There’s an old phrase I think applies to last night’s Revenge: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world it had just seen a new episode of Revenge without moving the plot forward even an inch. In the last two weeks only fifteen minutes have elapsed in the “Hamptons,” but "Lineage" was no less a gift.
In Season 1, Revenge gave us a rewind episode set in the '90s. Last night, it gave us another flashback-filled gem, this one set in 2006—a time only slightly less ridiculous. And it revealed some backstories that were frankly amazing.
For instance, Victoria went on her own journey of revenge, a dark foil to Emily’s multi-season arc, orchestrating her gold-digging mother’s downfall by setting her up with a President Lincoln impersonator on a cruise and then eviscerating her over Thanksgiving turkey while Daniel looked on, new poems formulating in his mind. “Grandmother’s cleavage heaves / a bosom that never nursed / whose milk is not kindness but poison / mother does love to put on a speech... ”
Seriously, I laughed at this pull-away reveal when we first met Mama.
Even if she framed her 15-year-old daughter after leaving her at the mercy of multiple sets of busy male fingers for years, she at least she taught Victoria the power of walking around a house in evening wear at all times. How weird was it to think that at one time Victoria deigned to don COTTON?
The idea that Victoria had orchestrated this whole elaborate catfight and then even had the audacity to look surprised while it was happening was, yes, completely delightful, as was the unraveling of her mother at the dinner table with a long story about her psychiatric incarceration and molestation, topped off with the Horrible Mother National Anthem, “I Should Have Aborted You.” It was just a little treat she had planned for herself, a nice way to spend the holiday, a little splurge. Some moms make a big wreath for the door out of mini pumpkins, other moms conduct an elaborate charade involving Abraham Lincoln lookalikes and the unwitting employees of Carnivale Cruise.
As much as I loved all that, I loved Ashley’s backstory even more. Blink and you would have missed her, but how hilarious was it that she turned to a life of sex-trafficking amongst criminal Russian gangs because an MFA in art history is basically worthless? The job market in 2006 wasn’t nearly as dire as it is now, but let me tell you from personal experience as an art major, student loans are a cold, merciless bitch and they don’t care if you got a degree in business econ or women’s studies, you better get them their money. Student loans are the harshest pimps of all.
Anyway, the idea of her crying in a bathroom stall to a stranger was amazing, especially her little humble brag about her degree, and then to sign her text to Emily with her full name, "—Ashley Davenport," WHO DOES THAT?! Amazing. Also, is a davenport a kind of chair? I may just start signing all my texts that way. As Ashley Davenport, I mean. We both spent way too much time slunched down in clubs crying about our woes and Kandinski, that’s for sure.
Although it did occur to me that Emily could be using her skills to solve crimes and bust up injustices worldwide instead of hassling the Graysons and coming over unannounced all the time to throw shade on their luncheons. But since they’re vaguely terrorists she’s maybe technically fighting crime AND being a Hamptons doyenne at the same time.
The Russian club storyline did double duty explaining Aidan’s backstory, a man driven to single-handedly take on the sex-traffickers to revenge his sister, and I have to say I think Waiter Aidan is my favorite Aidan so far. Very James Bond, although once again he got the jam treatment. What horrible monsters, to tie a guy up and spatter his shirt and with raspberry jelly! That would break me very quickly, I can’t stand that sticky feeling.
Also, Nolan apparently has a history of dating nerdy, nurturing CFOs; see his ex-boyfriend Marco. Although I thought it was very rude of him to get everyone to drive in to the office on Thanksgiving and then take 15 minutes to announce they’d gone public and then send them all home again. Just send an email blast! Geez, people probably stayed in town and skipped going home for the holidays just for this prank? C’mon, Nolan.
I do love how the Graysons instinctively knew not to overtly shut down their kid’s aspirations to be a poet, just to quietly burn his poems and stage a rejection letter. That’s honestly not a bad parenting tip.
I also loved seeing Emily as a baby revenger, when she was still capable of making mistakes and getting caught halfway out of an air vent and wearing metallic baby pink. I worry, though, that she may have made another mistake showing her magical Infinity Box of Incrimination to Aidan. (If it goes missing, guess who’s headed straight back into a dumpster!) And it sincerely gave me chills when he called her Amanda. Finally, someone who loves her for her.
Less successful: I’m sorry, what happened at The Stowaway? Some tough threw a Molotov cocktail in the window and got himself shot off the end of a pier? And he’s probably Kenny’s dad? Whatever. The biggest takeaway from the Porter boys' plot line, for me, was that Declan was as gullible six years ago as he is now. “Was that a gunshot, dad? Maybe from that gun you had on the bar earlier tonight?” “No, now go to bed.” “'K.” That’s basically a verbatim conversation. Is ignorance bliss, Jack? Because you do seem pretty content.
So the kicker is, now Nolan’s ex-CFO and lovah will be headed back into the Grayson-Norelcorp shenanigans; Emily is officially trusting Aidan with her heart, body, and infinity box; and the Graysons are going to take out their son if need be. Maybe even pull some strings and get his poems published. I really hope this season ends with Daniel reading a haiku at a coffee club.
1. Sex-trafficking: Can you really make $3000 for a night’s work!?
2. Was Takeda secretly ‘shipping Aidan and Emily all along? (Aimily? Amaidan?)
3. How will the Graysons unseat Daniel overnight, as if we’re on the same timeline where he’s poised to vote his father out on no confidence by the next morning?
4. What's a good recipe to serve at a party and call “Rich Man’s Candy”?
5. Are student loans the most ruthless pimp?