We saw two pretend weddings in this week’s Revenge. One was a touching beachside ceremony full of real emotion… and the other was between Jack and the woman he thinks is – but who is decidedly not – his one true love. (Pardon me if I’m feeling less than friendly toward Amanda, but she goes so rogue in this week’s episode that it makes me want to skip the middlewoman and Red Sharpie her myself. More on that later.) Victoria also goes off-book – but it’s in such spectacular fashion that I just have to sit back and take notes. Let’s review the major developments that took place in “Union.”
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE | The episode opens with a flashback – aw, hi puppy Sammy! — to little Amanda preparing for a beachside wedding to Jack. She’s making pipecleaner rings and rehearsing her vows, and when David Clarke finds out what she’s doing, he becomes part of the plan. It’s cute. Back in present day, Nolan’s complaining about how much he has to do for Amanda and Jack’s impending nuptials. “Who knew officiant was French for ‘wedding bitch’?” he says. (Heh.) They quickly establish that no one’s heard from Aiden since he blamed Emily for absolutely everything going wrong in his life, and then Nolan lets it slip that the Graysons now own half of The Stowaway. Emily quickly summons Amanda and hands her a check, making it possible for Jack to buy back Conrad’s share of the bar. “The Graysons were and always will be the enemy,” Emily reminds her, and didn’t that kinda feel like the writers reassuring the audience that things aren’t as far afield as we fear?
Nolan finds Aiden waiting for him at NolCorp; the Brit demands that he pull up the intercepted snuff video of his sister Colleen. Nolan’s able to point out that the footage was shot six years before; despite everything The Initiative told him, nothing he or Emily could have done – including kill Victoria – would’ve changed the outcome. (Side note: At this point, I grumble at the TV, “… Just like Emily told you last episode.”) Nolan uses a serial number on an electric meter in the background of the video to point Aiden toward Jersey City, NJ – information he later also shares with Emily. The Wonder Twins review how The Initiative used Aiden’s dad years ago to put the bomb on the plane David Clarke allegedly brought down; he was never seen again. Nolan suddenly has a teeny moment of hope. He wonders whether Padma might be in a similar situation: Perhaps she’s only out to take him down because The Initiative has threatened someone in her family? Em’s all, “Dude, focus” and advises him to keep stringing Padma along, then she leaves to meet her sometime boyfriend in a scuzzy abandoned warehouse.
While they’re there, Nolan calls. He’s found Colleen’s coroner’s report from 2007 in the system, so Emily and Aiden go to the office and he IDs his sister from the pictures of her corpse. “I’ve failed her,” a despondent Aiden tells Em in the potters’ field where Colleen is buried. She does her best to boost him, encouraging him to honor his sister’s memory by continuing their work. “That’s why people like you and me fight,” she says, more beat-down than we’ve seen her in quite some time. “I thought we shared that.” But Aiden says he’s done, despite her pleading, “Don’t leave me alone in this.” He walks away and she cries in a way that makes me think she’s not only sad and lonely, she’s a little jealous of his ability to shuck off a years-long obsession (seemingly) just like that. Very nice work there from Ms. VanCamp.
PADMA SINGS LIKE A BIRD | In a rare turn, Nolan goes against Emily’s wishes and tells Padma that he’s onto her – “because my feelings for you defy logic.” Aw. Bottom line: The Initiative has her dad and has been using him as leverage to control her. They asked her to get close to Noles and then search for Carrion. For reasons I can’t quite understand at the moment, Nolan admits that he set her up with an incomplete code. And just like that, the big suspense the show set up at having Padma find the dummy program goes poof? I still don’t know if I trust this chick; let’s hope our favorite tech genius is playing it safe and has some other secret plan in the works.
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD | Jack reluctantly accepts Emily’s money and tries to buy back Conrad’s interest in The Stowaway, but ol’ Grayson won’t sell. He and Nate Ryan have plans to turn the dock area into the next Atlantic City, so he’s planning on having the bank reassess the bar’s mortgage. When Jack comes up financially lacking, some clause-a-majigger in the arrangement will allow Conrad to assume Porter’s debt and own it all. At this news, Amanda goes to Emily’s empty house and breaks into Emily’s password-protected laptop by guessing her pal’s secret word. (Side note: Infinity?! Infinity, Emily?! No numbers? Not even Yahoo would accept that as a stable password!) Amanda carts the computer to Conrad’s, where she shows him all of the Grayson Global security footage Emily’s amassed over the years. She tells him to accept Jack’s buyout or else… and he does. Nate Ryan isn’t happy to hear that his biggest funder/accomplice is backing out of their agreement, and he assumes the Porters are involved. Jack is oblivious to all of the subterfuge (shocker!), so he’s just happy to be sole proprietor once more.
A short while later, Jack and Amanda get married on the beach. Nolan presides over everything in a truly amazing jacket; everyone wears white and it’s rather pretty… if you don’t think about how awful it is that three people of the seven in attendance know that the bride isn’t who the groom thinks she is, yet they allow him to tie himself to her for eternity. (I have my suspicions that little Carl knows more than he’s saying, too.)
Look, I know Jack doesn’t have a ton of fans out there in Revenge fanland. I don’t care how you feel about the elder Porter brother and his facial hair (or lack thereof) and his inability to realize that the woman he thinks is his soulmate is actually a trashy imitation. Even if you’re the biggest Jack-hater on the planet, how can you feel anything but embarrassment on his behalf? And anger at Amanda? And irritation at… oh God, Emily’s crying again. I can’t. Em, you’re killing me. How can I be mad at you when you are so clearly having a really, really bad week? Our poker-faced heroine has to look away as Jack’s talking about how Amanda was always in his heart, because anyone who sees her face is going to know those aren’t happy wedding tears. Those are “Ben & Jerry’s, STAT” tears.
It only gets worse when she gets home and Daniel calls to break up with her. She doesn’t know it’s because Victoria and Conrad have told him everything about how The Initiative is playing him, and he’s trying to keep her safe. All she knows is when Aiden later finds her sitting by a fire on the beach – as you do – he’s a warm body who’s promising not to leave her alone. Can you blame her when she and her gorgeous cable-knit turtleneck slowly collapse into his arms?
QUEEN V TO THE RESCUE | Helen shows up at Grayson Manor and demands that Victoria turn over all of the evidence that The Initiative was involved in the downed flight. So Vicky gets her alone in the pool house and shoots her. Yup! After all of the “we can’t possibly breathe one peep about The Initiative or Daniel is dead” and “there’s no way to stop them” talk, in the space of one episode Victoria spills all and then guns down one of their key players. Okay…? The best part of all of this, by the way, is when Daniel comes home to find his mom having a casual drink in the same room where Helen lays dead in the corner. Victoria actually has to step around Helen as she strolls over to the bar for a refresh. It’s a little awesome.
BOAT GO BOOM SOON? | The show set up the Amanda’s explosion we saw at the beginning of the season by having Amanda and Jack set off on their honeymoon to Nantucket. When a babysitting Charlotte and Declan use the ship-to-shore radio to ask about Carl’s pacifiers, we see Nate Ryan on board – unbeknownst to the newlyweds – as he clips the radio’s wire. Uh-oh. (Also, how big is that boat? Is there actually room for a full-grown man to hide like that?)
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of Padma’s confession? Were you surprised to see Amanda commandeer the computer like that? Who’s your pick for the 2013 Floating Dismembered Arm Award? Sound off in the comments!