In the wake of Amanda's death, Emily pursues her vendetta against the Graysons with renewed vigor
Credit: Danny Feld/ABC

I’d almost forgotten what a good episode of Revenge looked like. Sure, the most recent ones haven’t been terrible, but this episode, which could be summed up by Aiden’s closing question (So, back to basics?), returned us to the good ol’ days of the show. Forget the Stowaway, forget the Ryan bros, forget the shady organization that not even the show’s own writers seem to have a grasp on. This episode was just about a girl getting revenge on the people who caused her unimaginable — unacceptable — pain. For once this season, I’m excited to see where the next installments will lead us.

We start the episode with another fabulous performance from Emily VanCamp. Boy, that girl can emote, can’t she? Emily storms into her house, blood covering her hands, and heads for her gun. “Nate had every reason to go after Jack and Amanda,” Nolan says, trailing behind her. “We don’t know the Graysons were behind this.” When that fails, he tries to reason with her. If they don’t wait around for someone to call about Jack, people will know something’s fishy (terrible pun intended). Emily rails on Nolan: “Don’t tell me to let go. Not when I’m standing here covered in the blood of one of the only people that I ever loved.” Aiden, displaying a keen sense of timing, picks that moment to turn up, but Ems won’t listen to him either. She heads upstairs to change, finding Amanda’s necklace in her pocket. This, like nothing else, seems to calm her. When she opens it to find a picture of the two orphans together, Emily loses it. And so did I (I’m a very emotional television viewer, in case you haven’t noticed).

Meanwhile, Conrad’s busy calling Nate, trying to figure out what happened with Amanda. Trask hasn’t made contact with the Graysons, meaning that they’re still suspects in Helen’s murder. “After all the plotting, scheming, and murder, this family’s in as much danger as ever,” notes Daniel, master of the obvious. The phone rings, and it’s Trask. He recovered Helen’s scarf at the Stowaway, but the computer with the compromising info on the Graysons is still missing. Conrad tells Trask that they need to meet face-to-face. “What have they done?” Victoria says resignedly. But it’s not what they’ve done, it’s what one Nate Ryan has done. “Who the hell is Nate Ryan?” Victoria asks. Pretty much my feelings on the man.

Nolan is freaking out over Carrion. The only way to save Padma’s father is to hand over the program, but of course he can’t do that because it’s so dangerous. Here’s one thing that still is bothering me about Revenge: We really have no idea what Carrion does. Nolan did say something about plunging all of New York City into darkness (I’m paraphrasing) some episodes ago, but what does that really mean? When it comes to Carrion, I just can’t feel any sense of urgency without knowing at least a little bit more about what’s at stake. But back to the show: Nolan thinks they’ve all gotten in over their heads. “Why do I get the feeling this isn’t what Takeda had in mind when he handed you your revenge degrees?” he asks Aiden. Before he can answer, Emily walks down the stairs (freshly changed) and announces that Helen Crawley is dead and that the Graysons must be behind it. “Who else?” asks Nolan. Those Graysons; they’re more lethal than the Corleones.

NEXT: Anybody want a peanut?

Jack’s recovering at the hospital with Charlotte and Declan by his side. Thus far, no one seems especially concerned about the fact that Amanda is missing. Charlotte mentions that Carl is at the Graysons’, tipping Emily and Nolan off to Victoria’s visit to the Stowaway the day before. “Quite a coincidence,” Nolan remarks to Ems. “Told you,” she humbly answers. “The Graysons are behind all of this.”

Trask, dressed like an undertaker and munching on peanuts, meets Victoria and Conrad at a park. Victoria notes how public it is, leading Trask to wryly shoot back, “Last meeting you called with one of our operatives, she disappeared without a trace.” Conrad tries to explain the disappearance of the computer by telling Trask that Nate called him from the boat and tricked him into confirming its existence. Again, the coincidence is undeniable. “All your problems wrapped up with a pretty bow,” says Trask. He won’t go the way of his predecessor, not if he can help it. And luckily, he still has Daniel for leverage. “I don’t think he bought your story,” says Victoria, watching Trask walk away. It doesn’t matter — there’s no one to refute it. No one but Jack, that is. Really, guys. The murder and mayhem is getting a little out of hand.

