The momentum has finally let up. That’s not to say this wasn’t an excellent episode, it just wasn’t downright perfect like the past six (yes, SIX perfect episodes in a row- Scandal‘s been on a roll lately).
Maybe I wasn’t as impressed this week because Kerry Washington ruined Stephen’s return for me on her spoilerific Instagram account? I don’t know how I would have reacted had I been completely in the dark regarding this pivotal moment. Nevertheless, there’s a great message here since it wasn’t the President or Jake who saved Olivia, but one of her very own gladiators. So in essence, our heroine saved herself thanks to a legacy of good work (debatable I know). Sadly, this turn of events was rendered less effective since Stephen was such a forgettable character in season one. Will Henry Cusick be sticking around for a while? I doubt, so his return was a bit too much of a deus ex machina for my taste. Still, the entire kidnapping arc was a rousing success in my opinion, and it ended up being exactly what the show needed to become great again.
The thing I’m most fascinated about going forward is the aftermath of Olivia Pope’s kidnapping. As evidenced by the episode’s final moments, Liv is most certainly traumatized (that trembling hand with the glass of water was harsh), and it’s going to be extremely interesting to see how she adapts to her surroundings again. The most memorable visual for me this week was the shot of Olivia in the elevator looking like a shell of her former self before stepping out onto her floor. I do hope Shonda delves deep into Liv’s damaged psyche and the repercussions of her horrifying ordeal. Fingers crossed.
No More Blood also featured the return of Daddy Pope and it was completely unsatisfying. Honestly, Scandal does not need the character, and I certainly didn’t miss his grating seizure-like monologues. And yet, Shonda went on ahead and gave him a very random speech about fishing and the whole metaphor was just a total flop. Hopefully his final proclamation (“I don’t have a daughter“) means he won’t be showing his face again anytime soon.
Also of note, Huck (thanks to Lizzie’s request) dealt with Andrew permanently by putting him in a stroke. Pardon the pun, but that act is a stroke of genius because it ensures the character will never gossip about Mellie and ruin her presidential aspirations. I am worried though – who will step up as the season’s primary villain for the rest of the season? Please tell me you have a plan in mind Shonda.
– Brilliant Liv sabotaging the hostage deal with the Iranians in the teaser by pitting both sides against each other (and speaking Farsi in the process).
– Surprisingly touching: Quinn crying and hugging Jake.
– Absolutely loved the Mellie-Andrew face-off. Just vicious with both threatening each other.
– Fantastic scene with the CIA director telling Fitz just how their enemies will use Olivia against him. I was especially surprised to hear ISIS name-dropped. And the look on her face after Fitz still decides to save Olivia? Priceless.
– Maybe the coolest moment of the episode: Cyrus imagining himself snapping at Fitz and going completely berserk (and quitting). You can find the full monologue below.
– I’m not sure Jake bonding with Huck about being a “beast” was as effective as the writers were hoping for.
– I loved how Gus could tell Liv wanted to be sold to Marie Wallace.
– Unlike her husband, I don’t mind Maya Pope… in small doses.
– Seriously Liv, you didn’t think you’d get punched during that sloppy escape attempt? Perhaps hiding the car keys would have been smarter. At least that’s what I would have done.
– Badass moment with Liv taking Stephen’s gun and brutally shooting Gus in the leg before going nuts and repeatedly kicking him.
– So yes Cyrus almost killed Liv behind Fitz’s back. When do we bet this piece of info will resurface? Next week? Or will this go under wraps until the season finale?
– Loved Mellie’s slo-mo walk and glance at Liz intercut with Andrew post-stroke. And Mellie delivering the bouquet of flowers was the cherry on top. Evilllllll.
– Huck hugging Liv tight made me laugh.
– I am ecstatic that Abby finally got to do something and used her gladiator expertise to get in touch with Stephen and guarantee Liv’s safety.
– It’s interesting how Liv says “I wasn’t raped” when Fitz asks if she was hurt. It’s a chilling moment for sure, and thank God Shonda never took Liv’s ordeal in that direction.
– Kerry Washington was phenomenal in that final scene. Also, am I a horrible fan for not even remembering when Fitz gave Liv that ring? It seemed to be pretty important at the end there.
Quin: (to Jake) Did you have a different stirring interpretation of the “your boss is dead” monologue that you wanted to perform? ‘Cause I already caught the Broadway version that Huck did, and let me tell you. He nailed it.
Mellie: This next chapter is going to be especially hard for you. Is that right? You’ve always been the other guy and the what’s-his-name, the also-ran… good, fine, but never great. We both know the reason they call it a race, the reason there is a winner. It’s because someone wins. And it is never you. It haunts you. [Sighs] It’s what this whole kidnapping nonsense… you want power, respect. You want to be a winner. But it’s over. This is it. This is as high as you fly, Andrew. Go any higher, and you get shot down.
Cyrus: (to Fitz) Oh, for the love of God. You moron. You child. When are you going to learn? The finest minds of our government have told you what needs to happen, and still! I built you from the ground up, from the ground up! You are all that I have to show for my life! I made you a warrior! I made you a king! I made you leader of men! And this is what you do? This is what you leave me with?! No! No! No! I’m done. I quit. I quit! And you can take your flowers and daisies and your “love conquers all” and your hope, and you can choke on it, because I don’t work here anymore!
Mellie: (to Liz) I slept with that filthy dirtbag to save your life, to save your child’s life after that Huck animal grated your back like a piece of cheese. Remember that? I do. So, now it is time to pay the Piper, even the scale, show some solidarity, sister. Oh, you have to try the cucumber sandwiches. Oh! They are delicious.
Quin: (to Huck) You may be Liv’s… Puppy, but… I’m kind of yours.
Cyrus: With her, they can bend him, they can break him, they can make the president of the United States dance like a monkey at a county fair.
Stephen: $2 billion. You’re worth $2 billion. You’re not a person, Liv. You’re a small country.
Fitz: Did they hurt you?
Olivia: I wasn’t raped. Guess what I learned? There are worse things than rape.
Olivia: (to Fitz) I fixed an election for you! Sacrificed everything to keep you in office… we all did! Cyrus, James, Jerry, Harrison, Mellie… every one of us! I was your mistress because you needed me… And I was willing to give it all up for you. Which is exactly the problem!
Olivia: (to Fitz) You didn’t save me! I’m on my own!
Not perfect, but still a tense and pulse-pounding conclusion to one heck of a thrilling story-arc.