E: Well, I guess we know why we start rooting against Danny. Shudder. He looked so unhinged on her porch.
M: I didn’t think so, I just thought he looked jealous.
C: Yeah, really? Danny? Because for me the big reveal in this episode was that his Harvard BFF is an utter skin-crawly creeper.
M: He’s a real enigma, that one.
E: Okay, I suppose if Danny was truly creepy, he’d have come in to the cottage and picked a fight. So yeah, what’s with the completely creepy roommate? Who apparently has the password to Danny’s phone?
C: Not all phones have passwords… but I had trouble accepting that he could just take Danny’s phone for the day without Danny noticing. That makes Danny dumber than I even think he is, and Tyler’s motivations are beyond my ability to guess.
M: I, for the life of me, cannot figure them out so far.
C: It crossed my mind when he tucked the plastered Danny in at night that he might be in love with him, only you really don’t try to get someone you’re in love with to fall off the wagon of their destructive drinking problem, do you?
E: Maybe you do if your way of loving them is controlling them? I had the same thought; he was clearly jealous of Emily, and possessive of Danny, and those were about the only clear things about him. Except the fact that he’s trouble with a capital T. (Hey, maybe HE’s Danny’s murderer. I could be okay with that kind of jealous rage thing; far better that than Emanda or Jack! Entertainment Weekly made the comparison to The Talented Mr. Ripley – that Tyler is pulling a sort of con, just like Emanda – and I love that idea.)
M: Okay, my exact thought when Tyler (whose name I keep forgetting when I watch the show, btw) was tucking Danny in was “Is he going to cuddle with him in some kind of creepy Talented Mr Ripley kind of a way?”, so I’m glad I wasn’t alone in that! As for him being the murderer, that would be a twist indeed.
C: That seems likely, and would be interesting, but he still gives me the willies. Also is Personal Assistant whassername a complete dunce, letting a thoroughly shifty guy like that “charm” her? There were some really bad romantic choices made this week.
M: So far I’ve seen no evidence of charm, but what it is with the secondary characters and unmemorable names?
C: They don’t say them enough, I guess. (I remember we had this problem with Ryan and Esposito back in the day… ah, memories.)
E: You two mean Ashley the event planner? Well, yeah. I’m shocked she didn’t get fired, since she was in charge of the video at the Mother/Daughter lunch. The video Emanda used to ruin Dr. Banks, making public some very juicy secrets from Banks’ therapy sessions with a ton of posh socialites. Top of the list – Emily (frigid, trust issues), Victoria (wishes she hadn’t had a second child!), and an unnamed closet bisexual.
M: I thought they played the video secrets part of this episode really well. I could see the angle of Victoria never being able to connect with Charlotte and saying that she “almost” wishes at times she didn’t have a second child, and seeing Charlotte easily skip over the almost and the lack of context and feeling like everything she’s ever felt about her mother was confirmed. Loved that, and Emanda adding herself in the video was very smart.
E: I agree with you and Nolan: Emily being in the video is a great cover. Super sly. Now, I’m not in love with Declan by any means, and I’m quite dubious about this accent he’s whipping out, but at least he genuinely likes Charlotte and is nice to her, which she could use just about now. For once I actually feel sorry for her.
C: Accent? I have no clue what you’re talking about. But my feelings had turned more positive toward the teen romance since he sent her the cute sunset video last week instead of proof that her boyfriend is cheating. Yay for the high road.
M: I thought that the scene with them on the swings was actually a really good scene, and liked them both in it. They’ve come a long way, since just two weeks ago when we were wishing Jack and Danny were only children.
E: Speaking of Jack, he shows up with flowers, as glum Emanda waits vainly for Daniel. I like that he’s pursuing her despite the cold shoulder, I think. But what was she thinking, letting him in?
M: I think that that’s a rare moment of Amanda seeping through the veneer of Emily, actually. She knows Jack, he reminds her of the good times of her life, and she still wants to hold onto that, which is why she keeps bringing Sam back to him in person.
E: What’s Nolan up to, trying to push Jack and Emily together? Is he just a big weird romantic?
