By Kelsea Stahler, Hollywood.com Staff
Resurrection was always something I associated with church, more specifically Easter. But Revenge has given a whole new meaning to the word, and it has nothing to do with finding a colorful basket full of fake grass and chocolate eggs one fine April morning. In fact, it's a complete contortion of the word.
Emily reminds us of the concept of resurrection: "For those who believe in resurrection, death is inconsequential." And technically both Victoria and Emily's mother are dead; the former Mrs. Clarke is pushing up daisies as far as Emily knows and Victoria is dead to the world outside of Charlotte, Voldemort (the nameless white-haired man), Emily, and Nolan. But as Emily's ominous voiceover suggests when it plays over her dream in which her mother's head morphs into an oddly oversized Victoria head (which I'd say was way outside of the show's aesthetic, but was so akin to what actually happens in dreams that I can't gripe), neither Victoria nor Emily's mother is actually dead.
And while Victoria's non death was pretty obvious to us (duh), it's the fact that Emily might actually have family other than Charlotte that's the exciting element. Interestingly enough, that's kind of how tonight's episode felt. There were a string of completely predictable moments, so easy to forecast we could have practically drawn a map to get us there, and a few things that flew straight out of left field. And then there are those things we're not quite sure what to do with yet.
Round 1: Surprise, Surprise. Victoria Returns to Society With an Elaborate Scheme
After Conrad takes all of Charlotte's money with the help of her crooked rehab doctor, Charlotte calls off her mother's plan to flee the country. Of course, she's helped along by Emily, who with a heavy heart, takes Charlotte to see her pregnant "sister" Amanda so that Charlotte will feel compelled to stay in the Hamptons. What Charlotte doesn't know is that flee-dom comes at a cost: Voldemort made a pricey deal with Victoria in order to get her escape papers together and he's willing to take that price out Victoria's and Charlotte's hides if she doesn't find herself a pile of money.
Backed into a corner, Victoria pushes Charlotte away by pretending the plan wasn't about her from the start. Charlotte goes crying to Emily, who's her only ally since she's convinced that Daniel helped her father take her money (poor, dopey Daniel hasn't done anything wrong because, well, he hasn't done anything), but Emily suspects there's something else at play. And so do we.
And just like that, we all win, because Victoria does have something up her sleeve: she calls Conrad to have him help her plan an elaborate ruse. A sort of bloody coming out party, if you will. She asks Conrad to beat her up, a task he gladly accepts, and when Voldemort comes back to the house ready to kill her because he's yet to see a dime of Charlotte's money, she's tied to a bookcase with blood all over her face and a legion of police cars seconds from the house. They find her and introduce her back into society. It's a true resurrection because she gets to enter her old life with the clean slate that comes with being a female victim of a brutal kidnapping. Victoria emerges in her new life a clean (ish) woman. Well, that is if Emily keeps her mouth shut.
Also predictable, this time around, is Daniel's status as a lovable, golden retriever puppy. He really never has any idea what's going on. He's being controlled by his father through his devious girlfriend, Ashley, who thinks she's won the Stepford Wife role of a lifetime. His father lets him think that it's his fault he stole Charlotte's money; if Daniel had given up his trust fund to Grayson Global, he wouldn't have needed it. And when Victoria returns, he's indignant for only a minute before his father explains away the whole money-snatching situation by saying it was for Victoria's ransom. And the son is back in the fold of the family who's lied to him more times than we can count.
But Daniel's not just a little gullible, he's truly a loyal, sentimental sweetheart. He gives up all his money so he can replace Charlotte's inheritance and offers to move out of the main house so she can have her space. He can't let Grayson's questionable bookkeeping just lie. And he can't help but trust Emily and let her back into his heart when she comes at him with information about Charlotte's crooked doctor. It's clear that's why Emily continues to stare at him like the little puppy she refused to give a treat. But with Jack out of the picture temporarily, we can bet they'll play those sympathetic looks for weeks to come.
Round 2: The Miracle of Birth (or Pregancy, For Now)
Emily is not only dealing with her Victoria issues. She's got a few matters of the heart to deal with as well: namely, her jealousy. Amanda has set up shop with Jack now that she's pregnant and the paternity test is happening. There's just one small problem: Amanda is worried it's not Jack's. She comes to Emily to tell her that, and the cold, new Emily cuts to the chase: she'll rig the lab results in exchange for Amanda acting like Charlotte's sister.
