Revenge is at its best when we have Emily badass one minute, soft and tender the next. It reaches soapy heights when you add Emily versus Victoria into the mix with one liners that land such a blow we feel the sting straight through our TVs. When you sprinkle in an evil villain who wants some Emily blood, the formula’s almost been perfected. Top all that off with a Nolan and Emily scheming cherry and voila, a Revenge classic.
“Retaliation” offered a few of those definitive pieces but ended up falling a bit short with this latest installment, a good not great episode. Margaux just doesn’t measure up in the villain category, displaying neither the smarts nor the “one step ahead” planning worthy of an Emily foe. Can we all just say, come back from the dead, Conrad! Please. It wouldn’t be the strangest plot twist in Revenge’s history. Victoria had her hands full with a new enemy, so there few opportunities for a war of words with Ems. Nolan also had his hands full with a new wife, so between dealing with Louise, slipping his wedding band off, and setting up a daycare (more on that later), he had little time for bestie. Let’s take a look at who ended up garnering a little “Retaliation” in this one and who the red Sharpied victims would be.
Victoria’s Got an L on her Forehead
Victoria is used to being the victor, coming out on top in most Revenge shenanigans, but she had a distinct L on her forehead at the beginning of “Retaliation.”
We see her leaving the courthouse after a day of challenging the Natalie inheritance of Daddy Conrad’s millions. She’s not happy with Lyman’s performance in court.
“You told me that you were a pitbull but you neglected to tell me that you were neutered,” she tells Louise’s brother after the loss.
Most of the verbal showdowns came between Natalie and Victoria with the Hampton’s newest socialite taking the upper hand. She’s got the Grayson cash, is hosting the annual 4th of July party that Victoria usually throws, and even has time to gloat about a beginning David love connection. Her dresses may even be a little tighter than Queen V’s!
Nolan and Louise Need Fake Marriage Counseling
We see our cutest couple, Lolan, at the spa, with Nolan cooing at wifey, “Easy tiger, save some of that roar for when they break out the hot stones,” during a couple’s massage.
They gossip about family with Red unhappy she’s basically got no one except Lyman. We’d be unhappy too if the sweet tea sipping Southerner was our only kin. Nolan comments that brother “sounds more like a moth drawn to a money flame.”
They also chit chat about the state of Emily’s love life with Nolan (along with everyone else in the universe) not feeling the Ben love. “I thought she’d be moving toward Jack.” No kidding! Didn’t we all?
“If Emily likes the way this big Ben turns her clock she may be right,” comments Louise.
We thought her clock would be saying it is finally time to give Jack his shot. All the Emily/Jack obstacles are gone (many through death), and the stars seem to be lining up for a first love reunion.
Lolan is struggling throughout “Retaliation” with what their spousely duties involve. Nolan is not relishing his fake husband role, leaving his ring at his place, much to the chagrin of Louise. He hilariously complains to Jack that he’s become boring because of his married status, saying that the ring “is attractive to no one.”
Later, Lyman professes his changed man status, but Louise says, “I trust you about as far as I can throw you. And we both know I inherited feeble Aunt Fay’s upper body strength.”
Lyman goes on to proclaim that he’s doing some soul searching. What happened with that? We think he came up pretty empty. But Louise proves her heart is as big as her, uh, eyes when she believes in a Lyman reformation, even allowing him to stay at Casa Nolan. Remember, she confessed earlier that he’s really the only family she’s got.
Ben Tries to Pull an Aiden (Nope)
Remember the good old Revenge days of Emily and Aiden fighting together, scheming together, loving together? Well, it looks like Ben is auditioning for the role of Mr. Mathis, but falls way short in our eyes. Last week he faced some Margaux blackmail, something about an ex wife. He looked scared and ready to comply.
This week we learned that Margaux’s plan was to threaten Ben’s ex, April, with another ex, Wes, who’s also an ex-con with a mean streak (did you follow that). Margaux demands Amanda Clarke’s birth certificate which Ben hands over because apparently that is now required when dating.
Ben is smarter than he seems, letting Nolan and Emily in on the Margaux threats, and passing off a fake birth certificate. Did anyone feel the least bit worried that a Margaux take down of anyone was actually going to occur? Or did you sense Frenchie is out manned, out maneuvered, and out brain celled?
When Margaux discovers the fake certificate, she says she ain’t playin’ and ridiculously lets evil ex Wes know where April is. This will take Emily down how? Well, it allows for Ben and Emily to go on a big save the ex excursion and talk lost love problems.
It’s confession time in the car ride to the April save, with Ben saying his ex just packed up one day complaining he wasn’t spontaneous enough for her. She then moved on to a bad boy with a rap sheet and enough spontaneity to commit crimes all spur of the moment.
Emily surprisingly confesses about Aiden and we all say awww. She says, “I felt like I lost everything.” We hear ya, girl. We feel exactly the same way!
They make it to the little diner April’s working at in her self imposed dangerous-ex protection program but she’s less than thrilled to see Ben. He smiles, she slaps. It turns out that after April came looking for a little Ben assistance in dealing with Wes, the cop called in a raid on some shady business that was going down. This tipped off Wes of the April deception.
