“Scandal” returned on March 13 with the explosive new episode, “No Sun on the Horizon.”
Talk about dark. The arguably morose installment opens with Jake (Scott Foley) talking to no one in particular about the path he’s chosen and how moral lines have become blurred in the name of protecting the Republic.
Scott Foley excels at this kind of stoic, matter-of-fact speech and it’s just so sad. The title of the episode is pulled from his intense monologue in which he notes there is no sun on the horizon and nothing to wish for. B613, essentially, becomes his family and his focus and the only way of life he can imagine.
We know right away from Jake’s astute yet bleak remarks that something terrible is going to happen. We just don’t know what it is or who it will affect. After the heavily teased OMG moment clip, we know we’ll have to wait until the last thirty seconds to find out.
She’s Come Undone
Sally (Kate Burton) has either had a nervous breakdown or is teetering on the edge. Leo (Paul Adelstein) is understandably spooked as he watches her prepare for her first presidential debate against Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and she spews all kinds of venomous digs at him for his “satanic” and immoral behavior.
Leo calls upon Sally’s pastor for help and to his horror, his plan backfires. Sally confesses killing Daniel Douglas to her pastor. Leo begs Cyrus (Jeff Perry) to postpone or cancel the debate. When Cyrus refuses, Leo advises him Sally intends to confess her sins to the whole world during the nationally televised event. This will ultimately send him and Mellie (Bellamy Young) to jail for their part in covering it up.
Sally’s emotional/mental state post Daniel’s murder marks the most intense work Kate Burton has done on the series. Sally’s a ticking time bomb and who knows who else will fall in the wake of her eventual implosion?
So starts the panic train roaring out of the station. Can anyone stop Sally from condemning them all?
Cyrus Begs for Silence
If there ever was a poll about actors who deliver the most passionate tirades on television, Jeff Perry would win, hands down, for his riveting portrayal of Cyrus Beene.
Cyrus is really up against the wall when Olivia tells him she knows everything. He “whored out” his own husband then helped Sally cover up Daniel Douglas’s murder. He’s shocked Olivia knows but then scrambles into survival mode. He begs her to keep silent and she makes no promises.
Who else found it extremely hard not to laugh when Olivia burst into hysterical laughter and then Cyrus joined in?
Kerry Washington is easily the heart of the show, and we love her with Fitz. But, something extra-special happens when she shares these major scenes with the incomparable Jeff Perry. In this one, they’re like a cat and mouse, circling each other, trying to anticipate the other one’s move.
It’s terrible to see this friendship tested time and again. One minute, we think Cyrus is incredibly loyal to Olivia and then the next minute, it seems like he reverts to solely wanting to save his own skin. We consider it lucky, in fact, that Cyrus doesn’t shoot her in the back when she leaves!
Cyrus does the first thing that comes to mind: He calls Charlie and orders a hit on Sally. But Charlie refuses to play and refers him directly to Command.
Another amazing scene follows, this time between Jeff Perry and Scott Foley as Cyrus lays out his case for Sally’s assassination. We’re a little shocked when Jake cuts him coldly down to size and calls him a “small little man.” Whoa! Mighty Cyrus has never been challenged in just quite this way.
The wheels begin turning in Jake’s mind and Cyrus doesn’t realize he may have just initiated a hit on his own husband instead.
Standing in the Sun
There could be such a strong case for Olivia and Jake doing what he suggests. They could just run away from their complicated, dangerous, deranged lives and start fresh, like a normal couple, and stand in the sun. It’s a nice fantasy, but, it’s B613. You can’t run from that kind of deadly organization.
Still, it’s a sweet scene when Jake begs Olivia to leave it all behind. We see the “pick me” in his pleading eyes and then we see the disappointment when he says, “You’re standing with him.”
Poor Jake. All that’s left for him is his job. Olivia was his only perceived hope to stand in the sun and she rejects him.
On the flip side, it’s great that Olivia tells Fitz everything under their “no more lies” policy. Fitz balks at throwing the debate to keep Sally from publicly confessing. But, he rallies at the last minute when he realizes the havoc a confession could cause.He confronts Olivia afterward because they were supposed to “keep it clean.”
How heartbreaking is it when she explains to Fitz how “dirty and dark it is behind the curtain of power” and says, “There is no clean, just like, there is no Vermont? We want Vermont and jam for Fitz and Olivia worse than they ever will in this moment. Then she reaches out to his heart, like only she can and says, “This isn’t how I wanted to be; how either of us wanted to be. This is what it is. Let’s stop pretending. Let’s just be here.”
Here’s where they get us every time. No matter what Fitz and Olivia do collectively or individually, we are drawn to them together. We can’t escape the depths of their feelings for each other, try as we might. Their love defies logic. They continually risk their lives for each other. We want them to stand in the sun one day. We want them to make jam and the brilliant “Scandal” writers know we’re even more invested with every word they type …
First of all, thank God Tom (Brian Letscher) didn’t pull the trigger on Sally! (Of course Sally should pay for her sins. But an eye for an eye is a little extreme). At least Tom was spared putting “offing the vice president” on his resume'. For now.
Cyrus outs James as Publius (there goes that pesky name again!). We're surprised by his nearly tearful apology wrapped around a declaration of love. When James gets a text to meet David Rosen, we know things may not bode well for James. Did Cyrus realize this may be the end for his husband?
After all, we never saw Jake coming to shoot two reporters and then fire a third shot before the credits roll. Who did Jake shoot, James or David? Does someone else die?
Here’s something to think about: Just because Jake fired a shot, it doesn’t mean he killed someone. It’s possible one or both men lived. Several scenarios could ensue: James or David is killed. James or David is seriously wounded and perhaps even placed on life support.
James seems like the most likely victim. He has more direct impact to the key players. Cyrus would be eaten alive with remorse; as would Fitz and Olivia. While David is important, he’s not as directly tied to the central arc of the story as much as James.
If one person dies, what about the living witness? Will they become the next B613 recruit?
Furthermore, can anyone trust Jake? Let’s hope he doesn’t go spirally downward into a bottomless moral and emotional pit. Ultimately, once again, “Scandal” is must-see television at its best. There is just no other show that makes us breathlessly wait for more after every episode. We’re locked in and wouldn’t think of getting off the ride until it comes to a complete scandalous season three stop.
“Scandal” airs in Flint on WJRT ABC12 on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.