Girls' Adam Driver is getting the opportunity of a lifetime after reportedly landing the role of the primary bad guy in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII. Driver's character on Lena Dunham's HBO show, Adam Sackler, isn't the greatest guy in the world, and most definitely not the best boyfriend in the world, but he isn't necessarily a villain (even if an ex-girlfriend did call him a "Neanderthal sociopath"). He does, however, have plenty of evil-leaning characteristics that can potentially provide a clue into what kind of bad guy Driver will make in a galaxy far, far away.
Being selfish is the hallmark of almost every great villain. Even the ultimate Star Wars baddie, Darth Vader — who's about as conflicted as they come — really turned to the Dark Side because he thought being good was holding him back. Driver's Adam is quite possibly the most selfish character ever on television (rivaled perhaps only by his on-screen girlfriend, Dunham's Hannah). Until recently, when he got a role in a Broadway production, Adam mostly lived off of the money that his grandmother gives him and mooched off friends as he pursued his "art." The guy stole a dog just because he wanted to, and sex is always an individual act for him even if someone else is involved. Better still, he's passive-aggressive: at the end of Season 1, we saw Adam complaining about Hannah chasing after him one moment and then complaining that she didn't want to live with him the next, and basically manipulating her into taking care of him after he was hit by a truck in Season 2.
Adam might legitimately love Hannah, but his definition of the word might be a little bit different than the norm. He can scare his girlfriend in the shower with just a bar of soap. He broke into her apartment in the middle of the night, causing her to call the cops. He once asked her to pretend to be an 11-year-old during a sexual encounter. Besides his relationship with Hannah, he says really inappropriate things to his sister (Gaby Hoffman) and walks around mostly naked no matter the company. The word that you're looking for is "ick."
He's Not What You'd Call Respectful
Early on in the series, Driver's character caused a stir when he urinated on Hannah in the shower and didn't see what the big deal was. That was nothing compared to the infamous "On All Fours" episode, where debate still rages about whether Adam raped Natalia, the girl he was dating. At the very least, the encounter was something on the other side of consensual, adding to his overall creepiness (he made her crawl to the bedroom) and Adam's reaction was to walk away from the whole situation as though he got what he wanted and was done. Great bad guys have to be disconnected from people and feelings (think Hannibal Lecter). Besides calling him a sociopath, Natalia also pointed out that Adam acts "like he doesn't even love his own mother."
He Can Be a Little Bit Heroic
It might seem counterintuitive, but if you think about it, the best villains aren't weak. They're just as willing to put themselves in harm's way as a good guy, just for different, more self-serving reasons. Adam might be a jerk most of the time on Girls, but every once and a while he's willing to come to the rescue… whether that's picking Hannah up (literally) and taking her away from an OCD meltdown or telling her dying grandmother that they're getting married so that she's left with a happy thought. A really great villain can make the audience think that he's not really that bad… right before, you know, destroying an entire planet or something.
When I first heard of Bar Rescue, I lumped it into the group of shows that dads love — you know: American Pickers, Storage Wars, and Pawn Stars. (Partially because my dad absolutely loves it and all those other shows.) But after watching a couple episodes, I realized I was hooked.
Bar Rescue is a reality show on Spike TV that stars Jon Taffer, who goes around to different failing bars in the country where he offers his professional expertise, brings in other experts of the industry, then renovates the bar — all in an attempt to rescue the bar. But that’s not the best part.
Sometimes, more often than not, Taffer also counsels the dysfunctional workers of each bar, which can lead to a lot of drama. Seriously, there are catfights, screaming matches, insult wars, and all-out brawls between coworkers.
While the major drama of the episodes is awesome, it’s also really interesting to see how these different bars and restaurants are operated — especially if you’ve worked in the industry before. It’s fun to yell at the screen when the employees admit that they haven’t cleaned the bar in months or when they serve their tables all wrong because you know better. (They don’t even wipe down the bar!? What are they doing?)
Still, whether you have experience working at a bar/restaurant or not, Bar Rescue makes you think you could probably run your own bar without running it into the ground. Which might be a bad thing, because it often has me quoting Ted and Barney from How I Met Your Mother: “We should buy a bar!” Actually, no, we probably shouldn’t.
The episode opened up with Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) meeting Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) outside a dry cleaner, with the FBI agent holding a freshly-pressed suit. He was having dinner later with his wife Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) to celebrate the anniversary of their first meeting. He mentioned that he remembered all anniversaries, including the day that he first arrested Caffrey. He then showed him the FBI pen that he'd found in the last episode. Caffrey played dumb. What, you thought he was going to blanch and say, "Oh man, you caught us"? Burke dismissed him so that he could get ready for his date with Elizabeth.
Later on, the Burkes were eating dinner at a restaurant. Suddenly, the waiter came up with three drinks. Puzzled, Burke said that he didn't order them. The waiter pointed to a woman sitting at the bar. It turned out to be Jill from Peter's days at Quantico. She was also his ex. Awkward. Jill came over and sat down, though she did immediately realize that Peter and Elizabeth were on a date. They insisted that she sit with them. Jill told them that she was in town on a case. They then drank the bourbons Jill had sent over, though Peter knew he was in trouble by Elizabeth's immediately sipping wine afterwards.
Rebecca, the unemployed museum curator, went to Caffrey's place. He gave her wine and showed her the sole chapter of the Mosconi book he had pilfered. They were puzzling it out and he thought to put the pages, which contained a lot of illustrations, like puzzle pieces. They were flirting with each other the whole time. Finally, it turned out to look like a stained glass window. Flushed with excitement, she kissed him. Of course, enter Mozzie (Willie Garson), in the role of the FBI agent to interrupt the kiss. She left and Mozzie expressed that he thought Caffrey was getting too emotionally involved.
At home, Burke was at explaining himself to his wife. When Jill was at Quantico, she pushed him hard, but he said overall, Elizabeth was the one one who really got him through the past year, which mollified her. She reminded him that it was still their anniversary. Bow-chicka-wow-wow.
The next day, Burke and Caffrey were talking at the office. It turned out an FBI badge had flashed somewhere and it could have been the late Agent Siegel's. Jill then walked into the FBI office and headed toward's Burke's office, which made him get nervous and try to usher Caffrey out before she came in, telling him that she was no one important. While Jill and Burke talked in his glass-paneled office, Agent Clinton Jones and Caffrey were trying to look like they were working, but were actually watching the conversation. They immediately sussed out that she was Burke’s ex. Inside the office, Jill explained that she was looking for a guy who had made a chip for a defense contractor and was then going to sell it on the black market. She had set up a sting and she needed Burke to come in, since he apparently was the only agent in NY she trusted. On the way out, she muttered, "This is going to be fun." Caffrey and Jones couldn't get enough of watching Burke practically flop sweat in his office.
Later on, Burke and Caffrey were talking on the street, with Burke still swearing that Jill meant nothing, though he was going to tell Elizabeth about the going undercover later at night. Still dubious, Caffrey changed the subject and said that he needed a new wardrobe to get the people who were using Siegel's badge. That meant the keys to the nice car. Later, Burke was at home and was about to tell Elizabeth the situation when, but of course, Jill just dropped by unannounced, saying that she had to do the recon right then and there. She dragged him off and hit Elizabeth with a "It's classified" when asked what was going on. This raised the hackles of Elizabeth, who usually talked about all aspects of cases with Burke. Burke had to back up his partner, though he looked clearly uncomfortable. Nice. Nothing that would set up any suspicions, right?
