Scandal-No Sun on the Horizon-Kerry Washington and Jeff Perr

Scandal has a tried and true recipe for kicking things into high gear. “No Sun on the Horizon” made good on the show’s promised second shocker. Even though they delivered we’re still wondering if the old formula’s enough.

The Players:

  • Director: Randy Zisk
  • Writer: Matt Byrne
  • Cast: Kerry Washington, Guillermo Diaz, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina, Scott Foley,

Episode Title: “No Sun on the Horizon”

Fitz is thrown for a loop during the first presidential debate and Olivia makes a tough decision after some shocking news. Meanwhile, the gladiators work with a powerful CEO accused of murder.

The Good:

  • Bang Bang: When you’ve got a slightly boring murder cover-up, just pour a box of bullets into it. Putting a stop to the worst Deep Throat attempt in history would have been reason enough but Sally’s truth was too much to bear. It’s better that Sally’s quest to confess didn’t end with Double Secret Agent Tom gunning her down during the election. The question is, will Jake’s killing spree mar your love for his character? James and David were always going to be stopped, that’s how Scandal works. This event exists to create a significant moment in a popular character‘s trajectory. This could sever Olivia and Jake’s relationship, but then again, she and Fitz were able to survive his murderous past. Either way, it creates the tension that we’ve been waiting for.
  • You’re Right, I’m Sorry: We knew Abby and David wouldn’t be allowed to be happy for long. Jake gunned down the inconsequential NSA agent and White House Reporter immediately but left us wondering whether Abby’s boyfriend or Cyrus’s husband ate the next bullet. Next week’s preview shows Olivia promising justice to someone. It felt more like something she would say to Abby.  On the other, the apology speech Cyrus gave James after he found the wire in his office was touching, and could have doubled for a good-bye-you’re-about-to-die speech.  Cyrus is the one that pointed Jake in the direction of the drama. So who’s bleeding? Abby and David’s fight over David’s aloof attitude to his proximity to danger was slightly adorable. Who will warm our hearts now?
  • Who Shot Ya: You could explain all this away by saying Jake’s always been a killer. He is a military man and the leader of B6-13 after all. It’s his motivation that matters. Everything Cyrus said was right. The news that the Vice President killed her husband would destroy the public’s faith in government. However, Jake didn’t decide to take action until Olivia used their spontaneous night in bed to strengthen her relationship with Fitz. It’s hard to decide what’s worse: Jake refusing to investigate a national threat because of his feelings for Olivia or that he killed those people to get over his heartbreak. Of course the best nugget was Quinn’s hardened heart spouting the Pope stained hate speech that ultimately pushed Jake back into dirty work. It’s obvious these scorned Pope disciples will be dangerous together.
  • Killing the Sun: Olivia started the night trying to run from the truth of Cyrus and Mellie’s murder cover-up. What could it do to the presidential campaign, and her relationship with Fitz. That’s how she ended up in bed with Jake, clinging to another person trying to run away and pretend. Of course Olivia made the choice that she makes every other week. Whether or not to stay with Fitz, she chose the darkness in more ways than one. There is something admirable about deciding to be present and accept the life you have. Killing the sun, ending the dream of Vermont, and breaking Jake’s heart had a note of finality this time. Her crack up over the murderous past of all of the presidential candidates and even more excessive that usual wind consumption has us concerned. Could Olivia be headed for a breakdown?

The So-So:

  •  Shock and Awe: Do you recall that single second that bullet pierced the president’s skull in Season 2? It’s one of the series’ definitive surprising moments. There was a great deal of drama going on, but there was no precursor to Fitz’s near assassination. The killer, nor the woman behind it had any screen time in a suspicious vein before it happened. It just unfolded entirely in front of our eyes. But we crave the surprise Scandal used to provide at regular intervals. If the entire gasp inducing moment hinges on the identity of the killer, it has to be a character we’d never expect or an entirely new face.

Overall:

“No Sun on the Horizon” didn’t disappoint. Wading through Jake’s hardening heart and the shell casings at his feet wasn’t satisfying. Though with strong scenes from Olivia and Quinn, the night didn’t feel pointless. Sally’s championship run as the repentant sinner was so brilliant that Fitz throwing the first debate hardly registered. If the who lives/dies complex takes over next week’s episode, we might fall behind.

Rating: 9.5/10

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

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