Nolan becomes the center of a love triangle, Daniel stages a coup, and Jack discovers his father's shady past.
Credit: Ron Tom/ABC

After last week’s flashback episode, I was glad to return to the real world. It wasn’t an atrocious episode, per se. It just didn’t really tell me much I couldn’t have learned in present time. It felt very gimmicky, and it took me out of the actual storyline, flimsy as it is at the moment. But that’s the problem. When you can’t keep up with your own story in the modern day, why complicate things with a look at the past? Anyways, enough of my rant and on to the winter finale!

Conrad decides to deal with Daniel’s betrayal by going skeet shooting — a mistake since Victoria kicks his ass at it. Conrad’s not concerned about the vote of no confidence. He knows Nolan’s company will fight the takeover and thus give him time to clear his good name — or so he says to his other shooting companion, one Salvador Grobet (aka Ramon Salazar from 24). Conrad wants to convince the wealthy Central American investor of his competence. Too bad he’s fighting a losing battle.

Elsewhere at the same picnic/party/company retreat, Emily and Aiden — clad in the appropriate safari attire — are discussing their plans for Grayson Global. Nolan, none too pleased with being a sacrificial lamb, is even less happy with the actual firing squad present for Nolcorp’s demise. “I’m sorry about your company,” says Ems, but Nolan reveals he has a plan. Emily is surprised. “How’s that feel?” Nolan quips. “Not so fun, huh?” Good for you, Nolan. Time to stand up to her.

At the bar, Jack invites the Ryans to the christening. The two brothers shoot each other a loaded glance when Jack mentions that “Dad’s old friends” will be attending. I shoot the TV an eye roll. Back at the shooting range, Daniel’s making his own play for Salvador by introducing Ashley and Aiden. Well, mostly Ashley. See, Salvador’s a fan of exotic young things (ew). Daniel, presumably in an attempt to impress both Salvador and Ashley, calls for a clay pigeon, but Emily, badass that she is, steals the shot. Catching Salvador’s eye, she tries to convince him to vote for Daniel.

NEXT: Between one betrayal and the next, Emily still has time to attend a christening.

Daniel and Salvador’s chumminess isn’t all Conrad has to worry about. The Initiative is back and they’re threatening Daniel. Victoria puts on a good show, screaming at the Initiative lady on the phone, but Helen (whose name I had to look up on IMDb) knows she’s got Conrad eating out of her palm.

The next day (I guess? I hope they didn’t go back to work after a morning of skeet shooting.), Padma and Nolan turn up at Grayson Global to meet Daniel. Nolan’s hesitant to discuss business sans Aiden, but when Daniel produces Nolan’s old flame Marco, Nolan quickly becomes amenable, sending Padma on her way. Yeah, I can see how that would be awkward. At least Marco has the gall to look guilty for betraying his old love. Still, it doesn’t help Nolan, who’s blackmailed into giving up the controlling interest in Nolcorp so as to escape a criminal investigation for the missing money. Nolan tosses out this parting barb: “Well played, boss.”

Ashley, using those womanly wiles she picked up in her days as a call girl, convinces Daniel to cut Aiden out of the deal, at least until he’s been properly vetted. Of course, Aiden witnesses it all (appropriately dubbing her Lady Macbeth) via the zillion cameras stationed throughout the Graysons’. He’s not sure how he can discredit Ashley, but then Emily presents him with a steamy video documenting Ash’s hookup with Conrad. Well, that would do it. Nolan arranges for the video to be sent anonymously to Victoria, who is a little too shocked by it. I mean, Conrad and Ashley have been quite close this season. What did she think was happening?

Meanwhile, Emily takes time off her plotting to go to little Carl’s christening. During a long spiel about protecting the baby from evil (Emily is Carl’s godmother, after all), Nolan looks distinctly uncomfortable — if there’s anyone involved in evil, it’s Ems. As Jack and Amanda watch the baptism, Emily looks on wistfully. Seems someone wishes she was normal. From the back of the church, the Ryan brothers also watch the proceedings. At the end of the ceremony, Matt Duncan, the man we know shot the Ryan brothers’ father, congratulates Jack on the baby, then advises him to get out of his deal with the Ryans. They’re only bad news.

NEXT: The Graysons lecture each other on fidelity.

Despite Conrad’s best efforts, Salvador has not been persuaded to invest in Conrad. “He’s going with Daniel,” Conrad tells Victoria. She couldn’t care less, thrusting out her phone and showing him the video she received earlier that day. “Sex with your son’s girlfriend? Really, Conrad?” she asks. “What are you saying, fidelity’s one of your strong points?” he shoots back. Ha! Of course, the Graysons suspect the Initiative of sending the video — what better way to divide their united front? Victoria agrees — reluctantly — to put aside her differences with Conrad in order to protect Daniel.

At The Stowaway, the post-christening party is in full swing. Charlotte makes a rousing speech about knowing good parents when she sees them — mostly because hers are so terrible. Emily tries to make an early escape after Aiden calls her, but Amanda stops her as she leaves the bar. Amanda wants Ems to give up her quest for revenge. “When will enough be enough?” she asks. I wonder that myself. I’m curious to see what later seasons of Revenge will look like, assuming it stays on the air that long. Personally, I’m pulling for someone to come after Emily. But I digress.

