By Josh Axelrod, Anamika Roy and David Oliver
There we go! Hopefully we’re through Season 4’s rough patch, which was really rough. This episode finally ended the world’s most frustrating storyline and set the show up for what should be an action-packed winter finale. Talk dirty to me:
JOSH: If “Scandal” wants someone in its cast to win an Emmy this year, they should really push Darby Stanchfield’s performance in this episode. The spotlight was pointed at her this week, and she nailed every challenge that was thrown her way. She came face-to-face with her abusive ex-husband this week, which allowed Stanchfield to really show some range. Abby went from cowering in fear to pointing a gun at him to basically forcing him to resign once she told Leo Bergen just how extensive the damage he did to her was. God, Abby was so scared of him she bought a gun and came dangerously close to pulling the trigger. Of course, the guy was probably going to sexually assault her in that parking garage, but since he didn’t that’s neither here nor there. Either way, Abby is still the best.
Also, that kiss between her and Leo was shockingly cute. Let’s see where that goes and when David butts in out of jealousy.
ANAMIKA: That scene with Abby crying and shaking under her desk was one of the most heartbreaking things I have seen on this show. Kudos to Shonda Rhimes for addressing a prevalent issue like domestic violence on her show. Her line to Olivia that women who come forward in situations like this become Monica Lewinsky and Anita Hill was a dose of reality that is often lacking on this show. I’m glad Abby didn’t use her podium to expose Charles “Chip” Putney. Major kudos to Leo Bergen for having a soul for once. Also, NEW COUPLE ALERT.
DAVID: I am absolutely a fan of Leo and Abby together! I actually really like how complicated “Scandal’s” love triangles are – Fitz/Olivia/Jake, David/Abby/Leo, Huck/Quinn/Charlie, Fitz/Mellie/Andrew – they’re all complicated and have many layers that you don’t always know who to root for.
JOSH: I spent most of this episode thinking that Olivia should turn in her gladiator credentials. She was caught in a power struggle between three men and was losing badly. And after her confrontation with Tom in the prison, I was afraid she really believed Jake was behind the death of Fitz’s son. I clearly underestimated Olivia Pope, which I should’ve known was a mistake. She staged an attack on Tom and made him believe it was ordered by Rowan. Tom finally told Olivia that Rowan was responsible for Jerry Jr.’s death, and Olivia got it on tape for the president. Handled.
ANAMIKA: Lesson learned, Josh. Never underestimate Olivia Pope. Here’s what I don’t understand about that plot though: that prison guard supposedly stabbed Tom multiple times. Were those real stab wounds? They must have been, because Olivia needed Tom to think that Command was trying to kill him. But isn’t that a bit risky? What if the guard accidentally killed Tom?
DAVID: I feel like the show’s pace had been a bit slow this season, so I’m glad it’s picking up a bit with the truth finally seeping out about Jerry’s death. Though I am curious to see how Mama Pope is about to mess with things.
JOSH: That was the creepiest dirty talk it has ever been my misfortune to witness. Olivia was somehow turned on when she should’ve hung up the phone and never talked to Fitz again (even more so than usual). At least Fitz, Jake and Olivia can now team up to take down Rowan once and for all. Like I said, either Rowan or Jake is going to die this season. Hopefully we’re finally getting rid of Papa Pope.
ANAMIKA: That dirty talk scene was proof that Fitz is losing in this so-called love triangle. Haven’t you heard Fitz? Jake is wayyy better at this than you.
DAVID: Yeah, Jake has totally got the president beat. Jake is clearly the better guy for Olivia, but she’s going to pick Fitz, just like on “Grey’s Anatomy” when Lexie should have picked Jackson but was destined to be with Mark. And then they both [SPOILER ALERT] died following a plane crash. But “Scandal” wouldn’t kill off Olivia Pope, right?
JOSH: I want to single out Brian Letscher’s performance in his speech to Olivia. Nothing we had seen of Tom in previous episodes led me to believe he was capable of delivering a patented Shonda Rhimes monologue, but he crushed his opportunity. Good job man.
ANAMIKA: Tom had more lines in this week’s episode than he’s had in the last four seasons combined. He’s a good actor. That Helen of Troy monologue came out of nowhere, but was definitely a highlight.
DAVID: I love when recurring characters get the spotlight – it shows how many talented actors and actresses there are out there who get a chance to really shine. It’s baffling to me the guest actor and actress winners don’t get to make speeches at the live Emmys telecast.
JOSH: Thank god Cyrus finally wised up about his boy toy. He fed him some false information to see whose mouth it would end up coming out of, and he was surprised to discover that Mellie seems to be in on the plan with Portia De Rossi (Elizabeth) and the hooker. Of course, now Cyrus is sad more than anything else. How this will play into the winter finale is anyone’s guess, but hopefully his storyline will somehow converge with Olivia’s attempt to take down Rowan.
ANAMIKA: Cyrus has lost his mojo this season. On one hand, I don’t think Cyrus has any interest in taking down Rowan. He drank the “we protect the republic” Kool-Aid. That being said, he did lose his husband because of B-613, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he joins forces with Olivia, Fitz and Jake.
DAVID: I simultaneously feel awful for Cyrus but also feel like he’s getting what he deserves. Regardless, I’m glad he’s smarter than I thought this season.
JOSH: First and foremost, who still hangs out at arcades? And what kind of parent lets their young child just chill there by himself where a strange man could be watching him from behind the glass? That weirdness aside, it looks like the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in this family. Javi traced Huck’s gamertag back to him and showed up at Pope & Associates. The kid rightly figured out that Huck was his dad and asked Huck why he left. Good luck explaining that one.
ANAMIKA: I like Huck’s new storyline. He seems normal for a change, even though what he’s doing is a bit creepy.
DAVID: I’m just worried about Huck’s ex finding out about this. Will she get Huck arrested? I see Olivia intervening sometime soon.
Side note, the lack of Mellie this episode annoyed me. I’m curious to see how her relationship with Elizabeth unfolds.