No one was surprised to see that the results claimed Jack as the father, followed swiftly by Declan's sudden support of their new little family after telling Jack to tell Amanda he didn't love her. What was a shock was how happy Jack was that the baby is his: wasn't he just looking for an excuse to get out of this relationship? Of course, we could chalk this one up to the mysterious acting techniques of Nick Wechsler.
What's more surprising is what Emily does after Amanda gets to deliver the good news. She calls Amanda to tell her that the results she got were fake, the baby is not Jack's. Not only does this crush Amanda, it's not true. Emily does this only out of spite, because Amanda is keeping her from Jack and it's the one situation she can't seem to crack.
Of course, Declan's plan in the face of a growing family and shrinking funds isn't all that surprising: he gets into some business he should know to stay out of. His rich friend Trey, who just popped up out of a Chinos and Plaid patch, pays him $500 dollars to hold onto his step mother's bracelet so he can prove a point. Declan stupidly agrees, because he clearly wasn't paying attention during Titanic. This is worse than not noticing some old croney shoving the heart of the ocean in your pocket while you're not looking, because Declan at least has a choice here. And he chooses incorrectly.
Next: Bye, bye Voldemort, hello British Dreamboat?[PAGEBREAK]
Round 3: What the Hell? Why Is This Happening?Nolan clearly doesn't have enough of a storyline now that he's not having sex with Tyler on tape or getting strapped to a chair or teaching Amanda how to be a normal human. So, the writers invented one that feels so out of left field and so jarring that you'd think they'd spliced in pieces of some Wednesday night sitcom.
Nolan's company needs a CFO because he's too busy not wearing pants and watching Emily's surveillance tapes for her. His accountant, a pretty, sassy little lady, snaps back at him during a Skype meeting and suddenly, she's at Emily's door demanding her boss, the reclusive billionaire hire someone to run the company in his stead. Look, we suspend our disbelief for salacious, sexy things like Victoria somehow surviving a plane crash. But this storyline isn't nearly sizzling enough to put up with its improbability.
Surprise, surprise, he winds up hiring the pretty lady who yelled at him to be his CFO, and (actual shock) he misses a techie side kick beat by not catching Victoria acting on her fake kidnapping plan, which in turn throws Emily's entire game off. The foray into this corporate comedy did serve a purpose, because it served up a blind spot for Emily, but did it need to be so elaborate? Probably not.
Round 4: What is Going on With This British Mystery Man?
After Victoria rids herself of Voldemort, he knows right who to go to for his way out. He spots Emily's clam cam at Victoria's cabin before he flees and calls her (from an unknown number, because they're really committed to never giving him a name) to demand the footage. Emily seems ready to give it to him as long as he gives her information about her mother. She seems to have forgotten the conversation she overheard about him coming after Emily to kill her, which is surprising for Emily, but not so surprising for a person who's clearly losing her footing emotionally. All her scheming is slowly robbing her of the things she loves: Jack, the potential to connect with Charlotte as a sister, Nolan, and even her ability to separate revenge from the rest of her life. She's becoming what Takaeda always wanted her to be, but it's taking its toll on her game.
And that's probably why she doesn't see Voldemort coming. After he tells her almost everything about how Victoria tried to convince Emily's mother that David was a murder and ordered Voldemort to kill her because she was the one person who could unravel the case against David, he stops short of the one thing we all want to hear: if she didn't die, what happened to her? He tries to press a switch blade into her pretty, little aorta.
Emily actually can't fight back this time (either because Voldemort is all powerful or because she's overwhelmed by the notion that her mother might be alive), but luckily, the Brit has been spying on her (and occasionally Conrad Grayson) all episode and he snipes Voldemort just in time. (Which is a bummer because I've really enjoyed calling him by the name of a Harry Potter character since late last season.)
It was a bit of a surprise to see him, since the second half of the episode did a great job of hiding him from our consciousness, but what's a bigger mystery is what he's after. Why is he so set on making sure Emily stays on her path? Is this just a plan from the writers to phase out Emily's Mr. Miyagi for a hot guy she has more potential to makeout with? (If that's it, those writers are some evil geniuses.)
From the looks of the scenes from next week's episode we'll find that answer and the more important explanation: what happened to Mrs. Clarke?
Which part of the episode surprised you the most?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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