It's November 2006. Ems is about to undertake her first mission for Takeda stateside, which involves infiltrating a Russian crimelord's gross prostitution operation at a nightclub. This is where Emanda meets Aiden, who's there undercover as a bartender. They share a common target, but Aiden's there for the purpose of avenging his sister. He nearly blows the whole mission for Ems when he tries to assassinate her mark, an attempt she thwarts, which leads to Aiden being captured by the Russian cartel. Feeling responsible for his imminent death, Ems diverts from her Takeda mission to save Aiden, and gets captured herself. Takeda manages to free them both and send the crimelord fleeing, but Aiden manages to chase him down and ultimately kills him. A bond is immediately formed between Aiden and Ems because nobody had ever put their life on the line for Aiden the way Ems did. Ugh... I hate sappy love stories.
Ems is already out and operating at full capacity, which means she's already been recently funded by Nolan. It's good times at Nolcorp. They're celebrating Thanksgiving by going public and Nolan is a long ways into a secret relationship with his CFO, Marco. Ever want to date Nolan? Become his CFO, apparently. Everything seems to be going great until Marco uncovers the $500 million that has mysteriously disappeared from Nolan's ledgers because it went to Ems. The secrecy about such a large sum of money to his own CFO/boyfriend nearly costs Nolan his relationship, but coming entirely clean doesn't help either considering the truth involves David Clarke. Nolan fires Marco because he is at odds with Nolan's idealism of David being innocent and Emanda deserving some help. They break up on bad terms.
At Grayson Manor, Daniel comes home from college with news that he hopes to become a poet. To Conrad's credit, he pretends to encourage his son's dream instead of throwing him out of the house on his beatnik ass. But that's just for show. Conrad naturally will bribe whoever necessary to see that all of Daniel's submissions get polite rejections. Damn... With family like this, who needs highly trained blondes with vendettas? Daniel also brings his grandmother home with him -- that would be Victoria's mother, who she hasn't spoken to in over 30 years. The reason for that, we find out through flashbacks within this giant flashback, is that Mother Harper blamed the young, beautiful Victoria for coming between her and her wealthy suitors. At Thanksgiving dinner with her latest suitor, Mrs. Harper gets utterly destroyed by Victoria when the Queen reveals that her mother forced her to kill a man and take the rap for it, knowing that young Victoria would never get indicted. Then, when Mrs. Harper's soon-to-be husband molested Victoria at age 15, she threw her out on the street. Mrs. Harper's boyfriend is disgusted by these revelations and leaves her. It turns out the entire relationship was orchestrated by the Graysons to destroy Mrs. Harper for what she had done to Victoria long ago. Sounds about right.
Hey, six years ago there was still boring shit happening on the docks! Carl Porter, still being alive and all, racked up some debt with the wrong folks back then. He tries to shield Jack and Declan from all of these happenings by sending them off to their grandmother's for Thanksgiving, but Jack senses something's up and sticks around. He witnesses his father holding vigil in the bar with a loaded gun, and then a Molotov cocktail being thrown through the bar's window. Always the pacifist, Jack promises on behalf of his father to pay back the debt, but when Carl tries to pay it back things go all wrong. The debt collector was Kenny Ryan's father, and one of Carl's buddies on the docks who had also grown tired of being bullied shoots and kills Mr. Ryan. Carl covers up the murder, leaving Jack unaware of the vendetta that will come his way in six years.
In the present day, Ems and Aiden wake up in bed together, Aiden not believing that he's finally with Ems after the way things started out between them. She begins to let Aiden into her world a little bit, showing him her infinity box. Not meant to be a euphemism, I promise. Meanwhile, Daniel contacts Marco, who is all ears about a business proposition involving Nolcorp. But while Dan's wheeling and dealing, Conrad and Victoria are deciding they need to block Dan from taking over the company if they hope to protect him from the wrath of the Initiative. All in all, there is nothing to be thankful for about this episode.
-- 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.
The sun goes down on the Manhattan skyline. It's November 2006. Emanda struts into a nightclub in a little black dress and goes straight up to the bar. There's very little of any sort of surprise that Aiden is behind the counter. He greets Ems in Russian in his little server's vest and bowtie. None of this fits Aiden at all, and Emanda tells him as much. Ems takes a vodka shot and deflects Aiden asking for her name by asking where she can find a man named Sergei Lvovsky. Aiden's demeanor instantly hardens. He reverses Ems' earlier accusation that his cover didn't fit him by suggesting her profession doesn't fit her, and tells her she can find Mr. Lvovsky in the back with all the other girls. The disdain in Aiden's voice suggests he's disappointed Ems has turned out to be a hooker.
Grayson Manor. Daniel's home with the long-sleeve polo shirt and messy hair of a college frat boy. Conrad lectures him about not waiting too long to pledge for clubs at Harvard. Like every trust fund baby, Daniel lashes out that he wants to make a name for himself... you know, while having a Harvard education paid for by his mommy and daddy. (They've also sent grade school-aged Charlotte off to the Alps for this flashback episode.) Victoria thinks Conrad's right about Daniel needing to use the advantages his name affords him, but right now all she cares about is having a nice Thanksgiving, just the three of them. Cue a knock at the door. Victoria turns to make a comment to Conrad as Daniel goes to attend to the door, and when she turns back around, her mother, Marion, (Adrienne Barbeau) is standing before her in the parlor. The Queen goes white as a ghost. Daniel explains that he invited Grandma Harper to Thanksgiving after she contacted him a month prior. They had gone out to dinner with her current boyfriend, and now Grandma was hoping she could mend fences with her daughter. Victoria's frigid to the idea, but Conrad insists that they can afford her mother one Thanksgiving. Giving what can only be interpreted as the universal sign of agreement, Victoria says she's well aware that this woman is her mother and walks out of the room.
FLASHBACK: A teenage (and decidedly ethnic) Victoria sits at a vanity, applying make-up. A young and beautiful Marion walks in and scolds her daughter for getting pretty for Thanksgiving, accusing her of doing it for a man named Thomas. Young Victoria absorbs the hurt of this accusation like any young girl would, and doesn't respond to her mother. Instead she asks if Marion thinks Thomas will propose. Angrily, Marion fires back that she hopes so because they're almost out of money. /FLASHBACK. Victoria stares at herself blankly in a hallway mirror to signify that was a traumatic thing we just flashed back to.