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Scandal Review: Back In The Saddle Again

by at . Comments

I'm incredibly sad that Scandal is over until the fall, but also kind of relieved because now I can breathe again on Thursday nights. This show is insanely good and worthy of every single accolade it has earned in two seasons. 

Insanely good. So good I had to say that twice. 

"White Hat's Back On" was the perfect angst-riddled ending to such a crazy season. And that was one hell of a cliffhanger.

Olivia at Her Desk

The hour started with the team already knowing that Billy Chambers was alive and well and while I'm not sure how they figured that out, I'm happy we didn't spend time showing it. The fact that he wasn't actually dead was well-written by Abby's thinking he had just gone underground and Huck's mini-rant about getting the job done correctly.

Huck: It's true what they say. If you want someone killed right, you've gotta kill them yourself.
Abby: Somebody stitch that on a pillow. | permalink

How very...Huck-like? But he was right. By not taking care of Billy Chambers himself and hiring the job out to Charlie, he left them vulnerable. Charlie, who is a spy who trades in secrets, saw value in keeping Billy Chambers alive, so that's what he did. Theirs became a mutually beneficial relationship where secrets were exchanged and both, most likely, profited from the sharing.

When he once again found himself naked and laying on a tarp, Billy had no options left but to reveal the location of the Cytron card or die. Huck's misgivings about the ease with which Quinn is taking to the spy training were eerie and perhaps foreshadowing a slippery slope down which Quinn might fall next season.

When Huck couldn't torture Billy for the information and broke down, I also broke. But when Quinn picked up the drill and seemed gleeful and later exhilarated, I was kind of intrigued. Just a few months ago we watched Huck revel in his love of killing and now Quinn is on her way there while Huck has lost the taste for it completely. It's an interesting development.

Unlike with Charlie, whom he could promise money, Billy used a good ol' dose of disdain to sway David Rosen. By playing to David's sense of injustice over how his life had turned out since the Cytron card was stolen, Billy was able to persuade David to hand over Defiance. Billy's plan would have been evil and magnificent if only Billy were smarter than David, and after tonight, I'm beginning to think that David's the smartest of them all.

He completely faked his double-crossing. 

I knew he was a good guy! I knew it! After he handed over the card to Billy, I thought all was lost. Defiance may have cost David his job and his life, but in the end it helped him regain an even better position. He could have blown the whistle and gone public with the information on the final Cytron card, but he's seen enough in his short tenure with Pope and Associates to know that when people need to be dead, they have a tendency to end up that way. He was smart to use Defiance for personal gain instead of to try to right the wrong committed in the first place. 

I expect we'll see a David Rosen with renewed senses of rule-following and justice for Scandal season 3. And I expect he'll have a hard time seeing things in black and white after his tenure with Olivia. 

Speaking of time with Olivia, what a night she had.

Fitz loves her and wants her to be the next FLOTUS, but that can't exactly happen because there are things like the fact that Fitz killed Verna standing in the way. Cyrus was given an ultimatum that sends him into cardiac arrest and then a trained assassin showed up to Olivia's house. Jake intercepted the assassin and knew that by doing so, he basically signed his own death sentence.

I don't particularly ship any pairings on Scandal over any others. I try to look at all of them for their merits and their flaws and all of the relationships we've seen so far have been full of both.

But there was something about Jake and Olivia that I liked a great deal. Maybe it was Scott Foley's charm, or the easy way he refused to let her off the hook. The ways in which he challenged her.

Sure, he was creepy and obsessed, (Hey, I did say all the relationships were flawed.) but because of his concern for her, he gave up his entire career. She wanted to fix things for him, or at least to try, but he refused, knowing that it probably wouldn't work.

Jake walked away from his life for Olivia. Fitz talked about doing that, has said it half a dozen times or more that he'll just stop being President, but Jake did it. All because her father wanted to see her and Jake was afraid for Olivia's life.

If there's ever a time to say "I didn't see that coming" it's now. Because I did not see the head of B613 - Jake's boss, the reason Huck is Huck, THE BAD GUY - being Olivia's DAD.

He couldn't just pick up the phone, say "hey, let's grab lunch!" He had to have Jake spy on her for months and then give him a mission to sleep with Olivia. Then he collected the video footage for use at a later date. Talk about daddy issues.

