‘Revenge’ Recap: The Masks We Hide Behind

Last week’s Revenge on ABC dropped a bombshell into our laps by revealing that Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) had another son that she gave up for adoption. Doing the math from her then age of sixteen or now, it seemed clear he was not someone who had been already lurking in plain sight in the Hamptons, but no doubt would soon be dragged there—most likely by the likes of Emily (Emily VanCamp).

However, even Emily needs some time to put the pieces of her plan in motion when she gets such startling new information. Thankfully the show didn’t make the audience sit around and wait while she worked in the background. Instead, “Masquerade” took a six-week time jump to skip past the typically boring procedural parts, including those within Nolan’s (Gabriel Mann) search for the missing Padma (Dilshad Vadsaria).

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

Yes, six weeks later, Padma is still nowhere to be found, and Nolan has taken to scrawling his notes about the “case” on windows. He’s unkempt, bleary-eyed, and lovesick because he found a note that she wrote saying she’d wait for him forever. It wasn’t a good look on him, but thankfully it didn’t last long, as he had his answers about what really happened to her by the end of the episode, and that sent him into a more active, angry rage.

What else was different six weeks down the line? Jack (Nick Wechsler) iced out Emily and was working in full force for Conrad’s (Henry Czerny) campaign; Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) was still mourning; Amanda; Daniel (Josh Bowman) and Emily were no longer trying to rekindle; and most importantly, Victoria was busy planning the Graysons’ annual masquerade ball. And wouldn’t you know it? That provided the perfect way to slip mention of her son in, as an old RSVP card showed up with a postmark from the ‘70s, signed “Your Loving Son.”

Of course that RSVP was something Emily created to mess with Victoria, and she also sent black roses with a card signed the same way. One of the roses Emily kept but provided Victoria with a cut stem so that she would feel a little pang of panic when she saw a man at her party with a black rose tucked into his lapel. It was an interesting dichotomy to know that Victoria gave the baby away decades ago only to see her chase a faceless man through her crowded party now, desperate to know if he was her son. I don’t fool myself into thinking it was purely out of maternal love rather than concern she could be exposed, but Stowe did exhibit conflict to imply it could be a combination of curiosity and concern. Any mother would want to know if her kid turned out okay, if she did the right thing—even Victoria. Unfortunately it ended with her over-the-top fainting in Aiden’s (Barry Sloane) arms instead of getting closure.

Victoria’s firstborn didn’t show himself in the episode, and honestly, it wasn’t even clear if Emily actually found him at all. She followed Victoria to the church where Victoria first “dropped off” her son, and after the nun told Victoria her son only came asking about his mother once, years earlier, Victoria left somewhat satisfied, while Emily sidled up to the nun and fed her the “I’m pregnant and don’t know what to do” line that should grant her a first-hand look at what “process” Victoria went through years earlier. That seemed to imply she didn’t know as much about this side of things as we might assume, given how ahead of everyone she’s been in other areas. But it’s hard to imagine what this fact-finding mission will really give her anyway, as nuns don’t break confidences of other people they’ve helped.

Though we didn’t “officially” meet Victoria’s son, I believe we met a good candidate. Evan (Brandon Keener), Conrad’s over-eager campaign worker definitely seemed to come out of nowhere and seem to be thrust into the story more than one would expect with Jack and Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) still by his side. If he turns out to be the long-lost Grayson, I can’t imagine he found his way onto the campaign by chance!

Daniel met with the new head of the Initiative, who he believed sent him the “warning” bullets in the previous episode, and actually called him out on it. He didn’t take the bait, naturally, claiming that Daniel only knew the story his parents spun for him but instead the Initiative is focusing on rebuilding, rather than destroying because there’s more money in that side of business. The meeting should have been a pissing contest between two men on power trips, but unfortunately Daniel still has nothing on the Initiative, and his ignorance at this stage in the show is just sad. The Initiative pulled out of Grayson Global, and Daniel reached out to Emily over what he assumed was a “win.”

But it was Aiden who took real action, pulling a gun on the new head of the Initiative and telling him to take him to where they were keeping Padma. Though he got what he demanded, when they got there, it was revealed that Padma had finally gotten what she wanted and was reunited with her father—you know, “on the other side.”

Unfortunately for Nolan, he won’t have as much time to grieve for his lost love as everyone has had for Amanda. He spent a good chunk of the last six weeks constantly calling the detective assigned to Padma’s case to try to find out where they were with leads, and that is suspicious on its own. But the coroner’s report, revealing she only died the day before is worse for Nolan, who can’t really account for his whereabouts, eavesdropping on Conrad’s political salon. Only Jack can vouch for him, having seen him briefly. But Jack was distracted with his new backbone, planting a reporter to ask about David Clarke and throw Conrad off his game so much he basically promised to reopen that case if he was elected.

“Masquerade” was an episode filled with exposition and dialogue explaining things the show deemed not important enough for the audience to actually see. Usually time jumps push the plot along so that a show can get to the juiciest bits faster, but there were too many loose ends to tie up first, so the episode limped along, and no amount of ominous music or stony glares from Victoria could save it. The additional use of the masks during the actual Grayson party just cut down on the emotional impact even more, leaving me to wonder how or why to care about these people.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: SO MANY LEAVES, you guys! The set decorator went overboard proving the tine jump by basically dumping a garbage bag full of leaves on the balcony of the Grayson manor set. What happened to their gardener? Did Victoria kill him and roll him up in a rug, too?

Thank you, TV gods: Conrad promised that once he was elected he would fire Ashley! So that means she will finally have to slink out of the Hamptons, and this show, forever, right!?

Awk-ward: Earlier in the season we saw just how terrible Victoria’s mother was to her, and with “Masquerade” we got an extra special dose of that when it was revealed that Victoria’s step-father was the one who got her pregnant, and then her mother didn’t actually help her “take care” of the problem. Let’s hope she stays far, far away at next Thanksgiving, or there is going to be a new kind of discomfort at the Grayson family table.

Hotness: Daniel grew a pair momentarily with his mother to give her a couple of masks and tell her to “use one for each of her faces.”

Fab-u-lous: Grief is turning Charlotte a bit darker. While I was originally afraid she’d spiral, reaching for pills again, she instead stood up for her (presumed real) family by physically fighting someone speaking ill of the dead. She could teach her brother a thing or two!

Can. Not. Wait.: How will Victoria’s other son fit into Emily’s overall Revenge plans!?

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 6 – Too much talk, not nearly enough action! But there were some great “give me an Emmy” moments from both Stowe and Mann.

What did you think of “Masquerade?” Sound off in the comments below!

Danielle Turchiano


Tags: ABC, Revenge, TV Recap