Scandal-The Fluffer-Darby Stanchfield and Kerry Washington

Scandal knows how to surprise people. “The Fluffer” started out at a slow pace, but ended with a bang. Only two weeks are left in the season and we’re not sure if they’ve done enough to prepare us for the end.

The Players:

  • Director: Jeannot Szwarc
  • Writer: Chris Van Dusen and Raamla Mohamed
  • Cast: Kerry Washington, Guillermo Diaz, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina, Scott Foley

Episode Title: “The Fluffer”

Abby takes over Olivia’s White House duties as the Gladiators investigate B6-13. Elsewhere, someone sabotages Governor Reston’s campaign.

The Good:

  • Consequences: B6-13’s money laundering algorithm falls in line with their organizations loophole existence. We could waste time pondering how they could siphon money out of the budgets of every other government office without notice, but their surprising shut-down takes precedent. It’s been a while since things moved this fast: Huck discovered that by hacking Jake’s phone and implanting a competing code, he could gain access to B6-13’s entire network. All Olivia had to do was play on Jake’s desires, which drove him to drunkenly bang on her door in the first place. They had no way of knowing that shutting down a necessary evil would mean leaving the President open for attack, but that’s what happens.  No matter how well meaning, every action has a reaction. Rapidly building the quest to end the elusive spy organization only to lead it to Marie Wallace’s terrorist action was a brilliant turn of events. 
  • The Hard Things: If all Olivia had to deal with was sleeping with a man who recently killed her god-daughter’s father, that would be enough. Never mind the fact that before Olivia used a booty call to gain access to B6-13’s network, Jake was at her door reminding her that he asked her to save him. That Fitz would ask her at the same time to stop Andrew and Mellie’s affair seems almost criminal, but that was the point. At first the episode seemed slow and daunting, almost to mirror Olivia’s war with her role as fixer and mistress. To know that Fitz needs Mellie’s relationship ended means that deep down he still loves his wife. With Cyrus nearly ruining the campaign by giving Sally an opportunity to switch her stance on abortion, they did an excellent job showing just how fast Olivia’s life is crumbling.
  • Bombs Away: Obviously Marie Wallace must have amazing skills because it’s hard to imagine a terrorist moving so easily around town. Her arrival at Rowan and Olivia’s dinner was unexpected, though her vicious killing of Harrison’s friend was exactly what needed to happen. Watching as Olivia’s parents clutched steak knives and stare at each other’s throats longingly hammered in the horrible position the heroine is in. How long will it take for someone to discover that Marie and Adnan’s terrorist gained their intel for their attack on the President from Olivia’s computer? She’s not going to have another Governor Reston to kick out of the campaign to distract people if it does. Making Abby and Leo work together to expose Reston’s horrible side made was interesting. On a night when David and Abby don’t have many scenes together, it’s worth taking note. 
  • Lost Love: Olivia gave Andrew a choice between love and power. Reminding Andrew that to do her job she’d have to assassinate his political career seemed to have no effect on him. Though it’s possible Olivia’s words on Mellie’s inherent need to run with the big dogs while Andrew watched the First Lady’s impassioned speech to the military women of America. Whether he abandoned his love because of Mellie’s words about serving the people of the country, or to serve what he believes to be Mellie’s best interest was unclear. Mellie’s ridiculous hesitation to reprise her tryst gave room for those thoughts to grow. Once she came around, Andrew’s decision had been made. Watching Mellie storm into the Oval Office and slap Fitz in front of everyone was one of the most passionate moments of the night. Threatening Fitz’s life may be the only thing to keep Mellie loyal now; without that plot her only plausible avenues are revenge or self-destruction.
  • Truth: It’s like we’ve said from the start: Quinn is a Gladiator. Charlie was sure to impress upon his now begrudging girlfriend that it’s obvious her allegiance lies with Pope & Associates. Quinn’s desire to stop Marie Wallace before learning what she intended to use the bomb for made that plain. Will she go straight back to the Gladiators, or will Jake strangling Olivia get B6-14 up and running again. It’s obvious no matter what, Charlie’s not going to sit by and let Quinn walk out of his life unchallenged. A campaign bombing isn’t the only explosion in our future.

The Bad:

  • From Bad to Worse: So now Harrison’s job is to pine away for Adnan and get one of his friends killed. Convincing Claire to turn on Marie and Adnan caused her throat to get slit in record time. At this point it’s obvious the writers we’re never planning to use Harrison to his full potential. Does that mean he has to be given ridiculous lines to? Having Harrison tell Huck he’s lucky he’s not a normal guy is stupid considering not too long ago Huck’s ex-girlfriend shot the President. Obviously he can fall victim to a beautiful woman just like a “normal,” man. And with the increasing desperation in his eyes at the mere mention of Quinn’s name, Huck is a victim once more.

Overall:

“The Fluffer” seemed slow at first but barreled towards a frenzied conclusion. Great care was taken to show the distress and change in Olivia. Look only to Abby subbing for her at the White House wearing Olivia’s signature white coat and pale colors, with Olivia skulking about in black. It’s not just for hiding Kerry Washington’s pregnancy.

Rating: 8.5/10

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

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