Revenge Recap: Oh Brother, Get Out Now

EMILY VANCAMP, COLLINS PENNIEThe strongest Revenge episodes go one of two ways: Emily either systematically takes down someone drunk on his or her own power, or she spends most of the hour making a “How did someone as pretty as I am wind up so royally screwed?” face as the plans she once considered redwood-solid crumble around her like so much day-old coffee cake.

This week’s installment fell into the latter category, and not a moment too soon.

Maybe it’s just the Red Sharpie fumes talking, but if I can’t see Emily gleefully orchestrating the downfall of those who deserve it, I very much enjoy watching her hustle to get back in control. This week, she works overtime to turn the Hamptons tide her way and still doesn’t have the upper hand by :59 past the hour, but the episode achieves something sorely lacking this season: a compelling lead-in to next week’s outing. So without further ado, let’s review all the ways Emily gets messed with in “Illumination.”

RELATED | Revenge Hot Shots: Will Emily Unmask the True Victoria at a Sexy Halloween Gala?

ELI LIES | The episode picks up directly after last week’s cemetery run-in with “Amanda’s” foster brother Eli. Emily and Aiden hang out at his “safe haven” – which I thought would be some posh underground bunker or something but just turns out to be his house – where she explains that she and Eli lived together at the place she set on fire, and that he was her “protector.” His motives now, however, seem a bit less noble. Emily runs into him at Grayson Manor, where he obviously recognizes her as Amanda Clarke but ably covers. Victoria (who looks amazing in a sleeveless forest green dress, by the way) doesn’t notice anything amiss, and invites him to the inaugural benefit for the Amanda Clarke Foundation. Eli says he’s staying in town for a while, so he’ll accept. Emily’s face says, “Are you freaking for real?”

Nolan – for good reason – fears that Eli is Tyler all over again. “Tyler was sick. Eli is a wildcard,” Emily assures him. And that wildcard soon makes it clear that he knows that Emily, and not Amanda, is his foster sib. “I spent years trying to track you down,” he says, adding that he found a stripper “trying to pass herself off as you” and then ran into a lot of dead ends. Again I say, ha! Emily’s airtight, carefully crafted backstory is once more proven holier than my nana eating a Fillet-O-Fish every Friday in Lent. Last episode, Charlotte nearly leveled Em’s past with a Google search. Just think what would’ve happened if this curious con man (who, by the way, has the Graysons believing he’s a rare book dealer and Columbia University grad) hadn’t gotten lazy once he arrived at the Beaver Dam.

I THINK I’M GONNA LIKE IT HERE | Feeling guilty – the fire she set wound up getting them separated – Emily offers to wipe Eli’s criminal record and give him starting-over cash… provided he takes his clean slate to another state. He agrees, and at the foundation’s kickoff party, he easily accepts both the crime-expunging and Emily’s $100,000 check. But after working the room for a while, FauxBro (TM Nolan Ross) finds the Hamptons to his liking; he agrees to co-chair the foundation with Victoria and – in a great moment – makes a grand gesture of donating to the new charity the bank check Emily gave him. (I actually laughed out loud at how spun Em looks in that moment. Your move, Ms. Thorne?) Em enlists Ashley in spreading some rumors about Eli’s unsavory nature, but that makes Queen V only like him more. (Side note: What was up with that totally-devoid-of-bitchery exchange between Victoria and her former assistant? I didn’t like it one bit. God wouldn’t have given you claws, ladies, if he didn’t want you to disembowel each other in casual conversation.) Later, Eli informs Em that he’s sticking around because he’s curious about her, her money and exactly what the heck is going on. (But mostly her money.)

JACK ON THE ATTACK | Jack’s still mad at Emily. Jack’s still mourning Amanda. And Jack’s really confused about how he wound up in the hospital when the last thing he remembers is bleeding out in the Amanda’s dinghy. Declan helpfully contributes that Nolan told him that Jack and Amanda had safely reached their Nantucket hotel, which makes the bar owner very suspicious of his towheaded pal. In fact, Jack’s pretty much suspicious of everyone and everything these days. (Side note: I’m not complaining, but where was this cynicism every single time Amanda lied to his face? Better late than never, I suppose.)

When Porter learns that a man sold a “tall, sandy-haired” guy his motorboat the night of Amanda’s death, he confronts Nolan… who thinks quickly and makes it look like Kenny Ryan bought the boat. Nolan and his shiny suit implore Jack not to go after the remaining Ryan sibling, saying that he’s lost enough to that thuggish family. Jack seems to agree and even hugs Noles, but I’d bet anything that Jack doesn’t believe a word Ross says. Thoughts?