Burke and Jill were sitting in a car on stakeout and she told him that he didn't need to put on a strong front - she knew he was still hurting from losing Siegel. After a brief interlude of Jones and Caffrey driving in a car making Cagney and Lacey jokes, she told about her experience of losing an agent and then held his hand to comfort him. Mercifully the seller showed up and the two agents went to the hotel that the seller was staying in.
Jones and Caffrey were in their car, acting as bait in the area where the badge had last been used. Soon a guy rapped the door, flashing a badge and saying that he had to commandeer the car to pursue a criminal. Yeah, right. Caffrey and Jones got out and put him under arrest. They looked at the badge. Yep. It was Siegel's, which made Jones clench his jaw quite tightly to keep from capping the guy right then and there.
In the hotel, Jill and Burke went to the seller's room and managed to plant a gun under a sofa cushion and got out before he saw them. Outside they saw two guys go in ... people they had seen before. This meant there may also be a third interested party in getting to this fellow and his chip. Quickly, Jill took a picture of Burke and herself with her phone to sell that they were a couple and get the guys on film.
Burke and Jones were interrogating the guy with Siegel's badge. He swore he didn't kill the agent and said that he was in a liquor store, waiting to rob it and said that he would be seen on footage. Burke was mad and seemed to not be placated by Caffrey's kind words afterwards. He went to the office and looked out the window after putting Siegel's bag in evidence. Caffrey saw this and knew that he couldn't do anything to help.
Elizabeth was waiting up for Burke when he got home. She wanted to talk to him about the case, but he stuck to it being classified, which ran counter to nearly every other conversation they had had over the past four seasons. She was mad, but said that she understood. Right. Burke tried to snuggle with her, but she was clearly peeved.
The next morning, Jill and Burke were at the FBI office, where they got information on the two guys that they had seen earlier. They figured that the two men wanted to steal the chip. Elizabeth strolled in to give Burke his lunch, which he had forgotten. She started to talk to Caffrey, who was waiting at his desk, having also been cut out of the loop by Jill and Burke. The topic turned to Jill, who Elizabeth saw as being lonely. Inside the conference room, Burke was bringing Jones into the case, something the lone wolf Jill didn't want, but Burke threw his weight around as ASAC, which made her back off. Elizabeth went upstairs and into Burke's own office and of course, this classified file was just sitting out there in the open for her to see, including the posed picture. It was like White Collar meets Three's Company. It's all a misunderstanding, Janet! She stormed out of the office before Burke could talk to her.
Later on, Burke and Caffrey were talking outside about the Elizabeth/Jill situation. Caffrey was trying to explain that Burke should know that marriage can trump classification sometimes, especially here. Burke said that he could talk to Jill about the stress of losing Siegel, she had been through something similar. He also said he didn't want to worry Elizabeth any more than she already had been, what with him being shot before and then arrested. Burke's cell phone rang and he had to run off to the meet.
Elizabeth first wanted Mozzie to follow Burke, but he said for her to follow Jill.
Outside, Burke and Jill were doing a stakeout. The two mercenaries were going into a restaurant, so they decided to go to the hotel. In the surveillance van, Jones wanted to do a walkthrough of the restaurant, since he realized there were no eyes in the back. Jill didn't want him to and told Burke to tell him to stand down. Jones sussed it from Burke's response and decided to go anyways.
After talking to Mozzie, Elizabeth wanted Caffrey to case Jill's hotel, which Caffrey did, if only to keep Elizabeth from charging over half-cocked. They saw Burke and Jill going inside the hotel and Caffrey tried to assure her that it wasn't what it looked like. She snapped that it better not be and they got out of the car to go into the hotel. Remember the TV show Cheaters? At this point, the cameras would have been hustling in behind Caffrey and Elizabeth as they walked towards the hotel, all shakey-cam to show the anger and urgency.
After Caffrey and Elizabeth went into the lobby, with Caffrey going to look for a room number for Burke and Jill. Outside, Jones did a walkthrough at the restaurant and realized that it was an ambush at the hotel and tried to call Burke. In true television plot fashion, just as the phone rang, Jill took it from Burke, saying that protocol called for radio silence. D'oh. The two agents made their way to the seller's room.
While waiting in the hotel bar for Caffrey to return, Elizabeth saw the seller sitting at a stool. She tried to stall him from going upstairs by flirting with him and got him to put his number in her phone. While the seller was doing that, he also slid something in the phone's case. When he finished and left, Caffrey walked by the seller only to to see him get led off to the elevators with a gun in his side. Elizabeth and Caffrey followed and determined the floor from the lobby elevator readings. She updated Caffrey what had happened in the bar, including getting his number. Caffrey took the phone and he found what the seller had put in the phone's case - the chip.
Upstairs, Jill and Burke went to the seller's room. While they were outside the door, the two mercenaries and the seller came into the hallway, saw Burke and Jill and pulled guns. After first trying to bluff the mercenaries that they were honeymooners, the bad guys forced her to open the bag to show the money. Soon they were tied up in the seller's room with the mercenaries interrogating them. The seller blurted that he gave the chip to "a woman downstairs." Trying to buy time, Burke interjected that he was a buyer too.
Caffrey and Ellizabeth made their way to the seller's room door. Elizabeth was desperate to get into the room. Caffrey got her in with a modified hotel room card - after making her swear that she never saw the item. Elizabeth burst into the room and was immediately facing a consternated husband and two guns trained on her. Yikes.
After the commercial break, Elizabeth said that she had the chip and showed the phone to the mercenaries, holding it for a few seconds, allowing Caffrey to sneak in through the back door. What then was not exactly the best coordinated or believable rescue that I have ever seen. In sequence, Elizabeth threw the phone towards the mercenaries, putting them off-balance. Caffrey slid behind a sofa to where Burke was and with one smooth motion, managed to slice the rope around the FBI agent's wrists without, you know, severing any arteries. Burke then reached under the sofa to get the gun they had so conveniently left before and shot one mercenary in the arm while Jill, still tied up, was able to stand up and while turning her upper body, smash the other mercenary with her chair. Jones and other FBI agents then flooded in. WWE matches have looked more realistic.
The aftermath saw Burke talking with the departing Jill, who told him to not be afraid to talk to Elizabeth about everything he was feeling. Which he did, that evening, finally opening up to her about the pain and guilt that he felt about Siegel's death. Elsewhere, Caffrey led Rebecca to the stained glass window from the Mosconi illustration and then laid a huge kiss on her, which she gladly reciprocated
Of course, the episode couldn't end on a good note. The next morning, Burke was in his office looking at Siegel's shield case. In the inside compartment, he found a business card that had 'Cooper's?' written in Siegel's handwriting on the back. He narrowed his eyes at that and then looked briefly at the camera. Dun-dun-dun! We'll have to find out what that meant next episode.
British royal Prince William came to the rescue when British actor Will Mellor got caught up in a nightclub scuffle. The future king halted a fight between the 37-year-old actor and another man during an evening out at an exclusive London bar.
Mellor tells Britain's Daily Star newspaper, "I'm not a violent man but I was in a nightclub and I got into a scuffle with another man. The other person got hold of me from behind and said, "He's not worth it, Will." And it was Prince William.
