Revenge "Masquerade" Review: Every Rose Has Its Thorne

Revenge S02E17: "Masquerade"

Happy Halloween! Yes, while we were stuffing our faces with Peeps and jellybeans, Emily Thorne was busy unearthing skeletons (metaphorical and… not) in honor of All Hallow's Eve.

And "Masquerade" was full of tricks (even Jack was playing!) and treats, making it one of Revenge's most satisfying episodes this season.

The writers didn't skip all way to Easter, but the Revenge storyline has wisely jumped ahead six weeks: just enough time for Emily to set the wheels in motion for her latest scheme—and Nolan Ross to fall completely apart.

In his desperate search to crack the Falcon's code and save Padma, his beautiful mind was shattering like Carrie Mathison's before her electric shock treatment. 

But even though he hadn't seen a cravat—or a shower—in weeks, a concerned call from Emily "Start Your Revengines" Thorne was all he needed to clean himself up, head to the Stowaway, and offer his support to Jack the Plumber.

See, while pretending to coach Conrad Grayson about his working-class constituents, the blue-collar barkeep was secretly plotting to sabotage the gubernatorial candidate's town hall Q&A. Nolan helped by spiking Conrad's earpiece with a recording of Conrad and Nate Ryan plotting against Amanda Clarke—just as a townie was posing an unvetted question about her father. Conrad recovered by promising to request a presidential pardon for David Clarke.

It was great to see Nolan using his styling products again, but this seemed like an awful lot of work for an empty campaign promise. Emily wouldn't even uncap a ballpoint pen, much less her Sharpie, for this.

As usual, Emily had much bigger plans. First, she and Aiden would draw out the Initiative by attacking their financial holdings. It worked: After Grayson Global's newest board member "torpedoed" their investments, Trask visited the office to officially sever ties with Daniel—and walked out scoffing at the idea that the Initiative would threaten Daniel's relationship with Emily with a silly photo and a couple of harmless bullets.

But moments later, Trask found himself looking at some very lethal bullets—tucked away inside Aiden's gun. Aiden forced the smarmy Initiative rep to lead him to Padma. Or, to be more precise, her corpse. Trask revealed that he killed not only Nolan's girlfriend—hours before—and her father, but Aiden's sister, too. To make him pay for his crimes and that awful hairstyle, Aiden broke his neck.

Elsewhere, Daniel totally Gossip Girl-ed Mommie Dearest by sending his lunch date photo to Page Six. Then he asked Emily to join him at the Masquerade Ball, after Victoria had deliberately snubbed her.

Although Emily didn't receive an invitation, she RSVP'd anyway—as Victoria's "loving son," in a card postmarked 1973. Victoria's hysteria escalated when Emily sent her an anonymous bouquet of 11 black roses with a card reading: "I'll be wearing the 12th rose. —Your loving son."

Before the masquerade, Victoria admitted to Conrad that she'd starred in 16 and Pregnant—or could have, if the MTV series had existed in 1973—but insisted she'd had an abortion.

Her famous nerves of steel failed her at the ball. To Emily's satisfaction, Victoria scanned the ballroom nervously, in search of the black rose, and finally spotted it in the lapel of a masked man hired by Emily. While he slipped out, Mrs. G mistakenly grabbed Aiden—and dramatically fainted to the floor at his feet.

(I truly believe that the scene in which Charlotte punched a girl was manufactured specifically for this episode's teaser reel, which made it appear like she was knocking out her mother.)

The Grayson matriarch's collapse was a moment the Revengers should have celebrated—but instead, Aiden and Emily broke Nolan's heart instead.

In the wake of Victoria's histrionics, Nolan's quiet collapse at the terrible news was even more poignant. (Gabriel Mann's understated, powerful performance should make Nick Wechsler blush.)

Ems said, "I'm not leaving you alone, Nolan," when her bestie tried to bail, and he replied, "I love you, too."

That was enough to prove that we haven't lost Nolan completely to grief. Whether his freedom will remain intact is another question, however: The detective who fielded his endless calls about Padma's disappearance now seems to suspect he's involved in her homicide! (Please, no. Not another silly storyline to sidetrack the Revengers from their mission!)

In the end, Victoria managed to get herself to a nunnery without bursting into flames on the holy grounds. A flashback confirmed that Victoria did have the baby, and gave him up to the orphanage she was now visiting 40 years later. Reuniting with the nun who took her son, Victoria learned that he did come looking for her once, without learning her identity.

That's about to change, though: Emily—sporting her "I Mean Business" hoody—took Vicky's place on the bench and told the nun that she's pregnant and has nowhere else to go.


– Why would Emily use such an elaborate ruse to get intel on Victoria's firstborn?

– Gabriel Mann: Wow?!

– Does Jack get his swagga back? (Did he have any to start with?)

– What did you like most/least about "Masquerade"?

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