Revenge, why so serious? For an episode revolving greatly around a sex scandal, the salacious bits were significantly toned down, while the business dealings rose to the top. For god sakes, a man was brutally beaten to a pulp on the docks by Jack’s bar, and that incident felt less important than watching the Initiative monitor Daniel through his nifty Brookstone desk clock, which is of course, their hidden camera.
Of course, that’s because in truth, the implications of Daniel rising to the throne are so much bigger than a little sex tape or an age old grudge match between Jack and the Ryan brothers. Still, Revenge bought our love with a sexy promise, is it wrong for us to want just a little more?
The Boy Who Would Be King
Now that Daniel’s got his lynchpin in the form of Marco, Nolan’s bitter old CFO who’s privy to Nolan’s dealings with David Clark, he’s ready to nab Nolcorp for Grayson Global and take his seat at the head of the company. The vote to dethrone Conrad is imminent, and when Daniel takes a 51 percent share of Nolcorp for the company, he seems to have the vote in the bag. Of course, it can’t be that simple. There is one more piece: a controlling investor in the form of Salvador Grobet.
Conrad and Victoria are doing their best to woo Grobet into keeping his faith in Conrad, but it’s clear that Grobet is a malleable man. Aidan is determined to help Daniel secure Grobet’s vote, but when Ashley suddenly expresses her distrust of the Englishman, Daniel bows his head like an obedient puppy and follows her lead. It’s a bad move for Miss Ashley, because now that Emily’s got a partner in revenge and love thanks to her reconciliation with Aidan, they’re practically unstoppable.
Emily has Nolan send an incriminating video of Ashley having sex with Conrad to Victoria, throwing the queen bee into a vicious spiral that ended with Ashley being forced into a sexual encounter with Grobet to secure his vote for Conrad. Of course, this would be quite a turn for Miss Ashley if we hadn’t seen her willingness to sell her body in last week’s flashback which showed Emily saving her from a life of prostitution. She will do whatever she must to survive.
Unfortunately for Ashley, Emily and Aidan are always one step ahead (even when Victoria’s conniving ways throw them a curveball like the Grobet sexual proposition). Aidan meets with Daniel to convince Daniel to let him back into the fold at Grayson after Ashley convinced him to cut Aidan out. When Daniel’s arrogance slaps Aidan in the face, and Daniel simply says Aidan has no real right to be a part of Grayson’s ruling party going forward, Aidan unleashes the emotional Kraken: he takes Daniel to catch Ashley in the disgusting act. And in a move that signals this betrayal was the one thing standing between Daniel and him becoming his father, Daniel callously snaps a pic with his phone. (Was that a Blackberry? Get with it, Grayson-mini.) He threatens to send it to Grobet’s wife if he doesn’t support Daniel as the new head of the company.
The next day, Grobet reluctantly does Daniel’s bidding and Little Boy Grayson becomes the new head of Grayson Global, but the fact that he can only do so by scheming just like his parents brings this out of the victory pile and puts Daniel firmly on the wrong side of the battle. He’s just as corrupt as the rest of them. It doesn’t help that Aidan assumes that since he was the one who brought the Ashley situation to Daniel’s attention, he’d be guaranteed that board member position - an assumption Daniel firmly squashes like a pest underfoot.
Of course, while Daniel is stomping around his new empire like so many giant, city-gobbling monsters, he has no idea what kind of trouble he’s just bought himself. Victoria tries to warn him that people will be after him if he takes the throne, but he has no idea what level of trouble he’s getting himself into. The Initiative inducts him into their little set of playthings with the gift of a clock along with a card that says “Welcome to the fold.” Of course, the hideous clock from the Super Rich People With Bad Taste Collection at Brookstone has a camera in it and Daniel is officially under Initiative surveillance.
