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.


my god, what are you smoking?
Mellie is NOT in love with Fitz, and never has been. Lest we forget what she said last season, "We were never.....but we were always partners and we were always friends." Mellie sold herself to Big Gerry and is now paying the consequences for that action. playing all ends against the middle. Forget the fact that Fitz asked Jake to keep an eye on Olivia, Jake slept with her because HER FATHER ordered him to. He's slimy. And my guess is that he has more secrets than Fitz.
If you really believe that Operation Remington is as simple as they presented it last night, then you're not as smart as I think you are. There is no way, 5 episodes in, that we have anything near a full story.


@Miranda, this was not my favorite episode either and I share a lot of your opinions.1) Shocked that Mellie approached Liv with that proposition, but then again she has often proved to be more ambitious than Fitz – Disgusted that Liv jumped at the offer after two seconds of mocked indignation
2) Did not like the way she used Jake to see the true love of her life – The Pres at the Correspondence Dinner – I’m certain Jake & Liv will never be together but she should have some regard for the guy she begged him to save. She cares about Jake – LOVES the Pres.
3) Quinn is still irritating – doesn’t she see that Huck is miserable?! Loved what Harrison told her – You went Drill, Baby Drill on him – hilarious
4) I’m pretty certain that there is more to the Daddy Pope had Fitz kill Mom Pope story line than it appears
5) With this new revelation about Fitz will Liv be Team Fitz or Team Josie?


i loved how they made pope a verb! i know mellie's motives are unknown at this point, i actually loved mellie asking oliva to come back.


I haven´t seen this week´s episode yet, but I´ll probably enjoy I always disagree with the reviewer! The episodes she rates higher are the ones I usually enjoy less and the lower rated the other way around:)
But week after week I enjoy Mellie more and more, she´s now my favourite caracther by far! And Bellamy Young, imo, has the better acting of all! You may say she´s been given good material, but if the actor isn´t good enough, it will be ruiined no matter how good it is! Kerry Washington, on the other way, I find annoying!

@ maria

We got Poped - that was hilarious!


We have to remember that Jake was unaware of the Olivia/Fitz affair when he took the assignment from Fitz to keep an eye on her. Olivia obviously has very genuine feelings for Jake...but she can't let go of her toxic relationship with Fitz. Papa Pope had his wife killed and tried to have his daughter killed. What I want to know is who gives orders to him? Cyrus knows more about B613 than Fitz which is troubling. Quinn will certainly have to be killed off this season. She's out of control. Will Papa Pope order the killing; and will Huck have to do the job? I think Mellie is playing Olivia. Mellie likes living at the White House and will do anything to remain there. Meanwhile the V.P. is in the men's restroom making her own plans for snatching the seat of power from Fitz. There are so many story lines to focus on. I love the intrigue! I'm waiting on the Harrison backstory. I think he's Olivia's brother. All in all I'm enjoying this seasons episodes.

@ Joyhunting

Bellamy Young is an excellent actress and great for this character.


Did I miss something? Rowen did not shot the plan down Fitzs did with orders from others in the govenrnment. I think other people tried to send Rowen a message by killing his wife and a plane full of people but that only made him mad and more evil. Fitzs has no idea what B613 is and thinks since he is the pres he can control it. Loser! Livie was so smug when Mellie was talking to her at the end. I am so ready for Livie to get knocked off her smug mistress pedestal. Mellie girl wake up you have the power not the mistress and the coward!


I get so sick and tired of if a man cheats it is because of his wife. Maybe the guy is just a cheater and dog and it has nothing to do with the wife. I don't understand why two women who have so much going for them would turn their lives upside down for a guy who is a worthless coward! Fitzs is a loser and a coward. Come on ladies wake up. If I was Olivia I would be dating Harrison. I think by the end of this show Livie and Mellie will dump Fitzs!