"And then before I knew it there was a secret service (agent) closing in. They thought I was having a scuffle with him, but I wasn't. I got thrown out of the club. On the way out I said, 'Cheers Will'. It still haunts me."
It’s one of the laziest clichés in film criticism: to say that movies, particularly of the blockbuster sort, have become like videogames. It’s meant as a critique of what’s perceived as Hollywood’s emphasis on action and explosions, lack of interest in character development, and slavish devotion to teenage boys and their dollars. It’s also meant as a kneejerk dismissal of videogames. “How could a videogame possibly be a work of art?” and all that. The funny thing is that the reverse of that cliché has become very, very true in recent years: videogames have become like movies.
The Mass Effect trilogy became the most detailed example of cinematic sci-fi worldbuilding since Stars Trek and Wars. The Uncharted series has quickly established itself as the truest spiritual heir to the Indiana Jones movies to emerge from any medium. Red Dead Redemption considered Manifest Destiny with far greater insight than even worthy movie Westerns like True Grit and Django Unchained. But the game franchise that in some ways is the most daringly original is also the one the draws the deepest from its cinematic roots. I’m talking about BioShock. The very first BioShock installment back in 2007 was a heady pastiche of a whole array of movie influences. It also integrated film storytelling directly into the gameplay experience, rather than advance the narrative primarily through cutscene cinematics as so many games have. Now, the latest installment in the series, BioShock Infinite, has been released and it’s a turn-of-the-last-century steampunk fantasia.
Get Thee to the Geek: Why Slasher Cinema Is No Longer Killer
BioShock Infinite is the story of a disgraced Pinkerton agent, Booker DeWitt, who lost his faith in his line of work after participating in the Massacre at Wounded Knee. The year is 1912, and DeWitt’s been given an opportunity to pay old debts, possibly old debts from his Pinkerton days. He’s been tasked to infiltrate a massive floating city called Columbia, after the female personification of America, and rescue a woman named Elizabeth who’s been held there for 12 years against her will. He goes to a missile silo, is launched to Columbia, and begins his journey. In the floating city, he discovers that there’s a brewing conflict between its strict-constructionist Founders and the growing rebel movement, the Vox Populi, who could also be called Occupy Columbia. BioShock Infinite has wide cinematic roots, but there are seven movie influences in particular—or rather, six influences and one reference—that stand out.
The Empire Strikes Back—Ken Levine, the lead designer on BioShock Infinite and co-founder and creative director of Irrational Games, BioShock’s studio, has gone on record as saying that the Star Wars sequel’s Cloud City, the vast metropolis suspended in the sky of gas giant Bespin, was a source of inspiration for Columbia. Like Cloud City, Columbia is basically a giant floating platform upon which the cityscape itself is built. Levine has also said that the Death Star influenced the concept of Columbia because of the city’s formidable weapons systems.
Get Thee to the Geek: Why ‘Clone Wars’ Was ‘Star Wars’ At Its Very Best
Meet Me in St. Louis & Other Turn-of-the-20th-Century Americana—Despite being a floating city, Columbia is still a floating city in 1912. So Levine drew upon films that portrayed a highly idealized view of picket-fenced American life at that time. Films like Vincente Minnelli’s immortal 1944 classic Meet Me in St. Louis, which is like a Technicolor postcard from a bygone age that never was. Or later films The Music Man and Hello, Dolly! The latter film, starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau, is by no means a stranger to sci-fi, having been WALL-E’s favorite movie. So if you combine these front-porch idylls with Cloud City, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what Columbia looks like. Of course that combination also means we’ve got some pretty heavy…
…Steampunk—The retro-futurism aesthetic that imagines contemporary or future technology as powered entirely by steam. It’s the go-to mode in movies, like Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes films, of envisioning bygone eras as being more sophisticated than they really were. For the apex of steampunk see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which, with its airships, including one that practically could be called a floating city, left its mark on BioShock.
B.o.B an Big Boi Talk ‘Army of Two: The Devil’s Disciple’
The Shining & Blue Velvet—Of course, the BioShock series has always had a touch of horror cinema about it. Infinite is going for something a little bit more subtle: to mine an all-American milieu of its inherent eeriness the way that David Lynch did to Lumberton in Blue Velvet or Stanley Kubrick to the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. How do you create terror in environs that are the furthest thing from terrifying? Yet another way Levine has raised the bar this time around.
The Pinkertons—The legendary private security and detection organization was a mainstay in strikebreaking and outlaw-hunting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and frequent Western movie villains. You'll remember their prominent appearance in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as the ruthless enforcers who track down Butch & Sundance’s Hole in the Wall gang.
Kinetoscopes—Rather than using traditional cutscenes to impart exposition, most of what you need to know about the world of Columbia is learned on the fly. However, crucial intel can be gleaned along the way by stopping to gaze into a kinetoscope. You know a kinetoscope, right? It’s a wooden box with a sprocket apparatus, into which you gaze through a viewfinder to look at a series of flip card images that, when turned, create the illusion of movement. It’s like a mechanical flip book, and is usually considered an early precursor of cinema itself. A kinetoscope works pretty much exactly like a motion picture, except that it’s not projected onto a screen.
Revenge of the Jedi—Okay, this last one is not an influence on the game, since it never even existed in real life. But it is an interesting allusion. After you’ve rescued and partnered with Elizabeth, she can give you the power to open rifts in the space-time continuum to travel to other times and places. One of those places is Paris. The time? 1983. The year we all know Return of the Jedi came out. Except that the movie theater marquee in Paris reads Revenge of the Jedi. That was George Lucas’ original title for his conclusion to the Original Star Wars Trilogy, until he decided that it’s not in the Jedi way to take revenge. Several posters bearing the name Revenge of the Jedi were released, however, in early 1983 before the change to Return of the Jedi was made official. Get thee to eBay to find where you can buy one online.
Do you plan on playing BioShock Infinite? And which of these cinematic influences/shout-outs is your favorite?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: 2K Games]
You Might Also Like:15 Oscar-Winning Nude Scenes10 Insane 'Star Wars' Moments You Didn't Notice
Was this the episode we’ve all been waiting for from Revenge’s sophomore season or what? Finally, our favorite Hamptons sudser has managed to rebottle some of the narrative rocketfuel that made its first year so electrifying. And it only took the death of one major character to do it! Now, mind you, I think the idea of killing off characters has become a sorely overused plot twist in much of television. It’s a way of artificially generating drama and shock, for one. There’s also a callousness behind that plotting that’s fundamentally inhumane: as author Aaron Allston has noted, we don’t even call it “killing” these characters, we say we’re “killing them off.” (See: The Walking Dead.) The way Revenge handled its latest death, however, was both an organic development of its ongoing narrative and a humane, moving send-off. Perhaps most importantly, though, it was a bit of desperately-needed pruning when it came to the plot—as this was one character who truly had nothing more to contribute to the show.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT. BUT IF YOU'RE READING A RECAP CAN YOU REALLY OBJECT TO BEING SPOILED?
Yes, the “Sacrifice” of the title was referring to Amanda. Or rather Fauxmanda. A character I’m happy to be rid of because at least I won't be subject to writing ridiculous words like "Fauxmanda" again. I almost feel guilty for saying that, because her death was actually very moving. Still, I’m not gonna lie…”Mommy Fauxmanda” never did it for me. I preferred bikini-wearing, tire iron-wielding stripper Fauxmanda. But then again I’m a 26-year-old straight guy, so take that perspective with a grain of salt.
