“In a race between danger and indecision, the difference between life and death comes down to confidence. Faith in our abilities, certainty in ourselves and the trust we put in others.”
Warning: Do not read if you haven’t seen Revenge Season 2, Ep. 3 – “Confidence”
The title of this week’s episode was “Confidence” and ironically, for the first time its seems Emily might just be lacking that. We never knew what her original end game was back in those innocent days of simple vengeful ruination, but increasingly it looks like she’s only interested in finding her mother. Fortunately this goal has been made easier by the fact that Kara Clarke is still actually alive, though complicated by the fact she seems to be in love with the corpse Emily has just scraped off the floor.
Aiden, the newest addition to Emily’s love quadrangle, is proving to be the most interesting. Not that that’s hard giving his competition is the most malleable man who ever stood to inherit an empire and the most blindly stupid man to ever own a bar. Aidan also seems to be the only one of the three who has ever had a real relationship with Emily when she was a.) not lying about her identity and b.) above the age of 10. Still, this is Emily, so she responds to Aiden saving her life by knocking him out and tossing him in a dumpster.
Looks like Ms. Thorne isn’t looking for love anymore. We learn in a flashback that Aiden and Emily trained together at Takeda’s School for Vengeful Ninjas complete with a Hogwarts style maze. And it’s at the conclusion of that maze race that we see what Takeda means every time he (or whatever actor they have portraying him at the time) says her emotions will be her downfall. Aiden fakes an injury to slow her down and steal the flag (darn compassion). But that is the least of Aiden’s crimes against Emily. When the time came for Aiden to pursue his own path of revenge Emily wanted to go with him, but he abandoned her. And Emily learned not to let her emotions get in the way of her plan. Until you know, she forgot.
After pulling himself out of the dumpster Aiden set out to investigate the man he had just killed, an investigation that led him to a motel room with a handy little hiding space in the window air conditioner. And just what was in that air conditioner? Why the black box of the flight (I assume) Victoria Grayson was supposed to die on. Another piece of damning evidence to bring everyone down.
And here’s where things get extra interesting. Aiden took the flight record to Emily and exchanged it for what was found on Mr. Murphy, namely Victoria’s fake passport and the useless bullet ridden phone. (Emily managed to hang on to a pocket watch, sneaky little minx. But we’ll get to that in a moment). No, the interesting part is what Aiden chose to do with this evidence. Namely send it to Daniel to out his mother for the liar she is (though if Daniel had an ounce of brain cells he would already know that). So why would Aiden do this? He said he had come to stop Emily from making the mistakes he had made with his sister. At first I thought that meant he didn’t want her to be consumed by her vengeance, but now it seems that it really meant he was going to make sure she succeeded in bringing down the Graysons. Perhaps the school should be renamed Takeda’s School for Vengeful Ninjas Effected by the Downing of Flight 197…
Aiden thought he had only found the black box from death plane, but he had also unwittingly found Mrs. Clarke, alive and well and leaving worried messages on the murdered Mr. Murphy’s phone for her estranged daughter to intercept. With the cliffhanger of Emily’s mother from last season I thought the reuniting of mother and daughter would be teased out for a good length of the season. Of course I should have realized that isn’t quite Revenge’s style. Also, a meeting is only eminent if Aidan and Emily start sharing information, so maybe we still have a few episodes to go.
And just what is the story with Kara Clake? Clearly Gordon Murphy didn’t follow the orders to kill her, nor did he pass the task onto someone else. In fact, it seems that he had a relationship with Kara. Is it some twisted Stockholm syndrome that has her in love with the man so eager to kill her only daughter? He’s keeping her medicated so is it possible Kara has forgotten her life as a wife and mother? Either way, it seems highly dangerous for a member of a terrorist syndicate to have any kind of relationship with the wife of the man who took the fall for the organization.
And in periphery story lines that seems pointless now, but will probably be very important in the coming weeks (maybe); Declan has proved that he is indeed the dumbest resident of Montauk (though his brother did give him some stiff competition) by quickly escalating from “holding onto” a clearly stolen bracelet to actual breaking and entering. And if that isn’t dumb enough, he also left his ID behind. Oh who am I kidding, even Jack’s blind trust of anyone who claims to be a childhood friend is no match for the sheer idiocy of Declan. Luckily, the victim of the break in is willing to keep the incident to himself if Declan returns the stolen goods. Have we found a decent, non-scheming, non-treacherous Hampton resident? Doubt it.
Jack, after being confronted with the absurd stupidity of his brother, and being forced to realize that his baby mama is a lying liar, has had a enough and kicks his childhood love to the curb. Clearly Amanda isn’t perfect and she has lied to Jack about a lot of things, but in this particular case she really had little choice. Yes, she didn’t have a choice because she had to cover up another lie to Jack, but still, you gotta feel for the girl. Also, she was only at the Grayson’s at the behest of Emily, so clearly it is once again Emily who has taken away her happiness. Whatever Takeda may have done to train her into Emily’s ally, that’s a powerful fact to overcome.
And so one side of Emily’s love quadrangle is back on the market, but it seems the ex-fiancé side is also testing the waters. Daniel may have found a rebound in Ashley (whose motives I still don’t understand), but he visibly melts every time he sees Emily. And for all of Emily’s talk about how Daniel means nothing, I think this episode was the first time she’s said anything to him remotely true. She warned her ex that in order to win against his mother he has to play the game better than she does. But it’s looking more and more likely that that’s impossible.
Backed into a corner by Charlotte’s outburst about her parentage in front of a reporter, Victoria took advantage of the moment in front of the press with “the one thing that she’s never had: sympathy”. She broke the news herself about her affair with David Clarke and called up each member of her estranged family, including Amanda Clarke, in show of solidarity and strength. But that’s all it is, a show. Daniel is more wary of his mother than ever, Conrad more determined to ruin her all over again (this time by marrying her instead of divorcing her. Bets on a showdown at the wedding start now.), and Charlotte, thanks to the forged journal of her father, is back to hating Victoria. But it was a smart move. Even with all of her ninja training, Emily has failed to take down her target in the past year. You can’t hope to beat a master at her own game. Victoria has created the rules and everyone is still playing within them. To beat her Emily is going to have to create a whole new game and hope Victoria can’t adapt.
– Devin Mainville