It’s nice to see that after so many years together, Revenge‘s Victoria and Conrad still thought enough of each other to exchange re-marriage gifts: He gave her a pretty little gun, and she got him a pair of shiny bracelets! Meanwhile, Reason No. 74 Never to Cross Emily Thorne: She’s got access to cold storage, and she’s not afraid to use it.
Without further ado, let’s review the major events of “Illusion.”
A LITTLE DIVERSION | Mason and Amanda meet to talk about his accusation at the end of the previous episode – that she’s actually not who she says she is – and with some coaching from Emily, she convinces him to drop it. It helps that Emily has created a scoop that the nosy writer can’t resist, and it goes a little something like this. Amanda says that she can’t believe the media bought the Graysons’ story about Victoria’s alleged kidnapping, and Mason agrees. “I practically required the Heimlich when I heard it,” he snarks. He practically requires a new pair of undies when she casually adds that Gordon Murphy was an acquaintance/employee of the Grayson family. Oh, and did she mention that she has a number that might lead directly to the accused kidnapper? When she gives him the digits and grants him permission to investigate, he damn near sprints off after the new lead. Meanwhile, Emily finds Kara on the beach, drawing Grayson Manor from a distance. She’s got an easel and everything. (Please, Revenge gods, let this be some kind of secret infiltration map she’s creating and not just a clunky way to get mom and daughter to talk.) Emily says that she draws, too, and they have a stilted conversation about how Em dodged a bullet by breaking off her engagement to Daniel. Kara assures her daughter-whom-she-isn’t-supposed-to-think-is-her-daughter-but-whom-I-can’t-believe-doesn’t-know-is-her-daughter not to worry about the Graysons, because people like that tend to “get what’s coming to them.” (Side note, but it’s so big, it’s practically a center note: What is up with Kara? She’s so twitchy and mousy and just plain odd that it’s difficult to imagine suave ol’ David and her as a couple. I can’t tell if it’s how the character is written or Jennifer Jason Leigh’s acting choices, but I’m not feeling Mrs. Clarke just yet.)
Emily leaves her mom playing Picasso on the beach and beats it to NolCorp to inform Nolan he will not be attending Conrad and Victoria’s upcoming second wedding. Earlier, Em watched through the security cameras as Daniel and Ashley (who, by the way, would never wear those Little House on the Prairie bloomers underneath an evening gown, even when just trying it on) discussed inviting Nolan to keep an eye on him. “And here I thought they wanted a caboose for the conga line,” he deadpans. (Just think about that visual for a moment. It’s pretty great.) When he asserts that not only is he going, he’s bringing Padma as his date – despite Em’s assertions that Ms. Lahari’s secret investigation into NolCorp’s connection to David Clarke will bring them all down – the two blondes get into a staring contest that would make Zoolander proud. “OK, you win with the steely eyes,” Noles concedes. Moments later, though, Mason calls and needs the tech whiz’s help to track the number Amanda gave him, and Nolan’s agreement (at Emily’s urging) means he and his plus-one are back on the guest list. Plus, as he points out to Emily, he’d rather see firsthand whether Daniel and Padma are working together before he does anything rash – and we all know that’s not really Em’s style.
TAKING THE PLUNGE | Elsewhere in town, Jack, Declan and Kenny re-open The Stowaway. Charlotte skips her parents’ sham nuptials to be there, which later earns her a supportive kiss from Dec (or, as Victoria awesomely refers to him earlier in the episode, “Oh, not that one again.” Ha!). Kara, Amanda and baby Carl are on hand, too, and the evening’s such a success that Jack’s feeling pretty good – so good that he asks Amanda to come out on the boat with him. He brings up a childhood memory that probably wasn’t part of Emily Thorne’s Speed-Identity-Assumption Course, but he doesn’t notice Amanda’s unfamiliarity with it because he’s too busy pulling a box out of his pocket (Me: “No, Jack! Don’t do it!”), getting down on one knee (“Dive into the ocean and swim far, far away from these cuckoo ladies – yes, I’m including you in this, Emily — and their terrible lies!”) and asking Amanda to marry him. Of course, she happily says yes. At this point, Revenge wants us to remember the disembodied, wedding ring-wearing hand floating among the Amanda’s debris in the season premiere’s flash-forward. Revenge wants us to think that it’s Jack’s hand. I’d be very surprised, and frankly quite impressed, if the show had the stones to kill off a main character like that. Think about what his death would do to Emily! More likely, I fear, we’ll get a Daniel/Tyler sleight of hand (pardon the pun) with another character taking a saltwater nap. Anywho, Jack’s popping the question isn’t this episode’s only bad decision involving the Porter brothers: As their longtime liquor distributor says when he drops their business because of their partnership with total sketchster Kenny, “Your father would be ashamed of you.” That was way harsh, beer guy… but probably true.
