REVENGE Debriefing: It’s always the little things that’ll getcha

Courtesy ABC

It’s a new year, and a new recap here at TYLL!

Revenge returned tonight right where it left off last month, and didn’t waste a second getting right back into the swing of things.

Allegiances are realigned and tested in “Epitaph,” and one thing’s for sure: we aren’t really sure where anybody stands these days. (So stay away from balconies just to be safe, everyone.)

Once again: here be major spoilers from the fall finale, so enter at your own risk.

Courtesy ABC

Courtesy ABC

We reunite with Emily (Emily Vancamp) and Jack (Nick Wechsler) in the aftermath of their battle with Kate Taylor (Courtney Ford), hovering over Daniel’s (Josh Bowman) lifeless body in the middle of the living room floor. (Nobody in the Hamptons has ever heard of CPR, have they? And they also have the slowest emergency services on the eastern seaboard, it seems.) David (James Tupper) heads over to Grayson Manor as soon as he hears the gunshots from the beach house, and is stricken by the carnage at the mansion. However, he immediately stresses the magnitude of what has just happened to our unmasked avengers: Malcolm Black is going to be on their tail, and they need to act fast. Meaning, they need to get rid of Kate’s body and hide the fact that she’s dead, too. (Even though, you know, David’s the reason Black père sent his daughter after the Clarkes in the first place.) Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) unsurprisingly breaks down at the sight of her slain son, and is aghast when David suggests they cover up Kate’s death by placing the blame on Daniel. By portraying Daniel as a jealous ex-lover who broke into Emily’s house because he wanted her back, they can explain the damage (as well as the “self-defense” wound to his chest), conveniently leaving out the part where psycho Kate showed up and went Kill Bill on them all. And thanks to Daniel’s deus ex machina in the last episode, we’re all feeling a little bad that they’re sending him up the river posthumously.

From the start, the coverup stinks, and definitely is not up to par with Emily’s usual con. She can’t keep her story straight when the cops show up to the scene — what’s the difference between an attic and a basement, right? — and officer Ben (Brian Hallisay) picks up on it. (Plus, his feelings are still hurt from their disastrous date, so there’s that.) When it lands Emily in the interrogation room the next day, Ben also points out that while she is injured from their fight, Daniel’s body had no bruising whatsoever consistent with an attack. So she turns on the empathy switch, especially after finding out from Ben that Margaux (Karine Vanasse) is expecting Daniel’s child, and pleads her case: she didn’t fight back, supposedly, because she didn’t want to hurt him, since knew his accusations were true. Basically, she tells Ben she deserved the verbal lashing, until she thought he was about to kill her, when she finally shot him. Emily Vancamp has mastered the single-teardrop-streaming-down-the-face technique that gives us just a tiny glimpse into Emily Thorne’s vulnerability, and I give her kudos for that here. We know it isn’t just a story for Emily right now.

"But you said *I* could sing the lead!" (Sorry, I had to.) / Courtesy ABC

“But you said *I* could sing the lead!” (Sorry, I had to.) / Courtesy ABC

Meanwhile, all hell is breaking loose back at the Manor. Victoria is livid that David chooses to sully Daniel’s memory in the name of their mission, and the gloves come off. David also refuses to let her bring Charlotte home to attend the funeral, which she self-righteously blasts him for. (Victoria, you manipulated Emily’s psychiatric care for a decade as a child. Who are you to dictate anyone else’s?)  She’s doubly enraged when David forces her to bunk over at her former digs with Emily, since she cannot be left alone, for her own safety or theirs. It’s the slumber party from hell! David is essentially orchestrating a reverse Parent Trap, but this one isn’t going to end in the women singing “Let’s Get Together.” (Except, how awesome would that be? They could do a grimace-off!) At the very least, though, it allows both women to see him for the total putz that he is. That being said, I loved David’s burn when he tells Victoria that, “I was a prisoner of yours for two decades. You can hold on for one more day.”

Margaux is also predictably devastated at Daniel’s loss, and doesn’t buy the story the cops or Emily are selling about Daniel’s alleged drunken rage, since he was all zen about their new family. She goes to Victoria, expecting to find an ally against whatever Emily is scheming, but is shocked when Victoria serenely tells her they have to believe the official story if that’s all they have. She won’t back down and vows to find the truth, with or without Victoria’s help, and Victoria isn’t all that upset about it either. Emily evidently feels bad about lying to Margaux, especially knowing she’s now pregnant to boot, but you know, not bad enough to actually fess up or let her know her fiancé wasn’t a monster in his final minutes. When going to the cops doesn’t work, she confronts Emily directly: she’s not welcome at Daniel’s funeral, and Victoria benevolently agrees, despite Emily insisting Daniel would have wanted her there. (“Maybe, but we’ll never know, will we?”) The Queen is back, y’all. But more importantly: Margaux promises to expose and destroy Emily for what she’s done. Do we have a new Revenger in town?