True to his word, Trask phones Daniel with a purchase request. Daniel responds by pouring himself a drink. “I see you’re taking your coffee Irish this morning,” Aiden notes. He’s heard that Conrad’s making a play for the Governor’s mansion, leaving a seat free on the board of Grayson Global, a seat he wants. And to remind Daniel of just how important he is, Aiden reveals that he was the one who got Jason Prosser to back down from the Stonehaven deal. “We make one hell of a team,” he says. But Daniel’s still not convinced…

At the Stowaway, Emily sees Amanda’s shirt hanging off the back of her wardrobe and tears up. Trask interrupts the moment, flashing a badge and revealing he’s investigating the incident on the boat. “Any reason why she’d want to disappear?” he asks Emily. “Amanda was happier than she’s ever been,” Ems answers truthfully. But Amanda’s not missing for long: While Emily watches, Trask gets a call notifying him that the Coast Guard just identified another victim.

“Did you kill Amanda Clarke?” Ashley asks Conrad. “That’s why you chose yesterday to announce your gubernatorial run, isn’t it?” She’s right on the mark: Conrad wanted a thousand witnesses to clear his name. (Like he’d ever do his own dirty work anyway.) It doesn’t matter that Ashley’s figured it out, however. She, like so many on this show, is under Conrad’s thumb.

NEXT: Charlotte decides to invite random strangers to Amanda’s funeral

Padma’s received a video from the Initiative, which she shares with Nolan. “Your deadline is imminent. Fail to meet it and there will be consequences.” Nolan holds firm, though, insisting they wait until they’ve ID-ed the fingerprint on the severed digit they received last episode. Leaving Padma behind, Nolan calls Ems and reveals that he’s tracked Helen’s phone from the Graysons’ to Amanda’s, proving that they tried to frame her. The computer, however, is still elusive.

At the hospital, Emily finally comes face-to-face with Victoria, who’s waiting outside the morgue while Charlotte visits Amanda. “There are moments in a person’s life that change them forever,” Victoria remarks. “I fear that this is one of them for Charlotte.” It almost looks like Emily’s about to say something, but then Charlotte comes rushing out, hugging her mother tightly, and there’s something regretful in Emily’s eyes. Pity for Charlotte, perhaps. Or maybe the realization that she’s found the best way to hurt the Graysons is not physically, but emotionally. More on that later…

Daniel visits Nolan in his office. “I know you technically have free rein over this place, but believe me when I tell you I am not in the mood,” says Nolan. Daniel doesn’t take the hint. He apologizes about Jack, then chastises Nolan for never sending over the report on his abandoned R&D. Daniel doesn’t care about that, however — he just wants to make sure the program’s been destroyed. Look at Daniel, growing a conscience.

Over at the Graysons’, Charlotte is cradling baby Carl and telling her mother about seeing Amanda’s dead body. As traumatizing as that was, what’s really bugging her is how little she knew about her half-sister. “I can’t find anyone outside of Montauk to invite to Amanda’s service,” she laments. Victoria gets a text from Daniel asking her to meet him in the city, leaving Charlotte to Google the names of Amanda’s fellow orphans. She picks one at random and contacts him. Because that’s normal.

Declan calls Emily to tell her that Jack’s finally waking up (and to give her the honor of telling him his new wife is dead). He bursts into tears, making me lose it all over again. It’s funny how little you can care for a character, only to actually feel for her once she’s gone. Kudos, actors. Conrad picks that moment to come and visit. Really? You are just begging to be a murder suspect, sir. “Amanda was family. As are you and your son,” he tells Jack. Jack, however, is more clever than Amanda ever was. He turns on the waterworks, blubbering, “Why did Amanda have to pay for the sins of my father?” It’s proof enough for Conrad, who decides Jack knows nothing about what really went down with Amanda on the boat. But in the first of many exciting developments, it turns out Jack does know (after all, he overheard too much on the boat to be entirely in the dark anymore). And he wants to carry on his dead wife’s work, starting by finding that computer.

