By Arturo R. García
Oh, there was another episode left?
Well, why wait ’til Monday, then?
SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT
Yes, this episode may have made with the Stevie toward the end (echoes of last season’s finale, no?), but this track might have been more on the nose:
The entire winter finale, in fact, seemed to take its cue from Sally’s admission that “the Devil came in,” with dark truths — personal and professional — coming to the fore all over the place.
Sally’s truth, of course, was the darkest, and from the sounds of it, the one bubbling hardest under the surface. Unfortunately for Daniel Douglas, we see how badly Sally snapped when confronted not just by what appeared to be another lapse on his part, but the implications for her nascent presidential bid. But she barely has time to process what she’s done before she’s beset upon by demons on all side, whether it be Cyrus asking to play her personal Sin-eater, Mellie not-so-subtly nudging her into the White House’s fold, or Leo doggedly nudging her back out.
But picking up on his own emotional burst last week, we find Daniel Douglas’ death stirring a change for Cyrus, as well. While he may have thought of himself as a hellion in a humorous way in the past, even he’s appalled by how quickly he can sweep Sally’s crime under the rug (for now; more on that later), so much so that it costs him the energy to put up much of a fight against James’ terms for reconciliation or ask him back with the same “I’m your monster” arrogance we’ve seen in the past.
The other (ostensible) villain taking a fall this week, and in a decisive way, was Rowan. After weeks of building up to a struggle between himself/B613 and Fitz’s administration, Fitz won the war, and apparently with little more than a phone call: Rowan is out, Jake is Command (which is a scary prospect if you think about it) and that will be that.
But Rowan did manage to score a blow to the president’s ego with his scythe-like indictment of not just Fitz, but white privilege itself. Somewhere, Fitz has to acknowledge the truth Rowan handed out: his life has been less earned than anointed, and Olivia is as much a Manic Political Dream Girl to him as any sort of potential partner. Confronted with this, of course, Fitz’s only card was little more than a Peter Griffin-esque Your daughter? Totally hit that. Left unsaid was the mutual recognition that both men really want Olivia in their lives from a position of control. Rowan probably gets that, but Fitz wasn’t going to make that leap.
And with Rowan apparently out as the show’s Big Bad — for now, anyway — the stage is set for Maya to keep the threats in the family. Even if the episode kept Olivia on the sidelines for the most part, the time devoted to showing just how devious Mrs. Pope can be definitely paid off; seeing Khandi Alexander on the phone was a jolt well earned for the show.
- If you were wondering when this show was going to introduce an Edward Snowden analogue, this was your week. And Shelby Moss (Julia Cho) gets a nice spot, story-wise, being the only one with evidence of Sally’s crime. Hopefully we’ll get to see her working with David more in the spring slate.
- Speaking of Cho, any Lizzie Bennet Diaries fans out there happy to see her again?
- If Leo can get Sally back on the campaign trail, Cyrus’ ennui is going to cost Fitz dearly. We have to get a Cy/Leo snark-off out of this, yes?
- This episode certainly lends credence to the idea of the spring season being what newspaper folk liked to call Tight N’ Bright. All killers (torturers, blackmailers, etc.), no filler is going to be a really good look for the show moving forward. Maybe enough to finally get somebody an Emmy?