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:
- Hollis Doyle is behind the assassination
- 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.
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.
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.
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.