The gloves came off in this week’s Revenge as two principal antagonists solidified their status as threats to Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) scheme of REVENGE. At this point it seems to me that Tyler (Ashton Holmes) is a bigger villain than Faux-manda (Margarita Levieva). At least with Faux-manda Emily knows what she’s dealing with, even if it is a childish tease prone to wearing bikinis and short-shorts. But Tyler – who knows what he’ll do?
Let’s break it down…
This week was all about the catty remarks and cruel nicknames, with Nolan (Gabriel Mann) and Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) as the key perpetrators. Ashley started us off early as she became increasingly displeased by her reduction in status from party planner to personal assistant to Queen Victoria (Madeleine Stowe). Early in the hour she referred to housebound amnesiac Lydia (Amber Valletta) as Little Mary Suicide (ouch!). Last week I wondered just how deep Ashley was going to get in with Tyler, and this week we got a little closer to finding out. After Tyler bought her a fancy new dress (courtesy of Nolan’s stolen credit card), the two tried to charm $20 million out of investors at Conrad’s (Henry Czerny) investor party – selling “the Grayson Lifestyle.” Daniel (Joshua Bowman) got his own targeted quip in when Conrad announced the friendly competition between the Harvard roommates; the eldest Grayson child suggested that Tyler has been living that lifestyle all summer.
The party, however, didn’t go well for either Tyler or Ashley. After striking out selling pipe-dreams to investors, Tyler tried to seduce Nolan into giving him the money, not realizing that Nolan was on an Emily-inspired mission of REVENGE to take Tyler out. Nolan agreed to invest in exchange for more “personal time” and forced a kiss out of his self-described Talented Mr. Hamptons (loved that reference) just as Ashley walked in. In order to placate her after gasping in horror, Tyler turns the tables, taking her to task for being Queen V’s lackey and not stepping up her game. And so she did: by episode’s end she was arranging lunch with Victoria (and calling her by her first name) in exchange for scoop on Emily. In doing so Ashley takes one step closer to selling out Emily to get into Victoria’s good graces.
Queen V spent the majority of her time sweet talking Lydia into taking copious amounts of pills and jabbing at Conrad, who reciprocated by stealing Lydia out of Southfork…er…Grayson manor. I thoroughly enjoyed the tense discussion between Conrad and Victoria after she confronted him with the news that the police had found dead security man Frank’s (Max Martini) cell phone on the property. Conrad gleefully told her that if he goes down, he’d ensure everything she cares for is ripped from her greedy claws, to which she coolly replied that she doesn’t respond well to threats. Another revelation - Lydia has confirmed that she remembers her planned sabotage the night of the benefit to Conrad , who smartly whisks her away from “the witch”. How much of a threat is Lydia? My thoughts: who cares? So long as we keep getting scenes like these between the Graysons, I’m game to let the mistress stick around and complain a while longer.
In between her meetings with Conrad, Queen V found time to meet with Emily and work out their issues. It’s clear from the way that their let’s-learn-to-live-together-and-hate-it conversation ended that neither woman trusts the other (nor should they). There was something particularly satisfying in the way that Stowe smiled disgustedly and VanCamp almost laughed as Emily referenced becoming part of the family. Everytime these two appear in a scene together, it absolutely crackles with bitchy energy!
Of course, Emily had bigger things on her mind than Mama Grayson – she spent all of two seconds patching things up between Daniel and his mother because she was too busy taking desperate phone calls from Nolan about Faux-manda. Damage control went into overdrive with the impostor femme fatale. Emily tried to tell her she couldn’t stay and then Nolan not-so-subtlely hinted to her that when Emily wants people leave, it often happens “in spectacular fashion”. None of this sunk in for Faux-manda, who spouted out crap about feeling like she was home and how tired she was of running in between sunbathing, drinking and playing tonsil hockey with Jack (Nick Weschler). Faux-manda’s decision to stick around thus far has only caused emotional damage for Emily. Very shortly the former stripper is going to realize that all those hefty cheques and billionaire boyfriends can get her a bigger piece of the pie. Blackmail will most certainly be on the table soon enough. At this point it’s hard to determine if Emily has any genuine feelings for the girl, or if she’ll be another casualty on the road to REVENGE. If she tries to turn the tables on our heroine, though, I fear she’s due to become fish food off the bow of the boat she now claims is her “namesake”.
Which brings us finally to Nolan. He was all over the place in ‘Suspicion’: scheming to take out Tyler, scooping up the copy of Lydia’s benefit speech, and warning off Faux-manda and Jack. I’m glad that the show is giving Mann more to do and making him more involved in Emily’s plan instead of simply being her tech assistant. His line deliveries in particular are spot on. Nolan brings a certain lightness to the show because he seems somehow in over his head and completely in control at the same time. He’s a fun character that adds a lot to the show, unlike some others *cough Declan&Charlotte cough*. It should be interesting to see what happens when Emily finds out just how Nolan’s been trying to take down Tyler in next week’s episode, ‘Loyalty.’ The preview made it clear that she’s not very happy he’s taken up with a hooker (gasp *clutches pearls*).
- The other key figure in last night’s episode was Emily’s mysterious Japanese businessman, Satoshi Takeda (Hiroyke Sanada) whom she called after she feared she was losing control. It appears that Takeda played an integral role in preparing Emily for REVENGE as the episode ended with a flashback of her agreeing to fly to Japan to train with him. While some have referenced The Karate Kid as inspiration for this turn of events, I was reminded of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga, in which a killer blonde trains with a wise sensei to exact revenge against those who murdered her family. Please, please, please let there be a training sequence in some future flashback wherein Emily is forced to carry buckets of water up huge flights of stairs!
- Daniel and Tyler each called each other bitch last night (once during the volleyball game and once after Tyler won the $20 million investor competition). Is the show channelling The O.C. (1:03) or are they just happy to see bitchstolemyremote recapping the show?
- Lydia has stopped taking her pills. Who votes she bites it via aneurysm just when she’s about to announce something important?
- Best line of the night (tie):
- Jack: What’s up with Victoria Grayson? That woman scares the pants off me.
- Victoria (in response to Connor Paolo’s Declan asking if she was “freaking serious” about paying him to stop seeing Christa B Allen’s Charlotte): I’m freaking dead serious