When Daniel is released from prison, Emily discovers he may have more in common with his parents than she realized. #OccupyDaniel, indeed

By Christian Blauvelt
March 29, 2015 at 10:32 PM EDT
Colleen Hayes/ABC
S1 E19
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So the Winter of Our Hamptons Discontent continues.

Sure, Emily helped prove Daniel’s innocence to New York State regarding that little matter of Tyler’s murder. But she’s now judged him guilty of a far greater existential crime: being a Grayson. How expertly Revenge has dispensed with its many tangents to get Emily back to her main mission: payback. Last week, she re-upped her vendetta when she finally realized that Conrad Grayson had her father killed. And now she has even greater fuel to add to the flame in the form of one Daniel Grayson. Yes, Daniel decided to show solidarity with Conrad and Victoria in his televised interview with Cynthia McFadden—ABC synergy!—even after he learned all that they had done to David Clarke. So he’s really one of them after all, isn’t he? I’d say, though, he’s plotting something of his own against his parents at this point. If I thought he actually had a brain, that is.

EW commenter StarGazingB said during our live chat last night that “It’s still snowing in this alternate universe East Coast that is Revenge!” (As opposed to the balmy ‘70s that most of us experienced in New York this year.) And, likewise, the hearts of the 99% hadn’t thawed at all toward Daniel, even despite Lee Moran’s jailhouse confession to Tyler’s murder. Protesters gathered outside Rikers, upset over the swift and mysterious end to the new Trial of the Decade—move over, Casey Anthony, Scott Peterson, Take Your Pick. #OccupyDaniel was now even trending on Twitter. Or as commenter LuckeeShev87 said, “I’d like to occupy Daniel.”

But it was a different prison that was on Emily’s mind in “Absolution.” She was identifying every one of her father’s former neighbors in his cell block. (Nolan Snarkgasm of the Night: “Now what? Cross-reference it with the Grayson Christmas card list?”) Maybe the Graysons had arranged payments to one of the prisoners’ family or arranged for a pardon, anything to sweeten the deal to have one of them shiv her father. Suddenly, though, she got the urge to visit Charlotte, fearing that her half-sister was spiraling down the rabbit hole that is Oxycodone. When she found her sprawled out on her bed, Charlotte was having “Father/Daughter Time,” which meant reading articles and books about David Clarke. Among them, she pulled out a photo she found among Victoria’s possessions. A photo of David Clarke in his prison jumper dated April 22, 2002. The day he died. Emily had obviously never seen this one before, so she scrutinized it as closely as she could without arousing Charlotte’s suspicions—not that she had to worry since Charlotte was drugged out of her mind.

She noticed that her father was writing into a journal, and she definitely did not have a journal entry dated the day he died. That meant it was either never placed into the Infinity Box…or Nolan deliberately withheld it from her. When she called to ask him about it, she did so from, um, inside his house and caught him red-handed as he tried to spirit that final journal away from his safe. The thing was, not only did that final journal show David at his most paranoid, it led back to someone Nolan himself cared about.

NEXT: The contents of David Clarke’s last journal revealed!

“CM will come tomorrow with proof,” David wrote in his very last entry. CM. This is kind of like Revenge’s version of the tantalizingly mysterious RAB from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Immediately we flashed-back, Pencieve-like, to David’s last day. This whole scene raised a number of questions. First, it started off with him writing the note about CM in his diary. So that could have been from his perspective as recorded in the diary, right? But then we saw what happened after…a man with blazing white hair in a US Marshal uniform stabbing him with a small knife, immediately after an alarm sounded. Now, whose perspective was that? If it wasn’t anybody’s in particular, then it must be an objective presentation of history, right? In which case, we have to conclude that David Clarke really is dead. So much for our hopes that he might still be alive, kicking, and plotting his own revenge somewhere. Of course, some of us—okay, me–will cling to hope that that wound wasn’t fatal and will only believe he’s dead when he’s shown lying in his coffin.

If only Harry Potter had used Google to identify RAB, he’d have saved himself so much trouble, because Emily quickly identified a CM in the Grayson Global database: Carole Miller. Oh, and she died on April 24, 2002, two days after her father’s demise. Now, considering what we found out later about the relationship between Carole Miller and Nolan, you’d think Nolan would have rushed straight to Lancaster, PA to his aunt’s side, right? Nope. His man-crush on Jack came first, so he stopped by the Stowaway to tell the barkeep/yachtsman that he really needs to talk to Emily and warn her about the Graysons. Which he promptly did. Not that he told her anything she doesn’t know, since Jack Porter’s doomed to be three-steps behind everyone else in the state. Did anyone else notice that cheery “Coastal Life is Best” sign in Emily’s living room mocking them with its wholly unfulfilled Hamptons promise of peace and tranquility?

