Victoria tries to save Daniel's eternal soul, Emily exacts her revenge on a corrupt judge, and someone ends up in jail
Credit: Vivian Zink/ABC
S2 E10
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Ahhhh, how long it has been. The holidays have come and gone and we’re finally back with the second half of our favorite TV shows. Revenge has been lacking thus far, but I hope that with a two-month hiatus, the writers might have been able to, well, right their wrongs. Did they succeed? There’s only one way to find out…

We open with a good old-fashioned brawl. Emily and Aiden tussle on the beach, ending with Ems straddling Aiden. What do you do when your legs are spread over a hot British man? Make out with him, of course!

In New York, Daniel steps out of his spiffy new office channeling Gordon Gecko. Helen the Initiative woman lowers her tinted window to invite Daniel in to her car for a chat. She tells him her “conglomerate” is careful when it comes to investing. She appreciates the work Daniel did in taking control of Nolcorp, but she insists that Conrad has more secret assets hidden in the company that will “will make [him] wealthier and more powerful than [his] father ever dreamed.” You can practically see the dollar signs in Daniel’s eyes.

Over at the Stowaway, Amanda asks Jack if there’s something she needs to know since he’s been tossing and turning in bed (she’s one to talk about secrets — her name isn’t even Amanda!) Jack confesses he’s been keeping a secret, then produces a gorgeous sea glass necklace. The moment’s ruined when Nate Ryan strolls on by and tells Jack to wipe down his own bar before the day’s opening. Well, that’s just rude. (Confession: I had to look up Ryan Bro #2’s name because I have absolutely zero investment in this story. Is there anyone out there who actually enjoys this plot?)

Conrad lets the phone ring on and on, much to Victoria’s displeasure. Can’t a man just read his newspaper in peace? Sheesh. Anyways, Victoria’s worried about Daniel. The longer he remains in power (episode title!), the more likely the Initiative is to use him as they used Victoria and Conrad all those years ago. Okay, I understand that Revenge wants to build up the suspense, but at this point, the story is seriously suffering thanks to all these veiled references to the Graysons’ past with the Initiative. It’s like pretending Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t playing Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness. Just tell us already! What is gained by keeping it a secret? (Rant ended.) Victoria adds that her good friend Patricia Barnes and her Supreme Court hopeful husband are coming to visit. They’re investors in a group dedicated to unjust verdicts, something Conrad is, of course, very interested in, and they’ll be attending a benefit. What better way for Conrad to rehabilitate his image?

NEXT: I debate what constitutes a profitable amount of narcotics

Aiden reads the mysterious letter about the tainted David Clarke jury, courtesy of Emily’s box of secrets. Emily suspects it was sent by James Palmer, a court clerk for (all together now) Judge Barnes — the very man visiting the Graysons! Palmer was killed three days after the trial, indicating Barnes’ likely involvement in the plot against David. Emily hopes to use Barnes’ visit to position herself close enough to the judge to get her revenge.

Victoria invites Ems over for some bonding. “I do apologize for interrupting the evening with your new paramour.” The woman seriously abuses the power of that porch. Victoria tells Emily that Daniel’s been on a downward spiral ever since their engagement ended. He’s become “petulant” (agreed) and “angry” (agreed again). “You still have the power to reach him,” she says to Emily. “I’m of the opinion that my son is very much in love with you.” Victoria hopes that if Ems spends some time with Daniel, she will remind him of the man he used to be. Emily agrees and the two shake hands. I enjoy seeing them on the same side, do you? As Emily is leaving, Victoria introduces her to Patricia and Judge Barnes. I don’t know if it was just me, but I was definitely getting a weirdly sexual vibe from Barnes to Emily. Ew. Victoria tells Emily that she’ll see her at dinner that night adding (oh so subtly) that Daniel will be there as well.

Charlotte tells Declan she thinks her parents should pay for Amanda and Jack’s wedding, but he’s not paying attention. The Ryan Bros are up to something and he wants Charlotte to stall while he digs through the coffee beans in the back of the bar. Charlotte, putting her wide-eyed innocence to use, asks Nate all about his time in prison. He gladly shares, but quickly becomes suspicious of Declan’s absence. Meanwhile, Declan, who uncovered a bag of drugs (the tiniest bag imaginable — how could the Ryans possibly be profiting?) in the coffee beans, hurriedly tries to pick up all the spilled beans before one of the Ryans notices what he’s been doing. He misses a bean, though, and Nate steps on it, immediately figuring out what Declan was up to.

Aiden turns up at Grayson Global to meet with Daniel, but the CEO is out to lunch. Aiden cons the secretary into telling him where Daniel went, and together he and Emily head over to the restaurant to stage a (as Nolan so eloquently put it later) “fakeup.” Daniel falls for it, hook, line, sinker. He’s clearly thrilled that his former fiancée is back on the market, and he makes no show of hiding his affections. Emily walks off looking smug. Mission: a success.

NEXT: Nolan, how I have missed thee

Nolan makes his first appearance a good 22 minutes into the hour. Never let this happen again, Revenge writers! Daniel asks Nolan to track down rogue files in the Grayson Global computer system — he wants to find his father’s secrets. Danny boy lets it slip that Emily and Aiden have broken up and Nolan looks surprisingly thrilled.

Jack wants to send Amanda and Carl to Emily’s. Amanda’s no spring chicken, however — she grew up around a lot of crappy families. The one thing they all had in common? “They lied to each other.” I’m sorry, I cannot take her seriously when she’s using a fake identity. Pot, meet kettle. Jack, being the kind soul that he is, finally caves and reveals that the Ryans are running drugs out of his bar. He’s reached out for help from an old cop buddy, but he doesn’t want Amanda and Carl anywhere near when everything goes down.

