Happy new year from “Scandal,” which opened 2013 by cementing its reputation as the jaw-droppingest, eye-rollingest, flat-out craziest drama on TV.
None of which is to say it’s not fun — the breathless pace and breakneck plot twists make it frequently entertaining. But as the attempted assassination of Fitz piled on the election-fraud plot and the ongoing thwarted affair between Olivia and the president, logic has increasingly taken a holiday.
All that was in play in Thursday’s (Jan. 10) episode, “One for the Dog.” Let’s count up the nuttiness. (Everything has an exclamation point, because “Scandal” is just that kind of show.)
1. Torture! One of the first scenes of the episode shows Huck being waterboarded after being taken into custody under the Patriot Act at the end of the last episode. The scenes present a dark, dark vision of government power (albeit one grounded in fact) — and they also raised a flag for the presence of David. He and the intelligence man get to trade some nice speeches about who’s more American, but seriously — wouldn’t they wait until after the beatings and waterboardings are done to bring in the lawyer?
2. Treason, maybe! Hoping to push Sally Langston out of the Oval Office, Mellie forges Fitz’s signature on a letter seeking reinstatement. Fitz, of course, is still unconscious. Sally catches on pretty much right away and leaks it to the press — which means the return of Jay Jackson, aka Perd Hapley of “Parks and Recreation” — and Mellie and Cyrus and Olivia have to do all kinds of vamping to make sure no one actually sees Fitz.
3. Moral relativism! I nearly laughed out loud when Olivia berated Mellie for forging Fitz’s signature like it was the worst thing ever, when — oh yeah — SHE HELPED MELLIE AND CYRUS STEAL A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
4. Conspiracy! Hollis Doyle promises to take care of the Fitz question for Sally, and he calls Becky the Assassin to finish the job she started a few episodes back. But Abby and Harrison have seen Hollis’ secret burner phone, and after Olivia does her kung fu with Sally to get Huck released, they know to plant a story about Fitz being moved to Camp David and to be waiting for Becky (whose real name is Kate, she tells Huck) on a rooftop across from the hospital. Huck then says he’ll put five bullets in her — including “one for the dog,” hence the title — before the feds swoop in and take her into custody.
5. Babies! Cyrus’ husband James briefly harangues David about the election story early in the episode, and he’s skeptical of the Fitz-is-awake story. By the end of the episode, though — and after a really harsh argument, followed by Cyrus confessing Fitz isn’t awake yet — they have their baby, and James has quit his job. So just like that, the election fraud story is dead?
6. But it’s all OK, maybe! You knew — you just knew — Fitz was either going to wake up or die by the end of the episode. The camera cut to him too many times for him just to keep lying there. Now that he really is awake, though, Olivia and Mellie and Cyrus’ big lie is now just a premature lie, and Fitz can chase Sally from the White House (kicking and screaming, no doubt) and he and Olivia can resume their star-crossed affair (ugh) and Fitz probably won’t double-bomb East Sudan like Sally wants to, but Hollis will probably be extra-mad now and try to blow up all of Washington or something.
And all of that may happen in the course of the next episode. Because that’s how “Scandal” does.
What did you think of “Scandal” this week? Do you suspend all disbelief before turning the show on?