Scandal Season 2 Report Card: A+

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Scandal soared to the top of the pack in its sophomore season and finished the year as the number-one network drama in its timeslot. This success was thanks in large part to the show's extremely loyal following and formidable Twitter presence.

And, well, because the show is just that awesome.

To help pass the time until Scandal returns, let's revisit some of the best and worst moments of the season in Scandal's inaugural TV Fanatic Report Card...

News for Olivia

Best Episode: Do we really have to choose the best? Can't we just say "all of them" and call it done? Well, we could. But where would be the fun in that?

Time and time again this season, Scandal kept us riveted and left us with our mouths hanging open that it's nearly impossible to choose a favorite. But the best episode of them all award goes to "Seven Fifty-Two," with "Blown Away" as a close runner-up. Both episodes gave Guillermo Diaz a chance to shine as they centered on tortured soul Huck, a character who quickly went from quirky computer nerd to fan favorite this season.

"Seven Fifty-Two" edges out "Blown Away" because of its ties to the revelations made in the third leg of the season. B613 was a trained group of super-spies. A group to which Charlie, Huck, and Jake all belonged. A group run by Olivia's father. But more importantly than that, the episode revealed just what Huck lost in becoming who he is. It allowed for poignant heart-to-hearts as each member of the team attempted to get through to Huck with Olivia ultimately being the one able to draw him out of his corner. Olivia's relationship with Huck is one of mutual acceptance despite their personal flaws and it's always a treat to watch them interact.

"Seven Fifty-Two" also gave Fitz a chance to explain why he drowned himself in the bottom of multiple bottles of scotch after learning about Defiance. After he'd played the pouting puppy card for several episodes, it was great to finally hear him articulate why, even if it was obvious to those of us watching.

Worst Episode: With a show like Scandal, where every episode is good, choosing the "worst" is really just choosing "not best." So that goes to "One For The Dog." After heading into the winter hiatus with "Blown Away," Scandal's January return was slow. Wordy. It tried to do too much. There was misdirect from Verna to point the finger at Hollis. There was Edison. Poor, no-chemistry Edison. There was Cyrus, Mellie, and Olivia trying to deal with the repercussions of Mellie forging the President's signature while he was in a coma and him suddenly waking up at the end. There was Huck being tortured and David getting him exonerated. It gave answers and bridged the gap between two parts of the season, but it was laborious. But hey, if that's the worst we can say about it, that's not terrible.

Best Character: Huck. Hands down. Huck. He's smart. He's broken. He's scary. He's funny at just the right moments. He's damaged and capable of doing great damage. None of the characters on Scandal, not even Olivia herself, is as fleshed out as this. He's the best. 

Worst Character: Edison. He was never meant to be more than a plot device to come between Fitz and Olivia and that was not only apparent in the writing but also in the complete lack of chemistry between Edison and Olivia. Additionally, the casting was poor. Norm Lewis lacked any sort of charisma that made him believable as someone Olivia would love. Maybe if the casting had been different, this character wouldn't have been so insufferable. Many of us wanted to see Olivia happy and in a relationship with someone other than Fitz, but Edison as-is just wasn't it.

Best Relationship: Huckleberry Quinn! Sure, it's not a romantic relationship, but there's something about the two of them that works, even if she's becoming slightly deranged while attending classes at the Huck School of How To Be a Spy. From the very first episode of Scandal season 1, it was clear that Huck understood Quinn in a way no one else did. As their story unfolded and we learned how he was instrumental in ferrying her across the country and setting her up with her new life as Quinn Perkins, his kinship with her made more sense. Huck and Quinn have scrificed what none of the others have had to sacrifice. They've both given up their pasts, their families, their lives, in becoming part of Team Olivia, and while Huck may not have remembered his for a while, Quinnsay made a choice.

Watching him instruct her in the ways of the spy has only made this pair better and seeing Huck's breakdown over just how well she's taking to his training adds lots of things to be explored next season.