RELATED: ‘Revenge’ Recap: Victoria Packs Heat, Or How Conrad Grayson Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate Legalized Gambling
“Sacrifice” finally brought us back to where Season 2 began: with a male hand submerged in the hold of the sunken Amanda. It shows how far Revenge’s buzziness has evaporated that, while last season all anyone could talk about was “Was that Daniel Grayson who was shot on the beach?” this year no one gave a s*** about the mystery. You’d be forgiven if you had even forgotten what exactly the mystery was. Well, it turned out to be like a small-screen version of Dead Calm. Which you could say is a surprising choice except that one of Revenge’s executive producers, Phillip Noyce, directed Dead Calm. If you’ve never seen the 1989 nautical thriller (you’ve really missed out) its about a married couple (Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman) menaced at sea by a shipwrecked psycho they rescue who promptly turns on them. If only Billy Zane could have been playing Nate here instead of Michael Trucco, then we’d really have an episode!
Newlyweds Jack and Amanda were laying in bed together, both experiencing some intense post-coital exhaustion. Jack decided it would be fun if they went up on deck, where it was cool and presumably they could resume their now-legitimate lovin’ by starlight. He didn’t have a care in the world. Declan and Charlotte were looking after Baby Carl. He’d bought back the Stowaway. And Nolan was tending bar. Of course, as soon as they left the hold, Nate’s hand crept around the doorway. He’d been hiding there for hours and hours, just waiting for the right time to strike. And he’s incredibly pervy since he’d basically just been watching (or at least listening to) Jack and Amanda schtuping this whole time.
NEXT: Victoria and Daniel put on an incredibly hammy performance for the Initiative’s hidden camera.
Back on land, Victoria, Conrad, and Daniel were coming up with a plan to cover-up the murder of Helen Crowley. Which would be hard to do since Helen’s chauffeur was still outside in his parked limo and waiting for her. But Victoria’s never one to be without a plan, so she put on Helen’s scarf and glasses and got in the limo…playing the role of the Initiative henchwoman herself. I really thought she was just going to kill this driver, but, it appears she didn’t. She just needed to make it seem really convincing that she was Helen so no one would suspect she died at Grayson Manor.
RELATED: ‘Revenge’ Recap: Victoria in the Crosshairs
In fact, much of this episode was about “acting,” in a sense. Victoria playing the part of Helen. Victoria and Daniel staging a charade for the Initiative’s hidden cameras. Jack acting all wrathful toward Amanda in front of Nate. The next morning after Helen’s death, Victoria began planning her next performance: having the staff return to help prepare the annual Labor Day Party during which Conrad would announce his gubernatorial bid. They would also begin work on pinning Helen’s death on Amanda, much to Daniel’s horror. But, I mean, she had blackmailed them, so what’s fair is fair, right?
The newlyweds woke up fully clothed topside on the Amanda. Before you knew it, Nate had a gun on the blushing bride and told them that the fact Conrad backed out of the Stowaway deal had cost him a fortune. Assuming that Jack was the one who spooked the mogul, he wanted to force him to call Conrad and get him back in the deal. When Amanda got Jack to herself for a moment she told him that they’d have to kill Nate, because he surely would end up killing them.
RELATED: ‘Revenge’ Recap: Revengers Assemble!
Luckily for them, Emily just happened to be looking at a wedding photo taken the previous day of Jack and Amanda on the boat. And who should be peering menacingly out of a porthole? Nate. Way to go with the whole hiding thing, buddy! Emily and Nolan immediately took to the high seas to rescue the couple. Though how Emily would be able to explain her mad fighting skills to Jack is a problem for which solving would have to wait, I guess.
Daniel and Victoria staged that ruse in his office for the Initiative’s hidden cameras. He shouted at his mother that Helen Crowley had never represented any kind of danger or conspiracy and that all her company had done was double their fund. In a final show of flamboyant outrage, he called security on his own mother. Now Madeleine Stowe and Josh Bowman are fine actors. But Victoria and Daniel Grayson? Less so. I was really hoping Conrad would pull a James-Mason-in-North-by-Northwest and say something to Daniel like, “You rather overplay your part. It seems you need less training from Harvard Business School and more from the Actors Studio.” Count me unconvinced by the Graysons’ little charade. But apparently it had its intended effect on the Initiative. They mostly seemed to buy it. Meaning that perhaps Daniel and Victoria are such great actors, I can’t even tell their great actors.
NEXT: It’s the annual Grayson Labor Day Party! Where you’re not having fun if someone hasn’t left in a body bag.
Speaking of Conrad, he received a phone call from Nate, and they conferred about how Amanda had blackmailed the tycoon into leaving the Stowaway deal. Connie pretty much told Nate to kill Amanda, and if he did, then the deal would be back on. Yeah, Conrad Grayson is that malevolent. Silly Amanda pulled a gun on Nate—as if the thug needed any more convincing to kill her—but it wasn’t loaded. But before he could kill her, she revealed that she had access to a laptop with the intel she used to blackmail Conrad…something that could make Nate even richer than if he worked as a partner with him. She revealed that Jack was a patsy, a lovable schlub she used to get close to the Graysons to put into motion a plot to avenge her father. Jack overheard all this, of course. Suddenly, he pops out and accuses Amanda of using him. In the midst of their hostage situation he decided to have a full marital squabble. “Save the rest for divorce court,” Nate said. Jack told Nate that the laptop was down in the hold. And somehow the thug bought it, went down into the interior first, allowing Jack and Amanda to close the hatch behind him and trap him. But this ex-con had claws. He fired his gun through the bulkhead, and at least one of the rounds found its final resting place in Jack. There was only one hope for him…to get him on the Amanda’s motorized dinghy. But the flesh and blood Amanda wouldn’t be going with him. “What are you doing?” Jack asked. “Saving you.” She cast him adrift and prepared for a final showdown with Nate.
Back at the dock bar, Aidan had lured Padma to a meeting. If she was telling the truth and was in fact being manipulated by the Initiative, she could be another lead back to the terrorists. And maybe, just maybe they could even help her rescue her kidnapped father. After all, Aidan knew all too well what it was like to be in her position. Of course, Helen Crowley may be dead, but there was immediately another Initiative member to take her place.
And what better place for the new baddie, a weaselly henchman named Trask, to make his Hamptons debut than the Graysons’ annual Labor Day party! Yes, this is the fete that last year featured a Fire & Ice theme, included the announcement of Daniel and Emily’s engagement, and saw Tyler gunned down on the beach. I kind of think of the Graysons’ annual Labor Day party like Kyle & Mauricio’s yearly White Party on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: an event that’s supposed to be fun but inevitably turns out to be horrifying. Conrad set up one of the best lines of the night when he told Victoria that it was gratifying to see her in her element. “You mean in the midst of a crisis with blood on my hands?” his wife asked. That’s the kind of zing we haven’t gotten from Vicky in awhile. Glad to see she can still be a Pez dispenser of bitchery. Anyway, Trask confronted them at the party, meaning that Connie and Vicky had to tapdance once again. Surely Amanda Clark must have killed Helen, since her mother was married to Gordon Murphy, the Initiative’s white-haired agent who betrayed them and pulled Victoria off the bomb-rigged airplane that was supposed to be her doom. I’m not sure how much Trask bought it. He obviously hadn’t been convinced enough by her improv skit with Daniel to wave off attending the party.
