Scandal Review: A Tedious Triangle

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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.

Lisa Kudrow on Scandal

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:

  1. Mellie's impossible to pin down and the mindgames get tiresome.
  2. 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?


Editor Rating: 3.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (164 Votes)

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


I'm over it, the Olivia Pope sob story. I am done watching this show. She deserves better than to be a two bit hooker because realistically speaking, "The President can't breath without her!" Oh my gosh! The President must be dead! That's not realistic in a relationship, nor is it healthy and I am sick of her running to him everytime like a child to a puppy. Scandal you had a good idea and instead of 'fixing' people the show is centered around this ridiculous false sense of love. If there were more 'fixing' episodes and less 'the President of the United States is DYING WITHOUT OLIVIA!!' I would watch.


Contrary to what I tought, I agree with Miranda but not for the same reasons. The moment Josie Marcus said she gave biirth at 15, I knew the "sister" was the daughter; I found the scene on the phone lame and patethic; the triangle is not even a triangle (at least not with Jake/Olivia/Fitz). The Operation Remington doesn´t move anywhere. At this point, for me, only a scene with Mellie is worth watching. Honestly, I felt asleep at some point, so all in all...a BORING episode!


Dear Miranda,
I totally agree with your assessment of this episode. It was just a hot mess when it comes to the FItz-Olivia-Jake love triangle and Operation Remington. If Fitz and Olivia are the end game let them have at each other. They can talk on the phone for the next four years and have the occasional secret sexual encounter that's fine. I understand that Fitz loves Olivia but he is married and he is the President so they really can't be together. I am not excited about the romance under those conditions, but I could live with it. When Jake was added to the show, I thought this is really hot, this is really interesting, this could go a lot more places than Olitz with the plot lines. It was so rich and I could envision lots of possibilities. What I am seeing is confusing and disappointing. Jake is so poor he can only take her out for hamburgers REALLY!!!!!! Military men are very cosmopolitan they have to travel for their work and are exposed to a lot. Why is his character being written so narrowly? It's kind of insulting! Jake is definitely Olivia's doggie on a leash. She of all people should know how it feels to hurt and not hurt other people that way. She moved heaven and earth to get Jake out of the hole, but she's not showing him that she desperately wanted him back. Jake is really working hard to gain her trust and rekindle their romance, because he thought that her saving him was a positive sign for them. Her focus on the Fitz phone is annoying especially when she has someone who is present and willing to be there for her and love her. In episode 304 when she left her make out session with Jake to talk on the phone with Fitz that was rude to both men. In this episode 305, the way she took Jake to the WH Correspondence dinner and barely connected with him that was like seriously tacky. I never imagined her character to be so rude and insensitive. Jake was justified in telling Olivia off and walking away. She seems SURPRISED and never explained herself! Given what they have set up for Episode 306 (Operation Remington) I do not that she is going to have that conversation with Jake. She needs to either love him or leave him. I am tired of Shonda teasing us by exposing Jake's body parts. It's getting annoying if this is not really going anywhere.
As for Operation Remington, I agree with everything that you said. I am not sure why this is coming out now that Fitz may have killed Olivia's mother, but we will see where Shonda Rhimes is going with this. Since Fitz likes to have people watching her so much. I am surprised that he did not have the Secret Service do a background check on her and provide him with a dossier so that he knew everything about her. It would make sense, but that's just you and me.


So I've watched the episode again and I'm still baffled at how you can think that Mellie is in love with Fitz. As the other political consultant told Cyrus and Mellie, "I'm sorry ma'am but he's got a his wife is a frigid shrew problem."
If Mellie were in love with Fitz, she would have worked a little harder to seduce her husband before he met Olivia. Their marriage was dead, and both of them acknowledged that (if we are to believe what we saw in season 1's "Trail" episode). If Mellie were in love with Fitz she wouldn't deride him for having problems "getting it up" with her (as she did a couple of weeks ago).
If Mellie were in love with Fitz, she wouldn't have told him (in last season's "Molly, You In Danger Girl" episode) that everything in marriage is a lie and that's the only way that couples survive over the long term. She knows that Fitz is a romantic, so even if that's what she really believes, she would have used different words to tell him that.
Mellie is NOT in love with Fitz. Mellie is using Fitz; just like everyone in his life---with the exception of Olivia and his children--uses him. Mellie wants to stay First Lady and use that as a springboard to her own political career. Don't confuse political gamesmanship with genuine feelings.

@ Kasey+Henton

So true Kasey. To add to your post, I think Mellie is obsessed with Fitz & power so she is willing to do + take anything to keep those 2 things & the affiliate trappings that come with them. Mellie doesn't even know what love is re her speech about marriages not bring about love but pretense so how does she give & live what she doesn't know? Olivia is also getting on my nerves this season! Heck, only Fitz & Harrison are in my good books for now.


I agree the love triangle needs to go, Olivia is confused about her feelings for Jake. I wish they would have her be with someone not so involved in politics so at least the relationship could be a little pure and not something her father knows about.

@ jas

LOVE is in the eye of the beholder


Tedious is right!


I have to say "You're grounded" was a beautiful moment on the Scandal headlines. Quinn you are losing it. However, I would prefer they not use this story line, Shonda should be more subtle with Quinn's changes, Maybe make her fall in love and then kill for love which will flip her to the darkside. Too much? Not talking about Fitz or Olivia, that is beating a dead horse and not interesting. However, the couple that wins the night hands down is Jake and Huck. I LOVE THEM. They complete each other, they are the avengers. I have made no secret of Huck's bad skill as a field agent and Jake fills that role completely for him while Huck stays behind the scenes and works his magic. I have to see more of them. Plus, what the H#LL is Quinn doing with a gun.


I just had to share this: "Fitz calling Josie “an idiot” for firing Liv and Liv telling Fitz “you can’t vet your own jokes, you’re not funny,” is where I fall in love with them all over again. It’s not some steamy sex scene (although I would not pass that up), it’s a simple conversation that proves they know each other and just miss talking to each other. He doesn’t flinch when he says “I love you,” and Liv can’t respond. He just wanted her to know." Angela Romack


I just had to share this: "Fitz calling Josie “an idiot” for firing Liv and Liv telling Fitz “you can’t vet your own jokes, you’re not funny,” is where I fall in love with them all over again. It’s not some steamy sex scene (although I would not pass that up), it’s a simple conversation that proves they know each other and just miss talking to each other. He doesn’t flinch when he says “I love you,” and Liv can’t respond. He just wanted her to know." Angela Romack


Things I liked: 1) "You're grounded". Loved when Harrison told Quinn they knew about her. 2) 'We've been Poped' fuels their need to get her back in the fold 3) Mellie's ploy - Come on people, Mellie is a cold calculating opportunist. No way is she contrite. She's playing Olivia to get what she wants...another term. Period. If Fitz isn't re-elected, then there are no strings to pull and Olivia wins. What I didn't like: 1) Olivia falling for Mellie's act unless it's revealed that Liv knew and used it to further her agenda. If not, I lose respect for Liv. 2) The triangle. It had such promise but Jake has been thrown under the Olitz bus without much fanfare. I wanted fanfare. 3) Olivia's off her game. The old Olivia would have been more assertive with the client and wouldn't be so emotional about being fired. She's off her game but then I guess she's suppose to be, given the enormity of the situation.

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Scandal Season 3 Episode 5 Quotes

Quinn: What about me?
Harrison: Baby Huck it.

I'm sorry, ma'am, but he's got a 'his wife is a frigid shrew' problem.