Scandal Review: Declarations of War

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With the first season halfway done, Scandal is proving why it deserves a spot in ABC's fall line-up. "Enemy of the State" had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. And then I wished for a time machine so I could just go ahead and watch next week's episode right now because, people, I have questions.

Chiefly, what happened to Amanda Tanner?

Finch & Olivia Work With a Dictator

Did we really witness a Presidential hit on a mouthy mistress like we're being led to believe? Or was that kidnapping the result of the mysterious phone call Amanda placed wherein she declared that she was "out?"

It appears that the Amanda Tanner affair is a set-up designed to, well, I don't know what, exactly, this affair's supposed to do. Force the President to resign? Uncover a bigger scandal in Washington?

Seriously. There are so many questions lingering after this episode.

In light of there being so many questions on which we could speculate until next week, let's focus on what we did learn here because for every question this episode asked, it also answered one from a previous outing.

All of the members of Olivia's team have been rescued in some way. While I don't necessarily like that we learned about the team members' pasts through the investigation Cyrus launched, I do like that we got some background.

For instance, Stephen suffered a nervous breakdown at the height of his career and had to be hospitalized. Harrison met Olivia when she represented him pro bono. And? He's apparently very rich, which must be how he affords all of his suits and suspenders. Much of Huck's history has been redacted thanks to his former life as a CIA operative, but the investigators note they wouldn't want to come across him in an alley.

Abby was a victim of domestic abuse who met Olivia when Olivia helped her divorce and hide from her husband, and it was her story that tied into that of the procedural for the week. When they learned that the dictator's wife wasn't kidnapped but ran away from her husband, Abby felt compelled to help her and her children seek political asylum.

Quinn's history, however, is still a mystery. During the investigation, Cyrus and his team discovered that Quinn Perkins didn't seem to exist beyond just a few years ago. Quinn and Gideon also seemed to be hitting it off, as we saw them meet for drinks twice in an episode that could only have spanned two days. But then she lied to him and, as Harrison told her, she's not a very good liar. My bet is that lie comes back to bite her - or Olivia - right in the backside. (To read Harrison's exact words to Quinn, check out the Scandal quotes page.)

And speaking of history and character background, Cyrus Beene is gay. I can't say I saw that coming.

There are still some things about the show that I find to be a little clunky, namely the weekly cases that coincidentally tie in to one of the character's lives. When it was a story like the D.C. Madame and Stephen's history as a client it was a little less like having an anvil dropped on our heads compared to this week's story, which clearly served as a way to highlight Abby.

I feel like with the Amanda Tanner story heating up, there's less and less need for the weekly crisis that needs managing. Taking on the White House is crisis enough.

The closing scenes, however, were powerful. Watching Olivia ask for and receive the support of her team even "over the edge of the cliff" while simultaneously watching their case, unbeknownst to them, disappear was gripping and exciting and left me asking my empty living room what had just happened and cursing the DVR for not having more Scandal for me to watch.

What did you think of "Enemy of the State?" What questions do you most want answered? And who do you think is behind Amanda's disappearance?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.7 / 5.0 (312 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


I definitely think it's the first lady. The Hilary references are really relevant and that maybe as Olivia said she wants to be the "hero" and run for president herself. I think she helped Amanda Tanner attract the president so that when it was revealed she could garner public favour.


After Cyrus' face off with Olivia, I was already so eager for the next episode so that I can see this war start. But during those last few minutes as they transitioned from the team's transitions to Amanda being taken - I was completely on the edge of my seat! I can't wait anymore! This was a great episode and I'm really looking forward to how this "war" plays out. And I also agree that we don't really need another case for the team to manage. Like Olivia said herself, it's going to be one hard battle which means they should focus solely on that. Future episodes should just deal with this case while shedding more light on the personal lives of the team as a way for us to know them more.


It is the first lady. No question in my mind.

