Is there anything more ominous than watching through a wavy camera lens as Victoria sips a drink and lies in bed? I think not. Dark times are ahead for the Graysons, and like so many of their tribulations, there are just as many dangers within the family as outside of it. Kara may be gone for now, but Conrad has yet to pay his debt to the Initiative, and Daniel is primed to seize control of Grayson Global. Will they destroy each other before Emily can get to them? It seems more possible than ever that Victoria and her husband will drag more than just the members of the Initiative with them to hell.
It had been so long since Emily was able to take a plot all the way to completion that I had almost forgotten how satisfying it is to watch. The sheer audacity of Emily's revenge on Mason is stunning, and I was genuinely surprised to learn that she'd been playing him the whole time. Treadwell is clearly not a criminal mastermind, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief in this case. How cold and calculated and cruel of Emily to take advantage of his vanity and ego by promising him the job of official revenge biographer.
It's a bit disappointing that we didn't get to spend more time watching Treadwell assemble his conspiracy theory journalist obsession board. There really is nothing better than a well-constructed obsession board, especially when it leads to theories as wild as Mason's tale juvenile detention center romance. “Felonious sapphic blondes” would be a great name for a metal band, I think. Given his obsession with analog technology, it makes perfect sense. It's a shame that Amanda, looking suspiciously well-recovered from her recent coma and childbirth, was more intent on bashing in the brains of such an artist. Amanda's love of clubbing people suits her character perfectly; she attempts murder the same way she lives: clumsily, bluntly, and with a lot of mess. Jack and baby Carl have a lot to worry about.
Conrad deserves so much more disaster than the one he deals with in his speech and Q&A. Granted, he's headed for almost certain doom at the hands of the Initiative, but it's still not enough. He's that much of a snake. His sudden shift to tenderness toward Victoria seems appropriate, but he never appeared all that bothered by the idea of her destruction before, so it's a little weird that facing down the barrel of Kara's gun made him feel all warm and fuzzy. If Tyler weren't dead, I'm sure he'd be furious that he wasn't able to provoke that level of response.
Of course Daniel gets his vote of confidence from our Initiative representative, Helen Crowley, who's no longer dressed in leather. Daniel actually has a decent set of ideas, even if his plan involves screwing Nolan, so it's too bad that he's playing straight into the hands of the Initiative. If Victoria were so worried about him becoming CEO, why wouldn't she just tell him? He knows enough about what is going on to handle it, and he should know what he's up against. But that's the sort of thing a good mother would do, and we all know that Victoria's sense of self-preservation trumps any love she has for her children.
I feel bad for Nolan; he's brilliant, he's a natural schemer, and he's loyal to Emily, but his reward for all of it is to see his business taken over by Grayson Global. He's been beaten and bruised enough for several lifetimes; Emily should be giving him hazard pay for all the damage he has sustained since joining her plot. Nolan's relationship with Emily is still the best part of the show, and it makes perfect sense that he would sacrifice everything in order to protect her. After all, he'd have nothing to quip about if he didn't have her in his life. “This one time, at revenge camp?” Don't ever change, Nolan. Don't let Padma and her unconditional love soften you. Emily is still your family.
Kara doesn't get on the plane, because why leave town when there's an opportunity to wreak havoc? Of course she would be a force to unsettle things so severely. Emily may have many good reasons to hate the Graysons, but I think that a thirst for vengeance must be a genetic trait. After all those years with Gordon Murphy, Kara is half spy, half Bertha Mason, and now that she knows the truth about what the Graysons did to David Clarke, she's much, much more dangerous. If the writers of this show don't make at least one visual reference to the stiletto murder scene in Single White Female, then they don't know their audience. I do wonder: does it count as a successful revenging for Emily if her mother does the dirty work, or would Takeda consider that cheating? I'm still unclear on the rules of revenge.
Kara's revenge strategies are a great mirror for Emily. Where Emily is deliberate and slow, Kara's first reaction to learning the truth about the Graysons is all instinct. The reveal that her second husband killed her first husband was pretty anticlimactic. This is a woman on serious psychiatric meds with a history of violence! I was hoping for a few more fireworks before Aiden burst in to save the day and carry Emily's mom away. We can now add chloroform to the list of items all professional revengers keep with them at all times. Does he have a special suit pocket for it?
It took a while, but Aiden has finally grown on me. He's finally graduated from being just another mysterious hunk who insists he knows how to protect Emily better than she does and has turned into a real character. He's definitely a better love interest for her than either Jack or Daniel; Emily needs someone with whom she can be honest, even if getting together means that Nolan loses his best friend.
There were so many schemes and deals taking place, there was barely time to get bored by Jack's shady new business partner and his mysterious plans. Whatever desperate straits Jack is headed towards, I think it's going to be Kenny or his brother that ends up at the bottom of the ocean, not Jack. It's too bad it can't be Declan and Charlotte, but we were spared the fate of suffering through any of their dull, dull rekindled romance.
Now that Kara has left town, it's only a matter of time before the Initiative finds her. What will Emily do when she can't keep her mother out of danger? Now that Aiden knows the identity of the Initiative's operative on the Grayson Global board, will we finally learn what their next plot is? Can Emily stop them, destroy the Graysons, and sort out her own life without hurting who she loves?
Previously: Master of Illusion