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Scandal, Ep. 4.09, “Where the Sun Don’t Shine” excels at tense, scary family conflict

Scandal, Ep. 4.09, “Where the Sun Don’t Shine” excels at tense, scary family conflict

Scandal, Where the Sun Don't Shine

Scandal, Season 4, Episode 9, “Where the Sun Don’t Shine”
Written by Mark Wilding
Directed by Tony Goldwyn
Airs Thursdays at 9pm EST on ABC

On this week’s Scandal, Olivia confronts both of her parents, Cyrus quits the White House, Jakes hunts down Rowan, Quinn reunites with an old lover, and Huck delivers the truth to his ex-girlfriend.

Scandal has always excelled at finales, so it’s no surprise that “Where the Sun Don’t Shine” is just as fun, twist-y, and shocking as it’s predecessors. Also, it’s obvious from the opening sequence that all actors, and director Tony Goldwyn (Fitz)!, are bringing their A-game.

As introduced last week, the biggest dilemma facing the characters in the episode is Rowan. Poor Olivia, she’s easily winning the Worst Parents of the Year award. As awful as the Popes are, both to their daughter and to other people, it makes a strange sort of sense that Olivia could, and would, come from them. No one as exceptionally talented and twisted as Olivia would have an easy family life; her intelligence, confidence, and leadership skills clearly stem from both parents, despite Mama Pope’s insistence that Olivia is just like her father. However, as intriguing as Olivia’s family drama is, it’s high time both parents took a hiatus from the show–there’s only so much familial conflict Scandal can handle at a time.

Like Olivia, Huck’s been dealing with a pretty traumatic amount of family drama all season, and it really culminates beautifully in the finale. Unfortunately, Huck’s probably going to be facing the consequences of taking his son on a stake-out for a while, and rightly so. He messed up big time, and a box of information won’t save that. Though, ignoring the sheer ick factor that is Charlie and Quinn’s relationship, the show does a nice job dovetailing the demise of B613 (fingers crossed that it’s permanent) with Huck’s gradual redemption, at least where his former family is concerned.

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There’s a tie for highlight of the episode, as both Rowan’s confrontation with his daughter and Cyrus’s interactions with Fitz, and later Olivia, are incredibly well done. Firstly, Rowan is absolutely terrifying when Joe Morton fully unleashes the rage Rowan has been holding back from his estranged daughter. His scream when Olivia pulls the trigger is chilling, and the entire scene is fraught with tension. Morton has always been an incredible actor on the show, but this is perhaps his greatest, and most stunning, performance thus far.

Meanwhile, Cyrus, who has always been a bit of a villain, really draws the sympathy as he attempts to leave the White House, a place that’s always been first in his heart (above his family, even). Sure, it’s heartbreaking that Cyrus tries to choose family after his family’s been torn apart, but it’s even more heartbreaking watching him beg Fitz to let him leave. The White House has been Cyrus’s home since the beginning of the series, and he’s fought harder than anyone, Fitz included, to stay there. Thankfully Olivia’s intervention, which is both hilarious and perfect, knocks some much-needed sense into Cyrus. 

“Where the Sun Don’t Shine” is Scandal at its absolute best, with all characters engaged in the fast-paced and brilliantly-plotted storyline. Season 4 has faltered a little bit, but the episodes are mostly strong and engaging. If the finale’s ending is any indicator, the latter half of the season will easily be just as thrilling.

 

Ashley Laggan