Scandal: It’s Handled

Fitz spent two hours posing for his
presidential portrait only to eventually
realize there was no one painting him.
“My idealistic, romantic, optimistic, idiotic husband.”

On rare occasions, Scandal disappoints. This was not one of those occasions. My God, I missed this show.

As it is wont to do for major episodes, Scandal abandoned its formula to deal almost exclusively with fallout from the season finale’s revelation. We also set up some for season three, which is shaping up to be just as shocking and delicious as the previous seasons.

I always thought it was odd that Olivia was the character the audience knew the least about. She is, after all, the show’s main character, but her past has been an un-commented upon mystery thus far. With the introduction of her father, it looks like we’re ready to get into her background. And does it look dramatic. Her father was absolutely terrifying. What is his name? IMDb lists his character as “Rowan Pope.” Cyrus’s information on Olivia says her father’s name is “Eli” (obviously, one could be an alias given his line of work). I don’t think anyone has ever called him anything besides “Dad” or “Sir.”

Whatever his name is, veteran actor Joe Morton does a fabulous job with him. The scene in the parking garage was particularly amazing. However, I can’t help but see parallels between him and Dr. Ellis Grey of Grey’s Anatomy. I’m not saying Shonda Rhimes has serious parental issues, but the scene where Daddy Pope calls Olivia “mediocre” is ridiculously similar to this scene where Mommy Grey calls Meredith “ordinary.” (Before you ask, yes, that’s Vice President Sally Langston)

Fitz leaking Olivia’s name is something I don’t quite get. Yes, he took away Mellie’s biggest piece of ammunition, but he damn near ruined Liv’s life doing so. Did he plan for Mellie and/or Cyrus to lay the blame off on an innocent third party, or was that just a ‘lucky’ happenstance? And if that was the overall plan, that’s a pretty dickish move. I assume his intentions are still to divorce Mellie and marry Liv, but his actions here really didn’t communicate that to me. Fitz is such a tricky character to nail down. He does so much terrible stuff, but, at the end of the day, I still like him. Damn you, Tony Goldwyn. If I didn’t love Fitz so much, I would love Mellie and Olivia to gang up on him, form a ticket, and run against him in the primary. That would certainly be a twist.

This show isn’t short on powerful women. Olivia, Mellie, Sally, even Quinn and Abbie. Every single one has been or is currently being held back from achieving their potential because of a romantic relationship. Quinn’s problems began back when she was still Lindsey and suspected her boyfriend of cheating on her, leaving an angry, emotional message on his answering machine. That message was later used by Hollis Doyle to frame her for said boyfriend’s murder. Abbie was an abused wife of a politically powerful scumbag until Olivia rescued her from that life. Sally’s husband, this episode suggests, is cheating on her. And Mellie and Olivia, obviously, are being held back by Fitz.

Mellie’s statement about how bored she gets and how she’d rather run a war or the CIA is paired with Olivia’s dad’s comments about her not striving to be Secretary of State or Chief of Staff. Both women are clearly capable of more than being the love interest of a powerful man. Olivia, at least, still has a career (or what’s left of a career...), but Mellie is completely hampered by her role as First Lady. Every time she talks about her education and intelligence being wasted in the job, I can’t help but relate this to Michelle Obama. She has a law degree from Harvard, she did her undergraduate work at Princeton, but ever since her husband became president, her most visible work consists of guest appearances on Sesame Street. (This isn’t of course, to impugn Michelle Obama or any First Lady. I just think it’s ridiculous that, in 2013, political wisdom still dictates that political wives be little more than arm candy. Rant over.)

I really loved the scene in the...safe house? bunker?...where Olivia, Fitz, and Mellie cooked up a (later abandoned) plan. Gold acting stars for everyone, particularly Kerry Washington. Her face as her capital-L Love was downgraded to a two-time fling was heartbreaking. It was also fun to see how much of the affair Mellie had worked out. When did she figure it all out? Before the Inauguration, obviously. I thought Fitz was acting oddly cool when I watched it the first time around, but, in retrospect, his non-plussed attitude can be ascribed to the fact that he was the one who leaked Olivia’s name and thus the one most prepared for the shitstorm that followed.

