I think this might be my favorite hour of Scandal ever.
The reason this episode worked so well is because it gave the show an emotional center it hasn’t had in a long, long time. Instead of relying on random plot twists, Where The Sun Don’t Shine finally allowed Olivia to shine through as an actual person. I can’t praise that final dance sequence enough; while it was shocking to see a moment so positive and uplifting on a show as dark as Scandal, Kerry Washington sold it beautifully. Her speech about choosing herself (instead of the love triangle the show tirelessly tries to impose on her), was a wonderfully poignant and empowering moment in her character’s arc. Here’s hoping the writers continue to afford Olivia Pope the same degree of care and nuance going forward.
Another impressive thing about the episode’s final sequence is that it actually got me rooting for Jake and Olivia as a couple for the first time ever. Fitz has become so unlikeable over the course of the past year, that I’m definitely on Team Jake these days. While Olivia and Fitz are Scandal’s endgame couple, I would like Olivia to eventually choose herself in the end when the show ultimately comes to an end. Olivia Pope needs to stop being defined by the men in her life, that dance sequence was a great first step in the right direction.
Seriously though, this hour was a downright spectacular showcase for Kerry Washington. For a while now, I’ve been claiming that she’s the weakest performer in this all-star cast, but she proved me wrong this week with two impeccably-performed scenes. The first was her “little bitch baby” speech to Cyrus (which I watched three times). Not only did that scene singlehandedly make me like Cyrus for the first time in years, it was a stunning showcase for Washington. With all the fire and ferocity she mustered up, she practically looked like she was possessed! The second scene was of course the dance sequence, as Washington majestically popped off the screen with her inherent likability and charisma. This girl was seriously born to be a star.
It’s funny, but when Jake went to get the pillows from the bedroom, I was SURE he was going to get shot. I’ve never once questioned Olivia’s physical safety on Scandal, which made the final twist all the more shocking and impactful. Vice President Andrew has certainly filled the baddie role in an effective manner (I was sure he was the requisite “nice” guy). The show needs a proper villain as Rowan lost his menace a long time ago. Plus, Andrew’s desire to wage war on West Angola undeniably ups the stakes in an exciting way. To top it all off, the fact that the attack on his life was staged (as discovered by Quinn) tied everything together beautifully.
How weird is it that I even enjoyed Quinn and Charlie this week? Their fight was very Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and it was punctuated by a very heartfelt discussion about Charlie’s dead grandmother. I actually found it strangely sweet. Plus the revelation that Charlie was the one who switched the B613 file was a perfectly tied-up cont end.
Finally, although Mellie only got one tangible scene this week, Bellamy Young made the most of it with her pitch-perfect icy delivery. Just watching her face off with Elizabeth, Andrew’s secret lover, was extremely satisfying. And her speech? Enjoy it in all it’s glory below.
– Flawless teaser with Liv facing off with a newly-rescued Maya.
– I kind of wish the gun Jake give Liv was paid off in the end. Our heroine didn’t end up shooting nobody!
– Cyrus’ resignation scene was brilliant wasn’t it?
– Maya’s line “Girl you need to move on.” was a laugh-out loud moment. It felt like she was voicing something the entire audience has been thinking for a while now. And look at that, she’s not even sympathetic to Olivia’s cries. That’s great parenting people.
– The “bitch baby” scene was admittedly over-the-top, but typical Scandal. And it excellently transitioned to the wedding announcement. I loved the little touch of Liv mouthing off words for Cyrus from behind the camera.
– Abby and David didn’t get much to do, but their one scene was also extreme effectively as Abby revealed her relationship with Leo Bergen (while under oath). My heart actually broke for David, so maybe I’m not over these two quite just yet?
– Was anyone else hoping that Liv would shoot Rowan and finally put him out of his misery? She had another gun that was definitely loaded after all. Nevertheless, I get why Shonda kept him alive from a plot perspective. And his final monologue was a stunner (as was his reaction to his daughter actually pulling the trigger).
– So why didn’t Liv enter the Oval Office as Fitz, Abby and Cyrus laughed together? She wanted them to have their moment?
– I won’t waste time on Huck. So he gave his ex-wife the B613 files; great! I’m happy for the dude!
– How perfect was that final shot? The image of a fallen wine glass is the ideal depiction of a missing Olivia Pope. So fitting.
Michael: So, Cyrus would basically own me.
Cyrus: You mean as opposed to just renting?
Olivia: America loves a love story. America will forgive anything for love. Otherwise, it’s just another D.C. sex scandal.
Cyrus: You are now the most famous gay hooker in gay-hooker history. You could write a book. Sell it to Hollywood. Play yourself in the porn version, “Inside Cyrus Beene.”
Jake: We can close Pandora’s box… And go back to the sun.
Olivia: The sun went down a long time ago, and it’s not coming back up.
Olivia: He’s got some sick, twisted obsession with you. He keeps you locked away, pulls you out once a day to admire his pet in a cage. You have to know something. You spent years watching him. You have a PHD in his crazy. You have to have some idea where he is, where he could have gone. I want some answers now!
Maya: Girl, you need to move on. All you two do is talk about each other. You’re just like him.
Olivia: I’m nothing like him.
Maya: Really? Way I see it, you’re serving at the pleasure of a president, running around with boys from B613. And look around, boo. I’m in a cage. You’re visiting me. You planning to come every day or…? He ruined you.
(Olivia begins sobbing)
Maya: Cry me a river, Livvie. Whatever.
Olivia: You are not normal. You’re a sick, lonely man who only knows how to lie and call it love.
Rowan: Could you be more ungrateful?! You’re my flesh. There would be no Olivia Pope if not for me.
Cyrus: Hey. I’m marrying a whore. At least I know what I’m paying for, right?
Elizabeth: I thought you and I were on the same page.
Mellie: Because we’re both screwing Andrew? That doesn’t make us friends. It just makes us both at risk for the same STDs. I don’t blame you. I know as well as the next gal how generous Andrew is in bed. He is… Dedicated. But he’s weak. Certainly not a presidential contender. So, when the next election rolls around, I’d make damn sure you bet the right horse, because when it comes to screwing someone, I’m not nearly as gentle as Andrew. From me, it will hurt.
Olivia: I want Vermont with Fitz.
Jake: Oh. Okay.
Olivia: I also want the sun with you.
Olivia: I’m not choosing. I’m not choosing Jake. I’m not choosing Fitz. I choose me. I’m choosing Olivia. And right now, Olivia is dancing. I’m dancing, Jake. I’m free. Now, you can dance with me or you can get off my dance floor. I’m fine dancing alone.
Endless Love by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing by Stevie Wonder
Pure perfection. Scandal at its finest. This might be my favourite episode ever.