I feel like I should adore this episode. While it was admittedly pretty solid, I don’t think it’s as phenomenal as Scandal‘s peaks throughout the Defiance arc this year.
My main complaint concerning the second half of this season is that the main arc just isn’t as thrilling as election rigging and the Roundtable of Evil. Albatross? Random moles? Huck back-stories? It’s all fine (and somewhat confusing), but nowhere near the mindblowing awesomeness that came before. Truth be told, it’s not exactly Shonda Rhimes’ fault either; Scandal was originally renewed for a 13 hour second season, but then ABC decided to follow up that order with a back-9 request. So it’s only natural that the divide would feel a tad jarring, particularly after the time-jump a couple of episodes ago. Nevertheless, I’m still in love with Scandal, this season is still one of my all-time favorite TV productions ever, and I have high hopes that the finale will be appropriately jawdropping.
It’s hard not to root for Olivia and Fitz. Their relationship undoubtedly has dark, abusive undertones (just look at the way he constantly screams at her and orders her to take a seat), but there’s also something very satisfying about watching these two lost souls come together against insurmountable odds. If you’re a shipper, I doubt there was a scene you enjoyed more than Fitz’ “watch me choose you” scene. In a series that thrives on 500-words-a-minute, Scandal gave an extended sequence where two characters didn’t utter a single word. Instead, an emotional Olivia tensely watched a grinning Fitz wait out the minutes before Mellie’s threat came to fruition. It was truly amazing.
Now the gang hunting down Cyrus as the mole? It felt messy. I think we all kind of knew that he wasn’t the traitor, so I was hoping the show would at least go THERE and shock it or just not tackle that possibility at all. Still, Cyrus is always compelling to watch, and I especially loved his various showdowns with Mellie. Bellamy Young got some incredible moments this week, especially when she tore Cyrus’ proposal after he offered her the Governorship of California in a most threatening manner. Her surprising vulnerability and impressive fortitude, are what makes her such a fascinating character.
The ending was also terrific. We’ve been waiting for the affair to come out in the open since the pilot, and although Mellie never reveals the mistress’ name (I do hope Olivia’s identity will be revealed by the finale), she does tell the world that Fitz has been unfaithful. The revelation was intercut with The Prez and Olivia having crazy sex around Pope’s home before ending up in the shower. And to top it all off, it’s hilariously punctuated by David’s line “Wonder who he banged?!”
– Good to see Huck is still suffering from last week’s ordeal as he stutters to lead the Pope & Associates presentation.
– Quin has gotten GOOD. Loved how she figured out what Charlie orders for dessert in the pastry shop. Her transformation into full-on Gladiator has been a surprise highlight this year.
– Epic moment: Olivia strutting into the Oval Office and shouting “What?” at Fitz like a mother scolding her child.
– Olivia’s “Earn me” speech was outstanding. Seriously, Kerry Washington killed it!
– Brilliant continuity alert: Huck telling Olivia that Charlie killed Amanda Tanner, and Cyrus was the one who ordered the hit.
– I love that Jack wasn’t stupid enough to fall for Cyrus’ attempts to get him away from Liv’s apartment. AND he didn’t back down from the “hands-on” threat.
– So what’s Olivia’s response to Jack’s incessant questioning about her relationship with Fitz? She kisses him passionately to shut him up. She’s resourceful that one!
– Charlie noting that 50 Shades of Grey has “disturbing” violence cracked me up.
Harrison:(to Huck) We didn’t want to bother you while you were-
Abby: Shaking off the crazy.
Mellie: (to Cyrus) Tell Fitz he has 36 hours to convince me in person that he regrets the unfortunate choices he’s made and truly wants to recommit himself to his wife and children. If he doesn’t, he will have the pleasure of seeing the First Lady of the United States call her husband a whore-loving bastard on national television.
Cyrus: (to Olivia) Have you seen him, or are you just doing the heavy phone-breathing routine these days?
Cyrus: (to Fitz) You won’t be running the country if you don’t do something about the incoming nuclear winter that is your wife.
Olivia: (to Fitz) If you want me, EARN ME! Until then, we are done.
Although not as mindblowing as I would have hoped, A Woman Scorned is still a tremendously strong hour of Scandal.