I was very much looking forward to this episode, thanks to Ava DuVernay directing it. She recently directed the Oscar-nominated film Selma, which I loved, in case you don’t know who she is. Nothing of any big directorial flair here, however, and, unfortunately, DuVernay got handed a script with some real clunkers in it. There’s some good stuff as well. There’s a really great scene between Rowan and “Omar;” the moment with the news clippings realization is a pure Scandal moment. And the whole Cyrus/Daniel/James plotline is really, really disturbing. The show just keeps pushing Cyrus deeper and deeper into darkness; just when you think he’s done the creepiest, most evil thing he could do, he figures out a way to be worse. Perry’s performance in his last scene is devastating though; Cyrus may have met his match this time around. And the whole Quinn/Huck thing . . . I mean, wow. That scene at the end: “We need to talk about who you’re working for.” Jesus. But anyway, the bad stuff really takes away from the episode. The Charlie/Quinn relationship takes a turn into what I hoped the show wasn’t going to do and I really hated that whole scene. And I cannot tell you how angry I am about the whole scene in Vermont. I mean, that is a damned gorgeous house, but I’ve fallen off the tragic romance bandwagon for Fitz and Olivia, as I’ve said before. Olivia, he RAPED you. This is really a bridge too far for me and the show is bordering on the irresponsible and misogynistic by allowing a character to have romantic feelings for someone who raped her. I mean, let’s get honest; she was over it and he raped her and now she’s sleeping with him willingly again – this show features a man who RAPES A WOMAN INTO FALLING IN LOVE WITH HIM. I am incensed about that. Just really. Oh and I just remembered that I completely forgot to talk about the Josie Marcus plotline; I’ve literally come back to this review after finishing it to say that. And that tells you about how good it was. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it does write Kudrow out of the show having not really ever lived up to her potential, which is too bad. But the good stuff is too good for me to ding this episode too much; but without the Vermont stuff the episode would probably have been a four-star episode, so it does cost the episode. Anyway, 3 stars.
tl;dr – show gets offensive in some areas, but the plot twists keep coming and the character dynamics are shifting in fascinating ways; and three cliffhangers for the price of one. 3 stars.