Revenge recap: Tyler vs. Daniel, Emily vs. Amanda
Fauxmanda begins to wreak havoc in the Hamptons, and we meet a mysterious figure from Emily's past
At the start of last night’s Revenge, the young men of the Hamptons were engaged in a fierce game of beach volleyball. Now, I’ve always considered volleyball the most relaxing of the intense sports — as opposed to ping pong, which is the most intense of the relaxing sports; or golf, which is the most heartbreaking of the silly sports; or soccer, which is the most interesting of the boring sports. (It completely makes sense that the most important scene in Top Gun is a volleyball game, since Top Gun is easily the most leisurely action movie ever made.) So it seemed only natural that Poolhouse Tyler was horrible at volleyball. Tyler has closely studied the details of bourgeois badassery — skinny ties, fitted suits, the piercing glare of casual indifference, the affected mid-Atlantic accent. But he has never developed the ability to relax. Whereas Daniel Grayson has been relaxing his whole life. Tyler dove into the sand and missed the ball by a mile. “Side out, bitch!” taunted Daniel.
After the match, Papa Grayson called his boys into his office. He teased Tyler about the morning’s volleyball tournament. He noted that “Friendly competition is good for the soul.” He explained his latest scheme: He would pit the Harvard classmates against each other in a pitched battle for salesmanship. At the next day’s investor party, Daniel and Tyler would compete for the attention of multi-billionaires. “First one of you to close the high roller keeps the commission, same as all the execs.” He reminded the boys that they weren’t just selling Grayson Global; they were selling the Grayson lifestyle. “Ambition vs. nepotism,” said the talented Mr. Poolhouse. “Game on.”
The basic structure of Revenge is coming into focus now. This is a show that’s all about one-on-one competition. People who were close allies just a few episodes ago are now enemies. Just look at Fauxmanda — Nolan’s nickname for Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke/Kara Wilkins — who arrived at the Hamptons a couple episodes ago as our Emily’s closest friend. Last night, Emily asked her old cellmate to leave. Then she commanded her. “Get out of the way,” said Fauxmanda. “You’re blocking the sun.”
Or look at Conrad and Victoria. Their separation is still fresh, but Conrad’s departure from Casa Grayson seems to have unleashed decades of pent-up resentment. Victoria swung by Conrad’s digs at the South Fork Inn to deliver a friendly message. The cops had discovered Frank the Dead Security Guy’s cell-phone outside of the Graysons’ house. They asked significant questions about Conrad: Was he a jealous man? Conrad didn’t seem too worried. He told his beloved wife: “I suggest you start backing me up, because if I end up getting framed for this, I’m gonna see to it that everything you cherish so dearly is ripped from those greedy little claws of yours.”
Conrad was smiling when he said that. (This is where we have to remember that Henry Czerny played Eugene Kittridge, possibly the greatest Evil Douchebag Bureaucrat of the ’90s, which in hindsight was a terrible decade for pretty much everyone except for Evil Douchebag Bureaucrats.) And the great thing is that Victoria smiled right back at him. “I don’t respond well to threats,” she said — and viewers, she winked at him. Love is strange.
NEXT: Tyler and Nolan redefine the term “pay-for-play”Tyler was plotting a full-scale 360-degree experience for the investor party. With Nolan’s stolen credit card, he bought Ashley some nice things, so she would look like she belonged in the Hamptons and not in whatever bleak Dickensian corner of London she hails from. He promised her, “Emily will be lost in the crowd next to you. This party will be the best thing that ever happened to us.” (Like Victoria and Grayson, the main attraction between Tyler and Ashley is the shared recognition that they are both using each other.) Nolan angrily called Tyler in to discuss certain charges on his credit card, but Tyler planned that. He asked Nolan to become a client at Grayson Global. He asked Nolan to think it over while taking a dip in the pool.