M: Haven’t you figured out by now that Nolan is kind of like Loki, a meddler who loves chaos? He’s not involved in Emanda’s plans, but tries to be. He wants to see them succeed, as much for seeing the carnage as for punishing people who were bad to the one man who gave him a shot. As for him pushing Jack at Emily, he knows it will muck with things. And maybe he’s a little bit romantic at heart, too.
C: Yes. I like the Loki comparison! Because I liked Nolan more than ever in this episode, but he is definitely not a true friend to Jack, pushing him at Emily.
E: Speaking of misguided love, why would Jack assume that Emily was talking to the therapist about him and not Danny? Not that there’s any way to decode what bits of honesty might be part of those confessions, but you have to imagine it’s all calculated. (That’s why I’m referring to her as Emily – because all of that was part of her persona.)
C: That was bizarre. “I’ve met someone, I think he might be the one…” These are usually the kinds of things you say about the guy you’re dating, right?
M: I think he WANTS to believe she’s talking about him. For all anyone knows, including him, that film could be from a year ago about someone not on the show. But he likes her and he feels Nolan, who he knows knows her, pushing him toward her, so he jumps to the conclusion he wants to be real.
E: I’ve never felt for Emanda so much as I did in this episode. After watching the scenes of the calloused way Dr. Banks attempted to break Little Amanda, I almost wanted her to starve in the storage unit. I can see Emanda wanting that, anyway.
C: Good grief, yeah, the way the shrink treated her as a kid was pure operatic nightmare. What kind of a person do you have to be to be willing to do that for money, when you presumably went into counseling to help people?
E: Yeah. Quite astounding. It’s so Dickensian. I almost expected Amanda to ask for more gruel.
M: I felt bad for her, but for me one of the biggest things this episode did was to wipe away any positive feelings anyone might have developed for Victoria. In the past episodes they walked a tight rope with her. Clearly she is a conniving female dog who will do anything to harm people who harm her, a true “real housewife.” However, they had given us glimpses of the affair between her and Emanda’s father, and just last week we saw her try to take evidence that would exonerate him to the prosecutor. Now? We see her treat his daughter cruelly and swipe the laptop that was clearly used to frame him.
E: Well, in the pilot we see that she’s involved with them picking him up. Likely she was blackmailed into it. Not that it’s not still a betrayal.
C: I got the sense that she did take part in the plan to frame him (for as yet unrevealed reasons), but had a change of heart.
M: We see her bribe the shrink to not only keep Amanda institutionalized, but to ensure that she never saw her father again. I mean, after that I know I won’t have any doubts about whether or not she deserves every morsel of revenge that is played out upon her.
E: Yep. That was a shocking thing to do to an innocent child – heartlessness on a whole other level. I will say, however, that might be the most credulity straining connection they’ve shown – how long did Banks treat Amanda? And how could she not recognize her in Emily after a year and a half? Crazy.
C: Probably not too long actually, considering Victoria got Banks set up in her own posh practice soon after the dad’s trial.
M: I didn’t see that as a problem. Once again, if you haven’t seen someone since they were nine and they’re now in their late 20’s, you’re not going to recognize them most of the time. Especially when they’re hiding their identity.
C: I did think little Amanda was very fierce and adult-like in her way of speaking to Banks about her dad, though; sort of odd given that she apparently did buy the brainwashing eventually (as we know from when she met Nolan after turning 18).
E: That’s true. She was frighteningly self possessed, but she does get worn down eventually.
M: I loved the “I’ll draw whatever you want when you let me see my dad” line. It sets up the steely determination that we see in her now very well.
C: I must say, it’s pretty fascinating how the show continues to prevent us from fully aligning with anybody. As soon as we’re feeling bad for Emily, we find out she’s got the shrink chained up in a shipping container.
M: I don’t know, I kinda liked that.
C: Just as we’re feeling hate for Victoria, we have to see her smarmy husband smarming on her former best friend some more. As for Jack, I find myself rooting for him to get together with Emily… only to remember she’s entirely ruthless and he deserves far better. Yet I also find myself feeling bad for Danny because he thinks she stood him up. Revenge, you’ve sure got me twisted around!
E: And that’s just how we like it.