As surprised as I am about how much I’ve been enjoying Scandal for the past couple of weeks, it also makes perfect sense seeing as how Rowan Pope has barely had any screen-time recently. It’s amazing how consistent and much more focused this show becomes when it doesn’t make him the center of attention.
This isn’t saying that The List doesn’t stumble a bit. In between setting up Olivia Pope’s redemption arc, building up Cyrus to become the Ultimate Big Bad, and wasting Mellie on a ridiculous subplot where she almost sleeps with Jake, the episode also crams a weekly case in honor of the #MeToo movement. This show has ripped stories from headlines with various degrees of success in the past, and while jumping into a conversation about sexual harassment is extremely timely and important nowadays, it’s a shame to see Alisha’s story being told in an episode that’s already too over-crowded. Plus, why does a show so close to wrapping up have the time for standalone cases?
Nevertheless, this episode does a few things right, chief among them set up a promising final stretch of episodes. While a part of me is still suspicious of everyone forgiving Liv too quickly, I’ll admit that Quinn coming to see her at the end of the hour has me a bit excited, especially if Quinn is secretly working to take down her former boss. I don’t expect Scandal to impress me consistently until the very end, but I can’t say I’m completely uninterested in where this is going.
– Loved the ominous ending with Alisha, still unnamed at first, walking up and asking for a gun in the cold open. Less impressive is that her response to “what kind of gun you want?” is a clichéd “one that works”.
– Mellie having back pain felt quite strange, I’m not sure what to think of it. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious and that it was just a lousy attempt by the writers to get her and Jake share an intimate moment.
– Speaking of which, as much as I would love nothing more than to see Olivia’s reaction to the possibility of a Mellie/Jake hookup, I sincerely hope the writers don’t go down that route. In fact, can she and Liv both end up without partners by the series finale, please?
– Lonnie, Cyrus’ hacker dude, will be leading the investigation now, which is as close to a Scandal season 1 twist as we can get.
– Lonnie is played by none other than Michael O’Neill, who gave me nightmares on Grey’s Anatomy years ago as the hospital shooter from the excellent season six finale.
– Loved seeing Mellie press a button and casually ask for fried chicken. Her raging speech to Jake later? Priceless.
– My Monday night Yoga class taught me what the happy baby pose is, and I don’t think Mellie was doing it right.
– Beautiful aerial shot of President Grant lying on the floor alone in the Oval.
– Fitz asking Olivia if he was “inappropriate” with her on the campaign years ago tries to be a sweet, tender moment but is so abrupt that it misses the point it’s trying to make.
Quinn: Cyrus Beene, the Vice President of the United States, hijacked his own plane?
Charlie: Is that the plot of a bad action movie?
Abby: Now that I said it out loud, yeah, I guess it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Olivia: So, I don’t know if she wanted to hurt you, or if she just wanted to scare you, but whatever happened, clearly it didn’t go the way she planned because you’re still here – and she’s not – which, as far as I’m concerned, is the injustice of the century. And for the love of God, would you just put your phone on vibrate like a normal person!
Jake: Clearly, I misread the situation.
Mellie: Look, Jake, it’s two things. One, I am not starting an affair in the Oval with a subordinate, which, let me remind you despite our friendship, despite the fact that we make a good team, is what you are. I will not be another Fitzgerald Grant and Olivia Pope, nor am I interested in sleeping with someone who has slept with Olivia Pope.
Abby: I’m in.
Abby: Yeah. You had me at dismantling the patriarchy.
Another surprising win from Scandal. Can this show go out with a bang after all?