Scandal, Season 4, Episode 5, “The Key”
Written by Chris Van Dusen
Directed by Paul McCrane
Airs Thursdays at 9pm EST on ABC
On this week’s Scandal, Olivia frets over Jake’s radio silence, Huck attempts to visit his son, David reveals private information to Abby, and Fitz takes matters into his own hands.
“The Key” opens dark and remains dark throughout the course of the episode. In what is continuously proving to be an excellent decision, Scandal refuses to let the deaths of James, Jerry, and Harrison be forgotten. Their deaths overshadow every episode, and a majority of the characters, so much so that this season of Scandal is probably the darkest, and moodiest, season of the series yet.
The episode’s cold open sets the hour’s stage brilliantly–it immediately puts Olivia and Quinn in a very helpless, and thus scary, position. The whole scene is incredibly intense, and it serves as a reminder that even Olivia Pope isn’t able to save everyone. Ever since the introduction of Olivia’s father, Olivia has never quite been the powerhouse she was in the show’s first two seasons. What would be great to see is a takedown of Rowan at Olivia’s hands–this probably isn’t the only way for Olivia to regain her power, but it would certainly be the best.
Jake is also helpless during the episode, and it’s a fun side of the character to explore, just because it’s so revealing. Even when in chains, Jake keeps a very calm and collected facade, but Scandal‘s use of flashbacks to he and Olivia’s time on the island is a neat trick and an obvious glimpse into Jake’s fracturing psyche. The juxtaposition between Jake being held in captivity (and eventually being beaten by his former friend) and his brief paradise with Olivia is just really well-done.
Jake’s captivity serves the dual purpose of highlighting Fitz’s subtle transformation into a formidable character this season. For the first time in perhaps ever, Fitz is genuinely threatening and a little bit terrifying. The way he plays Jake, by singing Otis Redding and then demanding answers, is unnerving. Who knew Fitz had it in him? Fitz is finally turning into a character worthy of some respect–not the whiny coward he’s been for so long–and it’s about time.
And Fitz isn’t the only character experiencing some transformation–Huck, already a compelling character, is quickly becoming one of the most interesting members of the cast. His story arc right now is very traumatic and sad, but still emotionally satisfying. Scandal‘s never really explored Huck’s psyche before, beyond showing he once had a family and his introduction to B613, so it feels like a long-awaited reward getting to see his troubled reunion with his long-lost family. Between Fitz and Huck (and Mellie!), a whole lot of intriguing character development is currently happening.
Though “The Key” is certainly an excellent episode, the episode still didn’t really hint at what’s to come this season. The destruction of B613? A whole lot of relationship issues (just kidding–this is practically guaranteed)? Or maybe a final showdown with Rowan? This season still feels like it needs a little more direction, but as long as it keeps churning out episodes like this, everything’s going to be just fine.
Last week’s review can be found here.