But Nolan had other things on his mind. He tried to convince Fauxmanda to leave town, but she laughed in his face. “Emily told me about you,” she said. “Said you used to visit her father in jail, like a demented stalker.” That had to hurt — we saw a quick, somewhat inexplicable flashback to one of those visits, back when Nolan’s hair was accidentally (rather than purposefully) terrible. Papa Clarke told Nolan, “You’re like a son to me,” and asked for his trust. (Am I the only one who sensed just a touch of malice in Papa Clarke’s voice in this quick flashback? It felt a little bit to me like he was playing Nolan. I’ve been dancing around this for awhile, but I’m going to just put this out there now: I’m betting the Revenge season finale ends with a WTF-twist revelation that Papa Clarke has been alive and well all along.)
Nolan told Fauxmanda not to underestimate Emily. “When Emily wants somebody gone, believe me: They go. Usually in spectacular fashion.” Indeed, earlier in the episode, it seemed like Emily was plotting a counterattack on her old cellmate. But when we caught up with her, she was hanging with Daniel, helping him study up on potential investors. She was cheering him on: “You’re a Grayson. Making money’s in your DNA.” Then she received a disturbing phone call. Nolan — who was in big mood for nicknames that day, apparently — said they had a new problem: “The Talented Mr. Hamptons.” We saw Tyler steal Lydia’s Grayson-indicting speech last week, and he had pulled it out at Nolan’s house and done a web search for David Clarke on Nolan’s computer.
Now, I have no clue why Tyler did this, since there are roughly one billion ways to use the internet that don’t involve using the computer of the anxious rich dude who doesn’t trust you. But remember, Revenge takes place in a universe where a dog can live forever, so best not to quibble with logic. The important thing here is the effect that this information had on Emily. She came into the summer with a clear-cut plan, and now all these complications are arising. Her old friend has become a wild-card nemesis, and some goony Harvard kid keeps getting in her way. She made a mysterious phone call to a mysterious voice and said, “It’s Emily Thorne. I need to see you.”
Meanwhile, Jack took Fauxmanda out for a sailing jaunt on the U.S.S. Amanda. She asked if she could take the wheel. Jack said yes. But of course, she needed guidance, so Jack stayed at her back and held onto the wheel. His hands met her hands. He looked into her eyes. She looked into his perfect stubble. They made out. I’m sorry, I should have said they made out on a motherf—ing boat. It was awesome.
NEXT: Disneyland Tokyo Mon AmourOh, real quick before I forget: Declan and Charlotte were plotting a big night of teenaged lovemaking, but Victoria grounded her daughter and put on her anti-prole force field to make a trip to the Stowaway. There, she offered to write Declan a check if he would break up with Charlotte. He asked for $100 thousand, and she gave him $25 thousand. Surprising no one, Declan just took the money and then went right ahead and slept with Charlotte. He promised to buy a place “by the water.” I just googled “beach house Hamptons price” and the number that came up had about eight digits, but maybe Declan means he’s going to invest in a really cool-looking tent. Anyhow, this concludes your Declan-Charlotte update for the week.
At the Grayson Global investor party, Daniel was approaching a Japanese businessman. Here was his approach: “When I was young, my parents took me to Disneyland Tokyo. I’ve been wanting to go back ever since. Um [pulls collar awkwardly], I mean Tokyo, not Disneyland.” (This is sort of like telling a French person that you really loved the McDonald’s a couple blocks away from the Eiffel Tower.) I loved how the businessman’s translator purposefully translated Daniel’s stumbling. Daniel was embarrassed. He was talking to Satoshi Takeda, the man in charge of Japan’s largest renewable resources company. As frequent readers of The Economist know, you only get one shot with the Satoshi Takeda. Fortunately, stumbly bumbly Daniel has a cool girlfriend who can do everything, including randomly speak Japanese.
Satoshi asked for a moment of Emily’s time. They walked into the corner, and Emily suddenly revealed her true self: “I fear I’m losing control.” Satoshi told her: “You were warned. Revenge is a stony path.” Right then, I realized two things: 1) Satoshi is played by Hiroyuki Sanada, who had an awesome guest-starring role as Dogen on Lost‘s final season (to say nothing of great supporting roles in Sunshine and The Last Samurai.) 2) Emily Thorne is basically a female Bruce Wayne, and Satoshi is her Liam Neeson.
