REVENGE Debriefing: Web of Thornes

revenge 4x02 6

After last week ended with Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) breaking out of her forced stint in the looney bin, and David Clarke (James Tupper) kidnapping her steps away from his own daughter — unbeknownst to him — Revenge kicks off this week’s episode with some kidnapping, some cheating, some blackmailing, and as always, a lot of revenge.

Courtesy ABC

Courtesy ABC

First of all, Victoria dreams she’s back in David Clarke’s old beach house, falsely proclaiming her innocence in his incarceration, when she wakes up tied up (badly) in the back of a car, with captor David ominously taking her to an unknown location. When he finally stops the van at their destination, Victoria kicks him in the face as he opens the door (see what I mean?), and runs away, only to almost be run over by a semi. At the last possible second, David comes running after her like a flying squirrel, saving her from becoming a well-dressed pancake, and ushers her to his original destination — some sort of creepy underground bunker, where it seems he will imprison her.

Victoria asks if he’s about to lock her up in this dungeon the way she “unwittingly” did him, and if this is the place he was taken after his “death,” but he annoyingly tells her it’s best she doesn’t know, for her safety and the safety of their daughter Charlotte. It appears he’s conveniently forgotten his other daughter — you know, the one who he sent on a warpath to go after the Graysons — when he mentions he’s “lost” Amanda, and Victoria realizes he doesn’t know the truth about the real Amanda. Will Victoria tell him? Of course not: she’s going to use this to gain the upper hand in this relationship, proving the only person Victoria really loves is Victoria.

Courtesy ABC

Courtesy ABC

In the end, it seems like David is still pining for “V” and has deluded himself into thinking they can be a family, even though a) he’s just kidnapped her b) for all intents and purposes he is dead and c) he admits to killing Conrad to her face. Victoria knows a good play when she sees one, and uses his love for her to her advantage, by telling him her life has been destroyed by a vigilante named Emily Thorne, who David is now determined to destroy in turn. Something tells me there aren’t going to be any Grayson-Clarke family barbecues anytime soon.

Courtesy ABC

Courtesy ABC

Meanwhile, Emily (Emily VanCamp) is back to full-time scheming, much to Nolan’s (Gabriel Mann’s) dismay. She manages to erase any record of Victoria’s confinement in the psychiatric hospital (say what?), so that at the very least if Victoria tries to press charges, there won’t be any proof that she was ever really there. Nolan initially refuses to take part, because he doesn’t want to feed her addiction and preferred his vengeance-less gal pal — which made me cheer for him, go Nolan! — but eventually he gives in, as he always does. (Line of the night: “All I could hear was the sound of my revenge-free summer being strangled to death by a web of Thornes.”) He’s managed to make transparent stickers that somehow have video cameras built into them — because of TV magic — and they attempt to track the errant Graysons, to middling success. They assume Victoria will eventually make contact with Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) or Daniel (Josh Bowman), not realizing she’s been abducted by her former lover.

Speaking of the poor little rich kids, they both get into heaps of trouble this week. Daniel plots with Margaux (Karine Vanasse) to oust Gideon (Daniel Zovatto) from LeMarchal Industries, with everything from slashing tires (so he can’t make an important business meeting), to planting cocaine on him twice, the second time as he’s going through airport security, getting him arrested. Margaux is revealed as a budding schemer herself, crossing to the dark side to maintain her hold on her father’s company,by framing her even-more-evil brother. Her transformation seems to be complete: she states that money is power to Daniel, and as her father’s successor now that Gideon is in jail, she’s got both in spades. She and Daniel finally give in to their feelings for each other over their mutual success: it’s not that I think they’re an enjoyable couple, but I think the writers have teased this development ever since she showed up that it was inevitable they’d fall into bed together. It’ll be interesting to see if Margaux heads down the same rabbit hole as Daniel has as her newfound power consumes her, or if she maintains a shred of the decency Karine Vanasses has infused her with so far.

