After what was a gripping midseason premiere, Scandal Season 4 Episode 11 just failed to deliver in more ways than one.
There were definitely moments where the episode shined, but for the most part, this installment's getting two giant thumbs down from me.
Why? Because this is one jacked up timeline.
It was easy to wrap my head around the fact that last week's return (Scandal Season 4 Episode 10) was advancing our timeline forward as we learned how Olivia had been kidnapped and what had been taking place while she was being held in the fake Mosque.
It was easy enough to understand that tonight's episode would take us back in time to the hours immediately following Olivia's kidnapping and then it all just fell to pieces.
If tonight's timeline is correct, Olivia was held captive for a whopping 48 hours--maybe 72--and in that time she grew comfortable enough with her fake cell mate Ian to open up to him about how she would rescue them, begin to lose her mind a little and dream about being rescued, start marking days on the wall so she could keep up with time while she was there, and eventually stage a little escape for herself complete with killing one of her captors.
Uhhh...That pretty much doesn't work. For me. For the characters. For just about anything unless Olivia is the weakest and most easily broken person on the planet. (Newsflash: She isn't.)
In some shows it's easy to overlook timeline inconsistencies, but these episodes have been more than inconsistent. They've been terribly, horribly flung together enough to make me wonder what actually happened in that writer's room.
The only explanation which is even remotely plausible is that...well, no, it's not actually plausible that in the first 48 hours, she bonded with her cell mate, killed a guard, had her hair pull a full Monica-in-the-Bahamas, and recorded that video. But her manicure was still perfect, so maybe?
I was going to say that she recorded the video, Fitz called for air strikes, and then it was a month or so before Jake's attempted rescue, but that doesn't make sense.
The thing about it is that the Olivia-gets-kidnapped story was actually a pretty good one. Would Fitz declare war on a country just to save the woman he loves? Would Jake be the one to rescue her like in her dreams? Would Olivia find a way to save herself?
For starters, Fitz wouldn't have gone to war with West Angola to save Olivia because he knows Olivia never would've stood for that. She never would've put the value of her own life among countless other people. And Mellie wouldn't have told him to save Olivia either. Part of me wants to pretend that was all just a bad dream sequence as a result of too much bourbon and Mellie and Fitz are going to wake up on the balcony in the throes of the worst hangover either of them have ever experienced.
Again, and I know I'll catch flack for this, but Fitz is a weak man and not a strong leader at all, which is basically what Ian told Olivia while she tried to sponge bathe herself in the sink. So I guess it's a good thing this isn't really a show about a strong President, right? And we can forget all the posturing about how Fitz deserved to be President and needed to be President and how everyone else believed in him but he didn't believe in himself. (Remember! Fitz being President was basically all Big Jerry's idea!)
Not that Olivia needed to die, because this show isn't Scandal without Olivia Pope, but it would've made for some nice drama if Fitz had stuck to his guns about not going to war to save her and for ONCE sided with his family instead of his mistress.
Honor your son, Fitz. Honor the sacrifice he didn't even know he was making when he died! GEEZ!
Plus, from a writer's perspective, watching Fitz handle the ramifications of knowing he probably killed his mistress but never getting confirmation (because she sold herself to the highest bidder) would have made for some interesting storytelling. Now we just have Fitz trapped in the interminable cycle of trying to get Olivia back, and all the while she's showing that she's capable of handling herself.
Sure, she's colluding with Ian to sell her on the open market to the highest bidder, and whether or not this is the smartest move she could be making remains to be seen. BUT! She's taking her own destiny into her own hands by using the intellectually persuasive skills at her disposal in order to pull an...uh...Olivia Pope...on Ian.
As opposed to Mellie's skillset, which, while effective in that moment, wasn't a depth to which Olivia was ready to sink in order to free herself. (Then or probably ever.)
At first I was a bit confused that Mellie was falling for his lines, but I should've known she was there as a double agent. She does know how to get information, even if it turned out to be useless since Olivia had already solved her own problem, only to create a potentially larger one, of course, but still. She got her shower, her flat iron, and her suit. And probably a new bra since she destroyed her other one.
The best moments of the night were small; one made me cringe and two made me laugh.
Huck goes from Zero to Creepy in .02 seconds. Seriously. I cringed when Lizzie North opened her daughter's bedroom door to find Huck, wild-eyed and toolbox-ed. Dark Huck is always entertaining in that "OMG WHAT WILL HE DO!?" sort of way, but hearing him threaten to snap the little girl's neck was just hard to take, especially considering his own fractured relationship with his son.
Quinn gets two points for "All right. I'm down." when she, Jake, and Huck finally located Olivia and had to figure out a way to go in and rescue her. Could the three of them have taken all the heavily armed mercenaries? Sure, because this is television and the good guys have great aim while the bad guys rain bullets down on their enemies and rarely hit the mark. But the way Quinn is always so eager to jump into the action was a nice, light touch.
But the best moment of the night, the moment for which Scott Foley and Joshua Malina win my prizes, goes to this:
David: Do you see this hat?
Jake: I don't see a hat.
David: Use your imagination. I'm wearing a ten-gallon white hat. Just for the record.
Oh, David Rosen. You and your white hat are just the best.
What did you think of "Where's the Black Lady?" Were you shocked that Mellie told Fitz to go to war to save Olivia? Who will win the bidding war on Olivia Pope?
Don't forget that you can watch Scandal online right here at TV Fanatic.
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.