Summer may be over in the real world, but in the Hamptons it’s still in full swing. Revenge has decamped to the far reaches of Long Island for yet another season of soapy high-society sabotage, as Emily Thorne (née Amanda Clarke) searches for the truth about her family and rains vengeance on those who betrayed them. This year, we’re keeping track of her quest — and the schemes of her friends, allies, and sworn enemies — by declaring winners and losers for each episode. Last night’s Thanksgiving installment took us back to 2006, for an episode-long flashback that explored the main characters’ origin stories. Find out who ended up on top — and who got dumped — after the jump.
Emily and Aiden: She isn’t exactly the festive type, so is it any surprise that our antiheroine spent Thanksgiving 2006 infiltrating a Russian sex trafficking wing? Her story reveals that, as part of Takeda’s revenge training camp, she helped him take down a crook named Dmitri — and that’s where she met Aiden, who was working undercover as Dmitri’s bartender while he cooked up a plan to murder the gangster and avenge the sister he kidnapped and pimped out. Their escapade ends messily, with Emily foiling not one but two of Aiden’s attempts to shoot Dmitri before she and Takeda can get any information out of him. Aiden eventually puts a few holes in the Russian anyway, but the take-home is that Emily threatens to leave Takeda if he doesn’t allow Aiden to join the revenge game. When we flash forward to the present for a few minutes at the end of the episode, they’re snuggling in each other’s arms. It’s a rare tender moment for both characters, but we’re left wondering: Is Emily really over Jack so soon?
Victoria: Meanwhile, the Graysons have a somewhat more traditional holiday. They spend Thanksgiving 2006 with Victoria’s mom, Marion, a deranged gold digger who clearly made her everything she is today, and her wealthy new boyfriend, Ben. Around the table, they discuss such highlights of Victoria’s childhood as the time Mom made her shoot a boyfriend who tried to leave, wagering that a jury wouldn’t convict a teenage girl of murder. After that story, Ben has heard quite enough and leaves Marion on the spot. But, as a final twist, we learn that Victoria and Conrad actually orchestrated Marion’s entire relationship with Ben, and everything was leading up to this one wretched moment when Victoria would kick her mother out of the compound with nothing but the fur coat on her back. It’s a hollow victory, but aren’t they all?
Daniel: It’s very sad that Daniel never got to be a poet, but in the present, he’s still a major player in the Grayson Global game. This episode ends with him making a call to Nolan’s ex-CFO — and ex-boyfriend — Marco for information about Nolcorp, and it looks like Marco is keen to cooperate.
Conrad: Of course, that’s not the only nefarious plot perpetrated over the holidays. When Daniel comes home from college and breathlessly relates to his dad that he wants to be a poet, not a businessman, Conrad pretends to respect his son’s plans — all the while hatching a scheme to make sure he fails. Back in the present, though, as Daniel threatens to take over Grayson Global and inadvertently destroy his own life, Conrad begins to regret the decision: “Perhaps Daniel should have been a poet, after all,” he muses.
Nolan: The poor tech magnate’s history of sacrificing his personal life and business for Emily (and David Clarke) is nothing new. Way back in 2006, just after he celebrates Nolcorp going public, Marco learns that $500 million is missing from the company’s offshore account. At first, Nolan won’t tell what happened to the money — which Marco finds understandably infuriating. But when he comes clean about David Clarke, Marco is disgusted that the business is mixed up with terrorists. Nolan fires him. “Go to hell, Nolan,” Marco fires back.
Ashley: Well, now we know where Ashley comes from! She’s an aspiring prostitute/aspiring gallerina about to get caught in Dmitri’s web when Emily meets her at the club and saves her from sex slavery by slipping her a wad of cash in exchange for some information. Thus begins a beautiful, transactional relationship — and, apparently, the end of Ashley’s innocence.
Jack: His flashback plot is the most confusing of all, but here’s what we got out of it: Jack’s dad, Carl, was peripherally, and at least somewhat innocently, involved in the local Hamptons criminal underworld. We see that his bar was a target, as Jack walks in on Carl keeping a middle-of-the-night vigil as someone throws a Molotov cocktail through the window. Then, in the midst of bringing money to a shady creditor named Joe Ryan, Carl witnesses the man’s murder. So, there’s the connection to Kenny Ryan, the guy who’s currently working a long con on Jack and Declan, both of whom have absolutely no knowledge of what Carl saw that night.