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Scandal, Ep. 3.06, “Icarus”: Dull candidates result in a weak episode

Scandal, Ep. 3.06, “Icarus”: Dull candidates result in a weak episode

Scandal, Icarus, Kerry Washington, Lisa Kudrow

Scandal, Season 3, Episode 6, “Icarus”
Written by Peter Noah
Directed by Julie Anne Robinson
Airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC

On this week’s Scandal, Olivia hunts down the truth about her dead mother and battles with a headstrong presidential candidate, Fitz and Mellie deal with losing Olivia’s support, and Quinn finds a new mentor.

For those unfamiliar with Greek mythology, here’s a brief bio on the episode’s namesake, Icarus: while attempting to escape the island of Crete via wings his father, Daedalus, made out of feathers and wax, Icarus ignores his father’s instructions to avoid flying too close to the sun; the wax melts, and Icarus drowns in the sea. Usually, this story’s used to highlight the tragic results of failed ambition or having too much pride.

So, who in “Icarus” is the title specifically referring to? Fitz, for his confidence that Olivia will return to his side for the elections? Olivia, for believing Josie will bow to her demands as Fitz did? Harrison could be the best bet–though Cyrus tests his loyalties, he never betrays Olivia–maybe he’ll be facing some not-so-great consequences in the future? Everyone on Scandal has a bad case of Too Much Confidence and Pride, so, realistically, anyone at anytime could be a modern day Icarus.

Ultimately, whomever the title’s referring to doesn’t matter–the episode is still a bust in comparison to last week’s excellent beginning to election season. Sure, lovely moments like Olivia’s heartbreaking remembrance of the last time she saw her mother and the tense final scene set to “Time Has Come Today” bookend the episode, but the filler is dull and boring.

Remember this time last season, when Fitz was on his deathbed? Good times. Now, characters’ lives are threatened on a weekly basis to no dramatic avail, and most of the plotlines feel like sad rehashings of things the audience has seen before (specifically all scenes Olivia shares with Josie, which should feel fresh but just feel stale). And everything is moving so slowly lately. Maybe this is because the show generally works at a whiplash-inducing speed and now things are dialing down to a normal, nighttime drama pace.

Slow pacing can be great, especially character-wise, if the payoff’s good; too bad most of the characters are hard, or growing increasingly harder, to root for. Sally’s been around since the beginning and has yet to change at all, Josie’s main character trait seems to be anger (and a penchant for talking about tractors and her military stint), Cyrus and Mellie are still gleefully playing the dirty political game, etc.

However, promising developments do seem to be around the corner, especially where Quinn’s concerned. Her slow, quiet descent into immorality is troubling (and yes, fun) to watch, even more so because everyone’s too busy with elections to pay attention. And Harrison’s backstory is finally coming into play alongside Olivia’s, so that could be entertaining.

Scandal‘s still a great show, so one off episode is no cause for alarm. Have faith in Shonda Rhimes and co., as better storylines are probably already on their way.

Ashley Laggan