Even “Revenge” diehards no doubt find themselves needing a break from the latest, ludicrous developments of this once shining soap — and your usual recapper Meredith Engel is no exception. She’s traveling this week and allowing a guest to reflect on tonight’s madness. But oh boy, what a week to miss: Secret husbands were revealed, marital affairs were kickstarted, pregnancy lies were concocted and a believed-dead character re-emerged dramatically from the shadows of a dimly lit parking garage.
So let’s recap this madcap episode, shall we?
It opens with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Keer — excuse me, I mean Daniel and his former flame Sara — making wave-barraged love on a beach circa 2010. It’s a snapshot of a past romance, as well as a bit of foreshadowing, since this relationship will be rekindled by episode’s end. Amanda’s usual episode-opening pontification this week is about secrets. And while we uncover many hidden things this week, no one was able to explain how Joel McHale was able to trump Nolan on the “sexiest men alive” list.
Cut to the present, where we find Amanda greeting Daniel as he exits the shower and dropping necessary exposition/episode setup about their impending co-ed bridal shower. “You know your mother prefers the company of men,” Amanda zings. Victoria also enjoys delivering nasty surprises to those who have earned her ire. We find her on the telephone talking to a mystery man named Rohan, who is set to play in integral part in a surprise she has planned for the shower. Speaking of phones, a stolen one that once belonged to Charlotte fueled a plot that ended with a beatdown by Aiden.
The theft of her phone was devastating. And not only because she lost the terrible “if you hurt him, I’ll hurt you” shower toast for Amanda it contained. Turns out, the phone also houses several, shall we say, “tastefully done” photos that Charlotte explained were taken by some creep she encountered on her European adventure. To get the blackmail fodder back from the greedy opportunist who stole it, she enlisted the help of Aiden, who is now bunk buddies with Nolan. In a philanthropic gesture, Aiden tells Charlotte he won’t accept any money for his services; that “the first one is free” — is likely the same thing the sketchy European photog told her about that “glamour shot” package.
Aiden ends up conversing with the blackmailer outside of the Stowaway, much to Jack’s chagrin. He still has a hard time playing nice with the man who strong-armed him into sending his infant son away. Aiden attacks the blackmailer and procures Charlotte’s property, but not before Jack gives Aiden a stern talking-to about his violent behavior. When Aiden makes his way back to Nolan’s mansion that night, he tells Nolan that he needs him to complete a task that no one else can know about.
Elsewhere, Daniel meets up with Sarah, the girl he once paralyzed (so when did science find a cure for spinal injury in the “Revenge”-verse?) at a farmers market. And revelations abound. We learn that Amanda would prefer a lemon cake at her wedding! Who knew she had such a citrusy sweet tooth? We also find out that Sarah has been tasked with the creation of that very dessert. In case we had any doubts that it’s a bad idea to hire an ex for such a task, Daniel immediately admits to Sarah that he has been unable to stop thinking about her since the Fourth of July. Sarah manages to resist his advances and sends him on his way, just in time to come face to face with Amanda!
The pair have a heart-to-heart: Sarah explains that she is not making advances toward Daniel and Amanda has a faux-crying fit where she ends up whining about the fact that Victoria likes Sarah better than her. After they part ways, Victoria and Sarah have a meeting. Sarah informs Victoria that she will not help her break up the engagement. But Victoria manages to pull Sarah onto her side, doing her best “black pot” impression, when she claims that Amanda “cares about nothing but money and status.” Victoria insists that she only has Daniel’s best interest at heart.
Meanwhile, Conrad takes Daniel to a private “boys club” that has been in the Grayson family for generations: a pied-à-terre that doubles as an adulterer’s den. It is a spot that Conrad falsely believes has been hidden from every generation of Grayson women. It is here where he makes reference to his numerous infidelities, even mentioning poor, “dead” Lydia. Remember that name, folks. The shows’ writers reminded us of that forgotten Season One character for a reason.
Later, the cast gathers for the event of the episode, the bridal shower. And there are many surprise guests in attendance. The first unexpected visitor is Sarah, who is catering the affair! She tells Daniel — who is still obviously pining for his old girlfriend — that Victoria made her a last-minute offer that she couldn’t refuse and that is the only reason she is there. Plus, no one but her can make those little cakes for elves that Daniel was raving about.
The second surprise guest comes during Amanda’s turn playing Victoria’s version of This Is Your Life. It’s the fellow Victoria was chatting on with the phone earlier: Rohan. We find out a few scenes later that he and Amanda first met in Takeda’s revenge classes. It turns out that he’s also Amanda’s former husband! But wait, things are not as they appear, Amanda assured the shocked crowd. She explains that their union was a marriage of convenience; a gesture of kindness. Amanda only wed Rohan so that he could acquire a green card, allowing him to stay in the country so he could get married to his one true love, Benny.
We learn later that Amanda was not shaken by Rohan’s arrival. In fact, she had orchestrated the entire thing in order to paint Victoria as so pathetically desperate to break up her and Daniel’s wedding that Victoria’s guilt will be even more undeniable when she’s framed for Amanda’s staged murder. As an added bonus, the manipulation incensed Sarah enough to storm out of the shower, but not before declaring that Victoria’s psycho obsession is hurting her son more than helping him.
Sarah’s next move was to meet with Daniel to tell him in person that she has decided not to bake that lemon wedding cake. Except the two of them met at the adultery den, so you know that these two are poised to re-enact the passion of that opening beach scene. Daniel confesses to Sarah that Amanda is just like his mother and he realized that he doesn’t want to marry his mother. He adds that he isn’t asking Sarah for a commitment, but he makes it clear that he won’t be committing to Amanda. That seemed to be all Sarah needed to hear. The two kiss. Until Sara stops it. Oh, there’s the conscience she’s been utilizing the entire episode! She tells Daniel that they can’t continue until he speaks to his fiancee.
But Amanda learned what Daniel has been up to after Victoria gave her a special shower gift. She explains to Amanda that just as the delusional Grayson men pass the keys of the adultery den from father to son, so too do the Grayson wives share the knowledge of this not-so-secret “haven” with incoming women. Amanda confirms with a phone call that Daniel is being unfaithful.
But if nearly two and a half seasons of this show have taught us anything, it’s that Amanda will have her revenge no matter what. Or at least, continue to relentlessly drag it out unabated. When Daniel returns home that night to prompt a “we need to talk” chat — Amanda won’t allow him to end things. She’s so determined to marry him and see her plan through that she spins a lie about being pregnant! That’ll keep him around. She even offers a sonogram photo as proof. (I didn’t know they made them in wallet sizes.)
The episode ends with Margaux meeting a mysterious figure in a parking garage; someone who is willing to spill all kinds of Grayson dirt. And who should step into the light, but Lydia! That’s right. Conrad’s mistress who, much like Victoria, did not actually die in the fiery plane wreck that capped off Season One. (So, um, did those pilots wind up flying a passenger-less plane?)
How is this possible? And where has she been all this time? Sadly, we have to wait three weeks for any answers and the continuing shenanigans of “Revenge” Season 3. I give the episode a B because while it was kind of goofy at times, we got a hefty helping of plot advancements and a great final-scene shocker.