Revenge recap – 1×10: ‘Loyalty’

Courtesy of ABC

And that’s it folks! The fall finale of our beloved Revenge is one for the books. I’ve been waiting two weeks for Emily (Emily VanCamp) to utter the lines “You fell in love with a hooker” and it was well worth the wait! It’s like the holiday gift I never knew I wanted.

Let’s break it down…

The episode begins with Emily working out her Kill Bill kinks with Satoshi Takeda (Hiroyke Sanada) in a sparring match. Emily VanCamp did well with the physicality as she and Takeda identify her two main problems: Ashton Holmes’ Tyler (simple) and Margarita Levieva’s Faux-manda (ticking time bomb). Amusingly, Takeda doesn’t even bother giving her advice on Tyler; he skips directly to Faux-manda, suggesting that  Emily “engage your opponent to do work for you.” In other words: pit Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) against Faux-manda.

And that’s just what she does. But first she’s got to handle the simple, and that means exacting REVENGE! on the Talented Mr. Hamptons. Taking out Tyler is surprisingly simple once she finds the sextape of his romantic dalliance with Nolan (Gabriel Ross). Side Note: I never truly picked up on Nolan’s whale/dolphin fetish until this episode. Obviously his USB stick was there, but he’s got fountains by the pool, and sculptures in his office. What’s up with that? End Side Note

Of course, Emily vs Tyler is hardly fair considering that Tyler is off his meds…literally. In his first scene of the night we see him pop a mysterious pill before he once again attempts to motivate party-planner Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) to ship up or shape out. Then later, after a passive-aggressive convo with Daniel (Joshua Bowman) about landing Nolan’s account, we see him discover an empty bottle of Clozapine in his bag. A quick interwebs search reveals that Tyler is taking an anti-psychotic traditionally used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Now in regular life people who suffer from these disorders are not crazy bisexual himbos, but in the land of television and honey, pills (or worse, empty pill bottles) = certifiable crazypants. And so we know now that Tyler is actually really dangerous (please note the italics for emphasis).

Emily repairs Daniel’s business relationship with his father in two easy strokes: first, she uses her relationship with Takeda to land Daniel a $50 million investment. Second, she plants the idea in his mind that Tyler blackmailed Nolan sexually for money. This starts in motion a sequence of events that begins with Daniel telling Conrad (Henry Czerny), who fires Tyler, who turns around and blackmails Conrad with the truth about David Clarke involvement in the plane crash. All of this helps to benefit Emily’s endgame, so that’s another tip of the hat to our blonde antihero. Well done, Em! Of course, she probably didn’t foresee Tyler threatening Nolan and deep sixing Nolan’s expensive laptop in the pool.

Courtesy of ABC

This was an interesting reversal of fate for Emily. Thus far she’s been able to manipulate and control her Hampton players like pawns, and while ‘Loyalty’ started off that way, by the end of the hour she was alone. Takeda called her out on lying about her feelings for Daniel, which he felt were comprising her plans, and when she denied it, he left. Daniel also left to spend the night protecting Victoria after he learned that his father hadn’t fired Tyler, so although Emily has Tyler blackmailing Conrad, she’s driven Daniel back to his mother (and her tumbler of booze the size of a baby’s head!)

But it was her conversation with Nolan near the end of the episode that will have the biggest impact moving forward. From the very beginning we’ve seen Nolan and Emily as a team: he’s the sidekick to all of her schemes. Her decision to throw him under the bus with the sextape proves to him that Emily has never trusted him. In fact, she calls him out on his attempts to derail her from the start: interfering with Jack, and buying the Amanda. Then she drops the amazing line about falling for a hooker. He retaliates that he has been involved because David Clarke asked him to be, and that it’s good that Clarke is dead so that he doesn’t see what she’s become. And with that Nolan leaves.

At this point I had to take a step back. I realized that somewhere along the line I’d forgotten that Nolan wasn’t joining in the REVENGE for fun. It seems obvious in retrospect, but his plan was to remain close to Emily to protect her, but also to pull her back from the edge and prevent her from going too dark. Now, in light of their argument (and how we’ve seen them at the engagement party, exchanging catty remarks) it’s clear that their work together is over. I’m doubtful that he will expose her, given that he did have an opportunity to do so with Tyler and didn’t take it, but by the end of ‘Loyalty’ Emily manipulated events in such a way that she was for the first time truly on her own.

It should be interesting to see how she fares without back-up as we inch closer to the deadly engagement party in five episodes time…

Other observations:

  • Faux-manda spends most of the hour trying to find new ways to sink her claws deeper into Jack (Nick Wechsler). After running afoul of Sammy the magical ageless dog (he doesn’t recognize her), Faux-manda spends some time boning up on her “Hamptons” past to make a more convincing Amanda. That convinces Jack as they go back and forth exchanging rocks with each other. Sammy is a different story: Faux-manda tricks him into accepting her later, so I can only assume she did so by slathering herself in peanut butter. (Side Note: Loved the sly references to Sammy’s age: First Jack calls him “senile” for not recognizing Faux-manda, then Amanda calls him a “wonder dog”).
  • Conrad files for divorce from Victoria. A few scenes later a lawyer named Ryan Huntley magically appears to offer his services to her and they begin building a case. Daniel later tells her that he’ll support her by providing access to the company’s records. I did find it strange that Victoria – traditionally such a cold, untrusting fish – would automatically accept the word of this guy. At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that he’s working for Emily due to his connection to the David Clarke case. This seemed a bit obvious, and reminds me a bit of the old Revenge days when Emily took down a different player each week (which I enjoyed less), so hopefully the show won’t revert back to the old model.
  • Declan  (Connor Paolo) and Charlotte Grayson (Christa B. Allen) almost buy an apartment together until Jack steps in and reminds Declan that he’s an uneducated bus boy. Thankfully wiser heads prevail and Declan pulls out, but not before Victoria finds out and drives Charlotte to live with Conrad.
  • Ashley, barely present, accepts Tyler’s dinner offer, but this storyline, which seemed really juicy only a few episodes ago, has become stagnant. If Ashley’s truly going to be a player in all of this, the writers need to get her off the bench and into the action. Watching her waffle and make snide (albeit funny) comments isn’t enough to distract from the fact that she’s spinning her wheels.

Don’t forget to check back  this coming Saturday as I live-blog christmas movies throughout the day (click here for the schedule). And we’ll have fresh content throughout the month of December with the Bitch Awards (our best and worst in movies and television), and the continuation of our Justified season 2 marathon.

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

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