Let’s cut to the chase: did Tyler kill anyone at Daniel’s birthday clambake? It’s the question that has been on everyone’s mind since last week, when ABC released the first ten minutes of “Revenge’s” mid-season premiere, “Duress.” Spoiler alert: the only person whose life in the Hamptons ends is Tyler’s.You can press play and watch Tyler’s last stand.
But getting there was all the fun. Most episodes of “Revenge” have 70 intersecting plots. This week the focus is on Tyler’s (Ashton Holmes) downfall. We begin at a dinner party on the beach. All of the characters — with one tall, blonde, computer genius exception — are there. Tyler points a gun at Emanda (Emily VanCamp). Then we flashback to see how it all unfolded.
Emanda suggests that Daniel (Josh Bowman) celebrate his birthday with a clambake on the beach. She apologizes to Nolan (Gabriel Mann). He accepts far too easily — though it is in character since he is so desperate for friendship. Nolan tells her that Tyler stole the whale camera. She thinks they can use it against him. Nolan, two steps ahead, is already using Tyler’s GPS to track him.
When Conrad (Henry Czerny) attempts to fire Tyler, he reveals that he has video of Frank tossing Lydia off the roof and of Conrad discussing framing David Clarke. Now that’s how to get job security during a recession.
Emanda sneaks into Tyler’s house to retrieve the whale-cam and finds Tyler’s anti-psychotic medication. She phones the prescribing doctor’s office, and learns that Tyler attacked his shrink and disappeared shortly before he arrived in the Hamptons. She hides when Tyler returns and tears up the room in search of the camera. Nolan sends his jet to pick up Tyler’s surgeon brother in San Francisco. So Tyler is too poor to stay in business school, but his brother is a surgeon. Maybe his brother just warned him about the perils of educational loans.
After Emanda shows him Tyler’s meds. Daniel decides to confront him, because that’s the best way to handle someone who is violent and crazy. Tyler begs Daniel to go to San Francisco with him, apparently hoping that Daniel will become gay by osmosis once he gets there. When Daniel turns him down, Tyler shoves him against the wall and flees.
Nolan’s GPS tracking determines that Tyler got on the plane. Actually, Tyler just sent his phone back to Cali. He sneaks into Nolan’s house, stabs him in the arm, then leaves him bound and gagged on a chair while he searches for all of Nolan’s incriminating videos. After seeing whale cam footage of Emanda and Daniel preparing for the clambake, Tyler decides he’s in the mood for some shellfish. Fortunately, Tyler’s brother arrives and finds Nolan. It’s convenient that he’s a trauma surgeon and can treat Nolan’s wound.
Emanda has invited Jack (Nick Weschler) and Amily (Margarita Leveiva) to the clambake, knowing that Amily’s presence will rattle Victoria (Madeline Stowe). When Emanda goes inside her house to get Daniel’s birthday cake, Tyler is waiting for her. She distracts him with a barrage of insults and slips something into his jacket pocket. He finds her gun. Emanda carries the cake to the table, trailed by a gun toting Tyler. He blows out the candles then announces they are going to play Truth or Die. He asks Conrad what really happened to David Clarke. Conrad evades, so Tyler points the gun at Emanda’s head. Before he can fire, his brother and Nolan arrive.
After a moment of telepathic bro communication, Jack and Daniel jump Tyler. The cops arrest Tyler and find Frank’s wallet in his jacket pocket, making him the prime suspect in Frank’s murder. It also turns out that gun was not loaded. Well played, Emanda!
The other action this week is the beginning of Conrad and Victoria’s divorce proceedings. Conrad’s lawyer, Barbara, is played by “Alias’s” Merrin Dungey, so there is a chance she is an evil intelligence operative who has killed the real Barbara and assumed her identity. Victoria’s lawyer, Ryan (James McCaffrey) wants her pre-nuptial agreement declared null and void because she was pregnant when she married Conrad, which constitutes duress. That argument would not fly on “The Good Wife.” It’s especially problematic because Victoria was lying about being pregnant and faked a miscarriage after Conrad put a ring on it. Ryan acquires forged medical documents that perpetuate Victoria’s miscarriage lie. Sadly, there is no flashback of Victoria throwing herself down a flight of stairs and weeping that she lost the baby. We do get a flashback of Bad Wig Emanda asking him why he did not use the box of evidence that could have cleared David during his trial. It looks like the fake box of evidence from this week’s episode of “Pretty Little Liars.” YouTube parodists, please create an Evidence In A Box video.
Blackmail. It isn’t just for breakfast anymore. – Nolan to Emanda
It does appear you despicable people are starting to rub off on me. – Tyler to Conrad
I’ve always seen you for what you are: an impotent little misfit who will spend the rest of his life on the outside looking in. – Emily to Tyler