After a couple of big, exciting episodes, “Revenge” returned to second-season form with “Illumination,” which introduced even more characters and convoluted subplots. Fortunately, the previews for next week’s episode, feature the return of both the red sharpie and Mason Treadwell. Presumably, all of this week’s set up and exposition is leading someplace interesting. Here are the highlights.
Emanda’s Brother Is the Keeper of Her Secrets
Last week, Emanda’s (Emily VanCamp) foster brother Eli (Collins Pennie) arrived in the Hamptons. This week, he proves himself to be a smart cookie, recognizing Emanda immediately, but keeping quiet about her identity so he can work his own con. No wonder these two were so close as children. Eli protected her from the wrath of their evil foster mother who used to lock them in a bin. In turn, Emanda started a fire so she wouldn’t be adopted and separated from him.
Eli quickly informs Emanda that he is onto her, then sets about worming his way into the Graysons good graces. He agrees to attend Victoria’s party in support of her new charity, the Amanda Clarke Foundation. He has convinced her that he is a Columbia graduate who works as a rare book dealer, though he is actually a crook evading multiple arrest warrants. He accepts Emanda’s offer of help. Nolan’s computer powers include erasing all of his police records via a mobile app. Wouldn’t his warrants be on file in multiple databases? I am thinking about this too hard. After he gets what he wants, Eli turns around and gives the $100,000 Emanda gave him in exchange for his promise to leave the Hamptons to the Amanda Clarke Foundation. In return, Victoria (Madeline Stowe) names him co-chair. Basically, he is the new male Amily. I’m not sure why the show decided to recreate that dynamic, but hopefully Eli will turn out to be fun.
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Jack Continues to Be Intelligent
Somehow, getting shot significantly increased Jack’s (Nick Wechsler) I.Q. He tracks down the man who owns the boat slip where he was found the night he was shot and asks him for information about what happened. He tells Jack that a stranger rented his boat, came back covered with blood, then bought the boat. He accurately describes Nolan (tall, sandy) as the buyer. Sadly, Jack does not think to ask about relative preppiness of attire or double shirts to definitively ascertain the identity of his savior.
At the Amanda Clarke Foundation party, Jack makes a crafty speech thanking the Graysons, claiming they are his true friends. Of course, he knows they are lying liars who lie. Jack does subterfuge now. He tells Nolan (Gabriel Mann) he’s practicing lying through his teeth like Nolan does. He knows Nolan lied to him about the night he was shot. Nolan follows him to the Stowaway and says that he didn’t save his life. He gives him a copy of the title to the speed boat which is in Kenny Ryan’s name. He suggests that Kenny was working with his brother and had an attack of conscience and suggests Jack should let the police investigate. Jack hugs him and says he’s sorry he doubted him. But his expression is ambiguous. Smart, skeptical Jack is the best thing that has happened this season.
One Man’s Charity Is Another Man’s Tax Shelter
The Graysons aren’t starting a charity in Amanda’s name out of guilt. They’re using it as a front to hide all of their assets from the government. Conrad and Victoria also want Daniel to make Aiden (Barry Sloane) appear to be responsible for all of the Initiative’s evil deeds. Since he has rediscovered his conscience, he feels guilty about framing someone who is, as far as he knows, an innocent executive with no connection to any dirty dealings.
After Conrad has an off-camera conversation with Aiden, Aiden tells Daniel (Josh Bowman) that Emanda is still hung up on him. Daniel’s drunk, grey heart goes pitter patter. He mentions that Conrad made him treasurer of the Amanda Clarke Foundation. Conrad admits to an angry Daniel that the foundation is a just a money laundering scam.
Daniel comes clean with Emanda, telling her that the Initiative is forcing him to coordinate the financing of their next evil plot through Grayson. We don’t see her response, but Daniel returns home, makes a donation to the foundation, and tells him he is on board.
Carrion, Meet Falcon
Emanda wants Nolan to use Carrion to hack into the Amanda Clarke Foundation account, destroy it, and bankrupt the Graysons. Because they are somehow literally going to put all of an investment firm’s complex financial holdings in one account. It’s not that I expect this show to portray either finance or technology with complete realism, but come on. Nolan unleashes the dreaded Carrion but he can’t get into the Grayson Mainframe. Nolan flashes back to visiting David in prison to tell him that the Graysons hired a hacker known as the Falcon. David tells him that he should focus on Emanda, not his hacker nemesis. In the present, Nolan tells Emanda that the Falcon is back on the Graysons payroll. In fact, a cheesy falcon appears on the computer screen as proof that the Falcon is responsible. They have to find him. Uh, okay, another villain that has little to do with Emanda’s quest. Maybe bland Aiden will turn out to be the Falcon and this will turn out to be an interesting quest.
“Revenge” airs Sundays at 9/8c on ABC.