Revenge Recap: Worth a Thousand Words

Family trumped all in this week’s episode of Revenge, in which Emily no longer cornered the market on doing stuff that is absolutely bananas in the name of the people you love. Meanwhile, we got a hold of a few more threads in the Gordian Knot that is David Clarke’s murder. Let’s take a look at how it all rolled out in “Absolution.”

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Dearest diary | Emily had about two seconds of peace, both of which were spent leaving a rose at her father’s grave. Her nose was soon back to the revengestone when she swung by Grayson Manor to check on Charlotte. She found the teen sober (we think) and sad, staring at a haphazard pile of info she’d gleaned about David Clarke. Someone get this girl an infinity box! One of the photos struck Em hard: It was of her father, looking terrified and writing in an unfamiliar journal in the prison yard on April 22, 2002 — the day he died. (She’d never seen it before, because Victoria had been keeping it in her jewelry box.) The blonde surreptitiously captured the pic with her cell-phone camera and beat it to Nolan’s, where she caught him with the elusive journal. Busted! There was a lot of grabbing Nolan and throwing him up against the wall, which, seriously, Em? Save that for the Big Bads. Nolan’s worst crime is that atrocity he calls a haircut. Plus, as he repeatedly yelped, he was only honoring your dad’s wishes. As she read her father’s notes, including something about CM bringing proof to the prison the next day, she imagined him writing them just before he was stabbed by a white-haired guard (24‘s James Morrison) who appeared in Charlotte’s picture. A little Internet stalking helped Emily realized that CM was Carole Miller, Conrad Grayson’s former personal secretary who’d died in Manhasset in 2002. And a little pretending-to-be-a-doctor led her to the very much alive Carole Thomas, whom Emily tracked to her home in Lancaster, PA.

Meet Nolan’s family | Posing as a Homeland Security agent, Em needled Ms. Thomas about her link to Grayson Global. Then three things happened very quickly: 1) Emily noticed that Carole had a photo of Nolan on the mantle, 2) Carole aimed a rifle at Emily’s head, and 3) Nolan bounded down from upstairs and begged his aunt (?!?) not to shoot , then outed Emily as Amanda Clarke. The explanation goes like this: Carole took MIT-dropout Nolan in when his dad disowned him. She introduced Nolan to Emily’s father, who became a close friend. At David’s urging, Carole investigated his case from inside Grayson Global — and she’d gotten a lead from an in-house accountant that could take down the Graysons and exonerate David all at once. Nolan dropped by the prison to tell his friend the good news… only to find he’d been killed that day. In a flashback, we saw a rockabilly coiffed Nolan calling his aunt at work and urging her to flee immediately; he eventually faked her death and helped her start over. (Side note: I take back my earlier sentiment. Nolan’s hairstyles through time may warrant a little violence.) In the present, Carole mentioned a menacing, white-haired man who she’d seen twice at Grayson Global, and Nolan apologized for keeping the diary from Emily. He said, “This is bigger to me than your revenge against the Graysons. This is my—” She cut in, “—family. I know. I would’ve done anything to protect mine, too.”

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What a pill Charlotte ‘s escalating drug use worried Declan, whose tip led the prep school to find prescription pills in her locker and suspend her. She tossed the pint-size Porter against the lockers (again with the rage, ladies? Char, you’ve got like three feet on the guy) and promised that Declan’s Grayson scholarship was about to run out. Thanks to Nolan’s generosity though, Declan remained enrolled at the prep school. Victoria and Charlotte later had a heart-to-heart by David Clarke’s grave, where Queen Vic told her daughter that she loved all the ways that Charlotte reminded her of her former love. There were hugs, tears, and then a bit of a freak out when Victoria saw Emily’s rose and realized that someone else had been there. Elsewhere, Ashley nabbed a gig as Attorney Brooks’ new media liaison but lost it when he discovered she’d leaked photos of Daniel in his bloody dinner jacket to the press. But Conrad admired her pluck, gifted her with a new Lexus, and installed her as a Grayson Global employee. “I, for one, admire someone who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty,” he letched, “as long as you understand from this point onward that our hands will be intertwined.” Ick. Now I feel dirty.

Daniel knows all! | Having sold all of her shares in the company and signed her divorce papers, Victoria finally pulled the trigger and tipped off the Securities and Exchange Commission about Grayson Global’s link to domestic terrorism. It happened around the same time Daniel was released from Rikers Island, and the prepster returned home just in time for a visit from Jack, who owned up to being on the beach the night of Tyler’s murder. Porter prodded Daniel to question the complete and utter fishiness surrounding his acquittal, “Because Emily trusts you, and if she’s going to spend her life with you, you owe it to her not to ignore this.” I dig the way Joshua Bowman plays scenes like these, where ultra-pampered Daniel is forced to think… about… hard… stuff. Sometimes, it actually looks like it causes the character physical pain. When Danny boy finally confronted Conrad, whose world was crumbling around him, Daddy Grayson told him everything, from David Clarke to current day, and made him promise to protect the company and Charlotte above all. And Daniel delivered the very next day, in an interview in which real-life ABC reporter Cynthia McFadden questioned him about the trial and the corporate trouble. “My father is the victim of a witch hunt,” Daniel said, calling the accusations “baseless.” If Emily ever had any soft feelings for her fiancé, that interview killed ’em — just like the way Em’s planning to off the guy who killed her dad. Later that night, some extra footage from a 1995 interview with Conrad revealed the intimidating white-haired guy Carole mentioned… and Emily realized it was the same man dressed as a prison official in David Clarke’s final photo! Oh Snowy McFakeprisonguard, it’s so on.

Thoughts? Questions? Moments of “huh?” or “yes!” Anyone care to defend Daniel? Are you as psyched as I am about next week’s flashback episode? Let’s hear about it in the comments!