in her life with the opposite of holiday-appropriate dinner discussion.

Supposedly learning these sad but sordid details should endear us a little more to Victoria, because now we understand her plight. Suddenly, her own lackluster mothering skills don’t look so bad when compared with the atrocities her mother caused. But it was a bit too little too late because although she did not continue the exactspecific cycle of her mother’s terrible parenting, she really didn’t fall that far from the three. After all, in the next scene, she watched on as Conrad (Henry Czerny) burned their son’s actually touching poetry. They were so stuck with the idea that his son needed to take his “rightful place” at the head of Grayson Global, they would crush his dreams without even really allowing him to chase them.

And of course, Victoria orchestrated her mother “surprising” the family with a Thanksgiving visit in the first place just so she could reveal this dark history to her mother’s new beau. He left her, and Victoria wouldn’t even take pity on her and take her in. Is she living on the streets of Manhattan now? We have no idea, because she has never been mentioned in present day. And even on Sunday’s episode, nothing prompted this random trip down memory lane.

Equally uncomfortable, but for different reasons, was a look back into Nolan’s life right when Nolcorp was going public. He finally seemed like he was going to have it all, but when he came clean about giving Emily $500 million in a dummy account, his so-called true love walked out on him. Heartbroken. His, but ours for him, too.

And then there was the mysterious case of the Porter family, who we learned had deep ties to the Ryan family stemming as far back as half a dozen years ago when an elder member of the clan shook down Carl Porter (Brian Goodman). It wasn’t entirely clear what he was being paid off for, so we’re just going to say “security,” mob-style until a future episode corrects us. When Ryan threatened to go after Declan, Jack (Nick Wechsler) stepped up and said he’d get the money together, solidifying a pattern that should do him in eventually, but a fellow dock merchant took Ryan down — with Carl’s gun. Suddenly Kenny’s (JR Bourne) interest in Jack and Declan makes a lot more sense. Like Emily is trying to get vengeance for her father, Kenny is probably just trying to do the same for his.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: Sammy was resurrected for an episode! We missed you, old pal!

Thank you, TV gods.: We know Nolan considers himself a “3” on the Kinsey scale, but we much prefer seeing him with guys like his CFO because he just comes alive differently. Maybe, he’s only trying to start things with Padma (Dilshad Vadsaria) because the last two guy experiences in his life didn’t end well.

Awk-ward: The entire episode filled in storytelling gaps that really weren’t still there. And, yet, they still took a few minutes at the end to flash forward to 2012 and have the characters “sum up” the memories we just watched unfold.

Hotness: Aiden calling Emily by her real name in bed. We melted.

Fab-u-lous: There is nothing to make you appreciate a sleek, modern day hairstyle and crisp suit on Daniel like seeing him in a frat boy polo with slicked down locks in fake 2006!

Can. Not. Wait.: We know the show would be over, but is it too much to ask that Emily, Aiden, and that wooden infinity box just sail off across the Atlantic Ocean together and have lots of adorable little babies they can teach martial arts and gunplay?

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 6

What did you think of Revenge’s blast to the past? Let us know your thoughts on “Lineage” in the comments below!

Danielle Turchiano

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Tags: ABC, Revenge, TV Recap