Scandal “First Lady Sings the Blues” Review (Season 4, Episode 20)

Desperate times call for desperate measures. At least, that’s what most of us tell ourselves whenever we feel we are forced into making a bad decision. The truth is, desperation always leads to bad decisions and even worse consequences. That’s a lesson Olivia and Co. learned in this week’s Scandal.

I had to roll my eyes at the case of the week. Well, not really the case so much as the implications of it. I liked the aspect of the story in which Olivia was trying to help a retired assassin stay retired. And I must say, I felt kind of sorry for “Mary Petersen.” She joined the KGB not because she was an extremely patriotic Russian citizen, but because she was desperate. Just like every other nefarious organization before it, the KGB preyed on Mary’s desperation and roped her into doing their bidding. Then, just like the mafia, once she was in they wouldn’t let her out. Just like B613. And also like B613, working for the KGB wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Even more than that, Mary wasn’t the same person as she was when she joined the KGB. When she was no longer desperate, she was able to stop and take a good, hard look at herself. She had spent years living the life that she’d always wanted. She was no longer that desperate girl who needed someone, anyone, to help her escape the horrible circumstances of her life. Now she was a wife and a mother. She was a church-goer and a fine, upstanding citizen. She realized the person she was no longer existed so even if she wanted to, she couldn’t kill indiscriminately anymore. So why was I rolling my eyes? Well, for one thing, I don’t think Pope and Associates is equipped to take on the KGB and it was silly to even have that angle working in the episode. Furthermore, if the KGB is indeed up and running again, why would they seek out agents who qualify for social security? Wouldn’t it make more sense to recruit and train new agents? The whole idea that the KGB would go through so much trouble for a retiree was kind of far-fetched. It felt like all of that was just so that the plot would support Olivia sending the Russians to take down Eli.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, the same way every time and expecting different results. Based upon that definition, I have to wonder whether Olivia is insane. I mean honestly. I don’t understand how she can’t see that every time she tries to attack Eli head-on, it always ends up with innocent people getting killed. Last time it was all those people who were trying to arrest him. This time it was Mary and her grandkids. How many more people are going to have to die before Olivia figures out that she needs to come at this from another angle? One thing that’s pretty evident about Eli is that he believes he can anticipate all the moves Olivia will make. He believes he knows Olivia better than she knows herself, and up to this point, he’s been right. She’s done everything he’s expected her to do. So why is she still using the same playbook? If he knows all the moves in that one, it’s time to get another playbook. Maybe it’s supposed to demonstrate just how deeply Eli gets into Olivia’s head and screws with her. I don’t know. But I’m getting to the point where I need Olivia to stop starting something with Eli and B613 if she’s not going to finish it.

On the upside, Olivia finally figured out Russell’s game. I’m just disappointed it took her so long. There have just been too many clues along the way for her not to realize that Russell was a plant. Sadly, it took a retired assassin and her grandkids getting killed before Olivia was able to put two and two together. Maybe if Olivia was more at the top of her game then she would’ve been able to figure it out more quickly, but I guess we’ll never know. I’m not going to rehash how horrible of an idea it was for Olivia to hook up with Russell in the first place because I’ve already said that a couple of times. I will say I breathed a sigh of relief when Olivia pulled her gun on him at the end. Especially since the genius was standing right in Olivia’s living room checking in with Eli. Of course, that’s not any worse than Olivia Co. discussing sending a hitman after Eli with some random dude crashed out in their safehouse. I was actually kind of disappointed they took Russell to their safehouse. I mean, I get that they wanted to protect him, but if you’re in hiding it doesn’t make sense to take people that you don’t really know to your safehouse.

I’m also glad the show didn’t kill off Jake. I know he’s not everyone’s favorite and the manner in which he entered Olivia’s orbit was downright stalkery. But after learning more about him, I’ve really grown to love him and I enjoy the dynamic he has with Olivia. I don’t know whether I would’ve been able to forgive the show if they’d let Jake go out like a punk though. So, I’m glad he gets to stick around. Maybe he’ll get an opportunity to redeem himself for all of the dumb moves he’s been making lately. It also creates an opportunity for him to try to sway Russell to their side. I don’t doubt it’ll be hard sell, but if I were Russell, I would seriously consider it. I mean, do you really want to work for a boss who’ll literally kill you because he’s disappointed with your work product?

While Olivia and Co. were trying to save Jake’s life, Mellie was having a rough go of it. Mostly due to Sally Langston stirring up trouble again. One thing I will say for Sally is that she’s definitely using her bully pulpit to her fullest advantage. The way that she planted the ideas of illegality and ethical conflicts into the national consciousness was actually pretty genius. Then she doesn’t have to come right out and say that she is opposed to a female running for Senate or anything else anti-feminist which would alienate people. Well played, Sally. Mellie’s political woes also highlighted just how inept Elizabeth is as a campaign manager. She (and everyone else really) was so concerned about the national conversation that they all forgot that this isn’t actually the Presidential election yet. They don’t need to win the hearts and minds of the entire country just yet. Mellie is trying to get elected as the Senator from Virginia, and they needed to think smaller. When Fitz called Olivia to ask for her help, that’s exactly what she told him. Once again, it’s an example of someone working so hard to get Fitz’s job that they lose sight of what’s right in front of them in the here and now. Just as an aside, the conversation between Cyrus and Sally on Sally’s talkshow was hilariously awkward.

Something else Mellie’s Senate run has done is strengthened Fitz and Mellie’s relationship. I gotta say, it’s kind of weirding me out to see them stand up for each other and show respect for each other. I don’t think all the hurt and anger between them is necessarily forgotten, but it seems that they have both decided that it’s water under the bridge. Both Fitz and Mellie have been given an opportunity to throw the other one under the bus, but they haven’t done it. Even in this episode Fitz got all up in Cyrus’s personal bubble and demanded that Cy get with the program and then when Elizabeth suggested that Mellie distance herself from Fitz by declaring that their marriage is actually over, Mellie refused and declared that she and Fitz are a team. I don’t know whether it was Gerry’s death or what, but Fitz and Mellie seem to have changed toward each other. I don’t know how long it’ll last, but for the moment, it looks like it’s working for both of them.

Despite my couple of gripes, this was a fairly decent episode. I really need for Olivia and Co. to either go all in for taking down B613 or don’t do it at all. As horrible and as dangerous an idea as it is, I would still be thrilled to see Olivia get Maya involved in taking down Eli. Talk about fireworks. I’m interested to see what Olivia’s next move will be and whether they’re able to turn Russell to their side. I guess we’ll find out in two weeks. So what did y’all think of this week’s Scandal?