Let’s call this episode damage control.
It’s no secret that Cyrus Beene has become an utterly despicable character over the course of the past year. Thankfully, Put A Ring On It ended up being an effective and rehabilitative hour for the Chief of Staff. The flashbacks of his previous marriages (to Janet and James) capably painted a picture of a man endlessly imprisoned by his demons and who ultimately learned from his mistakes in the unlikeliest of circumstances. I’ve often found the Michael subplot to be a drag, but watching the male escort get completely decimated by his parents (in a harsh and brutal sequence), and then seeing Cyrus offer him a shoulder to cry on proved quite satisfying. Michael’s touching “I have nothing” speech wasn’t just heartbreaking, it allowed Cyrus to undergo real character development by finally being truthful to his spouse.
In other news, how great was it to see Sally Langston again? Kate Burton knocked yet another guest appearance out of the park and she (and her TV show) were a hoot to watch. I find Sally to be one of Scandal most’s memorable villains, and I hope the show will continue to bring her back every so often. In addition, the resolution to that subplot with Liv blackmailing Langston using her dead gay husband was appropriately dirty and gratifying.
Sadly, I still don’t find myself rooting for Fitz and Liv. These two are just so toxic as a couple, and they always seem to bring out the worst in one another. It was admittedly cute to see the origin of that notorious ring, but I shuddered when Fitz spotted our heroine wearing it once more (undoubtedly reigniting his hope in the process). I really can’t handle any more of their forbidden love drama; it’s gotten painfully messy after four seasons.
– Scandal is an absolute masterclass in editing. The proof? The impeccable scene with Liv selling Mellie on hosting the wedding.
– Mellie putting Liz in her place was excellent.
– I really really don’t like Leo.
– I know Liv’s still having nightmares from her ordeal, but honestly that afro gives me nightmares!
– Okay fine, I kind of sort of missed the Olitz theme song (heard in the flashback).
– Incredible Sally scene: her rejection of Liv’s Secretary of State position since her TV show is infinitely more powerful. No argument there!
– Michael tripping in the bedroom and then pushing Cyrus away was touching, but a bit too heavy-handed no?
Cyrus: I can’t pile on and bother the president with my hooker troubles, Liv.
Mellie: I am doing this for you.
Cyrus: Are you? Are you, ma’am? How generous. How selfless. I cannot tell the difference between you and Mother Teresa.
Abby: How did you know?
Huck: I pulled Michael’s cell records, did a search for most-called numbers, came up with Phillip, triangulated cellphone towers to track him to the vicinity of his office server, and then I hacked into their e-mail system. How’d you find out?
Abby: I listened to all of Leo’s voice-mails when he was in the bathroom.
Huck: Well, that’s another way to go.
Fitz: You went around my back to Mellie.
Olivia: I did.
Fitz: Nice move.
Olivia: You were almost the president of this country, and now you’re signing up with the weekly gasbags? It doesn’t make sense.
Sally: I take offense to that, especially coming from a woman who’s nothing but a shill for defilers and fornicators.
Sally: You would defame a dead man?
Olivia: Only because you’re defaming a live one.
Cyrus: I would never murder you… Myself. That’s a rookie move. I’d pay a professional to do it.
By almost making Cyrus a sympathetic character again, Put A Ring On It was a highly-effective hour of Scandal.