Charlotte's true paternity sends shockwaves through the Grayson clan, Daniel proposes to Emily, and Declan gets an education.

By Christian Blauvelt
March 29, 2015 at 10:37 PM EDT
Colleen Hayes/ABC
S1 E13
  • TV Show

Julius Caesar famously said, “The die is cast.” John Paul Jones said, “I have not yet begun to fight.” And Emily Thorne said, “How’s June for the wedding?” All classic examples of determined warriors vowing to pursue their battles to their final, irrevocable conclusions. The last of these came to us in the final moments of “Commitment,” an episode that seemed mostly an exposition-heavy bit of setup for the emotional fireworks to come. This was sadly the last episode of our beloved Hamptons sudser for the next two weeks. But even a setup episode of Revenge seems to pack more twists, revelations, turning points—simply more plot—into one hour than most other shows would ever dare. You know what I’m talking about: the departure of “Amanda Clark,” not with a Labor Day party bang, but with a whimper; Conrad at last discovering Charlotte’s true paternity; a rain-drenched Daniel proposing marriage to Emily; attorney Ryan Huntley revealing himself to be one of Emily’s confederates; and, worst of all, Victoria telling, or at least Daniel inferring, that she was raped by David Clarke. So when Emily told her beau “How’s June for the wedding?” you knew all bets were off, all doubts were silenced, all remorse squelched. The Graysons will feel her wrath, no matter the collateral damage she leaves in her wake. Is your head spinning, or what?

“Commitment” began immediately where “Infamy” left off, with Emily reviewing the interview tape she swiped from Mason Treadwell’s torched home in which David revealed he’s Charlotte’s father. This proved to be spectacular new ammunition for her to use—to further divide the Graysons in the midst of their family-sundering divorce battle and to implicate her juvie doppelgänger, “Amanda.” Nolan was a little shocked by how unemotional Emily was to learn she has a sister. He wondered if her concern for Charlotte—not to mention Daniel—might shake her steely resolve. She barked back, (Emily’s Ice Cold Threat of the Night), “I came here for revenge. You offered to help me. If you can’t stomach it any more, how about you at least spare me your passive-aggressive judgments?”

Daniel continued his separate vendetta to bring down Conrad by working with Grayson Global. He found out for his mother and her attorney Ryan Huntley—remember, David Clarke’s counsel who wouldn’t press for his appeal?—that the company was being investigated by the SEC. It seemed like a throwaway line at the time, but I wonder if that was a seed Revenge planted to set up another component of Conrad’s inevitable downfall. I mean, if Martha Stewart can go to jail, surely Conrad Grayson has a long, long list of offenses, beginning and ending with, um, terrorism.

NEXT: Jack and “Amanda” return from Atlantic City, and Declan gets an education!

So after a weekend of strolling the boardwalk and losing money at Donald Trump’s casinos, Jack and Faux-Manda returned from Atlantic City. They didn’t have much time to bask in their post-vacation glow, because as soon as “Amanda” stepped off the Amanda, Emily told her about Treadwell’s house burning down and that Victoria was spreading rumors that the daughter of a certain terrorist was responsible. And even if Victoria wasn’t really suspicious of Amanda being a pyromaniac at that point, Emily would see to it that she would be once Conrad received a little anonymous flash drive.

Oh, Conrad’s breakfast with Charlotte and Declan at the Southfork Inn began with such promise. Sure, Declan was still dressed like a dishwasher, and I’m pretty surprised one of the Hamptonites present didn’t ask him to bring their car around. But Conrad was about to see to it that this young man wouldn’t have to breakfast on beer nuts his whole life. He decided, as yet another semi-bribe for his daughter, that he would pay for Declan’s tuition to attend Charlotte’s prep school. Wait…Declan goes to school? I really had him pegged as a sixth-grade dropout. Apparently it’ll only take him a day of really intense studying—between shifts at the Stowaway—to cram for the entrance exam. Maybe Declan actually has a life as a scholar ahead of him! But joy is fleeting, because as soon as Conrad had offered to pony up fifty G’s to pay for his daughter’s boyfriend’s tuition, a mysterious flash drive was delivered to his table. And, I mean, you can always trust anonymous flash drives given to you at bed and breakfasts.

