Revenge recap: Emily, the arsonist
Emily burns a stripe-suited journalist, Faux-manda channels her inner 'Coyote Ugly,' and Declan exhausts himself reading 'Paradise Lost.'
Revenge ended with a revelation that should go down in infamy, even if we saw it coming from a mile away: Charlotte Grayson is David Clarke’s daughter. Well, now we know why Victoria told her shrink she experienced regret about having another child! That makes Charlotte Amanda’s half-sister…unless you want to take the conspiracy one step further and say that Amanda is also Victoria’s daughter, in which case they’re full siblings and Amanda is getting it on with her brother. Hey, it’s not so far-fetched. Incest is trending on TV these days. See Game of Thrones. Don’t you guys think it’s a little too convenient how Amanda’s mother “died” before any of the decades-spanning events we’ve seen on this show?
Anyway, I began by paraphrasing FDR because last night’s episode was, in fact, called “Infamy.” But before that final twist, most of the drama centered on another Grayson, young Daniel, who may have found a way to have his trust fund and marry Emily too. He decided to put business school on hold—what’s a Harvard education these days, anyway?—and stay with his dad’s company, dredging up secrets that could help his mom in the divorce. Conrad had his lawyer stipulate that Daniel wouldn’t be able to access his shares in Grayson Global until he turned 30—or got married. It’s not like there’s any chance of that happening, right? (By the way, Merrin Dungey’s presence as Connie’s lawyer makes me endlessly nostalgic for Alias. I maintain that Victoria is Amanda’s mother. But, if not, Amanda’s mother must have faked her death and had the Alliance of Twelve get her genetic re-sequencing to become Merrin Dungey and bring Grayson Global down from the inside as Connie’s lawyer!)
Suddenly, Victoria had a dilemma: give up on Daniel’s bid to take over the company or allow him to marry a woman she’s never trusted. Presumably, she’ll go for the latter, hence her “I approve!” speech at Daniel and Emily’s Labor Day engagement party. After all, as Ryan Huntley, her own legal counsel, had put it, “Conrad stipulated a marriage. Not a successful one.”
NEXT: Roger Bart exchanges a life as a pharmacist in Fairview for one as a journalist in the Hamptons.
Meanwhile, Emily got back to her one-perp-per-episode routine. Her target this time? A sleazy tell-all journalist and celebrity biographer named Mason Treadwell, played by none other than Roger Bart, whom fans of nighttime soaps will remember as the crazy pharmacist on Desperate Housewives who obsessed over one Bree van de Kamp and killed her husband Rex by tampering with his heart medication. Since then, he’s played Carmen Guia in the 2005 version of The Producers and gave a bloodcurdling turn in Hostel: Part II. In the Hamptons-verse, his Treadwell was a reporter David Clarke hired as an impartial eye to investigate his case after even his own attorney (Huntley!) had dropped the appeal. As with everyone in David’s orbit, Treadwell was quickly bought by the Graysons, which Victoria tactfully reminded him. (Victoria Bitchism #1: “You’d still be covering earning reports in the back pages of the Journal if it weren’t for me.” Equally bitchy though oddly affectionate reply from Treadwell: “Trust me, one doesn’t forget a deal with the devil.”)
Treadwell ended up publishing a damning book called The Society Connection that dragged David Clarke’s name through even filthier layers of mud. I imagine that with that title Fernando Rey would have played David in the film adaptation. Treadwell even appeared on a Charlie Rose-Tavis Smiley-style talk-show to discuss David Clarke’s crimes, the kind of show where the black background behind host and guest serves to remind us of the absolute seriousness of the discussion. In the years since, he’d become a popular celebrity biographer, while his hair had gotten ever more Einstein-crazy with age. Like any reporter—and I speak for myself—he wears only white, striped suits, bow ties, and tortoise-rim glasses, with a cigarette holder for added affectation, like some modern-day Truman Capote minus the funny accent and ethics. His villainy was so blatantly transparent that Emily even put a red X over his face well before she’d taken him down. The reason for her particular hatred? Not only had Treadwell betrayed her father, his book had actually convinced her that he was guilty, something for which she could never forgive herself.
NEXT: “Amanda” embraces her inner stripper, and Declan discovers great literature.