Victoria’s on the warpath. She confronts Ashley with the video and Ash immediately dissolves into tears, insisting she loves Daniel and would do anything to put her indiscretion right. “I’m counting it,” Victoria answers. Why would you ever offer to do anything for a Grayson? Talk about a deal with the devil. Victoria decides to take advantage of Ashley’s experience as a high-priced call girl and sends her to Salvador’s bed to see if she can’t “negotiate” an investment on Conrad’s behalf. I feel slightly sick.

Of course, this development upsets Aiden and Emily’s plans, so while Ashley heads to meet Salvador, Aiden gives Daniel a call and tells him to meet him at the very same hotel where Salvador is staying. Back at the bar, Nolan is indulging in some well-deserved alcohol when Jack asks him for help. He’d like Nolan to use his considerable tech skills to look into the Ryan bros. Nolan vows he will, but the two are interrupted by Marco. How in the world did he get into a private party? Can complete strangers attend this post-christening? Marco can’t believe Amanda Clarke is living in such squalor (hey, they cleaned up the mold!) when she has millions of dollars. He has no idea that the real Amanda has been happily rolling in that dough for years, so he threatens to expose Nolan’s “deceit” if he isn’t given his job back. Poor Padma…

NEXT: Superior parenting: Declan is living alone on a boat.

Aiden makes some excuse for inviting Daniel over — he says he’s hurt by being left out of the final negotiations and asks what prompted the sudden change of heart. Daniel admits that Ash may have had something to do with it and Aiden asks how he can possibly trust someone who’d betray him, directing the poor cuckold to a room upstairs, where Ash is, erm, hot-tubbing (or something that requires bathrobes) with Salvador. To Daniel’s credit (or cold-hearted shame?), he doesn’t hesitate. He whips out his phone, snaps a shot of Salvador and Ashley, and uses it to blackmail Salvador’s vote. (Salvador’s got a wife who wouldn’t be too pleased to see that he’s taken up with one of the exotic ladies.) Ems hears it all from Aiden, and you can practically see her tapping her fingers together Mr. Burns-style. It’s cold, even for her.

At the vote, Victoria and Conrad make one last attempt to keep Daniel from seizing power by telling Daniel that they made Ashley do what she did. Needless to say, Daniel does not handle this well. Even when Victoria tells him, “Winning that vote will put you in unspeakable danger,” he barely listens. He asks Victoria what she means, but of course she can’t say because heaven forbid the Initiative find out. Look, I know the Initiative is supposed to be this big, powerful entity, but I honestly couldn’t be less intimidated by them. And don’t get me started on the “I’ve got a secret I can’t tell you” plot line. Just tell him! Is it so much worse than letting Daniel win the vote? He’ll be in danger either way, right? So let him know some shady organization is out to get him, rather than just asking him to trust you.

Turns out Declan’s been living on the Amanda all this time! Maybe he’s the body at the bottom of the ocean (I wish). Duncan turns up at the boat, but he’s distracted by a Ryan bro. He wanders off down the dock, where Nate and Kenny corner him. Bad choice, Duncan. Should’ve tried to get the gun you stashed on board the Amanda any other time in the past six years. I mean, where was he all this time?

NEXT: Bet Jack wishes he hadn’t named his baby after his father.

Aiden tells Emily that it’s official — Daniel is the new CEO. And to think six years ago he just wanted to write poetry! Daniel pulls Aiden aside, where he informs him that, alas, there will be no board position. The poor lost poet is becoming a right businessman of Conrad caliber, he is. Meanwhile, Nolan phones Jack to tell him that Nate and Kenny are bad news. Before Jack can do anything about it, Charlotte bursts into the bar screaming about Duncan. Jack rushes to help, but he’s too late. Duncan admits he killed Joe and that he hid the murder weapon on the Amanda. Later, the Ryan brothers turn up at the bar to ask what happened to Duncan. The whole scene is awkwardly threatening and I can’t help but wonder why they blew their cover with Jack so soon. I mean, he had no proof that the Ryans were bad. Nate tosses down Carl’s old black book on the bartop, which reveals that Duncan paid a debt to Jack’s father. Uh oh. And now you have a baby named after a potential accessory to murder.

Padma admits to Nolan that she feels responsible for the loss of the company, but he says he has a contingency plan. Marco shows up and Nolan reveals that his old flame wants his old job back. But what does this mean for Padma? Meanwhile, Jack digs up the floorboards on his boat (how’d he know exactly where to look?) and finds the missing gun. Looks like Dad was no hero.

At the Graysons, Daniel is deleting every picture he has of Ashley (how moody, Daniel), but it turns out he’s kept the ones of Ems all this time. Romantic, I suppose. If I didn’t hate him right now.

Aiden and Emily are enjoying some “What if we were normal people” time when Victoria calls. She wants help to protect Daniel. But is he in too deep? The Initiative has already planted a camera in his office — and a plan is already in motion. But what is it? We won’t know until January.

What did you think of this episode, readers? Honestly, for an episode titled “Revelations,” there seemed to be surprisingly few. We just got more questions. And I’m not sure I’m on board with this whole Initiative thing. They’re becoming almost comical, like the SPECTRE organization in the Bond movies. Do they actually have a plan? They must, but for the life of me, I can’t possibly imagine what it is. What are your thoughts? And what will you be doing with your Sunday nights from now on?