Revenge has been away for a few weeks now, and I was kind of upset when I realised that I didn't really miss it. Luckily, this episode was just bonkers enough to recapture my imagination after the break (and a disappointing season overall).
Before the titles had even rolled we had two standout soapy lines - first, when Conrad suggests Victoria join him for an important Nightline interview, she hits back: "And I suggest you go to hell!" And then Emily convinces Nolan to help her capture the enigmatic hacker Falcon, prompting him to respond: "Let's take the bastard down!" This is what I want from Revenge - entertaining, over-the-top nonsense.
And that's what I got throughout the episode. For once, the Initiative wasn't mentioned even a little bit, and the show was all the better for it. Whether it was Charlotte ditching Declan and his boring essay to snog the face off her new best friend Regina (yep, the one she punched in the face last time), or Victoria melodramatically confirming the fact that she abandoned her baby son to go to art college in Europe, the twists and turns in this instalment of Revenge were completely ridiculous - and fun.
Not everything in the instalment worked - I'm kind of sick of Jack and his self-righteousness by now, and him moaning about Emily shacking up with Daniel was a bit tiresome - but for the majority of the episode I was enjoying the various storylines. I never expected us to meet Falcon this early, and while the 'twist' that she happened to be female was a bit grating and I'm seriously not convinced that the world's greatest hacker would forget to check a USB drive for some kind of virus that would completely bring her down, I'm sort of willing to forgive that because it made Nolan happy.
Yes, I know - Nolan's been nowhere near as good as he was in the first season and I couldn't care less about Padma (ugh) but I did enjoy him bringing down his adversary and getting a little bit of victory. It was kind of sweet for Emily to send over the picture of the Grayson Global retreat so he could cross out Falcon's face himself, too. And hey, who doesn't love a bit of FBI swooping?
Elsewhere, I was pleased to see Takeda return for a reminder that emotions are Bad Things when it comes to revenge. He wants Aiden to return to Japan because he's concerned about the impact of his feelings for Emily, but Aiden refuses. This seemed like kind of an afterthought for much of the episode, but it was worth it for the climax; Daniel forces Emily to define their relationship (are they engaged again?) and she goes to Aiden for... what? Comfort? A decision? It seems that even she doesn't know.
But I loved this moment, as Aiden asks her what she wants after revenge - when this is all over (especially because earlier he had admitted that killing his sister's murderer did not make him feel better in any way, something he does not seem to have shared with Emily as of yet). When she says that she wants to be with him, he puts the ring on her finger and tells her: "Then marry the son of a bitch and take them down once and for all." It is amazing, and their kiss afterwards is insane.
Still, for the best moments of the episode, as always you can't stray far from the Graysons. Conrad's secretly meeting the Governor's wife, for whatever nefarious reasons - and Ashley, who is ostensibly helping Jack to bring down his enemies, is actually giving Conrad a heads-up that she has images of his rendezvous. I can't work out what Ashley is playing at, or whose side she's on, but I'd much rather that than the slightly dull character she became in the last run of episodes.
And, of course, there's poor vulnerable messed-up Victoria, who's grappling with the secret of her abandoned son. In flashbacks, we do learn that Victoria left her son to pursue art school in Europe, but she insists to Conrad that she actually had an abortion. This sets a whole series of dominoes in motion, as she asks Falcon to falsify her medical records (eventually leading Nolan and Emily to Falcon), and then confesses the truth live during Nightline's interview. (Of course.)
But while Victoria is mostly a reprehensible black hole of a person, we're always forced to feel some kind of sympathy for her, and it's hard not to feel a twang when she turns up on Nolan's doorstep and offers him NolCorp back in exchange for tracking down her long-lost son. Since Nolan just defeated Falcon, I suppose he's the hacker top dog right now, so if anyone can do it, he can. And boy, I hope he can, because I can only begin to imagine what kind of baggage Victoria's abandoned son might be carrying.
So while Revenge hasn't been at its strongest during this second season, this episode felt much fresher - whether it was just because it was the first after the break, I don't know. But what I do know is that it was full of silliness, soapiness and scandal, and the more of that we can get, the better.
- Ugh, Daniel is so blah right now. He's so needy, right?
- I love the tension between Emily and Ashley - especially when Emily clocked Ash hanging out with Jack. Burn.
- For all Takeda's squeamishness about emotions, it's basically what is driving Emily (and what drove Nolan to help her, too). Mind you, ego is a weakness - it's how they brought down Falcon.
- I totally don't buy Charlotte's sudden friendship with Regina. Hell, I don't even know what the point of it all is. But whatever... it was kind of ridiculously entertaining.
- Emily's "I'm a spy wearing a hoodie" hoodie gets me every time.
- "Would you approve if I slapped her?"
- I think Ashley is still on Jack's side, since she spoke about knowing how to tell when Conrad is lying - I wonder what his "tell" is. (Aside from "he opens his mouth".)
- The rousing music to signal Dramatic Moments was great fun in this episode - particularly when Emily said she'd be honoured to be in the Grayson family and Jack glared at her. Yesss.
- "I should watch more television."
- Nolan drawing devil horns on Falcon's face. Amazing.