It’s hard to trust someone when they have nothing but stolen moments to call their life…
Scandal continues to be the primetime king of surprising plot twists, even shocking in a few cases. This week’s installment proves to be quite an eye opener, both for the series’ characters and especially the audience. Storylines we thought we knew was going took some interesting turns and shocked even Olivia Pope! Things sometimes are as they appear, but sometimes they really really aren’t. “Boom Goes the Dynamite” is an installment that posses a great deal of more questions, but it also manages to answer some previously existing ones as well. And in the case of Olivia Pope’s personal life, things becomes even more complicated, leaving all viewing Gladiators waiting for more!
After the whole David Rosen scandal that took center stage last episode, the case is still left open and the mystery behind who murdered Wendy, the girl who gets friendly with men in order to dig up their biggest, dirtiest secrets, is still left open. It’s a concerning case mostly because of its ominous beginnings. Wendy has taken and sold so many various dirty secrets that any one of them could really have killed her. And what’s making matters worse is David’s rising paranoia. And it ain’t for nothing. But in the midst of this dramatic case and storyline finding its footing, there is Jake, the charming sir whom Olivia Pope has found a potential interest in. Last week, it was revealed that Jake is spying on Olivia quite intently and the reveal that President Fitz is the one who has ordered Jake to peer in on the crisis manager is kind of disconcerting.
In his intent to uncover some dark truth about Olivia, our grumpy, drunken Fitz is trying to convince himself that she is in fact a bad person and someone he hates. It’s like he needs proof to validate his irrational hate. But he can’t deny his very intense and real feelings for her, which is apparent when Jake informs Olivia has been swimming a lot and Fitz quickly mumbles under his breath that Olivia swam in high school. It’s a small moment of softness toward someone he has sworn off of. No one who truly hates another person takes brief solace in remembering something so seemingly trivial about them. Fitz hasn’t informed Jake, who is his old Navy buddy, that he and Olivia were once a pair, yet he is adamant that Jake spy on her to uncover some semblance of scandal? Jake even senses something is a bit off with this scenario and things become even more complicated when Jake makes strides to really cheer a stressed and saddened Olivia up…
Jake is one charming, appropriately assertive and cheeky Navy man! This installment does well to put us on his side more than Fitz’s. Jake isn’t really sure what his old Navy buddy, now President of the United States has on Olivia. It’s a troubling circumstance that he isn’t even sure he wants to be a part of. But still, Jake sees this beautiful woman in pain for some reason and he feels compelled to cheer her up as much as he can. And maybe he’s even falling for Olivia a bit. Was that Jake’s intention from the beginning? I doubt it, but I think he’s pretty much a good guy, put in a conflicting situation. Olivia and Jake’s date (meeting) is fun and rather cute, seeing that these two truly do have a more elating chemistry together that is hugely different from Olivia and Fitz. While I think we can all agree that "Olitz" is endgame, Olivia and Jake are kind of ideal right now. Not everyone can woo and charm a tough as nails crisis management master, yet Jake in his best of intentions goes to some great lengths to make Olivia’s life just a little more bearable. He’s exactly what Olivia needs. At least for now…
Fitz is still freezing Mellie and Cyrus out. There was a time when Fitz relied heavily on them both, the two ravenous political monsters, but now he’s ruling by his own methods. Due to the latest trouble concerning the abroad kidnappings by terrorizing extremists, Fitz has found that there is a mole within the White House, which made the previous rescue attempt a total bust. It’s just extra stress on Fitz, which pushes him into an even darker corner. Now Fitz is pushed into using military force (Cyrus’s idea) for the safe return of the American citizens who were kidnapped. It creates a troubling controversy that Americans are conflicted about, but of course Mellie and Cyrus have their own ways of dealing with it. Mellie is brutal. She takes full credit for Cyrus’s idea to use military force and then continues to throw him under the bus about the Defiance scandal. But Cyrus comes back swinging and traps Mellie in a move she meant to make under Fitz’s nose. You can’t trust anyone in the West Wing.