Now poor little Jeannine Locke, the president’s press secretary, has been labeled as Fitz’s mistress. Her situation mirrors Amanda Tanner’s from the beginning of the show’s run. The difference, of course, is that Jeannine Locke actually is innocent, whereas Amanda Tanner did sleep with Fitz. Does anyone else find it odd that she would show up at Olivia’s for help? I mean, it will make for good TV, but don’t you think Jeannine would be suspicious of Olivia?

Bits and Pieces:

Scott Foley has joined the main cast. I’m guessing that means he will eventually get out of that hole.

Am I the only one who flashed back to the Friends finale when Cyrus was begging Olivia to get off the plane?

Both Abbie and Quinn were sporting new, eyeliner-heavy looks. I like it. Especially on Abbie.

The sequence where Cyrus puts together a kill file on Olivia detailing her “daddy issues” made me cringe.

Great bit of continuity with the client list. Everyone mentioned was a character from a previous episode.

Although I expect the plot point to get heavier as the season progresses, Quinn suggesting they kill an intern (“a bad one”) was a hoot.

Does Cyrus know the head of B6-13 is Olivia’s dad? Does Fitz? I hope not. I love big revelatory scenes.

Quotes:

(uncharacteristically short, I know)

Cyrus: “I am a monster, but honey, I’m your monster.”
Weirdly, one of the most tender moments ever between Cy and Liv.

Cyrus: “The Lord does not have the right to vote in the United States of America.”

Mellie: “That is not you making a mistake. That is not you cheating on me. That is you...”
Fitz: “That is me being in love with another woman.”

four out of four media circuses

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I loved it. Twisty turny goodness. You have a good point about the female characters, sunbunny. And that we know so little about Olivia. And Joe Morton was *awesome*. It made me very hopeful that season three will be terrific.

ChrisB said...

I missed this show as well! I knew that I this was an episode for the ages when, in the first five minutes, Joe Morton uttered a line that I swear I am going to use from here on out, "Come hell or high water. And, to be clear, I am the hell and the high water!" Follow that up with Cyrus's monster line, and I was grinning like a loon.

I'm not sure what to make of Fitz's leak either. I'm sure it will all be made clear to us at some point down the road.

I must admit, that I did not like Abbie's new look at all. In fact, when she was on screen, all I could think was that she needed serious make-up remover. But, you, my dear sunbunny, are my fashion guru, so I defer to you.

:-)

Alyce Jackson said...

Fitz's leak made sense to me considering his character. His interactions with Olivia are often arrogant, demanding and aggressive. He has always seemed most interested in ensuring his own happiness and I see this as a continuation of that character trait. If they had used the initial cover story that Olivia developed then everything would have come up golden for Fitz, never mind the fact that Olivia's life, both personal and professional would have been in ruins.

Olivia's interaction with her father was interesting, although I read it somewhat differently to you. I took it as him berating her for settling for being the mistress of the president, rather than the mistress of chief of staff, secretary of state or first lady as the president is just a pawn to their plays (in Olivia's fathers mind at least). He seems to believe that real power comes from behind the scenes (which is consistent with his job) and so I can see him encouraging his daughter to be someones mistress - influencing the influencers.

I had issues with the black folder this week on two points. 1 - she attempted to give the folder to Harrison last season without any explanation as to what it is beyond a 'last resort'. Yes, it provides powerful access but not necessarily useful access, particularly for anyone who isnt Olivia and doesnt have an in with the president. 2 - we proved last season that Olivia's safe is not entirely secure. Should she really be keeping national security codes that provide access to the president in a place that has already been broken in to. She can certainly afford a new, better safe. I dont understand why she hasnt bought one.

On to the rest of season 3 where I too am looking forward to seeing more of Scott Foley!