Tag Archives: 3.04

Masters of Sex 3.04 “Undue Influence” Review: Self Help

3 Aug

Bill Masters is not a charismatic guy; something he recognized earlier this season when he tried to promote Human Sexual Response solo. Bill understands Virginia is a vital component in both the creation of this book and selling it to the general public and it is why a book tour without Virginia would be a disaster. Virginia however has other things on her mind namely her baby, her wayward daughter and her son who is thousands of miles away in Vietnam and has written to tell her he is sick.

Her plate is already full and there is no room for anything else and so when Bill idly starts reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People while he is on a bookstore stakeout he attempts to adopt some of Carnegie’s methods throughout the episode.

Masters of Sex 3.04 BillIt would do Bill good to take a moment and consider the needs of others, particularly the long suffering women in his life, but Dale Carnegie’s self-help best seller* might not be the place start because it is essentially about getting what you want. One of Carnegie’s methods involves getting what you want by making the other person think it was their idea in the first place. It is all about exerting your influence undetected, but Bill is not so good with this aspect because he lacks the charm of someone like Dan Logan. Bill is good at referencing and quoting other people to prove a point and yet the subtleties evade him. When he tells his neighbor Paul that he understands how he feels in a gesture of kindness it comes across hollow, but the back pat and semi hug is a lot more human; even if Bill looks like he would rather crawl out if his skin in that moment.

*’You Must Remember This,’ the fantastic podcast detailing Hollywood’s first century is currently doing a Charles Manson series. ‘How to Win Friends’ has come up on numerous occasions as Manson read this book in jail and used the methods to get his ‘family’ to do his bidding. Not that Bill is a Charles Manson type, but it is hard not to think about how Manson manipulated plenty of people with the help of Carnegie’s teachings.

Betty can see straight through Bill’s new approach and has even had personal encounters with Carnegie himself; she doesn’t need to read an advice book to know why Virginia is shying away from the book tour and Bill could have saved himself both time and money if he just went to Betty in the first place. What Masters of Sex needs to do this season is give Betty more screen time because a) she lights up the screen whenever she is on and b) she shouldn’t be used just as the wise and worldly woman narrative device. Currently Betty is the Kalinda Sharma case solving magical unicorn.

Masters of Sex 3.04 TessaExtending to agony aunt as Tessa is spending the day at the office after being suspended from school and Betty’s other vital scene in the episode highlights the above points. Tessa wonders why people need to understand sex in this much detail anyway and she’s feeling shitty for a number of reasons; her first sexual encounter was traumatic and even though she acts like this is a good approach to not getting pregnant she is clearly in a lot of despair. She has also found out that her mother and Bill are involved thanks to the aftershave in both her mother’s bathroom and Bill’s desk drawer – is this not a common brand? way to jump to an accurate conclusion – and all she can smell is hypocrisy.

This brings us to another bleak scene between Tessa and Matt in his car. Talking isn’t making her feel better about her awful day and so she opts for the one thing which will make her numb. This time the act is consensual, but it doesn’t make it okay. I’m struggling with the Tessa stuff this week and while I mentioned how the last episode felt like a compelling/relevant teenage storyline in an adult drama rather than being shoehorned in, it is not without growing pains.

Masters of Sex 3.04 Libby and BillBeing honest is something that comes up on several occasions throughout “Undue Influence” with Carnegie’s tome suggesting things that sound truthful, but are really subtle manipulations. I believe Bill when he says those words to Virginia at the end regarding how important she is because it mirrors how he spoke to Libby when he felt like that toward his wife. But the gentle prodding with getting Virginia to take the fur coat feels like book reading Bill. He even points out that it is an uncharacteristic move and this is classic getting someone to do something by thinking it was their idea. I don’t think Bill is shady, but I am shaking my head in a disapproving way as he has taken a personal moment Libby has brought up and pretty much transferred it onto Virginia in this moment. Virginia is the “dazzling girl” and Bill is caught between real life and well, real life.

