Everybody betrays everybody when Daniel is beaten up in prison, Declan spills all to Treadwell, and Victoria rekindles an old flame.

By Christian Blauvelt
March 29, 2015 at 10:34 PM EDT
Colleen Hayes/ABC
S1 E17
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Oh, how very long it seems it’s been since we last checked in on our wildly dysfunctional friends in the Hamptons.

I don’t know about you, but it took me a few moments to get my bearings while watching Revenge’s latest installment, as I tried to piece together where exactly we left off almost two months ago. If you’d had a camera trained on me, I probably looked as worried as Jack at the beginning of “Doubt,” staring off into space, biting his fingernails, wondering what the hell has happened to disrupt the order of his Montauk life. Actually, we should all be forgiven for letting a little bit of the episode title into our brains. Will these last six episodes, pushed back so they could air together in an uninterrupted block, live up to the standard set by their highly addictive, intricately plotted, unapologetically sudsy predecessors? It’s impossible to answer that based merely on “Doubt,” because this was something of a “breather” episode, a cool-down after the quicksilver pace of “Chaos” and “Scandal.” I, for one, was disappointed that Revenge didn’t check in on Takeda or Fake Amanda or do more to shed light on Emily’s ultimate endgame.

Quite frankly, I can’t imagine what that endgame could be at this point, because, well, it seems like Emily has already achieved ultimate revenge against the Graysons. What better payback could there be for her wrongly accused and imprisoned father than for the Grayson scion to be wrongly accused and imprisoned? But Emily doesn’t seem to want Daniel to pay for the sins of his parents, either because of some high-minded belief that her vendetta shouldn’t leave any collateral damage in its wake or because, like Tyler, she’s infatuated with Daniel’s “pretty mouth.” It’s gotta be the latter, right? Meaning that Takeda really does have Emily figured out. So if she makes any overt attempt to spring Daniel, the Japanese billionaire might indeed “release the Kraken,” i.e. Amanda, who would surely reveal everything about Emily if turned over to the authorities.

Victoria, for one, really wants Amanda Clarke to be the fall guy. And though she’s disappeared, one link to her still remains: Jack Porter, Amanda’s scruffy, hoodie-wearing boyfriend. Apparently, Jack’s learned nothing from Geraldo Rivera about the evil of hoodies, nor has he ever watched a CBS procedural and learned that, um, you don’t ever wear the outfit you wore when handling a bloody corpse. That’s just bad fashion and bad forensics. Because when Nolan stopped by the bar, Jack seemed to be wearing the same hoodie that the Graysons’ sketch artist was putting on paper to ID the mysterious hooded beach perp. Idiocy runs in the Porter family, it seems.

NEXT: Would Fitzgerald, Faulkner or Hemingway have drowned their sorrows in wine coolers?

Jack was obsessing over Amanda’s $5 million wire transfer and wanted Nolan to research if that was indeed her account. He thought for certain that she had killed Tyler. But now all signs point to Daniel, so why did Amanda stand over Tyler’s lifeless body, have blood on her jacket, and vanish without saying goodbye? I know it’s hard for all of us to believe—including Jack, Victoria, and Conrad—but, yes, Amanda really did run away from her future with Jack just so she could do nothing more than kneel down and stare at Tyler’s corpse.

Victoria thought she had it all figured out, though. “Montauk’s favorite son” was a “typically sensible man driven to illogic by a conniving temptress.” (Conrad channeling his inner snarkmeister: “Wouldn’t be the first time.”) But if she was going to make this story stick, she’d need a master spin doctor, and her de facto spokeswoman, Ashley, just wouldn’t cut it. Really, there was only one man for the job: Mason Treadwell. So Emily had Nolan lure him back into the fold after that calamitous inferno burned down his house and all his precious Amanda Clarke-related research.

Nolan found Treadwell on a park bench, sipping a wine cooler and wallowing in self pity. Truly, the consumption of a wine cooler is the most telling symptom of the end stages of either loserdom or ‘90s nostalgia, I can’t decide which. Even Treadwell admitted as much. (Treadwell Bon Mot of the Night #1: “Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway. These were pillars of cirrhosis. Me? I’ve always been a lightweight.”)  How could Nolan entice Treadwell to write once more? Amanda Basta, one of our weekly Revenge live chat’s distinguished commenters suggested, “Is Nolan going to take his solid Kinsey 3 out for a spin?” Not a bad guess, but Nolan suggested that the Graysons were looking to pin Tyler’s murder on Amanda Clarke, and, well, wouldn’t that make a nice ending to Treadwell’s years of research on the Clarke case? Throw in temporary lodgings at Grayson Manor and possibly a new typewriter (Treadwell’s old one being a “slag heap of molten dreams”) and Victoria got herself a scribe.