THE REAL DEAL | The Initiative, its past sins and its future plans apparently have evolved from frightened whispers to Grayson family breakfast table conversation. (Way to make me not scared of it anymore at all, Revenge.) Victoria and Conrad think Daniel should sic the international terror syndicate on Aiden to save himself, but Daniel thinks maybe he should trust Mr. Mathis. A lot of Daniel drinking and being petulant and getting played by about 10 different people takes place, but here’s the lowdown: Daniel learns that the Amanda Clarke Foundation is merely someplace for Conrad and Vicky to hide their fortune should another federal investigation freeze their assets. Daniel, disgusted, tells Emily all about The Initiative and his parents’ plans – which gives her An Idea. (More on that in a minute.) Finally, Aiden takes Conrad’s seat on the Grayson Global board of directors. The best moment of all comes when real-life Brit Joshua Bowman has Daniel deliver the word “bloke” as an American doing a terrible British accent. (Watch it again if you have the chance. It’s a triumph, how cheesy he makes Daniel seem. Well played, sir!)

THE FALCON GIVES EM THE BIRD | If Nolan can use Carrion to hack into the Amanda Clarke Foundation’s account, Emily posits, she can destroy the Graysons financially. (As far as revegendas go, it’s a bit under-researched, but it doesn’t involve her mother and/or a Ryan brother, so I’ll allow it.) So she invites her fey pal over for a little funky poaching. It’s all going well until he runs into a firewall he can’t get past; he realizes a “hacker legend” who goes by the name Falcon is working for the Graysons… and it’s the same person who was the lynchpin in their framing of David Clarke. With a clear enemy, Em seems revitalized. “Let’s go hunting,” she says.

Now it’s your turn. Are you wondering what’s going on while Padma’s in a “holding pattern” with The Initiative? Even if you don’t like Declan, don’t you have to admit that Charlotte’s ignoring him was both harsh and out of nowhere? What are your initial thoughts on Eli? And are you as excited as I am that Mason Treadwell is in next week’s episode? 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. Jake says:

    Finally I feel the show is back on track. First season fans can now return!

    • iMember says:

      This! It was such a great episode and definitely much like Season 1. I loved the cliffhanger and Emily VanCamp delivering that final line “Let’s go hunting.” FANTASTIC! Next week’s episode looks like it’s going to be REALLY good too.

    • Mad Mom says:

      This was one of the best episodes ever! You pinpointed one reason why — Emily’s great facial expressions as she learns things aren’t going her way. Her acting was superb and very nuanced at times. She was great in that scene at the Grayson’s with Eli. She was squirming, so afraid he was going to spill the beans. I like Eli a lot as a character. He is mischievous and unpredictable. I am really looking forward to seeing how the Emily/Eli relationship develops. The way that “deal” went down was hilarious — wiping clean the record, handing over the check, and then Eli turning the tables on Nolan and Emily by giving Victoria the check and becoming the foundation co-chair. Emily is at her best when she’s mad but has to hold it in to keep up appearances.

  2. jennifer says:

    Victoria and Conrad need to get it on lol

  3. Gillian says:

    Love it! Revenge is back and keeps getting better & better!

  4. Sarah says:

    Ugh. Just when I thought this show was back in top form, they add this stupid story with her brother. So much for “no more distractions.” If the whole story with her mom taught us anything, it’s that old family members of Emily’s showing up doesn’t make for good story lines. They should just focus on the main story arc rather than continually adding useless characters that only distract from it.

    • iMember says:

      Eli is likely to be gone by the end of next week’s episode, so you don’t have to worry about him sticking around. Also, bringing in a character from Emily’s past like Eli is very much something that would be done in Season 1.

      • Sarah says:

        The only character from Emily’s past that showed up in season one that I can remember is Amanda. Meanwhile, this season there’s been Aiden, her mom and now Eli.

      • Josh says:

        But that’s a problem too…While I want a return to form, we just got rid of Amanda, who was the wildcard and now we have this guy filling the Amanda role from season one of “Oh my…will he reveal everything!”…It’s just sort of blah…but everything is returning to form, so hopefully this guy is out soon,

    • Leila says:

      Thank you for saying this! I agree 100% No more distractions my ass!

    • Kristopher says:

      They meant no more distractions in the sense of it taking presidence over the main “Revenge” Arc (as The Initiative storyline’s were definitely doing). There will always be roadblocks. Frank and Lydia. Longer running roadblocks included Tyler and Fauxmanda. Then we of course got into everything with the White Haired Man and The Initiative at the end of the first season. This episode was probably the most “season one-esque” episode we’ve seen all season.