The discussion which really homes in on this idea of honesty comes from the returning Margaret Scully who encounters her husband for the first time since they signed their divorce papers three years previous. Margaret has a happy(ish) sex life in that she is having sex with someone who she knows is into her and yet there are underlining issues; premature ejaculation and the burden of Barton’s secret. Margaret and her daughter are no longer on speaking terms as Margaret bore the responsibility for the divorce and she believes she can’t be truly happy unless she can tell Graham about the real reason behind her split. Allison Janney sells this line of thought so beautifully as she tells Bill “it haunts me carrying around a secret that doesn’t belong to me and it isn’t mine to tell.”

Masters of Sex 3.04 Virginia and MargaretGraham doesn’t understand why they must look to the past to try and fix the present because he practices William Glasser’s Reality Therapy and this deals with living in the moment; however the past informs so much about who we are. Margaret’s experience with Barton has profoundly impacted her relationship with sex and love. For Virginia she guards her heart in box because of how heartbroken she was at 18 when she fell madly in love with a soldier who then returned to his fiance – in the book this show is based on Thomas Maier goes into detail about this relationship and its impact – and her conversation with charming Dan reveals just a little bit more of the romantic George referenced a couple of weeks ago.

Libby clings to the few happy moments in her marriage where it felt like Bill needed her, but also fretting about the fate of her neighbor who was about to break free. When Libby sees Barton on the sly (how did she get in undetected?) and he asks her about the pill she comes up with a decent excuse, but as a man who has lied to his wife many times he can see straight through her ‘keep the mystery’ reason. Being queen of denial comes in handy, but it doesn’t lead to the happy life she pretends she has.

An emotionally devastating outing, but thankfully there are humorous encounters peppering proceedings as Bill attempts to play out Carnegie’s advice with some eyebrow raising moments giving Michael Sheen a chance to flex his excellent comedic muscle. The brown paper is quite a good metaphor for what is happening on Masters of Sex at the moment as the show is still intriguing, but when you peel it back it isn’t quite what was expected as certain storylines like Libby’s have stalled and she’s stuck in the ‘Poor Libby’ life that she escaped from last season. Other plot points like Virginia’s ‘too much on her plate’ cycle is fine until we get these constant bickering “we’re a team” discussions and even though time has moved on by quite a margin some of the characters feel like they have stopped still.

And now to leave you with a few costume highlights including the Betty pattern treats.

Masters of Sex 3.04 Betty Masters of Sex 3.04 Betty patternsPlus Virginia’s buttons and scarf delight.

Picture1No Virginia in her fur as the screen went to black before she put it on.

Putting the Pieces Back Together for those Hannibal has “Framed and Maimed”

26 Jun

Last season of Hannibal ended with a lot of broken bodies lying on the floor; Will, Abigail and Jack bleeding profusely from a variety of stab wounds while Alana lay outside in the rain after being pushed from a first floor window. Out of the four victims, three are still alive (Abigail exists in Will’s mind palace shifting this week to a bloodier version than how she appeared in episode 2) and in various states both physically and mentally regarding their ordeal.

Other victims of Hannibal’s manipulation are still around to tell their tales and Fredrick Chilton acts as a sad kind of Hannibal hunting recruiter offering his services only to be rejected by all. One such person is Mason Verger and it was never Hannibal’s intention to kill him as Mason so astutely points out; his horrifically disfigured face and current state of living was all part of the plan.

Hannibal 3.04 Mason and AlanaWhat “Aperitivo” does is shift the focus away from Italy and back to Baltimore tracking the last 8 months through the physical rehabilitation of those Hannibal left behind. The most obvious in terms of time passing is Alana who goes from being pushed out of the window – now she has a reason to use the word defenestration – to a device which holds her broken bones in place in a room worthy of a sci-fi movie. A room without a TV is punishment enough without adding Chilton blathering on about how she put herself in the position to be pushed out of a window. He might bring a nice bunch of flowers, but he really needs to work on his bedside manner. Later she goes from a wheelchair to using a walking stick and as with the others who have been hurt by Hannibal she has a strong defense strategy in place.

