A Takeda-like riddle for you: If Revenge‘s central truth came to light in this week’s episode but then was shipped off to the slammer just a short while later, did it even happen? Also, a good hint at the circumstances surrounding the season premiere’s flash-forward made it seem like life vests and emergency beacons might be a prudent wedding gift for the future Mr. and Mrs. Porter. Meanwhile, a commercial tie-in had me making Kara-off-her-meds faces at the television intermittently through the evening. Let’s review what happened during “Penance.”
OFF THE MARK… OR IS HE? | Mason Treadwell visits Emily early in the episode, brandishing both a photo of Em and Amanda from their juvie days and a theory that the pair are/were lovers. Ever the cool customer, Emily threatens to counter any book he writes on the matter with a libel suit, then sends him on his way. (Side note: This is really not the point, but I could definitely see Emily-who-used-to-be-Amanda using any means necessary to draw Amanda-who-used-to-be-Emily close during their Allenwood tenure. Blondie is stone cold, is she not? The show had no problem putting Tyler in Nolan’s bed as a manipulative move last season; and though I’m fairly certain Revenge isn’t going to go there with its main character, such a thing isn’t too far outside her wheelhouse.) The intrepid writer then threatens Amanda that he’ll tell Jack everything if she won’t meet with him. Though Emily explicitly tells Amanda not to proceed, Carl’s mom is tired of being a puppet. She’s engaged now, after all, and has to protect her family. (Did you notice how Emily had to physically turn away upon hearing that terrible news? Aw.) Amanda lures Mason back to his house by promising to finally tell him the “truth” that Emily is obsessed with her. “Emily would destroy us both if she knew I was talking to you,” she says. Well, that part’s true, at least.
BAR NONE | Emily tasks Aiden with positioning Daniel to take over Grayson Global, because she’s concerned about Americon Initiative’s plans for Conrad. Unbeknownst to Emily, Nolan gives Aiden the cancelled check of David Clarke’s initial investment in NolCorp even though it could mean he’ll lose control of the company to Grayson Global. Nolan makes a beeline for Chez Thorne, where Ems is horrified to learn that he cooperated with Aiden – putting everything he’s worked for in jeopardy – in order to help and project her, “the only real family I’ve ever had.” (In Pennsylvania, Aunt Carole‘s all, “Remember when I took you in after your dad disowned you? Yeah, you’re welcome.”) Regardless, it’s a sweet scene that really merits more than the three nanoseconds it gets before we’re back on the spinning whirligig of this episode. (Nolan’s “this one time at revenge camp” line and his reaction to Jack and Amanda’s engagement nearly make up for it, though.) When Jack tips Emily off that Amanda went ahead with her plan to meet Mason, Em makes it to Treadwell’s digs just in time to stop Amanda from crowbarring the author just like she did Frank. (As always, let’s take a minute to miss Frank. Dude regulated.) Seeing that Mason has basically Pinterested her pursuits for everyone to see, Em knows the jig is up. “She’s not Amanda Clarke,” she says with a little bit of crazy eyes that made me wonder if a Dexter-like rush accompanied her finally telling someone – anyone – the truth. And Treadwell’s certainly picking up what she’s putting down when he answers, “You are.” Game on! I envision an uncomfortable partnership, I envision tit-for-tat, I envision lots of bow ties and bon mots in Emily’s revenging future… oh wait, Revenge. You’re not going to do that? You’re going to have Mason take the fall and go to prison for Gordon Murphy’s murder and the plane crash at the end of last season in exchange for the right to tell Emily’s story on the far-flung day when she finally deems it time to come clean? Um, I guess that’s cool, too.
SEE YA, KARA | Kara prepares to leave the Hamptons for Colorado Springs with good-byes both awkward (Victoria) and nonexistent (she looks right through Emily when Em wishes her a safe trip). (Side note: Please let Emily’s wedding gift to Victoria turn out to be an empty box.) But Kara doesn’t actually get on her flight, so Em has a pre-jail Mason intercept her to give her Gordon’s pocket watch and to warn her to stay away from coastal New York. But Treadwell suddenly grows a conscience and, eyeing some troubling scars on her wrist, gives her some more intel about how the Graysons were responsible for David Clarke’s misfortunes. It’s all Em’s no-meds mama needs to hightail it to Grayson Manor, where Conrad is hosting the Grayson Global shareholders and Daniel is making a secret pitch to the board to oust his dad and install him in the old man’s place. We don’t see the outcome of that vote, but pretty soon we do see Kara holding Conrad and Victoria hostage in an upstairs bedroom, asking for the truth about David. Not believing Vicky’s claims that Gordon Murphy played a key part in her first husband’s death, Kara blindfolds the pair with the intention to shoot them; fearing death, they hold hands. (Side note: Good god, when did Conrad and Victoria become the couple I’m rooting for on this show?!) Alerted by Em, Aiden puts off chloroforming Helen – AKA the initiative woman we met a few weeks ago – in order to knock out Kara before she can harm a well-maintained hair on either Grayson’s head. She comes to in Emily’s car, where Em and Aiden play it off like he’s the FBI agent he told her he was episodes ago and Emily just happened to run into them on the beach. Whatever. They reunite her with her drugs, they give her a car and they send her on her way. Back at Emily’s house, she jumps her hot Brit ex. Like a lot of other stuff in this episode, it happens quickly and before you can say, “But wait…” we’re on to the next thing. Thank goodness for the upcoming flashback ep; these characters need a breather!
SHOP TALK | All zenned out after not killing Mason, Amanda tells Jack she doesn’t want a big wedding. “All I need is you and little Carl and a few friends on the boat you named after me.” Ah, so that‘s how it’s going to go down, eh Revenge? (Now that we’ve got this bit of foreshadowing – or is it misdirection? — hit the comments with your predictions for the blast that ends the Amanda.) Or could it have something to do with shady Kenny and his Cylon brother Nate, whom we meet for moment but who still manages to convey a sense of lawlessness and malfeasance? On a completely different note, can we talk for a minute about the Neiman Marcus-Target commercials featuring Amanda, Jack, Declan, Charlotte and Nolan? They were shot beautifully, but I didn’t love them – all I kept thinking about was how someone who turned on the show late might’ve been confused about why Amanda and Jack went from their wood-paneled hovel to a fancy dinner and back in the course of a few minutes. Or why Charlotte was trying on dresses in what looked like a museum. Or why Nolan threw a Gin Wigmore concert but didn’t invite Emily. Or why Jack wouldn’t just put on the Best Friend hat, even for a minute?! Or that Declan could read. (I kid!)
Now it’s your turn. You’ve probably got lots to say about the “Gift of Revenge” spots, as well as everything else in the episode, so sound off in the comments!Follow @kimroots