What is troubling is that Mellie nor Cyrus really have much of anything without Fitz. Their political influence is at a standstill now that Fitz is aware of Defiance. Cyrus even admits to Olivia that he is lost without Fitz. He essentially is living through Fitz. Cyrus’s big unrealized dream to become President of the United States has him stuck living vicariously through Fitz and now that Fitz has frozen him off, he isn’t able to do so anymore. What will happen when Fitz one day isn’t president anymore? What will Cyrus really have then? Nothing. And then there’s Mellie, who isn’t as complicated as she might think. She’s rather transparent in her manipulation and political debauchery. Olivia even informs Cyrus that Mellie will slip up at some point with Fitz, and she ends up doing just that. Mellie might be manipulating Fitz to her side right now, but it won’t last. It never does…
While tending to the case of the week, the Gladiators find that Huck hasn’t been showering and he’s smelling rather ripe. It doesn’t take long before we realize that Huck is dealing with some post-traumatic stress from his torturous stint at the Pentagon where he was brutally waterboarded. In the end, it is Quinn who last week had a brief moment with Huck, that finally informs him of his smell and finds that he is tackling a new psychological problem that has him truly shaken up. Some might be wondering if "Huckleberry Quinn" will become a thing in the near future. I think so. Or maybe it will stay as a platonic older brother-younger sister type of dynamic, which would be equally intriguing. But then again, who knows with these complicated office flings and relationships. In the meantime, David and Abby continue getting it on, even though they are still at odds with one another. Nothing says “I still love you” like some hot angry sex. Still Abby is conflicted and so is David.
The Caldwell brothers storyline proves to be one of the most interesting client cases in some time. A popular senator’s brother is on the road to political success; however, he needs a lovely partner by his side to assure said accomplishment. Olivia Pope and her team play high-profile matchmaker in order to keep a golden boy rumored to be gay on the right track. Olivia is on point with this case, pointing out the problems with Caldwell’s lack of a partner as he runs for office. Olivia is right: People don’t necessarily trust people they can’t place. With no one by Caldwell’s side, he is a frustrating mystery that could be trouble in an already troubled family of Republican political animals. In contrast to her current client, Olivia isn’t dating. She hasn’t been with anyone for a time now. She’s apparently void of passion and such, so can people trust her? Fitz surely doesn’t think so.
Even extending more to Olivia’s client, when it is revealed that he has been in an extended love affair with his brother’s wife, Olivia comes to the realization that she has been putting her life on hold--lying stagnant and bereft of real living experience--so much so that she, much like her client, has fallen into the trap of believing a forbidden love is a life. Abby even finds that fake political marriage the Gladiators set up for their client to be a potential death trap and even talks one of the potential girls out of it. It’s living a fake life that isn’t really yours and it is something that leaves one empty. It brings ugly chapters of Abby’s past back and she doesn’t want to see that happen to someone else. Facades that lead one to realize they are living a lie that could self-destruct at any given moment. Olivia cannot keep her walls up, refusing to love and experience new things just because she’s been hurt so harshly from an extraordinary love that she previously asked for.
Unfortunately, Olivia is taking a step into an new life experience that might get her hurt and is still entangled with the love of her life, who also happens to be the President of the United States. It’s like Olivia can’t escape him, even when he has sworn off of her. Olivia is working in DC with a load of political bigwigs, so of course she’ll be coming face-to-face with Fitz form time to time. And it’s only a painful reminder of a love gone completely awry. In the end, it is revealed that the older brother had always been aware of his wife and his young brother’s ongoing affair, but took the personal crisis in stride to assure his and his family’s continued political legacy. It’s something Olivia must do to preserve her own legacy, and Fitz just the same. Olivia is the world’s most powerful fixer--a fighting Gladiator in a suit! And Fitz is the leader of the free world. Those are two huge legacies that could all come crashing down if they continue to hold onto past stolen moments. But are all of those stolen moments simply lies? Olivia Pope is such a legacy that she’d be able to get us a gay President in ten years tops, but she’ll still be a mess when it comes to her own personal life.
Lastly, David finds himself cornered by a strange woman who has some valuable information on who could be following him and who killed Wendy. It turns out to be the West Wing’s CIA director is connected not only to the Wendy story, but is the hostage storyline. He is the mole in the White House. Boom! And if that weren’t trouble enough, Fitz is catching onto Jake and Olivia. Fitz spots Olivia, smiling and possibly moving on, taking a step away from him and into another man’s arms. And that possibility is enough to put Fitz on the defense. He may not want Olivia anymore (or so he says), but he sure doesn’t want anyone else being the reason for her happiness. It always hurts to see the one you love happy and loving someone else. Fitz never has been the most stable individual when it comes to jealousy, so will his actions as President turn dim as he finds that one of his friends have been fraternizing with the enemy/love of his life?
Illuminating some light on the distressing truths, Olivia Pope and gang all find themselves in new compromising situations. Many of these development come with a great deal of personal drama as well. The dynamite certainly does explode, catching us all off guard and setting forth new potential for even more creative storytelling! Scandal shows no signs of cooling down from its hot streak of twists and turns and honestly the Gladiators will just have new obstacles and crises to deal with. “Boom Goes the Dynamite” gets 5 out of 5 stars!
Scandal will be on hiatus for a while, but will return with all-new episodes come Thursday, March 21st! Only on ABC.
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013