Victoria invited Mason to her 20,000-square-foot lair. Her mission? To use the bon-vivant journalist to find out why “Amanda Clarke” was back in town. She needn’t have worried. Though Faux-manda’s suspicions were raised by Tyler the Destroyer’s accusations against the Graysons at that hellish clambake, she was more interested in living out some Coyote-Ugly-in-12-Easy-Steps fantasy—kissing random female Stowaway patrons, offering dollar shots straight out of the bottle, strutting on top of the bar like it’s her own catwalk, and collecting jars-full of tips. She’d become the Stowaway’s de facto bartender, with all the mixology she’d learned at the strip club, I’m sure. All was well…except for her disappointment that Jack wouldn’t take her to Atlantic City for a weekend getaway, and the nagging suspicion that he might be more receptive if Emily Thorne had asked him.
Declan was totally enthralled by Faux-manda’s shtick, though. He was feeling a little blue about Charlotte returning to prep school and another semester of AP courses, debate club, literary society, and Model UN. (Okay, Parks and Recreation and Community have both given us Model UN episodes this season. It’s time for Revenge to do the same.) Charlotte caught him fast asleep with a copy of Paradise Lost on his chest. I’m sure he only fell asleep because he’d already exhausted himself reading Dante all day, not because Milton’s words are too big. Not surprisingly, Declan thought “Amanda” was just the right prescription for uptight Jack. Right, Jack, go ahead and take dating advice from Declan, the guy who stole $300 worth of lobsters and didn’t think there’d be any repercussions. Go right ahead.
Into this mix, Mason Treadwell popped in to order a Gibson and set up a reprise interview with “Amanda.” But before Faux-manda could visit Casa Treadwell for their talk, he invited Emily and Nolan to stare at the very place where Hemingway wrote The Dangerous Summer! And at the 1920s typewriter owned by John Cheever. I’m sure he was next going to show them his collection of fountain pens owned by Noel Coward, but instead he conveniently let slip that he writes everything on his typewriter and never makes copies. Backing up your work just diminishes your creativity and all that. Oh, and this loose-lipped fool even mentioned he’d be re-interviewing Amanda Clarke.
It took only a shot of tequila and a toast to the girls of Cell Block D for Emily to get “Amanda” to agree to wear an earpiece during her interview. Oh, and leveling with her that her father was innocent. During the interview, Emily quickly set up both Treadwell and Faux-manda, by getting the latter to tell the muckraker he’s a fraud and that he was paid handsomely for the story he published. To steel herself beforehand, Emily even took Nolan and Daniel to a gun range for some cathartic target practice. (Nolan Snark Byte #1: “Someone loves their Second Amendment.”)
NEXT: What would Oprah do to Mason Treadwell?
You would think that Faux-manda’s threat to expose him would have intimidated Treadwell. If he were revealed as a fraud, it’d be the biggest literary scandal since James Frey. And his televised contrition via Oprah would be brutal. Yet threats coming from the daughter of a convicted terrorist were nothing compared to the screw-turning of Victoria Grayson. (Victoria Bitchism #2: “I guarantee those memoirs you’re so proud of will end with a very dark chapter.”) When it came time for him to stage a dramatic reading of his memoirs, centering on his recent follow-up interview with “Amanda,” he towed the anti-David Clarke line. “Spineless, seersucking dilettante,” Nolan vented afterward. “You know, I haven’t been this disappointed since Phantom Menace.” Count that as Nolan Snark Byte #2.
If Oprah wasn’t going to publicly flog Mason, Emily had a backup plan ready to go. She had Nolan lure Treadwell away from his cottage with the prospect of hiring him to write his biography. Nolan seemed ready to flex his No. 3 rank on the Kinsey Scale to seal the deal—where’s a hidden whale camera when you need one? But before Treadwell could toast this new partnership with a bottle of 80-year-old Madeira, Emily, hoodie drawn, raided his house, stole the interview tape of her father, and, opaquely narrating about how you can’t “un-ring a bell,” promptly torched the place, leaving Amanda’s lighter behind as incriminating evidence. Revenge may indeed be a stony path, but sometimes you can use one of those stones to kill two birds.
Arson clearly must turn Emily on, because as soon as she left the scene of the inferno—with Mason crying like a madman over his un-backed-up work—she visited Daniel for some Grayson lovin’. Then she settled in for a post-coital viewing of her father’s interview tape and discovered the truth about Charlotte’s paternity. How’s that for a nightcap?
Was “Infamy” a welcome return to the villain-of-the-week format that first got you hooked on Revenge? Don’t the Hamptons automatically seem a little more sane without the presence of Tyler? Can we expect to see Declan reading the poems of John Donne in the near future? And what exactly did Nolan mean in the preview for next week’s ep when he told Emily, “You’ve got Jack’s blood on your hands”?