But it’s not just the Initiative that’s becoming a problem for him. After he kicks Ashley out, he deletes all of their photos together in a swift motion. He then opens another folder: all of the photos of him with Emily that he clearly never cleared out. The suspicions that arose during Victoria’s marriage ceremony a few weeks back are a sealed deal: Daniel is still in love with Emily. Why else would he turn so quickly and easily against Aidan, who’s been his right-hand man but is openly with Daniel’s ex?
Victoria, of course, is the perfect helicopter parent and she’s well aware of Daniel’s poorly-hidden torch. She puts off whatever mission stems from her knowledge of Daniel’s feelings when she sees that Emily and Aidan are caressing one another on Emily’s porch, but it’s clear the Emily-Daniel story didn’t end with the return of Aidan. It would seem that given the intense connection between Aidan and Emily, that Daniel is S.O.L., but when Emily says Victoria’s call is an unexpected advantage, it seems that she may be back in the faux-relationship game. How this connection will benefit or even affect Daniel’s new position remains to be seen.
Next: Is Nolan going to keep giving up everything for Em?Nolan, Interrupted
Now that Nolan’s a part of Grayson Global, you’d think his troubles had fully taken their toll. But you’d be wrong. Marco hasn’t quite finished taking his revenge. He notes that “Amanda Clarke” hasn’t seen a penny of the money Nolan said he was giving her. This is, of course, because Emily is the real Amanda Clarke, but Nolan can’t spill those beans. He instead, falls prey to Marco’s threats and has to find him a position at Nolcorp. Naturally, Padma is indignant, but Nolan’s hands are tied. Of course, Nolan has now compromised his company and his lady love in the name of Emily Thorne. He’s loyal, but how long will it be before Nolan gets tired of being her lapdog and left to a few tiny scraps of happiness? Yes, as Aidan and Emily both note, a lack of solid happiness is part of what it means to be in the revenge game, but Nolan isn’t a career revenger like those two. Will his resolve hold out?
Trouble by the Bay
Jack and Amanda are celebrating their happiness with baby Carl’s christening, an event that makes Emily question her choices and covet Amanda’s newfound happiness. But little does Emily know, that happiness is actually under siege. As we found out last week, the Ryan brothers are actually targeting Jack because they think his father killed their father. It turns out the killer was Carl’s fellow business owner Mr. Duncan, who used Carl’s gun so the goons would think it wasn’t him. And so far it worked.
The brothers take down Duncan on the docks because they think he’s got information about Carl committing the murder, but even after they beat him senseless, he doesn’t give up the truth about his past actions, leaving the brothers to assume they’re on the right track by going after the Porters.
But Jack knows the truth. When he helps Duncan and takes him to the hospital, he learns the truth and realizes he needs to find his father’s gun. Of course, before he grabs it from beneath the floorboards, the Ryans come by the bar with all the elements of your average threat disguised as a friendly visit. When Jack grabs the gun, it’s unclear whether he’s planning to get the gun dusted for Duncan’s prints or if he’s planning on using it against the thugs that he’s welcomed into his life. Either way, Jack is forced to become a more vicious version of himself.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: ABC]
’Revenge’ Recap: I’m Everything I Am Because You Spurned Me
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’Revenge’ Recap: And We’re Back In the Game
First, let's start with the bad news: The Mayan calendar (and, more importantly, a stellar John Cusack movie) have confirmed that the world is ending in a few weeks. I know, right? And we were all totally going to lose those 15 lbs and start journaling in 2013. Then there's the even worse news: You missed a lot of really good TV in 2012. So much good, in fact, that you have no hope of catching up before the end of days. That's where we (and the good news) come in — we've rounded up the best TV spoilers of 2012, so you can spend your remaining days with your family, or whatever. SPOILERS AHEAD, but sorry — no one will ever know who actually killed Alison DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars.
Let's start with the little guys:
How I Met Your Mother: Drama! It was eventually revealed that Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) is marrying Robin (Cobie Smulders). Also, Victoria (Ashley Williams) left her future husband at the alter for Ted (Josh Radnor), but they broke up afterwards because Ted wouldn't stop being friends with Robin. Those crazy kids!
