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Scandal “You Can’t Take Command” Review (4×22)

15 May

SCANDAL - "You Can't Take Command" - Everything comes to a head in the shocking season finale when Olivia and the team finally make some big moves to take down Command, and Mellie's fate is sealed as the election results are announced, on the season finale of "Scandal," THURSDAY, MAY 7 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Nicole Wilder) SCOTT FOLEY, GUILLERMO DIAZ, JOSHUA MALINA, KATIE LOWES, KERRY WASHINGTON

“I can’t have a soul. If I had one, I’d never accomplish a thing.”

Sure, that may be largely a politician thing, but it’s also indicative of a bigger problem in the Scandal universe: its characters are not so much fleshed out characters as they are contrivances, plot points that constantly exploit others’ secrets and look to deliver the next big Shonda Rhimes speech. This type of broad characterization only works, however, when there’s a clear and focused arc tying everything together; without that, it’s just a bunch of writers writing themselves into circles and squares and ellipticals and obtuse angles. Because their characters don’t really have souls, they can be maneuvered wherever is most convenient, and it gets pretty grating to watch at times.

This is a show that does a fine job of building up hype and conversation, but the payoffs rarely reach the heights of, say, season two. The B613 plot is already vague and scattered to begin with, but throw in the entire grand jury plot in the finale and you’ve got yourself one overstuffed, artificial hour of television. The list of names is already nonsensical–why do they even need the names if the murders are going to go down like that?–but to make matters worse, they don’t really add anything compelling to the B613 storyline. It’s just another plot point jammed into the show in order to contrive some conflicts.

Of course, this is all a vehicle for the Rowan storyline, which is one that has long overstayed its welcome. There’s no denying that Joe Morton sells the hell out of the character, but it’s fairly disappointing to see the script write him into an unsatisfying corner. I’ll give the writers this, though: they do hit the point they want to hit about Eli Pope being not quite as powerful as he wants to believe, about Eli Pope coming “back down to this planet” and seeming more fallible than not. This is Olivia finally taken the initiative and making a move on her father, and it takes her out of the suffocating influence of her father and back into her independent, assertive Olivia Pope mode. “I’m sick of being comforted,” she says. “I’m sick of being the victim…for once in my life, he’s the scared kid and I’m Command.”

The problem, however, is the fact that I feel like I’ve seen this arc before. Rowan just seems to be popping up at convenient times to throw a wrench into a stumbling storyline, but instead of fixing anything, he only becomes more exasperating to watch with each multi-episode arc. And for all the time we spent with him, is it too much to ask for at least a satisfying ending to his storyline? Apparently, it is, as he ends up behind bars, just one move away from breaking out and causing havoc for Olivia yet again.

For now, Olivia’s back to making out with Fitz, and it looks like “Here Comes the Sun” is a symbol for the sun once again shining on these two lovebirds’ perpetual bullshit. Just a few minutes before, Fitz is back to being a hypocritical jackass, apparently overlooking his history of letting violence go to get what he wants; so, he kicks Mellie out of the White House and fires Cyrus, and we’re left wondering how long it’ll take before Olivia gets a paper cut and Fitz bombs the shit out of a third world country. It’s not a surprising ending for the show–it’s going back to what it knows–but it’s certainly disappointing. Scandal is floundering, and it’s far from the fun, propulsive, and entertaining series it used to be.

GRADE/SEASON GRADE: C+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Please just get rid of Huck and Quinn already. Just pull the goddamn trigger, Quinn.

-I’ll still probably watch season five, but my interest has been dwindling by the episode recently.

Photo credit: ABC, Scandal

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2 Responses to “Scandal “You Can’t Take Command” Review (4×22)”

  1. Justin May 15, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    I was hoping that they would give Rowan a permanent conclusion. But, with the way they left him, it’s likely they’ll bring him back again down the road which would be a bad idea. Like you said, Rowan has overstayed his welcome.

    As much as I would like Quinn to pull the trigger on Huck, I doubt the show will go through with it. At best, we’ll see Huck in a state of self-exile in Season 4.

  2. WarrenMA May 18, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    This show had so much promise, and each season it has deteriorated more and more. S1 and S2 were the best, the rest no so much! The B613 angle was interesting at first, but has become a bore, and a pain, because you can only take so much of the ‘unbeatable’, all powerful ‘command’ killing and blowing up everything. Jake who is a better man than Fitz, is a smart for walking away from Olivia. His job he said was to ‘protect her’. That job was an epic fail (Kidnapped by terrorists, exploited by Fitz, Russell, and Papa Pope repeatedly) but beyond that it appears that he finally realizes that Liv is NOT an easy person to love. She doesn’t seem to know what love really is. (Mama Pope, Daddy Pope, ??) Speaking of love, Fitz is a hypocrite and lacks any real moral core. His turning on FLOTUS was a predictable, but stupid, turn of events. He has killed more people than his wife ever did, and he certainly has told more lies that she has! I hope she gives him the comeuppance he is over due! He shows by this move against his wife, that he is still “a boy”. Can’t say I am sad to see Cyrus go, I got tired of him after James was killed. I loved Mama Pope’s read of Olivia. She was spot on with her assessment of her daughter. I loved when she called her ‘boo’ and taunted her about not getting enough ‘hugs’. Liv has serious problems in that she actually thinks that she is the ‘good guy’. She thinks that as long as you mean well (wearing the white hat) whatever you do to win is justified. Lying ,cheating, and killing are all ok as long as you are doing it with good intentions! It is not good intentions that demonstrates good character, it good behavior/conduct. Liv is sorrowfully lacking in good character. I guess that is what makes it such a “Scandal” that she is cast as the heroine of this show. Go figure!

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