Conrad immediately confronted Victoria and Ryan—with his own lawyer, Evil Francie, in attendance—about the drive’s contents: a video showing David Clarke talking about how Charlotte’s his daughter. Before you could say “paternity test!” Conrad swiped his daughter’s hair brush and sent it on to the lab, the night’s first foray into DNA sequencing. Victoria’s no fool, and the fact that one of Treadwell’s videos would surface right after his house burned down, and right after Amanda Clarke showed up, made her suspect the daughter of her former lover had set her up. The only way to know for certain? Invite her over for tea, of course! All the better to extract some DNA from some carelessly left behind saliva to test if this girl really is Amanda Clarke. Ryan was basically just waiting in the room next door to whisk that sample off to the lab, because that’s what he’s paid the big bucks to do.

NEXT: Faux-Manda’s overcome a crippling strawberry allergy.

As always, the best threats are those delivered with a plastered smile and a china teacup in hand, and Victoria had them in abundance for “Amanda.” She put out a full bowl of luscious red strawberries to test her quarry like a fairy-tale witch offering up a poisoned apple. Come on, dearie, take a bite, and let’s see if you still have that crippling allergy to strawberries I remember you had as a little girl at my husband’s corporate picnic. (ABC lineup synergy with Once Upon a Time?) Well, it seems Amanda “outgrew” her allergy, probably through years and years of allergy shots provided by that state institution in which she grew up. Or because she’s not Amanda Clark at all. Victoria clearly favored the latter interpretation.

Meanwhile, Emily snuck into Amanda’s lodgings above the Stowaway to plant Treadwell’s tapes in her bag. Of course, Jack immediately caught her, but since it was raining outside and he has a crush on her, he shrugged off that whole breaking and entering issue.

Before we go any further, can I just say how much I loved the weather in this episode? Rainswept and moody, even the Stowaway actually seemed like the Montauk of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I once had a cab driver just turn to me while we were on the road and say, “Don’t you just love it when there’s weather on TV shows?” It was a little strange, since I don’t think we’d said a word to each other since I hopped in, but I totally got his point. (And, fittingly, this happened on Long Island. Screw the Hamptons. North Shore FTW!) Most TV shows are so climate-controlled their characters might as well live under a dome. Other than that climactic tornado that caused John Slattery to be impaled upon a fence on Desperate Housewives, the gals of Wisteria Lane might as well be living in the eternally sunny pastures where the Teletubbies reside. End aside.

NEXT: Daniel sits around staring at that engagement ring. And Ashley is the Rosencrantz or Guildenstern of Revenge, right?

The other man in love with Emily, one Daniel Grayson, was just sitting around his pool house staring at the engagement ring he’d bought for his lady love. For hours, it seemed. Ashley popped in, as she is known to do, and immediately grasped that her best friend was about to live the La Vida Grayson she had wanted for herself. All she could muster as congratulations-encouragement was, “You picked a lovely ring.” (Count that as the Mindless, Disingenuous Ashley Line of the Night.)

Like I said, though, she’s always underfoot, so somehow she then overheard the entirety of Victoria and Conrad’s post-mediation argument and learned that Charlotte isn’t a Grayson at all. I wonder, though, if she heard Victoria’s rebuttal, “David Clarke was no terrorist, and he was twice the man you ever were,” and if so, what will this perpetual wannabe do with that little piece of information? Nonetheless, she realized that her entire summer had been a failure. Emily was going to be living the life she always wanted, while she had only set her sights on a psychotic, penniless poseur now bouncing against a padded cell somewhere. Not to mention, the months she had spent weaseling her way into Victoria’s life now seemed pointless with her ruination nigh. I wonder if we’ve got it all wrong and the title Revenge really refers to Ashley? I mean, this show that’s otherwise so great in every respect really has some mind-blowing endgame in mind for this seemingly disposable character, right? I’d half expect her to be the one to shoot Daniel at this point. Just out of spite. Unless I didn’t already know she was too incompetent and was, you know, orchestrating that Fire and Ice Party. But no, she’s destined to remain forever like one of those characters in a Shakespeare play who seems to make hiding behind a curtain and eavesdropping on conversations a profession. I can only hope Emily will play the vengeful Hamlet to Ashley’s Rosencrantz or Guildenstern, and she will be quickly spirited away.

NEXT: The best proposals always happen in the rain. Plus, Jack gets a beating and Amanda finally leaves for parts unknown.

