This week on the Scandal, Olivia & Co. are forced to manage the optics on Cyrus’s fake engagement, after Michael’s careless ways threaten to sink the image of the chief of staff. The PR disaster that Michael unleashes works both as a device to have the audience peak at Cyrus’s previous marriage and also as a way to have Liv be somewhat involved with affairs involving the White House.
D.C.’s favorite crisis manager sets multiple pieces in motion, from organizing a monumental shotgun wedding at the White House to having Mellie as an ally, and while the plan seems to be moving smoothly, ex VP, Sally Langston, comes back to the public life and is hungry for revenge. The murderous woman offers a large sum of money in exchange of evidence that the future marriage between Cyrus and Michael is a front.
Through effective storytelling, flashbacks mesh quite well with the present. First off, Cyrus’s marital union with Janet is explored enough to make a point as to what makes Cyrus, well, Cyrus. Secondly, the man’s memories of James, which are not a source of drama but of sorrow, balance the pace of the show in an extraordinary way. Through the years, Cyrus has learned how to truly love; however, he has also become proficient at lying just enough to keep his career afloat.
On a similar note, and continuing the flashback trend, Liv remembers the day she submitted her resignation to Fitz, which happened to take place on the same date James and Cyrus got married. That same day, the POTUS gave Olivia the ring she left behind as breadcrumbs on the day she was abducted. Additionally, the piece of jewelry is the root of the infamous “sweet baby” reference.
Looking for much needed leverage, Liv, with Fitz’s blessing and a signature to back it up, decides to offer Sally a deal: if she backs off on her plan to expose Cyrus, she can become Secretary of State; however, the former VP does not take the bait. With her plain failing, Olivia finds herself with only one alternative: to spin the story so that Michael looks bad and Cyrus is perceived as the brokenhearted, betrayed man. At first, the chief of staff is willing to go through with that initiative, yet he has a change of heart after witnessing the horrendous treatment his fake fiancee receives from his parents, who, by the way, only agree to meet due to Lizzie giving them a monetary compensation.
Olivia realizes that throwing Michael under the bus is a no-go and proceeds to re-route the proverbial moving vehicle. She approaches Sally with fake evidence and convinces the widow that her late husband, Daniel Douglas, was also an acquaintance of Michael’s. Afraid that Olivia’s bluff would destroy her, the woman makes the smart choice of backing down.
Meanwhile, Cyrus, who has had epiphany after epiphany, chooses to learn from them and opens up to Michael, whom he also promises to honor as best as he can. In opposition, Olivia, puts the ring Fitz gave her, a.k.a. “Sweet Baby,” back on.
“Put A Ring On It,” in spite of the high-stake scandal at hand, felt a little bit like a filler episode of Scandal. However, it was a nicely orchestrated piece of narrative that entertained. On that note, Cyrus’s backstory is undeniably compelling and did call for attention. Hopefully, the third time (at the altar) IS the charm.
– Kate Burton and Jeff Perry excelled. Although I would have loved for them to share a scene, they are both convincing nemeses. Not to mention, Meredith Grey’s parents!
– Dan Bucatinsky being back through flashback was a nice treat the audience got. James is still dearly missed.
– Emily Bergl playing Janet, Cyrus’s first wife, was the perfect casting choice. The scene where she breaks down and asks for a divorce was, tonally, gold.
[Photo via ABC]