(I couldn’t help but feel like Emily and Margaux’s barbs were child’s play compared to a single look from Ms. Grayson.)

All hail the Queen. / Courtesy ABC

All hail the Queen. / Courtesy ABC

I have to say, my favorite scene in the episode was when Victoria sits in Daniel’s Manhattan apartment, good-naturedly helping him dress like old times — which transitions, tragically, into Victoria all alone in the same room picking out his funeral suit. I knew, as soon as Daniel appeared on screen, that they were setting up Victoria choosing his final outfit, but Madeleine Stowe absolutely knocked it out of the park. Instead of the histrionics we saw in the teaser when she first finds Daniel’s corpse, here we see Victoria restrained, basking in the happy memory of her son, while obviously bereft at his loss. She navigated that line between joy and grief so adeptly, and for one of the few times in this series, I felt real sympathy for her.  I always figure Victoria puts herself above all else, but I saw a glimmer of the loving mother grieving her son that we so rarely see on the show.

Elsewhere, Nolan (Gabriel Mann) and Jack hold up their end of the revenging bargain, this time tracking down “Dread Pirate Malcolm” Black (Hee! I love you, Nolan) and covering up Kate’s tracks, respectively. I… don’t particularly care for the details of the story, but suffice it to say, thanks to Nolan’s magic, they learn Black is hiding in Ottawa (because bad guys always flee to Canada on American TV), while Jack feels sad about having sex with a murderer before she killed someone he knew. (Does everyone Jack sleep with end up dead?) David is tasked with dumping Kate’s body, and is almost sunk when Chief Alvarez (Nestor Serrano) pulls him over for a busted taillight and a suspicious blanket hanging out of the back of his van — which obviously turns out to be hiding nothing, because you don’t survive around criminal masterminds for two decades without learning a thing or two about transporting dead bodies. Meanwhile, crazy Louise (Elena Satine) shows up to give her condolences (with pies!), and even in the midst of her grief, Victoria can’t help her own scheming ways and uses Louise’s kindness to get her to steal documents from Nolan. Good times!

Courtesy ABC

Courtesy ABC

In the end, David reveals to Emily before heading out that if it hadn’t been for her tracking down Kate and her ties to Malcolm Black, it would have been Victoria’s funeral she’d been snubbed from this week, not Daniel’s — because he was about to kill Victoria (with the poisoned wine, you remember) when Daniel was shot. Way to deflect the blame onto your kid, Dave! Emily’s expression is hard to read — is she upset that her ultimate plan (destroying Victoria) could have been over without sacrificing Daniel, or is she disgusted that David would so callously kill Victoria? It’s an interesting twist to me, because it goes against the grain of a happy family reunion, which is all Emily would have ever wanted before finding out her dad was actually alive. I’m interested in seeing where they go with this.

Last but not least, an “FBI agent” in the swankiest Cadillac SUV stops Chief Alvarez outside the Hamptons precinct, looking for his missing agent Taylor. Alvarez notes the lack of government-issue plates on his truck, which seals his fate: it’s Dread Pirate Malcolm (Tommy Flanagan), here to eliminate anyone in his way! And today, that’s nosy cops who figure out they’re only posing as FBI to find their homicidal daughters. Oops.

What really struck me about tonight’s episode was how everyone’s allegiances were tested. Emily’s always been loyal first and foremost to her father, but she’s now learning he isn’t the kind, innocent man she believed him to be, and he’s acting pretty reckless and damaging her plans to boot. Nolan will always be Team Emily, but he’s not so sure about David anymore. Jack is also on their side, but increasingly seems to be wondering what the use in all this is. Ben was itching to nail Emily for Daniel’s murder, but her performance in the interrogation seems to have swung him back to pining for her again. Margaux has never been shy about her dislike of Emily, but now is so firmly entrenched by Victoria’s side that you now all hell will break loose when Victoria inevitably betrays her. Plus, she’s got a revenge mission of her own, so everyone better watch out. French women don’t mess around, folks.

Other things that amused me:

  • “Dude? Who are you talking to?” Nolan to Jack when the latter doubts his technologically mysterious ways.
  • “Take the day off. Grieve. Get yourself together. It’s what normal people do!” Jack, haaaaave you met Emily? Normal isn’t her thing.
  • “I was taught to deflect grief with baked goods and comfort foods. Thus all the starches.” Louise bearing her gifts to Victoria.
  • Nolan: “They were heading south.” David: “It’s all south from Canada, you idiot.”
  • Could Louise have been displaying any more cleavage at Daniel’s funeral? (Don’t get me wrong, it was a gorgeous dress, but maybe not for a cemetery?)
  • Did anyone notice the lack of Charlotte at the funeral? (My guess is she would have flung herself onto the casket had she been there.)

 

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Are you on Team Margaux or Team Emily? What is Victoria’s newest scheme? Is Louise on her way to boiling bunnies? Is David more dangerous than he lets on?

 

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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