Back at Grayson Manor,Victoria was staring longingly at her unfinished portrait and Conrad decided to join her. Honestly, I think he may now have officially eclipsed Vickie in the Bitchery Department: “Well, it’s not exactly Dominic’s best work. A little half-assed if you ask me.” But once you’ve loved and lost James Purefoy, I suppose that sucks all the snark right out of you. The next day she met with the SEC’s finest, one Cedric McGowan, and promised him not only the head of Conrad Grayson, corrupt businessman, on the proverbial platter, but the head of Conrad Grayson, domestic terrorist.

NEXT: Charlotte learns about supply-and-demand via her sex-for-pills scheme.

Things weren’t much better for the next generation, either. Charlotte got more meds from her old boyfriend, Adam, who’s found that the best way to capture a girl’s heart is if that heart is heavily medicated. Yes, this little sex-for-pills arrangement will undoubtedly help both of them better understand supply-and-demand in their econ class.

Really, Daniel was the only Grayson getting any good news here. At last, his charges were dropped! But when he was released, a picket line of 99-percenters were making their displeasure with him very much known—they even spray-painted “Murderer” on Emily’s car, the clever souls. Emily suggested, and Conrad agreed, that Daniel should give a televised interview to—what else?–ABC News. To clear the air. I mean Page Six was running a full spread on his past party-boy ways, the New York Times was questioning the veracity of Lee’s confession, and Treadwell’s anti-Grayson blog had just been syndicated. Of course, since he’d gone 48 hours without sleep, he had to save such a decision for later, though, if you ask me, 48 hours without sleep or not, Daniel always seems like he’s semi-conscious.

Speaking of media relations, Ashley realized the time had come to give notice to Victoria. Mr. Brooks had offered her a job as the media liaison at his law firm, and, well, an ambitious young woman isn’t going to turn that down now is she? Jefferson Grubbs articulated what I’ve long suspected, or at least hoped, when he said, “Can’t wait for Ashley to be revealed as the ultimate villain/mastermind of the series. It would be the only thing that would justify her existence on this show.”

NEXT: Emily journeys to Lancaster, PA, the preferred hideout of all conspirators-in-exile, to find “CM.”

Emily tracked down Carole Miller to Lancaster, PA, over in the United States proper. Amish country, where all former conspirators go to hide out. She showed up at her house, posed as an officer of the Department of Homeland Security, put on a full “bad cop” routine…then saw Nolan’s picture on the mantle. And heard the distinctive click of a shotgun being armed. How I would have loved Carole to say, with full Warner Bros. gangster movie affect, “I believes ya…but my shotgun don’t!”

“Aunt Carol, put the gun down!” Nolan shouted, as he vaulted down the stairs. Our brains were spinning…what’s going on?! “Aunt Carol, meet Amanda Clarke.” The full story: Nolan lived with his aunt after his dad kicked him to the curb when he dropped out of MIT. He had her then investigate Grayson Global from the inside after his mentor David Clarke got locked away in federal prison. I know, I know, you’re all wondering like our live chat commenter Marybethmllr “And how old was Nolan supposed to be in 2002?” Older than you think. The incredibly boyish Gabriel Mann turns 40 on May 14. (Wish him an early Happy Birthday in the comments below.) The day he learned that David Clarke had been killed, he called Carole directly at work and had her immediately walk out—from her purse, from her job, from her life. She was in that much danger. Carole realized she was too, because a steely man with a shock of white hair and icy blue eyes had just been to see Conrad before David Clarke was killed—the same man who showed up intermittently through the years before anything bad happened, including the downing of the plane that began our sorrow. Nolan apologized for having kept all this from Emily—and, I mean, that was quite a lot—but he was protecting his family. Surely, Emily of all people could understand that?

Back in the Hamptons, Jack paid a visit to Daniel, meaning that the collective IQ inside the Graysons’ boathouse was less than 100. Jack had to return a little item of Daniel’s that got lost in the midst of murder and mayhem: his cell phone. Yes, the same cell phone he took out of Tyler’s jacket that night on the beach, and he was more than okay with having Daniel know that. The main thing is that he wanted Daniel to understand that that bloody hoodie found in Lee’s car was his. Meaning that his parents had likely hired him to steal it back. He wanted Daniel to understand what exactly his parents are capable of and to be especially careful now that he’s letting Emily into his life.

NEXT: How a schoolgirl uniform and the term “wharf rat” unify Disney’s Aladdin and Battle Royale.

The Grayson sibling who was medicated—rather than the Grayson sibling who merely acts like he’s medicated—had her locker opened by Collins Prep’s headmaster and a nasty bolt-cutter. An anonymous tip came the headmaster’s way that she had drugs inside, and indeed Charlotte was found to be in violation of Honor Code and “State Law.” She slammed “wharf rat” Declan against her locker with drug-fueled fury. Because even Charlotte is more intimidating than Declan. Oh, and yes, in case you were wondering about that “wharf rat,” epithet that’s the Hamptons wit Adam employed to describe his Montauk rival. I think Lyanna Targaryen spoke for Disney fans everywhere in our live chat: “I have the ‘Street Rat’ song from Aladdin stuck in my head now.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPMHbUTcUXE

Well, if “One Jump Ahead” wasn’t stuck in your head before, it will be now. I’ve decided that Tim Rice’s lyrics need a Declan-specific rewrite. Song break!