@ Grimmfan#10

I have to agree. I believe Millie is being demonized because people love Olivia better. I don't see Millie being any worse in character than Olivia and Fitz is not saint. I feel Fitz has treated Millie very badly. I think Millie would do anything for his love and it must hurt that she can't satisfy him. Millie is ambitious, but so is Olivia. Both Olivia and Millie are beautiful, smart and fighters who love the same undeserving man. I love Olivia but I hate that she is waiting around for a married guy when she is young and has many options. She is smart, beautiful. Love does not have to be that tough. Why do people root for toxic love! I like Jake and even if it is not Jake someone with less baggage for Olivia.

@ Grimmfan#10

LOLL, Mellie thinks she has power but she does not. Ftiz could give a shit about being in the White House and would leave it in a heartbeat for Olivia. Mellie is the one desperate to remain First Lady. That is not power but weakness. She needs to get a Life and move on to her so-called political career. Why is Fitz a coward? Explain.


Shonda Rhimes is either really good or she is just feeding on wikileaks. You gotta love the parralle between what's happenning right under your nose (NSA/Thorengate spying on Puppet president), anyhow you got it wrong about Mellie..She is all about winning and if the Publicist who declined the campaign offer said "he looks like he has not screwed in a while, he looks sad and desperate", then she is all for him to make him happy to win even if it means Pope in the way.
But she will probably chose Anne Coulter Campaign (sorry Josephine I mean) because of last night revelation. Will the american people look and fight for what the land of the "free" has become or will they just continue to watch the show like if it's just a show??


I just had to laugh at who did the research on last night's episode about Montana. The scenes they showed of the Montana landscape were actually Wyoming. I live in Idaho and travel to Jackson Hole frequently and there is no mistaking the Grand Teton.


I agree that the square Jake-Liv-Fitz-Mellie is getting a bit tiring. Mellie/Fitz/Liv is a fair triangle, mainly because Mellie keeps it interesting: she's unpredictable when it comes to Liv, because she wants her husband back but she craves power more - and sometimes she just can't tell (or perhaps we can't) what she wants more. Nonetheless, she has a bond with Fitz that can't be broken unless Fitz gives up his title, which is definitely not where this show is headed for the moment being.
But Jake, he was never given a fair chance to win the girl over. And even though he's been depicted as the healthy alternative to Fitz, we all know that Olivia gets too easily sucked up back into Fitz's life.
If I hope that she'll turn down Mellie's offer, be with Jake and take down together Dad Pope? I do. But I do know that if she picks Jossy over Mellie, or Jake over Fitz, it will only be because she blames Fitz for her mother's death - which of course he will not be responsible for at the very end. So yes, I am feeling like we are being played just waiting for the predictable to happen. I wish Liv could develop some real feelings for Jake and make it a lot more interesting.

@ Cami

I agree I do not believe that Jake has had a fair chance to win over Olivia. He was working to gain her trust and rekindle their relationship but Fitz is in the middle of that. Mellie is just setting her up for the same trap that she was in before. I hope that she does not go back to it after Fitz worked to free her from it. She's knows that the WH is toxic for her and every time she gets sucked into it that has devastating affects on her personal life and her career. I hope that she can make a clean break and focus on loving Jake and working with her clients. Olivia just seems to she has not come to terms with anything. It's only when she is about to lose Jake that she confronts her feelings and shares them with him. I don't want to see Olivia run to Jake because she believes that Fitz killed her father and she now hates Fitz. I want her to love Jake because she is attracted to him, she wants hims and she loves him for the emotional support and love that he gives her. I want her to be head over heels for him. If it's less than that then Shonda Rhimes can just continue with the tired FItz-Mellie-Olivia love triangle until the show ends.

@ Cami

Well, I am not surprised. I live in Washington DC and the amount of details that they fudge or get wrong is just crazy. You can tell that none of the writers have ever lived here or spent any time here. We have a culture that really has barely been captured in this show.

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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.