Scandal Season 7 Episode 17 Review: Standing in the Sun

Cyrus and Jake’s mission to take the White House reaches a new level of deceit on Scandal's Standing in the Sun.

This Scandal review contains spoilers. 

Scandal Season 7 Episode 17

Everything we’ve seen, heard, and wondered about has reached a boiling point in tonight’s episode, “Standing in the Sun.” It’s difficult not to think about the current White House dysfunction and lies while watching the final season. If acting alone, one has only their sins to confess. When two or more are involved, truth-telling becomes harried, and a tsunami of collateral damage ensues. No one gets the mountaintop alone, without a team, skeletons, and consequences.

Standing in the sun disinfects and strips away pollutants. Truth is like the sun for Olivia, she needs it to clean the air and what’s left of her integrity. Olivia and Jake gulped an elixir they thought would render them more powerful than Rowan. Neither of them realized that power can’t be taken away and assumed, one has to be born powerful. Daddy’s little girl failed to learn that lesson while biding her time before a temporary stint as B613 Command. Job titles and descriptions alone mean nothing.

Over seven seasons and at different intervals, someone on the show has sought power without knowing what it entailed. Looking ahead to next week’s series finale, will it fall apart, or will the writers pull one final rabbit of their white hats? I don’t foresee Olivia, Mellie, Fitz, and the gladiators being convicted and sent to prison. The episode ended on a panicked note, and I am curious as to how the finale will unfold. Viewers know better than to doubt Shonda Rhimes and her endgame for Scandal, if for nothing more than a lasting memory.

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We’ve been set up for a game of winners, losers, villains, and heroes. Jake and Cyrus are villains for different reasons. Jake’s a scorned lover who didn’t get the girl and has decided to make her and her associates pay for the betrayal. Jake couldn’t compete with Fitz, the figurehead president, for Olivia’s love. His doting wife wasn’t enough for him, he wanted what he thought was Olivia’s inherited power and Rowan’s affection as a surrogate father. Cyrus was born selfish and evil, and everything he’s done is to that end. Cyrus isn’t a cartoon villain, a testament to the writers and the actor. Who’ll come through this slightly battered, but not entirely annihilated: the younger emotionally-volatile assassin or the old-school puppeteer?

What better way to end the series than to have the chaos narrated by morally self-righteous talk show host Sally Langston? The comparison to Fox News as the voice of the unsullied masses seems obvious. We’re the public watching the White House reality show that’s meant to cast a light into the shadowy, dark corners of politics. We’ll be awakened from our slumber when the sun fills our bedrooms. No longer can we cling to naïveté.

Are there any innocents in politics, or they all sharks plotting and scheming against each other? Politics is a dirty business that requires predatory tactics and selective amnesia. Over the life of the series, we’ve seen a sampling of what plays out on the global stage, most of which of we’ll never know in our lifetime. Are we better or worse for knowing this fact? Will Scandal’s legacy be that it was an allegory or commentary on American politics?


3 out of 5