Thursday, November 8, 2012

'Scandal' Review - 2.05 All Roads Lead to Fitz

        On the newest episode of ABC's Scandal, a governor (Tom Amandes), whose wife (Brenda Strong) is raped, takes the law into his own hands and then asks Olivia and her team to come in and clean up his mess; and Cyrus is caught off-guard when James decides to return to his career as a journalist covering the White House.

        Tonight's episode was a doozy and I thought of checking back in tonight for my first review of this season since the premiere. This series is heavily unique because its narrative offers equal compellingly parts of the serial storytelling and the case-of-the-week. Both of those aspects are well-done and entertaining for entirely different reasons. This episode took both sides of stories, wonderfully interwove them and allowed both to shine and be extremely relevant (even with the fact that the President was no where to be seen).
        The case-of-the-week is very reliant on the guest stars and how their story is used and influenced the main cast members. This hour was particular strong because it came with such a loaded amount of history to Olivia. The political opponent who lost to Fitz in the presidential election is such a juicy story to share. Both Tom Amandes and Brenda Strong did a fantastic job of portraying this couple and the complications and reactions that kept manifesting themselves as the hour went along. However, by hour's end, it didn't feel as if there was a concreate finish to this story. Oliva even said she doesn't like it when the bad guys get away and yet the episode ended without any firm resolution with the fallout of the governor and her wife. Because of that, I have a strong inkling that their characters will pop up again in the future - especially if the Cytron conspiracy is revealed to be all about that election.
        Throughout this second season, I have found that they have been writing two versions of the Olivia character. When she is shown at the workplace, she is this commanding figure who demands you're attention and you root for her because she is so dominant and always trying to do the morally right thing for her clients. This also carries over to her romantic issues because those allow to bring her shields down and open up and be soft, gentle and sweet. But then whenever the show starts dealing with the Cytron conspiracy, they write Olivia as an anti-hero. We are suppose to be rooting for David and Abby as they attempt to discover the truth while Olivia (with help from Verna, Cyrus, Mellie and Hollis) is using everything in her arsenal to stop them. But with all those issues notwithstanding, I love how briskly paced this conspiracy story has been going. Each week we have received yet another huge piece to the puzzle and now the outline is their and the battle lines have been drawn. I don't know where this story is going but I am excited to take the ride. 
        Both the Huck going on a date and Cyrus' husband, James, returning to his job subplots felt distracting and introductory compared to the rest of the hour. It felt as if the show was setting these plots up now to create some different/add conflict to the more personal lives of these two characters. I'm sure that they will become relevant later but the potential payoff doesn't make their presence in the context of this hour much better. Plus how is James working at the White House not a huge conflict-of-interest for both him and Cyrus?

So what did everyone think of the episode? How sweet was that scene between Cyrus and Olivia? Did the table gatherers do what they did to get Fitz elected? Share your thoughts in the comments.