Miranda wicker

I haven't done quotes for the episode yet, but I really, really want to quote Cyrus' entire monologue. From top to bottom, the entire thing was flawless. The delivery, the lines, everything. Perfect. Quotes are going to be hard this week! As to my comment in the review about the procedural aspect, I don't think it should be ditched solely to focus on the White House, but I do think that it gets a little heavy-handed when the procedural is a mirror of a character's life. It would be like Brennan or a member or her team (Bones) learning some big life lesson with every murder they investigate. I will, however, concede upon rewatching that perhaps a story about a woman who wanted to leave her husband and couldn't was necessary to spark Abby's confrontation of Olivia.


This show is getting so good. Cyrus's monologue was the best part; but I'm not liking him anymore.At first, I thought he was looking out for the President but now it seems he is looking out for himself. He all of a sudden doesn't like Olivia very mucha and I think he is playing with fire by setting the President against her, or at least trying too. The President, as shown when he left Cyrus's office, isn't too confident about going against Olivia. However, he knows how to play into Cyrus and I have a feeling that Cyrus is going to be put in a bad position. Fitz does love Olivia and he won't do anything to hurt her publically. Clearly Olivia and the president have a complicated relationship, she is a gladiator! and will defend her workers and clients to all ends but she is really conflicted when it comes to Fitz, her emotions get the best of her and she doesn't think level headed. I think she is mad about Amanda Tanner and takes her own because she thought that her and Fitz were really it but clearly he was stepping out; or was he? This show is so good because you don't know who's what and what is who but it works so well. I like the other cases they have because it shows that they can not only devote themselves to Amanda but also keep business going by doing other things. It also off sets the whole President thing and get a chance to tie in that Police guy. Either way, they juggle very good and I can't wait for another episode. It's a crime that we have to wait a whole week.


WHAT DID I JUST WATCH?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!! My jaw is still on the floor and I am freaking out!!! WHAT??? OMG
This show is AMAZING!!! Love it and hope that it gets renewed so BAD!!
I want to know who Amanda was talking too! I think that it is either that person or the first lady. She has given to much up to lose this position is the feeling that I get from her. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS SHOW!!!


oh and we finally found out that they are Republicans


not to mention the Person of Interest


if they will drop case of the week structure and only focus on the white house crap, i am quiting this show. not going to watch yet another major conspiracy with endless strings attached tv show. every show seems to fall into that hole and it is sickening! lets see:
The mentalist - Red John
Missing - CIA or whatever other
Pretty Little Liars - A
The X Files - and that "cover all Alien" division
John Doe Phoenix
Dirty Sexy Money
Dark Blue
and the list goes on


The First Lady is behind it all. She's known of the affair with Olivia, she's seen how its affected him, affected his ability to do his job and above all else, its bringing into doubt her position as First Lady. Lets face it she's the political animal here.

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Scandal Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

President: The way I see it, all roads lead back to Amanda Tanner. She's saying we had an affair. She's saying she's carrying my child. Without her, there's nothing but that tape. And without her, that tape is just a guy who sounds vaguely like me. There's no proof. Nobody even takes that tape seriously without it being vouched for, which means our problem is Amanda Tanner and she's not our problem. She's a kid. Our real problem is Olivia Pope.
Cyrus: You realize--
President: I got into this job to help people, to change this country for the better. I am the President of the United States of America. It's time I acted like it.
Cyrus. Thank you, Mr. President.

Olivia: You seem awful chipper about all this, Cyrus.
Cyrus: I am. I am. I'll tell you why. I'm a workaholic and my sweet husband doesn't let me work on Sundays unless there's a war, which is why I hate Sundays and I really hate to garden. So you can see why I'd be excited because there is, in fact, a war. There's a bloody, scary war starting right now.
Olivia: You and I are going to war? That's what you want? Fine.
Cyrus: [laughs] Oh. no. I'm sorry. I wasn't clear. This isn't my war. You know who sent me here The President of the United States sent me here, to this office, to deliver these piles of dirt. I'm not the general. I'm not the bad guy. I'm just an errand boy who doesn't have to garden anymore. President Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III has declared war on you, Olivia, and he does so with the full force of the White House and the legion of men and women who work in the United States government. May God have mercy on your soul.