Scandal Season 4 Episode 19 recap

Well, if it’s possible for an episode to be both unrelentingly brutal and completely boring, this one was it. I know that sometimes the long slow march to the end of the season needs to be filled with things, but this episode did not have enough of those things. No matter how often Olivia marches through a butcher shop and we all go ‘oooh, we’ve never seen this environment’, it doesn’t change that nothing happened at all in this episode.

ROMAN IS INFALLIABLE. Did you know this? Did you get it, maybe, from the twelve episodes last season that pointed that out? She’s never going to win against him. He’s smarter, faster, stronger. But that’s not the part that bothers me.

What bothers me is that in order to prove how insanely intelligent Roman is, they have to make Olivia the dumb one. “Here’s my father’s phone, so uh….you do the rest." What is that?!  That’s not the Olivia we’ve come to know and believe in. She knows he has all kinds of black ops, she knows he outsmarts her.  She doesn’t think to at least get her client Mary to a safehouse?

It just all feels false to me, and I hate that it does. Because there’s nothing else to look at on the show, either.   Quinn and Huck don’t have stories, they have lines. This week, Quinn’s was “Get him to a hospital!” and Huck’s was “Javi…” There’s not enough for the ‘Associates’ to do anymore so they’re just the muscle, and occasionally they get a line, but never a story. What’s the point of having them around all the time?  Even Grizz and Dotcom had time off to do whatever they needed to do offscreen.

The White House stuff, meanwhile, functions as at least some semblance of a business. But that, too, has some holes. Ironically, given the story, Mellie running for Senator was the least fanciful part of the show. She wants something strong and is going after it. The part where Cyrus thinks it should be him? Also theoretically quite believable, because Cyrus used to have ambition. But we haven’t seen it in years, and not because he’s been busy. In fact, Cyrus has been on the backburner for years. So while I believe that he secretly resents not being the guy…you know, like ‘the guy’, it’s a bit out of thin air for Sally to just divine that out of nowhere.  Give us some context! Let’s hear all the years of education and law school that have gone to waste for him. Sure, he told Abby this might be the last job she ever has, but he’s Chief of Staff. Where exactly was he heading next? It isn’t that he can’t have bigger dreams, but we need to hear them.

Just like we need to hear Olivia’s sentiments for what she wants to do next, or at all. She’s trembling and she’s traumatized from having been kidnapped and she’s trying to have sexual healing and all, but she’s lost her forward momentum. Her wins are fewer and further between, and she’s lost a sense of purpose.

Which is indicative of the real truth…

The show, as it is, has run out of gas. Jake! Fitz! Rowan! All of these men have been the very worst and best, and Olivia has trembled steel-ily in their presence. We can’t see a bigger evil. I mean, I guess we could – Olivia could take on Isis – but we’re really stretching our limits here.

So what now? Let’s hope she finally finds a way to dispatch her father, or dump him in a hole, or whatever she now feels is humanitarian – and then we can move on with the show and what it needs, which includes an injection of new characters, a new day-to-day for the ‘company’, and some stakes – especially in the White House, which hasn’t had any urgency since Fitz got his second term.

We can do it, but it takes a little more than glasses of red wine and funk music.