We had conflicting reactions to this episode. On the one hand, “Yay! Everything’s back to status quo!” On the other hand, “Dammit. Everything’s back to status quo.”
Of course Victoria wasn’t going to remain in that cabin for much longer and of course she wasn’t going to run away from it all with her daughter and a couple of fake passports. And certainly, having the white-haired man hanging around the margins, knowing that Emily Thorne is Amanda Clarke was going to be untenable for much longer. It’s not that the quick snap back to the way things were was unwelcome; it’s just that… well, it was so damn quick. We’ll at least give the writers credit for waiting until the second episode of the season to do it. There’s nothing more annoying than an explosive season finale which is followed by a quick reset button in the following season’s premiere. But dammit, we were looking forward to dead Victoria manipulating everything from behind the scenes for a little while longer. And we thought there was tremendous potential in the idea that Emily was helping her do it.
On the other hand, it’s always nice to get a reminder that Hamptons Batman is up against people as smart or smarter than she is. Because girl got OWNED this time around. As much as we love Emily, there’s something just a little satisfying about seeing her go from a narrow-eyed threat of “I’m going to take her daughter away from her,” to “Wait. What?” in the space of one hour. This story would be no fun at all if Victoria and Conrad Grayson weren’t Schemers Supreme, and the audience – and Emily – needed that reminder right now and needed to see just how quickly the two of them can turn near-disaster into an incredible advantage for the both of them. And in a nice bit of symmetry, the episode started off looking like the Grayson family was on the verge of collapse and ended with Victoria getting Charlotte back into the family fold as Conrad did the same with Daniel. Say what you will about the two of them, Conrad and Victoria make an amazingly good team, even when their goals are at odds with each other. Besides, they’re so deliciously Boris-and-Natasha evil that they can actually make a scene depicting a man punching his wife almost seem a little funny. And even as she’s bloodied and chained to a radiator, she still manages to radiate a chilling control over the situation.
And it’s also nice to see, in an episode that ended with the Graysons faking family warmth, that Emily is as cold as Victoria is and is just as likely to use the people she cares about as pawns in her schemes. First, she plants a suspicion in Jack’s mind that Fauxmanda’s baby isn’t his (which prompted a fun, but ultimately wrong “How much do you want to bet that baby’s not entirely white?” discussion on our couch), then she lies to Fauxmanda about the test results, leaving her supposed friend and ally in desperate gratitude to her; once more willing to do anything that Emily asks of her. Even worse, Emily comes off no better than Conrad or Victoria when it comes to Charlotte, manipulating that poor, fragile girl’s emotions in any way that suits her.
In other Hamptons news, Jack, Daniel, and Declan all remain mouth-breathing idiots, although Declan really takes the prize this week. “Hey, sleazy rich prepster, I’ll happily take your stolen jewelry and hold on to it for a while! What could possibly go wrong?” In the dead-at-the-bottom-of-the-bay sweepstakes, we’re hoping he’s a frontrunner just because he deserves to be.
Also: Nolan remains delicious, but we don’t trust that little CFO of his as far as we can throw her.
Also, also: The look on Ashley’s face when the Queen of the Manor returned home was priceless.
Also, also, also: Hot Australian Guy is hot.
[Photo Credit: ABC]