NEXT: Farewell and adieu to ye, Fauxmanda.
No matter how you looked at it, though, Amanda was doomed. She flooded the boat with Nate still stowed away. But he popped up like a homicidal Whac-a-Mole and opened fire. One of his shots must have hit the Amanda’s propane tanks, because suddenly gas started leaking into the hold. Thankfully, right as he prepared for a killing shot, Emily appeared and shot him herself. She and Nolan had already rescued Jack from the skiff, and Nolan was taking him back to a hospital on the mainland in his own boat. Now Amanda would be saved too…except that Nate was determined that if he was going down in flames, so would she. So he pulled out his lighter and ignited the propane, blowing up the ship. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if Amanda had simply followed Emily. But no, she had to go back and pick up some necklace thing.
RELATED: ‘Revenge’ Recap: Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
Amazingly, Revenge cut away from this high seas drama to show us one last bit of Padma intrigue. She called Helen’s cell, and Trask picked up. He told her that her orders are still very much in effect, and just in case her resolve should be shaken, he gave her proof that her father’s still alive in the form of a package. When someone says “You can verify the fingerprints,” it’s never a good sign. Yep, a severed finger was in the package, presumably belonging to Padma’s father. I’m still calling bulls*** on this one, folks. Any fan of The Big Lebowski could tell you how easy it is to get a severed toe or finger. This could just be Padma’s double-cross ruse to make Aidan think she’s being set up by the Initiative, when in fact she’s pulling the strings. I bet Padma’s the type who could get a finger by 3:00, even with nail polish…if it weren’t supposed to be her father’s finger.
Back to the scene of the nautical disaster. The Amanda had foundered, and her fake namesake wasn’t doing much better. She thanked Emily for giving her the one thing she’d never had: a real family. She also made her promise to look after Jack and the baby. The she flashed back to when Emily left her in juvie and gave her her necklace, saying that she’d take it back someday when they were reunited. Well, that was the necklace Amanda was reaching for when the ship blew up, and now she gave it back to Emily.
It was a moving scene, but one that was inevitable. Amanda had truly outlived her usefulness as a character, and her departure here represents some much needed pruning to the plot. Her death also validated Emily once again. It made us applaud her for her efforts in trying to save Amanda, and hopefully her death will now steel her anti-Grayson/anti-Initiative resolve. It also allowed the Graysons to pin Helen’s death on Amanda, without Conrad actually having to kill her. Amazing how neatly everything was tied up. Here’s hoping that this gives Revenge exactly the adrenaline shot it’s been looking for all season and Emily the focus she’s been lacking for so long.
Do you agree that “Sacrifice” could bode well for a Revenge course correction? Was there anything else Amanda could have added to this show? Will Jack ever recover from his heartbreak over her death? And do you think I’m right that Padma actually provided that finger herself to make it seem like she’s being set up? Sound off below and see you back in March when Revenge returns!
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: ABC]
From Our Partners:
Kate Upton Bares All in Nothing But Body Paint: Video (Celebuzz)
Bradley Cooper Dancing Is Surprisingly Awkward, Sweaty (Vh1)
Padma, you little minx. You’re either still an amateur at this whole cloak-and-dagger business, or you're such a professional that you know how to make yourself look like an amateur. Because you really could have gone about this whole “infiltrating NolCorp” agenda a lot more cleverly. I mean, you just pop on the scene, ambush Nolan Ross in the Hamptons, get instantly promoted to CFO, and hand over critical intel to Daniel Grayson that causes Ross to lose control of the company, and you think no one will be on to you? Well, I sniffed out your villainy long ago, even if the suddenly dunderheaded Nolan hasn’t.
Yes, folks, that was one killer reveal at the end of Revenge’s latest serpentine installment, “Sabotage.” Padma picked up the phone and had a little tête à tête with Helen Crowley, a.k.a. Mrs. Americon Initiative. She’s been working for the Initiative this whole time, the traitor!
Earlier in the episode, Padma got all wishy-washy with Nolan and said she didn’t think she was qualified to be his CFO. But she does still want to be with him romantically, of course, so she can have access to all his closest secrets….His other duplicitous CFO, Marko, tried to convince Nolan that actually he’d had his back all along. He’d given Nolan Revenge’s big Season 2 MacGuffin last week, the "carrion program," which was like digital plutonium or some other overcooked metaphor. And he said that with the carrion program he could reestablish his company apart from the Graysons and "defeat his enemies.” One of those enemies Marko implied was Padma. Ever since she showed up, NolCorp has been in free fall, right? Problem is, it really looks like, um, Marko was also involved in handing over the company to the Graysons. Or at least that’s the way Nolan sees it.
We’ll dissect that final reveal a bit more later. First Declan and Fauxmanda dealt with the aftermath of Jack getting arrested last week because of the drugs the Ryan brothers had stashed aboard the Amanda. Montauk’s most oddly accented teenager immediately confronted the nastier of the two brothers, Nate (a.k.a Mr. Starbuck) about what he knew was their setup. Nate, in turn, offered him a dollar bill as payment to buy the rest of the bar. Nice. It took Jack forever to figure this out, but he finally told Fauxmanda to steer clear of the Ryan brothers at all cost. That’s something you really do need to say to her, since we know that otherwise she might choose to solve her problems with a tire iron.
Back on the fancier side of the tracks, Aiden was really upset about that kiss Emily gave Daniel last week. Nothing personal, just business, Emily tried to reassure him. Now that her romance with Spaniel was renewed and she’d gotten a seat on his philanthropy council, she could arrange a fundraiser that would allow Daniel to look strong to his investors…and force Helen Crowley to cross paths with Aiden. Helen made contact with him last week and told him to stay away or he’d never see his sister alive again. A dire warning, but, still, he couldn’t let her go.
Revengers assemble! Emily, Aiden, and Nolan all showed up for Daniel’s fundraiser. It seemed like it was being held at a particularly upscale version of PF Chang’s. 007 references were dropped. Nolan called Aiden “Bond,” Aiden called Nolan, “Q,” and Nolan called Emily “Moneypenny,” meaning that they all have an overinflated sense of their own abilities. But sometimes you need to puff yourself up to be successful. That was kind of the whole point of this, even for Daniel: to prove himself confident and strong to the investors. He informally challenged one of his father’s old rivals, a guy named Jason Prosser, into bidding hundreds of thousands of dollars over a bottle of wine. Victoria plastered herself on Prosser to get him to keep plunging, and I was starting to think she just wanted him to be stuck with the carafe and lose a ton of money. But, actually, Daniel won the day—and the bottle—for $1 million. All the better for making Helen Crowley and the Initiative think that Daniel is capable of steering the Grayson Global ship.
NEXT: Conrad dismisses Jack as Fauxmanda’s “baby daddy,” and Emily, Aiden, and Nolan stage a ruse that James Bond probably would approve of.Ah, and there Helen was, observing these proceedings like the third of three Siamese fighting fish: the one who sits by and waits while the other two fight it out. Certainly, she knew right away when she saw Aiden that he must have been the one to put his “ex-girlfirend,” Emily, in charge of the forceful invite that brought her there. She just didn’t want to engage with him at all, though. However, this fundraiser proved a perfect opportunity for her to approach Daniel and say vaguely threatening things like, “Indecision is a sign of weakness in a leader. And you need to be better than your father in every respect.”