I cannot wait to learn the backstory on this. What's his motive in wanting to keep Olivia and Fitz apart? Is it strictly professional? Does Fitz have more skeletons in his closet? Does Cyrus know that Rowan is Olivia's dad?

Olivia is the character about whom we know the least and this is the kind of bomb that gets dropped in our laps when there's four months until the show returns. 

That she was outed as the President's mistress, either by Mellie or Daddy Dearest, or perhaps someone new entirely, is an interesting turn of events. The plan Olivia came up with for she and Fitz to be together before she sent him back to Mellie was a good one. Rock solid. Even in spite of all of Cyrus' admonishing about all the ways it isn't meant to work between the two of them.

I found myself contemplating how a plan like that would work in the real world for a real President and I have to say, I bought it. All of it. The plan would have worked. But for Olivia, the question was "at what cost"?

Yes, Fitz is her one true love. But he's married. And the President. And things didn't work out so well for Romeo and Juliet. And besides all of that, Huck, Quinn, Harrison and Abby are her family. To be with Fitz, she would have to abandon them, and that's not something she's willing to do.

Scandal season 2 ends with Olivia affirming her commitment to her team, people she'll rely on heavily as she becomes her own client in the wake of her own personal scandal.

What did you think of "White Hat's Back On?" Did the Scandal season finale live up to the hype? Were you shocked by the reveal of Olivia's father?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (380 Votes)

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

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You write very well!

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Really? Get them together,split them up, get them together, split them up etc ets. This is very boring! I prefer Olivia without Fitz she is more interesting, this star crossed lovers line is not working with these two, END IT!

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Last 5 minutes broke the "magic" that is Olitz. Olitz is Scandal's center regardless of what the writers want. Take that away for just an OPA case of the week and multitudes of followers will drop away. Huck is great. But Fitz is the man no matter how SR tries to emasculate him. She's tried it several times making him a cheater, murderer, alcoholic, etc. But guess what? Millions LOVE Fitz (TG). And no matter what, we're in his corner. So take note writers: You cannot do away with Olitz and have success as the Scandal fans will revolt. Mellie is NOT the lead actress; Olivia is. And hearing Mellie bit*h all the time would not make for riveting TV. SR and writers have the opportunity (via Fitz's speech) to take Scandal where no other network show has dared to go. It could be EPIC. But are the writers up to that task? Or will they cringe at the challenge to instead wallow in soap opera?

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Finally, don't you guys realize that the writers are reading our comments indeed, and are using our theories to come up with plots for the show? That's how Billy Chambers returned. The fans resurrected him. As for Matt Letscher, he was done with the show as far as he knew, in his own words. So all that talk among the fans with him being the person who possibly had put a hit on the POTUS, and finally surface as the mole, is what gave the writers an idea to bring him back. Please gladiators don't make the mistake of giving them the idea of bringing Jake back as Olivia's love interest. That ship has sailed. Bon Voyage to it.

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As per the POTUS, they have made him the laughing stock among presidents, real and fictional. After 219, 220 & 221 which showed a man who finally got his courage back, to stand up to Mellie, Cyrus and Olivia, what in the name of writing and producing were they thinking about with 222? Fitz has been reduced to the proverbial "dog that returns to his own vomit". Not a pleasant sight right? Disgraceful to say the least. The writers clearly stripped him of his dignity like they did in 214 with Liv's character. Neither was pleasant to watch, and only caused outrage among the fans. maybe that's the goal. Who knows? Either way they need to decide on what image they want these characters to have and to be consistent.

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And it angers me, that they continue force Fitz to live a lie and to endure the misery of a dead marriage. Set him free, but do it diplomatically. It's possible and plausible.

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2. As per Mellie's character, one of the producers enjoys having her around, so they continue to write for her. What they haven't realized as yet, is that Mellie is just too idle around the WH. Real first ladies have platforms and are just as busy as their husbands promoting those platforms year round. They need to give her a platform and stop writing lines for her that debases her husband's love interest, especially given the fact that they have sold us a dead marriage that was birthed on lies. They don't know if they want her to be the victim or the wench. It's confusing to me. Am I supposed to feel sorry for Mellie because she is the wife or despise her because they have made me believe that she is the exploiter. I don't know. They have painted her character as a power- hungry, manipulative, control freak who is quite complicit with the affair as long as it benefits her. Either way, I prefer OLITZ. That's the couple that sells the show. And it angers me, that they continue force Fitz to live a lie and to endure the misery of a dead marriage. Set him free, but do it diplomatically. It's possible and plausible.