Worst Relationship: When they're good, they're hot. But when they're bad, they're completely volatile. Fitz and Olivia may be the central love story of this show, but there's often very little to love about their relationship. Sure, they have a smokin' sex life when they can steal moments in the Oval (or in closets or showers or hotel rooms) but there's something about the pair that seems to work only because the relationship is forbidden. If we take these two out of their current positions and plop them into suburbia, they wouldn't be the same at all.

Fitz is weak and cheating makes him feel powerful. Olivia always needs something to fix. They both feed off of the forbidden nature of their affair, and while they may be end game, he's still married. Given the way he crawled--literally--back to Mellie, we don't see signs of that changing. Sure, sure, he went back so that he could win re-election and remain President. Sure, it's only for four more years. But something says they won't exactly ride off into the sunset once his successor is inaugurated.  

Hopes For Season 3: It's hard to say what to hope for when it comes to Scandal. So much to do with this show is already excellent and I have utmost faith in Shonda Rhimes to keep it that way. But still, if we're throwing out suggestions in hopes she may read them, here goes:

  • I hope never to hear the word "Defiance" again. That story line, while central to many of the events of season 2, slowed the middle of the season down to turtle's pace. We still crossed the finish line, sure, but wow, Defiance was kind of clunky at times.
  • Only good things for David Rosen! The man has suffered enough and definitely earned his white hat back. It will be interesting to see how he interacts with OPA now that he's back in the US District Attorney's office but knows the inner workings of what Olivia does as a fixer. Will he toe the line of the law, or will he understand that sometimes you have to work outside their confines in order to do the right thing?
  • The fallout from Quinn's spy training is doing a number on Huck. Guillermo Diaz is such a talented actor that watching him continue to break down will be intriguing. We only hope the man will be able to get some help before he's too far down the spy-ral.
  • Backstory on Abby and Harrison would be excellent. We know about Huck and Quinn and how they became Huck and Quinn. We have explanations for how Abby and Harrison came to work for Olivia, but it would be great to explore their lives outside the office a little more thoroughly. Except it sort of seems like they don't have lives outside the office? Oh well. Wishful thinking.
  • How did Olivia become Olivia? The revelation that the head of B613 is her FATHER can only intimate good things for this hope coming to fruition.
Overall Grade: A+

Now it's YOUR turn, TV Fanatics! What grade would you give Scandal season 2?
 

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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I SO agree with you, excellent review! Olitz are BORING, an affair defined by anguish and separation, all that sighing and longing...do they ever laugh together? ONCE, briefly, when she recounted the priest's heartattack on his mistress - and then got serious/angry again. So unhealthy so totally unromantic,ENOUGH already! Jake was so much yummier. Edison was also v. handsome. Either would have been great but both under developed characters. (But I don't like affairs, don't believe they can survive) Found Mellie sympathetic, she actually tried to save the marriage, be a good wife. Fitz,
charming but weak,"Spoiled, but not stupid" as Verna said. Why would Olivia want that? We don't know. Killing Verna was the only time Fitz showed some backbone. We looove HuckFinn, dislike Abbey (so cold and demanding and a traitor, why??) and love Harrison, want to see more. But Olitz? Shrug.

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I think the hot and cold relationship between Fitz and Olivia needs to stop, you need to establish if they are in and out cos in a real relationship, no couples can take this much hit, so either you're in or you're out and it's getting tiring to see one or the other throwing the other out everytime they are back together. I would like to see them together more than apart cos apparently there is a chemistry between them that they can't deny. I think it'll be great if Season 3 has them together and stick together for once but provide challenges to them along the way in the relationship..as a COUPLE..like Olivia's plan says, it'll take some time before they can introduce Olivia as Fitz girlfriend. So let them be together and provide all the resistance from the 3rd parties..Mellie, Cyrus, the father etc. You already started it with the press finding out about their affair, so throw them back together somehow and let them work together to either diffuse it or admit it.

