There are many dramatic means to an end being taken in the West Wing this week and all of them look to have deadly outcomes…
The return of one of the most talked about shows on television does not disappoint, displaying suspense, brutality and a multitude of vicious consequences like no other series running right now. Scandal is consistently one of a kind in this fast-paced winter premiere that digs Olivia Pope and all of her friends and foes out of the hell that they fell into in last year’s winter finale. “One For the Dog” sets up a certain dichotomy of the entire series, which I think studies if these characters that scheme, torture, break laws, and forge signatures believe that their dramatic means to an end are for a greater cause. There is obviously a difference between democracy and the safety of our nation and of course the President of the United States. What are the means that these political monsters are willing to take in order to fix the crisis before them, and do the ends truly justify these means?
Huck, now ratted out by a desperate Verna, is taken into custody at the Pentagon and undergoes an extremely violent interrogation that is surprisingly more hard to watch than once thought. It’s funny that Verna not only betrays Olivia and Huck in her desperation to keep her power, but she also immediately, in the beginning of the episode, betrays Hollis and Sally Langston by informing Olivia of what she had just done. I might be completely wrong here, but I wouldn’t count out Verna as a shark, just because she has cancer and is clinging onto whatever power she can get. Verna seems to know a lot more than she lets on, clearly, because she leads Olivia and her associates to a number of clues that lead to Hollis’s involvement in the president’s assassination. Just saying. However, as Huck continues through this torturing interrogation, David Rosen attempts to maneuver the violent tactics of the Pentagon goons. David ultimately is the hero of sorts, this episode as he sticks up for Huck and also violates some of his own White Hat morals in order to straighten out a rather distressing situation, with a bit of Olivia’s help.
The great Olivia and Edison drama in this installment is actually wonderfully done, as the two partners in love and business bicker over various disagreements in both fields, Olivia truly comes to see the differentiating motives that not only drive Edison, but her as well. Olivia is all information and fixing, whereas Edison finally begins to realize her distance has more to do with the President of the United States being shot. Olivia is extremely put off by the fact Edison is seemingly pushing into her space. He’s having letters sent to her home and Edison is completely disregarding their relationship’s “Chinese Wall”, which totally indicates that Olivia’s true interest in their relationship is not particularly based on intimacy. It’s just something to keep her occupied while other things unfold. The letter informs Edison that the President is awoken and will be reinstated as the President. Of course, Olivia is elated; however, in reality, Mellie has committed her own means to an end…
Forgery of the President of the United States’ signature is in itself one of the biggest felonies, which is essentially treason, and the pickle that a desperate Mellie has gotten her, Cyrus, and Olivia in provides most of the episode’s suspense. I loved Mellie’s quick monologue explaining her means to an end and how it will all work out in the end. This First Lady sure is dangerous, but she is also damn smart. Sally Langston and the entire world is adamant to see the supposedly awoken President’s charming face, so the DC5 and Olivia’s associates work quick and smart to by some time to fix this extremely dangerous situation. Sally Langston is not the close-minded idiot Mellie thinks she is. Her suspicions, presidential prowess, and intelligent diligence pick up on the scent of desperation and it doesn’t take long for Sally to trap Mellie in a lie. Sally is maneuvering her own plans at the White House, involving the problems at East Sudan and other matters. She’s not going to take this defiance sitting down.
It’s funny how much these characters will break laws and even people in order to gain power. Power shifts quite a bit in this installment, and everyone is trying to grasp ahold of it. There is even a point where Mellie insists she could run the country for a while. And even Cyrus eludes the possibility of him in the President’s chair, even though he doubles back and includes Mellie. I can’t think of any scenario in which a wife who was so close to being America’s widow would jump ahead and assume that she could take over if her husband were not able to. While Mellie may still be worried of Fitz’s well-being, she is still thinking of her own political power. She’s a strategist. And so is Cyrus. Hollis is grappling power through the inner workings of the White House, whispering venom in Sally Langston’s ear, and doing what he does best, which is manipulating. As we now know, Hollis is most definitely behind the President’s assassination. A reveal that is almost obvious, but certainly fits. We know this snake in the garden has the wherewithal to do horrible things in order to grasp any kind of power and money. I’m sure there is more to the story of why Hollis would go this extreme attempting to take down the man he and the rest of the DC5 manipulated into the White House. It’s also interesting that karma continues to bite the DC5’s ass throughout this entire drama. Hollis is the one to blame for the shooting, but in reality, it is still Olivia, Mellie, Verna, and Cyrus’s faults. They engaged in business with the Devil, and now they’re all paying for it.
