Revenge Review: Emily vs. Daniel, No Holds Barred

There was plenty of tactical hatred being spread on this week’s episode of Revenge, and can we really not mention this blackout thing Emily (Emily VanCamp) was doing in the first sentence? Of course not, the potential results of said blackout are terrifying. This week’s Revenge MVP is actually a first-timer, as I’ve never found him to be the most effective part of an episode, at least until now; congratulations Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman), you earned it. The venom he was dropping on his wife was some of the best Grayson stuff yet.

Revenge Daniel-EmilyOk, so, we should probably start with Daniel’s first sucker-punch right under Emily’s nose; he’s moved in his ex and current-lover Sara (AnnaBelle Stephenson), and Emily doesn’t learn of this until she walks in on them in Daniel’s private bedroom. Oooh, he think he nasty. I love how often we’ve been getting those after-discussion camera shots of Emily when she turns away from a Grayson. The veil slips away and out comes this thin smile. She know she bad. His mother, Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), warns him about the affair, because she knows what Emily is capable of. It’s such an “oh, I hate you” scene when Daniel complains to his mother about Emily, talking about the trouble she’s caused him. Yes, this is coming from the guy who put bullets in her stomach. He’s practically drunk off the battle, and he’s not the only one. Sara gets quite an air about her, and the scene where she demands Cristal is a laugh.

They should have heeded the words of Victoria, because before they could escape for a vacation to Italy, Sara’s mother showed up, saying she’d received a call from Emily about the situation. The disappointment was laid on pretty thick, and even though Sara initially refused to leave with her mother. her spirit, or at least her motivation for the relationship, was broken. She had become convinced that Emily would never let go of Daniel, and she couldn’t lose her family over a fight that she probably wouldn’t win. Daniel is disgusted, furious, even partially choking Emily on a bed, and yet every single move he made went right into Emily’s plans. However, the words could still sting. Daniel lands a very rare verbal TKO when he sneers, “Sterilizing you was my gift to the world.” Hot damn!

Nolan (Gabriel Mann) confronted Patrick (Justin Hartley) on his transgressions from the last episode, knocking him out and stealing from him (a no-no in most relationships), and he gave him some information about his father. He told him his name was Jimmy Brennan, and that he actually came to see Patrick at the Orphanage years ago, but Victoria had turned him away at the door. Nolan succeeds in planting the seeds of unrest with Patrick, who now realized he lost a chance at learning of his father because of the mother who had now taken him in. Patrick locates the man, or at least figures out a favorite drinking hole of his working buddies, but Victoria follows him and tries to warn him about something. We don’t learn of that something just yet, because she’s interrupted by the man himself, and when he bumps into Victoria and looks at her, he sends her into freak anxiety mode.

After Patrick is able to get her out of the bar and into more homely settings, she tells him that Jimmy Brennan had raped her and stalked her. She had sent him up for adoption because she wanted him protected and away from the watching eyes of the father. Oh, and she also got this art school thing to be able to go to Paris and do fancy stuff, but we’re assuming the protection from the father was the most important factor here.

Revenge EmilyMargaux (Karine Vanasse) was in town with Jack Porter (Nick Wechsler) for the debut of her new magazine, and the excitement of purchasing a mag off the rack vanished quite quickly when she came across an article that said it was written by her, yet contained something she was positive she didn’t write. Cue in Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny), who paid off an assistant of the magazine to switch one of the articles, putting out material that Conrad would have a strong case against in a libel suit. Both Margaux and Daniel know they’ve been played, but Conrad makes it pretty clear he’s only intending to dish out the pain to his son. He’s still pretty pissed about losing Lydia, and although it was Emily’s words that got her taken away, it was Daniel’s actions that ultimately brought all this upon him. Conrad gives Margaux a deal; buy out Daniel, he’ll buy it all from her for even more. Margaux knows Conrad is about as close to a tyrant as you can get, and the only way to get out clean was to drop a Grayson. Daniel’s lost Sara, he’s lost the partnership, no wonder he’s gotten so surly.

On the personal side of things, Margaux and Jack continue to be great for one another, take happy walks with Jack’s son, and give each other many kisses. Yay. Oh, and Jack proposed they get a new place together, and she was totally pumped. As you can see, happiness makes for really short paragraphs on Revenge.

Let’s get to that thing between Aiden (Barry Sloane) and Niko (Stephanie Jacobsen), which is probably my least favorite thing going on right now. I’ve just never been a huge Aiden guy, and they actually started writing him pretty well this season, but then turned him into a bit of a douche with the whole sleeping with Niko thing, and now I’m just supposed to accept him again? What’s going on, guys? Anyway, Aiden isn’t feeling fully invested in his newfound relationship with Niko, which might have something to do with her ultimate life goal in finding her father’s killer, who happens to be, well, Aiden. Oh, and he just loves Emilly, alright? Anyway, probably slightly to help Aiden, and mostly to get people out of his house (Niko was also staying there), he fabricated evidence of Takeda’s killer. He says he’s not going, which she’s ultimately fine with, but she’s probably not going to go either, because she found her dad’s katana  in AIDEN’S STUFF! That’s gonna be an awkward next meeting.

Now to the craziest part, the blackouts. So, because of the injuries she’s received, she’s having some issues with staying conscious. Her first blackout leads her to Nolan’s place, in an almost fated way that made Aiden realize he wanted Emily back. The second was a little stranger, as after a near-violent argument with Daniel, she passes out, and then wakes up in Conrad Grayon’s bed. He remarks that they had a great night together. Yeah, what the, I don’t even, um, yeah. Hopefully we get some more details on that bit in the future.

Oh, and Conrad’s first wife arrives to the Hamptons. I was totally prepared not to care one bit until out walked Gail O’Grady, and then I was totally sold. She’s fantastic.

Revenge is doing a nice job of giving the minor characters a bit more depth this season, as well as better fleshing out some of the newer ones. I’ve become intrigued with the Patrick storyline, mainly just because I want to figure out which crazy way it’s going next. The vicious showdowns between Emily and Daniel were terrific, about twice as good as I had even expected. Major props to Joshua Bowman for a damn-near evil delivery. But hey, when your screen dad is Henry Czerny, it can’t be too big of a surprise that you learn how to throw those pompous punches.

I also really enjoy no longer having that lingering wedding moment hanging above us. We had been anticipating that moment for so long, but now that it finally happened, the future is unclear in a new and exciting way for this show. Emily is still set on bringing down the Graysons, but a lot of what she’s doing now is forced to be on-the-fly stuff. It’s definitely adding some excitement, and continuing the improvement the show has taken since Season 2.

It’s a real shame that this show won’t be airing again until March, but I’ll be counting down until I can see what they’ve got cooked up next.

Season 3, Episode 13: “Hatred” (originally aired January 19th, 2014)

Revenge airs Sundays at 9/8c on ABC.

Images courtesy of Richard Cartwright and ABC.

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