Not that she isn’t haunted by what took place; you can bury those memories deep but they will continue to bubble under the surface in certain circumstances particularly when revisiting the scene of the crime.

Hannibal 3.04 Alana hospitalVengeance is what Alana is after and it is actually Chilton who gives her the idea to use Will to get there as psychiatry is her tool in the same way predators use understanding (which she points out to Mason Verger in a later conversation). Alana has been romantically involved with both Will and Hannibal and she was put in the position of Hannibal defender last year creating numerous issues (I wrote about the disservice to Alana here). Hannibal told her that he tried very hard to blind her and here she accepts some of the blame as you “cannot see what you will not see.” Instead of being fearful or a quivering wreck in need of a good psychiatrist Alana is heading into revenge territory by whatever means necessary even if that means teaming up with Mason Verger in the guise of his psychiatrist.

Opportunity is how Chilton presents himself and he doesn’t have much of anything that anyone else needs; he doesn’t have the same insight or resources as the other players in this game. Instead he comes with flowers for the wounded and reveals his true face to Mason comparing how Hannibal fucked up their look with an ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours’ kind of situation. Chilton has a lot of covering up to do, but at least he didn’t eat his own nose.

Hannibal 3.04 ChiltonMason rejects Chilton just like everyone else does despite their shared scars and interests. Chilton’s self-serving plan which he attempts to masquerade as team work is so transparent; all he wants is Hannibal in his hospital and the ability to use the “Hannibal the Cannibal” name he copyrighted straight after he had been shot in the face. Chilton wants what is owed to him through his lost body parts with fame and fortune and this has always been his primary concern. It is so great having Raul Esparza back as while Dr Chilton is a vulture picking over the scraps of everyone else’s work and falling foul to his compulsive imitation he adds much needed humor in the darkness.

Seeing his pitches failing over and over again doesn’t get boring and while he fails in finding a partner in his Hannibal hunting venture he motivates everyone else to do something without him. Mason wants to understand Hannibal and while he knows Chilton cannot provide his entry into the mind of his enemy he finds a psychiatrist who knows Hannibal intimately. Pointing this out in crude and slut shaming terms is what Mason does if you had forgotten how repulsive he is. The choking and drooling while Alana watches on calmly and looking like she gives none of the fucks is what you get for being so awful; this is not the way to find out who Hannibal is.

Later on Mason turns down the indecent remarks asking why Hannibal favored Alana. Amusement is the answer and “things either amuse him or they don’t and if they don’t… well you didn’t.” Nice burn. A quick costume note as Mason is wearing a plaid suit in this scene and he is pulling the imitation through clothes card in the same way Chilton did – is this so he can better understand Hannibal?

Hannibal 3.04 MasonTaste is how you get to Hannibal and Alana accurately suggests Europe is where they should focus their hunt. Wine and truffles is how you track him as “His name will change, but his taste will not.” One other taste is Will Graham and Alana uses what Chilton said to her while she was in recovery as he discussed Will being back in Hannibal’s orbit. Manipulation is what is required to get to this point and even though Will dismissed Alana when she went to see him at Hannibal’s in a heartbreaking scene (as I mentioned on Twitter I still ship Alana and Will even though it makes zero sense at this point) motions have still been set in place and Will does indeed head out into the great beyond. By being at Will’s house at the end of the episode and telling Jack that Will knows what he needs to do it suggests Alana has had some influence over events set in motion. That or Will just needs someone to dog sit again.

Hannibal 3.04 Alana and Will

Hannibal 3.04 Will and AbigailAnother interesting thing about Alana working with Mason comes with this idea of control and power. Mason in the past has been a fearful figure particularly for his sister Margot who he has violated in the most horrific way by not only terminating her pregnancy, but also removing her womb. His favorite drink is a martini with her tears and he still has plenty of goons around to prepare “the theater of Hannibal’s death” and yet Alana shows no fear in front of him.