Gotta keep

One jump ahead of the Graysons

Keeping Jack’s room and board

I take tuition I can’t afford.

…That’s everything.

One jump ahead of scorned Charlotte.

That’s it, and she’s all stoned.

It’s true, I don’t approve of Oxycodone.

[Crowd:] Riffraff! Wharf rat! Scoundrel! Take that!

[Declan:] Just a lobster, dock guys!

[Dock guys:] Rip him open, it’s Montauk, guys!

[Declan:] I can take a hint, gotta face the facts

You’re my only friend, big bro!

[Crowd:] Who?

[Ladies:] Oh it’s sad that Declan’s hit the bottom

He can’t make it through Paradise Lost.

I’d blame parents, except he hasn’t got ’em.

[Declan:] Gotta eat to live, gotta mooch to eat

Care about me, better pay the cost!

One jump ahead of the lawmen

One hit that’s worth Jack’s while

Next time, not gonna shout down “Eight Mile.”

One jump ahead with his hoodie

One skip with my strange patois

Or else my brother could be legal foie gras…

Jefferson Grubbs took a more adult perspective: “Yeah, all Charlotte needs is a scythe and she could be in Battle Royale.” When Charlotte slammed Declan against that locker it certainly was with the ferocity of Mitsuko, the most kickass schoolgirl of all time. I just hope Charlotte is someday afforded—MAJORLY AWESOME SPOILER WARNING—an equally worthy death.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZkpQModuhY

NEXT: Conrad Grayson, Or How He Learned to Stop Worrying and Facilitate Ashley’s Rise to Unspeakable Power

Back to the recap proper…Mr. Brooks found out about Ashley leaking those photos of Daniel to the press. So no job for her! But Conrad was impressed by her willingness to get her hands dirty…even if it meant his own son was tarnished because of it. He offered her a Lexus…and a job at Grayson Global, answering directly to him. Probably the same position Ashley’s boyfriend Tyler could have had if he’d played his cards right. I still maintain, per my THEORY OF ASHLEY, that the party planner turned spokeswoman has much more up her sleeve than any of us expect. In fact, I think she wanted that job with Mr. Brooks because it would give her access to dirt on the Graysons she wouldn’t have been able to obtain otherwise. Of course, that should be just as easy for her now that she’s working directly for Connie. She should be perfectly positioned to pursue her own vendetta against them now, and she didn’t even have to marry Daniel to get there!

Anyway, the SEC’s Cedric McGowan phoned Conrad to tell him to clear his schedule. Grayson Global was officially under investigation, and it’s time he answered a few questions. Dejected, Conrad finally leveled with Daniel. About everything. That his mother arranged his own beating. That he had Lee Moran killed in prison. And that they framed David Clarke for crimes he himself had committed. All of it.

The next morning Daniel was understandably affected by a few extra pre-interview jitters, muttering pseudo-profundities like “What if the man I am is no better than my DNA?” Emily suggested that if Daniel doesn’t want to walk in his parents’ footsteps, well, no one’s forcing him to.Victoria took offense to that and uttered her Bitchism of the Night: “Oh, how I long for the days before Emily Thorne and her self-righteous indignation became part of our daily lives. Well, she’ll learn soon enough…the downside to taking that kind of moral high ground is that you have a lot farther to fall.”

Daniel had a choice to make in his interview with Cynthia McFadden: separate himself from his parents once and for all, or fall into Grayson lockstep. He chose the latter, rattling off all the polished talking points about how he understands that people resent a privileged minority living by their own set of rules…but defending his father against the “witchhunt” against him. Emily was kinda devastated. Daniel really was one of the Graysons after all. Or is he? Could he just be shoring up his own placement in the company—for the sake of Charlotte and himself—before doom inevitably falls on his parents?

Speaking of Charlotte, now on suspension, Victoria took her to visit her father’s grave. Her mom said that David was a good man who “made one mistake that led him down a path of destruction.” Yes, that “one mistake” was hooking up with you, Victoria. However, they saw that somebody else had been there. Emily’s ruby-red rose was still lying lovingly in place.

And finally, as Emily pondered why Daniel had “doubled down on Grayson,” she reviewed one of Treadwell’s videotaped interviews with Conrad. And into this interview walked the white-haired man himself, the guy from the photo. Congrats to the more eagle-eyed among you who realized that it was actor James Morrison, a.k.a Former CTU Head Bill Buchanan from 24.

Was “Absolution” a winner or what? Are you happy that Nolan’s paying Declan’s tuition? Do you think Jack made the right choice in telling Daniel he was “Eight Mile”? Is Conrad about ready to go down in flames? Is Daniel really evil at heart? And where the heck are Takeda and Amanda? Sound off in the comments below, and join us next Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. ET for our Revenge live chat!

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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