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I know not everyone will share the same view, after all, all fingers aren’t equal but to be honest, but I truly find it strange when people who hate Olitz or do not ship it can deny that there is true love between the couple. Even though it irks her, even Mellie sees it according to Bellamy Young. Ps sorry, meant to say *the one thing he had never felt prior to Olivia*

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Case in point the garden scene in ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’. To refresh your memory here is a small excerpt of the conversation between Fitz & Olivia: “ Do you think I don’t want to be a better man…dedicate myself to my marriage, you don’t think I want to be HONOURABLE?...you control me, I belong to you, we’re in this together.� That man is weak (how love makes you weak/vulnerable) and complete around Olivia that is why when he feels he is loosing the one thing that completes it, the one thing he has never felt, he breaks down or looses it as you say.
3. I don’t assume real love has to be full of angst but you can’t always know nor judge where love can come from or where you may find it, so yeah, true love does not have to be full of angst BUT IT CAN BE before whatever situation is cause for the angst is resolved (in this case, hopefully with a divorce).

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I don’t know about you not liking the Olitz relationship due to it being an interracial coupling but what I do know is this:
1. Mellie & Fitz take the price for worst relationship because surprise, surprise, a partnership IS a form of relationship and nothing beats the level of toxicity in that (Mellie+Fitz) relationship, well, maybe the Cyrus/James one since Cyrus doesn’t hesitate to cut down James and he did attempt to kill him. Unless, maybe, you saw Cy calling off the hit as romantic. We do live in Shonda land (during Scandal) after all.
2. One thing I have learnt in life is no rule is absolute therefore I steer clear of blanket statements like “Cheaters DO cheat because they want to feel powerful�. How absolute and how wrong. Some cheaters cheat to feel strong. Granted, Fitz’s relationship with Mellie is like a resigned puppy with its master where he gets all the freedom he ‘needs’ as long as he obeys BUT with Olivia, he feels complete and weak at the same time. Case in point the garden scene in ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’.

Blu

-752. That episode took me places. It was incredible. From the Huck background, the interaction between him and the other gladiators as they tried to pull him out to the revelations. Someone. Any freaking one. Give Guillermo Diaz an Emmy. All the Emmys.
-Can't even pick one.
-HUCK.Not only is he my favorite but he's the most complex and intriguing. Again I say Guillermo Diaz NEEDS an emmy for this role.
-Edison. He was insufferable. Most of the time be it an antagonist or not their characters are spectacular. Charlie? Billy?Hollis? Jake? Love them. Edison was lackluster.
-Oluck. Olivia and Huck have had me since season one. They're both beautifully broken people. They are kindred spirits. I love their scenes together.
-James and Cyrus. It's mostly James.oy.
-More David. The return of Jake. Cyrus running. Abby and Harrison backstory. More Harrison in general. Info on Olivia and her father. The fallout or Huck and crazy torture loving. Quinn.

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Dear Lord people, lighten up! If Fitz and Liv are endgame, so what? Does that mean that everybody has to like them? Is being an Olitz fan a prerequisite to watching the show? Why give someone a hard time for expressing an opinion that you disagree with? And if I want to root for Jake? What's it to you? Get over yourselves. Really. And to Whomever made the comment that Scott Foley was just a recurring actor on the show? What's your point? Bellamy Young was recurring in Season 1. Now she's a series contracted regular. Things can change for Scott in Season three and I for one hope to see him and his "pink lips" next season.

Miranda wicker

And finally, Mellie and Fitz don't have a relationship at all. That's why they're not in the running for best or worst. They have a tenuous partnership and that's it. They are equally awful to one another.

Miranda wicker

And cheaters DO cheat because they want to feel powerful. Look at Fitz' life before he met Olivia. Cyrus, Mellie, Big Jerry--everyone always telling him what to do and when to do it and how. Cheating is maybe the first thing he ever did for himself to exert power over his own life. And when he can't control Olivia, he loses it.

Miranda wicker

It's laughable that you guys think I don't like Fitz and Olivia because they're in an interracial relationship. Absolutely laughable. It's not that I *don't* like them. When they're good, they're great. But when they're not good? They're downright volatile. He's taken shots at Olivia that she's never thrown back at him, so if that's love? It's not a love I personally want to be a part of. I understand that their relationship is central to the plot of the show. Scandal wouldn't be Scandal without it and so I'll endure it because I love the show (contrary to what you guys seem to believe). But I hate that it gives the impression that "real" love has to be full of angst. That THAT is what real, healthy relationships look like.

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