Hannibal 3.04 Alana and MasonPower comes in many different forms and Alana holds all the cards here through her psychiatric skills and her knowledge of Hannibal’s preferences. In this wide shot we see the petite Alana at the same height as Mason; she might have a cane but Mason’s injuries are far more severe and she is not afraid to get close and stare this man down.

She mentions to Chilton in the hospital that a lot of marrow went into her blood which might change the way she thinks and this Alana is all defense. While it is fun to see her embracing this darker side I hope she doesn’t lose too much of the empathy and compassion that gave us a warmer and more empathetic point of view in this bleak world.

Hannibal 3.04 Alana and MargotCostuming wise Alana’s attire in this episode is just as exciting for me as everything Bedelia wore in the premiere and she is the only one wearing bold color, as Bedelia was. First of all Alana has ditched the wrap dresses and pencil skirts for pants (the cast promo photos pointed to this change) and by changing her style it further adds to this hardening of her character. The red lipstick and going from a lose wave to tighter curls gives an Old Hollywood impression as if Alana is starring in her own film noir. All she needs is a cigarette holder and birdcage veil (and Caroline Dharvernas has the perfect look for this).

Hannibal 3.04 Alana red lipstickAlana and Will are working the angles in very different ways but they woke up from their ordeals in very similar initially bathed in white light surroundings. One of them looks far more at peace than the other.

Hannibal 3.04 Alana close up Hannibal 3.04 Will close upOne hospital awakening which is in stark contrast is Jack’s as he has a companion laying next to him and his first conversation that we see is not with Dr Chilton (Abigail morphs into Chilton for Will). Last week Jack mentioned that he died, an assertion he repeats to Bella. Jack survived by not pulling out the glass sticking out of his throat and the version of his bleeding shows the blood flowing up towards the sky. There are plenty of repeats of what went down in the season finale such as the Hannibal/Will stabbing embrace and different takes on these moments add to the operatic horror.

Hannibal 3.04 JackBella is still dying of cancer and this is where my heart felt like it had been stomped on as while Jack survived he then watches his wife die. As with the cutting between Will being saved and Abigail’s dead body being prepared, with Jack and Bella it switches between getting ready for their wedding and for her funeral. It is all about ritual by picking out dresses and putting on makeup but with very different end results. The flowers are switched out for candles and Alana appears in front of Jack where his wife once stood.

Hannibal 3.04 Bella Hannibal 3.04 Alana Bella dressEven though Hannibal’s only appearance comes via a letter we see him writing to Jack offering condolences (not for stabbing him in the neck, but for the woman he had affection for even if he played with her desire to die with a toss of a coin) his presence is felt throughout. The discovery of this note comes with the well timed appearance from a bespectacled Will Graham and while he previously rejected Jack reaching out to him by revealing the why of his phone call warning Hannibal – he wanted to run away with him – he is there for Jack when he needs it most. Will earlier neglects to tell him that a version of their take down Hannibal plan ends with him getting stabbed by both Hannibal and Will.

Jack and Will are frank with each other and after Will has revealed his truth to Jack, Jack does the same telling Will that he knows what is coming for him while handing him Hannibal’s note as if it is a clue. It is like everyone knows how this game is going to play out and they are still going to proceed; not everyone has the same self preservation as the scar tissue which grows to protect.

Oh and Will is wearing his glasses in this scene as it is pre-Italy trip and suggests he is still hiding something from Jack.

Hannibal 3.04 Will and JackWhen Chilton goes to see Jack as he is packing up his FBI desk he of course gets rejected as he has done by everyone else, but he does something very important and reminds Jack of his role in getting Will Graham into the position he is in using a lovely fishing ‘dangling’ metaphor. This is where Jack’s guilt of borrowing Will’s imagination from last week and once again Chilton is the catalyst, but not in the way he would want to be.

“There is no opportunity for you here” Will informs Chilton after he offers friendship by suggesting he literally knows how he feels. This is not the case and Will told Chiyo when they met that Hannibal is the only person who has ever understood him which is why he will fix a boat and sail to him. When they cut to the welding scene a small part (okay big part) hoped “Pony” would start playing.

