Scandal, Season 4, Episode 7, “Baby Made a Mess”
Written by Jenna Bans
Directed by Oliver Bokelberg
Airs Thursdays at 9pm EST on ABC
On this week’s Scandal, Abby’s abusive ex-husband returns, Olivia joins a new campaign, Huck meets his son again, and Fitz seduces Olivia over the phone.
Finally, finally, Olivia and Co. seem to be heading down a warpath with Rowan. For far too long, he has had a God-like hand in controlling events–usually tragic–in their lives, and it’s about time the power trio of Olivia, Jake, and (in theory–though he’s definitely the weak link despite being, you know, President) Fitz stood up to B613. Yes, Joe Morton is an incredibly talented actor, and Rowan is a very compelling character, but he’s overstayed his welcome. Thus, this new development is thoroughly exciting, and it’s poised to give Scandal back the cast unity, and plot direction, the show’s been missing since season 3’s finale.
Also in excellent developments, “Baby Made a Mess” really allows Abby to take center stage, and the result is a completely heartbreaking, yet slightly hopeful, outing. Abby’s always been a relatively complex character, so it’s satisfying to get to see a much more in-depth look into her struggles with her abusive ex-husband. Clearly, he still has a lot of influence over her, and it’s rough to see her brought down so low by such a vile man. Plus, Darby Stanchfield nails the trauma and fear Abby feels throughout the episode–she rarely gets to display the extent of her talents on Scandal, but Stanchfield is quite capable of delivering a powerhouse performance.
Unfortunately, the episode also delves back into Liv and Fitz’s relationship in a big way. As it turns out, they’re a much more tolerable couple in small doses or flashbacks. Of course, how great is Tom’s insistence that Olivia Pope is a modern Helen of Troy? Accurate. Also, it’s another indicator that war is on the horizon for Team Pope, as is Rowan’s outright declaration that Olivia would never win if she fought against him. Honestly, Rowan’s underestimating his own daughter, but his statement will only make her victory that much more satisfying.
Lastly, the juxtaposition of Huck seeing his son again with flashbacks to his son’s birth is just downright beautiful. Huck’s storyline this season is already loaded with emotion, but these little touches only serve to make those emotions more effective and intense.
“Baby Made a Mess” is one of season 4’s best episodes so far, and it’s probably not coincidental that Abby is given most of the spotlight. Seriously, it’s time Pope and Associates repaired itself, because this crew is far better together than they are apart. And, they’re going to need each other when Rowan inevitably turns defensive.
Last week’s review can be found here.