‘Revenge’: Meet Victoria’s Mommy Dearest

Madeleine Stowe as Victoria Grayson in "Revenge" (ABC)

It’s another flashback episode of “Revenge,” “Lineage.” Just like last season’s, this one has some fun moments but doesn’t do much to advance the story. In fact, if you skip it, you’ll be just fine. This time the year is 2006. Boy, those real estate prices are just going to keep rising forever! So will the stock market! In a Manhattan club, Emanda (Emily VanCamp) meets Aiden (Barry Sloane), who is working as a bartender. She asks him where she can find Sergei, a mobster who is surrounded by women.

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Ashley (Ashley Madekwe)  is auditioning to join his harem. In the bathroom, Emanda tells a traumatized Ashley she does not have to put on the red dress tonight. Ashley gets the funniest line of this episode: “An MFA in Art History is useless in this town. At least here, I can use it to talk about Kadinsky.” Emily tells her she is auditioning to meet a man named Dmitri.  She gives her money and tells her to text her Dmitri’s location, then flee before she has to sleep with him. Emanda tells Takeda about Conrad and Lydia’s affair. He gives her a photo of a woman named Colleen who was kidnapped by Dmitri. Emanda returns to the bar. She tells Sergei that Ashley won’t be able to meet with Dmitri because she is sick. He asks her to fill in. It pays three grand. That’s a lot for being a human trafficking victim. Aiden tells her to leave. Then he pulls a gun on Dmitri and says, “This is for my sister, Colleen.” Emanda throws Dmitri to the ground, protecting him. He takes Emanda to a safe room. She phones Takeda with the combination to the room’s lock, and tells him she can’t leave Aiden to be killed. She unties Aiden and asks him about the plane crash. His father was a baggage handler. Emanda realizes that was how the bomb ended up on the plane. Sergei catches them together. With Takeda’s help, Emanda manages to stage a big fight in the club. She finds Aiden holding a gun on Dmitri. She persuades him not to kill him, saying that if Dmitri is alive he can help locate Colleen. Then Emanda points a gun on him. Aiden fires when Dmitri claims Colleen liked being a prostitute. Takeda orders Emanda to take Aiden away. Aiden tells Emanda he wants to train with Takeda. In 2012, he is in bed with Emanda. She shows him her box of secrets, which is not a euphemism.

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Conrad (Harry Czerny) tells Harvard undergrad Daniel (Josh Bowman) that he is playing a dangerous game by not immediately accepting the invitation to join a Finals Club (Harvard’s snooty version of fraternities), The Phoenix. I would think a Grayson would make it into the older, fancier Porcellian, but the Graysons are Nouveau Riche by East Coast standards.  Given the year this episode is set, this is probably a reference to Facebook co-fouder Eduardo Saverin joining The Phoenix. Conrad laments to Victoria that Daniel’s first months at Harvard will dictate his future. He’s right. I screwed around my freshman year, and today I am recapping the show instead of running a crooked investment firm.

Victoria’s mother, Marian (Adrienne Barbeau) shows up. There is no love lost between Victoria and her mother. A flashback within the flashback shows Teen Victoria getting scolded by her mother for getting dolled up for Thanksgiving. She needs all the attention focused on her in the hope of enticing her rich boyfriend to propose because she is broke. Daniel tells Conrad he is considering studying poetry (which is not an actual major at Harvard) instead of business (which is also not an undergraduate major.) By the way, for the show’s timeline to work, Daniel had to start Harvard Business School the fall after he got his bachelor’s degree. Normally, MBA candidates have a at least two years of work experience.  Daniel shows his Dad one of his poems.

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Victoria accuses her mother of using this family reunion as a way to ensnare her latest boyfriend, Ben.Victoria flashes back to her Mom’s then boyfriend Thomas perving on her. In 2006, Victoria asks her mother if she would have changed anything. She says no, taking credit for Victoria’s success as a socialite. Conrad tells Daniel he loved his poem and wants to send it to publishers, who will surely be thrilled to read a single poem from a college freshman. Even Dan Humphrey writes prose. Victoria tells Ben that Victoria threw her out the last time they spent Thanksgiving together. Fifteen year-old Victoria overhears her Marian offer to send her away in order to hold onto Thomas.When he tells her he is leaving, she shoots him. Marian  orders Victoria to shoot him in the chest and claim it was self-defense. She does it and ends up getting sentenced to six months in a mental hospital. When she returned home, Marian had met her husband Maxwell. When Marian caught Maxwell sneaking into Victoria’s room, she kicked Victoria out.She has the exact same background as “Gabi from “Desperate Housewives”.  In 2006, Marian tells Victoria she should have aborted her. Ben walks out. Marian laments to Victoria that she has nowhere to go. Victoria kicks her out.

Victoria catches Conrad burning Daniel’s poetry. He reads it aloud. It’s actually pretty good, but Conrad is killing his dreams to make sure he will end up at Grayson. He will have his publisher friends reject him. Conrad reveals that Ben was an actor he hired just so Victoria could get revenge. What heavy handed irony!

At the Stowaway, Carl Porter tells a friend that he won’t pay protection money to the local mobsters. Jack (Nick Wechsler) has just purchased the Amanda. Sammy the Wonder Dog is still spry. Carl tells Jack they will have Thanksgiving at Grandma’s, not the bar. Jack returns home from dinner just in time to witness a thug setting the bar on fire. He quickly extinguishes it. Jack tells the guy, who is named Ryan, that they will pay. Carl is angry at Jack. When Carl pays Ryan off, his friend ambushes Ryan, killing him. He tells Carl they are in this together. Jack hears the shot. His father tells him it was just an engine. In the present, we learn that Kenny is Ryan’s son. How many children avenging their parents’ death storylines can one show handle?

Nolan (Gabriel Mann) hosts Thanksgiving at NolCorp. You can tell it’s a start-up because there is a foosball machine in the offices. He announces they are going public thanks to their young CFO, Marco Romero (E,J. Bonilla).He sends everyone home with champagne. Best boss ever! Later, Marco gives Nolan a vintage toy robot and they kiss. We’ve now established that Nolan is into CFOs of any gender. Marco tells him that the new accountants found his Caymans account. There are 500 million dollars missing. Nolan admits that David Clarke was his first investor and he gave the money to Emanda. Marco is appalled that Nolan is supporting a terrorist. Nolan says that if Marco doesn’t understand, then they don’t have a future. He fires Marco. In the present, Daniel calls Marco to say that he has a business proposition. Let’s hope it’s to persuade Nolan to start double-shirting it again.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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