A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE | Victoria and Conrad’s second wedding is so full of soapy goodness, I half expected it to have an evil twin. First, let’s get the dresses out of the way. Emily, accompanied by Aiden: Sleek red with a plunging neckline, and girlfriend is working it. Ashley, accompanied by Daniel: Baggy metallic lamé with a belt, and her cute braided updo can’t make up for the sins of the frock. Padma, accompanied by Nolan: Royal blue prom gown, circa 1990 – and Nolan’s matching tux doesn’t help matters much. That brings us to Victoria, who’s truly stunning in a floor-length gray Vera Wang. Moments before the wedding, Conrad visits his bride to give her a gift: A pretty pistol so she can defend herself if ever he’s not there to do it for her. “And I thought you were offering me a way out of this,” she sniffs. (Heh.) Just after he leaves, she gets a call from Mason who actually does offer her a way out of it: The author has tracked Gordon Murphy to a trailer and found him there, stinky dead, with one of Conrad’s cufflinks on the floor next to the body. So as the Graysons are married again and the reception gets underway, the cops search the Manor and find all the evidence they need (with Mason flitting around like a demented Jiminy Cricket all the while). Then the police storm the party, handcuffing and arresting the groom then dragging him away while Victoria smiles victoriously to herself. Both Aiden and Nolan realize that the Revenging Angel is behind it, and there’s a funny moment where they both give her verbal high-fives and she’s all aw yeah. You get the sense she might chest bump them back, but it’s better she doesn’t; that dress is barely hanging on as it is.
MASON’S ON THE CASE | So here’s how it all shakes out: Conrad thinks Americon Initiative is behind his framing. This is reinforced when the Americon representative he met with a few episodes back shows up at his cell and basically demands that he help the group again financially. We learn that he wasn’t aware they were going to blow up a jet last time, and they’re not going to make him privy to their plans “this time,” either. He’s released on bail after the initiative woman pulls some strings, prompting Victoria to ask what he agreed to. His reply: “I don’t think I’ll know until it’s too late.” Gulp. Kara is devastated to learn that Gordon is dead, and via flashback we see him telling her that after his last job – presumably the Grayson mess that got him killed – he was going to retire so they could be together without interruption. Aiden thinks Ashley has some kind of agenda and also thinks Emily should give him another chance. Um, dude? Weren’t the two of you on the verge of Takeda-Kwon-Do-ing each other into a bloody pulp at the end of last week’s episode? Now you’re pals again? It was the dress, wasn’t it? (Side note regarding Em’s facial expression just after she tells Aiden to go home: Was that a “He’s so hot and I just turned him away” or a “I’m playing this guy so hard and he doesn’t even realize it”? Discuss in the comments.) In flashback, we watch Emily take the Grayson security cameras offline, steal a cufflink and plant some evidence in the house, fish Gordon out of an industrial freezer and then set up a faux murder tableau in the trailer where Mason found him. More importantly, we also see Mason – his curiosity piqued by Victoria’s comment that Emily is a “juvie girl” – realizing that Amanda and Emily spent time at the same adolescent corrections facility. Game on!
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of Padma’s admission and how Nolan dealt with it? Do you agree with Aiden that Ashley may have been too easy a mark for Emily? And the proposal – nothing good can come of that, right? Hit the comments and sound off!