Scandal Season 6 Episode 2: Hardball Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis:  Flashbacks reveal how far Olivia was willing to go to win the election. (IMDB)

Writer: Matt Byrne

Director: Allison Liddi-Brown

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 43mins

While last week’s premiere ended on a high note, the following week’s episode was surely going to slow things down a little. At least that’s what I thought until the end, more on that later. The premiere picked up right on election day and we already know how that turned out but how did we get there? This episode filled in some of these gaps via flashbacks which explained the relationship between Mellie and Marcus and how Olivia managed to find a way to break them up by getting Marcus the White House Press Secretary job.

Their relationship blossomed over time, starting off as complete opposites and ending with them falling in love with each other. With Marcus, Mellie was truly happy, something she hadn’t felt in a long time, even while with Fitz. She even asked Olivia if that was what she felt when she was with Fitz as there were parallels between their relationships. Perhaps seeing where that relationship got her, she broke them up to ensure that it wouldn’t happen to them.

Unfortunately, neither Marcus nor Mellie were over each other so they started to rekindle their relationship. Olivia broke them up because it would have had to have been him or the Presidency. Mellie went to the White House to meet Marcus but when she was in the Oval Office she remembered how much she wanted the Presidency and left.

Charlie proposed to Quinn in the last episode and she said yes but now she was regretting it as she realized that it may have been too quick. To look for excuses, she wanted to look over all of his past case files. Everybody else knew this and both Huck and Olivia called her out on it. She wanted to make sure that she knew what she was getting herself into by performing her own due diligence.

The flashbacks helped to break up the rest of the episode which still dealt with the aftermath of the premiere. Despite no real evidence connecting Cyrus to the assassination, Olivia will still adamant that he was responsible in some way. Fitz wanted real proof, however, since he had already made a public declaration of support for Cyrus. The campaign staffer’s cabin may have blown up but there was still evidence at the site. In order to get to a laptop with archive footage, Pope & Associates had to outmaneuver the FBI to steal it.

The White House may have been doing their investigation, Pope & Associates were doing theirs. Huck had to rebuild the laptop that was damaged in the explosion and once he did, he had to go through hours of video. What didn’t help was that in order to bridge the gap between one another, Cyrus offered Mellie the VP job. She was insulted by the offer as it would mean she’d have to serve him and would mean betraying Olivia but she was still considering it.

On the other side, the evidence was overwhelmingly against shooting suspect Nelson McClintock (Larry Sullivan) but they still couldn’t prove that he was working alone so they needed a confession. McClintock was adamant that he had nothing to do with it, even with all the evidence pointing in his direction, so he refused to confess to a crime he didn’t commit. Desperate, Abby turned to Jake to try and coax a confession from him. We didn’t get to see what he did but judging by the urine puddle underneath him, it definitely wasn’t pleasant. This didn’t exactly sit too well with David and FBI director Angela Webster (Saycon Sengbloh).

When Olivia heard that Mellie was offered the VP job, she gave up her obsession with Cyrus and called off Huck but the big revelation came when he actually found something. One of the videos featured Vargas arguing with Cyrus and threatening to send him to prison for something he did as soon as he got into office. That was enough motive for Cyrus to want to murder him so Olivia showed it to Fitz and he immediately called for an investigation.

Overall, this was a lighter episode which slowed things down but being Scandal, it still offered a big revelation at the end. The Mellie and Marcus relationship just seemed a little too weird as characters on Scandal who don’t like each other always seem to eventually fall in love. I can’t wait to see where it all goes.

Score: 8/10

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