Flashback-Themed Revenge Recap: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Revenge Season 1 Episode 20Let’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!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jess says:

    loved this episode so much! love all the details in writing that you pointed out here. I’m hoping next season we’ll have another flashback episode that explains Nolan’s transformation and the beginning of Amanda’s revenge plan.

  2. arianeb says:

    “Want a twist? The hero and the villain are actually the same person,” – A throw away line that ironically pretty sums up the entire series. All the main characters on the show have a good side and a bad side, especially the three main mains: Emily, Nolan, and Victoria. Good stand alone episode. It probably would have worked better earlier in the season. Looking forward to the final two!

    • Loni says:

      I thought that line was great too. Especially since it was said right as Emily began her revenge-seeking journey.

  3. Doug says:

    The episode was OK but we really didn’t learn anything new or exciting. I’d like to see an episode that shows her Henry Higgins / Eliza Doolittle transformation from a juvenile delinquent to a cultured, sophisticated young lady capable of assimilating into the Hampton’s high society. Also, as mentioned in the recap, show us the MMA training which turned her into a high kicking Ninja badass. I’ve also wondered how her dad was disgraced and sent to prison but was able to amass the assets to allow Emily to achieve enormous wealth and financial independence.

    • tvfan says:

      David Clarke had half of Nolan’s company (perhaps secretly), which passed to Emily (via Nolan) when she was 18 and out of juvie.

    • Charleez says:

      The $ is from his investment in Nolan

    • Jopan says:

      Emily owns half of Nolan’s company — that was the money her father invested in him.

    • Loni says:

      I’m sure we’ll see Amanda’s transformation in flashbacks. My bet is that will be the focus of next year’s flashbacks. Her introduction to Takeda, her training, her plotting specific revenge for each person. It’s coming I’m sure.

      I just enjoyed this episode as a summation of the season. And for those who said we didn’t learn anything new, of course we did. We learned how her revengetta all started and that’s a pretty big and important step in her journey.

      • arianeb says:

        Not only that, but I’m thinking that next season we will see the return of fake Amanda as a trained student of Takeda, willing to do what Emily/real Amanda won’t.

  4. YowzaPowza says:

    I thought this episode was kind of lame and unnecessary. Didn’t we already know all this? I was expecting some new information. I was already fully aware of everything that happened to Amanda’s father. This was basically just the same stuff we’ve been seeing all season just presented differently.

    • Shaun says:

      Well,I think there was a few new things.Like Nolan buying Porters house and the accountant guy and that Emily wasn’t in for revenge from the time she left prison.

  5. Carda says:

    When Kyla mentioned that she was going to waiter a Grayson event I was sure that she would become the waitress Daniel abused! :D
    Maybe she was, maybe this event will pop up later, else her introduction was pretty unneccesary ^^

  6. I can see why some may have felt that the episode wasn’t the best – in my recap, I wondered if airing it this late in the season derails the momentum heading into the finale.

    I liked it for the reminder of what this was all about. If anything it demonstrates that Emily/Amanda has become confused about why she’s doing this.

    Overall I liked it. It was fun to see the past take-downs and get to know a little bit more about how Amanda got her vengeance on.

    Also: That wig for Jack was truly terrible, wasn’t it?

  7. nikki says:

    It is a sad state of affairs when Marc Blucas played a role better. The guy who plays David Clarke can’t act. He and Victoria have zero chemistry. Am I supposed to believe this was some kind of epic love? Victoria needs to be stabbed. Again and again and again.

    • Irishgirl says:

      Agreed. I liked Blucas in the pilot better. And considering how little screen time David Clarke has gotten, I don’t see why he couldn’t have done both this role and his role on Necessary Roughness.

  8. Irishgirl says:

    Ok….where in the blazes is my comment I posted a half hour ago??! I try to repost it, and get the “you’ve already posted this comment” error. Sigh.

    • Irishgirl says:

      Ok….second attempt to try to post this comment as a reply to myself. Yes….petulant I know.

      This episode was ok, but it didn’t really reveal much more than we already knew…..except that Conrad’s affair with Lydia had been going on for 10 years. Victoria was oblivious for quite some time wasn’t she? I did love that in the club scene where Emily is going gorilla on the guy, they were going to have her brain him with a plastic toilet seat. LOL! The tattoo bothered me a bit because why haven’t we ever seen it in the present? Wouldn’t Victoria zoom in on that immediately?? I still say the timeline for this show makes no sense. I really wish they’d stop monkeying with it and moving it around. The terrorist crash happened in June 1993….her father was convicted in March 1995. When she got out of juvie in April 2002, she was 18….and she said she hadn’t seen her father for 10 years. So, that would mean she was around 8 when her father was arrested and that he was arrested in 1992. However, it had only been 9 years since the terrorist attack, 7 years since his conviction. If she was 18 in 2002, she should be 28 now. That’s the only part of the timeline that’s concrete. If we set the timeline by the comments and narration from Emily, then it’s been 20 years since she last saw her father, but that would then mean that Charlotte, the child of Victoria and David, is 19 or 20, which we know is not the case. I would have liked to see Daniel and Charlotte in the 2002 flashback. I know it’s a minor thing to some, but it just bothers me when shows can’t get the continuity right.

