Tyler loses his meds and his mind. But what would Daniel's birthday party be without a little gunplay?
This was a real nice clambake,
We’re mighty mad we came.
The villains we thought
Were tough, were not
The company was insane.
Our hearts are cold, our bellies are churned,
And we’re not feeling prime.
This was a real nice clambake,
And we all had a real bad time.
With all due respect to Oscar Hammerstein, these lyrics more accurately convey the mood of the Graysons’ birthday clambake for Daniel. Actually, they probably would have worked better than Lissie’s episode-capping emo-pop cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” too. For weeks, ABC’s commercials for Revenge’s January return touted gunplay. Could it be that prime time’s tastiest new drama would in fact circle around to the events of its pilot and show Daniel getting shot? As it turns out, no. That will have to wait. (Expect altered lyrics for “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in this recap when the Grayson scion meets his fate.) But that doesn’t mean Tyler wasn’t armed and dangerous nonetheless. That most pernicious of Hamptons schemers—his toxicity could qualify for Level 4 Biohazard Containment at this point—finally met his downfall at the hands of…none other than his own psychotic, unmedicated wits.
But first, introductions are in order. I am Christian Blauvelt, Entertainment Weekly reporter and veteran cataloger of televisual bitchery in recaps of Desperate Housewives, The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Amazing Race, and Community. Okay, the Community recaps mostly involved me bitching at NBC for pulling the funniest show on TV. From now on I will be your recapper as well as the host of our weekly viEWer live blogs for Revenge. And what an episode for me to make my debut!
“Duress” opened with Emily being held at gunpoint at Daniel’s birthday party. Before you could say “J.J. Abrams” it jumped back in time to two days earlier. If this intricately plotted, flashback-heavy tale of powerful females and their inscrutable motives didn’t already make you wax nostalgic for Alias, then surely that brief appearance of Merrin Dungey (Francie/Fake Francie!) as a Grayson legal counsel did.
Victoria was looking for a way to render Conrad’s pre-nup null and void so she could tap his fortune. The only way she could do that, her lawyer advised, was by getting her hands dirty.Victoria replied with the most obvious statement of fact of all time: “My hands are already dirty.” I assume this is setting up some inevitable “Out damned spot, out!” moment. Her lawyers planned to say that since Victoria was pregnant at the time the pre-nup was drafted she hadn’t been “mentally competent” to agree to its terms. Ingenious! The only problem? Victoria wasn’t pregnant at the time. She only said she was to get Conrad to marry her, then conveniently “miscarried.” Her team would have to find a doctor willing to lie under oath to that effect.
NEXT: Behold the sexual tension between Tyler and Daniel
Meanwhile, Daniel’s birthday drew nigh, and Emily recruited Jack and “Amanda” to assist with her clambake preparations. Emily wanted Fake Amanda to enter Victoria’s orbit, where they would surely collide like planets in a Lars von Trier movie. I know what you were all thinking: “Amanda” was about to get Stowed. Well, it turns out, not really. Victoria was more interested in a wait-and-see approach regarding the daughter of her former lover. She wanted to look in Amanda’s eyes, then report back to Conrad.
And she did just that. Victoria Bitchism Vol. 1: “All I see is a pretty girl with cheap shoes and limited social graces.” I suppose that was her way of indicating she doubts “Amanda” is really Amanda.
But neutralizing Fake Amanda wasn’t Emily’s prime objective in “Duress.” Neutralizing Tyler was. And to do that she had to take back Nolan’s hidden whale camera with blackmail-worthy footage of Tyler’s peccadilloes. But while she rifled through his backpack, she also discovered a bottle of powerful antipsychotic drugs. A quick call to Tyler’s pharmacy revealed that he required constant supervision, and if he were to go off the grid—as he had—law enforcement would be called in to search for him. Emily opted to alert someone who would take Tyler away but wouldn’t ask too many questions: his brother Alex, a trauma surgeon at San Francisco Medical. See, if Tyler had directed his efforts toward an education, rather than scheming and toadying, he could be a highly-paid professional. (Though I suppose Tyler has elevated scheming and toadying to something akin to a profession.) On our viEWer live blog, EW reader colormelauren hilariously commented, “A trauma surgeon can just casually hop on a jet to the Hamptons? Shonda Rhimes disagrees.” Indeed, in Shonda Rhimes’ universe, surgeons are too busy bed-hopping to travel to expensive vacation destinations.
As Alex hopped the red-eye, Tyler confronted Daniel about being cast out of the Graysons’ lives. Specifically, how could he be cast out when he knows so much about their family? When Daniel asked if he was being threatened, Tyler replied, “I don’t know. Do I need to?” Unsettling as that remark was, it couldn’t compare to Tyler’s sexual-tension-filled description of Daniel’s “pretty mouth,” am I right?
NEXT: Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes they both, oh yes they both, oh yes they both reached for the gun, the gun, the gun, the gun, oh yes they both reached for the gun, for the gun
Then, noticing that his cetacean recording device had gone missing, Tyler threatened Nolan with a knife that appeared to have been purchased at Pottery Barn. When he realized Nolan didn’t have the whale, he knew there was only one other person he needed to harass: Emily herself.
That would require crashing Daniel’s clambake, gun in hand. Not that the party had been so great before that. (Victoria Bitchism Vol. 2: “And you did it all without any waitstaff!”) Victoria had stolen Emily’s idea of a scrapbook of cherished moments with Daniel for his birthday present and suggested that Conrad’s gift of a Rolex announces to the world “what deficiencies he’s trying to compensate for.” So Tyler’s gun-packing entrance hardly disrupted an idyllic scene.
What drew the line for me was when Tyler not only forced Emily to carry in Daniel’s birthday cake at gunpoint, but blew out the candles himself! That was a sore point, as a rival blew out the candles on my cake at my own birthday party when I turned 4, proving that the St. Petersburg, Fla., play-date scene is as much a viper pit as the Hamptons.
But just as Tyler prepared to shoot Emily in front of all of Daniel’s guests, his decidedly less trigger-happy big brother arrived and whisked him away to the comforting embrace of a padded cell waiting nearby. Definitely a bit of an anticlimax, to be sure. Since Emily also implicated Tyler in Frank’s death too, it’s unlikely that we’re going to see him again for a long time. And yet I can’t think exactly what else Revenge could have done with this character, can you?
Anyway, “Duress” was a pretty effective post-holiday return, don’t you think? Who do you suspect is the doctor that Victoria’s found to claim she suffered a miscarriage? Can we really expect to see Tyler again anytime soon? And who shot Daniel anyway? Let us know in the comments below, and join us for our live blog of Revenge next Wednesday 10:00 pm ET/9:00pm CT.
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