We've all been waiting for a honest to goodness showdown, and it's finally here... sort of. In the process of stealing Conrad's stash of evidence, Emanda realizes it's been decidedly less Nolany around here lately. She goes to see why Nolan's not returning her calls and finds a video feed set up in Nolan's house that shows the White-Haired Man has him bound and gagged... and not in the way Nolan probably would enjoy. Emanda offers herself up in a face-to-face showdown to spare Nolan's life.
Ems meets up with WHM completely unarmed, and very sportingly, she agrees to chloroform herself before being transported to WHM's lair. She wakes up to find herself tied up alongside Nolan. Before he can torture or kill them, Ems gives WHM some false info about where he can find the stash of evidence, manages to untie herself and Nolan, and instructs Nolan where to really find the evidence so he can hand it over to Agent McGowan at the S.E.C. When WHM comes back, Ems is waiting for him with a giant steel ax. Seriously. They fight, and Emanda ultimately wins, but she suddenly remembers her father asked her when she was a child to promise she would never give up her love for all things and people. Ugh. That means no killing. Emanda lets WHM go. That's, like, the least vengeful thing you can do. That's devenge.
Daniel gets a tip from the magnificently extraneous Ashley that she spotted Emanda and Jack making out. He confronts Emanda when she returns from her anti-showdown with WHM, and she's pretty much over it all. She admits to the affair and breaks off their engagement. Bah... and they would've had such an entertaining, over-the-top wedding.
Now that Emanda's single, time to check out the dating scene. Oh, right -- that Jack guy! Emanda goes to finally come clean with Jack about who she really is and declare her love for him. Nothing could possibly derail this love that was written in the stars. Except maybe a completely untimely and contrived return of Amily who is pregnant with Jack's baby (!), and ready to resume her comfortable life as Amanda Clarke. Ems is devastated that after everything seemed to be coming up Milhouse now she can't have her life back. It's one of those things we can all empathize with -- being usurped by someone pretending to be you just when you're ready to reveal you're you.
With the crucial evidence in the S.E.C.'s hands, Victoria tries one last time to recruit Lydia to testify along with her against Conrad. Lydia finally comes around as WHM reports back to Conrad that he's not in control of the lost evidence. Conrad confronts Victoria to implore her not to incur the wrath of WHM's superiors, but she defiantly leaves to board a flight with Lydia and McGowan to Washington to write Conrad's death sentence. Well, I guess that settles that... EXCEPT WHM BLOWS UP THE PLANE! Victoria, Lydia and McGowan are presumably dead. I repeat. Victoria. Got. Blown. Up.
Charlotte happens to see the live TV news report of her mother's death and tries to reach out to Declan for comfort. The thing about that is she spent the entire day sabotaging his budding relationship with Yonkers, embarrassing her in front of their whole school library with some dirt she dug up about an affair Yonkers had with a teacher at her old school. Declan wants nothing to do with Charlotte, and tells her as much over the phone, not giving her a chance to explain why she needs him at that moment. Completely alone and weak, Charlotte overdoses on her pain pills.
Emanda has had the wind taken out of her sails entirely. She's lost Jack AND Daniel, got lame satisfaction from her confrontation with WHM and the evidence went up in flames with Victoria. But like always, Nolan comes through. He made a copy of the evidence before passing it off to McGowan. They crack it open and see what was so important to both Conrad and WHM. The first revelation? Emanda's mother is still alive. And right here is the part where Gheorghe Zamfir's "The Lonely Shepherd" should crescendo over the credits.
You guys ready to get some revenge? Let's do this. We zoom out from an extreme close-up of Emanda's eye to her blank face. Ems voice-over: "In every life there comes a day of reckoning, a time when unsettled scores demand their retribution, and our own lies and transgressions are finally laid bare." Suddenly, Emanda begins screaming Daniel's name. He comes rushing down the stairs at Casa Emily in a panic to find Ems in hysterics and the living room disheveled. A man broke in and ran by her carrying something she couldn't see, Ems tells Dan. He notices his briefcase on the floor and checks it immediately. When he sees it's empty, he rushes straight for the front door to lock it, and asks Emanda what she can tell him about the guy. She describes the White-Haired Man to a T, saying she'll call the police. Daniel insists they handle this privately with Conrad's security team. He tells Emanda to pack up so they can go stay safely in Manhattan. Ems holds back a smile when Daniel goes upstairs. The ruse has fooled young Grayson.
Grayson Global. In Conrad's office, Daniel reports to his father the break-in. Conrad reveals this isn't the first time WHM has been in Casa Emily. He shows Dan the surveillance video that was sent to him of Ems and Daniel sleeping, explaining it was a threat he countered foolishly. It allowed WHM to get his hands on Conrad's stash of evidence, which was his only leverage against WHM and his superiors. Conrad makes a phone call to his security team to run a full sweep of Grayson Manor. He reiterates to Daniel that without the evidence he's a dead man.
Close-up on that evidence. Emanda sorts through it with latex gloves. She finds a small hard drive labeled "Americon" and plugs it into her laptop. It asks for a password. You know who's good at cracking passwords? Nolan. Say... where is that guy? Ems calls him and gets his voicemail, leaving a huffy a message for him to turn on his phone because she needs him.
Stowaway. Jack opens up the cash register at the bar, finding the $1 million check from Daniel. He stares at it thoughtfully. Don't you have a safe, buddy? Meanwhile, Ems strolls outside the Fortress of Solitude when her phone rings with a call from thoughtful Jack. She ignores the call, so he leaves her a message saying he thinks they should probably talk about last night. Probably. There's a beautiful upward angle shot here of Emanda entering Nolan's front door with a clear blue sky visible through the glass door and walls. She call out to Nolan and receives only eerie silence in response, noticing Nolan's open laptop sitting on the coffee table. On the screen is a video feed focused on a sign which reads "Call my cell or I die." Ems does as she's told, and the sign instantly falls away as WHM pulls a steel chair out from under it, answers Nolan's phone and hunches down to look into the live feed camera. Emanda tells him she's the one he wants, not Nolan. "Who are you?" WHM asks. Emanda: "Amanda Clarke. You murdered my father. You and I have unfinished business." Rather than tease Emanda for combining The Princess Bride and Kill Bill references, WHM readily accepts Emanda's challenge. "Then by all means, let's finish it. How would you like to do this?" he coolly responds. Emanda: "Face-to-face."