Scandal Review: Ends and Means

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After leaving us blown away when last we saw it, Scandal wasted no time answering some of our lingering questions from the mid-winter finale upon its return. To name only two things:

  1. Hollis Doyle is behind the assassination
  2. President Grant is awake, just in the nick of time.

While "One for the Dog" was a solid outing, this wasn't my favorite episode. It was chock full of information, if light on the action, but upon several watches, the episode's downfall is that it may have tried to do too much. Too many competing story lines, even if they are all tied together, made Scandal's return a tad clunky.

Josh Malina as David Rosen

Before I'm locked in the basement of the Gladiators' headquarters, I'm not saying I hated it. I'm just saying it could've been better. Two things that leap immediately to mind that could've been much improved upon are Verna and Hollis' stories.

Verna's confession to Olivia that she'd given Huck's name to Sally was unexpected. Even though she and Olivia are friends, it seemed counter to her steely demeanor when she handed him over to the acting President in the first place. It makes me wonder if she still has some sort of motive to which we're not yet privy and telling Olivia was part of her plan all along. It's certainly not something I'd put past her.

Hollis being behind the shooting almost feels too easy. Yes, he's capable of bad things. He wants power and money more than anything else. But having him be the man responsible seems overly simplistic for a show full of so many twists and turns. And perhaps there are twists coming. In fact, we can probably bank on that. I hope.

I also could've done without the Olivia and Edison drama. Edison's inclusion tonight made him feel like a plot device instead of a legitimate romantic interest. Sure, there was never any chemistry between the two of them, but tonight the actual character felt forced. He was necessary for Olivia to discover Mellie and Cyrus' attempt at a coup and to show us all, once again, that Olivia's heart is with Fitz. Except we didn't need him in order to see that. Olivia lingering by his bed and longing to reach out and touch his hand was enough.

Which shifts the focus of this review to the things that were great.

Cyrus, Mellie and Olivia love Fitz. The three of them will do anything to protect him, even if it means breaking the highest laws of the land. Their end - saving Fitz - justifies their means. They gambled with their lives and their futures and hopefully came out on top. It's purposefully unclear whether Mellie retracted the letter, and knowing Shonda, the timing could go either way.

Mellie might have retracted the letter before Fitz woke up, in which case moving forward we'll see their attempt to get him back in the White House while fighting Sally Langston and Hollis Doyle.

However, if he woke up before Mellie could retract the letter, maybe Sally will just fade off into the background with the congratulations of the American people for catching the President's would-be assassin. We can hope, right?

Speaking of the would-be assassin, the best parts of tonight were David standing up for Huck and Huck being exonerated. Those torture scenes were gut-punches and watching them almost had me confessing to shooting the fake President. Watching David watch Huck's torture proves what a white hat he actually is.

And Huck?

Guillermo Diaz plays both creepy torturer and sadly tortured so well. His mannerisms after he was released, the shoulder-jerk away from Olivia, the emptiness when Becky asked his name, the way he turned in on himself while eating with everyone else... it was all so heart-wrenching. He's been a pawn in Hollis Doyle's game and it's nearly broken him. The rest of the season could be spent healing Huck and we would have more than enough material for the back 12 episodes.

As a standalone episode, this wasn't Scandal's most shining moment. But as an episode that fills in the gaps in the story, it certainly did that. And, in true Scandal fashion, it left plenty of room for this story to continue to grow.

What did you think of "One for the Dog"? Be sure to check out our Scandal quotes page and sound off in the comments with your thoughts on Scandal's return.


Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (194 Votes)

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


I think everyone is reading WAY too into the Verna thing.. she's not an idiot.. she made a comment to Olivia about Huck looking an awful lot like the suspect.. and Olivia's face gave away that Huck was indeed the suspect. Sally was trying to push Verna out .. her only way to not get pushed out was to use information concerning who may have shot the president.. It was a power play to stay in power .. nothing more. I don't believe she planted the phone on hollis, and I don't believe that she is behind Fitz's attempted assasination. Hollis on the other hand, I do believe he is.. he wasn't getting his way with Fitz in power.. however with Sally in power, his agenda would be met...I think there is more too it, but I dont think it includes Verna at all


I think Hollis is behind it but I don't think he is working alone. Edison was giving me some shady vibes last night. I wouldn't be surprised if Hollis is apart of another round table.


I agree with you. I love Scandal, however was dissaponited with the Season 3 premier last night.


@ Miranda: I don't have a problem with Hollis' predictability. People like him are usually single minded in what they want and just throw their money around to make things move in their favor. I think his character can remain a straight shooter, and use his minions to develop character shifts, complex plots, and scandalous actions. Fine with me!

Miranda wicker

@K, well, that's unfortunate because if you'd kept reading you'd realize that just because it wasn't my PERSONAL favorite, I still liked it as part of the ongoing story of Scandal. And no, we didn't see the conversation between Verna and Hollis, so now I, too, am wondering if she planted the phone or had it planted there. Again, Hollis being behind this all by himself is just too easy. Verna's words regarding Huck's arrest were:
Verna: I'm so sorry, Liv. It's all my fault.
Olivia: What's your fault?
Verna: Huck. I'm the reason they took Huck away.


This was one of the sharpest episodes. I don't think it was overwrought at all (or like you said 'chock full of info'. Although, I closed my eyes at the torturing scenes...don't like that kind of violence and don't think it needs to be that graphical to make the point. Kate Burton's (Sally Langston) acting was superb, she's a really convincing VP-more than Biden I might add. She gives me confidence that a female POTUS will be soon here!


The scene Verna mentioned in Hollis' I drawing a blank or did that actually happen in a prior episode. I don't remember that scene at all.


First, let me say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE this show! I will be extremely disappointed if Shonda gets bored with it the way she did Private Practice and Grey's allowing the writing and storylines to dip into the absurdly pathetic and boring categories. I thought last night's episode was fabulous! I was glud from beginning to end. I don't find it obvious or predictable tat Hollis would be responsible for Grant's shooting. In fact, I was shocked. Why work so hard and spend so much money buying his trip to the White House only to turn around and try to kill him? If Hollis was worried about the public finding out, I would have thought he would have tried to have David and/or Cyrus's husband killed. I absolutely despise the Sally character! I can't wait until she goes loudly into the abyss! I hope she is forced to resign somehow.


You lost me at "this wasn't my favorite episode"


All Scandal episodes are great, way better than a lot of other shows. So an episode like this one is just great in a different way. Don't know what show you watched but I was riveted to my seat with my mouth open. Harrison is a gladiator. Olivia and Mellie, Mellie and Langston (Langston really doesn't know who she is messing with she just thinks she does). Verna, now if you think about it, she probably put that phone in Hollis' draw, why would she all of a sudden tell Olivia everything, and she didn't say I gave up Huck, she said I may have been involved in getting him arrested. May have, WOW, what a Bitch. Why would she even know Huck was involved? Verna is the one, gotta be. If she has cancer why worry if everyone finds out, She is a Supreme Court Justice, you can't fire them, the job is for life, so, something fishy there. David, David is a white hat. So much more I could say, not enough time, not enough space :-), I love Scandal and I am a gladiator.

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Scandal Season 2 Episode 10 Quotes

Olivia: Do you understand that we live in a democracy? With laws and rules and civil discourse? This is not Nicaragua. You can't just--
Cyrus: What, steal the White House? Yes, we can. It's been done before. Will be done again.

I'm a US Attorney, gentlemen. I represent the United States of America. The United States of America is in this room. So you need to watch how you treat the prisoner on American soil.