Scandal Review: Conspiracy Theory

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And just like that, Scandal does it again. I'm sitting here, mouth open, after the last 10 minutes of an episode that, quite frankly, changes everything.

"Beltway Unbuckled" revealed old alliances while also bringing about new ones.

Fitz Worries

Let's just start at the beginning, shall we?

David and Abby's encounter last week certainly wasn't a one-off roll in the hay. They've seen each other at least eight more times since then. In last Thursday's Scandal Round Table, we asked if David was using Abby for information or if something more might be blossoming between the two. The panel thought that what may have started off as a quest for information could turn into something more and it looks like we were right.

David's phone call to Alissa, his assistant, certainly made it seem that he was using her for intel, but halfway through the episode it became clear that Abby's done a number on David. There's something about the two of them together that works and I like where this is headed.

The case this week was a particularly tricky one that forced Olivia to turn to the White House for help. And she found that help in an unexpected ally: Mellie Grant.

Mellie wants to play a more prominent political role in Fitz's Presidency. She's tired of being relegated to photo ops and tv specials. There's more to Mellie Grant than just her hair and wardrobe.

Mellie Grant has moxie.

Watching Olivia and Mellie come together to outplay Fitz and Cyrus was rather spectacular, as was Fitz and Cyrus' reactions to seeing the women work together. It's clear from Cyrus' remark about his "playbook" that Olivia learned quite a bit from him, and since Olivia is still the character about whom we know the least, small glimpses into her history are always welcomed parts of this narrative.

Which brings me to the scenes with Verna, the Supreme Court Justice.

In losing Stephen, the show lost Olivia's human, non-romantic connection. She'd been vulnerable around him at some point and he was in her inner circle. Olivia's willingness to sit with her sick friend during chemo treatments says that this is a person about whom Olivia cares deeply. This isn't just a client whose hand she's holding while they sort things out. Verna knows her and knows her history with Fitz.

A history which, at least for the time being, seems to be coming to an end.

While I appreciate their romantic conflict, and while I can see the love in the President stooping to put on her shoes, his words last week hit below the belt and sort of soured me on the Fitz and Olivia romance.

But then, here, their shared realization that this is a star-crossed love, doomed from the beginning by circumstances begun before they ever met, might've had me a little misty-eyed. As they sat there in that cafe and she asked the question "Where can this go, really?" my heart broke a little for the two of them. So much sadness! They play desperation so well. (Almost the entire scene from the cafe is recapped on the Scandal quotes page.)

And that brings us to about the last, jam-packed, story-propelling few minutes.

Huck's off the wagon. When he confronted the victim's father and tried to convince the man not to do what Huck instinctively knew the man was thinking, I thought it was perhaps part of his attempt to stay sober. That in convincing this man not to go after his daughter's murderer, he was somehow convincing himself. I didn't expect him to murder the murderer, but more than that, I didn't expect him to like it.

His speech at the recovery meeting was absolutely chilling.

Equally chilling? That final table with Hollis Doyle, Cyrus, Verna, Olivia and Mellie coming together while Fitz soared to Tokyo on Air Force One. These five people have been at work since long before Fitz became President Grant and I can't wait to find out more.

What did you think of "Beltway Unbuckled?" What are your theories about Cytron?

Beltway Unbuckled Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (225 Votes)

Miranda Wicker was a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in 2017. Follow her on Twitter.

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Scandal Season 2 Episode 4 Quotes

Cyrus: You can't be here.
Olivia: I wouldn't have come if I didn't I need a favor.

Mellie: I want a seat at the table.
Cyrus: You have a seat at the table.
Mellie: The kiddie table. I want a seat at the adult's table like I was during the election. Or have you forgotten how things worked back then?
Cyrus: We've all made sacrifices, me as much as anyone. That was the election. This is the White House and in the White House, this is the way things work.