Scandal Season 5 Episode 4 Review: All the Right Moves

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It might be 1:30 in the morning right now, but I'm not even a little sleepy thanks to Scandal Season 5 Episode 4. This episode, right now, is going down as my favorite in a long, long time. 

The dialogue was witty and fast and sharp. Real-world issues were tackled. Marcus Walker suited up. Fitz and Olivia are looking more and more like a real couple. Jake got a love interest who is not Olivia!

The only thing I can find to criticize about Scandal's current stories is this whole impeachment thing, but since there are more than a few people out there who don't understand what, exactly, impeachment is, meh. It can slide. And maybe educate along the way.

Oh! I just thought of something else I didn't love tonight, so we'll get that out of the way and then jump into everything that was great about the episode.

Was it just me or did anyone else find the news broadcast history of Olivia's life interspersed with the actual scenes just incredibly irritating? I'm not sure if it grated on me because of the content of the fake broadcast or because it kept taking me out of the action, but it annoyed me that it continued throughout the entire episode. An opening scene in the beginning, maybe one to bookend the night, and okay, cool. Neat trick, I guess. 

It gave us a pictorial history of Joe Morton, Khandi Alexander, and Kerry Washington, so that was cool? 

I'm championing Shonda Rhimes hard right now for using her platform to talk about current events, like the rape threats on news stories about Olivia, or about how women, especially women of color, are portrayed in the media. Some will call this heavy handed, but the social commentary on Scandal just helps ground it in the real world for me.

In Olivia's case, her entire history, all of her accomplishments, were erased by one event in her life. That's why I love Marcus Walker coming into the OPA fold and the callback to Scandal Season 1 Episode 1 when Harrison offered Quinn a job as a "gladiator in a suit."

That smooth talk might not have worked for Quinn with Marcus, but it was great to relive that moment.

Marcus is a character who, from the get-go, has been politically charged and completely unafraid to speak out about injustice. He couldn't sit by and let Olivia Pope continue to be destroyed in the media, so he took action and convinced Quinn and Huck to do the same.

Then we got one of the best lines of the night from Huck:

Marcus: So, who's gonna tell Olivia I work here now?
Huck: Uh, I will. I'm damaged. She doesn't like to yell at me.

There was no way I couldn't chuckle at that. 

Olivia might not have considered this the smart move, but it was the right move, a theme which was repeated throughout the installment. 

It was absolutely a dumb move for Fitz to go to Olivia and parade her out in public because he went back on his agreement not to hurt Mellie, a moment which I thought was pretty great for the former team. Cyrus might have proclaimed that Mellie never loved Fitz and only used him to get ahead, but as a viewer I just don't see it that way. 

And can we take just a second to interject here that Cyrus went WAY below the belt in comparing his love for Fitz like a son to Mellie's loss of Jerry and how his pain is worse than hers was a gut punch and a half? I'm surprised she didn't punch him after that. Or slap him. Something. He might have been speaking his truth, but yikes. That man is a crazypants narcissist.

Some part of Mellie Grant, maybe before Fitz was governor, loved him. There's a tenderness there for her largely because of all she sacrificed to get him to the White House, but also because that love lingers. She's not in love with him and hasn't been for some time, but love is weird and the line between love and hate is a thin one.

I don't believe she hopes they'll ever be together again, but I do believe she hopes they can be friends. Cyrus wasn't wrong when he said that what Fitz took from her was his friendship, and that's what hurts her the most. She's alone.

In going to Olivia, Fitz provoked Mellie into openly seeking his impeachment. There's a slight chance that this was a calculated move Abby anticipated and that in pushing Mellie toward the impeachment, he's also helping to push her toward the White House, but I fear that's a far too happily motivated scenario.

We'll see. Maybe on Scandal Season 5 Episode 5.

It may seem flip-floppy, but I really loved Olivia and Fitz tonight. I love the moments when they're just two normal people in a relationship having a conversation and not throwing each other onto a bed or up against a stack of servers in a closet. I loved watching her try to be mad that he was coming for her in the elevator, but she couldn't help but straighten her sweater while holding back a smile. 

In those moments, I can see Vermont for these two, and I really hope Jake's wife's return doesn't screw this up so it becomes some sort of weird rhombus o' love. Jake and Elise will have enough trouble running from their former lives as spies and uncovering whatever Rowan's up to with Lazarus One. Jake loves Olivia, but he deserves a chance at happiness.

High fives for a Charlie sighting, too! He's always a good time.

"Dog-Whistle Politics" was an all-around excellent episode for me, but I want to hear from you. 

What are your thoughts about Scandal Season 5 Episode 4? Who had your favorite line of the night? Did Fitz make the right call in going to Olivia? Who is Rowan working with from inside the prison?

Sound off in the comments below and don't forget you can watch Scandal online

Dog-Whistle Politics Review

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

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Scandal Season 5 Episode 4 Quotes

Quinn: Olivia Pope and Associates needs a mouthpiece. You're good with the press. You won't just be some corporate spinner. You'll be one of us. Look, the job is yours if you want it. It's the best job you'll ever have. You will change lives. You will slay dragons. You will love the hunt more than you ever have. I am not crazy. I'm a gladiator in a suit. That's what you are when you work at OPA. You're a gladiator in a suit. Do you want to be a gladiator in a suit?
Marcus: No.

Quinn: You're broke, Marcus. You're unemployed because you screwed the mayor's wife. You're damaged goods, but you're charming and attractive and you can drive a narrative. Plus, you know, stray dogs...
Marcus: Okay, now I see. You're crazy. You one of those crazy chicks?
Quinn: I'm offering you a job.