TV REVIEW: Revisionist History is a Grayson Specialty in Revenge’s “Disgrace”
Espionage. Blackmail. Extortion. Breaking and entering. High fashion (and how!) And REVENGE! Can it get any better than this? We’ve run out of sufficient words to describe the outrageous fun of our weekly dose of the Hamptons.
Revenge’s “Disgrace” opens with Emily’s Cinderella-esqe exodus from the opera wearing her most stunning dress to date, an exquisite strapless Champagne tulle gown by Carolina Herrera whose brilliance is outshone only by the fantastical hoopla that bubbles to the surface throughout the next forty-three minutes. Running from the theater (for a moment we thought she might leave a glass slipper behind) she’s blinded by the flashing bulbs of the ravenous paparazzi.
Flash back thirty-six hours. Daniel and Victoria attempt to blackmail Emily with photos of her and Aiden. Emily rejects the offer, Victoria threatens a lawsuit, and then Emily strikes her most pitiful expression and delivers several sorrowful lines of her practiced routine about her life as a battered wife forced into lying by her murderous adulterous husband. Reverting back to her sly confident expression she informs the pair they’d just seen a preview of her intended testimony should they go to court for this divorce.
Impressively, Victoria’s multi-million dollar divorce settlement offer was a cleverly disguised ploy to uncover whether Emily was after their family or their fortune. When Emily turns down the money, Victoria pledges to uncover why Emily is hell bent on revenge against the Grayson family. Thus begins the romp that is this week’s Revenge installment.
Elsewhere, Margaux summons media mogul Papa Pascal (Olivier Martinez) to America to eradicate all things Conrad from the Voulez offices. In a nasty turnabout, Pascal demeans Margaux on several occasions, usurping her authority, and admits to hiding American Voulez’s exsanguinated finances and using it as a write-off for his own business. She. Is. Livid.
There’s more. Pascal rebukes Conrad’s feeble attempts to blackmail him into a partnership, giving him instead a piercing stare that could crack and peel year-old paint off the wall. This does not look like a man you wanna mess with, people. If there is a French Mafia, this guy probably runs it. “Considering what you’ve already asked of me,” Pascal replies to Conrad’s incessant bafoonery (a trait Conrad has been perfecting all season, btw), “I think I’ve done enough for you.” Remember that comment. It’s crucial for the final scene of the episode.
But that’s not all. While in the Hamptons, Pascal repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempts to ingratiate himself with Victoria who reviles him. What could he have done twenty years previously to garner such disdain? I can’t wait to find out. Every single time he focuses his sinister stare at Victoria, Margaux or Conrad it looks like black smoke might slither out of his mouth.
To pump new life into the revengenda, the Revenge fairies have just sweetened the pot with another partner. Enter new vengeful maven, Stevie Grayson, with an old (but new to us) Grayson score to settle and it sounds like this one is a doozie.
Stevie (Gail O’Grady) admits to having visited David Clarke in prison and smelled Grayson treachery. As an attorney, she saw something in David Clarke’s file that could have exonerated him, but Conrad got her disbarred and catapulted her from the case before she could do anything about it. Now she’d like to help. Jack’s immediate reluctance to allow this is softened when he learns how important it is to his newly reclaimed birth mother to fight for the underdog against the man whose treachery resulted in the deaths of David Clarke, Declan and Amanda Clarke Porter. Emily, however, is harder to convince to allow either one of them to become involved in her plan.
Contrary to all the hype, Stevie’s confrontation of Emily isn’t because she’s figured out Amandily’s secret identity, though this is Must-See-TV and nothing is ever as it seems. Rather, she’s curious about Emily’s stake in the game and, once hearing of Emily’s commitment to Amanda Clarke, would genuinely like to help. What’s in it for her? Other than Stevie’s disbarment, who knows what happened between Stevie and Conrad twenty years ago, but it can’t be good. Curiously, Conrad admits to Emily that he brought Stevie to the Hamptons to get back into her good graces while humiliating Victoria in the process. This is about to get really sticky. I like it.
Despite Emily’s protest against Porter involvement, Nolan and Jack covertly hatch a plan and steal David Clarke’s case files from the law firm archives.
Speaking of the best-dressed millionaire bachelor in the Hamptons, no Revenge episode is complete without at least a half dozen shining moments from Nolan “The-World-is-Being-Deprived of My Genius” Ross.
These are a couple of my favorites:
First, Nolan running roughshod over Emily about ruining Jack’s life again … then admitting he was just testing her resolve and sanity. Wow. I don’t think I took a single breath while waiting to see if he was serious! #Awesome. Second, Nolan turning his back on a table full of patent lawyers while he texts with Jack. Third, Nolan assuming the therapist patient posture by hopping up onto Emily’s countertop and laying down. Great camera angle there, by the way.
