Scandal, Season 3, Episode 9, “YOLO”
Written by Chris Van Dusen
Directed by Oliver Bokelberg
Airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC
On this week’s Scandal, Mama Pope’s escape from Rowan ignites a war between B613 and Pope & Associates, Huck tortures Quinn, and Cyrus’s marriage begins to implode.
Let’s be honest here, Scandal‘s never delivered a bad finale, midseason or otherwise. The show’s regular episodes generally pack the number of shocking storylines others save for their finales, so it’s always exciting to see what Scandal whips out for finale season. And oh, does “YOLO” deliver (and it’s only part one of a two-part finale!)
First, opening the episode with Huck torturing Quinn is sheer brilliance. The scene is everything Scandal does best–namely, tense and horrific character drama. No music accompanies the scene–just Quinn’s heavy, panicked breathing–heightening the tension to an unbearably traumatizing level. The scene is also excellent payoff after Quinn’s dive into B613 last episode; finally, after two and a half seasons, the lady’s getting a genuinely great storyline. Oh, and Huck’s speech during the torture session? Perfection, in the most devastating way possible.
Anything that brings (nearly) the entire cast together is already great, and introducing Olivia’s long lost mother does just that–immediately the crew pulls together to save their struggling leader, and it’s beautiful. If there’s one thing this show drives home repeatedly, it’s the loyalty Olivia’s crew has for her. These people will literally go to war for her.
Speaking of war, it’s nice to finally see so many people stand up to Cyrus, arguably one of the most monstrous characters on a show full of monsters. James, especially, deserves the chance to finally stand up to his husband, and he does it wonderfully. And, it leads to one of the most shocking moments in the episode–Cyrus breaking down in the Oval Office. Mellie’s response is hilarious and so spot-on. Bellamy Young can do no wrong at this point, seriously.
Though, one of the characters who’s turning into a genuinely good addition to the team is Charlie. He’s a great character simply because he’s so unapologetic about who he is–Charlie knows very well that he does terrible things, and is a terrible person, yet he’s very honest and open about his crimes. Actually, he seems to revel in it. This isn’t a show about good people, despite the ongoing debate about who is or isn’t wearing a white hat, so at least we’re being given criminals worth watching.
Mama Pope hasn’t been around long enough to truly get a feel for her character yet, but we undoubtedly will soon, if those final few scenes are any indication. The little bit about Mama Pope’s capabilities with a gun versus a cell phone is pretty funny–it’s nice to hear the writers subtly acknowledging her decades-long stay in prison. Oh, and the parallel between Olivia’s past and present is lovely, as she watches her mother leave her twice. Really good writing, there.
Lastly, let’s talk Liv and Fitz. Since Olivia is such a headstrong, ball-busting female leader, it’s not as troubling when she calls up Fitz for a favor. Sometimes, you need other people. This season has been very much about Olivia’s weaknesses–over and over, she’s been stripped from her usual position of power, and it’s added so many dimensions to our beloved gladiator. But, it’ll still be nice to see Olivia return full force and gain the upperhand in her family drama. If anyone can handle such a disturbing and tragic situation, it’s Liv.
“YOLO” delivers enough shocks to qualify as the midseason finale all on it’s own, so what more can next week’s episode possibly give to us? Who knows, but the Scandal crew will undoubtedly deliver.