      • ZmaX says:

        thank you! people need to realize there is a difference between distractions in the storyline and obstacles part of the storyline. There will always be something standing in Emily’s way threatening her plans. There needs to be conflict for there to be a good story.

        it’s screenwriting 101 (Character + Want) X Obstacles

        (Emily + Get revenge) x (all the people in her way i.e. Tyler, FauxAmanda, Eli etc…)

    • dude says:

      Family members don’t make for good storylines? Ever heard of Fauxmanda? Eli is like Fauxmanda and Tyler put together which makes him instantly awesome. The best Revenge story arcs involved people who are on to her with the power to expose her. Eli is both which has already made for great television. There’s a difference between a distraction and an obstacle. Eli is the latter.

      • Mikael says:

        You read my mind! I was going to say that Eli is bascially Tyler+Amanda. He’s annoying already, but in a good way, like you can’t wait for him to die. And is the red sharpie really returning next week??

    • zippo25 says:

      Looking at the comments I was wondering if I was the only one. The Eli character is annoying. Agreed, no more unnecessary characters please, just more story.

  5. iMember says:

    Seeing the flashback of Nolan and David near the end and how Nolan acquired the Infinity Box was a great add in. I loved that! I also love that Nolan has someone who’s going to be really drilling him and his computer skills. This shall be fun!

  6. iMember says:

    Just want to say…RED SHARPIE NEXT WEEK!

  7. valeriel40 says:

    I love me some Mason Treadwell, so I am glad to see he’ll be back next week. I’m glad Jack finally got that backbone, but I’m afraid all he’ll do with it is continue to make the same bone-headed moves he’s always made.
    I’m hoping the Eli storyline will turn out to be something good for the show, in the long run. I’m trusting the writers…for now.
    Be barely know/understand what The Initiative is and now we’ve got The Falcon? Woah, boy. #NoMoreDistractions

  8. bettyb says:

    Stripper not striper

  9. laurie says:

    Okay, is Aiden this Falcon? I will not be able to handle it.

    • Sarah says:

      I wondered if the Falcon might be David Clark (like he faked his death). A falcon is a symbol of resurrection after all, and Davy C was cagey in the flashback with Nolan. Or the falcon is Emily’s mom (also would explain David’s nervousness if he knew her handle).

      • Sarah says:

        Oh wait, the Phoenix is a symbol of resurrection. Not a falcon. Duh. Oh well, I still think the falcon is one of Ems parents.

        • Kristopher says:

          Hmm…I got the sense that The Falcon did indeed seal the deal with the framing of David Clarke, and that the Grayson’s were now using h(im)(er) to frame Aiden…

      • ZmaX says:

        The Falcon helped the Graysons frame David Clarke, why would David frame himself as a terrorist to be sent to prison for life? makes no sense, and it probably isn’t Kara since she didn’t even know that David was actually innocent until recently (when she found out, she tried to shoot Conrad and Victoria)

      • dude says:

        Doubt it. The Falcon is working with the Graysons. From everything we’ve been shown up till now, Victoria (and even Conrad to an extent) has harboured a great deal of guilt because of David’s framing/murder. None of that would make sense if they knew he was alive.

    • Jenn says:

      I think either Aiden or Eli

      • JJ says:

        The falcon helped frame David when Emily/Amanda was a child. Aiden and Eli are approximately the same age as she is. How could they possibly be the falcon?

    • Deme says:

      Placing my bets on Takeda. Because that would be so twisty and convoluted. Plus that man can’t be trusted.

    • Pama says:

      I think The Falcon is Conrad’s oldest son.

  10. Amanda Mauer says:

    Didn’t ‘Emily’ try to pay off Tyler and ‘Amanda’ to leave the Hamptons? Hopefully she has learned her lesson… it just throws a wrench into her plans. But it does make for good television.

  11. Allyson says:

    Finally the show returning to season 1 magic. It is indeed nice to see Nolan and Emily working together. , I wonder how much of an influence “Amanda’s” foster brother will have with the Graysons. I wonder if her brother seeking revenge towards Emily/Amanda. I can’t wait to see how Nolan and Emily will deal with him. He is certaintly making them sweat a bit. Oh Jack doesn’t believe Nolan for sure. I saw that look in his eye’s as he was hugging Nolan. It is actually refreshing to see Jack come unglue.

  12. Michael says:

    what am I missing? Didn’t Emily have everything she needed to bring down the Grayson’s last week on her computer? and she willingly tossed said computer into the ocean?

    Girl’s in a dysfunctional relationship with the Graysons. She doesn’t want to bring them down. She just wants to keep them around.

    • ZmaX says:

      haha yeah, pretty much. she’s so obsessed about this whole thing that sending them to jail isn’t enough for her, she really wants to make them suffer. I can picture a very violent and bloody ending for the Graysons when the time comes. Emily can become really unhinged (like her fight with the white-haired man)

  13. Anti-Lib says:

    Back on track!? Revenge has been great all season long. No wonders most TV writers do not read comments posted on internet message boards! More non-scripted series, anyone!?

  14. luli says:

    Victoria and Conrad are definitely my fav couple!