While all the rest of this is going on, let’s take a moment to consider Emily Thorne. Something has changed. There is a dimension to Emily Thorne that we hadn’t seen in the first two seasons. Previously, she was an enraged chickadee with a broken wing flopping around in the sand. This season, as her character has been more voluptuously (for lack of a better word) fleshed out, we see the incredible compassion that her father so desperately cherished in his daughter. Earlier in the season Nolan read a passage to Emily from one of her father’s journals in which David implores Emily not to allow her bitterness to consume her. (Didn’t Victoria say that exact same thing to Patrick last week? One wonders if this was murmured between the two of them, David and Victoria, during their time as lovers). At Nolan’s reading, Emily was not yet able to take that advice into her heart and own it as her father would have preferred. However, through her love for Nolan, Jack and Aiden she has matured through her trials and her relationships have blossomed. She and Nolan are more solid than ever, her friendship with Jack is solid and healthy, and her love for Aiden is clearer than it’s ever been. That’s saying a lot, folks, considering her starting point.
Last week in “Struggle” we touched on Jack’s character development. Who knew that was the prelude to a new phase in his relationship with Emily? Jack has recovered sufficiently from the blows of last season and is now poised to responsibly partner with Emily and his mother in a campaign to deliver unto Conrad that which Conrad deserves. No longer is he the lost man running around in the rubble of the exploding Grayson Global searching for his brother, and then attempting to murder Conrad. Then he was filled with rage, now he’s filled with righteous indignation.
Through her relationship with Jack, we again see Emily’s compassionate side. She does everything but kick him out of the beach house when he says he wants to assist with the take-down of Conrad Grayson, but he comes back swinging. Details below!
Cut to the opera house where Pascal has once again been rebuffed by Victoria and spat vitriol at his daughter. Margaux, mad as hell about her father remaining in town and treating her like a 5-year-old, approaches Daniel and invites him to join her in flipping the bird at both of their parents and we all pray it will not be at Emily’s expense. Against the backdrop of an operatic singer on stage playing Canio playing Pagliaccio sings of his philandering wife. Moments later, made public is Emily’s surgical record revealing her lack of pregnancy when she and Daniel got married.
Vic spits accusations at Emily who runs out of the theater. Daniel runs after her with a smug grin on his face a lollypop in his hand – or was it the printed program, or was I just imagining it? The point is, he looked like an insufferably spoiled little rich kid and it’s disgusting. Emily begins her melodramatic, ‘After all I’ve done to protect you’ speech, but Dan stops her short. There’s a face off and it looks like the Graysons have won this round.
Emily turns to hightail it out of there and runs into the waiting spotlight of the ravenous paparazzi. At this point we don’t yet know if she is a faker or the mastermind behind this whole medical records mess. If this isn’t part of the revengenda, did Victoria orchestrate it, or was it Margaux and Daniel collectively seeking vengeance upon their spiteful parents? However, Revengers, we know that Emily and Nolan are the only ones smart enough to manipulate information and execute such a charade.
Next we see Ems and her luggage being escorted to the door in a cloud of shame at Grayson manor. No one will believe you now, says the matriarch, looking like the cat who ate the canary. Are you really that naive, Victoria? This is Emily Thorne we’re talking about, emphasis on the thorn.
Emily finally reveals that this was all part of the plan to make a public break from the Grayson’s and for them to feel that they had won. Whew!
Earlier in the episode Nolan comes home to find ex con Javier (Henri Esteve), a millennial computer genius with a penchant for programming antisocial web aggregators in C++, needing somewhere to crash while he’s on house arrest. Nolan reluctantly agrees to host finding the arrangement mutually beneficial when Javier assists Nolan and Jack in purloining David Clarke’s case files from the law firm. All of this unbeknownst to Emily who is none to pleased when she finds out Jack has willfully inserted himself into the revengenda. God bless friends in low places, right?
The files stolen from the law office later reveal a cryptic note addressed to Conrad and written by an unknown writer that Emily concludes through handwriting analysis is likely Pascal. Included in the note were these words: Per your request I handled TWM. Your DC plan is safe. ‘DC’ has got to stand for David Clarke. How much do you want to bet that ‘TWM’ are the initials of … drum roll … Aiden’s father, Trevor Mathis. If you recall, Trevor was the baggage handler who was presumably blackmailed into putting the bomb on Flight 197 in exchange for his daughter’s life. Oh, what tangled web we weave, revengers. My, my. We’ve already been teased that Aiden returns next week and together he and Emily uncover some old family secrets.
Wow. Another stand-out performance by the entire Revenge crew and next Sunday cannot come soon enough.
Next week in “Addiction,” Emily will use her newly single status to unravel a mystery from the past and a lingering Pascal continues to stalk Victoria. Tune in Sunday, March 30 (10p.m. ET) on ABC.