NEXT: Like the Hanso Foundation before it, the Treadwell Report is real!

Treadwell thought he’d be able to pitch his inside reporting of the Barrol murder to Harper’s or Vanity Fair—you just know Graydon Carter has had him on speed-dial ever since Dominick Dunne died—but Emily and Victoria wanted him to keep an ongoing blog. Ashley had already secured a domain, TheTreadwellReport.com, and was finalizing designs for him to approve, because, suddenly, web publishing is among Miss Davenport’s many skills. Proving that Revenge really is the heir to ABC’s Lost throne, that domain is indeed active and fully functional, much like the site for the Hanso Foundation before it. Fake blog posts are cool and all, but I won’t really be happy until we have the meta piece de resistance: an episode of Revenge about the Daniel Grayson case written by “Mason Treadwell” and staged as a docudrama in the mold of City Confidential, right down to bombastic narration from Keith David. Because both Mass Effect 3 and Community’s “Pillows & Blankets” have proven that we need a lot more Keith David in our lives.

After Treadwell told Jack that two people spotted him on the beach the night of the murder, Declan pulled the writer aside, having once and for all decided to put bros before hos. [Editor’s Note: You may think “bros before hos” is the most clichéd terminology imaginable and surprised to see it in an EW recap in 2012, but it’s included here because it’s undoubtedly a phrase Declan would relish—and find apt for his situation.] He basically decided to ruin his budding romance with “precocious” Charlotte by saying that she came up with that hooded man story to save Daniel and was really loaded on pills and champagne the night of the murder. (Declan was already getting ready to recant his initial testimony in “Scandal,” when he uttered the immortal line, “I don’t even know if it was a hoodie! It could have been anything!”) “Do you wanna hear my story or not?” Declan bullied Treadwell, giving Charlotte all the more reason to pop her pills.

Somehow, Charlotte is more unbalanced than her sibling locked up in Rikers without bail. Emily visited Daniel, who put on a good face and said prison was like camp, except that instead of people telling ghost stories, they scream all night at the top of their lungs. This being Revenge, a series unafraid of embracing some well-worn tropes, we were given a crash-course in Prison-Based Storytelling 101: an inmate and his visitor pressing their hands against the glass that divides them; a hang-dog stare through jail-cell bars; the composition of an earnest, borderline-desperate letter; a shower scene; and a random, senseless beating. A beating that, curiously enough, followed Victoria’s desire to “send a message” to someone at Rikers via her Statham-ish henchman, Lee. I know many of you Daniel partisans—especially those of you of the female persuasion—felt exactly like our live chat commenter angelic 17 when she said, “Oh Daniel! Seeing your face like this hurts me more than it did u.”

NEXT: Victoria gotta have it.

When Victoria had her next meeting with Lee, as usual at a seedy bar, she scolded him for the unnecessary brutality of Daniel’s beating. Yes, she had indeed arranged for his assault, so that the judge would be convinced that it wasn’t safe for Daniel at Rikers and that he’d be better off under house arrest. Then “Vickie Harper” found herself receiving a drink from a guy who clearly five years ago would have been played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. These two knew each other. And before you could say “Vickie’s Gon’ Get Some” he threw her up against a Pollock-style painting for some full-on oil-and-acrylic lovin’. The artist in question was Dominik Wright, the kind of guy who finds Leonard Cohen the perfect post-coital mood music. His masterpiece, from their romance before she married Conrad, lay unfinished—a rather jagged, haphazard portrait of Victoria which he believed would one day be his legacy, the culmination of a “career and life of unrealized potential.”

By my reckoning, this is the first time we’ve seen Victoria have sex with any man in the present, her previous passion being totally relegated to the blue-and-gray-colored past. It’s also the first time we’ve seen her controlled purely by animal impulse, doing something pretty darn illogical. I mean, this is how she wants to spend her time preparing for what may be Daniel’s imminent release from prison? Does she need to get laid that badly? Or does she have some other use for this Dominik Wright that she hopes to procure? After their tryst, Victoria Googled him and paid particular attention to his charges of drug abuse and art forgery. I suppose she needs his non-bedroom-related skills, but for what right now I really can’t imagine.