      • Carda says:

        about the tattoo: well >>I<< saw it tons of times before ^^;
        keep your eyes a bit more open, she had it from episode 1 on!

      • lilys87 says:

        I’m having some trouble with the timeline in Revenge as well… Daniel asked her about the tattoo in the pilot, but you’re totally right about the rest. The more confusing to me being Sam. Are we supposed to believe he is 20 ??

        • Irishgirl says:

          Thanks…I didn’t recall that from the pilot, but it still makes me wonder why Victoria hasn’t spotted that thing yet. She and Clarke appear to have initially bonded over their kids, so it seems like he might have told her about the infinity pledge with his daughter. And yes….the timeline question also brings up the issue of Sammy, the incredibly spry geriatric dog. LOL

      • arianeb says:

        There are two flashbacks in this episode 2002 and 1992. Victoria meets David in 1992, plane crash happens in 1993, Charlotte is born summer of 1994? (making her 17 — a senior in high school), David Clarke convicted in 1995.

  9. I love the contrast in Emily’s looks going from her current blonde hair back to her straight, long brown locks. Every time I see her that way I can’t help but think of Olivia/Fauxlivia from Fringe. Truthfully, Anna Torv pulls it off a little better but maybe that’s because Fauxlivia’s red hair is just smokin’ hot when combined with her badass, devil may care attitude.

  10. MJ says:

    I enjoy the show. I try not to think to much about the timeline, because I know it is off, but I don’t want to think that hard. I thought last night’s episode was another good episode and that it was interesting seeing the 2 different time periods and how it lead to where we are now.

    I also wonder how the girl plays into things that was Jack’s girlfriend in 2002. Also, why did she kiss Nolan to get Jack mad? Purely to have him punched cause his bought Jack’s house? I did not get that at all.

  11. lvar12 says:

    Have they mentioned rather or not Emily’s mom is alive? Maybe I just noticed it last night, but David said that his wife “is no longer with us” not dead which would leave a door open for her return. Obviously Jack’s ex gf wanted money, maybe she’s the paralyzed girl that was Daniel’s fault.
    Jack has been to Nolan’s house, wouldn’t he have said before “hey, I used to live on this block”
    Nothing was too exciting about this episode, would like to eventually see how Nolan’s company grew because at the boat party Ashley said he has more money than everyone combined there and Emily’s transformation.

    • Carda says:

      I don’t think that Nolan LIVES in the exact same spot Jack used to live in
      he rather bought as much land in the hamptons as he could to either simply take control or to build new branches of his company there

      doesn’t neccessarily say that his own house is there

      I dunno about Em’s mother though, that would be a helluva twist!! :D

    • I have said that since day one-Mommy has got to be alive. If she was dead they would have just said she had passed away. She has only been mentioned one other time and it was very early. It was young Amanda asking her dad a question about something and if mom would have liked it-and he said yes I think she would have. They hadn’t mentioned her since but I believe that the line last night left the door wide open that she is still alive somewhere.

  12. DL says:

    The best part of the episode, I thought, was finally seeing Emily break down at the end. We haven’t seen that kind of emotion out of her, well, ever. It reminded me how great an actress Emily Van Camp is, and also served to evoke so much sympathy for her character, who is now so ruthless.
    Overall, however, the episode didn’t quite do it for me. I certainly enjoyed it, but the action going on in the present day has been so exciting and electric and has had great forward momentum, and I can’t help but think last night’s episode slowed that down a bit.

  13. OK but can someone please explain to me how Sammy the dog is, by their timeline, 18-20 years old?!

    • arianeb says:

      I have good reason to believe that the advanced age of Sammy the dog will be the primary plot driver in this weeks upcoming episode called “Grief”. :(

  14. nikki says:

    Revenge is that show that you really shouldn’t spend time thinking about. Because then the entire thing falls apart. Just enjoy the hot guys and switch off your brain for an hour.

    The fans put more thought into this than the writers.

  15. Elle says:

    The timeline makes no sense?? Can someone please explain…if Victoria is meeting David Clarke for the first time in 2002, then how could they have had Charlotte? By 2012 she would only be 10??! Which she clearly is not. Can Hollywood stop “phoning it in” and actually do something that makes sense, even though they seem to get away with it!