Revenge! Scoop on the All-Flashback Episode, Dark Daniel, the Em/Nolan 'Ship (?!) and More

Emily Thorne’s Revenge-enda is heading back to the beginning in an upcoming, all-flashback episode that showrunner Mike Kelley hails as “one of [his] favorite things” about ABC’s primetime sudser thus far.

Also unveiled at the drama’s PaleyFest 2012 panel on Sunday: Spoilers on the Season 1 finale, what’s next for Emily and Daniel (whose journey takes a dark turn), and much more.

Being touted as an “origin story,” an upcoming installment of Revenge travels back to 2002, Kelley revealed, to the day that the photograph in Lydia’s house, with Emily standing in the background holding a tray of champagne, was taken.

“The way we’re treating it is that this is an episode of Revenge set in 2002,” explained the EP. “We’re not setting it up like a flashback [within a present day episode].” So, from the moment the illuminating hour begins, expect to see a dark-haired Emily, a far-less preppy Nolan and… a long-haired, Tom Cruise-esque Jack?

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“You should see my hair in that episode,” Nick Wechsler deadpanned, alluding to a ‘do described by Kelley as similar to Cruise’s superstar in the upcoming movie Rock of Ages. (Here’s a little sample for you.)

The flashback episode is designed to give Emily “her first glimpse at these people who destroyed her family, when she’s still not quite believing her father and his journals,” added Emily VanCamp. “There’s a big event [that happens] at this New Year’s Eve party, and it really solidifies what her father’s been telling her… That’s sort of the beginning of her journey.”

Added bonus: Madeleine Stowe noted that the episode actually finds some cast members going much further back in time — to 1990!

Other takeaways from the Revenge Paley panel:

• The next new episode (to air sometime in April) finds Mason Treadwell (guest star Roger Bart) returning as part of Victoria’s scheme to save Daniel. And as if there was ever any doubt that Victoria would “go to the ends of the Earth” to protect her son, Stowe revealed, “In [the next episode] somebody sends guys to beat up Daniel [in the showers]…. Who could that possibly be?” Of course, Mommy Dearest is behind the attack, because, Stowe explained, “In Victoria’s mind the best way to get her son out of jail is to get the daylights beaten out of him. I actually think it’s utterly justified, but it’s going to cause a big problem between them.”

• Following Revenge‘s next new installment, Episode 17, the series will jump ahead in time to December, with Daniel’s murder trial wrapped up by Episode 19.

• Season 1 will “obviously” end on a cliffhanger, Kelley promised. And if the drama is lucky enough to receive a second season (which it no doubt will be), they’re going to stick with the formula that works. Basically, the show will “set up [a mystery] in the beginning, pay it off in the middle, fall it out, and then set up some new stuff,” he shared.

• The Jack/Emily/Daniel love triangle “kind of steers one way soon,” offered VanCamp. “We already know how much love Emily has for Jack — that’s a given — [but] in the next episode you see how far she’s willing to go for Daniel, as well.”

• Speaking of Daniel, Josh Bowman shared that his currently incarcerated character will soon “come to a crossroads in making a decision between good and evil.” Added Kelley, “He’ll at least [realize] that he’s been pulled and pushed and manipulated by both his mother and beautiful fiancée,” which results in a “new respect and understanding” between Daniel and his father.

• Emily/Nolan ‘shippers may want to regroup and reassess their cause because, according to Kelley, theirs was always “meant to be a sibling relationship. It’s got a nice, warm beating-heart to the series; otherwise it’s just a bunch of nastiness.” Gabriel Mann, however, is not in total agreement with that stance, joking, “I don’t like that — we’re not related!”

• Might Em’s Daddy Dearest actually be alive and kickin’ somewhere? “I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again: If it’s not impossible, we’ll probably do it,” Kelley teased. “I love that character (played by Men in Trees‘ James Tupper)… but I can disappoint and titillate you all by saying you will not find out this season.” Regardless of what the future holds for David Clarke, Revenge does have plans to someday unveil what happened to Emily’s mother.

• “Vengeance is coming” in the Victoria/Conrad divorce storyline, Stowe warned.

• Kelley teased that cutthroat Hamptonite Ashley Davenport (played by Ashley Madekwe) will “have a definite shift in loyalty. We’re going out [this season] with Ashley doing something where she has to make a big decision about regarding [Emily].”

• “Declan turns into a bit of a tattletale” when it comes to his girlfriend Charlotte and her rapidly-developing pill addiction, Christa B. Allen shared.