I'll just go ahead and say it and risk the wrath of everyone who reads this: This wasn't my favorite episode of Scandal.
Don't get me wrong, Scandal Season 3 Episode 5 was excellent. A solid night. Some giant bombs were dropped and storylines definitely progressed. And if you want to read those instead of my rant about what's making me crazy about Scandal skip down to the end of this review.
But there's one pesky little thing at play here that needs a little rant because it broke the episode and that is the Jake-Olivia-Fitz triangle. In short, I'm getting tired of being jerked around with this.
We can debate all day long about how Fitz is Olivia's end-game. Truthfully, I don't think anyone would argue to the contrary since that's been pretty well established. Olivia's other romantic interests have been written so that there's no way the relationship would work simply because that guy isn't Fitz.
I would argue that the Fitz-Oivia relationship isn't the healthiest by any means, but that's not entirely the point I'm trying to make. It's sufficient enough to say that it's not entirely healthy, in large part because he's married.
Tonight Olivia yanked Jake around like a puppy on a leash and, quite honestly, it made me angry. Not because I think Jake is the better suitor or because I want her to be with Jake instead of Fitz - but because it's a level of using another human being that just isn't okay. It kind of disgusted me a little bit while confusing me at the same time.
Here's a woman who just three weeks ago essentially sold her soul to her Devil-father for Jake's freedom and now has to endure his Sunday dinners again while Jake and Huck, unbeknownst to her, try to free all three of them from Papa Pope's grasp.
(Sidenote: Rowan Pope, head of B613, only has a regular ol' alarm system in his house and no video cameras or internal monitoring? No way. Not buying that.)
Some part of Olivia cares for Jake, just not enough, or not as much as she cares for Fitz. Fine. Let him go. Don't keep pulling him back in hoping he'll be there when you need or want him. Stop using him. Make it clear that you don't intend to be with him and make it clear to yourself, too.
I'm glad he told her that he wouldn't play second-fiddle, even to the President. He doesn't deserve that and knows it.
Do I think he's done with her? No, not at all. Nor do I think she's done with him, and that's part of why this is getting old. If Fitz is end-game, then every other relationship is written strictly to kill time until she can actually be with Fitz. Why should we bother to care? Especially since Fitz and Olivia are practically being thrown back together (only to be ripped apart by the Remington revelation, but still).
Mellie's tearful begging for Olivia to come back to them all but handed Fitz to Olivia on a silver platter, which is another point of contention with tonight.
Mellie's done this once before.
She's already handed Fitz over to Olivia and turned her back on their affair because it makes Fitz a happy man, only to play the scorned woman card later. And the thing about this is that I can't ever tell exactly where her motivations rest. Maybe it's a tribute to Bellamy Young. Or maybe it's just revisionist writing of the character. Maybe it's both.
Tonight I believed that Mellie was a woman desperately in love with a man who doesn't return that love and she's trapped and incapable of setting him free. It didn't matter that he was the President. She was just a woman who wants Fitz to be happy, recognizes she's not the one to help him, and feels guilt over the role she's played in his current melancholic state. So she does the best thing she can for him and offers him up to his mistress.
Or it was all a clever ruse to get Olivia to return to Team Grant and Mellie's just as conniving and power hungry as she's ever been.
The problem with this is two-fold:
- Mellie's impossible to pin down and the mindgames get tiresome.
- She's made Fitz an object and given him over to someone else without any thought as to what he might actually want.
Does he want Olivia? Well, of course he does. He loves her. But can he have her right now? No. Should he try? Not at all.
He's the President. If he wants to keep being President, he has to be honorable. If he wants Olivia, he needs to stop being President.
From where I sit, it's pretty simple. Fitz needs to make a choice and stop wanting to have his cake and eat it too.
Now that all that's off my chest, on to the things that didn't make me crazy about tonight:
The team's outing to Montana was a good mood-lightener from the heavier drama back home in D.C. It's nice to see them out of the office from time to time, even if they're still working instead of cutting loose. Harrison's team-managing skills show that he's definitely Olivia's right hand man. And without their trip to Montana, we wouldn't have gotten to see Ethan again.
"We've been Poped" is the best thing to come out of anyone's mouth on this show. (I know, I know, that's highly debatable.) They definitely got Poped with Josie Marcus' live revelation about the baby she had at 15. I was pulling for Olivia to work on her campaign against Fitz' re-election. Maybe it will still happen. Maybe she'll go to work for the Marcus campaign, defeat Grant's re-election, and she and Fitz can ride off into the Vermont sunset to make jam.
Jake and Huck working together was a thing of beauty. Seriously. Can we get them a spin-off where they just make phone calls to one another and go around doing spy things? Think of the secrets they could expose! They certainly uncovered an earth-shattering one tonight in getting to the bottom of why the President visited Rowan's office.
Fitz wants to take out B613 because he believes it's the answer to his problems, but Cyrus believes that in attempting to do that, he's asking for an assassination. And not an attempted one, either. Cyrus is probably right. Quinn does have a gun now and she's proven to be a quick study so far.
His hands are tied. He needs B613 to protect his biggest (we hope) secret.
Fitz killed Olivia's mother.
Do I think he knew Olivia's mother was on the plane he shot down? No, not at all. But the fact is that Rowan Pope issued an order for Fitz to shoot down a passenger airliner and his wife was on it.
Rowan Pope killed his own wife. You guys. This is just sort of evil-crazy level stuff. Good thing Olivia got off that plane. Geez, her dad is awful. I can't wait to see how this plays out. A string of questions half a mile long keeps scrolling through my head.
Fitz has probably put it together by now that the plane he took down was the same plane on which Olivia's mom died. Surely in their pillow talk she told him about her mother and how she died and surely he's smart enough to have figured it out. Right? But how did Fitz keep that secret from her? I feel like sharing deepest darkest secrets is a thing you do with the person you claim to be unable to live without.
This seems like a big, heaping complaint about this episode, yes, but really it's a complaint about the series at-large. Tonight was a pretty solid episode in all parts not involving the love triangle of doom and gloom. Operation Remington is already lightyears better a story than Defiance was at this point and that has everything to do with how vicious a man Rowan Pope can be. He's a big bad I love to watch.
What did you think of "More Cattle, Less Bull?" Are you fed up with the love triangle? Should Olivia work for the Grant or Marcus campaign?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.