Scandal, Season 3, Episode 14, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”
Written by Mark Fish
Directed by Paul McCrane
Airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC
On this week’s Scandal, the White House loses a beloved and valuable member, Cyrus works through his grief, Olivia questions the world she lives in, Jake struggles with his role in B613, and Huck confronts Quinn.
Olivia Pope is back.
Since the beginning of season 3, Olivia Pope’s been on a downward spiral. She’s been losing her edge thanks to her parents, her tumultuous relationship with Fitz, and her discovery of B613’s existence. She’s only been a shadow of her former confident and commanding self, and it’s been both disheartening and fascinating to watch our heroine be so thoroughly humanized. But, thanks to “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” Liv’s finally been given a new cause to fight for.
Forget Papa and Mama Pope and Sally Langston and Hollis Doyle, B613’s the best villain this show’s ever had. It’s been the source of corruption behind several key characters in the Scandal-verse, and now the death of a beloved (and relatively harmless, despite his existence among such morally-corrupt people) character.
But Olivia’s renewed passion for her career isn’t the only silver lining to come out of this devastating episode–Jeff Perry’s performance as a grieving and shell-shocked widow is downright heartbreaking and stunning. Cyrus has always been a difficult character to root for and relate t0–he’s so outlandishly Machiavellian that sometimes it’s hard to even believe he’s human. And then the audience watches him break down sobbing during a press conference, and it’s so easy to forget how much of a monster he’s always been, because even Cyrus Beene is human enough to fall apart following the death of a loved one.
The episode’s flashbacks to Cyrus and James’s budding relationship are beautiful, and a nice touch, particularly the one where Cyrus openly comes out as gay to the watching political masses during a ball. Really, truly great.
“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” reveals sides to Cyrus that have never been seen before, and it’s such a welcome bit of character development (especially when coupled with Olivia’s doubt about the people she’s surrounded by). When Papa Pope utters the line “everyone deserves to be saved,” it’s a nice reminder why the audience even watches this show–these people, flawed as they are, have qualities worth rooting for and admiring, despite their moral ambiguity and occasionally atrocious actions. They’re not “good” people by any conventional definition of the term, but they aren’t total villains, either. And, in Scandal’s universe, Olivia Pope and Co. are as close to heroes as anyone is capable of being.
Lastly, Mama Pope’s return seems promising, and the hints at Quinn’s future rescue and redemption are way overdue. Honestly, B613 has overstayed it’s welcome, and it’s about time Olivia Pope (and David Rosen) takes a stand against it.