The setup for this season has us anticipating the sinking of The Amanda. From the wreckage, which includes an unidentified male corpse, we flash back three months to just before Memorial Day. Emanda is finishing up training in Japan with Takeda (Yes, that seemingly backstabbing Takeda) to try and unlock memories of her mother. When she's had somewhat of a breakthrough, she returns to the Hamptons. It's been almost a year since Emanda returned home for the first time. So what have all our favorite Hamptonites been up to?
Well... Jack is living a lie with our favorite pregnant stripper, having taken to drinking and spending his nights sleeping out in his boat. When Emanda returns, he gets up the nerve to explain to her he didn't know when they had their night together Amily was going to return and be pregnant. Emanda isn't playing around anymore with Ams, so she hints to Jack that he may want to look into a paternity test. He eventually confronts Amily to ask for one.
All of this Amily business has driven a huge wedge between Jack and Declan. He can see very clearly that Jack isn't happy, asking that Jack admit to himself that he doesn't love Amily. But Jack is Jack, and he's going to do the upstanding thing always. About that... the bar has also really suffered with Jack's neglect and Dec is resentful that he's had to pick up the slack. They fail a health inspection and are at risk of losing the bar.
Charlotte has been in rehab this whole time, and appears to be having a very positive experience. She's nearing the end of her treatment, and hopes to be released in time for what would've been her mother's annual Memorial Day art auction. Meanwhile, Daniel has been mostly despondent and drunk after his mother's death. He's now with Ashley, but obviously still pines for Emanda. And Conrad... is trying to get both of his children to invest their inheritances back into Grayson Global. Typical.
Nolan has responded to his near-death experience by taking up boxing at a gym in the city and selling the Fortress of Solitude because of its bad juju, but we could've easily predicted both of those things. Emanda seeks him out for the quirky, smart-assed assistance only he can provide. It's entirely natural that Nolan asks to be Ems' live-in, one-man IT team. We can look forward to many roommate misunderstandings. I can't wait for Nolan to walk in on Ems in the shower and the karate chop to the throat that will follow.
Our roomies' initial sleuthing triggers memories of Emanda's mother being committed to a psychiatric ward at a local hospital. The memories guide Ems to the hospital, which was mysteriously shut down the week David Clarke was arrested. It becomes clear that Victoria had a role in locking away Mrs. Clarke. The next step in the plan is for Emanda to get close to the Graysons again so she can get more answers.
Ems visits Charlotte in rehab and gets an invite to the Memorial Day art auction. At the auction, Ems makes sure Daniel gets a good look at her, planting a seed of longing in his dim mind. While that may have been enough for Emanda's initial plan, she has the stroke of luck that Charlotte gets framed by her father and rehab counselor for failing her final drug test. Before she's taken away, Charlotte confides in Ems that Victoria is still alive, and whispers her whereabouts.
After Emanda pays Victoria a visit to verify Charlotte was telling the truth, she and Nolan decide to plant a surveillance camera in Victoria's humble, little witness protection cabin. She pays Victoria a second visit to do so, under the guise of providing an incriminating background check of Charlotte's rehab counselor so Victoria can free her daughter. Victoria sees through Emanda's fake kindness. After Ems leaves, Victoria summons the White-Haired Man to kill her. The surveillance video tips Emanda off that Victoria and WHM have been in cahoots all along, they were responsible for the disappearance and possible murder of her mother and that she must prepare for an imminent attack.
-- Pablo G. is some guy who lives in Austin, Texas. He used to co-host TWoP's original "Trailers Without Pity" with his brother Omar G. Check him out at The YES and NO and Pablog and follow him @PendejoJoe on Twitter.
"Destiny has two ways of crushing us... by refusing our wishes... and by fulfilling them." -Henri Frederic Amiel
Season 2 begins underwater at night. A helicopter searches with its spotlight and drops a scuba diver into the black ocean. Emanda voice-over: "Destiny. To believe that life is meant for a single purpose one must also believe in a common fate. Father to daughter, brother to sister, mother to child... blood ties can be as unyielding as they are eternal." It's Labor Day weekend at Block Island Sound, Rhode Island. The diver finds wreckage and radios back to the helicopter that it looks like an explosion brought it down. He finds a photo of Jack, Declan and Carl... This isn't Victoria's plane. It's The Amanda. Ems VO: "But it is our bonds of choice that truly light the road we travel. Love versus hatred, loyalty against betrayal." Diver finds a golden compass and a man's dead body. Ems VO: "A persons' true destiny can only be revealed at the end of his journey... And the story I have to tell is far from over."
We pedestal up through the dark waters until they fade into the daytime waters of Oshima Island, Japan three months prior. Emanda is rope tied to a thick wooden post about thirty yards from the beach. The waves threaten to drown her. Takeda (now played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and a younger man watch Emanda struggle. "It's not the ropes that bind her. It is her fear," new Takeda notes. His apprentice doesn't understand since it's obvious Emanda has no fear of death. Takeda switches to Japanese to say, "Mortal fear is not the only fear." Duh. That's why you're still an apprentice, Apprentice Man.
It's afternoon at Grayson Manor. Daniel stands in his mother's empty bedroom, throwing a cover off of a painting. It's the unfinished painting of Victoria by Dominik. Before he can even get a good look at it, the amazingly still-around Ashley comes barging in, apologizing for not knocking. She notices her boyfriend is in a malaise from being in his mother's sanctuary, and offers to make the room off limits to house staff. Daniel just wants to move forward, so Ash offers to give him some space, kisses him on the cheek and walks out. Dan steps out to his mother's balcony perch and looks down at Casa Emily with equal parts pain and longing.
Jack lies shirtless in his bunk on The Amanda, twirling his compass (the same one discovered by the scuba diver... oooooo). Declan comes down the steps to tell his brother the health inspector should be at the bar in half an hour. He notices Jack is hung over and comments on his pity party. They bicker about Jack having been distant ever since Amily returned. That is until, speak of the devil, Amily interrupts pregnantly by trying to waddle down the steps. Dec excuses himself so he can go delay the health inspector. Ams wants to know why Jack has slept out in the boat the last four nights. "BECAUSE YOU RUINED MY LIFE, YOU MURDEROUS STRIPPER! AND I DON'T WANT TO FATHER STRIPPER BABIES! I'M SUPPOSED TO BE IN HAITI!!!" does not come out of Jack's mouth, to his credit. Instead, he says, "Don't worry. Once the baby comes, things will be different." Whoa... Jack has become that guy? Is this what happens when women play games with a good man's heart? Or was Jack always this guy? Am I asking too many questions? Er... moving on. He backs up his claim by asking Amily if he's ever broken a promise to her. OK, fine. Benefit of the doubt.