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TV REVIEW: No More Pretending in Scandal’s “No Sun on the Horizon”

By on March 14, 2014
(ABC/Eric McCandless)
TONY GOLDWYN, KERRY WASHINGTON

(ABC/Eric McCandless) TONY GOLDWYN, KERRY WASHINGTON

By Chelsea Hensley

At the presidential debate, Sally Langston said she was more worried about the country’s “moral deficit” than any financial issues. She may be onto something since the higher echelon of Scandal‘s government is made up of some of the worst people ever. While the masses worry about the disappearance of the middle class and the raising of taxes, it probably hasn’t occurred to anyone that the three presidential candidates are all murderers. Fitz killed a Supreme Court justice, Reston killed the man his wife was having an affair with, and Sally murdered her husband for cheating on her with another man, and these are the three options for president.  Scandal’s never been shy about its characters being morally bankrupt, but “No Sun On the Horizon” was the first time everyone realized it at once and instead of trying to change it like they have before, they just threw up their hands and decided not to worry about it.

Olivia’s initially refused to take part in covering up Daniel’s murder or assist David in blowing the whistle on it. She’s always sat on a pendulum in this regard, swinging back and forth from her White Hat and making feeble attempts to grasp it again, and she swung again this week. Despite her many assertions to the contrary, she eventually stepped in to keep Sally from confessing. But Olivia’s revelation that this is just how things are and how they’ll always be may save us from having to hear these speeches again. They’ve become all too common, and every other episode is a rehashing of the moral failings that have plagued these characters since Scandal premiered. Despite occasional bouts of guilt, no one does much to change so it’s a relief to see them deciding to stop pretending they want to. That’s the best case scenario, but the worst is that we’ll be right back here next week in another moral debate that will lead us back to this place.

It wasn’t only Olivia deciding she wanted to try and find the sun again (and failing), but Jake was feeling overwhelmed by his role of Command and proposed running away with Olivia. Jake and Olivia are growing just as tiring as her and Fitz, having the same conversations in every episode. Essentially Olivia is Jake’s Fitz, the one he keeps going back to despite the reasons being heaped upon him that he shouldn’t. He remains unsatisfied with the relationship, but is more than happy to take whatever Olivia will give him. Any indignation on his part eventually gives way to his love for her, and the wheel keeps turning. Olivia wants Vermont with Fitz, but she’ll never get it, and Jake wants to run away to some sunny, morally acceptable place with her, but she’ll never go.

ABC/Eric McCandless) KERRY WASHINGTON

ABC/Eric McCandless)
KERRY WASHINGTON

The episode’s title, “No Sun on the Horizon” was taken from Jake’s monologue (or perhaps it was a soliloquy but it seemed like someone else was in the room) at the episode’s beginning and end as he ruminated on the family built for him at B613, one he was given because of a lack of family elsewhere. His attempts at a new family and a new life with Olivia failed so he turned back to the one that made him into a killer. Since Jake’s introduction as a B613 agent, his involvement has appeared abstract at best, mostly because of the apparent differences between him, Huck and Charlie who we’ve seen at work many times before. Huck’s a barely contained killing machine who’s anguished and relieved after torturing and killing someone, and Charlie treats his bloody work with the same indifference as filling up his gas tank. Jake is the outlier who never went either way, never being as affected as Huck, but never as nonchalant as Charlie, and we’ve seen Jake do this job maybe twice since his introduction. Until tonight we never saw Jake really do the things we’ve become accustomed to watching B613 agents do. There’s been the vague understanding that he probably did some bad things in his years at B613, but without them being laid out in front of us, they haven’t mattered much. So the episode’s final moments, of Jake killing the reporter angling for the story on Daniel Douglas, the analyst who found the recording of Cyrus and Sally’s phone call and finally turning his gun on David and James, was unexpected.

David and James are the last two remaining moral beacons on this show, and even they aren’t exactly the poster boys for ethical behavior. Now at least one of them may be dead, but all the comparatively bad people are just fine. Olivia told Fitz there’s no “clean.” They do what’s necessary to further their own goals, and that’s it. People who get in their way with their pesky principles and decency just don’t survive in Washington. This is why it’s felt inevitable since the return from hiatus that David or James would end up dead. They just couldn’t get away with revealing the major players for who they really are. So it was no surprise to see Jake and David on the wrong side of a gun, but it was a surprise to see Jake holding it. Whoever he was before, he’s ascended (or rather descended) to depths away from whatever sunlight could have still reached him. But he’s not alone in his shady little circle of moral corruption since every other character is there with him.

Stray Observations

I’m pretending Quinn doesn’t exist.

I can’t remember the last time Sally said anything that wasn’t overdramatic hyper-religious rhetoric. Maybe now that she thinks God’s forgiven her, she’ll revert to less sermonic speech, and we’ll never have to hear her say anything like “Yum, yum, crispy piggy. Yum Yum!” ever again.

Very little Mellie in this episode, but her Sally accent during debate prep was cute.

Abby and David still have negative amounts of chemistry, but if David’s dead that really sucks for her.

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