Within the opening few minutes of “Chaos”, my heart palpitations started. Here’s why:
- The shooting on the beach!
- The photo taken from the body by what appears to be a gloved female hand is very familiar to those who have been paying attention (think red magic marker!)
- Whoa! Nutty Tyler is back! (I love you Ashton Holmes)
- And he’s the one who stole Emily’s secret box! (I knew there was a red herring at the end of “Perception” making us believe it was Amanda (Margarita Levieva) who stole it!)
- And he’s kidnapped Amanda! (this just might be a battle of who’s crazier than who…stay tuned)
But there was no let-up for the rest of the hour, directed by co-executive producer, Sandy Bookstaver, who some of you may remember was also responsible for the episode “Charade”, as we are still kept waiting till the end to find out whose lifeless body was being hauled up on the beach by Jack.
This is the episode that literally takes us full circle, back to where the series began – with the Fire and Ice ball on Labor Day weekend in celebration of Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) and Daniel’s (Josh Bowman) engagement. A lot has happened in the short few months since the Hamptonites arrived for their summer vacation. And a lot happens in the 24 hours before the engagement party and before the dead body is discovered on the beach.
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Now that spoiled little rich girl Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) has discovered the truth about who her father is, she is not taking it too well. And who would have thought that Declan (Connor Paolo) has turned out to have such a good, sensible head on his shoulders, offering his girlfriend the number for a therapist to talk to. Unfortunately for Charlotte, while Declan is looking out for her interests, Grandpa Grayson (William Devane returns) has other plans for his granddaughter: choose between her loyalty to the family name – as in, don’t you dare tell anyone outside the family about our family’s dirty secrets – or giving her darling boyfriend a chance at a privileged education at her private school. So bye bye any chance for sanity to Charlotte (I predict bad things will unravel in her future).
Meanwhile, Daniel is tired of his family’s secrets and lies. He asks his wife-to-be to promise there would be no secrets between them, and all he gets is a sympathetic look from Emily. Well, at least she is not going to make a promise she can never keep, right? As Daniel heads for bed, Emily checks for her gun. Daniel should consider himself lucky to have a fiancée packing heat! After all, his crazy ex-best friend is on the loose, packing some heat of his own and busy uncovering the bigger picture along the way.
The ever-manipulative Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) sees her only chance to win back her son is through Emily, and although she doesn’t trust her, appeals to her to facilitate a détente with Daniel. In typical Victoria fashion, however, the appeal is not so much a cry for help as a reminder that “you may or may not become his wife, but I will always be his mother”.
When it comes to family matters, Grandpa Grayson is pulling out all stops to make sure the Grayson name stays out of further scandal and to ensure investors remain confident of their company. He arranges for Daniel, whom he intends to take over as CEO from Conrad (Henry Czerny), to meet with their biggest investor, Satoshi Takeda (Hiroyuki Sanada), to reassure him that Grayson Global is all fine and dandy. Unfortunately for Grandpa, he hadn’t counted on his grandson actually having the guts to stand up to the family and tell Takeda that he himself doesn’t plan to stick around. He announces his plans to take his fiancée to Paris and leave Grayson Global.
While we’re on the subject of home-truths, Tyler is busy explaining to Amanda that Emily is not her friend, showing her evidence from the “Box-o-Secrets” he stole from Emily’s house. Poor Amanda finds out the girl she loved like a sister had been lying to her and turns on Emily when she arrives to hand over the ransom money to Tyler in exchange for her box. Amanda saves Tyler and they run away with Emily’s box and gun and bank details of the wire transfer.
Not content with having Emily’s box and her money, Tyler is determined to crash another Grayson party. As he dresses in his white tux for the Fire and Ice Ball, Amanda asks him why he is so determined to take down Emily when he could just run away with the money. It is then that we are reminded of the fact that Emily had planted the late Frank Stevens’ (the Graysons’ former head of security) wallet in his suit jacket when he was arrested after crashing Daniel’s birthday party and so was charged with his murder. Oops! Tyler doesn’t realize he was talking to the actual killer right there in front of him!
Emily is not sans gun for long. She’s already got a new one when Nolan (Gabriel Mann) arrives, asking “Are you determined to turn this party into a funeral?” Just then, Jack (Nick Wechsler) arrives with Immortal Dog Sammy to announce that he has decided it was time to go back to his original plan to sail away to Haiti to do missionary work in Port au Prince with Fr Rick (in a really neat shout-out to the priest who works with Stowe’s charity Artists For Peace and Justice). Jack leaves Sammy in Emily’s care, right where he belongs. Nolan suggests to Emily that she should run away with Jack, leave her revenge plans behind, “fall in love and have some volunteer babies”. She instead makes him promise to make sure Jack leaves the Hamptons safely and quickly.
With the party finally upon us, Daniel tells Emily he has a surprise for her afterwards. She tells him his mother wants to speak with him, which can really only lead to no good as Victoria does what Victoria does best – plants doubts into people’s heads. She tells her son that Emily may not be so willing to give up the Grayson name and run away with him after working so hard to make her way into the family. She tells him Emily is driven and ambitious, just like her.
Tyler is about to leave for the party but finds Amanda has had a change of heart. He intends to kill Daniel with Emily’s gun. Unaware of how dangerous Amanda is, she punches him and runs away to the Stowaway Tavern, where she finds Jack packing up his boat to leave (watched via the Shamu-cam by Nolan). She begs him to take her with him and promises to answer all his questions. She tells him nobody likes her but Jack tells her that Emily cares about her and is the one who told him not to give up on her. So she runs off to the party, presumably to save Emily from Tyler, with Jack hot on her heels.
Takeda turns up to the party, gifting Emily with her Box-o-Secrets, and tells her to bury her father’s secrets far away from there (well, burying it on the beach is not exactly far enough, in my opinion, and I wonder how long it will take for it to pop up again). When she’s done burying the box, Daniel finds her on the beach and asks her to run away to Paris with her. As Victoria had predicted, she refuses, sparking “a thing” between the two of them.
Emily leaves Daniel behind on the beach where he is sulking on his own, until Tyler finds him and shows him Emily’s “Revenge picture”, complete with the red magic marker writing crossing off those she had taken down. He tells Daniel there’s more to his family’s secrets than just his mother’s affair with David Clarke, then uses Daniel’s phone to send a text to Emily asking her to meet him on the beach.
When we head back to the beach, we find Jack hearing gunshots (coinciding with the fireworks exploding over the shoreline for the party) and running to find Amanda hunched over a dead body. As he is hauling it up, he tells Amanda to run away, then he himself is spotted by Declan and Charlotte frolicking in the water when Daniel’s phone starts ringing. Charlotte runs screaming back to interrupt the party where her mother had just delivered her royal speech to welcome Emily into the Grayson family. Everyone runs down to the beach to check out the body. When Victoria finally flips the body over after being convinced her son has been shot, they discover it is Tyler.
Phew! It’s not Daniel! But wait, where’s Daniel gone? He stumbles towards the scene, covered in blood, hugged by his mother, grateful that he was alive but warns him not to say a word.
As always, the music by Izler perfectly sets the mood. The climactic ending is heightened by the music rising to a crescendo that sends shivers up my spine. And if I seem to be fangirling a little too much over composer and director, well, get used to it because I am a huge fan (Bookstaver has directed episodes of some of my favorite shows).
I am a little sad Tyler is now dead because Ashton Holmes plays crazy to perfection but I am glad to see Margarita Levieva back as the loyal Amanda. She may be a killer but she only kills to protect her friends. Does this make her a good person? Maybe not, but I’d rather not get on the wrong side of her!