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Scandal

Scandal Review: We The People

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The life of Scandal President Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III is full of parallels. He earned his presidency on the back of a scandal. And earned back his presidency with a scandal. And while he knows about the latter, he's still in the dark on the former.

Through the skillful use of flashbacks, "A Criminal, a Whore, an Idiot and a Liar" revealed the inner workings of Olivia's deal with the Devil Hollis, while bringing together Pope and Associates for the first time and also complicating Olivia's life in the present day.

Election Flashback

While the jury's still out on whether or not Hollis is solely responsible for Fitz' attempted assassination, tonight made it appear that he set the wheels in motion on the election rigging. He had the plan in place as an ace up his sleeve, ready to pull it out and play it when the time was right. After losing yet another debate, and subsequently points in the electoral race, it became clear that an intervention would be necessary if Fitz would take the White House.

The first attempt at helping him gain necessary ground was to call in Fitz' father, a politician with a penchant for pretty women. Hmm, sound familiar to anyone? While Papa Fitz was a garden variety philanderer and our Fitz prefers a monogamous mistress, the apple didn't fall very far from that tree. Seeing Fitz' disdain for his father's cheating ways was interesting because it's always seemed that while Olivia is the one thing he seems truly to love, his relationship with her - or perhaps the lack of a relationship - is something he seems to hate.

Maybe that's where his anger and frustration comes from in his dealings with her. It's not Olivia; it's their role as star-crossed lovers. But I digress.

Fitz intended to run a clean campaign, and as far as he knows, he did. It was his "people" who got their hands dirty, all for the sake of the Once In A Lifetime King.

Hollis: I may be a son of a bitch, but Fitz is clean as a whistle. Am I right, Cyrus?
Cyrus: He's the real deal. A patriot. A bleeder.
Hollis: How rare is that? How often does that come along?
Verna: Once in a generation, if you're lucky. | permalink

Everyone kept talking about how good Fitz is, how clean he is, how Messiah-like, and all I could think was "he's cheating on his wife." Which is, of course, his secret sin, and part of what gave Olivia pause in going through with the election rigging. She knows him and knows that he is a good man. She knows that he deserves to be President, but due to what she probably perceives to be her fault, he cannot get there on his own. And so she compromised herself, and him in the process, for the sake of his future.

Olivia knows his strengths, but she also knows his weaknesses. And as he said, weaknesses are strengths.

And I'm suddenly all conflicted about my thoughts on Fitzgerald Grant. He's good yet flawed. In a word, human.

Olivia is his weakness and the source of his strength. No one spurs him to be a better man like she does. But does their relationship in its current state make her better? I can't say yes.

Edison doesn't make her better, that's for sure. Unless we define "better" as "delivering verbal smackdowns" because she was certainly able to do that tonight.

Olivia: [to Edison] Five, that's sexist and insulting. You'd never suggest Scooter Libby was screwing Dick Cheney. Four, the lengths you're going to try to twist this into a conspiracy are cause for concern. You should speak to someone about that. Three, the President is awake and talking and the suggestion that he isn't is partisan political crap that I thought you had enough integrity to rise above. Two, in the past three minutes, you have called me a criminal, a whore, an idiot, and a liar, so this is pretty much the last time we'll be speaking, so one, who I am or am not screwing, what I am or am not doing, is no longer any of your damn business. | permalink

And there must have been something about that little speech of hers that spoke to Edison because he came back and proposed. Of course she shouldn't marry him. There's no love there for her. (And there's no chemistry there for the viewers!)

But Fitz telling Mellie he wants a divorce doesn't mean that he and Olivia can be together. So these two are still stuck. Apart. And I'm suddenly rather desperate for them to be together because of it. 

Fitz and Olivia's opposing revelations to one another when the show returns in two weeks should be interesting.

