The plot thoroughly thickens in “Scandal” as both sides attempt to play the media and new details of the case are revealed.
This The Fix Episode 4 recap for the episode titled “Scandal” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Things aren’t looking good for Maya Travis (Robin Tunney) in “Scandal”, as the episode’s titular media firestorm once again revolves around her — this time her cozy relationship with colleague and ex-fling Matthew Collier (Adam Rayner), which of course throws her reliability as an unbiased prosecutor into some doubt. The public, after all, rarely care about the truth, at least not when the lies are more entertaining. And entertainment is all that matters. What’s more entertaining than a scandal?
Sevvy Johnson (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) gets that, which is why he knows what to trade to get what he wants. One photo opportunity at the grave of his late girlfriend Jessica Meyer (Taylor Kalupa) earns him a tracking device of the kind apparently used by the CIA to keep track of terrorists and by the paparazzi to keep track of the Kardashians. But to what end?
In actual case news, the important development of “Scandal” is that a receipt reveals Jessica had dinner with someone the night before she died. Loni Kampoor (Mouzam Makkar), meanwhile, is trailing Ezra Wolf (Scott Cohen), presumably to find incriminating-enough evidence that she can put an end to his blackmail of her. Ezra himself is still trying to tighten up his “exposé” of Maya with the help of his fabulous PR manipulator Ares (Abraham Lim), but to do it he needs some recent footage of the prosecutor that doesn’t look dated. Hence, his fixer Buck Neal (Robert Wisdom) is still at her ranch, schmoozing her current boyfriend, Riv (Marc Blucas), pretending to be in the market for a thoroughbred.
Back at the office, paranoia about the promised smear campaign has led Maya’s boss Alan Wiest (Breckin Meyer) to enlist the help of his own PR advisor — the less fabulous but no less smug Ken Sanders (Rick Holmes). As always the idea of managing the media — especially kneejerk social media — is one of my favorite aspects of The Fix and one of the things I feel it really gets right; Maya’s smugness about being immune to any kind of scandal, because she hasn’t done anything media-worthy, is so painfully naive that I can totally buy into the idea that she has been living in isolation for years and just doesn’t get how this stuff works anymore.
At House of Pies, where Jessica dined the night before her murder, CCTV footage reveals she was accompanied by Julianne Johnson (Robin Givens). That means Jules lied on record to the police. But why? Officially she’s a squeaky-clean, model citizen, and she won’t speak to Maya and CJ (Merrin Dungey) when they turn up at her door with questions. She wants Sevvy to get to the bottom of it, but he’s too busy following Gabe (Alex Saxon) and Star (Chasten Harmon) around to pay it too much mind.
And speaking of paying things no mind, it turns out Riv is super reasonable. First he catches Buck Neal snooping around and threatens him with a shotgun; then, when the story breaks that Maya and Matthew have been doing the no-pants dance, he dismisses the accompanying video instantly and promises to have her back, secure in the knowledge that a “royal… somebody” will have a baby soon and everyone will forget all about it. Wishful thinking? I’m sure. But you can’t fault the dude for loyalty.
Not everyone is so laidback about the whole thing, though. Mayor Stephanie Russo (Constance Marie) arrives to insist that Wiest finds a reason to fire Maya since her credibility is ruined, dangling the threat of passing him over for political promotion in favor of the “very photogenic” Matthew, whose credibility is apparently fine, despite being part of the same scandal. That Wiest would even consider this seems a bit weak, all things considered, especially since he knows it’s a fake, but if you can rely on people in positions of power to do one thing, it’s be self-serving.
A particular highlight of “Scandal” is watching Matthew on the podium at a damage-control press conference as Sevvy, Ezra and Ares happily watch on. I could do without the script’s silly, straightfaced buzz terms — he deploys both “fake news” and “alternative fact” almost back to back — but the giddy excitement of the defense team as they send incriminating photos of Maya and Matthew clandestinely meeting in a hotel was great fun. Sevvy’s curiosity about what’s real and what isn’t is, as Ezra explains, besides the point. Whatever Ares can pluck from the great “hashtag in the sky” is all that matters when it comes to discrediting Maya and creating reasonable doubt in the minds of a jury. The last thing that matters in a criminal case, it seems, is the truth.
But this case is too complicated for even the lies to overcome. Wiest might have cowardly decided to fire Maya, but Matthew is determined to clear her name (for the right reasons? That remains to be seen.) Loni, still without any credible evidence against Ezra, is forced to reveal to him why Jules is a person of interest (credit to the entire cast for repeatedly saying “House of Pies” with a totally straight face.) And Gabe, while leathered, reveals that when Sevvy got wind of the police coming to raid his home, he asked him to bury a bag of presumably incriminating evidence. But what’s in there?
In the meantime, Maya appears on a morning talk show hosted by Matthew’s wife, Effy (Daniella Alonso), to clear up the rumors. She goes off the rails and delivers an empowering speech about how women can’t just be criminal prosecutors; they also have to be smiley and “likable” and can be ruined instantly with accusations of being sluts. I’ve seen boxing matches less on the nose than this, but it does the job — #MayaOnFire is back in business, which leads to Ezra immediately firing Ares (I really hope he runs that back.) Oh, and Riv arrives at Ezra’s office and wordlessly socks him in the face. That guy is awesome.
At the secluded spot where Sevvy first took his kids camping, Gabe and Star dig up the dodgy holdall, which contains photographs and shoes covered in sand — Jessica was murdered at the beach, remember? Together they decide to turn the evidence into the police, but thanks to his fancy-pants CIA tracker, Sevvy arrives just in time to appeal to their family spirit. Things take a violent turn, and Gabe clubs Sevvy over the head with a shovel. Star manages to flee with the evidence, and then… stupidly sets it alight, sobbing that “he’s my dad” and that she can’t turn him in, even if he is a serial killer. What a refreshingly ludicrous plot twist that turned out to be.
To close things out, as CJ mentions the existence of a new witness, Jules turns up at Maya’s place to give her the truth of the matter: Jessica often came to her for advice because Sevvy was beating her, but that’s it, and she has no intention of being Ezra’s new sacrificial lamb over that. In the process of her confession, she also drops that Ezra is being fed inside information by someone in the DA’s office, so Maya turns up with a team and puts the place on lockdown until she finds out who it was. And to think poor Loni had just found the dirt she needed on Ezra and ended their tentative working relationship. It just goes to show, the IRS will always rat you out. What happens next is anyone’s guess.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.