The Office: Angela (Angela Kinsey) found out that her husband was cheating on her with Oscar (Oscar Nuñez). Way to be a good coworker, Oscar.
Parks and Recreation: Speaking of workplace comedies, Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Adam Scott) finally became engaged! It was adorable.
You still with me? Good. Because it all goes downhill from here. Time for some suicides and martyrdom:
Sons of Anarchy: The universally beloved Opie (Ryan Hurst) was brutally murdered early in the show's fifth season — sacrificing his life for the club in the most horrendous way possible (he was beaten to death with a lead pipe).
Mad Men: Then there was the tragic tale of Lane Price (Jared Harris), the British sap who hung himself in his office after he found himself in financial trouble, and was fired by Don. Not a dry eye in the house.
But not all major deaths on TV this year were via suicide — 2012 was huge for killing, or being killed by, children. Let's explore, shall we?
Breaking Bad: In the former category, the artist formerly known as Landry (Jesse Plemons) from Friday Night Lights (now known as Todd on Breaking Bad) murdered a small child after said child witnessed Todd, Walt, and Jesse robbing a train. It was probably the most disturbing moment on TV this year, which says a lot, given our next spoiler.
The Walking Dead: This one sounds horrific, but it actually made a lot of people happy — Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) died via C-section childbirth during a Walker attack on Walking Dead. Doc Herschel and the rest of the Grimes Gang were busy fighting Walkers in the prison, so Lori's son Carl (Chandler Riggs) had to watch while Maggie (Lauren Cohan) tore out her baby with a dirty knife. Then Carl shot her, before she rose again. It was a classic mother/son coming-of-age moment.
Downton Abbey: This one really hurt. Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) from Downton also died during childbirth — but she didn't become a zombie, so she should just shut up and count her blessings.
Those were all really depressing, so let's move on to justice — quite a few criminals were caught in 2012:
Breaking Bad: First and foremost there's Walter White (Bryan Cranston), the drug kingpin currently known as Heisenberg . We haven't yet seen the aftermath, but the first half of Season 5 ended with Walt's brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris) learning his dirty, methy secret. Dun dun dun.
Dexter: This was a long time coming — Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), the brilliant Miami Metro detective, finally learned that her brother is a serial killer. So far, she's been taking it surprisingly well.
The Killing: Oh, we finally found out who killed Rosie Larsen. It was her Aunt Terry, sort of. Then the show got canceled.
Homeland: Nick Brody (Damian Lewis) was found out and captured by the CIA much, much earlier than anticipated. He's now working with them as a double agent, which is never easy when your other agency is TERRORISM.
Enough with all the humans. Supernatural spoiler time:
The Vampire Diaries: Elena (Nina Dobrev) became a vampire at the end of the third season's finale. This season, she totally dumped Stefan (Paul Wesley) and slept with Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Bad girls do it well.
Fringe: Peter (Josh Jackson) willingly turned himself into an Observer after his daughter, Etta (Georgina Haig), was killed. It was horrifying. He's going bald!
True Blood: The newly single Bill (Stephen Moyer) willingly drank the blood of the ancient, evil vampire Lilith at the end of last season — rising as an evil entity, and effectively earning the nickname "Billith." Run, Sookeh!
Now let's move on to family drama:
Revenge: Season 1 of ABC's new(ish) hit ended with Emily (Emily VanCamp) learning that her long-lost mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) was still alive, while everyone else thought that Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) had died. She hadn't, and Emily's mother ended up being very, very boring.
Revolution: Meanwhile, over on NBC's latest hit, good-guy Miles (Billy Burke) was revealed to have started the evil Monroe Militia — the same militia that recently kidnapped his nephew. (And they still haven't turned the lights on.)
