Scandal: White Hat's Back On

“I worry about me, too.”

Oh, Scandal. What am I going to do with you? You are such a tease. I was prepared to love this episode (it’s Scandal, after all). Then the episode systematically backtracked everything that’s happened in the past two seasons. I was annoyed–really annoyed–and then the revelation of the last few seconds came and punched me in the gut. Seriously, I felt winded after that.

I enjoy Scandal because it’s sexy and soapy and exciting, but there’s no point in denying that it’s shallow. It’s the television equivalent of a Dan Brown novel. Lots of gasps, lots of twists and turns, and lots of fun, but ultimately vacant of deeper meaning. What’s more, Scandal suffers from Shonda Rhimes Syndrome. SRS, as it is known in the television medical community, is the inability to push a storyline forward. Any progress made is quickly taken away. Shows that suffer from SRS love to throw out bombshells (Olivia knows Fitz murdered Verna!) and then minimize the blast (Olivia doesn’t care!).

Thanks to Scandal’s SRS, we leave season two of Scandal almost exactly where the series started. Fitz is back with Mellie but still in love with his Livvy, Olivia is alone and dedicated to her team of gladiators. David is back on his chosen career track, Cyrus is Fitz’s go to guy and his relationship with James is solid but far from perfect. Honestly, I’m disappointed. After all we’ve gone through this year, almost nothing’s changed.

A big part of the issue is how popular the show’s become. When Shonda Rhimes thought the show’s run would be limited, she pulled out all the stops. It was shock after shock. Now that the show’s blown up, the writers are less focused on making good television and more focused on keeping their existing viewership. In their minds, that apparently means keeping things the same.

While most of the episode was okay but not amazing, two parts made me distinctly uncomfortable. The first is Quinn torturing Billy. I’d really been enjoying Quinn’s progression as baby Huck. Alas, no more. Quinn as a torture addict? Please, no! I really don’t want to watch another member of Olivia’s team go down that rabbit hole. Because a) we’ve done it before and b) it’s just too freaking depressing.

The second bit of the episode I hated: Fitz and Mellie’s showdown in Cyrus’s hospital room. This is only the second time (third if you count Olivia’s reference to Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson) in the show’s entire run that Olivia’s race has been mentioned. Cyrus, in one of his epic sarcastic monologues suggested that Olivia wouldn’t be overly welcome as Fitz’s girlfriend or wife because of her “hue.” It was okay when Cyrus said it because at his best moments he’s a dick. Fitz talking that way was not okay with me.

He was talking about Olivia as being black first and Olivia second. A bit of this was mitigated by his speech being her idea, but it was not enough to shake off the creeps. They aren’t even officially together and he’s already talking about her like a poker chip, like a political card he can play. Can you say objectification? Her presence will spark a discussion on racism? That’s one of your reasons for being with her? Not that you love her, that she’s smart and successful, beautiful, strong, and powerful? And when Fitz threatened to label Mellie as a racist if she leaked Olivia’s name, I was floored. That might have been the least attractive Fitz has ever been and I’m including when he murdered Verna Thornton.

I did really like the last montage. It was a great song choice and I loved the details. Cyrus has a hard time destroying the Cytron card, but eventually does signifying that however difficult it’s been to get past Defiance, we’re finally done with it. Fitz laid his head on Mellie’s lap which was actually a really sweet moment. As hatable as she is, Mellie is the one who’s never abandoned him. He and Liv are constantly leaving each other but his relationship with Mellie, however screwed up, is nigh indestructible. Jake has to pay for his mistakes, because it seems like one character should have to. David is back to yelling at his assistant Alissa for coffee. And then there was that last minute. I swear I thought Olivia was going to get shot when she stepped out of her door. It was the combination of the white jacket and the smile. Those never bode well. Whatever my issues with this episode, I will freely admit that “Dad?” was an epic moment. It took me about five minutes to recover from the shock.

List of Things that Happened that for Whatever Reason Do Not Matter:
Fitz killed Verna
Cyrus killed Amanda
Reston killed his wife’s lover
Reston and David know about Defiance
Olivia slept with Jake
Cyrus was unspeakably horrible to his husband
Cyrus had a heart attack

Bits and Pieces:

It was so fitting that Fitz took Verna’s place at the conspiracy lunchtable.

I’ll admit it, I loved Cyrus in the ambulance. It was one of the hour’s few highlights.

I really hate the false equivalency made between a single woman sleeping with a single man and the President of the United States murdering a cancer-ridden Supreme Court Justice.

So David stole the Cytron card to parlay it into a job. When Billy and Charlie stumbled into his plan, David used the opportunity to take them down because...he could?

Jake seduced Olivia on her father’s orders. That’s just yicky.

When arresting Billy, did no one notice he’d been tortured with a drill?

Quotes:

Huck: “It’s true what they say: if you want somebody killed right, you’ve gotta kill them yourself.”
Abby: “Somebody stitch that on a pillow.”

Cyrus: “Hollis, this is the White House. This man is the president. Talking about murder in the White House in front of the president is like talking about sex in the Vatican in front of the pope. We do not do it.”

Cyrus: “Your job has only two requirements, Sally. One is to not die. The other is to be loyal to the president. That’s it! Don’t die! Be loyal! The only other creature in this White House who has the same sweet deal is the president’s dog! Hank! Hank can do those two simple things! Why can’t you?”

Paramedic: “Mr. Beene, at least let me take your blood pressure.”
Cyrus: “It’s bad! Very bad! How’s that?”

Cyrus: “Shoot him! I said, shoot him! Give me your gun. I’ll shoot him myself!”
Men do make the worst patients.

Cyrus: “Let me get this straight. Highly trained, black ops assassins broke into your home to try to kill you and instead of that, oh, making you run toward reason, instead of the possibility of death making you decide that maybe it’s better to be single, you have decided that the killers were merely firing heart-shaped bullets made of bubbles and candy that signified that you and your boyfriend Fitzy are M.F.E.O., made for each other?”

Cyrus: “You two are so stupid and romantic and high on your own doomed love, Romeo and Juliet, ‘Dear Diary’ nonsense that you won’t even save your own lives, but I am being dramatic? Romeo and Juliet were teenagers and they died!”

I’m really not sure. What do you guys think? How many out of four bloody drills?

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I honestly don't know how I feel about this finale, either. You're so right, sunbunny, that we're back where we were. I hate it when that happens. I loved Cyrus in the ambulance and I think him destroying the Cytron card was really funny. I hated seeing Quinn going over the edge like that, too, and I'm so disappointed in her. But it was still such a strong episode. And if Fitz wins reelection and makes Olivia first lady, the story would be over. Right?

Terrific review, sunbunny. I was thinking exactly the same thing about Olivia's white clothes, too.

Olga said...

I think I liked the episode a bit more than you, but I tend to think of Scandal as of sexy, fun to watch soap opera. I don't view as a serious TV.

The second Billy started confessing in all the murders I knew David was wearing the wire.

Hated to see Quinn with that drill, one thing if she was gonna do it because Huck couldn't but she enjoyed it whole a lot too much.

Love Cyrus - he is just delightful and steals every scene he's in.
That "Don’t die! Be loyal!" speech was so much fun.

I actually didn't like that moment at the end when Fitz laid his head on Mellie’s lap - it felt like a surrender and made him look weak.

I also thought Olivia was going to get shot, and I totally did not see the "Dad?" moment coming.

Great review, Sunbunny.