Hannibal 3.04 sailingHappy hunting!

The Americans 3.04 “Dimebag” Review: “She Set Us Up”

19 Feb

A joint and a Yazoo (or Yaz to go with their US name) record take The Americans squirm inducing rate up a notch from how to pack a suitcase in “Baggage” and last week’s off books dental work. Philip and Elizabeth’s work involves varying extremes on a weekly basis and this is the life they have known since they were recruited by the KGB. On many occasion this has involved them using their body – the pilot opened with Elizabeth doing just this – but this week has them coming across untested water when the person they need to use is a teenager and not much older than their daughter. Speaking of Paige, it is her birthday and the brief moment of unity is shattered and the standoff between Philip and Elizabeth is very much on again.

IMG_9304The above photo could be captioned “LOL being a spy, amirite?” because they both look far too happy for how this dinner and subsequent Paige bombshell turns out. Instead of telling Paige who she really is, which Elizabeth is determined to do “with or without” Philip it is Paige who has some news for them. The whole birthday dinner adds extra friction to the already temperamental situation when Paige suggests inviting Pastor Tim and his wife over. Most of Philip and Elizabeth’s Paige chats occur with bedtime bickering, but this earlier one takes place first thing as they both get ready to go about their busy day of spying and maybe popping to the office. Cross cutting the conversation about Paige is Philip giving updates on Martha related intel and her desire to foster a kid; Elizabeth snarkly responds with “who wears the pants in that family.” Cutting to both Philip’s abilities as a spy, man and also showing a hint of jealousy about the Martha of it all.

The TV is on in the background because what better way to drown out the sounds of discussing covert shenanigans and on comes one of the most eyebrow raising ads I’ve seen in a long time. Even Don Draper might mouth WTF at the Love’s Baby Soft creepiness as Philip goes from talking about Martha’s kid desires to the ad proclaiming “There’s one person nobody can resist and that’s a baby.” All seems fine until you realize this ad is not for something baby related and it suggests “Because innocence is sexier than you think.” So while I go take a shower to get the skeeze off please enjoy this clip from 30 Rock, which immediately entered my brain to counter the ick:

And as a quick side note I temporarily fell down a Love’s Baby Soft print ad hole of “How is this ad real?” followed by more “What the fuck is this?” and yelling “WHY?” With one final “I don’t understand” for good measure.

Stan revealed his key to fooling targets is by telling them what they want to hear on repeat and The Americans plays with deception in a myriad of ways. In the home Philip and Elizabeth initially lived within the realms of a fake relationship that produced a very real family and this has been complicated further by really falling in love. The Paige problem has introduced this idea of revealing their real identities, which as we know Philip is staunchly against. It has become a cyclical argument and we know where each of them stands; they are in danger of falling into a repetitive bedtime bickering pattern with each of them trying to one up the other. Thankfully Paige blindsides them with the baptizing plan and she’s been deceiving them in her own way; I wonder if they would prefer Paige was out smoking joints with random older guys rather than hanging out at church with Pastor Tim? Upon hearing Paige’s wishes Elizabeth gulps down her tea as if it was something stronger and all I want is a TV reality where Alicia Florrick and Elizabeth Jennings can drink copious amounts of wine while bitching about their religious teenage daughters.

The Americans 3.04 HenryInaction has led to this crisis point and while wanting to get baptized is something most would not consider as an extreme to Elizabeth it is indoctrination of her child from someone other than her. Communism finds no place for religion in their ideology and so the thought of Paige being part of this world only increases Elizabeth’s determination to reveal the truth. Philip is thinking more logically than his wife and fears if they tell her now it will all come crashing down. Meanwhile Henry continues to tell stories about his friend Lewis that no one ever listens to. He is also pretty good at remembering state capitals. Henry is not so good at giving his dad information on Paige and church; both Philip and Elizabeth talk to or about their children this week as if they are an asset or enemy. Got to hand it to Paige for pissing off her parents so monumentally with both the baptizing idea and the way she played them. Teen rebellion comes in many forms.