Other tidbits of tonight's episode that are worth a mention:

  • We saw the formation of Pope and Associates as Papa Fitz asked for dirt on Reston. Olivia called in her people to do the digging, introducing them for the first time. Too bad Stephen couldn't make a guest appearance because it's clear from Scandal season 1 that he predates Huck, Abby, and Harrison.
  • I want to believe that Sally was genuine when she said she hadn't slept since taking over the office, was only thinking of the country, and didn't want Fitz to die. Their exchange (which is on the Scandal quotes page) was nice.
  • Mellie was a bit insufferable. Sure, she was excited that he was alive and awake, but for the love, woman, let him rest.
  • I posited last week whether Mellie had retracted the letter before Fitz woke up. Tonight we got our answer: No, she didn't.
  • Hollis and Verna still had the most to gain from rigging the election and while it appears Hollis thought this up on his own, I wouldn't put it past Verna to have been in on putting the idea together somehow.
  • The parallels between Fitz at the press conference and Fitz at the debate were seamless. In both, Olivia's direction helped him overcome and triumph.
What did you think of tonight's Scandal? Do you like the flashback episodes, or do you prefer the show stick to present day?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (292 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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I wished the review would have reflected my previous comment a bit: How lame the excuse for the treason was: I love him, he's good, he should stick it to his evil daddy.. oh, come on. At least the other candidate should have been more of a threat to the welfare of the country. But taking Prozac? It does not even come close to a legitimate reason.

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I waited till this episode to finalize my verdict, but now I'm done: The five conspirators deserve the death penalty. They committed high treason for no good reason and there is just simply no excuse for that. Even Walter White is less evil than these 5.

Miranda-wicker

@Deinara--I would never want the show to have flashbacks in every episode, but I do think that when Scandal does flashbacks, it does them well. @Fugefase--I think where Olivia is concerned Fitz' judgment is skewed, as hers is with him. He won't forget the betrayal, but I don't think it will keep them apart.

Miranda-wicker

@TooSilver--I also think that only Olivia herself is aware of just how much her complicity in all of this has cost her.

Miranda-wicker

@TooSilver--I think the reason the focus is on the love affair is because that's the part that feels most real-life. While the other laundry list of things you mentioned happen, those are more easily written as fiction and are therefore part of the subplot of this show. I DO, however, agree with you that more focus should be paid to what this affair, and the cover up, are doing to Olivia. People think she's done all of these things TO others, but they've come with great cost to herself, in my opinion.

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Fitz WILL find out about Olivia's part in the election and it will separate them forever. He might be able to forgive but he will never forget the betrayal.

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I like the combination of both flashback and present day, since they do it so well, but I do not want every episode to be that way. I think we no should have a period of focusing on a few more Scandalous cases ot OP&A. Also: 1)Hollis is not in this alone esp the hit on POTUS 2)I did not believe a word out of Sally's mouth, 3)I do not see Mellie stepping aside for Liv...no way is it going to be that easy, 4)Even if Fitz becomes a divorced President (an interesting idea for sure) no way could he marry Olivia and carry on as President...such a PR nightmare with all that has come down...talk about potential impeachment!! and finally 5)Mellie's baby would have to not survive for Fitz and Liv to have a ghost of a chance if Mel did agree to give him up. Waiting two weeks for more will make me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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It's also interesting to me that people are concerned about what the Fitz and Olivia relationship is doing to Olivia. Forget that, can we talk about what SHE just did to him? She rigged an election. Sure she loves him and did it for his happiness (supposedly) but Fitz is not the kind of man who wants to win at any cost. He would never have supported this or wanted this for himself. He will be shattered when he finds out that the love his life did this thing he would never have believed her capable of. Olivia makes these crazy life changing decisions for him and everyone else but Fitz is the one that people are conflicted about? Wow.

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It's taken this long for some to see that Fitzgerald Grant III is a flawed HUMAN? Really? I honestly can't believe there is still moaning about the fact that he's cheating this far into the series. Especially compared to the lies, forgeries, coverups, conspiracies and MURDERS we've seen every other character participate in. People are more outrage about an affair that is clearly a LOVE affair and not just a seedy fling than they are about everything else on the show. Fascinating.

Scandal Season 2 Episode 11 Quotes

Hollis: I may be a son of a bitch, but Fitz is clean as a whistle. Am I right, Cyrus?
Cyrus: He's the real deal. A patriot. A bleeder.
Hollis: How rare is that? How often does that come along?
Verna: Once in a generation, if you're lucky.

[to Edison] Five, that's sexist and insulting. You'd never suggest Scooter Libby was screwing Dick Cheney. Four, the lengths you're going to try to twist this into a conspiracy are cause for concern. You should speak to someone about that. Three, the President is awake and talking and the suggestion that he isn't is partisan political crap that I thought you had enough integrity to rise above. Two, in the past three minutes, you have called me a criminal, a whore, an idiot, and a liar, so this is pretty much the last time we'll be speaking, so one, who I am or am not screwing, what I am or am not doing, is no longer any of your damn business.

Olivia
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