‘Revenge’ Recap: Fires And Foster Care Secrets

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'Revenge' Flashes Back
Revenge Emily VanCamp Collins Pennie
Fire, flashbacks and fake charity. Read More »

ABC’s Revenge took a bit of a detour tonight as Emily (Emily VanCamp) and her newly re-surfaced foster brother Eli (Collins Pennie) decided to take action against their former foster mother who milked the state out of chunks of cash for taking in these waywards, only to abuse them and steal from them.

Honestly, I’m not sure why this is the first we’re hearing of her. Maybe Emily felt like she got enough personal revenge by setting this woman’s house on fire as a kid, but considering she went on to foster dozens more—and that the house wasn’t even burnt enough to be unfixable-- her sense of right and wrong and justice and all that jazz should have had this woman’s name on a list alongside the Graysons and Mason Treadwell and the like.

Note: Spoilers ahead if you have yet to see Sunday night’s “Victory.”

Here’s what worked about Emily and Eli’s little side adventure: Eli’s commitment was so steely-eyed that whether he was looking Emily dead in the face and reminding her of the promise they made to each other years earlier or cutting a deal with the foster mother to milk the Graysons for as much as possible, you believed him. I honestly could have seen that story ending up either way; with him scamming Emily this whole time or with him being in on it with Emily, like he claimed to be. He’s that good, but he’s also that unknown. And when he stood up at the press conference to finally expose the horrors for what they were, bringing together a number of adult survivors of this particular foster mother’s wrath, I just as strongly felt his pain.

Unfortunately what didn’t work was the “twist” that it was actually Eli who set the fire for which Amanda spent five years in Juvie. All this time we were led to believe she was angry, and she took action. But it turned out she didn’t do it—she didn’t even know he did, so she wasn’t covering for him; she was just another kind of victim. And again, I feel it necessary to point out: the house didn’t even burn down like the show was claiming! It needed refurbishing, sure, but that basement dungeon room was in perfect condition, even after all of these years, so don’t cry for Ms. Hayward anyway, at all.

Emily started to spiral a bit, wondering how different her life would have turned out if she didn’t spend time in Juvie and if her foster mother hadn’t hidden correspondence from her father for her. For once she and Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) saw eye-to-eye and both asked Eli to leave. Bummer, I was really enjoying him. He infused a new energy into what has become a quite rote program. But before he went out, he left with a very sweet parting gift: a letter from the foster mother admitting that she sold off all of David Clarke’s letters to…Mason Treadwell years earlier. Dun dun dun, amiright!?

Not really. But the real “dun dun dun” moment came when Emily actually visited Mason (Roger Bart) in prison. He reminded everyone that she burned down his house (well, hey, she thought she had an M.O. to uphold!) but also revealed that Victoria, too, had a child in foster care. Apparently she was once a Teen Mom, and there’s another brooding male spawn out there somewhere. Let’s hope he has Daniel’s smile but his mother’s cunning. In fact, let’s hope he’s been planning his own Revengeplan all this time. That would certainly spice things up!

Moving on, though, when Jack (Nick Wechsler) hit a snag with trying to find Kenny Ryan (JR Bourne)—I guess he doesn’t read our recaps or he would have road tripped down to Beacon Hills—his baby bro Declan (Connor Paolo) came through by swiping Trey’s phone. Trey, you probably won’t remember, was the kid with whom Declan broke into Kenny’s house. He started texting Kenny to lure him out, and Jack ambushed him on the school’s field, announcing that just like someone had to pay for his dad’s murder, so did someone have to pay for Amanda’s. Kenny didn’t want to be involved; apparently he’s a big ole wimp when his own baby bro isn’t around behind which to hide. He did admit that he swiped some recordings of Kenny’s dealings with Conrad (Henry Czerny) for safekeeping, and you know, leverage, though.

The clock was ticking down on Padma’s (Dilshad Vadsaria) dad’s life, and while Emily took a secluded lunch with Daniel (Josh Bowman) to get back into his confidence, Aiden (Barry Sloane) and Nolan (Gabriel Mann) had to take on the exchange of Carrion for Padma’s dad on their own. They worked hard to get both new identities, to ship them off to parts unknown for Nolan, who lamented the loss of his new love by pushing Aiden’s sniper rifle aside and actually making him miss the shot that would have saved Padma from potentially having to leave at all. But the thing was: they didn’t have eyes on her father, so Nolan didn’t want to risk ruining the reunion. Instead, she got in the car with the new head of the Initiative (didn’t her dad ever teach her never to go to a second location!?) and ended up in the hot seat in the same room in which her father had recently been held. She disappeared, presumably into the bowels of the Initiative, dare I say hopefully to never be heard from again?

As a much more panicked (and therefore sweaty) than usual Nolan raced to try to get answers, he learned the Falcon was now working for the Initiative—just as Daniel was learning he was still being tracked, stalked really, left with an ominous message of two bullets. Well, it would have been more ominous if it didn’t come from his own mother—and if it wasn’t accompanied by a photo of him and Emily on their intimate lunch date. After all, that kind of implies a Romeo and Julietarc, and that’s a tale older than time.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: In the absolute lamest “What’s in the box!?” moment ever, the only head found inside was the little turtle’s from the USB drive, containing the tracking device. I don’t want you to think I’m championing murder, but come on, that’s the only thing that spices this show up!

Thank you, TV gods: With the exception of wanting to work on finding proof with Declan, Jack has been thinking pretty smart about what kind of proof he needs to bring down the Graysons.

Awk-ward: Emily’s interest (or lack there of) in the Carrion project and Padma’s father’s kidnapping just amount matched my own.

Hotness: Aiden and Nolan on a mission together was the Action Jackson bromance spin-off I never even knew I wanted. More, please (even if they did kind of screw up the mission)!

Fab-u-lous: Emily’s complete inability to hide her true feelings during breakfast with the Graysons said so much—about her and also the Graysons, who would have had some choice questions based on her facial expressions if they weren’t such self-absorbed people.

Can. Not. Wait.: Who is this mysterious Falcon and how is he (or she!?) able to play both sides—the Graysons and the Initiatives? Could it be that it’s Victoria’s other son!?

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 7—I’ll be honest: I knew about this “other Grayson” twist from before the season started, and the fact that it has taken so long to actually show that card made me assume they scraped the story line. The fact that it popped up tonight, out of nowhere, was enough to intrigue me—even when my new favorite Eli was being taken away.

What did you think of “Victory?” Let us know in the comments below!

-- Danielle Turchiano

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