The fall-out from last week‘s revelation about Operation Remington prompts a separation of allies as Scandal moves into full-blown election mode.
Let’s bitch it out…
Hey folks – your regular reviewer, couchpotato, is sans-internet this week so I’m filling in briefly. She’ll be back to dish on all of Scandal‘s dirty laundry next week.
It’s taken me six episodes to figure it out, but Scandal has essentially dropped any pretense of being about Olivia’s (Kerry Washington) “fixer” organization. This is now entirely a show about Olivia’s totally effed up family and the next presidential election. Gone are the cases of the week with random clients who need PR help covering up indiscretions. Scandal is now a completely serialized series as each new episode seems designed to build on the revelations about Olivia’s father, Rowan (Joe Morton) and now mother, Maya Lewis (Khandi Alexander). Don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining about this. The change in format makes the twists and turns feel more meaningful because we’re not wading through requisite case of the week to get to the good stuff. Now everything is good stuff.
‘Icarus’ feels particularly significant because it highlights a turning point in Olivia’s two worlds: she makes a choice between the White House and her own self-preservation. In a somewhat inevitable turn she cuts ties with the White House’s re-election campaign when Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) refuses to answer her questions about Operation Remington. I say that this is inevitable because Scandal couldn’t keep going back to the “Liv works for the White House’ well indefinitely. The show was stagnating, whereas moving on to work on someone else’s campaign introduces a new kind of tension into the drama (much like the recent The Good Wife episode ‘Hitting The Fan’).
The result is an episode that expands Lisa Kudrow’s guest role as Congresswoman Josephine Marcus. Liv becomes her full-time campaign manager and it’s full steam ahead to the election. This means Liv employs some standard deception and manipulation techniques, corralling Josephine to give an emotionally resilient interview as a result of an obviously fictitious ad campaign (Side Note: It’s hard to believe that Liv and co. thought they would get away with this. All Josephine needs to do is a simple internet search to discover the ad doesn’t exist) Regardless of the duplicity, Olivia gets the desired result when Josephine goes on the offensive during her interview with James (Dan Bucatinsky), scoring a victory for the fledgling campaign and enabling them to secure some financial backers.
Of course the election stuff is just filler between the Olivia / Fitz scenes (which open and close the episode). Both times Fitz refuses Liv’s accusations that he caused the plane crash, even when she drops the bomb that he may have killed her mom. I particularly like the cross-cut that connects Maya and Fitz’s respective exits, leaving Olivia to stare silently after them. Despite the twenty odd year gap, the visual connection effectively aligns the two events, even as they hammer home the idea that Liv frequently lets important people slip out of her life without a word. Very nicely done.
- I can’t help but think that Josephine’s anger comes off less “strong” and more “stand-offish”. It might have played better if James had been more strategically fishing or if it had happened less than 30 seconds into the interview, but Josephine comes right out of the gate, guns blazing. I’m not sure polling audiences would have responded quite so favourably
- The non-Pope family storylines also primarily revolve around the election. Cyrus (Jeff Perry) and Mellie (Bellamy Young) are the chief perpetrators unsurprisingly. Their big plot is the discovery of Sally’s (Kate Burton) not-so-secret campaign to run as an independent. I like that Sally and Leo (Paul Adelstein) think they’re so clever meeting with important religious figures to undercut Fitz, but after just one meeting they’ve already been found out! Mellie, as expected, sees a chink in the armor in the form of Sally’s philandering husband, Daniel (Jack Coleman), who makes the fatal mistake of showing interest in Mellie at a strategy dinner
- Side Note: Did everyone catch Daniel stare at Mellie’s boobs while she has her eyes closed during grace? Classy!
- It’s fine to see people plot against Sally because she’s mostly a caricature, but Cyrus’ blackmail scheme to recruit Olivia back to Team Fitz by blackmailing Harrison (Columbus Short) is a new low. Having not watched the first season, is this the first time we’ve heard of Harrison’s past? Whoever this dangerous person from the past is, we`ll see them shortly now that Cyrus has requested an express VISA issued
- Jake (Scott Foley) is tasked with tracking down info on Remington and he nearly gets killed by B613 for his troubles. Good thing Fitz was having him shadowed and by “good” I mean “zzzz” because that’s how I feel about Jake
- Also in the snooze-worthy category is dumb as a bag of nails Quinn (Katie Lowes) who remains fixated on becoming an assassin, despite witnessing what a burnt out shell every B613 agent becomes. Clearly she’s a genius…a genius who can’t shoot…until “obviously playing an angle” Charlie (George Newbern) comes along to help. I’ve always thought Quinn was the weak link in the show, but her relationship with Huck (Guillermo Diaz) held promise. Now I mostly just want her to die
- Finally, I’m not sure if Kerry Washington’s real life pregnancy is already showing or if wardrobe is just preparing us for their “hide the belly” strategy, but Liv’s coats are noticeably baggier this episode. Regardless of the decision to drape Liv in gallons of fabric, a very warm congrats to Kerry!
- Mellie (cussing out Fitz for losing Liv): “I did everything but roll your whore up in a rug and deliver her at your feet.”
- Quinn (listing the reasons they’re shocked Liv isn’t going for the President): “Also there’s the relationship thing”
- Olivia (after Rowan asks if she’s been drinking): “Yes”
- Olivia (to Rowan): “I have so many questions to ask you, but I’m afraid you’ll kill my friends.”
- Jake (asking about Op Remington): “It may be the only hope I have of sleeping without one eye open.” Fitz: “Or is it the only hope you have of sleeping with her?” Snap!
Thoughts on ‘Icarus’: a turning point in the way Liv works with the White House, or a temporary blip? Is Josephine a candidate you’d vote for? Should Jake or Quinn (or both) just be shipped off to Iceland to find Liv’s mom’s body? How soon until Mellie and Cyrus out Sally for being a lying rat? Comment away below
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC