In ‘A Few Good Women’ Vice President Susan Ross is visiting a naval base when she (correctly) guesses that a young female ensign, Amy Martin, has been raped. The alleged attacker is John Hawley, an admiral (the always watchable Glenn Morshower). The Navy has jurisdiction, and Fitz refuses to get involved to suggest that the case is heard in a civilian court, so VPOTUS hires Olivia. On the face of it this ticks enough boxes to be highly promising: Artemis Pebdani, an actual case for OPA, and a few hot-button issues – rape culture in the armed forces, power imbalance, and whether the military’s internal justice system is fit for purpose when it comes to determining sexual assault cases.
The stakes are raised when the Navy assigns young, dorky, and inexperienced Virgil Plunkett to act for Amy. She, meantime, has discovered that she’s pregnant, and wants to have a termination, but the Navy refuses to allow her to leave her ship. Olivia is of course fighting the case through and in the media, but Fitz is still resolute about staying out of it: “I can’t intervene. It would send the wrong message”. Mellie then takes the opportunity to call him out about it, thus reviving her electoral fortunes. It should be said, though, that the Mellie/Fitz relationship becomes more touching by the week; it’s a proper companionate marriage, which is something of a rarity on TV.
While this is going on, Huck and Quinn are torturing Russell – with Olivia’s approval, or at least knowledge – in the hope that he’ll tell them what ‘Foxtail’ is, although as Jake points out there is no chance that Russell – one of Rowan’s favourite sons – will talk. Jake, in fact, sits down with Russell for a beer and a chat, during which it occurred to me that there really aren’t too many people Jake can talk to about the B-613 experience, even if Russell did try to kill him. They also compete to do the best Command impersonation, which inevitably reminded me of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan doing Michael Caine in ‘The Trip’.
The episode ends with two spectacular twists. I should perhaps have anticipated the second one, which reveals what “Foxtail” is about, but I didn’t; and the first is so smart-yet-preposterous that I didn’t have a chance to think about whether it stands up to the most cursory of scrutiny. It all rounded off an enjoyable episode: not great, but good.