Revenge, Season 2, Episode 18: “Masquerade”
Written by Sunil Nayar and JaSheika James
Directed by Allison Liddi-Brown
Airs Sundays at 9pm (ET) on ABC
“I try to keep the ghosts out but they always find a way back in”, Victoria tells Conrad in this week’s episode of Revenge, “Masquerade”. When Emily learns that Victoria has a son you know that it’s game on and the this season has shifted. While the secrets are important, it’s now going to be about bringing those secrets to light.
So much of this season has been about seeing Victoria get thrown off her game. Watching Emily unsettle Victoria with reminders of the son she gave up is one of the most rewarding parts of the episode. The masquerade scenes are beautifully filmed, both delicious to look at and the eerie culmination of an episode full of black roses and ominous lines like “sometimes self-deception can be therapeutic,” delivered by a hurting Nolan.
Mann was the standout of last week’s episode and his powerful performance continues with “Masquerade”. After learning of Padma’s death, Mann is able to convey his guilt, his anger and his devotion to Emily all while reminding the audience that Nolan is really the one who has given up the most, besides Emily, for her revenge. Of course, killing Padma gives Nolan an edge and insures that he has his own desire for vengeance.
Padma’s death also sets up a few interesting plot points. For one thing it finds Nolan falling under police suspicion. Nolan’s character development has been one of the best things about this season. Putting him in this position is sure to propel him through the rest of this season and hopefully into the next. The other thing that Padma’s death does is give the audience a deeper insight into what exactly the Initiative is up to. Even though Trask is dead now, he lives long enough to tell Daniel that there is a lot of money to be found in rebuilding a world that’s destroyed itself, possibly cluing us in on what the Initiative wants with Nolan’s program. Padma’s death (and Nolan possibly being set up for that death) certainly plays a larger role in the Initiative’s plans.
Conrad running for office has been a mixed bag this season. It’s an interesting choice for such a despicable man with a million secrets to run for political office but it’s a power grab to watch, not only because Ashley and Conrad together is always fun. They’re both disgusting but watching them together is an interesting combination. Most of this is due to Czerny who is amazing as Conrad and probably one of the only people who can go up against the always powerful Stowe. Conrad and Ashley can scramble and claw for dominance but Victoria and Emily are both so smart and so cold that watching them play each other always leads to standout scenes, like in “Masquerade” when they face off in Victoria’s dressing room.
“Masquerade” is an interesting episode. It effectively sets up what is sure to be one of the best reveals in Revenge history- who is Victoria’s son and who is the Falcon? It also presents us with some really moving images, like Nolan’s reaction to Padma’s death. But some of it also seems like filler until we get to the really juicy parts of the season. There’s no real resolution but we are given a really fun and entertaining episode that tosses everything up in the air for our favorite characters, Victoria and Nolan.