The much-anticipated flashback episode of Revenge aired last night, and we got a little taste of the ghost of Amanda Clarke past. Plus, viewers were treated to appearances by those crushed in our heroine’s quest for vengeance. Flashback episodes are an easy way to give viewers more backstory but in this lackluster case, I felt like we got more filler than fact. But the less than stellar episode had plenty of highlights. Let’s all flat iron our hair, put on a peasant top and take a trip back to 2002 to see how it all began.
Jack vs. Wigs
As you might have suspected, I’m taking a moment to talk about Jack’s 2002 hair. What wig master decided that shaggy rat’s nest would be an appropriate thing to put on primetime television? It looked like Howie from The Backstreet Boys sold his hair and made a weave (which might actually be what he does for money now). Things like that should be reserved for Twilight films and deleted scenes from Lost.
Loser: My eyes because that abomination of hair can’t be unseen.
Amanda 1.0 vs. Emily 2.0
The lamer Zuckerberg tries to convince party girl Amanda to read her deceased father’s journals. O.G. Amanda has no intention of doing anything but mainlining vodka, so she ditches Nolan and heads out to her old Hamptons home. Of course, she takes a stop in Poorsville to visit Jack, who is dating a friendly bartender, which goes to show some things never change. Inspired by the change of pace, Amanda 1.0 decides to crack some light reading material, a.k.a. her dad’s prison diaries.
Loser: Amanda 1.0. I was hoping to see a train wreck version of the real Amanda Clarke, living out her late teens in New York, and even though she was beating up boys using a toilet seat, I found her pretty ordinary. Serena van der Woodsen puts her to shame.
Victoria vs. Conrad
Were these two ever not at odds? In 2002, Conrad gets a threatening note referencing the late David Clarke and turns to Frank (the Grayson security guy who was offed by Aman-duh 2.0 earlier this season). Victoria, who was probably busy planning the Downton Abbey flower show with the Dowager Countess Violet Grantham, goes into defense mode. It’s clear that David Clarke created the crack in their marriage, and all the veneered smiles in the whole world can’t cover it up.
With all the David Clarke news, Victoria is growing distant, probably because she’s having flashbacks during a flashback episode (meta!). She’s daydreaming about how she fell for David at a different New Year’s Eve party, in what looked like the early 90s. And just in case you didn’t know the whole episode was a flashback, the writers made sure that there were plenty of housing market bubble and Rudy Giuliani references. Remember, these folks were the one percent before the 99 percent even knew what that was.
Loser: Victoria. Her weakness only shows when she opens her heart. We need a little less queen and a lot more ice.
Victoria vs. Lydia
Remember when Lydia was a thing that was happening? Well, back in 2002, she and Victoria were besties. Lydia and her hubs visit the Hamptons searching for a home, and they want David Clarke’s old place. But Lydia wants more than a summer home—she wants Conrad. And the 2002 New Year’s Eve party is where their affair begins.
Loser: Lydia, because until the producers reminded me, I forgot she’s been dropped of the window and basically sent out to pasture. Go away.
The Ghost of David Clarke vs. Everyone
Are you there God? It’s me, David. And I’m going to journal the hell out of my prison experience. Amanda 1.0 has studied her dad’s diaries, and I’m guessing she has a photographic memory, because she has no trouble keeping all of the Grayson’s pawns straight. Good for her, because if you’re anything like me, you’ve been looking up their names all night because how the hell am I supposed to remember someone who hasn’t been on the show since fall sweeps?
Anyway, David claims he has a friend in Roger Halsted, who just so happens to be at the big Grayson New Year’s Eve bash, along with all of the folks Emily helped bring down in the first half of the season. Of all the Grayson conspirators, Halsted is the only one with a conscience, and he feeds that little voice in his head with booze. Knowing the difference between right and wrong is a fatal flaw, and Amanda finds Halsted’s body in the Grayson pool house, his death ruled a suicide. A suicide that was totally murder and probably ordered by Conrad and executed by Frank. In the big reveal, Treadwell confesses to writing the threatening note, simply to try to get some fodder for a new book.
Loser: Treadwell. He’s crossed Victoria and the original Amanda Clarke one too many times.
Weekly Winners: Declan, Charlotte, Ashley and anyone else who didn’t appear in this episode. Producers, next time you want to give us background, just add it into some dialogue because this was just a train wreck.
Weekly Losers: The viewers (no really, this episode sucked), the guy who got his face bashed in with a toilet seat, and Jack (not only is he poor and has a mother who hates him, but his hair is just horrible).
Episode Bitch Scale Score: Tonya Harding. That beyotch had so much promise… but all it takes is one bad boyfriend and a billy club to ruin your career.