So, this episode begins, kind of, a new story arc; things will carry over from the first half of the season, but it’s clear there’s a break between the first and second half; reportedly that’s because when they wrote and filmed the first half, they didn’t even know if there was going to be a second half. Anyway, this one opens with a great shock: between the last episode and this one, there has been a TEN MONTH gap. Given how bleak the last episode was, this is kind of hellish; it’s pretty brutal to think about some of these characters living where they were at the end of Nobody Likes Babies for ten frigging months. But, hey, these people, with a couple of exceptions, chose their fates, so it’s kind of great that the show has just let them live with it for a while. And the opening scene was a real shocker as well; not at all what I was expecting. And this episode introduces Scott Foley as a new character that’ll be around for a while. There a scene here that is problematic or brilliant, depending on how you look at it. I’m kind of over one central relationship here; it’s stopped being tragic that Fitz and Olivia can’t be together and just started to look like manipulation on Fitz’ part. Olivia still has my sympathy, but Fitz really doesn’t, so when they finally see each other again after ten months, he chases her down a back hallway as she’s trying to leave and essentially rapes her. If you’re still trying to view their relationship as romantic, gtfo; the show has effectively killed that with this really disturbing scene. But there are some problems here; the final shot of the episode has Olivia acting in a way I just can’t believe she’d ever act. And this also starts a plot involving some sort of a mole on the President’s Security Council. I mean, if I never see another plot about a mole on a television show I’ll be happy. Here’s hoping Scandal has something new to say about this tired plot thread, but I kinda doubt it. But it’s . . . good, if not great. 3 stars.
tl;dr – second half of the season starts with a bang and lands some disturbing moments, but some new elements already seem strained and lazy. 3 stars.