Let’s set a few ground rules for the recap of this week’s flashback episode of Revenge. First, everything that happens here in the “present” is really taking place in the last days of 2002. Except for one thing. But we’ll get to that. Second, I’m going to keep calling Emily Emily. I know she was Amanda back then, but because we already use that name to refer to the curly-haired, Frank-killing stripper formerly known as Emily Thorne, let’s not muddy the identity-switching waters, cool? Finally, I will try to keep a tight rein on my observations about everyone’s early millennial look. God knows it wasn’t my most fashionable era, either. No promises, though. So let’s go back to December, 2002, for the events of “Legacy.”
Auld acquaintances don’t forget | Eight months after her father’s death, Emily was drinking and dancing and being a baby badass in a New York club. When the guy she was with crept off to make out with another woman, Em interrupted their bathroom-stall rendezvous and was about to brain him with a toilet seat when bouncers ejected her into the street. I know we’re supposed to look at Emily’s black nail polish and fishnets and bad attitude and feel sorry for her wayward ways, but seriously, that was pretty great. Nolan’s limo pulled up and ferried her away to get her some dinner and maybe a little common sense. As she chowed down, Nolan ascertained that she hadn’t read her father’s prison journals; he advised her to do so. Around that time, in Conrad’s Grayson Global office, Frank, Victoria, and the CEO reviewed an anonymous card that read “Shame — David Clarke,” with a fake blood stain spattered all over it. Surmising that it had been sent by someone involved in the Grayson’s frame-job, Frank invited all of the suspects to the Graysons’ annual New Year’s Eve party… because that’s a perfectly logical way to get to the bottom of a mystery, and because this show loves parties like Charlotte loves a fully stocked medicine cabinet. (Too soon?)
Returning to the scene | Emily made her way to The Stowaway, where we saw Papa Porter alive (aw), Declan as a cute little kid, and Jack — OK, I know I promised, but just no, Jack. No. The haphazard facial fuzz was gone, thanks be to Gilette, but it was replaced with a head full of Hanson brothers hair. The long locks were apparently enough to help Jack nab a cutie bartender girlfriend; her name was Kyla, and she served Emily a vodka and a ham-handed pun — “Want a twist? The hero and the villain are actually the same person,” get it?!? — before the sight of Porter and his lady canoodling sent Em running back to her old house, now empty and dark. She flashed way back to New Year’s Eve 1991, when shady hedge- fund manager Bill Harmon (one of Emily’s first takedowns) came over to accompany David Clarke to his first Grayson bash. Back in the present, Emily returned to the bar the next day and conveniently offered to take Kyla’s cater waitress gig at the New Year’s party. Meanwhile, Frank reminded Conrad that everyone, including Victoria and he, could have sent the bloody note. (Did you love when Frank mentioned Lydia, and Conrad confidently said, “I’d like to think my secretary’s a tad more loyal than she was to David.” Good job on the subterfuge, Carole Miller!) As this was going on, Victoria slipped away to David’s barren beach house, where she thought about the night she met him — the same New Year’s Eve that Emily had remembered earlier. (Highlight of that reminiscence: Conrad saying, “Rudy just walked in. Let’s go talk to him before he gets drunk and starts angling for another mayoral run.” Ha!) Vicky was snapped back to reality by Conrad’s arrival and his announcement that they, the owners of the dummy company in possession of the vacant house, were going to sell the property. She asked why. “Because you’re still in love with him!” he said, snarling. All of this, of course, Emily heard from her hiding place around the corner.
Party down | Though Nolan’s 2002 hairdo wasn’t terrible, his social skills were about the same as they are now. He awkwardly hit on Kyla, then even more awkwardly introduced himself to Jack after realizing she was spoken for. But shifty little minx Kyla, overhearing Nolan offer to back out of his purchase of the Porter family home in Amagansett if it would make Carl Porter happy, set her sights on the rich technogeek and laid a big wet one on him as the clock struck midnight. Jack, despite the sensitive guy hair, decked him. But enough preamble. Here’s what you need to know about who was at the Grayson’s bash:
Lydia and Michael Davis: The then-still-together couple wanted to buy property in the Hamptons, which they got after Lydia revealed to Conrad that her reasons for backing his anti-David-Clarke testimony went beyond the payoff she’d received. (Her time behind closed bedroom doors with Conrad may have helped, as well.) When an oblivious Victoria said she couldn’t wait for them to be neighbors, Lydia’s “Be careful what you wish for,” was pretty great post-foreshadowing (I just made that term up). Equally great: the naked longing in Victoria’s voice when she told her pal, “That house was, um, the only thing of David I had left.” Nice to see Queen Victoria crack, even just a little.
Tom Kingsly, Dr. Michelle Banks, Bill Harmon: As Emily circled the party, her future targets (philandering senator, crooked psychiatrist, and the aforementioned hedge fund manager, respectively) talked about their self-involved plans for the future and applauded Conrad’s news that Grayson Global was in the black for the first time since the “terrible incident” in 1993. We didn’t find out much about these three that we didn’t know before, but watching them smarm around the room even for a short time made me even happier that Emily would eventually go all Red Sharpie on their asses.
Mason Treadwell: Turns out, the not-so-true-crime author was both the person who gave Victoria the photo of David Clarke on his last day and the sender of the anonymous note. “You are despicable,” Victoria hissed into his ear. “Gee thanks,” he said, smiling. “High praise, coming from you.”
Roger Halsted: Emily felt she could trust the Grayson Global accountant who had been “forced to stay quiet against his will,” according to her father’s diaries. You’ll remember that Carole cited Roger as an ally, too. Though his guilt over what happened to David Clarke made him a bit of a boozer, Emily told him her real name. He pushed her away but later slipped a note into her pocket; too bad she didn’t get a chance to read it before Frank, sure that Roger was the person threatening the Graysons, made it look like he’d killed himself in the poolhouse bathtub. Traumatized, Emily called Nolan and hysterically sobbed that she wanted to make the Graysons pay for what they’d done. As usual, Noles warned her away from a path of revenge, but this show isn’t called Acceptance or Forgiveness, is it? Broken, Emily stood on her old porch and asked her dad for help, then realized she was right in front of the double infinity carving. We later saw her having the symbol inked on her wrist at a tattoo parlor while reading Roger’s note, in which he promised to help her bring the Graysons’ misdeeds to light. And then we cut back to the for reals present, where a current-day Emily greeted Daniel as he came home and bemoaned having to attend his parents’ New Year’s Eve fete. “Actually,” Em said, “I’m looking forward to it.”
What did you think? Are you wishing we’d seen some Takeda in this episode, or are you hoping that maybe we’ll get another hour devoted to Emily’s training with her sensei? Do you think we’ll run into Kyla again? What post-foreshadowing lines made you laugh? Sound off in the comments!