Scandal Season 4 Episode 21 Review: “A Few Good Women”

Scandal

After a week off, Scandal came back last night and continued to explore both in the political and the spy games, two plots that have remained pretty much disconnected so far. “A Few Good Women,” or more accurately, the episode’s ending, might have changed that, though.

This week’s Scandal begins with the VP, Susan Ross, not straying in her path to remain an inconvenience to Fitz’s administration, as she turns a simple photo op on a naval ship into a national disaster. When the onboard navy members give Susan a salutation, she notices that one of the women is sporting a bruised wrist, which compels the spunky veep to take immediate action. She firsts singles out the servicewoman, Ensign Amy Martin, and questions her about the black and blue marks; however, Martin gives a typical textbook bogus explanation. Susan doesn’t believe her, and against what would have been proper process, she takes the Ensign to the White House. 

Although it’s quite possible  that Amy could have been raped, what is certain is that the VP had no jurisdiction to take her, and Cyrus and Fitz insist that it is not in their power to help. The military has its own judicial system, and they clearly oppose to stepping on its toes. Although they are right, Susan sees them, possibly, like most of the audience does, as two men stating facts instead of helping. That said, there was a somewhat missed opportunity by not having Amy confirm or deny what happened, especially when Susan is taking risks because of her.

When the most powerful man in the country has his hands tied, Susan resorts to DC’s favorite fixer. Olivia takes the case without hesitation and uses the press as her weapon of choice. Consequently, the media questions the White House’s inaction, while Mellie grows disappointed that her husband is not offering Amy any sort of justice. It is taken for granted that the military’s proceedings are biased, which is a bold move from the writers. 

With Ensign Martin’s case out in the open, it is revealed that it was Admiral Holly, a highly regarded figure  and her superior, who sexually abused the servicewoman. Going against a Navy god is enough of an uphill battle, yet matters get worse when a green military lawyer is appointed to represent Amy. As a result, Liv basically has to spoon-feed the joking attorney the basest of questions. 

The admiral denies both being at the ship when the alleged rape occurred and having engaged in any kind of sexual activity (consensual or otherwise) with Amy, yet she tells Olivia that she needs an abortion. Liv, knowing what she is asking of a scarred woman, suggest to hold off on the procedure, so they can get DNA as proof that Holly lied. However, the Ensign cannot wait. As much as I loved how respectfully the subject was approached, I’d be lying if I said I believed that the scene didn’t need an Olivia speech. Additionally, I fail to understand why Susan completely disengaged with the case.

Even with a pregnancy as result of sexual violence, Olivia is empty handed and aware that their chances of wining the trial are slim to none. As a result, she calls Fitz and reprimands him about his choice not to get involved. The interaction is sugary, yet not fruitful. I have always been okay with the fluff; however, the case of the week involved rape, and a man who went to war for the woman he is in love with denied her help in getting some documents that could prevent a predator to hurt more people? Not just people but HEROES? Fitz is starting to be very easy to dislike lately.

In parallel, Mellie is having a tough time deciding what to do with her campaign. Elizabeth tells her that she will not be elected unless she adds Springfield, Virginia to her tour, but the First Lady is reluctant to revisit the place where her son died. Fitz tries to help and offers to go with her, but Mellie is aware that she needs to face the public and the location on her own. Still, she knows that she will be asked about her stand on Amy’s case, and that is when Fitz decides to help. He tells her to throw him under the bus, which, quite honestly, he deserves.

In spite of initially putting his foot down, Fitz requests the security logs from the naval base, and Abby delivers them to Liv. The documents ratify Holly’s alibi since his card was not swiped at the ship, but the smart fixer realizes that the Admiral’s right hand had. Basically, in half a minute, the case becomes a slam dunk. Additionally, a second gift from the White House helps uncomplicate matters as security footage from the base is leaked, showing the high-ranked naval douche was guilty. All of that was good and all and Amy got to go back to her post, but Susan being MIA seems like a huge oversight to me.

Intertwined with the case, Jake recovers at Olivia’s apartment, while in Lois’s former home Huck and Quinn try to make Russel spill the beans about “Foxtail.” Torture doesn’t work, there is a suicide attempt that Liv and Huck interrupt, and finally, Jake is put to good use when he brings a beer to the man who stabbed him repeatedly and then has a candid heart to heart about Papa Pope. As it turns out, both men have “daddy issues,” which is enlightening. The highlight of their interaction is when Jake breaks it to Russell that he was just a tool to torture Olivia. Then the unthinkable happens, as the lawyer that had been appointed to help Amy turns out to be one of Rowan’s goons, who drugs Huck and releases Russell.

The episode closes with Mellie addressing the people in Springfield, Virginia, where she decides not to milk her son’s passing. Instead, she focuses on Amy’s rape case and admits that she does not agree with Fitz’s stand not to get involved. Furthermore, she announces that she will see that sexual abuse becomes a priority. The speech is a home run, after which the First Lady is supposed to meet a donor. When she enters the room, a security detail member talks over his wrist radio informing that “Foxtail” is secured. Subsequently, Mellie encounters Daddy Dearest.

I hate to admit, but “A Few Good Women” was one of my least favorite episodes of Scandal. EVER. The spy games portion of it had nothing special, Mellie’s campaign continues to be uninteresting, and the case of the week was lukewarm at best. I didn’t see much graduating going on last night, and for an episode with the tittle it was given, it lacked girl power. Every other episode of Scandal has had more fierce moments than this one. Susan was misused, and both Elizabeth and Cyrus are still being kept on the sidelines. Come on Scandal, I know you can do better than this.

[Photo credit: Nicole Wilder/ABC]

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