After some really compelling episodes that followed Olivia’s kidnapping and eventual recovery, and last week’s controversial (for a lot of reasons) Ferguson-inspired story, Scandal comes back down to Earth with a less-than-stellar installment. “The Testimony of Diego Muñoz” feels a bit like one of those episodes that sort of has to happen to move a few ongoing storylines forward—we need a new VP and we need some traction with the unending B6-13 storyline—but I almost feel like everything that happened could have taken place in the first 30 minutes of a much faster-paced, and more exciting Scandal episode.
First, there’s Senator Susan Ross, the new VP. Um. This was just… silly. I get the message—the American public and members of government are so petty that all a candidate has to do is have one giggle-fest, and we’ll never be able to take them seriously again. It’s not ever about the issues, it’s about how the person makes us , and we can’t feel safe with a person who, well, snorts when she laughs. Totally.
But in a show like Scandal, there should have been more to this story. Also, there’s something strange about an episode where we’re sort of supposed to be rooting for a candidate who we know was specifically chosen because she’s not that great. Ross was picked so that Mellie won’t have anyone decent in her way when she runs for President. That’s all fine and good, but it totally diminishes the importance of this character. I’d be interested in seeing this storyline shift so that Ross does end up posing a surprising threat; otherwise I just don’t see the use in focusing on Ross at all.
Olivia starts this episode out as a hot mess. Walking around, gun in hand, gulping down her wine, gun in hand, and brushing her teeth—yep—gun in hand. That was a great shot. And although the case with Rose (played by Marla Gibbs, whose name and face I shall never forget, since I was politely shamed by a reader a few weeks ago when I didn’t recognize The Jeffersonsstar) was also not especially thrilling, it clearly brought Liv some much-needed closure. Both Rose and Olivia needed to bury Lois’ body, and when we see Olivia with her popcorn and wine at the end of the episode, sans gun, we know she’s beginning to heal. And we also know that her snack game is so much better than ours.
This week Huck finds himself in an impossible predicament, as his wife has become one of many Scandal characters to make it her mission to destroy B6-13. I’m kind of curious to see how this ends, but also a bit weary of the “No, really, this time we’re totally going to take them down,” narrative that continuously pops up on the show. Now that Huck has a real, personal investment—in the end, he just couldn’t bring himself to let her down, even if that meant betraying Olivia—maybe things will be different this time around.
Although I took issue with the Susan Ross storyline, I loved seeing Leo Bergen again. Paul Adelstein (who I also love in Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce) is always a good time.
Scandal continues to send strong messages about race and sexuality in our country, past, and present.
David Rosen’s face when he saw those damn files was awesome! All that color-coding…
Best Quote of the Episode:
“Fire me again.” (Leo and Abby making up was pretty cute… but I would have liked to see her actually put those boots on and fire him again, then punish him for being a bad boy, then… yeah.)
Shannon M. Houston is Assistant TV Editor & a film critic at Paste, and a writer for Pink is the New Blog and Heart&Soul. This New York-based freelancer probably has more babies than you, but that’s okay; you can still be friends. She welcomes all follows (and un-follows) on Twitter.