This episode, while bloody, was full of empowering speeches and uplifting commentary on thoroughness and justice. It takes us back to perhaps Shonda Rhimes’ best Scandal episode yet, “The Lawn Chair,” where a young black man was shot by a white, racist police officer. Throughout the entire hour, the president is trying to pass the Brandon Bill in response to the murder that would put laws in place to help end police brutality. When they realize they need Vice President Ross’ vote in order to pass the bill, this seemingly flighty character turns into a plucky and incredibly intelligent woman seeking real action that will bring equality and justice.
One of my favorite scenes of the night was when after everyone kept approaching her as she slaved away studying and trying to understand the bill, the president finally made his appearance. He put on his usual, “I’m the president, hear me roar” demeanor to try and control the situation, but Ross didn’t take it. While he was taken aback by her retort, watching the scene where they are working together to make the bill more stringent and justifying was amazing. She isn’t just the push over VP she was made out to be when we first met her a few episodes ago, she’s another in the long line of empowering women that Rhimes chooses to bestow upon us. Similar to how we were made to believe Lena Dunham’s character was at first when we met her in episode 16, “It’s Good to be Kink”. But then she turned into this firecracker with a voice and fight that was seemingly unexpected. A classic Shonda Rhimes move. No character is who they appear to be at first.
The vice president telling Fitz off was just icing on the cape. I love it even more when his scoldings are effective.
Theatrics award of the night goes to Papa Pope. Oh, he was full of his Shakespearean-esque speeches, opening and closing tonight’s episode with words off his thick, poetic tongue. Basically, Olivia was given a choice: Stop the case against B-613…or don’t.
More of a threat, really…
Olivia, however, is slightly distracted when she takes on a case with Marcus Walker, the black activist we met in “The Lawn Chair.” However, in this episode, he was opting to run for Mayor. However, when Marcus witnesses the murder of his lover (the wife of the current mayor), Olivia is called into Gladiator mode.
Rhimes wrote Olivia some killer scenes tonight including her verbal take down of the police chief and her rejection to her father that she would stop the B-613 case from going on. However, one of my other favorite scenes of tonight was one between Marcus and Olivia where Marcus decides to confess the truth about what really happened to the mayor’s wife rather than saving his reputation in order to keep his potential mayoral candidacy intact. She preaches to Marcus that doing the right thing is what will “save” you in the end, because if you do the wrong thing, then you’re “done.” The scene was shot rather organically, a bit of a shaky camera or the two of them being seen from candid angles like between the panels on a stairway railing. This was probably the most inspiring speech of the night, encouraging her in her choice about B-613.
Cue… the cries of terror.
When Jake is seen walking into Olivia’s office, proclaiming that he got a text from her…you know something is up. Immediately, he is attacked by none other than…Russell, Olivia’s recent fling! Well, less of a fling apparently and more of a seed planted by Rowan. I will spare the stomach churning detail of Jake’s death and say that perhaps I was still hopeful that he survived. However, next week’s preview made it seem like Jake has had his last moments on Scandal.
Rhimes definitely went for the shock value tonight. She really didn’t give too many clues to such a devastating ending, which made it even more jarring. This will be the second time Foley has been killed off of a Shonda Rhimes show and I am not really enjoying the pattern. Scott Foley continues to impress me with each role he takes on and unless somehow that knife wasn’t as sharp and menacing as it appeared, Jake Ballard may be gone forever.
Also during next week’s preview it was announced that there are only two more episodes until the season finale. Without Jake’s verbal testimony about B-613, the question is if David and the gladiators have enough to take it down themselves? Well, I’m preparing for a Rhimes-esque finale in the coming weeks: big, dramatic, and oh so scandalous.