  15. Jana says:

    “I THINK I’M GONNA LIKE IT HERE” – there’s nothing I like better than a well-placed Annie reference.

  16. Alichat says:

    I found this episode to be rather boring. On another note, Aiden’s ‘safe haven’ home reminded me of Nolan’s house from last season.

    • Radcliffe says:

      Yes maybe the same architect. Does anyone know who designed Aiden’s house? Is it in North Carolina like the Grayson mansion and Amanda’s house. Would love to find out more about Aiden’s house!

  17. Reblogged this on save it for the commercial break and commented:
    I have felt that Revenge hasn’t been on it’s season one game during season 2, but in “Illumination” things got back on track.

  18. anil says:

    I just wanna say that I die. Revenge is LIFE. And period.

    The good ol Revenge is back and so is the sharpie next week.

    I hope ratings demo stay at a 2.0 and hopefully increase.

  19. anil says:

    Joshua Bowman said that the initiative story will be complete.The Falcon is a MUCH better story line. I think it will go into season 3 and we’ll find out who it is in S3.

    Although, them dropping the initiative story line all of a sudden will look really pointless? cause what was the point of the whole first half of season 2? But oh well, I love revenge!

  20. Michael says:

    This season is so much better than season 1.

  21. Sierra says:

    Turning a rich person poor is a great way to make them suffer. Question: Wouldn’t the check Eli gave Victoria be written out to him?! In any case, LOVE this show and I’m praying there’ll be a season 3. Nolan looked very handsome in this ep and loved Emily’s earrings, the ones she’s wearing in the pic. Where can I get them? Season 3, you hear me, abc?!!!

  22. Joey says:

    I’m disappointed that Jack didn’t show more gratitude toward Nolan. Not even a thank you for saving his life. And I don’t get why Nolan can’t tell Jack the truth, just leave Emily’s involvement out of the rescue attempt. I agree that Charlotte ignoring Declan was out of nowhere, but after the whole Declan is a thief earlier this season, I stopped caring about him since the writers obviously have. As for Eli, if all he wanted was more money from Emily, why not just ask for it. I got the sense from the flashbacks that Emily seems to feel she owes him. The theme this week was secrets, and the quote at the beginning of the episode makes so much more sense now.

  23. Diandra says:

    Just look up Jamie Dornan Calvin Klein ads

  24. Betsy says:

    Did anyone else think Charlotte was high at the party? She just seemed soooo out of it. I agree that her dis of Declan was ridic, but her eyes were just staring into space. I kept waiting for that to be a storyline. I expected Declan to call her on using pills again.

  25. dude says:

    That exchange between Victoria and Ashley was dripping with bitchery, it was just subtle bitchery. Her line to Ashley “I can handle anyone operating under subterfuge, present company included” followed by Ashley’s eyeroll had me in hysterics.

  26. Loni says:

    So Jack and Eli need to sit down for a nice chat. They’ve both seen one side of the coin: Jack knows about Amanda’s revengetta and Eli knows who the real Amanda is.

    Loved the episode. Can’t wait for the red sharpie next week!

  27. sara says:

    So we are supposed to believe that some guy who knew Amanda as a young teen , knows Emily is that same teen14 years later? Especially when the girl playing young Amanda looks more like fuaxmanda? I know lots of ppl who look nothing like they did 14 years ago! Plus she got that tattoo after she went to and left juvie so he shouldn’t know anything about it.

  28. Ryan says:

    Nolan has the best lines!

    Nolan (as he approaches Emily and Aiden at his house) : “Hmm, so this is where Aiden-san waxes off.”

  29. LadyS says:

    Finally!!! The show is starting to become interesting again. This new character and story-line is very interesting. I feel this is a wonderful addition to this show. I will be looking forward to watching more.

  30. lara says:

    FINALLY, I think this episode only mentioned the Initiative like 2x, which is 1000X less than any other episode this season. I kind of with the brother HAD been a Columbia grad and a successful person and had proven Emily wrong.

  31. Jenna says:

    When will we know if there will be a third season?

  32. Kayla says:

    I love the keeps getting better and better and your always wondering what’s going to happen next..i love that..i really hope they renew the show for a 3rd season!!!

  33. cindy says:

    when will they reveal the chain or dog tag/necklace that amanda gave em just beofore she died in her arms?

  34. Ashley says:

    could the falcon be someone related to nolan? it could be his missing mom (since they are interested in casting her)… that probably explains where he got his smarts. it was mentioned that the finale is nolan-centric so it does make some sense that if the falcon is exposed at the end to be someone related to nolan. also, i read from some spoilers that emily will face an ‘enormous’ betrayal in the final… it will be a betrayal (of some sorts) on nolan’s part given the falcon’s part in david clarke’s conviction.

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