Let’s be very clear here, REVENGE is like no other prime time soap I’ve ever seen.  There is actually a plot  beyond everyone sleeping with everyone else – the long dramatic pauses are replaced by suspense and intrigue; and the cat fights are more like snarky remarks and wicked glances, particularly from Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe).

revenge emily and jack

Revenge Recap “Duress” Season 1 Episode 11

Air Date: 4th January 2012

So when we last left off before the holidays, Conrad (Henry Czerny) has filed for divorce and the Grayson children have picked sides – little Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) has moved in with Daddy Warbucks and Daniel (Joshua Bowman) has shown himself to be capable of being a little sly and manipulative himself, telling his father he’s not picking sides while he’s actually helping his mother get dirt on him.

“Duress” opens dramatically with the teaser we were left with at the end of the previous episode, “Loyalty”, where Tyler (Ashton Holmes) is pointing a gun at a gathering of the entire cast.  We flash back to two days earlier, when Daniel and Emily (Emily VanCamp) are planning his upcoming birthday party.  He wants something low-key and not a repeat of his twenty-first when Victoria hired the entire cast of Cirque du Soleil.  Personally, I have missed those big Grayson parties but I guess Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) has been too pre-occupied with cozying up to the Queen of the Hamptons and trying to convince herself that catching her boyfriend lip-locked with another man is acceptable as long as it’s just for money…

Emily suggests a clambake on the beach – and why not when you have the beach at your front door?  But, of course, Ashley will be put in charge of organizing this little shindig where only family and a couple of close friends will be invited.  Who does Ashley know who can cater for something so low-scale as a clambake? A-ha! Jack Porter (Nick Weschler), owner of the Stowaway Tavern, and his new girlfriend, Amanda (Margarita Levieva), are ready to lend a helping hand.  And the lucky duo score an invitation to the party too, as friends of the host.

Recommended Reading: Revenge “Duress” Review – Truth or Die is Intense!

While all this party-planning is going on, Emily heads to Casa di Nolan Ross (a shirtless Gabriel Mann) to apologize for accusing him of betraying their friendship by getting into bed (quite literally) with madman Tyler.  For his part, Nolan admits he was a bad judge of character when he under-estimated just how much of a loose cannon Tyler is.  They track the shamu-cam that Tyler stole from Nolan back to the pool house at the Grayson mansion, where he has remained despite being told to leave.  And while Em and Noles are continuing their plan to take down Ty, plans are afoot to take down Amanda.  Emily is dropping Amanda’s name to Victoria every chance she gets.

Back at the Grayson mansion, Conrad and Victoria are discussing divorce settlement with their lawyers.  Finances aside (there is a pre-nup), Victoria wants custody of their daughter, Charlotte, who is still underage.  Conrad wants full custody since Charlotte had already chosen to live with him.  No doubt this will not be the end of the story here – there are theories floating around the REVENGE  fandom that Charlotte may be Victoria’s love-child with David Clarke (James Tupper), and therefore, Emily’s half-sister…now wouldn’t that be an epic twist to an otherwise underutilized character to date?

On the subject of the pre-nuptial agreement, Victoria’s lawyer, Ryan Huntley (James McCaffrey) claims that she was under duress at the time she signed the agreement, and thereby rendering it invalid.  Now, why, I hear you ask, was she under duress?  Apparently, being pregnant when signing a legal document is enough to be considered “duress”.  But here is the catch: Victoria later admits to her lawyer that she had lied to Conrad when she signed the pre-nup.  When no baby arrived, she told him she miscarried at ten weeks. No worries – after all, Mr Huntley, who had mysteriously arrived to offer his services to Victoria, is a lawyer with a few tricks of his own up his sleeves.  Let’s not forget he is there for one reason: Emily.

When Conrad goes back to his office, he finds Tyler sitting at his desk with his feet up.  Conrad has had enough of his threats and tries to fire him (again) but Tyler tells Conrad he not only has the speech that Lydia was going to give at the charity event she hosted a few weeks earlier but now also video footage of her telling dearly-departed Frank (Max Martini) that Conrad and Victoria had framed David Clarke seventeen years ago for treason.  Conrad calls him a name and Tyler retorts with “It appears that you despicable people have started to rub off on me.”

