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Scandal Review: Patriot Games

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I've missed you, TV Fanatic Gladiators! Just like we've all missed Scandal. But boy is Scandal ever back! 

Approximately a month has passed since we left off with Sally murdering Daniel Douglas and Jake assuming leadership of B613 after Fitz was given the dressing down of a lifetime by Papa Pope in a chamber in an undisclosed location.

Scandal Season 3 Episode 11 wasted no time getting right back into the action of this fast-paced, "crazy, twisty" thrilling hour of television.

Oh, Scandal how much have we missed you. Let us count the ways...

Sally's Got a Lot on Her Mind
Sally Langston's got a lot on her mind these days. Is she repenting or planning her next attack on Scandal?

1. Run, Sally, Run (For President)

Sure, she murdered her husband, but she didn't kill her political ambitions. Sally plans to run as a third party candidate while carrying out the office of Vice President.

Actually, Sally doesn't think she murdered her husband at all. She believes that the Devil did it. (Has she been talking to Miranda Barbour, Craiglist Killer?) Watching Sally explain to Leo that the Devil did it and seeing the look of incredulity on his face while she spouted off about Satan working through her was fantastic. 

Here's this completely unhinged character who is, well, completely unhinged. So unhinged that even the other characters in the show are written to be able to see it and yet the hitch their wagons to her star hoping to ride Sally Langston's coattails all the way to the top.

Good luck with that, Leo.

2. There's a snake (or two) in the White House

"Publius," which was the pseudonym used by the writers of the Federalist Papers, is sending text messages to a reporter inside the White House prompting questions about Daniel Douglas' death. For a minute I thought Publius would be Rowan Pope after his monologue to Olivia about knowing all of Fitz' secrets, but nope. I was wrong.

Snake #1 is none other than James, who has decided to wear a white hat and pull a long con on his husband. (The other snake is Cyrus, obviously.)

That could be the end of Sally's political ambitions, as well as the end of Cyrus, Mellie, and probably also Fitz, but Cyrus can't--or won't--let that happen. He enlists Charlie, again, to take care of business and that involves Quinn kidnapping a child so the medical examiner will continue to cover Daniel Douglas' murder.

There are no lengths to which Cyrus will not go to protect himself first and foremost. If that means taking James out, he's been close before. Knowing that James has turned on him, instead of just thinking that he might, will be enough to pust Cyrus over the edge.

3. Bonnie and Clyde

Jake crushes Charlie's hopes of adding Quinn to Team Spy, but that doesn't mean Charlie's not still going to drag her along on his missions. Their exchange in the hardware store, as dark as it was, was actually a pretty funny moment. Right now, Charlie's around for a little bit of comic relief and that's welcomed.

I mean, there's no way you don't at least chuckle a little bit at this:

[to Quinn] The great thing about our line of work? Rock solid job stability! As long as people have to live together, someone's gonna pay to have someone else killed! Fact of life.


Quinn is clearly bothered by the kidnapping assignment, but not so bothered that she can't go through with it. She wants in to B613 so badly that she's basically above nothing at this point. But really there's just the sense that Quinn has lost her place in the world and thinks B613 might be it.

She doesn't feel she can go back to Olivia and she doesn't want to start over again. The allure of the dark side and Charlie is strong with her so she's exploring.

Olivia asks Jake to give Quinn back, so we can probably expect the Battle for Quinn to play a role in future episodes.

4. Girls!

After Olivia is outed as the President's mistress again, Mellie takes up the task of killing the headlines regarding her husband's infidelity. Her plan is two-fold. 

First, lots and lots of photo ops between herself and Olivia. There's no way the First Lady would fraternize with her husband's lover, right? 

Second, Olivia needs to start dating. Enter one Jake Ballard, patriot extraordinaire.

5. Love Triangles

Olivia and Fitz are--or were--hot and heavy again following her return to his campaign and Jake's ascension to Command. But that can't last forever because this is a television drama and, as Ian Somerhalder once said, you don't have drama if the relationships are perfect. 

So, love triangle it is. 

There's a part of Olivia that really does love Jake, or at least like him a whole lot. But at this point, it isn't clear if she's dating him publicly solely to foil the rumors that she's the President's mistress or if her choosing him had something to do with Fitz' declaration that he wants to win re-election but can't do it without her.

There was a moment during his speeche to Olivia about how she couldn't resign when the mood shifted in the Oval Office. She realized that perhaps his ambition and desire to be President is greater than his love for her, no matter what he said about leaving the office and walking away from political life so they can go and make jam and babies together in Vermont.

Asking Jake if he's a patriot might have been a clever way of asking him to play along with this ruse, but there was something in her speech to him that also says that she realizes she has to start living. Being the President's mistress and having to hide her love isn't really a life at all, and she's starting to realize that she deserves one. Maybe.

You go, Olivia. 

