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Scandal: Spies Like Us

“The things I have to do.”

How do you protect someone without letting them know they need protecting? Simple, you lie to them, manipulate them, or frame them for domestic abuse.

For me, what really stood out this week was how much the folks at Pope & Associates care about each other. Harrison pledged his loyalty to Olivia, Olivia fought her hardest to keep Huck from disappearing, and both Harrison and Olivia agonized over destroying Abby and David’s relationship.

The weekly client story was fairly uncreative. Tonight, the role of Julian Assange will be played by Nigel Sarnoff. In order to stop Assange Sarnoff from outing Huck and his fellow retired spies, Olivia Pope has to figure out who is providing Sarnoff with information and stop them.

While this plot line was full of holes (i.e. How did Crosby learn about the leak in the first place?), it was fun to see what Scandal-verse spies look like. No Sydney Bristows here, just a professor, a soccer mom, a B&B owner, Huck, and psychologist Marvin Feen (Sam Anderson, Angel, Lost).

In a weird way, the A story almost became comedic relief, a respite from the darkness that was the drama going on between Olivia, Harrison, and Abby. You know an episode is going to be dark when the funniest part is a guy getting shot in the head.

This show gets really soapy. If I hadn’t seen the episode and someone told me it featured a woman breaking up the secret relationship between her best friend and the man obsessed with a conspiracy she took part in all to save the lives of both from a bloodthirsty oil tycoon, I’d roll my eyes. It’s a testament to the actors that it didn’t occur to me how outlandish the plot was until I was writing this up.

Olivia is so genuinely torn at ripping away Abby’s happiness. And how cute is Abby when she’s happy? Aww. Harrison knows that framing a decent, if overly inquisitive, guy for domestic violence in order to drive his once abused girlfriend away is wrong. Neither of them have a choice.

Poor Olivia. She spent the entire episode fighting tooth and nail to keep the band together. She can’t lose Abby to another one of Hollis’ freak explosions and she can’t lose Huck to the spy underworld. Fitz is gone. Desmond is gone. Olivia will be damned if she lets anyone else out of her little Island of Misfit Lawyers.

Our other big fight for the life of a loved one waged via manipulation was, naturally, Cyrus and James. Cyrus may be a brilliant politician, but he often fails to recognize and validate the emotions of those around him. In order to save his life from Hollis and his more “thorough” methods of dealing with nosiness, Cyrus lies to James and tells him that if he writes another article about Hollis, Fitz will fire Cyrus.

What Cyrus fails to realize is that while his tears may be fake, the desperation that forced him to fake them is not. He loves James and James loves him as evidenced by James’ quick agreement to drop Hollis-related stories to save Cyrus’ job. Cyrus should stop playing games for a minute, it would serve him well. Then again, I’m not so sure it would serve the show well if we lost our favorite amoral, sarcastic Chief of Staff.

Bits and Pieces:

This is definitely the most standalone-y episode Scandal’s ever done. No Fitz, no Mellie, no progress on the Cytron conspiracy.

Guilleramo Díaz is fantastic as Huck. He is endearing and terrifying and makes me feel both uncomfortable and protective. It’s such a weird and intriguing combination.

How fantastic was the breakfast scene where Cyrus discovers James’ article?

Quotes:

“You believe Nixon was a great president?”
“I believe he was good at his job.”
“You make me sad. I’m going to start weeping in a minute.”

“We’re married actually.”
“Your wife, then.”
“Husband.”
“Oh. Sorry. I assumed you were the, you know, fella in that deal.”
And the award for most offensive comment ever goes to...

“Hey, why, in the twenty-first century, am I looking at documents on a machine that has a knob?”
I always liked those machines. They made me feel like I was an investigative journalist, uncovering a massive conspiracy. I have no idea why.

“This suit is way too nice to be marred by holes and blood.”
But just think how good your corpse will look! As Tracy Jordan once said, “Dress every day like you’re gonna get murdered in those clothes.”

“I’ve never been in here before.”
“It’s very oval.”
And the Pentagon is very pentagonal.

three out of four unrelinquished guns

3 comments:

  1. After last week's excellent hour, I was kind of disappointed by this one. It was still well-done but I don't really care for Huck. I find him tediously tortured.
    However, the Olivia-Abby-David stuff were fantastic. They're really painting Olivia in a negative light that just adds a ton of layers to the show. She's a serious antiheroine which is just great!
    I can't wait to see everything collide and explode over the season. But please, back to the roundtable of evil! Much more entertaining than standalones like this week.

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  2. Nadim, I can't believe you don't like Huck! I find him very interesting, although I will admit he's been rather one-note thus far.

    LOL re: roundtable of evil. You are so right. This show isn't great at standalones. I was okay with Fitz's absence last week, but this week we also lost Mellie and any mention of Cytron. Booooo!

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  3. Not a great episode, but it was all right. The machinations continue to delight me and these are all first rate.

    Olivia is sinking low, but all power to the show that I keep rooting for her. Karma is a nasty one, however, so her comeuppance will be something to watch!

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