In Scandal‘s “The Key,” Olivia is ready to get her expensive pants dirty, and find out what’s really going on with Jake, who has seemingly disappeared. Yet at first, despite being Olivia Pope, no one will return her phone calls or take her demands seriously (this is all to their peril). In her search for Jake and for the truth, she’s also inadvertently drawing together everyone she knows into a complex web that will hopefully save him. Sooner would be better than later, though, since Fitz is on the warpath. Hit the jump for why “respectfully, sir, she’s probably drunk and in a food coma from too much fried chicken.”
“The Key” was another extended example of what happens when Fitz is left to make decisions for himself. Let’s be real, here — he’s never been anything more than a figurehead at best. Really, he’s a puppet. He’s been the puppet of Olivia, his father, Mellie, Cyrus, Rowan — pretty much anyone he comes into contact with. Unfortunately, his inner circle has been scattered, and with Cyrus blinded by the fact that Jake did actually kill James, Fitz thinks he’s got his son’s killer in his grasp, refusing to hear otherwise. It leaves him beating up Jake, but not getting any of the answers he wants, because he can’t figure stuff out on his own.
Olivia, it seems, is the only one who can see through Rowan’s lies. But Rowan is damn good at what he does, and is able to spin just enough truth into his lie about Jake to make Olivia believe that maybe Jake really did kill Jerry (and Harrison). After all, it is what he does.
Jake mentally calls out for Liv to save him, but it is Abby who is the lynchpin. So far this season, she’s been struggling to get out from Olivia’s shadow, and establish herself as someone other than “Gabby” (to Fitz) and “Red” (to Cyrus). She’s been pushing Olivia away, hard, to distance herself and try and gain some of her own power (which Olivia, truthfully, hasn’t been respectful of at all). What Abby has only begun to realize at the end of “The Key,” though, is that she can bring these pieces together (through her position at the White House, and her personal relationship with David, who can vouch for Jake’s desire to hunt down Rowan) to save Jake. She can be the white hat, and she can save the day.
For now though, there’s still a lot of confusion, and a lot of hurt. In one of the hour’s more interesting developments, though, Fitz blurting out his interrogation of Jake has given Mellie a reason to pull herself together. Though Fitz is repulsed by her reaction about Jerry’s death now meaning something, it’s not actually as crazy as Fitz tries to gaslight her about. Mellie needed to find a purpose, and the idea that Jerry was killed because of Fitz and his position gives her something to hold on to, and to fight with. Though he dismisses her and tells her to get out until she returns to the Mellie he knows (who he doesn’t like anyway, so I don’t see the point), it’s not about Fitz and his whiny needs (although why he doesn’t include her I don’t know — did he not see how she solved the mystery of Cliff-Falling Husband? She would get to the bottom of things). Mellie has seen the light she needed to to move on, shedding the robe and Uggs in her wake.
Orbiting on the outskirts of all of this is the Case of the (Several) Weeks, which has been ongoing (a big plus) and oddly presented (a big minus). There’s a key that leads to something important enough to kill over, which is a good mystery, sure. But when Olivia tells Caitlyn’s father Jeremy the truth about his employee Kubiak killing his daughter (and her friend Faith), Jeremy just looks confused. When he confronts Kubiak, who is his employee, Kubiak essentially shrugs and asks him not to ask. He killed your daughter, guy. I think Jeremy needs a lesson from Fitz and Mellie how to more properly grieve over this incredibly difficult revelation. Further, do you not have any control over this guy Kubiak? Find your balls, Jeremy.
Meanwhile, Huck continues to stalk his old family, while his (ex?) wife tells him to buzz off, thinking he’s completely insane. Yet, Huck has Olivia Pope on his side, not to mention a legion of other Gladiators who would be happy to put in a word with Kim on his behalf regarding the fact that he’s actually telling the truth. Why doesn’t he utilize that? Aside from the fact that everyone knows about B6-13 now anyway, what harm would it do to just confirm that he was working for a government agency? It’s currently a weak story with too many holes. I predict though that Quinn will go and sort things out with Kim, unless she decides to act selfishly and wants to keep Huck to herself (though even she must realize that it’s important for him to have a relationship with his son if possible). Mainly, Huck needs to not be crazy again this season, and if he starts trying to pull teeth again then game over.
Last season, Scandal was splintered off in so many different directions, it was hard to know what to focus on. Mercifully, this season has been far more contained. “The Key” was a great example of how Scandal is tying most of its major story arcs together, and allowing for some good character development along the way (like with Mellie’s grief, and with Abby coming into her own). The white hats are finally assembling.
Episode Rating: B+
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Mellie has been reborn, like a phoenix rising from the ashes! Fly, Mellie, fly!
— Huck answering Liv’s rhetorical question about how long it would take for someone to find a body was such classic Huck.
— “In what context are we normal?” – Liv to Rowan.
— “Be quiet now, and let’s wait for the president. [By the way,] these handcuffs are a suggestion for me” – Jake, who was in B6-13, y’all. He’s not going to crack under quasi-stern interrogation techniques that annoy him more than anything (poor Bill).
— I also feel bad for the well-meaning psychiatrist who Kim brought in to try and help Huck, who Huck then tried to strangle.
— I love Mellie’s scary voice that she pulled on Lauren.
— “Why are we all trying to be Olivia Pope?” – David.