Speaking of tense meetings, Charlotte brought Fauxmanda to speak with Conrad about how he might be able to help leverage his power in the community to get Jack free. They said that Jack was innocent, that those drugs weren’t his. It only resulted in the Hamptons greatest quote-dispenser (sorry, Victoria) delivering this doozy of a response: “The difference is I was 100% certain of my innocence. But as for your baby daddy, Ms. Clarke, I hope you can respect that I have to act more prudently with regard to the influence my name affords me.” After Charlotte left, he told Fauxmanda that he wanted her to keep her distance, because he resented the way she’d dragged his daughter into a world of sex and violence. So, with no other recourse but to stand up to the Ryan brothers on her own, she bought a gun…with one of Conrad’s watches that she’d swiped.
Fauxmanda threatened Nate, and was just going to pull out her gun, when Ashley appeared and told her that Conrad had gotten Jack out of jail. Turns out Connie was willing to get some more mileage out of his name after all. He just wanted to make Fauxmanda sweat. And he really wanted to use the term “baby daddy.”
Back at the fundraiser, our troika of conspirators got down to the real reason they wanted to lure Helen Crowley there. In a true Bondian move, Aiden and Helen shared an elevator together…only for it to stop and the car to fill with gas. Gas that promptly knocked them out. When they woke up, they were in a garage or warehouse confronted by two masked gunmen with voice scramblers. Aiden quickly took back his gun and used it to stage a rescue of himself and Crowley. But Crowley bolted from him as soon as she had the chance. The implication was clear: Emily, Aiden, and Nolan had staged this abduction to force Aiden and Crowley to become allies, to make Crowley think that other forces were out to get her. “Well, let’s see if she buys it,” Emily said.
Now to the big reveal. Back at NolCorp, Marko further tried to prove his innocence to Nolan by letting him have access to his email account. Except that in that email account were missives he’d sent to Daniel tipping him off about the NolCorp assets to which Grayson Global could lay claim. Marko claimed that he’d never sent those emails. That he was being set up. But by whom?
I think we always knew whom. Padma picked up the phone, dialed a number, and said, “It’s me. I have an update. I have confirmation that Nolan Ross is hiding the carrion program somewhere inside the company.” Who should respond on the other end? Helen Crowley, with “Good, we’re counting on you.”
So what we suspected all along is true. Padma is evil. And Nolan fell far too quickly under her spell.
What did you think of “Sabotage.” And is Season 2 finally getting back on track?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: ABC]
‘Revenge’ Recap: Absolute ‘Power’ Corrupts Absolutely
Create Your Own Adventure: ‘Revenge’
From Our Partners:
Megan Fox’s 12 Hottest Moments (Moviefone)
Ryan Gosling’s ‘Airbrushed’ Abs: Plus 19 More Reasons We Love the Actor (Moviefone)
Following the colossal impact of Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino’s reputation kept him a cult favorite straight through smaller pictures like Jackie Brown the Kill Bills and even the less impressive Death Proof. But 2009's Inglourious Basterds proved that Tarantino was capable of extending his reach to new viewers utilizing his unique stylistic sensibilities to harness rich booming emotional stories. In the wake of Inglourious we expected the same marriage of style and substance from Django Unchained. An immediate follow-up to the 2009 masterpiece Django keeps in step with Inglourious in framework: they’re both period pieces both stories about a people’s oppression both vehicles for the tremendous talent that is Christoph Waltz. But where Tarantino’s World War II wonder felt like a meticulous melding of his outsider auterism and mainstream dramatic cinema Django is more an example of Tarantino’s heightened confidence as a result of Inglourious — he has conquered the mainstream world and now can infuse it with everything he might have been holding back last time around. But this is where Django falters: while roundabout conversations and stylistic violence are a staple of Tarantino’s work here his usual gambit feels overdone and more than a bit worn out.
The story takes the charismatic King Schultz (Waltz) a pre-Civil War dentist-turned-bounty hunter on a mission to assassinate a trio of known criminals. He teams up with slave Django (Jamie Foxx) — whom he apprehends by murdering his masters — because investigations have led him to understand Django is someone who can identify by sight the targets in question. A moralistic opponent of the very idea of slavery not to mention a big-hearted romantic Schultz agrees to both grant Django his legal freedom and to help him rescue his beloved wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from the clutches of a sinister slave owner in exchange for his assistance in completing a montage of bounty missions.
The pair’s early journeys offer a good deal of fun — the first act of the movie is chock full of Jedi Mind Tricks imparted by Schultz upon enemies of the conquest Kill Bill-ian cutaways and an off-kilter vignette that plants a horde of Klan members in goof-around banter that would be more at home in Blazing Saddles. But once Schultz and Django arrive at the plantation of the dastardly Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio who has fostered a great deal of excitement with this casting but downplays any opportunity for memorable madness) to rescue Broomhilda the fury of the film dips. Several meandering exchanges between Candie and his visitors (employing the façade of slave traders interested in purchasing some of Candie’s prized Mandingo fighters) precede a dinner setting that is established to grant the heroes certain triumph or certain doom. Where this chapter of the story should easily be the most engrossing — akin in form to Inglourious’ high-anxiety bar showdown or Pulp Fiction’s diner robbery we never break a sweat. Even when suspicions arise — courtesy of babbling house servant/secret mastermind of the Candie operation Stephen’s (Samuel L. Jackson whose performance is a gem) watchful eye — we’re never too worried about the outcome. The stakes are never presented with as much weight as they deserve.
But alongside this absence of substance there exists overstuffed style: far too many “endings” to the movie (as Tarantino feels the need to tack on new forays for Django long past the story’s expiration date) one too many shootouts a few too many bad guys (the sheer number robbing each of his effective villainy) and conversations that even devoted Tarantino fans will find to be rambling. And while all this could be prepared successfully it would need something more below the surface to make it work. We never really get to know Django and we’re dealt a “damsel in distress” so flimsy we never form any real attachment to her. As such we never feel in danger even in the film’s hardest moments. And while we might have fun at a few points along the way without this gravity it doesn’t quite feel like a successful journey.
It was in the cards for Revenge to blow through its reserves in a single episode. Everything was leading up to this week’s explosive run. Nolcorp’s dealings with David Clarke coming to Daniel’s attention, Mason’s interference in the Gordon Murphy business, Victoria and Conrad (apparently) ready to kill one another, Kara at the edge of her rope, Amanda’s former self bubbling up, Emily’s feelings for Aidan slowly returning, and of course that whole bit where Mason started to figure out the connection between Emily and Amanda all came out in full force in “Penance.” And like a few characters in the show, the audience was rewarded for its penance throughout the comparatively lackluster start to the salacious show’s second season. And of course, there’s the shocker: Emily shares her true identity with yet another member of her quickly growing revenge squad.
The Trouble With Mason
It’s no surprise that Mason quickly put the pieces of Amanda and Emily’s juvi pasts together to discover that they were in fact in the same facility together as teens. It is surprising, however, that Mason’s big revelation from this discovery is that Amanda and Emily must have been lovers. Duh, that’s why Emily’s leading the charge on this Grayson-destroying mission. Let us wipe our hands and move on. Bravo, Mason.
