Let’s start with how bad Lena Dunham’s wig is, then we can talk about how bad the rest of the episode is. The wig: It’s very bad. We’ve all known this since the sneak peek photos were released. What we didn’t know was how both formulaic and yet unsatisfying this episode was.
Dunham played Sue, a D.C. worker bee who has spent her free time on the Scandal version of a fetish website called Land of Kink. She’s enticed many a member of the D.C. elite, including Leo Bergen and, in a twist, David Rosen.
Sue takes the approach any lady with big dreams and an extensive sexual Rolodex might take, namely, publishing a book about her encounters. It’s up to Olivia and associates to quell this possible titillating problem—mostly at the behest of Abby, Leo’s current girlfriend and David Rosen’s ex.
Are you getting flashback’s to season 1? Because this is not entirely different from the first season’s relationships between the aide and the president—Olivia is responsible for cleaning up messes made by her friends, and she doesn’t seem to care about their involvement or responsibility. Instead, she offers Sue a nice placement at the Washington Post in return for her silence on the matter.
The plot is fairly pedestrian and easily resolved until it takes an extreme turn—namely, Quinn and Huck find Sue being threatened by one of her paramours. Gladiators to the rescue, right? Except Huck takes the opportunity to viciously, randomly slit Sue’s throat because she may have posed a threat to David Rosen, who is pursuing his case against B613 and the government.
This was completely shocking as a turn of events—both because, A) who expected Lena Dunham to be murdered? And B) it served very little purpose in the actual narrative arc of the story. No one was going forward with the book. There wasn’t a clear and present danger of David Rosen being exposed as anything, let alone a lonely dude who slept with a young girl. The moment was there to manufacture drama in an episode that was lacking in pivotal moments. But it was a moment that ultimately feels unnecessary to the story. Raise your hand if you really thought Sue’s book was going to be the downfall of David Rosen. Raise your other hand if you thought any of this info would actually affect Abby.
This is another element this episode tried to bring into play in a large way: That somehow Leo and David’s personal choices would reflect on Abby as press secretary. She attempts to resign in the face of this, and is smartly thrown off by Cyrus noting that the past two press secretaries have been murdered. Shonda Rhimes has done several episodes this season that highlight the unfair burden of behavior that is placed on women in politics—she’s mentioned it particularly as regards to Mellie and her appearance to the public in her moments of grief. And those moments were excellent—she managed to succinctly say some smart things about the perception disparity between men and women. This episode attempted to address those same conversations around Abby, but badly. It wasn’t her misbehavior that might ultimately have been aired, but it also wouldn’t have been her misbehavior that was ultimately judged.
In the end, everyone is cleared of their mistakes, and no one is off the hook. Olivia’s PTSD continues to go on unaddressed while Fitz and Jake discuss her over Scotch in the Oval Office. Huck continues on his path toward truth, or getting his family back, or cleansing his own personal demons—it’s unclear what he’s even doing anymore. Mellie is pursuing a house seat in Virginia? Her plotlines continue to be shoehorned in around the main episode with zero regard for feasibility or sense, at this point. And Abby? Well, she went from trying to clear her boyfriend to accepting that he did some raunchy things. In the end, their resolution (at odds, but still engaged) is the most relatable and the most understandable of anything that went on.