Revenge Recap: A Dish Best Served Cold

Just like last season’s “Legacy,” this week’s Revenge turned back the clock – this time, giving us a strong, 2006-set hour that showed us Ashley as an almost-prostitute, the very beginning of Emily’s revengenda and a holiday morsel Victoria had been preparing for quite some time. So let’s get our rewind on and review all the flashback fun that took place in “Lineage.”

PAYBACK’S A BITCH | During Daniel’s first Thanksgiving break from Harvard, he surprises his parents by coordinating an unannounced visit from Grandma Harper. Adrienne Barbeau’s Marion swans into Grayson Manor in a leopard-print fur, playing Victoria’s coldness off as the bratty foot-stamping of a little girl fixated on the past. But in a flashback during the flashback (sounds more Inception-esque than it actually is), we see that Vicky was an apple-cheeked teen beauty whose mother always put her daughter’s well-being far below the importance of having a man around to pay the bills. (Side note: Superb casting in this ep. Marion and Victoria’s younger versions are dead ringers for their future selves.) When recent widow Marion invites her new man friend Ben to Thanksgiving dinner, Victoria uses the occasion to take her mother down in a manner that even Emily would have to acknowledge with a slow clap of respect.

We – and Ben — learn that when one of Marion’s old (and married-to-someone-else) lovers refused to marry her, she shot him… then made Victoria do the same and lie to the police that the man had attacked them. Victoria wasn’t indicted but was sent to a psych hospital for six months, and when she returned home, her mom’s new squeeze couldn’t keep his hands off Vicky’s 15-year-old self. So Marion kicked her only child to the curb and married the dude. A disgusted Ben then breaks up with Marion, who spits that she wishes she’d aborted Victoria back in the day. (Ooh, Thanksgiving burn!) As she leaves the house later that night, Marion confesses that she’s penniless and has nowhere to go. Queen V notes that Grayson Manor has more than enough empty rooms, but none of them will shelter her mom’s daughter-ditching butt. “Vindictive bitch,” Mama Harper snaps. “Oh, I learned from the best,” Victoria replies, sending Marion on her way and ending an exchange so soapy it gives off bubbles.

I loved watching old-school Victoria and Conrad’s interactions throughout the episode (because one of Em’s first takedowns involved notifying Victoria about Conrad’s affair with Lydia, we never really got to see much of them working as a team). But the final reveal, the one that Victoria and her hubby long ago had hired Ben to build a relationship with Marion just so Vicky could destroy her at the dinner table? That is so delicious, I want to serve it up with a side of cranberry sauce and some of my mama’s stuffing.

IN WHICH EM SAVES AIDEN’S UNFOCUSED BUTT | Confession time. I find present-day Aiden a little too slick and guarded, so I was happily surprised that he is such a hot mess when he and Emily first cross paths. He’s tending bar at a Russian-run, New York nightclub that doubles as a front for a human trafficker named Dmitri. Emily hooches herself up and goes there on her first Takeda mission, where she’s supposed to get Dmitri alone and then wait for sensei to come in and do something dramatic (we never find out exactly what that is). In the meantime, though, she runs into a decidedly less polished Ashley who’s “auditioning” to be Dmitri’s next girl. In the ladies’ room, Ashley cries that her MFA in art history “is useless in this town” and talks in a rough British accent that’s much more Sporty Spice than Kate Middleton. Em passes her a wad of cash and a phone number, telling her to find out when Dmitri will be there the next day, text Em that information and then never come back. She does. So Emily poses as an aspiring call girl and meets the Russian baddie in Ashley’s stead… moments before Aiden unsuccessfully tries to shoot him.

Remember how present-day Aiden is looking for his sister? Seems that she is/was one of Dmitri’s ladies. Em quickly puts together that Aiden’s dad, who works at Heathrow, was the means by which Americon Initiative got the bomb on the ill-fated plane; she posits that his sister Colleen’s disappearance a week before the bombed flight isn’t a coincidence. Takeda busts them out but Aiden can’t let it go; he hunts down Dmitri and eventually kills him, against Em’s wishes. As she leads the Brit away, he’s bloody, upset and totally out of his head – seriously, dude has never looked hotter to me. (Do I have a problem? Probably. Diagnose me in the comments.) At the end of the episode, we come back to the present and find Em and Aiden in bed, all afterglowy. He alludes to her getting him into Takeda’s School of People Who Really Need Therapy, and she allows herself a gorgeous, fleeting moment of vulnerability when she says, “You’d better not disappear on me again,” which he answers with a touching, “I won’t, Amanda.” Oh good lord, you know this isn’t going to end well, right? I’m genuinely worried for our girl. (That’s also probably not the sanest thought I could have. Meh. Add it into your diagnosis.) My notes say they then go downstairs, where she shows him her box. Didn’t that already happen? Oh, her infinity box. Nevermind.

BAR BROUHAHA | We finally figure out what’s behind Kenny’s sudden interest in The Stowaway – turns out, it’s not so sudden after all. In the flashback, his dad shakes down dock businesses for “protection” money; those who don’t wanna pay get windows broken, fires started and the like. Jack just wants to pay him, but Carl and another local business owner don’t. So when Kenny’s pop comes down to the pier to collect his cash, Papa Porter’s pal shoots him with The Stowaway’s gun. (If Days of Our Lives taught me anything, it’s that nothing good ever happens down by the docks… and that exorcism is a storyline best left to primetime.) Carl covers for his friend, never – as far as we can tell – letting Jack know that he was involved in a murder. But when we flash forward to the present, it’s clear that Kenny knows what went down. Best thing about the Porter-related flashbacks? Sammy for the win!

YOU DOWN WITH I-P-O? | NolCorp goes public on Thanksgiving Day 2006. Noles has a very brief celebration with CFO and boyfriend Marco before an accountant alerts Marco that Nolan’s Cayman account, which previously held a whole lot of moolah, now holds nothing. Nolan confesses: The money went to the daughter of the company’s first investor, David Clarke. Marco thinks Nolan’s nuts. Nolan fires him. In the present day, Daniel calls Marco… maybe I was wrong, and Marco – not Padma — is the CFO Nolan needs to be worried about?

Now it’s your turn. Could you have done without the Daniel-as-thwarted-poet piece? Was Victoria’s mom everything you wanted her to be? Is there any way Emily can survive Aiden without her heart (and possibly her entire plan) getting ravaged in the process? Sound off in the comments!