It may have been Easter in our world but it was still Halloween in the Hamptons. “Revenge” continued to get itself back on track with this week’s episode “Masquerade.” There is no better television tradition than the masquerade ball. I don’t know how often actual one percenters get themselves dolled up in black tie and masks, but in fiction it always leads to mistaken identity, barbed quips and angst. In one hour we got the end of two more poorly developed second season characters, revelations about Victoria’s (Madeline Stowe) long lost son and the continuation of Jack’s (Nick Wechsler) effective, efficient vengeance.
Son of a Bitch: Emanda (Emily VanCamp) uses her knowledge that Victoria has a bastard floating around somewhere to gaslight Victoria. She send her nemesis an RSVP to her masquerade ball with a 1973 postmark signed “Your Loving Son.” She thinks back to her teenage years when a doctor told her she was about six weeks pregnant and needed to make a choice. She also sends Victoria a bouquet of 11 black roses. Conrad (Henry Czerny) finds the note and she confesses to her teen pregnancy, revealing that her mother’s pervy boyfriend was the father. she claims she had an abortion, but that wouldn’t make for much of a story. At the masquerade, she sees a man with a full face mask, that’s half black half white wearing a black rose in his lapel. As opera music swells on the soundtrack, she chases after him. But the man she grabs is Aiden (Barry Sloane) (foreshadowing?). She dramatically faints on the floor.
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The next morning, she visits the nun to whom she actually gave her more assuredly alive son. As a teen, she extracted a promise from the Sister that she would never tell her anything about what became of her child. In the present, the nun tells her that when he was a “young man”, which could mean teens or twenties, he came to the convent in search of information, but she did not tell him anything. This still leaves Nolan, Aiden and the Falcon as possible Victoria spawn.
After Victoria leaves, Emanda, who has been monitoring Victoria’s cell phone activity, shows up wearing her Hoodie of Delinquency. She says that she is pregnant and has nowhere else to go. Clearly, she is just there to dig up the dirt on Victoria, but the show might hope that some fans will think she is actually pregnant.
Two Dead Bodies: Six weeks have elapsed from the prior episodes. Nolan has set up a one man war room to search for Padma. He is writing on windows along with other tormented genius moves. For once, Emanda is concerned for him instead of just thinking about herself. He tells her that he fails every time he tries to help someone. She reminds him that he saved Jack’s life. I think his rescue of Emanda from juvie is pretty impressive. He does manage a “Start your revengines,” when Jack phones.
Emanda thinks that the best strategy for saving Padma is for Aiden to use his position on the board of Grayson to torpedo the company, thereby bringing the Initiative out of the shadows. Sure enough, whatever bad investment moves Aiden makes brings Trask to the office. He announces that he is liquidating the Initative’s investments effective immediately, warning that Aiden is trouble. Yeah, I’m sure Daniel is really upset that Aiden just solved the biggeest problem in his life. He tells Daniel, “I’m glad you know when to take a win.” Daniel immediately phones Emanda to tell her that he only dumped her for her own safety and wants to get back together. she readily agrees because it means she gets to be his date to the masquerade ball. Victoria made a big point of not inviting her.
Trask gets in his car happy to have liquidated his Assets of Evil only to find Aidan pointing a gun at his head. He makes Aiden drive him to the place where Padma is being held. Unfortunately, it’s too late. Her body is lying on a slab. Aiden threatens to shoot him. Trask makes a big speech about all the James Bond technology that will kick into action if he does. So Aiden strangles him, saying he’s doing it for Padma, her father and his poor dead sister. Actual revenge! Hooray! Please let this be the last time we see the Initiative.
But it gets heartbreaking when Aiden and Emanda break the news to Nolan at the party. I didn’t like Padma, but Nolan loved her. Gabriel Mann nails his grief, devastation, and self-recrimination. He breaks down into a sobbing mess, which is completely in character for Nolan. I feel guilty for being glad the character is no longer on the show. Then Nolan tells Emanda to get back to gaslighting Victoria. Again, Emanda shows sympathy for her friend vowing, “I’m not leaving you alone.” “I love you too,” he replies. Awww!
Unfortunately, the police detective investigating Padma’s disappearance walks in on Nolan throwing his computer monitor to the ground in a grief-temper. Coupled with his war room. he looks like he is destroying evidence. The detective asks where he was yesterday when Padma died. Nolan, who was up to some unrelated skullduggery, is smart enough to use his right to remain silent.
Jack Porter, Campaign Strategist: If Emanda had come clean with Jack from the beginning, her revenge quest would be long completed. That’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from Jack’s effective, non-violent camapaign against the Graysons. In a few weeks he’s managed to get more accomplished than she has in two seasons. In his function as Voice of the Proletariat he advises Conrad not to refer to the townies as ‘working class.” He agres to coach Conrad through an ear monitor at a Town Hall meeting at the Stowaway. Then he asks Nolan, who has yet to learn of Padma’s tragic demise, to help him destroy Conrad at the Town Hall.
At the Town Hall, Jack helps Conrad appear to be a smarmily empathetic man of the people. But then a plant asks him jury tampering in David Clarke’s trial. Nolan plays the taped footage of Conrad discussing Amily’s murder with the Ryans into Conrad’s earpiece. Caught up guard, Conrad endorses a posthumous pardon for David. Conrad suspects Kenny Ryan, for obvious reasons, and Ashley, due to her previous betrayals. Sweet, dumb Jack is not a thought in his head. But Jack overhears him berating Ashley at the masquerade. He tells her that he thinks she’s returned to the Gryason fold so she can get payback and wants to form an alliance. By the end of the season, Jack may be smarter than Nolan. It’s as though grief has turned him into the protagonist of “Flowers for Algernon.”