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‘Scandal’ Review/Recap: “First Lady Sings the Blues”

By Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor

Eugene Alper, Katie Lowes, Joshua Malina, Guillermo Diaz, Scott Foley and Kerry Washington in the Scandal episode "First Lady Sings the Blues." Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/ABC
Eugene Alper, Katie Lowes, Joshua Malina, Guillermo Diaz, Scott Foley and Kerry Washington in the Scandal episode “First Lady Sings the Blues.” Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/ABC

Scandal this week picked up mere seconds after last weeks earth-shattering episode and things only got crazier. Last week fans were on the edge of their seats as they watched Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) cling to his life after being stabbed several times on the floor of Pope & Associates. Now Scandal fans watched anxiously as Olivia (Kerry Washington) and the gang try to save him in the latest episode entitled “First Lady Sings the Blues.”

Scott Foley entered into the world of Scandal like a whirlwind. After completing a successful, lovable run on Grey’s Anatomy, Foley stayed in the Shondaland family and began to break-hearts on Scandal. It’s hard to imagine a world were Jake Ballard isn’t swooping in to save Olivia but fans got a glimpse at that idea this week and it wasn’t something they were ready to accept. Scandal picked up with Jake clinging to life on the Pope & Associates conference table. Quinn (Katie Lowes) finds him bleeding out and The Gladiators instantly snap into problem solving mode. With Rowan Pope (Joe Morton) hot on their trail and willing to kill anyone, Olivia must act fast. With Charlie’s (George Newbern) help, the team enlists a mob doctor to help stitch up Jake, who is profusely bleeding. Long story short, Jake Ballard just barely makes a recovery with the help of a shady Russian mob doctor. Foley is here to stay on Scandal and fans could not be more relieved. Fans now have to wait and see how this near death experience will forever shape the character and his relationship with B-613.

Darby Stanchfield and Tony Goldwyn in the Scandal episode "First Lady Sings the Blues." Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/ABC
Darby Stanchfield and Tony Goldwyn in the Scandal episode “First Lady Sings the Blues.” Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/ABC

Although Pope & Associates were in the hot seat this week, it was the Grant Administration that was getting some heat from the media and delivering some of their best acted scenes in recent weeks. Shonda Rhimes always knows how to throw in the importance of feminism, but this week may have been the biggest feminist victory on Scandal yet. Fans saw Mellie (Bellamy Young) and her campaign manager Elizabeth (Portia de Rossi) take a first swing at Mellie’s run for Senator of Virginia. When her first public appearance since the announcement doesn’t go very well, you can thank Sally Langston (Kate Burton) for that. The Grant Administration must take a step back and think about how Mellie being the First Lady and running for Senator will sit with the voters.

Darby Stanchfield has always been an underutilized actor on Scandal however, this year she has taken the title of “Feminist Extraordinaire.” Since working as the White House press correspondent, Abby has been able to come into her own and really become a fully formed character. In one simple sentence Abby manages to lay down some of the most powerful feminism Scandal has seen. She says, “So Mellie’s senate run is legal because of misogyny, is that what you’re saying?” Stanchfield continues to grow Abby into a full fleshed out, feminist character and this episode finally saw her on the same level as Cyrus (Jeff Perry), Mellie and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), which was extremely refreshing.

Scott Foley and Kerry Washington in the Scandal episode "First Lady Sings the Blues." Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/ABC
Scott Foley and Kerry Washington in the Scandal episode “First Lady Sings the Blues.” Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/ABC

One of the best scenes of the night happened between Cyrus and Sally Langston. No, there wasn’t any murder involved, it was just a good old fashion, TV sparring match between the two characters. Cyrus must appear on Sally’s talk show to help ease viewers minds about why Mellie will make the perfect Senator for Virginia. Perry and Burton play extremely well off of each other and this scene was one of their best. In a battle of wit, Cyrus lays down the law about why Mellie should be allowed to run for the Senate. Cyrus argues that being a stay at home mother isn’t a job, Sally argues that she is abandoning her duties as First Lady and then Sally dares argue that Cyrus wants to run for senator. For a split second, fans waited in what felt like a long pause for Cyrus to answer. Could Cyrus run for senator? In the end, Cyrus turns the tables on Sally and says that no one would question this if a first man was running for senator. Perry and Burton are flawless and their ability to make such an impact with short, witty quips at each other is amazing. Here’s hoping the two of them have more scenes together in the future.

Kerry Washington continues to amaze as Olivia. In an episode that didn’t give her much material to work with, she still comes out on top. This week fans saw what measures Olivia would go to in order to save Jake and take down Papa Pope. Fans also got a glimmer of hope for Fitz and Olivia. In a season that hasn’t touched upon their relationship much, fans grip tightly to any conversation the two share. Fitz called Olivia to help Mellie’s campaign and anytime these two share an ounce of screen-time, sparks fly and this tiny conversation where Olivia helps Fitz is a perfect example of that.

By episode’s end, Mellie’s campaign has hit a snag when Elizabeth suggests that she should divorce Fitz, Cyrus and Abby are in a moral dilemma because Fitz’s legacy as president is in jeopardy and Papa Pope reveals that he has another covert operation in the works entitled, Fox Tail. B-613 operations never turn out good so this will surely set up the remaining two episodes of the season. Of course this wouldn’t be Scandal without the last minute being a heart stopping one. This entire episode fans waited for Olivia to figure out that her boy toy, Russell (Brian White) is the one who stabbed Jake. In the last minute while Russell thinks he has outsmarted Olivia, she points a gun to his head. Olivia Pope is back and continues to provide amazing twists and turns as Scandal closes in on its final 2 episodes of the season.

Scandal will return in 2 weeks on Thursday at 9/8c on ABC

Overall Grade: B+

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