For my money, one of the best moments on television this season came when Satoshi looked across the room, saw Victoria, and said: “Ah. Your nemesis. Remember: Inside the viper’s nest, you must be a viper, too.” All the coolest superheroes have secret Samurai backstories — and by “all,” I mean Wolverine and Batman, because really, all superheroes are lame next to Wolverine and Batman. (Please, Revenge creators, give us Emily’s vengeance-training backstory, and please let it involve katanas.)
Nolan arrived at the party. Following Emily’s orders, he agreed to invest in Tyler, but only if Tyler agreed to more quality time. Immediately. They kissed…and at that exact moment, Ashley walked in with some fresh drinks. (It seemed Nolan had spotted Ashley walking toward the Poolhouse.) Tyler ran after her. Ashley was angry: “I’m such an idiot. And you’re a bastard.” But Tyler wasn’t embarrassed. He knows what he’s willing to do to succeed. He threw Ashley’s passiveness in her face: “All I see is, ‘Yes, Mrs. Grayson. Of course, Mrs. Grayson.'” He advised her to get in the game, like everyone else.
Conrad called the boys into his home office. Nolan Ross was buying into Grayson Global for $20 million, and Tyler was getting the commission. “Don’t spend it all in one place,” he joked. Tyler smiled at Daniel, and screamed his triumphant battle cry: “Side out, bitch.”
NEXT: The Return of AmandaMeanwhile, on the good ship Amanda, Fauxmanda was grinning widely. All she wants is a home, a place to belong. She had been given a new name long ago; now, she was finally starting a new life. Who cares if it was someone else’s? (Fauxmanda’s storyline reminds me, in some extremely vague but important ways, of Don Draper from Mad Men: In both cases, you get the sense that their lives didn’t really begin until they essentially killed the people they used to be.) Fauxmanda opened up to Jack: “Things haven’t been right for me in a very long time.” Jack: “If it makes you feel any better, we’re in the same boat.” JOKE!
Then Fauxmanda gave him the line: “Nolan isn’t a friend of mine. He knew my father many years ago. So did you.” Jack thought it over for a second. “Amanda?” (I gotta give credit to Nick Wechsler here: The look of pure glee on his face was wonderful — and, in context, kind of heartbreaking. He looked like a man who has suddenly received everything he has ever asked for, and he has no idea what a miserable pit of lies he is falling into.)
At Casa Grayson, Victoria was having just an all-around horrible day. Her house was empty. Her plans have all been foiled. She had to bend the knee to Emily and apologize. And now, she discovered that her friend/enemy Lydia had somehow departed from her guest bed. Conrad told her: “I moved her out earlier this evening while you were busy stabbing people in the back.” Then he left the house, a twinkle in his eye.
In a very short amount of time, Victoria has almost entirely fallen from grace. Suddenly, a new ally emerged. Ashley asked her point-blank: “Why did you hire me?” Victoria: “I hired you because you’re the best at what you do. And because you’re close with Emily.” Ashley spilled some tidbits about Emily: She knows how to get what she wants. And she can be…tricky. Victoria: “Let’s you and I go to brunch tomorrow. And we can discuss this further.” Ashley said she would make reservations. And she addressed Mrs. Grayson by her first name.
At the house next door, Emily received an unexpected visitor: Jack. He explained to her that something miraculous had happened: He had magically met his childhood love, the girl who used to live in Casa Thorne. “Emily,” he said, “This is Amanda. A very close old friend of mine.” Fauxmanda shook Emily’s hand and said, “Jack has the nicest things to say about you.” Emily — for the first time in the series — looked genuinely confused, and genuinely hurt.
In a flashback, we saw her make a phone call to Satoshi: “I’m ready to continue my training.” Satoshi: “Then it’s time you come to Japan.” I take back all my earlier superhero references: Revenge is basically a soap-opera remake of Kill Bill, which means Emily is the Bride and Satoshi is Pai Mei. Fingers crossed it turns out that Emily knows the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.
Viewers, what did you think of this episode? Quick, which is your favorite couple whose romance is built on a foundation of lies: Conrad/Victoria, Fauxmanda/Jack, Tyler/Ashley, or Daniel/Emily? When you get right down to it, aren’t all romances built on a foundation of lies? (Answer: No. Or are they?) And does anyone else think Papa Clarke is still alive, watching his daughter undertake this mission of vengeance?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich
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