In the age of social media, “hot take” articles incite outrage and polar, ideological opinions on movies no one has seen, influencing the way moviegoers perceive films.
Television history is littered with the bodies of ill-advised spin-offs. Their corpses, copies of reviews and overnights crumpled in their clawed little hands, defile the memories of the successful shows that spawned them and serve as cautionary tales for every writer tempted to go to the same well twice. However, every once in a while, …
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.
“The Last Supper” is the most fun Scandal’s been in a long time. This is partly because next week is the winter finale, but it’s also because watching the main cast members team up to take down a big threat is always enjoyable. Season four has felt a little lost and directionless thus far, but “The Last Supper” gives the story the focus it’s been so desperately needing.
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.
Despite the title, “An Innocent Man” isn’t about the men of Scandal, it’s about the women. Mellie, Olivia, Abby, and even Quinn all have significant wins, making the episode a nice departure from the past five. Also, it’s the first time any of the women have felt like their old selves in a long while, particularly Olivia, who hasn’t been fully herself since the arrival of her father to D.C.
“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.
Finally, all of the cast members are slowly being brought back together onscreen after a brief three-episode split. The first three episodes of this season were good, but they were still a little lacking, namely because everyone had gone their separate directions. “Like Father, Like Daughter” brings everyone under the same roof–though not yet back together–and the episode is stronger for it’s effort, if not for its overall execution.
Scandal’s very much a show where you love and root for characters based on their charm rather than their morality. No one is wholly good or evil, but that doesn’t really matter at the end of each episode–what matters is how likable each member of the cast is, how intriguing their storyline currently is, and how well they interact with other cast members on screen. This isn’t an insult to the audience, but rather a compliment to Scandal and the show’s creators–it has to be hard to make such morally-reprehensible people so compulsively watchable week after week.
One of the best decisions Scandal is making this season is allowing the deaths of Harrison, Jerry, and James to hang heavy over the characters. Rather than quickly moving past everyone’s grief, as fast-paced shows have a tendency to do, season four is keeping the dead present in almost every scene. As a result, this season is much darker than past seasons, and Scandal is already better for it.
Apparently, all Olivia Pope (and Scandal) needed was a vacation to return to form. Gone is weak and defenseless Olivia, who was last seen running away from D.C., and her problems, at the end of season 3. In her place is the Olivia Pope the audience came to love during the show’s stellar first two seasons–she’s back fighting for injustice among women and turning down her own happiness (and island escape) to help a helpless intern.
Though this season’s had some pretty wild ups (everything involving Rowan Pope) and downs (the Quinn, Huck, and Charlie love triangle), “The Price of Free and Fair Elections” closes season three on a relatively high note–literally, as Olivia Pope, who hasn’t been wholly herself in quite a while, finally takes up her father’s season opening offer and jets out of the city with Jake.
Remember when Pope and Associates used to handle actual cases that weren’t necessarily relevant to their personal lives? Each week a new crisis came to Olivia’s doorstep, and the team pulled together to handle it–sadly, that team spirit’s been missing for most of this season.
Stepping away from last week’s foray into humor, “The Fluffer” delivers an episode of pure Scandal intensity and jaw-dropping shockers. Oh, and it helps that everyone (even Reston!) is given a nice chunk of plot to work with–Scandal does very well when the storyline includes all the major, secondary, and lesser characters.
Though Scandal often throws humor into its episodes, rarely does the show deliver an episode that’s as downright hilarious as “Mama Said Knock You Out.” It’s a welcome relief after last week’s devastating heartbreaker, and a nicely contained hour of pure family drama.
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.
Remember when everyone on Scandal seemed like a decent human being? Olivia Pope and her gladiators were doing bad things for good reasons, and even villains like Cyrus or Hollis Doyle seemed relatively tame?
Most of the internet seems to agree that Olivia Pope is a great character. She’s headstrong, intelligent, and independent, but she’s still human enough to make foolish decisions and mistakes (the least of which is engaging in an affair with the president). But, sometimes, even great characters can begin to irritate other characters and the audience.
Thus far, Scandal’s go-to formula is a melting pot of backstabbing, affairs, double dealings, and constantly-shifting alliances, and, three-and-a-half seasons in, this formula has yet to fail: “Ride, Sally, Ride” shows Scandal still knows exactly what it’s doing.
“A Door Marked Exit” manages to keep the storytelling momentum rolling without a single bump–seriously, this episode is good. Everyone’s at the top of their game, and it clearly shows throughout the episode–after three and half seasons, these people have obviously mastered the art of telling a great story AND delivering a tense, climactic mid-season finale.
Let’s be honest here, Scandal’s never delivered a bad finale, midseason or otherwise. The show’s regular episodes generally pack the number of shocking storylines others save for their finales, so it’s always exciting to see what Scandal whips out for finale season.
Scandal, Season 3, Episode 8, “Vermont is for Lovers, Too” Written by Mark Wilding Directed by Ava Duvernay Airs Thursdays at 10PM ET on ABC On this week’s Scandal, Olivia and Fitz rekindle their affair in Vermont, Mellie and Cyrus manipulate James, Josie bows out of the election, and Huck discovers Quinn’s new connection to B613. …
How lighthearted this episode began–with Cyrus’s ridiculously perfect wig and facial hair, and Mellie’s adorable bob–only to take a sickeningly horrifying turn midway through. At least “Everything’s Coming Up Mellie” takes a step back from the elections, especially considering last week’s dud episode, but maybe everyone’s emotions could use a few lackluster election episodes to recover.