In a surprise to no one, Wes shows up at the diner with April working behind the counter. But lookout bad guy because it’s not April in that cute waitress number, but Emily looking like she belongs in Bon Temps. Ems unloads on Wes with Ben kind of wiping the floor with him after.
April’s appreciative when Wes gets arrested and taken away, his third strike, so he’ll be a lifer. The slap is replaced with a long, drawn out hug.
Did Ben slightly make himself a little less annoying in “Retaliation?” Sure. He defended an ex, went all in with Emily and Nolan, betrayed Margaux, and showed he can fight. But is he Emily endgame? No way (and the audience whispers “Jack, Jack, Jack”).
Victoria Wipes that L off Her Forehead
The Victoria/Natalie claws are out all night with Natalie in super smug “I’ve won” mode for most of the episode. Natalie is a girl on a vendetta, hellbent on making Victoria pay … for something. “Retaliation” filled us in on exactly what that “something” was.
Victoria tries to warn David about Natalie, saying she’s up to no good. She tells Clarke that his new girl is moving to Cali because she bought a house there.
David’s not buying it, asking Victoria, “How many houses did you own before karma caught up with you?” Vicky comes off looking like a spurned ex-love who is jealously pouting from a corner.
Before the party, David is at his new woman’s place as she gets ready. He looks in Natalie’s purse for some aspirin she’s asking for and is shocked when he finds a watch instead. Hmmm, more on that later.
At the big 4th of July soiree, Natalie reveals that she IS in the Hamptons to bring down David, that she does have it in for Mr. Clarke and his former lover, and that Victoria was basically right. Darn, we hate it when that happens. Natalie’s been working to bring down David all in the memory of her true love, another Grayson … CONRAD! Yes, Natalie and Conrad were in love, and when he died she did the best she could to carry on her love’s revengenda – marry his daddy, starve him to death, and sign over all his money to her. Sounds like a move from the Victoria playbook.
David proves he is Emily’s father, telling Natalie that he’s not fooled; he knew she was up to no good because the watch had Conrad written all over it, literally.
When Natalie starts yelling “help!” and “stop David” we think she may actually land the Grayson back in jail – he does have those crazy eyes. Who steps in to save the day? Victoria. Darn we hate it when that happens too.
Victoria’s recorded the whole confession. She has Natalie turn over all the Grayson money in exchange for her freedom. Yes, that L’s been wiped clean. Vicky even has the last word with David as he thanks her, saying, “I bet you’re glad you didn’t kill me.”
A Deception, A Discovery, and a Death
In the slimy move of the night that fooled no one except Louise, it turns out that Lyman was not a changed man. He was in cahoots with Margaux agreeing to find all the Nolan secrets. Louise discovers the brother backstab just as Lyman transfers her husband’s laptop files onto a flash drive. She struggles with her brother for the drive, and Lyman, of course, accidentally on purpose goes tumbling off the side of a cliff.
We can see that red Sharpie line going through the heavily Southern drawled sleaze. Who’s upset about Lyman’s demise? Louise. Her family members do not take a fall very well.
Surprisingly, despite their Wonder Twin status, Louise does not tell Nolan what happened. She sticks to the brother was drunk and went to sleep it off in the guest room story. The he was so drunk he could’ve fallen off a cliff story. Doesn’t Louise know that this kind of thing always happens on Revenge? And who better to cover the whole thing up than Nolan and his BFF?
Jack Has a Target on His Back
Jack is struggling to come to terms with the Emily rejection. Like us, he can’t believe she turned him down. He’s working at some random bar, but Nolan’s not having it. He offers Jack a job at the club and convinces his buddy to take the offer by also offering up a work site daycare for Carl.
It doesn’t look like Jack will get to start his job anytime soon, finding himself targeted in the Margaux plan to get to Emily. In the only thing that actually worked for the French woman tonight, she has Porter pulled over by the cops, falsely accused of drunk driving. Jack’s hauled to jail with Carl plopped in a squad car, screaming for daddy. Heartbreaking. And just to twist that knife in Jack’s back a little further, who pulls up to witness the whole thing? Emily and Ben fresh off their April save.
It was not Jack’s night tonight. Or Natalie’s. Or Lyman’s. Or Wes’s. So Revenge wrapped up several storylines in an episode that had some of the elements of crazy we so love. All in all, it was a fast paced outing that gave us those Revenge resolutions we usually have to wait many more weeks to see come to light.
We couldn’t help but feel a more villainous villain is in order. Margaux seems out of her league in the attempted Emily takedown, like a kindergartener who’s come out to tangle with some high schoolers and is about to get sent to naptime. She did score one with the Jack arrest, but her victory lap is sure to be cut short. Perhaps by a car. Did you see that preview for next week?!
A falsely accused Jack in the next few episodes has all the markings of Emily coming to the rescue, realizing she does belong with her first love, and the sailing off into the sunset ending we’ve been waiting for. What do you all think? We’ll see you back here same place, same time next week hoping we’ll spy a definite red Sharpie line through Margaux’s name.
Revenge airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC.