*Editor’s Note: My review of last week’s episode can be found here*
Synopsis: After Air Force Two’s extraordinary safe landing, Cyrus takes his victory lap as America’s newest hero, and Mellie demands that the Oval stop at nothing until justice is served. Meanwhile, Liv tries to bridge the gap with the Gladiators by disclosing her theory behind the hijack and Cyrus’s true intentions. (TVGuide)
Writers: Jess Brownell and Juan Carlos Fernandez
Director: Greg Evans
Running Time: 43mins
“The List” starts off with a young woman going to the store and asking to buy a gun. “What kind of gun?” “One that works.” Uh oh. Meanwhile, Olivia pleads her case to QPA about the volatility of Cyrus and Jake gets hands-y with Mellie. Let’s start off with Cyrus.
At QPA, the team discusses taking on the newest plane conspiracy which Charlie seems hesitant about, but with some prodding Quinn convinces him to help. They learn that Cyrus sold his expensive painting from Fenton and the money was more than enough to hire a super genius hacker to set up his Air Force Two attack. Abby brings the case to David Rosen who explains he cannot get involved because he is technically a witness to this event. Quinn decides to drop the case as no viable leads surface and that causes tension between the women of QPA.
Meanwhile the bigger and more important story of this episode: the case-of-the-week involving Olivia and the White House. Olivia meets with Marcus at a dinner where a father approaches Olivia. The man explains he needs Olivia’s help to discover what happened to his daughter Alisha and tells her that she idolized Olivia which prompts her to go into full gladiator mode. Olivia does some digging on Alisha and discovers that she lost her job and that her former boss put a no-hire on her resume because she wouldn’t sleep with him.
Olivia questions Alisha’s former boss expecting that he is the reason she bought the gun, but it turns out she bought it to commit suicide rather than seek revenge against her creepy employer. Olivia brings this information to Alisha’s father, which causes him to snap at her and blame Olivia for his daughter’s death. Olivia is hurt by this and wants to seek justice for this poor girl. She turns to Alisha’s former roommate about “The List” and asks her to help expose it. That evening Fitz confronts Olivia about their affair and asks if at any point it was inappropriate, but she reassures him that they crossed that line together and she would gladly do it again. OLITZ?!
Meanwhile, Marcus brings this information to Mellie asking she help them, but Mellie could not be bothered by it. As Mellie and Jake work together on their own political agenda, Mellie suggests they look at legislation that would tackle harassment in the workplace, but Jake thinks they should sit on it. They continue to work throughout the night and as Mellie gets tired and stiff, Jake gets a little stiff himself and makes a move on her, but Mellie declines and ends their evening.
The next day, Alisha’s roommate decides to help Olivia’s cause and share both hers and Alisha’s stories to the press. This in turn causes an outcry through the government as more and more people share their stories. Mellie is distraught to hear of all these people and their harassment under her watch and decides to push forward harassment legislation. Jake attempts to apologize for last night, but Mellie wants nothing to do with him.
The episode ends with Olivia and Abby discussing their new alliance to protect Mellie from Cyrus, but things take a turn for the worst when Huck finds the computer virus used to hack Air Force Two on Charlie’s computer. As he pleads his innocent to Quinn, the FBI rushes into QPA and take Charlie away. Quinn, out of options, turns to Olivia to help as we see the Deputy Attorney General appear alongside David Rosen who is the same man that Cyrus sold his painting to. WHAT.
- Is Olivia really on the road to redemption?
- Will Charlie be found innocent or taken out before QPA can save him?
- Will Rowan help QPA and Olivia take down Cyrus?
- What is Jake’s next move going forward? Will he flip sides to Cyrus’ or try to make amends with Mellie?
- What is Cyrus’ next step?
Overall, this was one of the best episodes of the season so far because it returns to the structure of Scandal in its golden age. From the case-of-the-week storyline, the constant sexual and dramatic tension between characters and the shocking twists thrown in, this episode had it all. I loved that this case helped not only push Olivia further along the road to redemption, but also helped align her with her old friends to face a bigger threat.
However, the reason this episode was so good as a standalone story was because of how important its topical themes were. This story hammers home the importance of the Me Too and Time’s Up Movements in today’s society not only within the context of the entertainment industry. It tackles the issue from various perspectives showing that sexual harassment is a very real problem that needs immediate change. It’s especially telling to show how power cannot help one escape the predatorial gaze of unwarranted advances even when you are the most powerful person in the world. If only we lived in a world with a female president that would push forward such necessary legislation. One can dream.
What did you think of “The List”? Let me know in the comments below!