Scandal Season 6 Episode 3: Fates Worse Than Death Review

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

Synopsis:  Cyrus seals his fate during a national crisis; Olivia and the gladiators do everything they can to find the truth. (IMDB)

Writer: Mark Fish

Director: Scott Foley

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 43mins

What a fall from grace. That definitely did not last long but no one thought it was going to last very long in the first place. Everybody knows what happened in the first episode where Vargas was assassinated as he won the presidency and that his vice-president Cyrus took his place. Everyone suspected that Cyrus played a role in this somehow, as they should, but this episode shed some more light on this thanks to a focus on Cyrus and his plight.

Setting the tone for the episode was a flashback between he and Olivia after the vice-presidential debate where she gave him what Cyrus construed as a backhanded compliment. She was surprised to see him do so well and that he’s changed. Cyrus took offense to it as he’s proven himself capable. She was skeptical about how he ended up there, thinking that he must have done something sinister to get there, despite Cyrus’ assertions otherwise.

The evidence is out in the open, the voicemail from the female staffer, Jennifer Fields (Chelsea Kurtz), saying Cyrus killed him and the video of him and Vargas arguing about something, but that wasn’t going to be enough to do something about it so Olivia and the gladiators went to work. Of course Cyrus saw the time they were spending with one another so he suspected that their relationship may be deeper than they were letting on.

Vargas was a married man and any affairs would just hurt them in the long run. Thinking that she was a distraction, Cyrus called Tom to take care of her which meant he beat her up badly, forcing her to leave. Luckily, she left her camera there to record their argument which was the one they found. It was never clear if they were actually having an affair but it didn’t really matter.

Tom was in love with Cyrus and would do anything for him which was why Cyrus would often take advantage of that. Appealing to his ambition, Tom convinced Cyrus that Vargas was weak and that he should be president and was asked if he wanted to be president. In a moment of weakness, he said yes. Knowing what that would eventually entail, Cyrus came to regret it and stopped him by breaking up with him, or so he thought. Seeing that Vargas ended up assassinated, it didn’t work.

Now in the present, the media is in a frenzy after the announcement that the investigation into Vargas’ death was being expanded. They did not name Cyrus directly but that would not eliminate any suspicion amongst the press. He was panicky in trying to figure out what was going on, calling people and not getting answers. What didn’t help his case was Tom, coming out of nowhere, still jealous over their breakup and being used, threatened to bring him down.

Cyrus tried to handle it on his own but his plan backfired with the gun being pointed back at him. He had a moment of reflection, seeing the error of his ways and admitting to Tom that he used him and never loved him. Surprisingly or not, Tom could have killed him but didn’t, telling him there are fates worse than death, just like what Cyrus gave him.

Despite everything that had happened so far, Cyrus still had a way out as Fitz offered to drop the investigation if he resigned as President-elect or to execute him otherwise. Cyrus said he would if Mellie dropped out too but that wasn’t going to happen. He refused but that choice was taken away when Tom turned himself in and confessed to killing Vargas under Cyrus’ orders. Now Mellie is going to be president but something tells me that it won’t be that easy and the preview of the next episode seems to indicate just as much.

Overall, this was another good episode, led by Jeff Perry’s performance as Cyrus. This episode focused heavily on him and he excelled at portraying his inner conflict, coming to terms with what he did and who he is, and ending up going to jail for it. Mellie is going to be president, or so it seems, but it wouldn’t be Scandal without another twist.

Score: 8/10

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