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Revenge recap: 'Ashes'

Before the bloodbath begins, Emily and Victoria play a game of poker.

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Danny Feld/ABC


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe

It seems that for once Emily Thorne—our Queen of Revenge, our Heroine of Vengeance—isn’t holding a grudge. In last week’s episode, Charlotte tried to burn her sister alive, and in “Ashes,” Emily responds with a “no harm, no foul” of sorts.

Sunday night’s episode opened at a quickly perishing Stowaway, where Emily is still inside, unconscious. Jack shows up to the scene and, informed that there is no one inside, goes in to salvage what’s left of his belongings. He quickly finds Emily and carries her out Bubba-style. Later, after Emily comes to, the paramedics ask if there was anyone else in the bar with her. She replies “no,” with that all-too-familiar knowing look on her face.

So why is it that the woman who was willing to kidnap Charlotte as part of her plot to avenge her father’s “death” is so willing to forgive her for her own attempted murder?

Because, as she later tells Jack when he deduces that Charlotte was the one responsible for the fire, in Emily’s eyes, Charlotte’s innocent. And as she tells Nolan when he’s equally confused, “I messed with Charlotte, and she didn’t deserve it.”

There’s a palpable irony underneath all of this: The very reason that Emily went through such extraordinary lengths to exonerate her father is because he was an innocent man. She, however, is so far from innocent that she doesn’t find her own attempted murder worthy of revenge. Would anyone—even perhaps her still-alive father—go to such extraordinary lengths to avenge her death, of a woman who ruined lives? Yes, she hasn’t killed anyone, but she’s come damn close, and as Victoria made clear in Ashes, revenge is often even more brutal than murder.

And speaking of Ms. Grayson…

Not only is Victoria Grayson hiding away in a shoddy cabin far from the luxuries of her former life, she’s been wearing the same dress for two days now and that denim jacket looks like it’s straight out of 2001. But none of that seems to bother her anymore: Rather, she’s willfully shed the plastic skin that the Grayson name gave her and fully embraced her status as an honorary Clarke. And besides, heels won’t suffice for the revenge she has planned on Emily Thorne.

She also, for the first time, is having to work for her money. (And by work, I mean beg.) All while David is confined to the cabin. He’s visibly frustrated, stir-crazy—you’d think that after more than a decade spent in a bunker he’d be a tad more patient, but I digress. He’s just as hungry for retribution as the Mrs. But she won’t allow for it—ahem, someone is whipped—because she knows that once word’s out that he’s alive, he’ll be at the center of a highly public investigation and, in her words, “I don’t want to share you until I have to.”

So it’s up to the high and mighty Victoria to get on her knees and beg for money. First, she tries Daniel, who tells her that not only can he not help her but makes it clear that he hasn’t forgiven her for fleeing in the wake of calamity. (Yep, he still doesn’t know that his former fiancee locked her up in a looney bin.)

It’s hard to see any of the Old Daniel underneath this suited-up, alcoholic Wall Street man. Not only is he cold to his mother, but also to Charlotte, who we should remember just tried to commit suicide. Daniel tells Victoria Charlotte attempted to take her own life—and of the fact that she’s addicted to drugs—in a manner so flippant and cold that I think even Conrad would be ashamed. Later, when he finds that he has several missed calls from his sister, he rolls his eyes in annoyance. The girl just tried to kill herself, can we remember that?

Where is the kindhearted Daniel we met three years ago? Is he hiding, like the compassionate Amanda Clarke that’s starting to come out of the callous Emily Thorne? Or is he gone for good? It seems that all he cares about, at the moment, is himself and Margaux.

Granted, the man has lost everything. In “Ashes,” we find out that every finance firm in New York scoffs at the Grayson name, and that he’s been evicted from his hotel. (Couldn’t he have downgraded to a nice one bedroom in Prospect Heights for a little while? No?)

And, in typical New Daniel fashion, it seems that he might not be entirely faithful to Margaux, as he’s laid eyes on a new pretty young thing. But that PYT happens to be Louise Ellis, Victoria’s roommate from the mental institution who Victoria failed to help escape. She had been following Victoria and, earlier that day, told her the doctors ruled she had been wrongfully committed. So, no worries, right? My guess is a big, Thorne-sized “no.” And it looks like, once again, someone’s using Daniel as a weapon.

NEXT: Family reunions are all the rage