Scandal-Guess Who's Coming to Dinner-Kerry Washington

Without Scandal Thursday nights would be so empty. “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” explained Olivia’s relationship with her father through their favorite looking glass: Flashbacks. The hour wasn’t wasted, but there’s something in the air this season that we just don’t like.

The Players:

  • Director: Allison Liddi-Brown
  • Writer: Heather Mitchell
  • Cast: Kerry Washington, Guillermo Diaz, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina, Scott Foley, Kate Burton, Norm Lewis, Brian Letscher, Steven W. Bailey, Samantha Sloyan, Sharmila Devar, Joe Morton

Episode Title: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

The gladiators attempt to clean up a very big mess they helped make.

The Good:

  • Debts: Through frequent flashbacks featuring Olivia with bangs, we learned she and her father deal in obligations.  Huck is what ripped their relationship apart—asking her dad to look into the man that saved her from a mugging brought Eli’s role as head of B613 to light. Liv manipulated her father into handing over Huck by throwing her new fiancé’s role as CIA watchdog in his face. In the present, Daddy Dearest tries to barter Jake’s life with Janine taking the blame for the President’s affair. She of the white hats would never give up an innocent, so when the smoke cleared it looked like the whole ordeal was an excuse to reinstate Sunday dinners with Eli. Knowing Olivia will have to tangle with her father on a regular basis creates anticipation that needs to pay off.
  • The Return: The second Eli uttered the words, “If you ever want to see Jake Ballard again,” we knew Janine was going down for the affair. Olivia worked hard to ignore that easy out but seeing as she was indirectly responsible for the President naming Janine, her conscience isn’t clear. Since Janine destroyed evidence and nearly gave away her integrity for an account in the Cayman’s no one really cares. Now that Jake’s been delivered to Olivia’s doorstep, bearded and weak, the fun can begin. Fitz is still the married President of the United States while Jake is the charming and always available CIA operative. Surely, this will create problems for our favorite star crossed lovers. Operation Remington only got a brief mention last night but now that both soldiers are back in play, we expect that to change.
  • Never: The word never is the bread and butter of any quality drama; whatever fans think you’d never do is always something writers should consider.  When Huck confronted Olivia about her father’s association with B613, we never dreamed he’d attack her. That might be strong—Huck jumped on Liv, grabbed her head, and pushed her into a car. It looked like he used every ounce of self-control he had to pull himself off her. There have been hiccups in Liv and Huck’s relationship before. How this damage could even be repaired is anyone’s guess. Huck has to stay around to keep Quinn in line. Her hacking-because-she-can provided him with the information to figure out Eli’s connection in the first place. Charging her to be less like him and more like Olivia was a good move but she’s too far gone to make the necessary changes unsupervised.
  • Incommunicado: Burning through new and exciting ways to stay in each other’s lives, Fitz and Liv now have secret cell phones. The hand off for Liv’s was impressive. During a jog in the park Tom, the reliable Secret Service guy, ran by and handed Olivia the phone without breaking stride. The two titillate with jugular talk at the start but it was far more enjoyable to watch Olivia lash out in that special way that she reserves for when she needs to make Fitz do something.  Liv didn’t intend for that to amount to Janine getting the shaft but seeing the President spring into action because his true love told him to hasn’t gotten old yet.

The So-So:

  • Career Planning: In two out of two episodes, the mention of Mellie’s amazing intelligence has been made. We get she’s smart, in fact no one’s ever said anything to the contrary. Without Mellie, Cyrus wouldn’t have been able to launch a fact-based attack on Janine. We have no problem with the First Lady’s role as the behind-the-scenes henchman. Her constant war with Cyrus for the title of Dark Lord of the White House is always fun to keep track of.  However, if the writers are going to bemoan her wasted brilliance every week then something needs to change. She’s Mellie, she can surely manipulate her way into something of substance. If that’s not the direction the writers want to take her in then shut up about it forever.

The Bad:

  • Momentum’s Ugly Cousin: The rapid transition through story lines isn’t the only thing that made Scandal a ratings juggernaut. For the most part, they’ve managed to keep everyone guessing, which is impressive for a broadcast TV show. It’s not that anything was boring last night, but anyone could have put together Jake’s release. Wading into the pool of predictability will drown this program in the ordinary, and that’s the last thing we want to see.

Overall:

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” cleaned up the mess the gladiators made about as well as the show’s hiding Abby’s awesome new hair. So that means not well at all. Eli could be an interesting addition to the cast. His remarks on mammoth’s getting the credit that mastodon’s deserve alluded to his belief that he really runs the country other’s think they control. We’re actually confused as to why Huck didn’t recognize Eli. Wasn’t his face hanging over the hole when Huck was released? They’ll have to explain that, and while they’re at it, Cyrus could do with some drama of his own. He said himself last week, he’s monster. But monsters are only scary when they’re up to something.

Rating: 8/10

Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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