Previously on Scandal, ‘Where the Sun Don’t Shine’
This highly anticipated episode was directed by Tom Verica, who plays Sam on How to Get Away With Murder, and I must say: He directed the entire fuck out of this episode. It might be the best episode of Scandal ever. With some very small exceptions, it was perfect. And I had to let him know that.
I was a bit worried when the episode began not just where we left off last year, but a few minutes prior to the good shit happening. We see, again, Olivia greeting Jake, telling him all about the food they’re going to eat, and then dancing with him before suggesting they have sex on the piano. While he’s gone to get the necessary piano-screwing supplies, Olivia is taken by a masked man who walks up in her apartment like he pays rent. To be fair, people who don’t belong are always walking up in Olivia’s place.
I tend to watch each episode of Scandal several times because I write about it, podcast it, and enjoy it. I knew right away that though we’d seen this all before (minus the masked man), we were seeing it from different camera angles. This added to the tension because we know she’s going to be taken, but now we’re watching the scene with that in mind and looking for clues.
We get to see some of it again as time rewinds, but this time, we see how painfully close Jake was to catching the abduction in the act. He’s on the other side of the wall as she’s clawing at the doorframe with the stranger’s hand over her mouth; his other hand is around her waist and he pulls her right into the apartment across the hall.
Damn. That hurts.
Jake runs out to the street and chases a car that suspiciously peels off moments after he hits the sidewalk. He doesn’t get far, but does manage to memorize the license plate. I’d like to point out now that every episode of Scandal should include Scott Foley running around in his drawers. For reasons.
We get another rewind, and this time we see the chase as the kidnappers watch from the neighbor’s apartment. By the way, they’ve got the neighbor – an older black woman named Lois – bound and gagged. After Jake calls Huck and leaves, the kidnappers kill Lois, and then pose as paramedics to smuggle Olivia and Lois out in a body bag.
Olivia correctly points out that the men in the ambulance with her are not in charge, therefore she’s not going to try to negotiate with them or beg. They drug her and she later wakes up in a cell with a scared man cowering in the corner. Though she can’t see out the high windows, Olivia assumes they’re in another country. The man, Ian, claims to be a journalist and says he was kidnapped while on assignment in Egypt.
Olivia promises him that they will get out together. After he checks her back for a tracking device (there isn’t one; damn you, Papa Pope!), Olivia tells Ian that if she’s missing, the president will not rest until she’s found. He looks skeptical, but since they just met she refrains from telling Ian it’s because she got that good-good.
Time passes and we know this not because Ian grows facial hair, but because Olivia’s natural hair curls right up and there’s a montage of all the times her captors escort her to the bathroom only to warn that if she’s not done in five minutes, they’re coming in. It’s on one of those bathroom breaks that Olivia first tries to escape – using the underwire from her bra to jimmy open a window she’d never noticed before. She’s caught, and her punishment is that she gets to listen as they kill Ian in the next room. Lovely.
After a fantasy in which she’s rescued by Jake, but ends up living in Vermont with Fitz, Olivia decides to attempt an escape again. She’s devastated when she sees they’ve bricked up her only window of opportunity to escape. See what I did there?
But all is not lost! As she cries on the floor, Olivia spies a metal ring on a pipe under the sink. It’s the same ring Abby referenced in her fantasy right after telling Olivia that no man is going to rescue her; she needs to save herself. Olivia uses the pipe to beat one guard unconscious. She grabs the keys and his gun and makes a break for the big red door she believes to be the exit. She’s stopped by the second guard who taunts her until she puts a bullet in his forehead.
When she finally makes it through the door she discovered what most of us had already suspected: she’s not really in another country and Ian is not only alive, but the leader. Defeated, Olivia goes back to her cell.
Can’t wait to talk about this episode on tonight’s Scandal podcast!
- Let me get the one negative out of the way: I did not like the little flashbacks. This show uses them a lot (as does AHS), and they are very rarely necessary. In the escape attempt, Olivia stares at the metal ring around the pipe and then there’s a flashback to her fantasy, which we just saw, to remind us that the ring was in the dream. Then the scene cuts to Olivia exiting the bathroom and beating the guard over the head with the sink pipe. Then we get another flashback to see Olivia take the ring off and get the pipe. WHY did we need to see that? Trust the audience to understand where the pipe came from, especially because we just saw it less than a minute ago! The same happens when Ian reveals himself to be in on it. They flash back to him in the mask at the apartment. I think it was pretty obvious he was the man in charge. I wish the show would trust the audience!
- Why I think this is the best episode of the series: We saw Olivia in a way we’ve never seen her before: scared, eventually broken, determined, and then broken again. It’s the first episode where a majority of the cast was absent, but the fantasy (and beginning) provided us just enough of the familiar so it felt like Scandal. The entire episode felt like a feature film – and I suppose you could liken the flashbacks at the end to The Usual Suspects. Finally, Kerry Washington completely killed it.
- Olivia managed to drop a ring in Lois’ apartment. This will definitely let Jake and team know they’re on the right track once they start investigating – though I wonder if next week’s episode will backtrack a bit as well. Olivia seemed to be held captive for at least a week, but probably closer to two. Will we get to see the initial reactions from Fitz (he was being taunted by Andrew when last we saw him), and the team at OPA?