“Revenge” continues to outdo itself. In an hour we get a hookup, a breakup, a death, a resurrection, and a delightfully awful dinner party. This week’s episode, “Charade,” opens with Victoria (Madeline Stowe) putting on her make-up like a warrior preparing for battle. Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) voiceover intones, “As Hamlet said to Ophelia, God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” By the end of the hour, everyone’s second face has been exposed.
Victoria’s Second Face: Semi-Human Being
It’s Victoria and Conrad’s (Henry Czerny) twenty-fifth anniversary. Because they are such a great advertisement for the institution of marriage, a reporter is writing an article about the occasion. They put on their game faces, and play the happy couple. Once the journalist is out of earshot, Conrad informs Victoria that he has hired a security guard to watch Lydia (Amber Valetta), and that Frank is AWOL.
Victoria is paying Lydia’s hospital bills. She tells Conrad that she can relate to her, since she was originally Conrad’s mistress. So who is the first Mrs. Grayson? Amanda’s mother? Conrad tells her that she’s the only one he really loves. Victoria remembers Frank telling her that the Feds are coming after them and she needs to live with her decision.
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Meanwhile, Nolan (Gabriel Mann) wonders if Emily is actually falling for Daniel, pointing out that she would be a lot happier if she ditched her plans and started dating Jack. Maybe she would. Or maybe she would get bored in a couple weeks. Jack (Nick Weschler) thinks Nolan set him up for a crushing rejection and ends their bromance. Nolan looks like he is about to cry. What does a young, good looking, genius billionaire have to do to get some affection? Oh, we’ll find out. Emily gives Jack an old Mariners’ Compass to thank him for fixing her swing. He is embarrassed but accepts her offer of friendship. Jack, the only person who is not playing charades is the only person who gains anything this episode; now that everyone knows Daniel is working at the Stowaway, the bar is packed with aspiring gold diggers hoping to meet him.
The dinner party is an exercise in awkwardness. Declan (Connor Paolo), who Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) invited without telling Victoria, brings Rose wine. At least it wasn’t in a box. Emily gives Victoria a copy of the Graysons wedding invitation. Burn! Declan blurts out that Emily brought Jack a gift that afternoon, revealing to everyone that Jack wants her bad. His Townie accent makes a long speech about how the Graysons think they are better than everyone else, and he doesn’t want anything more to do with them before storming out. Emily’s feelings for Jack are going to trip her up. When Daniel confronts her, she tells him she’s scared because she is falling in love with him.
Conrad tells Victoria she has never looked at him the way she looked at David Clarke. She kicks him out of the house. Victoria flashes back to preparing to testify against David. Conrad tells her they will lose everything if she doesn’t cut him out completely. She changes her story from being his mistress to being in collusion with him because he was threatening her life.
Lydia wakes up and sees Conrad at her bedside.
Emily’s Second Face: Emily’s Cheap Black Wig Meets A Cheap Blond Wig
Frank (Max Martini) confronts Emily with her juvenile criminal records, tells her he is going to find out more. Frank is not effective at taking people down because he acts on impulse instead of planning. The smart move would have been to stay underground, and catch Emily off guard. Emily calls Stiles, the warden of the juvenile detention center, played by CCH Pounder! It turns out that she is in on Emily’s scheme, and was her mentor in revenge. Awesome twist.
Frank, unaware of the dangers of foreshadowing, tells Victoria that he is going to redeem himself or die trying. He visits Stiles, who tells him Emily was wrongfully convicted. Stiles tells Emily she got rid of Frank. He comes back, breaks into the files, and finds a mugshot of a woman named Emily Thorne — who is decidedly not our Amanda. Amanda did not just create a new name. Her charade is more complicated. Awesome twist number two.
At a strip club, Frank finds the real Emily Thorne, who now calls herself Amanda Clarke (!?). She is wearing a naughty police woman outfit and a terrible blonde wig. Hee! He wants her to confirm that they changed identities. She says she made the switch for money, but she kept using Amanda’s name because it’s good for business. He shows her a picture of Emily and Daniel, suggesting she get a piece of the pie. She agrees to meet him in the parking lot. He calls Victoria to say Emily Thorne is not who she claims to be. Before he can tell her more, Real Emily beats him with a crow bar.
Daniel tells Emily that he is falling in love with her while they sit on Jack’s swing. They have sex again. Real Emily shows up at her house and hugs her! We flashback to the two of them fighting in juvie. Real Emily says she took care of Frank, and gives her Frank’s phone, saying someone named Victoria Grayson keeps calling. Frank is lying dead in the shrubbery by the freeway.
Nolan And Tyler’s Second Faces: About a Three On the Kinsey Scale
Tyler (Ashton Holmes) makes sure the reporter knows about Daniel and Emily, describing himself as “Daniel’s Harvard friend.” Oh, Tyler, your Mr. Ripley is showing. A true member of the New York aristocracy would simply say “college roommate.” One does not drop the Harvard name both out of modesty and because it is just assumed that everyone attends an Ivy League school. Tyler manages to not only get himself invited to the Grayson’s family dinner party, but gets permission to bring Ashley as a date.
Tyler next convinces a hung over Daniel that he slammed Tyler’s head against a wall the prior evening because he mentioned Emily. Emily agrees to be interviewed for the profile, and gets confirmation from the reporter that Tyler tipped her off.
Emily asks Nolan to find some dirt on Tyler. Nolan is so excited about his first solo takedown. Nolan tells Tyler he knows someone named Leslie Montgomery who took out a restraining order against Tyler — and that Leslie is an older man. (Are there any young men named Leslie?) Nolan wonders why a gay hustler is posing as a Harvard student. Nolan has obviously not been to Harvard. Tyler’s response is amazing: “Gay? Eh. Hustler, maybe.” Nolan tops him, “Ambiguous sexual identity. I’m about a three on the Kinsey scale myself. Still doesn’t explain was you’re up to.” Oh. My. God. Nolan is bisexual. This means that before the series ends, he can sleep with every single other character! And he should! Write your Nolan/Chuck Bass slash fiction now!
Tyler reveals his family lost everything a couple years ago and he had to drop out of school. Now he’s working the Graysons to land an entry level job with Conrad. Is this true, or another charade? He must have been at Harvard when he met Daniel, but he could be grifter with a forged student I.D. who talked his way into Finals Club parties and set his sights on Daniel as a mark. Tyler turns on his gay hustler charm, wondering why Nolan is all alone. Why indeed? Tyler suggests they make a deal and leans it for a kiss. It’s super hot, but the editors cut away before their lips touch. Seriously, ABC? Didn’t you get over your fear of men kissing with Kevin and Scotty on “Brothers & Sisters”? The audience for “Revenge” is gay men and the women who love them.
Tyler brings Ashley a rose as an apology for not showing up at the dinner party. She tells him she wants to be a player on the social scene, not a party planner, expressing contempt for all the Trust Fund kids. Hello, Ashley’s Second Face. Nice to meet you. He confides that he is bankrupt and scared she will tell the Gaysons. He tells her he stood her up to get copies of Conrad’s database, holding up a flashdrive. A year from now he will be indispensable. Ashley is impressed. Is Tyler lying? Did he steal the drive from Nolan?
Nolan, lounging in his bathrobe, calls Emily to say that Tyler is a con artist, but you can’t con a con. He watches a video of them having sex, which features shirtlessness, and straddling, but still no kissing. The Nolan/Ashley/Tyler triangle is going to be insane!