Courtesy ABC

Courtesy ABC

On the other hand, Charlotte is spiralling out of control. She walks in on Gideon in bed with another woman, and after she confronts him about his “cheating,” he tells her what we all knew would be the case: he was just with her for a good time. Charlotte is devastated, because she was apparently the last to know Gideon was a world-class user, and decides to drown her sorrows in her own little bag of coke. Next thing you know, she’s on the roof of her hotel, ready to jump, or at least ready for someone to notice she’s about to jump. That person happens to be Emily, who rushes up to the roof to talk her off the ledge, which gets her a “you don’t know what I want! Or care!” from self-pitying Charlotte, and let’s face it, she’s not wrong given how Emily’s treated her over the last few years. She even accuses her of making everything about her — have you not watched your own show, Charlotte? In any case, Jack (Nick Wechsler) and his partner (Ben Hallisay) conveniently rush Charlotte off the ledge — since they’re now apparently answering jumper calls as well as doing traffic stops.

Later that day, Jack escorts Charlotte back to Emily’s old beach house (“I’m having déjà vu” she says about his forcing her someone she doesn’t want to be), where our favorite avenger not only admits to being the one who kidnapped her last season, but also reveals that she is actually Amanda Clarke, along with what she’s been doing in the Hamptons for the last three years. Talk about a shocker! I didn’t think Emily would ever fess up to her sister until the end of the series, so points to the writers on this development. In any case, the conversation doesn’t go as planned for Emily, because Charlotte instead chooses this moment to be mature, for once, and calls her out on all the mess she’s caused as a result of her mission. “You think you can make some big emotional plea and I’ll what– forgive you for all the terrible things you’ve done to me?” she spits, and storms out of the house, but not before breaking the infinity box full of David’s journals that Emily shared with her. I take it they won’t be wearing matching dresses and singing show tunes together anytime soon?

Courtesy ABC

Courtesy ABC

At this point, I was sure this would be my favorite part of the episode, because as much as I enjoy watching Emily carry out her revenge on the horrible people who ruined both her and her father’s lives, she’s destroyed a lot of relatively innocent people in her wake. As dull as Charlotte is, she’s probably one of the few blameless people who have been hurt in the crossfire. So it was about time someone confronted Emily with the pain she’s caused in her blinding pursuit of the Graysons.

However, the scene I loved even more follows that: our two revengers are sitting on the porch at night, and Emily realizes how badly she screwed up by coming to the Hamptons and taking everyone down. Could it be: some self-awareness from our ice queen? She admits she chose revenge over a relationship with her own sister, Charlotte — no small feat for our ninja girl. What’s even better is that Nolan points out that what she really did was choose her father above everything and everyone else. While it’s unfortunate that this kind of takes the onus off Emily for taking responsibility for her actions, I’m glad someone finally placed some of the blame on David, since it was his “dying wish” that sent a vulnerable, confused, grieving Emily into battle to fight his war. With the David’s return, I wonder if her sainted father will be knocked off his pedestal when she finally finds out he’s still alive.

Charlotte asks Emily to meet her at the Stowaway, claiming she’s too angry to tell her how she feels, but instead gives her a letter detailing her emotions. As Emily begins to read it, Charlotte knocks her out, and leaves her unconscious body on the bar floor as she spreads kerosene around and lights the place ablaze. How cliché! She exits the fiery mess, and tells rescuers there’s no one else inside, in a very Victoria move. Is there yet another new queen to reign over the Hamptons?

(Sorry, I made myself laugh: I might have defended Charlotte earlier, but her attempts at being evil are still amateurish at best.)

Has Charlotte finally broken bad for good? Is Emily doomed? How long until David finds out the truth about his daughters?

Nels
Nels knew how to operate a TV remote control before she knew how to talk. As a result, she has spent an inordinate amount of time pretending she actually lives on a soundstage. When she isn’t watching whichever show is currently capturing her heart, she is writing about how said show is currently capturing her heart. She loves pie.

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