Game of Thrones: In a case of outright family treachery, Theon (Alfie Allen) betrayed the Starks by storming Winterfell, pretending to kill young Bran and Rickon, and slaughtering many of their people.
Oh, and Klaine broke up on Glee. Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna [PHOTO CREDIT: AMC, Showtime] MORE: Leanne's Spoiler List: 'True Blood' Wants Fresh Meat, 'Parenthood' Heads to Court, & More! Leanne’s Spoiler List: 'AHS: Asylum' Mommy Issues, Love and Loss on ‘Dexter’ Leanne’s Spoiler List: Love is Shaky on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,' ‘Vampire Diaries’ Gets Darker
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“It’s the liberation of a stolen future... Absolution is the mercy the people who killed him will never know.”
Welcome back to the United States of Revenge. (That name is officially going to stick because I want to live in this state of suspense and awe forever, and now it’s an invented country where that’s possible. You’re welcome.) Now that the hubbub of Daniel’s Rich-Playboy-Versus-the People trial is over, Emily moves on to her real mission: Uncovering the horrible wrongdoing brought against her innocent father and bringing the responsible parties to justice. But the responsible party may be bigger than even the all-powerful wizards of money we've come to know as the Graysons.
As usual, there are just a few factors Emily can’t manage to control. Namely, the public’s opinion of Daniel and Daniel, himself. She manages to mold her future hubby into the man she wants him to be long enough to get him in front of a television camera, but once he gets there, she can’t coax him into doing her bidding and timid Daniel goes rogue. Suddenly, mastermind Emily is beholden to the whims of a silly little boy who thinks he’s doing the right thing by his family. Instead of pulling all the strings, Emily is tangled up in them, like a fly caught in an unknowing spider’s web. Considering that there are only two episodes left this season, this uncomfortable position is exactly where we want Emily, because it’s a place that will drive her to anger and potentially bad behavior. (And could that bad behavior mean spilling the beans or least giving Jack a little kiss? Yes, please.)
Emily’s journey towards the mess she finds herself in by episode’s end starts when she visits Charlotte, who’s having “father-daughter time” with everything she can find about David Clarke, officially making poor little bastard daughter Charlotte the saddest character on this series. Charlotte found a photo in the lining of Victoria’s jewelry box, it was taken the day David died. Emily snaps a cell phone pic and notices he’s writing in a notebook that was missing from the infinity box. She immediately charges right into Nolan’s home office and catches him trying to hide it and he swears David asked him to hide it, but Emily is on a path of Revenge, Nolan Ross, get out of her way, so she holds him up against the wall like a sexy lady Batman and he gives it up.
As Emily reads the journal, we see a flashback and realize there’s no way David could have asked Nolan not to show Emily/Amanda the journal because we see in a TV audience only flashback that immediately after he wrote the last lines — “I’m now trapped in a race between fate and freedom … CM will come tomorrow with proof” — a fight broke out and a US Marshall waltzed up and murdered him with all the casualness of someone on a Sunday stroll.
Next: Emily faces down the barrel of a shotgun.
[Image:ABC]Because her stint in juvee apparently taught her the skills of a super spy (and people say the system is broken!) Emily easily finds out who CM is and ascertains that she’s still alive and living under a different name. Pretending to be investigating Conrad for the Dept. of Homeland Security, Emily pays a visit to CM, or Carole Miller. And Miss Super Spy gets more than she bargained for because not only did Carole work for Conrad has his personal secretary once upon a time, but she’s got a shotgun and she’s not afraid to use it. But it turns out Miss Hatfield is actually Aunt Carole to Nolan, who comes dashing down the stairs to stop his aunt from killing Emily and reveal that she’s actually Amanda Clarke.
