For Revenge, murder is just a warm-up. “Union” saw all the characters join forces, with some partnerships more doomed than others. While the episode wasn’t a bore, it wasn’t enough to distract us from the weekly waiting game.

The Players:

  • Director: Wendey Stanzler
  • Writers: Michael Foley and Ted Sullivan
  • Cast: Emily Van Camp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Nick Wechsler, Henry Czerny, Josh Bowman, Christa B. Allen, Ashley Madekwe, Connor Paolo, Margarita Levieva, Barry Sloane, Dilshad Vadsaria, James Tupper, Wendy Crewson, Michael Trucco, Jamila Jones

Episode Title: “Union”

Daniel falls deeper into The Initiative’s plot as Victoria fights to save him. Meanwhile, Jack and Amanda make their way to their wedding, while trying to free themselves from Conrad’s grasp.

The Good:

  • Redemption: Did Victoria really think she was shrouded from The Initiative’s omnipotent eye in Daniel’s office? It’s the very place they’d monitor to ensure their newest Grayson puppet’s complicity. Warning Daniel was pertinent, but her character deserves more than that. Thank goodness the writers allowed her to redeem herself by getting the upper hand on Helen Crawley. Helen doubted she had the resolve to kill in cold blood, but we knew different. Victoria will always be an ice queen, the root of her dirtiest deeds has been protecting her children. Killing Helen was a done deal the second Victoria grasped the gun. It gave us a necessary thrill and Victoria a moment of strength—something she hasn’t had in a while.
  • Reunited: The final shot of Victoria, Daniel and Conrad standing over Helen’s body was brilliant. It presented the Grayson family—well, a third of it—as untied. With them working together we’re practically guaranteed a spectacle.
  • Ruined: Just like an amateur, Amanda overplayed her hand. Her heart was in the right place, but even a second of thought might have helped her realize that in showing Conrad the damning video, he might notice the other recordings on Emily’s laptop. Or maybe he would take into account her poverty and realize that Emily—her ridiculously wealthy best-friend—is pooling her resources to aide her?  Essentially, she’s given away the battle to win the war.
  • Romantic Ruin: As the newlyweds floated off to one or both of their dooms, the crushing thought of their demise put us at a crossroads. Jack or Amanda? The answer feels obvious (Jack of course), Amanda has fought for our respect for most of the season. It made us uneasy, this weird—and hopefully fleeting—desire for her to live. It’s that illogical yearning that led us to the conclusion that Nate could be the one meeting an untimely end on The Amanda

The So-So:

  • Reluctance: We love Nolan to pieces. He’s one of the things that keeps our heart tethered to this show. But the number one rule of Revenge is listen to EmilyWe suppose it’s a good thing to know that Padma’s another unwilling participant in The Initiative’s plans. Either it’s too late to save her father, or The Initiative will discover Padma’s betrayal and bring a world of terror upon Nolan and his little princess.
  • The Return: Ashley reclaimed her title as the opportunistic sneak when she appeared to overhear Conrad admitting his role in the terrorist plot years ago. Whether or not she heard the whole conversation is unclear. If she did, she could easily figure out that Conrad set up David Clarke.
  • The Rewind: Let Aiden’s implosion serve as a reminder: Revenge isn’t for everyone. As we suspected, the video of his sister’s murder was made six years ago, but that didn’t stop him from lashing out and blaming Emily for any and everything. He reappeared at the perfect moment, when watching Amada and Jack wed in presumably the same spot Emily and Jack said the same cherished words as children might have been her undoing. But his tantrums did little to instill confidence in his reliability. We finally learned how Aiden’s family became embroiled in The Initiative’s plot in the first place (his father loaded the bomb on the plane). It’ll take a while for us to warm up to him again.

The Bad:

  • Reprimand: How is it possible that Daniel, Victoria, and Conrad could go the whole episode without interacting with or showing any concern for Charlotte? Sure, their plates were full with Initiative drama, but no one even mentioned her name. That kind of egregious oversight just can’t be ignored.

The Quotable:

  • “Who knew officiant was French for wedding bitch?”—Nolan

Overall:

“Union” left us feeling slightly conflicted. There were more than a few key moments. We had Jack and Amanda’s wedding, Helen’s murder, Amanda’s blackmail, and Nate’s looming hidden presence on the newlywed’s boat. But the episode left a lot of balls in the air, presumably setting us up for an explosive episode next week. That’s dangerous because if “Sacrifice” doesn’t deliver, we’ll have been strung along for no reason.

Rating: 8/10

Revenge airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of this episode?