Nolan practically skips on over to Emily’s after hearing about her breakup. “There really wasn’t enough room in your sidecar for both of us,” he drawls happily. That is, until Aiden turns up and gives Ems a kiss. Emily faked her breakup with Aiden in order to get closer to Judge Barnes. This doesn’t quite make sense to me (seeing as Emily had already been invited to dinner with the judge), but E and D fans, you must be thrilled! (Alas, my heart will always belong to the Brit.) Victoria visits Daniel at work and reveals that Emily will be coming dinner “if that helps sway [his decision]” to attend. Oh, it sways it, alright.

Emily shows up at the Graysons and is immediately greeted by Daniel. Give her some breathing room, pal! She apologizes for the scene she made at the restaurant, but Daniel’s all, hey it’s okay, don’t worry… BTWs, I broke up with Ash. Smooth, real smooth. At dinner, Emily mentions James the dead court clerk, testing Barnes’ reaction. But what’s really interesting is his wife’s. “His passion for justice was unparalleled,” Patricia tells Emily. “You knew him too?” she asks. This is where Barnes intervenes, gripping his wife’s hand until her knuckles turn white. We know who has the power — physical and otherwise — in this relationship.

NEXT: The woman behind the man.

Amanda turns up at Emily’s, where she finds our ninja girl researching Patricia Barnes. The judge’s wife has suffered a broken collarbone and a fractured wrist in the past years, proving Emily’s theory of spousal abuse. She also learns that Patricia once protested apartheid with none other than James Palmer. Emily always thought Palmer had been the one to write the letter, but it appears to have actually been Patricia.

After successfully hacking into Grayson Global, Nolan’s strumming on his tablet, poking around in the company files. There, he discovers video footage from the investment lunch showcasing Helen the Initiative lady making a phone call. His shows the video to Aiden, revealing that he’s enhanced the image enough to see what number she called. The problem is that Nolan can’t read her lips to hear the password she uses. But Aiden can. He dials the number, gives the password, and Helen answers. “I think it’s time we met,” she says.

The Stowaway is raided by the police and a pack of drug-sniffing dogs, but they find nothing, not even when they look in the coffee beans. Curious… Aiden meets up with Helen, who reveals that his sister is actually alive. Uh oh. Do I detect a shift in loyalties? Marco prepares a weird Thanksgiving dinner complete with Japanese flag for Nolan. But our boy’s still ticked off at Marco’s betrayal (and who can blame him?). He tells Marco that he’s fallen for someone else anyways, but Marco says he’ll wait. He then produces a flash drive with a piece of code that Nolan declares “cyber plutonium.” Marco wants Nolan to use it against Grayson Global, but Nolan’s reluctant to use such a dangerous tool. Marco insists that he’s in Nolan’s corner. But if that’s true, then why’d he sell him out in the first place?

At the benefit for the Unjust Verdicts Club (or, you know, something like that), Judge Barnes reveals that his wife has a bit of migraine and that Conrad will have to introduce himself tonight. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Declan are enjoying a pleasant brinner (breakfast for dinner, you like?) on the Amanda when they’re interrupted by the police. The cops raid the Amanda like they did the Stowaway, only here they’re a lot more successful. They arrest Declan, but Jack says the drugs are his and takes the fall. (Side note: didn’t you love how this scene was dubbed over with Conrad’s speech about being falsely accused? Perfection, editors.)

NEXT: A love triangle heats up

Emily confronts Patricia as she getting ready for the benefit. She tells her that she knows how to recognize a woman from an abusive home. After all, she spent years bouncing around the foster system after her father’s death. Emily pulls out the letter and says it was the only thing that kept her going all those years; the only thing that gave her hope. Patricia admits that she wrote the letter, adding that Palmer “wouldn’t have left it unsigned” because “he was brave.” But Patricia was brave too. Emily wants her to channel that bravery again and keep a bad man from the power he so desperately wants. Patricia herself is the only person with the power to do so.

Patricia takes the stage at the benefit to introduce her husband. But instead of doing that, she begins to tell the story of Palmer. He knew the jury was tainted in the David Clarke trial. He wanted to come forward with the info that would result in a mistrial. Barnes tries to stop her from revealing that the verdict rendered was bought and paid for, but Patricia is safe in the spotlight. She confesses she wrote the letter to David Clarke in prison and announces her own husband’s guilt. “The greater the power,” she declares, “the greater the potential for abuse.” Patricia then sheds her jacket, revealing bruises up and down her arms. The crowd gasps and Judge Barnes makes a run for it. I may have my problems with Revenge, but watching that woman expose herself like that was a genuine “I am woman, hear me roar” moment. I approve.

At home, Emily crosses off Barnes from her list. Aiden heads up the stairs, calling that he’s going to take a shower. Daniel chooses this moment to show up on Ems’ porch. He wants Emily to head up Grayson Global’s charitable foundation. Emily says she’ll think about it, but then she catches sight of Victoria watching the two of them from her own porch and changes her mind. “I’m flattered,” she tells Daniel. He apparently takes this as an invitation because he leans in and kisses her. And you know what? She kisses him back. The moment’s bittersweet, though, as Aiden watches from the shadows of Emily’s living room. Well, that leads me to ask the obvious question: are you Team Daniel or Team Aiden? Does Daniel have a shot with Emily at all? Will Aiden double cross Emily to save his sister? What are your predictions for the second half of Season 2? Share them below!

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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