Now before you get all worked up about Nolan betraying Emily/Amanda, the over-privileged brat is actually a millionaire with a heart of gold. He was hiding the journal to protect his family and to make up for it, he makes Emily’s warpath a little more manageable by clearing up a Carole-sized chunk of the mystery. When Nolan moved in with his aunt, he confided in her that he was worried David Clarke was framed by Conrad Grayson, so instead of baking him cookies and making hot chocolate like we’d expect someone named Aunt Carole to do, she started investigating Grayson Global from the inside, where she found that the Graysons’ accountant thought he had enough evidence to exonerate David. But because she’s just sweet old Shotgun Annie/Aunt Carole and not a super spy like Emily, the Graysons were one step ahead: as soon as she found out, David was killed in prison. And now for the linchpin: she reveals that Conrad had a frequent sinister white-haired visitor, connected to the plane crash and David’s murder. And you don’t add a sinister white-haired character into a mystery like this unless some serious action is about to go down, just ask any Kung Fu movie ever.
Meanwhile, the Warf Rat brothers are dealing with the fallout from the trial, even though it seems the Graysons care more about replacing all the perfectly seasonal flowers in their entryway than monitoring Jack and Declan. Jack thinks the Graysons still care about Declan lying on the stand, but he’s more concerned about his giant crush on Emily.He makes it his mission to save her from marrying into a corrupt family, because he assumes she’s pure and good when really, she’s a ninja who stole his sweatshirt, framed Lee, and started dating Daniel just to get back at his family.
When Prince Jack (who I guess is sort of the Prince Ali/Aladdin variety of princes on account of his lack of infinite wealth in the face of the Hamptons elite) visits Emily to tell her about his sweatshirt (which she already knows about, you poor fool!), she gets a call to pick Daniel up from prison. His plan B is to confront Daniel directly, in hope that he’s not as corrupt as his parents. While he gets his point across about the bloody sweatshirt being stolen and planted on Lee, he adds the rivalry-stoking zinger: he’s only telling Daniel “Because Emily trusts you.” Translation: I’m in love with your girlfriend, so protect her or else. That's some sort of nautical threat only boat captains understand.
In these days of the one percent versus the 99 percent (relevant, you guys!) Daniel may be acquitted in court, but in eyes of the poor, huddled masses, he’s a former playboy whose parents’ money just won him his freedom. When he and Emily leave the prison like Brad and Angelina of New York’s Elite murder trials, they’re met with angry cries from the crowd and “Murderer” scrawled in red paint on her car. Emily’s plan is to have him speak out in the media instead of hiding and Conrad agrees, which makes Victoria contort her face like an angry naked molerat (which is the scariest of her trying-to-remain-composed-and-resist-the-urge-to-rip-out-your-heart-like-a-vampire-on-True-Blood faces).
Next: Victoria crafts her own revenge.
She doesn’t murder anyone, but Victoria does take her revenge (see, because it’s the name of the show) on Conrad for banishing her artistic lover and stealing the favor of her son. Dear old Connie took Victoria’s toys and her form of a temper tantrum is selling her stock in Grayson Global and ratting him out to the feds, who immediately seize his company and laugh in his face. In light of this event the night before Daniel’s big interview, ol’ Connie decides to spill everything to Daniel because he’s sure to field reporters’ questions about the issue the next morning. Luckily, Emily still has her bug set up and hears the whole story of what Conrad did to David Clarke and “his innocent little girl” (aww, he’s only sort of soulless!) and how Victoria paid Lee to have Daniel beat up in prison. Unfortunately for us, we don’t actually hear that whole story about David, because like a good first date, the writers know they have to keep the mystery alive.
Charlotte is still with her pill pusher ex-cum-current boyfriend, though she can’t even stand to kiss him. He calls Declan a Warf Rat like he thinks he’s one of those guards chasing Aladdin through Agrabah. (I love Disney movies and Disney references and I simply will not apologize for it!) When Charlotte all but ignores him, he rats – being a Warf Rat and all – her out to the principal, who raids her locker and finds the Oxy as Declan stands by in a perment state of sulking. Like her secret sister Emily/Amanda did to Nolan, Charlotte also throws him Declan against wall and holds his neck like lady Batman. Maybe it runs in the family? She threatens to have him kicked out of Prep school, but Nolan takes care of that when he uses his useless millions to pick up Declan’s tuition bill. But this is the only happy story you will hear, so cherish it.
