Scandal-Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington-Kerry Washington and Scott Foley7jt

Scandal knows who to fear. Hell hath no fury like a mother in distress. “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington” brought the return of regular clients—though the first isn’t exactly what she seems. Things are going well but we’re worried the show may be losing its edge.

The Players:

  • Director: Jeannot Szwarc
  • Writer: Matt Byrne
  • Cast: Kerry Washington, Guillermo Diaz, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina, Scott Foley, Cynthia Stevenson, Mark Moses, Ernie Hudson, Patrick St. Espirit, Brian Letscher, Aarti Mann, Sharmila Devar, Joe Morton

Episode Title: “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington”

Olivia helps a mom in distress on Capitol Hill, while Fitz and Mellie redefine their relationship.

The Good:

  • Ownership: Huck’s journey to truth was more illuminating than he intended. His trail of Eli was sloppy—a novice could have spotted his car at Eli’s house. Huck’s near assassination of Olivia’s father on the city sidewalk was a reckless giveaway. Leading Huck to a mini-mission was obviously Eli’s intent. Faking the suicide of a loose end was child’s play for this damaged CIA guy. Understanding that no matter what, Eli still controls him was the reality that helped enlighten Jake and Olivia to the same crushing fact. Olivia and Jake’s quiet contemplation of what Eli has in store for them had the chilling sense of foreboding for which the moment was designed. 
  • Guts: Even at their very best Pope & Associates’ clients are an elaborate distraction from the real meat of Scandal.  That being said, guest star Cynthia Stevenson’s turn as a mother so convinced of her son’s innocence that she straps a bomb to herself and takes hostages was a sound one. As long as Washington D.C. stays open (Ha!) there will be mothers like Mary Nezbit, desperate for answers about their missing/dead children. If anything, the story reaffirmed Olivia’s winning philosophy: Go with your gut. Mary’s story was a testament to the many families that will never know what heroes their children were or the true circumstances of their death. She perished without ever knowing her son’s heroic penetration on the ranks of terrorist organizations. Her unnecessary suicide is sure to weigh on Olivia.
  • Enabling: For the record, we could do without David Rosen’s high and mighty speech vilifying Liv every time a gladiator turns up for a favor. Since he’s just going to help anyway, it’s a waste of time. We get it; David serves as Liv’s conscience—constantly reminding her of the importance of that ever present white hat. However, since he lived at Pope & Associate’s offices and continues to love our argumentative Abby, David can help with a smile every now and again.  However he’s coming into his own. Manipulating Cyrus into divulging the contents of a classified file was impressive, even with the White House watchdog in A diminished capacity. Plus, he pushed Olivia into her best breathless rant of the night. That judgmental and bullying speech about right and wrong makes the show’s moral compass see reason.

The So-So:

  •  Operation Remington: This week’s Remington breadcrumb involved a man attempting to infiltrate the Oval Office via a West Wing tour.  He went down screaming about needing to talk to Fitz about the Operation. His testimony is impossible now; his fake suicide was the loose end Eli led Huck to tie up. Eli is willing to kill to keep this quiet and others involved are willing to risk their lives and livelihoods to get it out. Now that the importance has been impressed upon us for the third week in a row, it’s time for some inkling on what this operation entails. There has to be something to keep us interested in the drama Scandal hopes will be as captivating as last season’s search for the mole. 
  • The Puppeteer: Though this episode was billed as one that would outline Mellie and Fitz’s feelings for each other, no new information was given. Just like last week, and all the weeks before, they made it clear they despise one another. Mellie’s disgust is underscored with the pain of a woman who still loves a husband that’s dedicated to someone else.  Still her hooch-inspired declaration to use Olivia to control Fitz was the kind of awesome speech we’ve come to love from the White House’s dark queen. Was there ever a cuter drunk than Mellie? We’re still waiting for a story worthy of her calculated mind. But watching her torture her husband with words is good enough for now.

The Bad:

  • Neutered: Yet again, the only thing Cyrus does is ship the hard job off to Eli, get bested by David, and play marriage counselor to the President. At this point, it looks like the White House watchdog has been neutered. Cyrus is only good when he’s blackmailing, two-timing and destroying anything and everything that gets in his way. So get to it people!

Overall:

“Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington” brought us back to the normal episode format. There was lots of client drama peppered with pieces of the real intrigue. It wasn’t all good, but the show managed to christen a couple important things. The names may be obvious but we have a feeling, “Fitz phone,” and calling Quinn, “Baby Huck” are going to be new staples, at least as far as fans are concerned. The real saving grace were the seeds planted just as the hour came to a close. What will Eli do with Huck, Liv, and Jake? And is Jake trustworthy? Jake’s loyalties were constantly in question last season and now that he’s been freed from The Hole, he’s still a mystery.

Rating: 8/10

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

What did you think of this episode?