Everyone is working someone and in Philip and Elizabeth’s case they have multiple sources to juggle. Philip adds Kimberly to the mix and this is where the squirming as a viewer and for Philip takes place. They know from the conversation they overheard last week that Kimberly is not afraid to flirt with older guys; enter Joe a lawyer, lobbyist and friendly creepy dude who hangs out waiting to help teens with fake ID. Joe will roll joints, listen to your music and chill on steps with you at night. He won’t dance, but he will share his coat with you. Watching Philip develop relationships with Martha and Anneliese has been hard because they are being manipulated by charm, but this is next level horror show due to Kimberly’s age and Matthew Rhys does a couple of very brief expressions to show just how unpleasant Philip also finds the situation. Before he first approaches the girls it appears as if Philip has to psych himself up, which is not something we have seen before. When the phone rings and it is a message from Kimberly you can see his whole demeanor sink and for once he would rather be stuck in this same old fight with Elizabeth. And everything keeps on piling up.

Their fake personas have a way of letting them work through the problems they have trouble sharing with each other so when Elizabeth first posed as Michelle from AA she spoke to Lisa of her real issues last season but under a fake guise. We revisit Lisa in “Dimebag” and Elizabeth is positioning herself as the person who Lisa will call; nothing of significance spy related happens in this storyline as of yet, but it shows manipulation tactics when sex isn’t a factor. In a reverse of this Philip takes what he has learned from the teen girls with what music is cool – Yazoo – and subtly wins favor with Paige by giving her something relevant to her interests. His method of learning about this means the gift is tainted with ick but Paige is very happy with this surprise, Elizabeth is less than thrilled.

Over in Stan land he needs to finally get it into his head that it is over with Sandra, just move on dude as your EST winning her back plan is not working. And for some reason yelling that it is all bullshit has caught the attention of a Sandra looking lady at the meetings. Stan is not having a fabulous time at work either as he is convinced Zinaida can’t be trusted; is he letting paranoia get the better of him or is his gut right? The trashed diner bathroom with nothing to show for it would suggest the former. Things might be looking slightly up for Nina in prison as she is given a mission of her own, which might in turn give her a lighter sentence; all she has to do is find out what Evi is up to and this means she has to talk to her.

Shot of the Week

The Americans 3.04 shot of the weekPost big blow up and the never ending back and forth dance continues with Philip briefly turning around to look back at his wife as Paige’s new Yazoo record blasts “Don’t Go” in the background, which Philip does. Apparently nearly getting caught/teeth pulling closeness does not last long. This segues into Stan’s desperate search in the diner bathroom and is one of this season’s first great music choices.

Bonus Shot 

The Americans 3.04 photos on wallFrom the same scene as above and I just want to highlight the excellent work by the prop/art department as the photos of Henry and Paige that hang on their bedroom wall look like real family pictures and not just promo shots as is often the case on TV. It also makes them overseers of this argument that is taking place and a reminder they are always there.

Disguise of the Week 

the Americans 3.04 ElizabethThis one popped up in the season 3 promo and it is part Felicity, part hippy. More big frame glasses to get excited about. I half expected her to make a reappearance as a pot dealing diversion to make sure Philip doesn’t have to go too far with Kimberly, but alas the snuggling went uninterrupted.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2015

The Americans 3.04 NinaNina’s matching tracksuit prison threads in both grey and brown look like something I would buy with the idea to exercise in them, but in reality they would be clothes I write in. Comfort is important when typing.

Music Monday: Girls and Nancy Sinatra’s “Sugar Town”

27 Jan

After the return on Music Monday last weekGirls steps up again on the soundtrack front with another track from the past. The song is “Sugar Town” by Nancy Sinatra (recently covered by Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer) and it’s a rather peppy song that reflects the detached and distant attitude towards death displayed by Hannah in “Dead Inside.”