And so we come to it at last: the Proposal. Daniel’s a true romantic at heart, and he knows that the ideal way to propose to a woman is on the deck of a 150-foot yacht, with a candlelight dinner waiting nearby. Oh, and while it’s pouring. Think of him as the Hamptons equivalent of Gabriel Byrne’s Friedrich in Little Women or Matthew MacFadyen’s Darcy in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. Somehow, Daniel controlled the weather to make his proposal seem all the more passionate and primal. Far from his father’s assertion that Daniel was only marrying Emily to get his share of the company. Oh, yeah, about Daddy Grayson. His feelings for Charlotte cooled as fast as a poison-filled bowl of Southfork Inn soup when he learned she isn’t his daughter. So he sent her packing back to Mommy. Yeah, about that tuition, Declan. You’re probably going to have to find another way to pay up….Charlotte immediately came to Emily, in tears, looking for Daniel. She couldn’t find her brother, but she found she’d gained a sister (!), realizing that Daniel had proposed. Little does she know how much of a “sister” Emily really is.

Back at the bar, Nolan had to distract “Amanda” from telling Jack a little too much about her meeting with Mama Grayson. I love that his method was just to drop a glass on the floor. Crude but effective. Not quite as effective was the burly, Jason Statham-ish dude who started flirting with “Amanda,” asking to drive her home and all the usual over-the-counter alcohol-fueled pickup chatter. Of course he found out immediately she lives upstairs, all the better to break in and raid her lodgings for those missing Treadwell tapes. And he found them first thing. This time the person who’d broken into Jack’s digs wasn’t someone on whom he had a crush, so Jack immediately threw the first punch, and got royally beaten up for it. (Sickeningly Self-Righteous Nolan Line of the Night, to Emily: “I may have Jack’s blood all over my jacket. But you’ve got it all over your hands.” That also may be the worst line of the series thus far.) It was time for Emily to level with “Amanda,” as, with hindsight, she should have done four episodes ago. Emily gave her whole “Yeah, so about that whole ‘daughter of a terrorist’ thing. Not true!” spiel, and Amanda very reasonably understood the precariousness of the situation and agreed at last to leave. No threats were issued, no ultimata delivered. Presumably, Amanda will hightail it to Emily’s flat in Paris, where undoubtedly she’ll cross paths with Siobhan from Ringer. And hopefully resume her lucrative career as a stripper! Fare thee well, Faux-Manda, and may Jack’s broken heart—and even more broken body—heal as quickly as possible.

NEXT: So many twists, where do I begin?

As Dickens once wrote, “Life is full of meetings and partings,” and the latter’s time had come for Victoria and her star attorney. But before she could save Ryan the trouble of quitting by firing him, Ryan confirmed that indeed Amanda Clarke and Charlotte Grayson were half-sisters. Um, what? How could Emily have possibly intercepted that demitasse-spoon DNA sample? Well, she didn’t have to. Turns out, Ryan Huntley was actually working for her all along, and that one cryptic flashback, where we saw Goth Emily confront him about dropping her father’s appeal, wasn’t the whole story. Actually, her father had “gotten to him” and got him to drop the case, knowing that another trial would inevitably involve his daughter and the Graysons’ diabolical schemes to silence her.

All of this—Jack’s beating, discovering that Charlotte’s her half-sister, Faux-Manda’s relative graciousness in deciding to leave, knowing that Daniel really does love her—started to get to Emily, and she was beginning to have second thoughts about the wedding. And, you know, breaking the heart of a truly good guy who had nothing to do with her father’s betrayal. Why should the son pay for the sins of the father and mother? But sometimes revenge isn’t that stony of a path. Sometimes it gives you a clear, undeniable signal to proceed. And when Daniel decided to ask his mom about the big family secret his father had hinted at in their earlier, bitter, brandy-fueled conversation, she basically implied that David Clarke, the madman terrorist, had forced himself on her. (In contrast to the desaturated, slow-mo love scene that we saw flicker in Victoria’s memory, all Calvin-Klein-commercial cool as befits a flashback to 1994.) If one thing would set Emily back on the path to destroy the Graysons, it was the implication that her father was not only a terrorist but a rapist. Doubts, be gone! “How’s June for the wedding?”

Did “Commitment” whet your appetite for “Chaos,” the episode that will finally revisit the Graysons’ Labor Day Fire and Ice Party on Feb. 15? Are you infuriated out of your mind that you have to wait that long? And, come on, that can’t be the last we’ve seen of “Amanda,” right? And Ashley’s got to have some point for being on this show, right? Right?! Sound off in the comments below, and help pass the time until the next episode by picking up a copy of this week’s Entertainment Weekly, with Tanner Stransky’s cover story on Revenge.

Episode Recaps

Welcome to the Hamptons, a glittering world of incredible wealth and privilege, where smiles hide secrets—and nothing is colder than revenge.
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