-What was the point of messing with Victoria's mind at the masquerade ball?
I'm just spit-ballin' here, but my assumption is that Emanda had to sufficiently rattle Victoria into thinking her son had actually returned so that Victoria would go to whoever could tell her where he was, so Emanda could follow her and find out for herself.
As so many have already pointed out, the death of Padma just didn't resonate on any real emotional level because they did next to nothing to establish her or her relationship with Nolan. If we were supposed to feel something it didn't work, hard as Gabriel Mann tried to sell it. The greatest actor in the world can't squeeze blood from a turnip.
Likewise, I've never felt anything for Aiden. Nothing, nada, zip. And - it's basically for the same reason. In the first season we got a wealth of backstory on what Amanda was seeking revenge for. With Aiden, it's been some stitched together backstory that's only been given lip service. Does anyone really feel his pain or angst over his missing/dead sister? Again, these are characters they never bothered to really establish in a meaningful way, so I can't really feel anything for them (except annoyance).
I'm not sure what they were going for here, about the only thing I got out of it was that they sensed Padma just wasn't working and decided to bump her off. Which doesn't speak well of any sort of long-term plan they ever had for this season. Seems more and more like the writers are just flying by the seat of their pants.