And now for Showtime! As he’s being prepared by a makeup artist, Emily tries to convince Daniel to resist his Grayson-given talent for lying and Victoria makes her plea to ignore everything Emily says. Unfortunately for Victoria, Daniel joining her team is out of the question because he knows she paid for his prison beating. So now, the conflict comes down to Conrad versus Emily.
As Daniel’s begins the interview with a nondescript news station it’s going rather well, except for the fact that #OccupyDaniel was trending on Twitter. (That sounds like an adult film and not the point his critics are trying to make. Then again, Twitter would.) As he walks through his “epic” polished interview, he touches all the right Emily bases and we think, “By Jove, she’s done it!” But when the reporter switches gears to ask him about the allegations against his father, Daniel resolutely chooses to back his father, and like a dopey dog following his master, says his father is the victim of a witch hunt stemming from the public’s distrust of Daniel in the wake of his trial. With that, he’s aligned himself with his father’s prong of this three-prong fight, and Emily has landed herself in a marriage that is looking more and more like prison sentence.
And in case the favor of his son wasn’t enough, Conrad pulls in some extra help: Emily’s former friend and Victoria’s PR wiz, Ashley, who’s just been burned by Victoria. She lost her job with Mr. Brooks, the Graysons’ lawyer, because Victoria tipped him off to the fact that Ashley leaked the bloody photos of Daniel to the press so she’d have a crisis to manage so perfectly. Conrad loves a conniving woman and gives her a Lexus (product placement!) as incentive to join the Dark Side. I can hear the “Imperial March” now.
Victoria, realizing she’s lost her son, moves onto her bastard daughter and only just now realizes that there might just be a connection between Charlotte’s Oxy addiction and the fact that her real father was killed violently as a framed terrorist and she’s been lied to her whole life. But to be fair to Victoria, having two kids and a never-ending scheme running in one’s head does take a lot out of you. To further the only bond Victoria has a chance of solidifying (because Charlotte is so fragile and malleable) they visit David’s grave and Charlotte sees that there’s a single rose placed on the grave and what should be a mother-daughter moment goes right back to scheming. We can see the elegant, Cartier wheels turning in Victoria’s head: Amanda Clarke is lurking nearby, she just knows it. Of course, she’s right, she just doesn’t know how right she is.
Finally, Emily tells Nolan her plan over top shelf liquor at the Stowaway (which is probably the closest we’ll ever get to drunk Emily, because she’s just so dedicated to this mission): She’ll marry Daniel and find the man who killed her father … and then kill him. But, she already found him, she just doesn’t know it. She watches yet another tape of Conrad talking about David Clarke, filmed in his office and “that white-haired man” that Aunt Carole was talking about shows up. She cross checks it with the photo of her father the day he was killed and we see that the white-haired man is the man with the US Marshall patch who killed David in the flashback. Emily can’t know that yet because she doesn’t have the benefit of TV flashbacks like we, the lucky audience do, but she does know that this man has something to do with Conrad’s scheme and that he did the unthinkable: He put the fear in the man who can make any bad situation disappear.
Emily’s shown us she can handle herself better than most of the men on this show, but now she’s going up against what my video-game loving brother would equate to the “big boss” of Season 1. Conrad told Ashley as she got into her car that Victoria matters very little in the grand scheme of things, which means we may be moving on up to a bigger, better mystery and villain with the introduction of this white-haired figure.
Who do you think the mystery man is? And why does he scare ol’ Connie so much? Is Daniel really on his father’s side or is he (gasp) playing a little game of his own? Is he even capable of that?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
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