Scandal is all about people taking charge, kicking butt, and winning at life. But not every character manages to do that every week. So for this recap of Season 1, Episode 4: “Enemy of the State,” in lieu of the normal format, we will split the characters into two categories: Badass, and not badass.
Cyrus: If you ask us, Cyrus stole the show this week with his giddy, desperate fight against Olivia behind the President's back, and his gleeful delight at being let off the leash at the end. The President may be the most powerful man in the world, but he looks like a limp rag next to his Chief of Staff. Cyrus's long, rambling prediction of the President's future, complete with suicide, was by far and away the best scene of this show so far.
Abby: We finally got a chance to see how Abby's obstinate devotion to her own set of morals can be a major asset instead of just an eccentric and sometimes annoying quirk. Abby's insistence that the dictator's wife's right to leave her husband trumped Olivia Pope and Associate’s agreement to help the dictator was absolutely right, and we loved that she not only refused to step down, but actually managed to talk sense into her boss. Keep it up, Abby.
The dictator's wife: She saw an opportunity to get out of a bad situation and took it, and then found the strength to stand up to her husband face-to-face when she had to. She didn't get much screen time, but we loved what we saw.
Amanda Tanner: We saw three very different sides of Amanda this week, all of them excellent. Her rage when she declared she wanted the President to burn was palpable; her motivation for being in politics — to help other women — was noble; her strength in standing up to the mysterious person on the phone was good to see, even if we don't know what it was about. Too bad about the kidnapping at the end there.
Harrison: Between dishing some hard truths to Amanda (don't date a reporter, it's a bad idea!) to standing up to a squadron of armed guards using nothing but his lawyerly knowledge, Harrison really proved his worth this week.
Gideon: Gideon is more than just a pretty face, and he managed to research his way ever closer to the truth about Amanda. He'll make a top-notch reporter out of himself yet.
Huck: Huck didn't have a ton to do this week, but he did manage to work his technical magic, as always, and it sounds like he has some scary CIA skills hiding under his non-threatening demeanor. We approve.
Olivia: She was back to her normal self by the end of the episode, but Olivia loses major points this week for letting her emotions get the better of her and picking a dictator as a client, and then, after finding out said dictator's wife was trying to run away from him, backing the dictator. It's a good thing Abby was there to yell some sense into her.
Quinn: Seriously, what is Quinn good at? Other than her scene with Amanda, nothing Quinn did this week seemed helpful. She let the dictator's army into headquarters (not that we really blame her for that), she didn't know what to do to help the case, and then she ignored Harrison's advice and kept on seeing Gideon, and even lied to his face. We have a feeling that's going to come back to bite her in the butt.
The President: He made a good speech and clearly has good ideals, but Cyrus is the one really running the show these days, at least when it comes to the Amanda Tanner situation.
Stephen: What did Stephen do this week other than fight against helping the dictator's wife? Not cool, dude.
David and Millie: We're lumping these characters together because they just didn't have enough to do. David's quest to get his favorite newsstand saved was cute, but it felt tacked on, rushed, and superfluous.
Cyrus is gay. That's cool, and unexpected given his political situation. He's definitely the most intriguing character so far.
We got some interesting back story on our main case this week. Huck has a seriously scary CIA background that we can't wait to learn more about; Abby was in an abusive relationship that Olivia helped her escape (complete with bashing her husband's kneecap in, which: awesome!); Harrison was caught up in an insider trading scandal; Stephen was a law school wiz kid who broke down while playing for the bad guys; and Quinn...well, there's no record of Quinn before 2008. What?
This episode ended with Olivia and co. declaring war on the White House and Amanda Palmer being kidnapped, and we've never been more excited for a new episode.
Catch the next new episode of Scandal on Thursday, May 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.