‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, or as I like to think of it, “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” triggered all the feels.
Let’s wipe the tears from our eyes and bitch it out…
I wasn’t fazed by last episode’s cliffhanger ending. Mostly because deep down I thought there would be a last minute reprieve from the insanity. Alas, it is not meant to be. Before the opening credits roll, Jake (Scott Foley) guns down James (Dan Bucatinsky) and lets David (Joshua Malina) go in order to make sure he covers up what really happened during the investigation.
After ripping our hearts out with James’ death, the writers drive the knife right back in by interspersing flashbacks of Cyrus (Jeff Perry) and James’ courtship throughout the episode. Reliving their romance culminates in a breakdown for Cyrus at the White House press room while discussing the murder. If you didn’t cry during this scene, you should really get checked out because you’re dead inside.
Killing off James narrows down our choices of who to root for on this show…there aren’t too many sympathetic characters left in the Scandalverse. James served as Cyrus’ moral compass, despite being a flawed human who turns a blind eye for love, a baby, and a cushy White House job. But in the end he had to stand up for his convictions and it gets him shot. RIP James.
Back at the White House, James’ murder forces the Grant Campaign to take some time off of fundraising out of respect. After promising that she’ll postpone her activities out of solidarity, Sally (Kate Burton) heads right to the gun lobby to try to steal their endorsement. Mellie (Bellamy Young) and Andrew (Jon Tenney) go shoot some skeet to keep the gun lobby happy, which doesn’t result in a “win” but does give us a great political debate turned rug sex between the two. I’ll take the much needed smile in this episode. Even in the middle of his grief (perhaps because of it, since he insists on working to keep his sanity) Cyrus sees the writing on the wall. Instead of trying to woo back the conservative base, he urges Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) to strike while the iron is hot to gain moderate support. Now is the time to switch positions in favor of gun control.
Meanwhile, Liv (Kerry Washington) discovers that Jake murdered James. After she accuses him of not being any different than the previous Command (aka dad), he argues “I am different because when something awful needed to be done, I did not pull some poor, broken soldier out of a hole and make him do something that would give him nightmares for the rest of his life. I did it myself.” My problem with this whole thing is that there’s so much tacit acceptance that this one random guy gets to determine what “need[s] to be done” and who lives and dies. (Side Note: Also, he basically threatens Liv’s life at the end of the conversation if she ever tells anyone. So Jake’s pretty much lost his moral high ground at this point…until he breaks my heart at the end of the episode. More on that in a moment).
So what’s going on with the investigation into James’ death? Quinn (Katie Lowes) sets up a terminally-ill car thief to take the fall for the murder. David is prosecuting the case, and is having a tough time following Jake’s orders. Instead, he holds off pressing charges and hopes to expose B613. The silver lining to his agony? An amazing declaration by Abby (Darby Stanchfield) when she tries to get him to open up: “I love you. You are my heart. What happens to you happens to me.” In the end, Liv gets David to agree to “lose this battle to win the war” against B613. They’re playing the long game now.
Meanwhile, our favorite terrorist duo is plugging along. Liv’s mom, Marie (Khandi Alexander) and Adnan Salif (Nazanin Boniadi) meet with some Russians. But not the Russian they wanted, so Marie shoots one in the chest. Not sure exactly what’s going on, but Adnan is starting to realize she may be in over her head.
And finally, there’s heartbreaking moment #3 of the episode (after James’ death and Cyrus’s breakdown): Jake stays with James as he dies. He apologizes for not being able to kill him quickly, reassures him that his daughter is safe, and promises to stay with him until he goes so he won’t die alone. Wow.
- There’s a great scene in which Liv’s at her desk and each Gladiator comes in, interrupting each other to tell Liv about their crisis, convinced it’s the biggest. Jake killed James and is blackmailing David. Quinn is in deep with B613 and needs to be rescued. Adnan Salif is making a huge play. It perfectly highlights the dramatic tension in this episode. In any other show, any one of these things would be enough to carry an entire episode, but those issues don’t even cover everything in ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.’
- Am I the only one who secretly hoped Quinn would get killed instead of James?
- Alright let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the Quinn-Huck (Guillermo Diaz) makeout. Ewww. I had to watch with my hands partially over my eyes waiting for it to finally be over, not unlike like a kid at a horror flick . That just did not work for me. What about you?
What did you think? Are you sad to see James go? Are you as emotionally spent as me? Did Scandal succeed in making you have any sympathy for Jake and the stresses of Command? Sound off below!
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC. Due to travel we may not be able to post a review of next week’s episode, but fingers crossed we’ll work something out.