In one of the best episodes of the season, Victoria’s mama bear has lethal claws, Emily weeps at what might have been, and Jack does the unthinkable.
Did Samson teach him nothing?
It’s the wedding day of Amanda and Jack, and Emily has a lot on her mind, starting with a gauzy flashback to those carefree days back in 1993, when everyone was listening to Ace Of Base and watching the premiere of a new show called Beavis & Butthead.
She’s preparing for her own mock wedding, to a prepubescent Jack, and they’re both at the age when this is still cute, and not creepy and uncomfortable. Emily has made wedding rings out of pipe cleaners, and when we flash back to the present, we see that she’s kept one in the infinity box.
Nolan interrupts to announce that, he, as the wedding officiant, has everything ready for the beach nuptials, and in a perfect Nolanism, declares, “Who knew officiant was french for wedding bitch?” Emily is preoccupied, however, worrying where Aiden is. She hasn’t seen him since the video surfaced of his sister’s alleged death. Nolan takes her mind off it by spilling the beans about Conrad buying The Stowaway, which she was not aware of, and is now highly pissed about.
Luckily, Amanda arrives just in time to be berated by Emily for falling for the Grayson’s trickery. No matter how altruistic they may appear, there’s always a hidden agenda. She writes a check, and tells Amanda to convince Jack to pay back Conrad and get the bar back.
Of course, it’s not going to be that easy. She gets Jack to agree to take the check (which is definitive proof that shaving off his facial hair has left him weakened), but when he approaches Conrad with the payment, learns that the plans have changed, and Conrad has assumed the cartoonish role of megalomaniacal land baron, intent on razing every orphanage, pet hospital, and family-owned bar on the waterfront to build his new collection of casinos, whorehouses and Focus On The Family Headquarters.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s an old folks home that needs to be bulldozed.”
Jack is despondent, but doesn’t want to ruin Amanda’s wedding day … so he discusses the situation with Declan in clear earshot of his betrothed. It’s clear that Jack without the face fur is like Batman without his utility belt. But it does lead to something we’ve all been patiently waiting for … Amanda actually does something interesting. She sneaks into Emily’s house, finds one of the 363 secret compartments, and discovers proof about the Grayson misdeeds
Knowing she has the upper hand, she confronts Conrad and tells him to give the bar back to Jack, or she’ll expose him and the family. Conrad says, “So it’s been you all along!” Uh-oh. Conrad agrees to the terms, and when Amanda leaves, he makes a solemn call … to Teen Wolf Dad’s Brother. When they meet, Conrad tells him that things have changed, and because of Amanda, he has to back off. Teen Wolf Dad’s Brother asks if it would help if the interference was eliminated from the picture, and Conrad … doesn’t disagree.
Jack and Amanda set sail on their honeymoon voyage, but little do they realize that they have an unwelcome visitor below the deck … Teen Wolf Dad’s Brother! As Declan calls the boat to inquire about pacifiers (don’t ask), TWD’s brother cuts the phone line.
“And I also have the video of you giving yourself a Melvin..”
From the Elmo line.
Meanwhile, Aiden shows up at Nolan’s office and demands he find out any info he can about his sister’s death video. Nolan discovers that the vid was taken six years ago, not three days ago as The Initiative told Aiden. Furthermore, Nolan discovers where the video was shot (like all of Nolan’s magical sleuthing skills, you just have to go with it), and Aiden heads to an abandoned warehouse in Jersey City, with Emily showing up to help him through his investigation, whether he likes it or not.
Sadly, they receive bad news from Nolan. He searched for any Jane Does from six years ago in the area, and he got a hit. They head over to the Coroner’s Office … where they see proof that Aiden’s sister is dead. Emily tries to comfort him, but Aiden tells her he needs time to self-glower, and runs off.
Now that they own the bar again, Jack and Amanda have their beach wedding, which is actually one of the best scenes of the episode. Emily gives Amanda the pipe cleaner wedding ring from years ago, and Jack goes on and on about how much he loves AMANDA, and how he and AMANDA were destined to be together, and he can’t think about life without … AMANDA. Both the real and fake Amanda start blubbering … for different reasons, and Emily has to turn away … in time to see Aiden standing on the cliff above the beach. Awww!
Oh, and it would be remiss of me not to point out that Nolan is, indeed, officiating the wedding, with his usual sartorial splendor.
Speaking of Nolan, he finally has a breakthrough with Padma. He tells her that he knows she’s up to shady business, and wants to know why. Padma tries to protest, but finally breaks down and gives him something that instantly, and ominously explains everything.
Meeting in a colorful back alley, Padma explains that she was contacted by The Initiative, who told her that they were holding her father, and if she wanted to keep him safe, she had to do as they instructed, and part of it was procuring the Carrion file. She doesn’t know why they want it, but she insists that her feelings toward Nolan have always been real. Nolan needs a moment …
And now so do I.
Now we get to the juiciest part of the episode, which will hopefully signal a return to form for the last half of the season. Victoria overhears Daniel being roped in even more by Helen and The Initiative. He’s on the phone discussing “moving money around,” and she has a flashback to David calling from jail, talking about being set up for also “moving money around.” Victoria realizes that The Initiative is setting up Daniel to take the fall for their next act of terror, and her maternal instincts go on high alert.
She bursts into Conrad’s office, and when Ashley protests, “We’re actually in the middle of things,” we get the classic Victoria-ism “And fully clothed, how refreshing,” She demands all of the documents that Conrad has about David being set up, and after Conrad realizes that The Initiative may, in fact, be looking to frame Daniel, he agrees. Victoria takes all of the evidence to Daniel, and is able to convince him that he has SUCKER stamped on his forehead. But what should they do about it? They agree that Daniel needs to keep playing along for the moment. Of course, they don’t realize that Helen has been watching the entire conversation, and informs someone on the phone that she’ll “handle the situation.”
It turns out that “handling the situation” means sneaking into the Grayson mansion and confronting Victoria. She tells her that unless she hands over all of the evidence, Daniel will not live to see the light of day. Victoria leads her to the safe where the documents are, but when it turn out to be empty, Helen turns around … to see Victoria’s handgun pointed at her (she apparently carries it around with her, but I don’t want to know where it was holstered). Helen basically laughs in Victoria’s face, telling her “You wept for 20 years over a man you betrayed. I hardly think you have it in you to kill a person in cold blood.” Helen learns that it’s not a good idea to goad a mama grizzly after threatening her cub, because Victoria … shoots her in cold blood!
She calls Daniel and instructs him to get home without arousing suspicion, and after he arrives, Conrad also shows up, whining about the bad day he’s had. Victoria says, ’I’ll go first,” and the three of them stare at the dead plot device on the floor.
Like I said, I think this was one of the best episodes of the season, with a lot of drama and a few shocking, but welcome developments.
Amanda may have gotten Conrad to back off, but when Emily finds out she stole the evidence and used it, there will be hell to pay. And Daniel, Victoria, and Conrad will have to work together as a family unit to dispose of the latest Grayson roadblock. And from the previews, we may finally see who the dead body is we’ve been promised from the beginning of the season. Could it be the newly married man with the wedding ring … or will he have another close shave?