Of course, that’s not true and Emily’s quick to tell Mason that. So he goes where he knows his presence will be accepted with greater acceptance, by someone who’s a little more vulnerable: Amanda. He asks to have lunch with her because he’s discovered her past with Emily. Emily quickly intercepts her and tells her to cancel the lunch and threaten to get a restraining order, so right after she claims she’s calling the shots, she folds to Emily’s command that she do all she can to keep her family and tells Mason off.
Unfortunately for Emily, Mason’s not so easy to get rid of and he shows up at the bar to show Jack Amanda’s blast from the past photo. Like the hungry little sea urchin she’s always been, Amanda quickly does whatever she can to keep this from ruining her new, perfect family and agrees to talk to Mason about everything somewhere away from the bar.
She meets him at his house and spins some yarn about how Emily is actually in love with her and stalking her. Mason instantly believes the story. (Why on Earth would he? Hasn’t he been duped enough to know he’s being duped again?) While he wraps his head around the story, Amanda brings out her real secret plan: a crowbar. She swings at Mason, but just in time, Emily shows up to stop her and sends her away while securing her own alone time with Mason. And then, she tells him everything.
Of course, it’s not quite as bad as it seems. Yes, Mason is slippery and only out for himself and the ability to turn whatever he witnesses into a book deal, but his selfishness is incredibly dependable. Plus, he kind of owes Amanda on account of the part where he told her he would write a book exonerating her father and then did the exact opposite. She has him call Kara, who’s on her way to flee the Hamptons from JFK airport, and tell her that he has information about her latest husband, Gordon Murphy. And he does. But that’s not the exciting part. He goes completely off Emily’s well-planned book and tells Kara that the Graysons are behind the David’s frame-job, riling up a murderous woman who just so happens to be off her meds, but more on that later.
Even if Mason didn’t do exactly what Emily planned, she still managed to make the pseudo-journalist useful by having Nolan re-do his cork board and plant evidence that suggests Mason framed Conrad for Gordon Murphy’s murder. It’s not long before he’s behind bars and Emily is offering him a deal, a way out of the sentence she just created for him.
If Mason agrees to plead guilty and go to jail, she won’t have to use all the tampered evidence she has against him in order to take him down for real in a trial. Then, when she’s finished her revenge plot and succeeded, her confession will be all he needs to be released, and at that point he can write his greatest work: Emily’s life story, right up until the end of her revenge. (Of course, you have to wonder how much of her spy tactics might put her in jail when it’s all said and done.) It’s an offer Mason absolutely cannot refuse, and just like that, Emily has guarded her secret and made a de facto ally. Or perhaps we should just call him a helper for now. You never know how long people will stay good on this show.
Kara, Why You So Crazy?
Kara’s so crazy because Kara forgot her meds. Actually. She’s having a little balance issue. She decides it’s time to leave Grayson Manor and the Hamptons and accepts Victoria’s offer to buy her a flight out of the tri-state area. But, as we mentioned, she doesn’t exactly make it. She’s brought back by Mason Treadwell, who also inadvertently creates a rage monster out of her. (We can see where Emily gets that from.)
Kara storms back to the mansion, where she quickly disables all the critical cameras, and while Conrad is dying in an investor Q&A and Victoria is trying to find Conrad to warn him that Daniel’s trying to sabotage his place as the leader of Grayson Global, Kara nabs them both and interrogates them heartily. We learn what we’ve already surmised from all the other details: the Initiative was looking to frame Conrad, but he send them after David Clarke because he was jealous of his wife’s affair with the neighbor. This doesn’t seem to move Kara. She’s still ready to kill.
After realizing that Kara already has her secret fancy lady, pearlescent gun, Victoria tries for one final plea: Kara’s latest husband, Gordon, killed her first husband, David. Rather that redirecting her attention, this only angers Kara more and she commands they get on their knees and blindfold themselves so she can end them. Luckily, Aidan comes to the rescue as Emily helplessly freaks out over the lost security camera feed. He tells Emily, like some dashing and self-sacrificing hero, to turn all the cameras off, begging that she just trust him. This hard for Emily because the last time she trusted him, he left her standing in a snowy courtyard at Takaeda camp.
Next: Aidan plays knight in shining armor... and Emily actually likes it?He not only manages to fix this bad situation by chloroforming Kara and quietly removing her without Victoria or Conrad knowing anything, but he builds a backstory that Kara seems to believe and gets her to leave town. Of course, before she leaves, Aidan parts ways with Kara and Emily and our revenge-stress asks Kara if there’s anything she wants to tell Amanda. Kara simply says that she wishes she had been a better mother, which triggers more regretful memories in Emily. As long as Kara is around, Emily is forced to continually remind herself that she chose the possibility of any future familial or friendly relationships with the people from her past, and new family like Charlotte.
St. Nolan and Mr. Bond
That is, except for Nolan, who whole-heartedly claims Emily as his own family. And really, he’s all she’s got too. When Aidan comes to Nolan to beg him to give up the David Clarke receipts before Grayson Global tears Nolcorp apart and finds out about the company’s connection to Emily, he does it. On one hand, it’s only a matter of time before the all-powerful corporation gets to the bottom of the issue. On another, if Nolan gives up now, Emily will be safe. And as he expresses, that’s all that matters. Adding to the rare moment of sentimentality between these conniving friends, Nolan questions Aidan’s intentions like a proper brotherly figure, threatening to take down Aidan if he hurts Emily and wondering what he stands to gain from taking so much risk for Ms. Thorne. Aidan swears he’s only out for good, but Nolan’s reservation about the hulky Bond-wannabe is one of the only endearing moments this show has seen.
And while you can’t get anywhere without family, blood-related or otherwise, there’s something to be said for a great partner in crime. Emily’s spent all season punishing Aidan for a decision he made to keep her safe years ago, and since then, all he’s done is break his neck to earn back her trust. And he’s done it, tenfold. He’s practically running half (or more) of the revenge operation himself. Luckily, Emily’s finally started to take notice. When she returns home after the ordeal with Mason and her mother, she’s exhausted and Aidan is there waiting with his usual, apparently genuine question: “Are you alright?” Normally, that’s the point at which she kicks him out on his keister or, in a moment of desperation, falls asleep next to him and kicks him out the next morning. Instead, she finally gives him what he (and we) wanted all along: a good old fashioned midnight porch makeout. You can’t put a gorgeous, suave Englishman on a show like Revenge and let his handsomeness spoil due to lack of use.
All the King’s Horses and All The King’s Men
Of course, there are a whole host of other characters working through their problems as well. Most prominently, Victoria and Conrad are strengthening their union through fear. After almost losing their lives at the hands of Kara’s rage, they’ve got a new lease on life. Conrad even kisses Victoria on the forehead. Of course, they’re worried their days are numbered, because everything they can’t explain is automatically some untraceable, unsanctioned move by the Initiative, whose whole purpose is apparently to screw with the Graysons. Right.
While his parents are telling each other ghost stories, Daniel is trying to take over the company. With the David Clarke receipt from Aidan, Daniel whispers to the stockholders during Conrad’s meeting and gathers them for a secret meeting in which he calls for a vote of no confidence in his father so that he can take the ruling chair. Little Daniel is all grown up. It just brings tears of venomous joy to a Revenge fan’s eye.