While Victoria was occupied, Emily cracked open Grayson Manor’s safe. (Um, does anyone remember when she got the code to access it?) She took out Treadwell’s tape recordings and placed them in the drawer of the desk where he had set up shop, then sent anonymous instant messages letting him know where to look. Of course, Treadwell assumed, only naturally, that it was Amanda Clarke communicating with him and that the Graysons must indeed have been the ones to burn down his house. How else could they have gotten his tapes? It was time for him to sever ties.

NEXT: Betrayal, thy name is Declan.

The next day was supposed to be Declan’s first day of school at Collins Prep. But rather than embrace the preppy way of life together, Charlotte chewed out Declan for his epic betrayal. Yes, Treadwell had printed everything Declan told him about Charlotte’s drug abuse. “You’re just another puppet in the Grayson family play,”Charlotte said. “And it’s time for your exit.” All the better that she said this in her schoolgirl outfit. As our live chat commenter JakShowtime said, “Schoolgirl outfits make everything better.”  But worse even than his personal betrayal, Declan’s loose tongue had cost Daniel the defense they had spent so much time elaborating: that there was a third party, the man in the hoodie, on the beach that night. That argument had relied entirely on Charlotte and Declan’s testimony, and if one recanted it and the other was found to have been high on pills, that defense was toast. Charlotte decided to play hooky, pop more pills, and listen to music to drown her sorrows, prompting a loud, stinging slap across the face from her mother. (Commenter CrzyKwasi: “Not as good as when [Game of Thrones’] Joffrey gets slapped, but it served its purpose.”)

So the time had come for Victoria to confront Treadwell. The man who they had hoped would be their spin doctor extraordinaire had taken his Grayson-sponsored domain and run amok. Perhaps history repeats itself, but Mason Treadwell does not. He wasn’t going to be a mouthpiece for Grayson lies any longer, especially since it seemed like they had burned down his house and stolen his research. Victoria threatened him with something terrible. We—and, probably, she—don’t know exactly what. That led to Mason Treadwell’s Bon Mot of the Night #2: “Do what? Not invite me to the parties you’ve stopped throwing? Not introduce me to the celebrities who’ve stopped calling? Your empire is crumbling, my queen. News choppers are circling Grayson Manor like so many buzzards waiting for an old goat to die.” Didn’t the existence of George Will and Tucker Carlson make Victoria realize that she never should have trusted someone who wears a bowtie?

NEXT: Emily dons her best “Baby, One More Time” wig but is the one doing the hitting herself.

Her defense for Daniel having totally fallen apart, Victoria came up with Plan B. What if the murders were committed by the person you’d least expect? Emily. The bullets came from her gun, and they had fought earlier in the evening. But, admittedly, Emily was with her at the party the whole night. Daniel, stonefaced, said that he would confess to the crimes in their entirety if Victoria brought Emily into this in any way. Really, though, it’s amazing that Victoria hasn’t been even more suspicious of Emily up to this point. Emily is the kind of emotionally hollow person who sees a red flag like Charlotte popping pills at her engagement party but, by her own admission, writes that off as something inconsequential, even though it was clearly consequential enough for her to have noticed it in the first place.

But, hey, your life may be going to hell, so what do you do? You save your plotting and scheming for tomorrow and spend tonight with your new/old painter boyfriend, dramatically disrobing for him on the landing of his elevator.

And Emily? She donned her best Britney Spears circa 1999 wig and started chatting up Victoria’s hired thug, Lee, who apparently arranges all of his dirty deeds from a barstool. She said she’d buy him a drink for every piece of bull he makes her believe. Once he was drunk, she lured him outside and began beating the living daylights out of him, first for Jack, then Daniel, revealing at once the priority of her allegiances and how very much “emotionally involved” she still is. Somewhere, Takeda is not happy.

What did you think of “Doubt”? What was that key for which Emily made the mold? How would she even know where it leads? What do you think Victoria wants with her old painter boyfriend? And were you surprised how oblique these new plot developments were? Share your theories in the comments below, and join us next Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. ET for our Revenge live chat. Plus, in next week’s recap I’ll be sharing my Game of Thrones Theory of Revenge, so don’t miss it!

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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