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Hello fellow gladiators, here I am thinking that you guys were taking a break. But here's my 5cents on all things scandal as per the writers room and 222.
1. They are still trying to get a grip on who the lead characters are in their personal lives and what they want them to look like to the viewers. Let me qualify my assertion:
A. As per Livie's character, they know who Olivia Pope is as the Fixer as per her public persona and as per the person who is the inspiration for the show, but as to who they want Livie to be as a private citizen, is still unclear to them, hence the madness that they call flaws in her private life. They paint her as a woman without principles when it comes to guys. How many frogs does she have to kiss, before they make her and Fitz's relationship legit-dating/courting each other rather than making up to break up? That's exhausting and extremely frustrating to watch from a viewers point of view.
2. As per Mellie's character, one of the producers obviously enjoys having her around, so they continue to write for her. What they haven't realized as yet, is that Mellie is just too idle around the WH. Real first ladies have platforms and are just as busy as their husbands promoting those platforms year round. They need to give her a platform and stop writing lines for her that debases her husband's love interest, especially given the fact that they have sold us a dead marriage that was birthed on lies from the jump. They don't know if they want her to be the victim or the wench. It's confusing to me. Am I supposed to feel sorry for Mellie because she is the wife or despise her because they have made me believe that she is the exploiter? I don't know. They have painted her character as a power-hungry, manipulative, control freak who is quite complicit with the affair as long as it benefits her. Either way, I prefer OLITZ. That's the couple that sells the show. And it angers me, that they continue force Fitz to live a lie and to endure the misery of a dead marriage. Set him free, but do it diplomatically. It's possible and plausible in both worlds.
3. As per the POTUS, they have made him the laughing stock among presidents, real and fictional. After 219, 220 & 221 which showed a man who finally got his courage back, to stand up to Mellie, Cyrus and Olivia, what in the name of writing and producing were they thinking about with that scene in 222? Fitz has been reduced to the proverbial "dog that returns to his own vomit". Not a pleasant sight right? Disgraceful to say the least. The writers clearly stripped him of his dignity like they did in 214 with Liv's character. Neither was pleasant to watch, and only caused hurt and outrage among the fans. maybe that's the goal. Who knows? Either way they need to decide on what image they want these characters to have, and to be consistent.
Finally, don't you guys realize that the writers are reading our comments indeed, and are using our theories to come up with plots for the show? That's how Billy Chambers returned. The fans resurrected him. As for Matt Letscher, he was done with the show as far as he knew, in his own words. So all that talk among the fans with him being the person who possibly had put a hit on the POTUS, and finally surface as the mole, is what gave the writers an idea to bring him back. Please gladiators don't make the mistake of giving them the idea of bringing Jake back as Olivia's love interest. That ship has sailed. Bon Voyage to it.

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Kay, that's a good thought. Maybe Jake really leaked the secret as he knows once in the open, catastrophe would follow for Liv but B16 would not bother to attempt to kill her. That's a good thought.
To the person who said they see no chemistry between Fitz and Olivia, there are no words to say to you. To the person who said they saw that cliffhanger coming, or that that wasn't a good cliffhanger, again, no words to say to you. That's how you do good TV! That's how you do a cliffhanger! And I know NO ONE saw that cliffhanger coming. I can bet on it!

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Okay, so I responded to other people's post, now to give my own comments. This was such an OMG!!!!! moment at the end. The whole episode I was glued, but the bombshell at the end, with the father, I turned to my friend and kept my mouth open for a good few seconds. Loved it. Loved David's turn about, shows he really is smart, maybe just as smart as Olivia.
One thing I didn't understand in the beginning. To me at the end of last week's episode, it seemed as if David had given the Defiance card to Billy Chambers while in a car. Yet in the ep he gave him the card in a restaurant or something, at the table. I thought he had already given Billy the card the first time. Someone said he had just shown Billy, but not given it to him then. Also, what is the relevance of the white hat? I missed that. Great, great, great episode and great show! Sept is tooooo far away.

Scandal Season 2 Episode 22 Quotes

[to Hollis] 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

Huck: It's true what they say. If you want someone killed right, you've gotta kill them yourself.
Abby: Somebody stitch that on a pillow.

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