I’m not sure, but Cyrus may be running out of steam. It seems that he gives up the domestic fight with his husband, James and finally gets the baby he previously promised. However, this might also be committing a means to an end. James’ adamancy to get the story with David is messy, and James is now constantly suspicious. The President is Cyrus’s baby, therefore it is strange that he would be home if the President were awake and well. Cyrus is incredibly defensive and cold, dragging James down and throwing the idea of bringing a baby in his face just to hurt him. James is quick and smart, and Cyrus is starting to realize that. James finally has his baby, and I’m wondering how this new addition to the family will affect his and Cyrus’s already shaky relationship.
Just as Harrison infers, Olivia and David Rosen encounter the real deal of the West Wing democracy, taking ugly turns from political spectrums to disturbing modes of torture, such as waterboarding and old-fashioned beat downs. This crisis is of a different caliber, and has no room to be questioned by Abby or Quinn. Their new client is President Fitzgerald Grant. The cover-ups to deter all of the circling news reporters are clever moves made by Olivia’s team, as she and David finally get Huck out of the Pentagon’s torture chamber. Huck promises Olivia to fix what he has messed up on, which is become distracted by the possibility of having someone special in his life. Huck’s allegiance is to Olivia and he was distracted from that by Becky. It’s something that he swears will never happen again. In a way, its sad, seeing as how Huck is likely never to have a loving, intimate relationship with another person ever again, but he is a killer spy who is ultimately the one who finally takes down Becky just before her second attempt on President Grant’s life, acquiring Sally Langston’s Osama bin Laden. I’m just wondering what the summary on page four and five of Huck’s file said that silenced Sally so quickly? Clearly, if Huck wanted to kill the president, he could and no one would be the wiser. However, that opens a door to a few plot holes, I think.
“Every third time you call, I answer.” That said it all right there! Olivia finally ends things with Edison after a rather telling confrontation concerning Olivia’s access to President Grant’s hospital room. Again, power shifts in a way that reveals some truths about both of these characters who are now at each other’s throats concerning the cloaked act of domestic terrorism that Olivia and the rest of the DC5 has committed. Olivia’s dismal of this man aching for power in their relationship is worthy of applause. Finally! But now Edison is led on to Olivia and Fitz’s relationship. It’s clearly more than a friendship and it is an indiscretion that both angers Edison and conflicts with the inner politics going on in the West Wing. Edison as the leader of the Senate, cannot just turn his head while this continues. And he’s not the only one digging for answers. Quinn wants answers about Olivia’s ties to her. And thankfully, the first person Fitz’s wants to hear when he wakes up is Olivia. The only peaceful moment in the episode.
But Sally Langston isn’t done. Her confrontation with Mellie is another excellent power shift that pulls the First Lady down and puts a great deal of pressure on her. The many facets of graphology lead to the humiliating reveal of Mellie’s failed play in the political field and the withdrawal of Fitz’s forged letter of reinstatement. Again Sally is no idiot, and I think it’s time that we all realize that. That said, I definitely would like to see Mellie come back swinging! Hollis and Sally make a formidable team for Olivia and her allies to face. I just wonder, given the slimy nature of Hollis Doyle, will Sally Langston become a target on his radar if and when she becomes unnecessary in his schemes. Don’t put it past a political snake! The big problem is that if Olivia, Mellie and Cyrus try to take Hollis down, they will go down with him. Is it too late for Olivia to combat Hollis?
After it all, Olivia Pope and Associates is reassembled and the drama at the White House continues in the most tantalizing way possible, leaving us hanging on a huge cliff. While the episode is a well-written, quick-paced installment full of great revelations and dramatic turns, it takes on too much and feels slightly clunky. That said, Scandal still returns as one of the best dramas on television! Performances are still stellar as always and the deadly means to an end keep escalating. The frantic grasps for power are leading many of our characters down some dark roads they might not be able to come back from. Devious actions and deals with the Devil will continue to lead Olivia and other characters into new exciting political battles that question the difference between democracy and political safety. “One For the Dog” gets 4 out of 5 stars!
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