“Sugar Town” starts to play over Hannah’s story as we transition into the credits and Hannah can only show the emotions expected of her by retelling a made up story that had no impact when she believed it to be real. Well it had some impact as she questioned why the dress was so tiny and sometimes grief is so stilted that inconsequential details are what we focus on. Does this make Hannah a bad person? No, but she’s also pretty terrible at filtering her thoughts about what this means for her e-book. She’s also pretty self-absorbed (see also the road trip to rehab) so a song like “Sugar Town” is pretty apt for her world view at the moment.

GirlsEveryone reacts to death in a different way and it’s Jessa that produces the most compelling story this week as the brash facade begins to crack as she finds out that her friend faked her death so Jessa would stop being her enabler. This has more of an impact than anything we’ve seen before, even more so than the conversation with Kathryn Hahn back in season one. More of this please.

In the music video for “Sugar Town” Nancy Sinatra goes for a hike in an outfit that might not be the most appropriate for this activity; white go go boots and matching polka dot mini skirt and tied shirt. It’s amazing and there’s a waterfall. Alas we can’t stay in Sugar Town is as made up as Hannah’s story.

Scandal 3.04 Costume Review: Trying to be a Good Girl

27 Oct

On Scandal last week Olivia Pope pretty much wore one outfit and to mix it up in “Say Hello to my Little Friend” there are nine costume changes for Olivia. The rest of Pope & Associates also show off their pattern filled closets and these might need downsizing if their financial troubles continue. So let’s get right to it as Olivia showcases her many white jackets and also throws in some rare patterned pieces.

KERRY WASHINGTON, MELORA HARDIN, PATRICK FABIAN, MICHAEL B. SILVER, DARBY STANCHFIELDOlivia in plaid is unusual even though this beautiful Ralph Lauren coat it sticks to her color palette, especially as Olivia is addressing the press. Olivia is facing a lot of turmoil in her personal life as she tries to ignore the plot her father is involved in and she wants to get back to “being a good girl.” Good girl would suggest the white hat but has Olivia come too far with everything she has done to reclaim that role? This shot also gives a better look at Abby’s wine colored Donna Karan draped cashmere coat that she wore a couple of weeks ago pairing it with another patterned scarf.

Scandal 3.04 Olivia on TVThis is one of the white jackets that Olivia wears in episode 4 and she is appearing on TV to talk trash about the girl that their client is accused of murdering. This is the look I expect from Olivia when she is creating spin to help her client and it is paired with a dark top; the battle between light and dark is a repeated motif this year. It’s hard to tell where Olivia is coming from this season and how much of this is intentional and over at The AV Club Sonia Saraiya addresses the confusing nature of Olivia’s motivations and why certain things feel a bit off.

Scandal 3.04 Olivia off white suitA classic Olivia Pope pant suit as she addresses her new client for the first time in front of the other associates; it’s not the bright white we see later in the episode and is entering grey territory. This reflects Olivia’s already wavering belief in this client as also represented by the plaid of her Ralph Lauren. The rest of the Gladiators in this shot are in their usual attire as Quinn is in the electric blue that has become her color this season, Abby is showing off another gorgeous blouse/pencil skirt combo and Harrison looks as dapper as ever.

Scandal 3.04 another white jacketWhite is Olivia’s uniform of choice and this double breasted white jacket is Olivia fits this description as she meets a potential client for the first time. This scene comes after her discussion with Jake about returning to normalcy so it’s not surprising to see her in something like this.

Scandal 3.04 a whole lot of patternAnother patterned piece with a textured wool blend jacquard Akris jacket showing another slight departure for Olivia as the case against their client gets stronger. Patterns aren’t really Olivia’s thing and the chaos that she is trying to control is showing through her clothing choices.

Scandal 3.04 will work for freePatterns are both Harrison and Abby’s thing as Harrison continues to power clash his tie with his shirt and Abby adds more animal print to her wardrobe with this Diane von Furstenberg leopard print silk blouse. The palazzo pants and Tory Burch leather and chain belt are part of Abby’s big wardrobe update and Lyn Paolo has been killing it with Abby’s styling this season. In this scene they tell Olivia they are willing to work for free and I think we need more backstory from both of them to reinforce this level of devotion.

