That secret Victoria's been keeping about an illegitimate son totally needs to be exposed, but so far the Queen has done a pretty good job covering her tracks with the help of the Falcon. Emanda deduces that it must be the Falcon's handiwork that facilitated Victoria forging hospital documents in such a short time to make it seem as though she aborted her pregnancy. But the really clever thing that Ems and Nolan decide is that the Falcon's weakness is pride. They anonymously send Victoria a copy of her hospital document from when she was pregnant, indicating it's an obvious forgery so that the Queen will predictably contact the Falcon to complain about such shoddy work. The Graysons will be featured on Nightline for a profile on Conrad's run for the governorship, and Victoria can't have such loose ends around with them in the high-profile spotlight. Emanda's plan works. The Falcon reaches out to Nolan, agreeing to meet face-to-face by challenging him to defend his Street Fighter II high score at a local arcade. Where has this offbeat awesomeness been all season, show writers?
Ignoring the obvious plot hole that an arcade from the Street Fighter II heyday probably would not have survived to the present day, it's the perfect scenario for Nolan to regain his mojo. He enters the arcade to find an attractive, snarky Asian chick instead of a crusty old hacker man. Nolan asks for help scrubbing skeletons from his closet from anywhere the authorities might be looking now that he's a suspect in Padma's murder, but the Falcon offers only resistance/disinterest. Nolan appeals to her gamesmanship by challenging her to a single match of Street Fighter -- he wins, she helps. She wins... well, she won't, Nolan boasts. Under the unforgiving scrutiny of the most balanced technical fighting videogame ever, Nolan takes her down in a classic matchup of Ryu vs. Chun-li. (I would've taken Nolan for a Guile or Blanka man.) Falcon honors her debt of defeat and agrees to help Nolan.
All of this is positioning Ems and Nolan to drive a wedge between the Graysons since Conrad has been led by Victoria to believe that she was nothing but a helpless victim when it came to her teenage pregnancy and that there was no child. When it's time for the live interview with Juju Chang, Emanda goes to support Daniel, and gets dragged onto his portion of the segment. It's an opportunity for the media to prod about their rekindled romance, and an opportunity for Daniel to sandbag Emanda over any possible wedding plans. She gives as diplomatic an answer as possible, but it still sounds entirely like she's on her way to becoming a Grayson. That's great for her revenge plans, but it's the absolute worst thing when it comes to the hanging thread that is her current relationship with Jack. Oh... and probably also that Aiden guy. Jack washes his ends of Ems, telling her he no longer wants her to be Carl's godmother, and Aiden grudgingly gives Emanda her blessing to marry Dan if it means finally taking down the Graysons from within.
All of that romantic nonsense proves worth it, however, because Nolan manages to access the Falcon's computer through the flash drive he gave her for that scrubbing assignment, and forwards hospital documents to the Nightline crew while the interview is in progress. Juju Chang blindsides Victoria with the accusation that she abandoned her six-month old son to accept a scholarship to art school in Paris. Victoria has no choice but to admit it, remove her microphone and walks off the set. Meanwhile, the Falcon calls Nolan because she knows that her machine is the only place where that information is stored. Nolan smugly informs the Falcon of how he outsmarted her and that he's also plastered her real identity all over the web. He says this to her as he watches a surveillance feed of her favorite hacking spot -- a coffee shop currently being raided by the FBI. Nolan has defeated the Falcon in mortal (k)ombat. Fatality.
Some smaller items of note: At the request of Daniel, Takeda returns to the U.S. for a meeting about Aiden. Dan wants to know Aiden's business past. Luckily, Aiden happens to barge in on their meeting and gets the opportunity to meet with Takeda before Daniel can pry any further. Unfortunately, Takeda is still very much at odds with how Aiden and Emanda are carrying out their paths to revenge. Not that it really matters, but Aiden is still very sore about the loss of his sister and Padma. He thinks the path Takeda has put him and Ems on is one that just ends in emptiness. There's no resolution here. They appear to be on a collision course.
Jack continues his slow, but sure descent into the world of sabotage, trying to gain leverage against Conrad with the help of Ashley. They do some spying and catch Conrad having a clandestine meeting with the current governor's wife. Jack manages to snap some pics, which Ashley uses to convince a defeated Conrad after his failed Nightline appearance that he needs her guarding him. Conrad brings Ash back into his employ for the millionth time.
As for Charlotte and Declan, Charlie inexplicably befriends the girl she recently punched in the face, and gets influenced into ditching out on both school and Declan to go party. We should be used to it now that just when you think Charlotte's going to set the example the rest of her family should follow, she does something bizarre like standing up Dec and going to have a make-out session with her mean girls nemesis at a New York nightclub in front of the paparazzi. Some things never change.
-- 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 out their webcomic Space Monkeys! and follow Pablo's writing at Pablog. Follow him @PendejoJoe on Twitter.
Nude after a hot morning shower, Ems wipes away condensation from her fogged up bathroom mirror and stares at her own reflection. Ems voice-over: "A person's true identity can often be difficult to discern... even to themselves, causing one to question their character, their calling, their very existence. For most, time provides clarity. But for others these questions remain unanswered.... for an identity cannot be fully defined when it is a guarded secret." A clothed Emanda breezes into her bedroom and reaches for her keys on the nightstand, but she's startled by Daniel's hand suddenly snatching her wrist from the bed. He's still in good spirits about Ems' tendency to sneak off. She blames her early rise on being unable to sleep, knowing Nolan was being questioned by police all night in connection with Padma's murder. Emanda deftly blows off proposed lunch plans with Daniel, because she wants to go check on Nolan, and then completes the terrible, shady girlfriend hat trick by convincing Daniel she should go alone. Just think of the media circus from the murder trial acquittal, Ems reminds Dan. She kisses him goodbye and heads off to the police station, leaving the rusty gears turning in Daniel's head. "Did I just get terrible girlfriend hat tricked?" he asks his brain. "Naw, bro. This isn't basketball," it replies.
Grayson Manor. Conrad and Victoria are in the middle of one of their famous heated exchanges while storming through the parlor. It's obvious to Conrad that someone has targeted Victoria in light of recent events. He wants to be sure that what Victoria has told him about her pregnancy being terminated is true so that his campaign won't be blindsided by the media. Victoria hands over medical records as proof. As Conrad explains that he wants to stay ahead of reporters on this potentially disastrous news item (specifically, Nightline reporters, who they'll be doing an interview with tonight), Emanda creeps up the hallway and starts eavesdropping. Conrad seems at ease about the potential to spin the story if it comes up, using the rare opportunity to actually tell -- what Conrad perceives to be -- the truth. Victoria is entirely the victim in the story she's fed her husband about being sexually assaulted as a teen. Still, Victoria is entirely against the idea of having her personal misery used for Conrad's political gain. They agree to disagree. In other words, Victoria ends the scene by literally telling Conrad to go to hell.