In episode 15, "Retribution," we first meet Eli James, Amanda's foster brother. Emily runs into him at night in the cemetery (what better way to make an ominous re-introduction?) when she goes to see Amanda's grave. Charlotte had called him when making the guest list for Amanda's funeral and he shows up just in time for the Grayson's kickoff event for Amanda's Charity Foundation. To the Hamptons society, he appears as the self-made, former foster child, looking to honor the sister he reunited with too late. To Emily, he means trouble.
Eli James, played by the dashing Collins Pennie (did you recognize him from "Run the World (Girls)" music video?) , is a mystery: is he trustworthy? When he recognizes Emily early on (guess a wrist tattoo isn't the best way to keep a secret), it is unclear whether he is there to help her or hurt her. She tries to buy him out of the Hamptons and clear his police records if he leaves her alone, but he won't budge. Instead, he digs in his heels and cozies up to Victoria Grayson by donating money to the Foundation. Victoria in turn (and after learning that this would upset Emily) makes him co-chair of the Foundation, thereby solidifying his place in the Hamptons.
His motives are unclear. It seems that he and Amanda/Emily lost touch a while ago, after Amanda burned down their foster home, and he had only come to the Hamptons when Charlotte called him. But did he come for another reason? It seems to work in his favor that Emily turns out to be the real Amanda and he can now benefit from knowing her real identity, but was this his plan all along? Was he just waiting for an excuse to be invited or is this just a good coincidence that can help him in his usual route of scheming and scamming? Getting that call from Charlotte was the in he had into this rich family but now he might have something to gain from Emily as well. Did he come to the Hamptons to get rich off the Graysons or Emily?
His story is further complicated in next week's promos. In "Victory" we see the softer side of Eli, when he gives Emily a letter from her father that he stole from their foster mom's safe. He says that he once made a promise to always keep her safe and wants to make good on it. This further brings into question whether he knew the real Amanda was alive all along. Why did he bring the letters to the Hamptons in the first place?
In all this, the biggest question is whether Eli James is trustworthy. Is he going to cozy up to the Graysons and blackmail Emily for knowing her true identity or is he going to help her seek revenge on the Graysons and maybe their evil foster mom, too?