Scandal 3.04 flirty AbbyMore form Abby’s new look and attitude as she attempts to coax David back on side as she visits him for a maybe lunch in this super sexy belted jacket and as I mentioned in the epic pre-season 3 Scandal chat, David and Abby are the couple I root for and it’s good to have one romantic story on this show that isn’t DRAMA all the time. More of this please to go with Abby’s fabulous new look.

Scandal 3.04 Donna Karan jacketBack to Olivia and another incredible jacket – I’m sure her coat/jacket collection could keep the electricity on at OP&A for a good year. This belted Kimono Donna Karan is stunning and as she tries to coax Jan Levinson from The Office into testifying for her husband she indulges in her favorite beverage. This piece covers the Olivia Pope color spectrum with ash grey, white and black and she shows off her amazing red wine not spilling power that I sadly don’t possess.

Scandal 3.04 white burberryBack to white with Burberry (of course) as the verdict is fast approaching. Olivia is in her armor but she has judged the situation wrong and a killer gets to walk free. I think it’s time for Olivia to question her gut as a judging device. Everything is all messed up.

Scandal 3.04 lounge wearThis of course leads to red win and lounge wear because what else can you do at the end of the day but pound a large glass of wine? I like Jake and I think it’s good to have conflict and obstacles with the central love pairing of this show but I also want to see Olivia without the ball and chain of a love triangle around her neck.

Scandal 3.04 Fitz at the funeralThe same applies for Fitz who I find a lot more watchable when it isn’t purely about Olivia. This is why his scenes at the funeral are interesting as it shows him apart from the political machine that has made him a dishonest figure (though really everyone on this show, aside from maybe David is a giant liar at times). Alas he soon gets dragged back in as Cyrus tells him “I would hate to see your conscience get in the way of your goal.” Oh Cyrus, ever the manipulator. This scene also features a wonderful soundtrack moment with Nina Simone’s “Wild is the Wind” accompanying this excellent and emotive scene.

Scandal 3.04 a tender momentThere’s another moment of honesty with Fitz in this episode and it comes from an unexpected place as he offers Mellie comfort and stands up for her after Cyrus berates her for the big microphone gaffe. Mellie is taken in by this for a second but then storms out; is she worried this is another part of their seemingly endless game of who has the upper hand?

Scandal 3.04 Mellie in pink

Mellie’s mistake (#MelliesBigFatMouth) takes place when she is looking at her most First Lady; wearing nurturing pink and her pearls. It’s a rare mistake and one that calls into question her already waning popularity. This runs parallel to Olivia’s reputation being questioned and shows they have more in common than they like to admit.

Scandal 3.04 definat Mellie in black

Mellie’s outfit choice after this blunder goes for the opposite of what Olivia would suggest as there is no soft color in sight, instead Mellie goes for black lace and her titanium looking pearls. She’s trying to downplay the moment to Cyrus who is having none of her shenanigans. Cyrus also gives out some fashion advice later in the episode as Ethan returns from Montana wearing cowboy boots telling him “We wear shoes, real shoes, thinking man’s shoes.”

Scandal 3.4 Lisa KudrowThis brings me to Scandal’s latest guest star and TV Ate My Wardrobe favorite Lisa Kudrow who only appears on TV screens in this episode wearing both red and blue jackets.

Scandal 3.04 more Kudrow on TVWhile there is not much to talk about regarding her costuming at the moment, she is happy to wear the color of both parties and Congresswoman Josephine Marcus is here to cause some political conflict. Cyrus thinks he has the way to take her down swiftly and regain the female vote but he hasn’t factored in the Olivia Pope and she will come into play next week as Josephine becomes Olivia’s latest client.

This episode pushed the Remington plot forward and introduced a new political foil. While Olivia’s motivations are spotty in places I am glad that we got a more Gladiator centric storyline this week. They could definitely broaden Harrison’s role but I will leave you with his excellent dance moment that almost makes up for his lack of backstory.

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Julie Hammerle

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