Revenge-Masquerade-Madeleine Stowe and Emily VanCamp

Sunday’s Revenge jumped six weeks ahead, to the Graysons’ annual Halloween celebration. “Masquerade” ignited Emily’s newest plan for Victoria, with immediate results. Although Aiden and Nolan made stunning accomplishments their futures are looking bleak.

The Players:

  • Director: Allison Liddi-Brown
  • Writers: Sunil Nayar and JaSheika James
  • Cast: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Nick Wechsler, Henry Czerny, Josh Bowman, Christa B. Allen, Ashley Madekwe, Connor Paolo, Barry Sloane, Dilshad Vadsaria, Burn Gorman, Grace Fulton, Myra Turley, Marcus de la Cruz, Page Leong, Brandon Keener, Eric Zuckerman, Kate Herman, Seychelle Gabriel, Nate Gill, Jamila Jones, Marcos A Ferraez, Erik A. Williams

Episode Title: “Masquerade”

The Graysons masquerade ball is the perfect place for Emily to air Victoria’s dirty laundry while Jack finds an ally in his quest for justice. Elsewhere, Aiden’s actions have terrible repercussions.

The Good:

  • Beautiful Nightmare: Emily orchestrated a torturous night for Victoria with nothing more than a plaguing truth.  Sending black roses and notes from the past was an elegant build to her scheme. Planting a figment of Victoria’s past at the ball wearing the offending flower was enough to put her on her back—causing her to faint. Considering Victoria’s allergy to honesty, Emily will have another chance to needle her nemesis once she finds Victoria’s son. The whole plot reminded us of the series’ inspiration, the novel The Count of Monte Cristo, and the infinite satisfaction of watching your opponent die a thousand tiny deaths. 
  • Campaign Crusader: We always knew Jack was built for the world of deception. He got Conrad to pledge to reopen David Clarke’s case with an unchecked campaign question, an earwig tampered with by Nolan, and Nate’s blackmail tapes. Since Conrad underestimates his prowess—especially since Jack came to his defense during the pointed query—he succeeded without gaining an ounce of suspicion. Watching him berate Victoria for her remarks on his victory for Amanda was matched only by his acquisition of Ashley as an ally. Maybe he can teach her how to be interesting again? 
  • The Journey: Padma’s death felt like the climax to Nolan’s story, but not the culmination. Seeing how he came undone during her disappearance was touching; watching him assist Jack’s coup over Conrad was equally satisfying. The moment he shined brightest was the one right before he fell. His brocade jacket and stunning ensemble complimented his confidence as he touted the day’s success. His anguish over Padma’s murder, instant rebuke of the evil that claimed her, and immediate insistence that Emily get back to business felt worth every scene it took to get to that moment. 
  • Page Six: As soon as Daniel realized the threat on Emily came from his mother he beckoned our heroine back to his side. While his parents can pretend to flourish under looming death, Daniel  has been stifled by impending danger.  It was a welcome change to see his confident smirk, though it was extremely premature. Just because The Initiative closed its accounts doesn’t mean Grayson Global shouldn’t be on guard; whatever Phase Two is seems to cast a shadow over Emily, Aiden, Nolan, and all things Grayson. Before another Initiative henchman met his end, he made sure to cast a net of suspicion over Aiden. Trusting Trask’s words enough to investigate seems misguided, but if he digs deep enough Daniel’s sure to uncover Aiden’s paternal past.

The Bad:

  • Wasted Youth: Punching a girl that talks badly about your sister is honorable, but it’s far from interesting. Charlotte’s small struggle coupled with flashes of her filling out college applications show the writers still have no clue what to do with her. If the most they can do is fabricate a meaningless scuffle maybe leaving her off to the side is for the best.

The Quotable:

  • “You’re right. This is just a seasonal trifle. Not unlike yourself.” —Victoria
  • “Wow, start your revengines, that’s him.” —Nolan
  • Conrad: “You are deceptively brilliant.” Ashley: “I learned from the best.” Conrad: “You meant Victoria didn’t you?” Ashley: “Yeah.”
  • Conrad: (puts on mask) “Would you say this projects electability?” Victoria: “More so that the man behind it.”

Overall:

“Masquerade” provided an infinite number of possibilities for the end of the season. The questions surrounding The Initiative’s activates only increased; was the Padma recording a forced confession or something that blames Nolan and/or Aiden for the plot or her death? What is Phase Two? And will Emily’s new quest net her any usuable results?

Rating: 9.5/10

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

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