The sound of gunshots and a fallen, dead body on the beach welcomes us to the world of Revenge. South Hampton, NY is where the party begins on Labor Day weekend, as Victoria and Conrad Grayson host a lavish engagement party for their son, Daniel Grayson, and his fiancée, Emily Thorne. It’s a happy time as they celebrate the future union of the two lovebirds, however all is not as it seems, as we soon will learn…
Ashley Davenport, Emily’s friend and engagement party planner, approaches to make sure everything is okay with her and Daniel, who’s apparently missing. While Nolan Ross cryptically watches from afar, he surreptitiously warns Emily that she shouldn’t be there. After announcing Emily and Daniel’s future nuptials and reminding guests that her approval isn’t given freely, Victoria tersely questions Emily, “Where this hell is my son?”
Elsewhere, Charlotte Grayson and Declan Porter ditch the party for a late night swim. Initially, they seem to be alone, but soon realize a voyeur is amongst them– a mysterious man (later recognized as Jack Porter, Declan’s older brother) flees the dead body once they spot him. Declan examines the lifeless body, as Charlotte clutches the murder weapon, screaming in agony after identifying the corpse as her brother, Daniel.
Five months prior, Emily has arrived in the Hamptons, and rents a summerhouse on the beach. Although this home is new to “Emily”, it is very familiar to a young Amanda Clarke, as Emily flashes back to happier moments there with her father David Clarke. Coincidentally neighboring Emily’s place is Grayson Manor, home of Conrad and Victoria. Later, Ashley stops by and schools Emily about her new neighbor Victoria Grayson, the reigning queen of the Hamptons. At Grayson Manor, a curious Victoria questions who exactly her young and attractive new neighbor is. Elsewhere in Montauk, Nolan offers to buy Jack’s boat, “Amanda.” Jack refuses, sighting his plans to travel on the boat to Haiti for the summer.
While on the beach, Emily’s welcomed to the Hamptons by Lydia Davis, the owner of the beach house she’s renting for the summer. It’s not until Emily is back at home, watching footage of her father’s trial with a younger Lydia on the stand, that the truth is revealed. Lydia’s testimony conceded the damning allegations made by Conrad Grayson that David funneled money to a terrorist group responsible for the crash of flight 197 that killed 246 Americans. Once David’s trusted secretary, Lydia is now Emily’s next target for revenge.
At the Southfork Inn hotel, Emily photographs Lydia entering, followed by Conrad moments later. Back at Grayson Manor, Daniel is welcomed home from college for the summer by his mother and sister, Charlotte. When asked about his father’s whereabouts, Victoria informs that he’s doing the usual… that is if the usual is having a mid-day romp with Victoria’s best friend Lydia. All is well in their afternoon betrayal until Conrad suffers a heart attack.
In Montauk, Charlotte and her friends attempt to get served at the Stowaway. When Declan refuses to serve the underage mean girls, he and Charlotte meet cute. Lydia is taken aback as an ambulance hauls Conrad off. When Emily happens by and offers her assistance, Lydia quickly scurries off.
Emily unexpectedly runs into Jack and his dog Sam. We flashback to a time when they first met and see that Sam used to be her dog, thus the immediate familiarity when he spots Emily. Afraid of any more recognition from Jack, Emily hurries off. Victoria rushes to Conrad’s side at the hospital, fearful that she was going to find him dead. Death would’ve been easier for her to stomach, as she is quickly made aware that her husband lied about his afternoon whereabouts. Making it painfully clear that she knows what he was up to, she sharply warns him not to do it again.
At the Memorial Day yacht party, Ashley gives Emily a quick tutorial of the Hampton Elite. Emily orchestrates an introduction to Victoria, and identifies her as the ultimate target of her revenge. Emily lets it slip to Victoria that Lydia was the woman at the hotel with Conrad. In retaliation, Victoria exiles Lydia from the Hamptons. Emily “accidentally” runs into Daniel, drink first, as Nolan captures all highlights of the evening on his flip cam.
Before leaving the party, Emily gains Daniel’s attention, planting the seeds of romance. Victoria and Conrad have it out over his current infidelity with Lydia and the ghost of David Clarke. Jack gives up his dream to leave Montauk when he is forced to sell his boat to Nolan after his father defaults on the bank loan for the tavern. Nolan views his flip cam footage from earlier and sees Emily for who she really is, Amanda Clarke. Emily has a confrontation with Nolan, who initially offers his help in executing her plan, but when she refuses to accept his offer, he vaguely threatens her, stating that he can be just as powerful an enemy as her current ones.
We flashback one last time to a teenage Amanda who is released from a juvenile detention center. Waiting outside the gates of the jail is a younger, frumpy looking Nolan Ross who introduces himself as a man her father believed in and trusted with the truth. He hands Amanda a gift from her father, an Infinity box filled with journals, newspaper clippings, photos, etc. documenting his story and testimony of his innocence. As Emily peers out on her balcony and reflects on her plan of revenge, Victoria watches from afar and makes a mysterious phone call, asking the man on the other line to find out everything he can about Emily Thorne.