NEXT: Daniel makes a startling discovery…or not

Once again, Daniel Grayson is master of the obvious, telling his mother that omigosh! Grayson Global is built on blood money. Daniel’s ready to be done with the Initiative (really? This is what put you over the edge?), but Victoria counsels him to take it slow — there’s no way for him to know who is and who isn’t a part of the nefarious organization. In fact Aiden, so eager to be a part of the board, might be a plant. She tells Daniel to test him by having Aiden make the purchases that Trask asked Daniel to do. If Aiden’s a member of the Initiative, he won’t want to get his hands dirty.

Emily’s at the Stowaway taking care of Jack and oh so subtly asking him if he knows where the computer is. He doesn’t know, but he has a question of his own for Ems: “I know it’s short notice with the funeral, but would you give the eulogy?” Jack loved Amanda, but now he’s not even sure he ever really knew her. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Amanda’s love for you was real. She would have done anything for you,” Emily tries to console Jack. “Except tell me the truth,” he answers, then kicks her out of his room. In his sadness and his anger, he throws the jar of blue sea glass he and Amanda collected together as children to the ground…and finds a key.

Emily and Charlotte talk before the funeral, lamenting Amanda’s short life. As Emily heads out for the service, Charlotte gets a message from Eli James, Amanda’s foster brother. Daniel calls Aiden to tell him he’ll present him to the board — provided he makes a few foreign purchases. (Of course, he does.) Elsewhere, Conrad gives a very public speech about Amanda’s death…while Jack discovers the laptop. “Someone turned on your computer,” Nolan phones Emily. But it wasn’t at the Graysons’, as they suspected. It was at the Stowaway.

Emily goes to help Jack get ready for the funeral, but he’s not having it. He now knows about her time in juvie. He knows she knew Amanda was keeping secrets. “I can’t believe you would let Amanda put all of us in that danger,” he yells at her. If only he knew the half of it.

Nolan is toying with a USB drive in his fingers as Padma approaches him. “The fingerprint matched your father’s,” he informs her before handing over the drive. He won’t be responsible for her father’s death. Still, he warns her, “the people that took your dad don’t have the best track record when it comes to fulfilling their end of the bargain.”

NEXT: Revenge is a dish best served…without any evidence

Emily gives an impassioned speech at Amanda’s funeral while Aiden breaks into Jack’s house and steals back the laptop. After the eulogy, Ems tries to talk to Jack, but he gives her the cold shoulder. “I don’t know if he’ll ever forgive me,” she remarks to Nolan. She wants to tell Jack the truth, but this is one instance the truth would only make things worse. Jack invites Nolan back to the Stowaway to help him with some “computer problems,” while Emily sticks around to stay goodbye to Amanda. “David and his daughter were plagued by darkness,” Victoria tells her as the two of them look on the grave. “At least he wasn’t here to see her go. To lose a child like that… No one should have to bear that kind of loss.” She walks away, Daniel trailing her. And this is what I was referring to earlier: Do I think Emily could kill either Charlotte or Daniel? No (particularly not her half-sister). However, you have to admit there was something ever so slightly ominous about Victoria delivering that line and then immediately having the camera pan to Daniel.

Jack returns to the Stowaway to find the place trashed and the laptop missing. He, of course, blames the Graysons, but we know it was Aiden. Aiden returns the laptop to Emily, who promptly tosses it into the ocean. Aiden’s shocked — that computer was full of evidence against the Graysons! “The kind of punishment I came here for had nothing to do with prison,” she responds coldly. Ah, yes. There’s the Emily we know and love. “So, back to basics?” Aiden asks. “No more distractions,” she answers, and the moment is oddly meta. There have been so many distractions and side plots this season, it’s hard to just forget about them (or keep them straight). And yet, we saw so many of those storylines come together in this episode that I feel a little bit of hope.

Emily stands alone at Amanda’s grave. “Did you know her well?” a voice calls out of the darkness and she stiffens. “The Amanda Clarke I knew was a survivor. Thought I’d find her here.” And so you did, Eli James. So you did. But does he know that?

I loved this episode, you guys. I love seeing Emily get emotional. I love that Jack’s not so in the dark anymore. But most of all, I love that Emily’s back on the Grayson revenge train, evidence be damned. What were your thoughts on last night’s episode?