Finally, we have Jack, who’s nothing but happy at the moment, thanks to his “investor” Kenny and his pending nuptials (luckily, Amanda just wants a low-key ceremony), but this calm water signals only one thing: major swells ahead. Kenny has a slimy brother, who pops his head into the episode long enough to try and convince Kenny that he needs to get back on track with his evil plan. Kenny argues that he would have done it to their father, but that Declan and Jack are good guys. Clearly, Kenny’s younger, darker-haired brother is here to make sure the Porters’ lives get thoroughly ruined. The storm’s a-comin’, Jackie Boy.
Of course, the only question that remains at the end of all of this is: Who will Emily bring into her revenge circle next? Or, now that the selfish Mason knows, how long will it be before he betrays her for a bigger bidder?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: ABC]
More:'Revenge' Recap: And We're Back In the Game
'Revenge' Recap: Get Down to The Heart of the Matter
'Revenge' Recap: Mommy Dearest
From Our Partners:
Ariel Winter’s Mom Claims She Found Daughter in Bed With 18-Year-Old Boyfriend, Police Report Reveals (EXCLUSIVE)
Reese Witherspoon’s Son Tennessee James Makes Public Debut (PHOTOS)
Apparently, New York’s unbridled derision for its sister state to the south dates back at least as far as the 1920s — as Manhattanite Arnold Rothstein tells Atlantic City resident Nucky Thompson early on in this week’s episode of Boardwalk Empire, “New Jersey [is] a state I have little interest in or affection for.” Prohibition might not have lasted, but that sentiment sure did.
Rothstein is none too pleased with Nucky due to the events that closed out last week’s Boardwalk: Gyp Rosetti’s seizure of Jersey’s Tabor Heights, an important stopping point on the route of alcohol delivery between Atlantic City and New York City. Nucky begs for Rothstein’s help in disposing of Rosetti — initially, Rothstein is unwilling, due to the various parties to whom Rosetti links him presently; still, he seems to appreciate Nucky’s point that the man is hardly a reliable business associate. Or at all an entirely stable human being.
In fact, we get a glimpse into Rosetti’s off-kilter personal life this week: in addition to making hyper-aggressive catcalls at small town waitresses, Rosetti enjoys his share of sadomasochistic extramarital affairs, relishing in a painful choking. Depiction of this pastime, which bookends the episode, becomes his undoing towards the end when a screaming-like-a-banshee Bugsy Siegel (on Rothstein’s command) busts in on the incapacitated Rosetti and shoots up his entire Tabor Heights residence. Both Rosetti and Bugsy make it out alive, but several of the former’s men (not to mention his lover and an innocent paper boy) are killed. A man of passion if nothing else, Rosetti does seem to take personal issue with the murder of the paper boy, whom he had met and “befriended” (in his own horrifying way) earlier on in the episode.
So now that Rosetti had pledged an inevitable vengeance against the regimes of Nucky and Rothstein, Boardwalk’s leading man is in for his share of professional, and mortal, conflict. Adding of course to the marital (and extramarital) troubles Nucky has been having of late: Nucky’s affair with vaudeville actress Billie Kent is brought to the attention of Margaret this week when she walks in on the two of them shopping at the fancy garments store where she used to work. In a subsequent conversation, Margaret highlights the reason why Nucky might have a bit more difficulty working things out with this one: she’s independent and self-made — not in need of his rescue. But that doesn’t sit well with Nucky, whether he’s up to admitting it or not.
A Schubert play in which Billie is set to star has two problems going for it, in the eyes of Nucky Thompson: it’s destined to fail, and it casts an overly handsy actor in a romantic role opposite his girlfriend. In order to kill two birds with one stone (in a rare turn for this show, that’s just a metaphor — no killing is involved), Nucky arranges it so that the famed stage actor Eddie Cantor will usurp the male lead. At first, Cantor tells Nucky he is unwilling, due to a previous commitment to a New York production. But as we all know, when someone on this show says, “I knew you’d understand,” it’s likely that the person he or she is talking to doesn’t exactly understand at all.
Nucky sends Chalky and Dunn Pernsley to pay Eddie a visit, tacitly endorsing the breaking off of the actor’s New York commitment and the joining of Billie’s show (to keep it running and box out Mr. Handsy). And so, Nucky can view himself a damsel in distress’ knight in shining armor once again. But as Eddie ominously tells Billie at the end of the episode, getting romantically involved with Nucky is hardly permanent, and is always trouble, citing the long-gone Lucy Danziger as proof.
But it's not as though Margaret is entirely innocent in this area either: lest we forget her affair with Owen Slater, or ignore the new longing in her heart: one for Dr. Edward Holt, the House-ian physician who begins teaching Margaret's prenatal care classes this week. As he is just about the only other enlightened human being at the hospital, and one who finally drops his gruff exterior to extend appreciation for Margaret's dedication to the teaching of women, she is visibly disheartened to learn that he is engaged. He might be Dr. House, but this hospital love triangle in the making is straight out of Grey's Anatomy.
Over in Illinois, it seems as though Van Alden’s former life is catching up with him — with “seems” being the operative word. That fed he met in the bar a few weeks back has taken to leaving Van Alden his business card, both at his office and at his apartment, haunting the former detective with ideas that he might have been found by his old administration. Van Alden tries to warn his wife Sigrid about what dangers might come, but she insists (through her broken English) that she knows the truth: he was a good, innocent man who got caught up accidentally in the doings of criminals, and had to move out to the Midwest to avoid their wrath.
Her devotion shines through the episode when the speakeasy fed comes to visit Van Alden, revealing his true intentions: Van Alden sold him a faulty iron, and he simply wants reimbursement — but what he gets instead is clocked in the head with a frying pan and suffocated to death when Sigrid misunderstands his reason for coming, assuming that he is one of the “bad men” — an idea she maintains after the married couple disposes of the threat (through the help of the florist whom Van Alden befriended in the season premiere).
Finally, we actually see a bit of humanity in the most unexpected of places this week: Gillian Darmody, who seems to be clinging desperately to the idea that Jimmy is alive. Not only on the surface, to keep up appearances, but behind closed doors — Gillian can’t handle the idea that her son has been killed. The sage prophet Leander Whitlock visits Gillian, explaining that her whorehouse is costing more money than it is earning. Gillian suggests that she will mortgage her home, but Leander says she can only do this by declaring her son (the house’s owner) legally dead… something she refuses to do. As such, Gillian drops her strict codes about business and does everything she can to earn the necessary funds — even if it drags her down, she will never admit that Jimmy is truly gone. As sick and twisted as she may be, as much of an anchor she might have provided to her son’s life, she clearly does care for him.
Overall, this stands as one of the stronger episodes of the season so far, if only for its interesting examination of each of the characters: Nucky is desperate to see himself as a hero, Van Alden is desperate to keep his old life behind him (at any cost), and Gillian is desperate to believe that she is not alone. Sensing a pattern?
[Photo Credit: HBO]
NYCC 2012: 'The Walking Dead' Panel Proves Little Ladies Love Chandler Riggs
'SNL' Recap: Christina Applegate Gave Her All, Usain Bolt Grabbed the Comedy Baton
Leanne's Spoiler List: 'Smash' Will Shake Things Up, 'Vampire Diaries' Gets Intense