While Emily is retrieving the Shamu-cam from the Graysons’ pool house, she finds Tyler’s empty bottle of anti-psychotic meds.  She pretends to be Dr Michelle Banks (remember the therapist-of-choice for all Hamptonites from episode 4 “Duplicity”?) and calls the prescribing doctor (who is “still on leave after the attack”) to find out what the meds are for.  It turns out everyone in San Francisco has been looking for him for several weeks after he attacked his doctor – yes, the man needs his meds.  Nolan, with his hacking skills, finds out that Tyler’s next-of-kin is his brother, Alexander – a surgeon, no less – who has been looking for him as well.  Nolan informs Alex that Tyler needs to go home before he hurts anyone and sends his jet to pick him up from the other side of the country.

Not trusting that Tyler, now known to be a certified lunatic, Emily places the recovered Shamu-cam on her mantle so that Nolan can help her keep an eye on Daniel in case Tyler comes back.  When she tells Daniel and Ashley about Tyler’s condition, Daniel confronts his former friend to tell him to leave (again).  Tyler, once again showing that he views Daniel as more than just a buddy, asks him to leave with him.  There’s a bit of handsy action here but in the end, Tyler leaves – alone.

And finally, it’s party time.  Jack has a little tête-a-tête with Emily about Amanda, reminiscing about times shared in their childhood (cue another flashback of young Amanda playing with young Jack on the beach). Daniel tells Emily he’s keeping her gun handy in case Tyler comes back.  Emily gets a call from Nolan to say he’s tracked Tyler’s phone GPS to a flight en route to San Francisco – don’t worry, technology doesn’t lie.

Those could very well have been Nolan’s famous last words.  Surprise, surprise, Tyler is actually standing right behind Nolan in his house.  Poor Nolan gets a little cut up, gagged and bound while Tyler has a party to crash.  At the party, Ashley introduces Amanda Clarke to Conrad and Victoria who flashes back to old times with David.  Conrad is taken by surprise of Amanda’s presence while Victoria remains suspicious.

As the party kicks off on the beach (Victoria: “I was surprised to hear you did all this without the help of any wait staff”) with toasts and civil conversation, Dr Alex (Tyler’s brother) arrives at the Ross mansion in time to save Nolan, who tries to warn Emily, only to have his phone call intercepted by Tyler, whose superpower must be the ability to travel by stealth as he appears and disappears everywhere.

Now, what do you get for a man who has everything, or at least his parents do?  Mamma Victoria gives her beloved son a scrapbook of memories of their Hamptons summers – who knew she was into scrapbooking?  Daddy Conrad gives him a watch – no doubt one worth more than my car (which isn’t much, really).

Back inside the house, Tyler is madly looking for the Shamu-cam when Emily enters the kitchen to bring out the birthday cake.  Tyler may not have found the camera but managed to find her gun and wastes no time in waving it around at Emily.  They go out to join the party.  Victoria begs the crazed man not to hurt her children (never mind the rest of the innocent guests at the table attending a party one will never forget).  Conrad, being ignorant of just what kind of madman he is dealing with, doesn’t believe Tyler would shoot anyone.
Tyler wants to play a party game called “Truth or Die” – he asks a question and if the answer is wrong, someone dies.  He asks Conrad about the truth about David Clarke, but before anyone has a chance to answer, brother Alex turns up with Nolan, nursing his injuries, to talk him down while Daniel tackles him and knocks the gun out of his hand.

When the police arrive to arrest Tyler, Conrad tells Victoria that they found Frank’s wallet in his jacket and Tyler is now the prime suspect in his murder.  Nolan, now BFFs with Emily again, wonders at her inner ninja while pretending to express emotions at gun-point, noting that the gun she always kept loaded is actually empty.  Nolan and Ashley console each other at their poor choice of boyfriend.

On their way home, Amanda asks Jack if he knows what Tyler meant by the truth about David Clarke.  Jack thinks Tyler is another conspiracy theorist but Amanda wisely says “Maybe there is more to the story than what we’ve been told.”  Now, that makes me wonder how much Emily put into that fake childhood journal she gave to Amanda about the Graysons?

Daniel, having had a party that is most memorable, tells Emily he can’t imagine life without her (leading to the proposal coming up in episode 13).  Does anyone still believe Emily has not fallen for the son of her sworn enemy?

“Duress” is a great welcome back for REVENGE fans.  I want to make special mention of the wonderful score by composer iZLER.  If you didn’t notice it but often find yourself gripping the arms of your chair a little tighter during the most intense moments, that’s a credit to how well the music underpins the action.  Bravo! Let’s bring on Episode 12: “Infamy”!

Written by Valerie Leung. Read her blog Libra Girl Rules and follow her on twitter to talk about great TV-  @ValShopaholic

Read more of Valerie’s REVENGE RECAPS on Small Screen Scoop! Why don’t you start with her smartly written Revenge “Loyalty” Recap?