Scandal, Season 4, Episode 5, “The Key”
Oct 23, 2014, 9:00p.m. (EST), ABC
This episode flowed from scene to scene effortlessly with two character dialogues that were all equally gripping. There are too many scenes I loved this episode so I am going to focus on those knockouts. The two scenes both consist of Fitz and Jake in the basement of the Pentagon.
One scene that may be one of the best ever for a two character dialogue is the first scene between Jake and Fitz. The writing in the scene gives an unbelievable amount of layering to their discussion that it would take months for me to list all of them. This is one scene, and episode, that is sure to be apart of the award season next year.
From when they start singing along together to a tune they both know and laugh, the atmosphere of the scene quickly changes to a deafening silence. Fitz gets right to business like we have never seen him do before. He is desperately trying to find the man who killed his son and Tony Goldwyn shows this ache inside of Fitz with the right amount of control and vulnerability that enthralled me from first to last line.
Of course the dialogue slowly shifts to their favourite topic, Olivia, and that is when Jake truly shines in the scene. His lose of hope is shown through his hollow laughs that cough out in-between verbal punches and jabs through memories he is recreating for Fitz that he shared with Olivia. Jake knows he’s hopeless and probably will die if Olivia doesn’t find a way to save him. What really works in this scene is the perfect balance between the two characters. They both get their time to shine and in return the audience gets both sides of the story and we can form our own opinion of who we want to root for.
Many other things were great in this episode like the epic finale that consisted of Jake and Fitz once again. In the second scene between these two the song “Sunny Days” by Lighthouse plays over Fitz punching Jake as Jake punches Fitz verbally with the sexual acts he performed on Olivia. Playing this song over this beautifully constructed scene is perfect juxtaposition. They are standing in the basement of the Pentagon with the only light coming from lightbulbs. Both of them are figuratively living in the dark. Fitz living in the darkness surrounding his sons death, and Jake literally may never see the sun light again. Yet, this wonderful old school dance tune comes on about seeing another sunny day as blood spills onto Jake’s shirt. I loved the humor added to a scene that could have come off a bit horrific and overly sexual.
Sadly, some scenes and decisions didn’t work for me in this episode. Mellie’s character this entire episode was annoying. When she comes out with her epic monologue about her being happy her son died for a reason, I was thinking why Scandal would right this monologue for her. Mellie was always a bit crazy but this seemed unnecessary to add to her character. It could and should have been left out.
Another unfortunate mishap with character is in the stock-still emotional state Olivia is in. She used to always follow her gut but in this episode she ignored that feeling and waited it out. Why? She sat with her father as he drew out for her that he knew where Jake was. Yet she never once caught on. Why? She sits on the couch in silence when Cyrus states he will dance on Jake’s grave when he’s dead. Why? And finally, why in the world is Olivia actually believing her father when he says that Jake killed Harrison and Fitz’s son? None of what I listed is the way Olivia ever acts so why the change in this episode. They are writing her as if she is still on the island, and they forgot that she came back to Washington. Please bring back Ms. Pope as soon as possible.
This episode was extremely strong in scene study and dialogue. Not one scene was unimportant to the overall plot which is really hard to achieve. Yet, somehow this show has found the way to do it, week after week.
A great episode with some amazing scenes that give each character a change to shine on the screen.