Revenge Recap: A Little Hope? Nope

EMILY VANCAMP, MADELEINE STOWEAbout half of Revenge‘s characters take a cross-country trip in this week’s episode, and the mileage they rack up is just slightly smaller than a deductive leap Emily makes toward the end of the hour. Meanwhile, Conrad schmoozes some future constituents, Charlotte sheds her identity and Aiden’s hopes are raised… and then dashed brutally. Let’s take a look at what went down in “Collusion.”

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TWO MEN TOO MANY | Emily has a disturbing sex dream where she’s sleeping with an Aiden/Daniel hybrid (we should all be so disturbed) but wakes up alone. Needing “an honest moment,” she and the Brit have a cozy meet up on the beach – doesn’t the absolute lack of cover mean anyone could see them canoodling? – where she tells him Daniel wants to take her to an oyster bar for lunch. “Oysters. Subtle,” Aiden remarks. (Heh.) Little does Em know, Daniel’s plan is to whisk her away to California for the meal, because she loves that region’s Kunamoto oysters, and “the oysters can’t come to us.” Uh, has Daniel never been to a seafood restaurant in Manhattan? Anyway, he also kinda wants backup while he pitches Grayson Global to Stonehaven United, the up-for-grabs disaster recovery company that was the subject of last week’s ep. Emily agrees, even though it’s clear that Daniel sees the business trip doubling as a romantic rendezvous. Meanwhile, Helen shows Aiden video of his sister Colleen – still seemingly alive – and tells him to prove he isn’t working with Victoria by killing Queen V within 24 hours in exchange for his sister’s survival. He quickly agrees.

NO DANIEL, YOU’RE STILL NOT GETTING ANY | Daniel’s meeting with Stonehaven’s Ms. Carlisle is going just OK until Emily steps in and prods her former fiancé to talk about his vision for Grayson Global. The vibe is very much like a mother having her kindergartener report on what he did at school that day; Daniel dutifully parrots some line about a global worldview – and for real? I wouldn’t sell this guy my sweaty gym sock, because it’s looking like he couldn’t put together an original thought with a hot glue gun. But Ms. Carlisle seems impressed, and Daniel and Em celebrate with champagne by the pool. Know who else is at the same hotel? Victoria, Grayson competition Jason Prosser and Aiden. (Group rate?) At least Aiden has the courtesy to alert Emily to his presence, and they have a very convoluted conversation about why she should or shouldn’t help Daniel acquire Stonehaven. Honestly, I feel like the show has had multiple characters have variations of this conversation multiple times… so why do I still have trouble keeping it all straight in my head? Anyway, Emily has Daniel call Nolan to ask for dirt on Prosser (and texts him “Say yes and I’ll buy you a house,” ha!). Noles comes through with some info about how Prosser’s subsidiaries engaged in post-9/11 gas and oil price gouging; the information sways Carlisle to sell Stonehaven to Daniel.

Prosser’s ripped. He thinks Victoria (with whom he shared at least a kiss – and possibly more — earlier), Daniel and Emily colluded to work against him, but Mrs. Grayson denies it. And Emily’s worried when Nolan, at her request, hacks into Aiden’s phone and finds that The Initiative sent him video of his sister shooting heroin. The subject line? “A life for a life.” In about .2 nanoseconds, Emily figures out that her man is in Los Angeles to kill Victoria – I know our girl is shiny, pretty and above all things clever, but come on – and manages to stop him just before he takes the kill shot from the hotel’s roof. She suggests that he tell Initiative Helen that he’s helped seal Daniel’s victory over Prosser, which is what she wanted in the first place, and that killing Victoria would only distract the new Grayson CEO. With that patched, Emily reassures Aiden, kisses him and leaves him with a wary look that says “Just don’t touch, do or think anything until I can come up with a new plan, OK?”

Nice try, Em. Aiden later shows up on her porch with the finale to his sister’s video, in which she dies via overdose. Emily tries to comfort him, but he grabs her violently and makes it clear that he blames her. “It’s you I shouldn’t have trusted,” he snarls. “If she is dead, then this is on you.” Yikes.

THE DECEIVED BECOMES THE DECEIVER | After an episode-long hunt for a house, Nolan realizes that Padma – and not “Groucho Snarx” aka Marco (ha!) – is gunning to take him down. His new CFO accidentally lets on that she knew Carrion was a program, he sadly tells Emily, when only last episode she’d pretended to think it was a woman’s name. We now know several things Padma doesn’t. One, Carrion is designed to shut down gigantic power grids at the blink of an eye. Two, Carrion’s not finished; the final part of the code exists only in Nolan’s brain. (Wave your whale cam in the air if you think this can only mean that Nolan will end up handcuffed to a desk in some torturous Initiative computer lab before the end of the season. In fact, let’s start the countdown clock now.) Three, he’s set her up to find what I believe is a dummy copy of the program. And four, life is just so much better when Nolan and Emily are in the same room. Plot is forwarded, murkiness is cleared up and plans are formed. “My advice?” Em says, deadly calm. “Play her like she’s playing you.”

BY ANY OTHER NAME | It’s Charlotte’s 18th birthday, but her family can’t be bothered to celebrate it. “I guess being a Grayson means learning to live with disappointment,” Char sighs to Amanda. And even though Amanda’s surely thinking about how bouncing among foster homes and having your one friend in the world turn out to be an opportunistic manipulator is also rather disappointing, she merely says, “But you’re not really a Grayson.” Cut to later, when Charlotte’s family finally coughs up a cake and some candles. But she’s got a bigger surprise for them: She’s filed papers to officially change her name to Charlotte Clarke.

CIVIC DUTY | Conrad lets Victoria know that he and his “communications director” are considering his run for public office — and please, for the love of all that is holy, re-watch the scene where Victoria realizes that he’s referring to Ashley. The word “concubine” is bandied about (awesome), Madeleine Stowe’s face does some truly wonderful things (how high can those eyebrows go?) and when Conrad details his alliance with his former fling, Victoria shoots back, “I can only imagine what kind of horrifying footage that will yield.” Ha! The first act of Conrad’s public life: He’s going to clean up the docks by buying back the Ryan brothers’ interest in The Stowaway and handing them the murder confession Jack guilt-tripped out of Matt Duncan earlier in the episode. Kenny’s game, but Nate’s got other ideas. After the charges against Jack are dropped (what, did Conrad give a copy of the confession to the local cops, as well?), Nate meets with Papa Grayson and says he wants to “muscle” the dock area into something that could benefit them both. Conrad is intrigued.

Now it’s your turn. Were you questioning when, exactly, that video of Colleen was recorded? Are you a little tickled about the fact that Conrad “Scotch, neat” Grayson is now a part owner of The “PBRs all around!” Stowaway? And does little Carl’s cuteness almost – almost – make up for the zzzness of his parents’ storyline? Sound off in the comments!