6. Loyalty

Andrew Nichols, Fitz' new running mate, is also Mellie's former lover. I really wish we hadn't known what his role would be until tonight because that moment when he said he's been waiting 12 years to be near Mellie Grant again would've been the perfect reveal of their history on the heels of his confession that he once let love get away and hasn't been able to find it since.

The drama felt a little sucked out of that moment because we knew he was there as a love interest for Mellie, but that doesn't mean I'm not excited to have Jon Tenney on my television again for as long as he lasts.

7. Cock That Gun, Harrison

Adnan Salif scares the pants off of Harrison. Literally. 

I'm still a little confused about why he was so scared of HER he needed to borrow Abby's gun, but if it means we get more sexy scenes with Harrison Wright, I'm good with that. 

What did you think of Scandal Season 3 Episode 11? Were you surprised that James is Publius? What do you think of Andrew Nichols' and Mellie Grant? 



Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (130 Votes)

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

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The highlight of the night for me was Eli Pope's soliloquy to his daughter. Joe Morton was/is on fire.


I love it when Papa Pope tells Olivia off! She needs to be told off. Vermont?! Really girl are you really that stupid?

@ Grimmfan#10

Actually, his tell offs are verbal abuse. What father talks to their adult daughter like that? Not a good one. He threw her in boarding schools, left her and then tells her off when he should be trying to build bridges and get his daughter back. If he did that he would find that he could probably get her to do anything he wants. Instill love instead of anger and fear. He really acts like he hates her. I don't know, maybe because she reminds him of her mother. She was trying. She heard he had been replaced and she went to him to offer sympathy instead he took his anger out on her. I get his anger but Jeez, don't take it out on Olivia. Jake and Fitz are the ones he should be angry at but he brought Jake into her life and he made Fitz shoot down the plane. Those 2 guys are his products, he needs to take it out on them not her.

@ Grimmfan#10

It's amazing to me people who hate on Fitz for the way he talks to her (totally ignoring the fact that she does the same with him) yet laud Rowan for speaking to her like she's garbage. Just in case you were too caught up in your hate to remember, this man who's her father, more or less abandoned her when she was 12 years old after her mother 'died'. He abandoned her to great boarding schools, sure, but abandonment is abandonment. He's responsible for her breaking up with her fiance, Edison (Bet you forgot his threat to harm Edison if she continued to date him didn't you?), he's responsible for recruiting Huck against his will into the B613, he's ultimately responsible for putting Huck into a hole until he forgot that he had a family. He's responsible for ordering a plane full of civilians to be shot down because his wife fooled him. He's responsible for sending in a B613 operative to sleep with his daughter in order to keep her away from the president. He's responsible for using a sex tape of her and Jake to get to Fitz. He's responsible for lying to her for years (lies are lies are lies) by letting her believe that her mother was dead. And you think it's perfectly ok for him to tell Olivia to run away whilst she can, so that he can take out/kill the man that she loves? Would you run if you were Olivia? You think it's perfectly reasonable for him to basically tell her that he doesn't care if she becomes collateral damage, in his vengeance against Fitz? Rowan is not father of the year material by any stretch of the imagination. He ran a government agency that tortured and killed people. Why don't you try remembering that, the next time you feel the urge to call Olivia stupid for dreaming of a life, no matter how improbable, with somebody that she loves. It's not like she's had a father who was there for her all her life to teach her about self-worth is it? Olivia was abandoned as a child, and she has been rootless ever since. We can blame her father for that.

@ Kendy

Papa Pope is the only person around Olivia who tells her the truth about her and Fitz. I don't care for Jake but he tells her she is dreaming when it comes to her and Fitz. Olivia the Fixer would tell Olivia the woman in love with Fitz the same thing Papa Pope tells her. Let's face it all the people on this show are crazy and over the top. That is why this show is so popular and people argue on this site for days after the show has aired. Olivia has daddy issues and Fitz too! I missed cra cra Momma Pope last week. Where is that crazy good woman?

@ Kendy

So now we are saying that Olivia behaves this way, because she has DADDY ISSUES. She can't help the way she loves Fitz because of the way she was raised. She is an abandoned child, with an assassin for a father and terrorist for a mother. Poor Olivia. Boo hoo. Please. No one is saying that Olivia's father is the hero. What they are saying is he is the only one that says what they think. Everybody believes her relationship with the President is wrong and belittling to who she believes herself to be BUT he is the ONLY one to actually tell her to her face. The truth hurts. She needs to stop projecting false images of what she thinks her father and mother to be. They are both the enemies in the game. She needs to wake up.

@ Kendy

Kendy you are so right, I think you may be one of the few who actually watches this and pay attention. Everyone is so caught up in their Fitz's hate that they excuses every other character's flaws. Don't get me wrong I adore Joe Morton he is consistently amazing but Rowan is one awful human being.

@ Kendy

You are so right. I get that he's mad but don't use your child. Also, everybody seems to be forgetting one thing - Maya Pope is loose and if he think she's going to allow Eli to harm Liv, he's in for a rude awakening. The first words out of her mouth to Eli were what did you do to her. I asked you to take care of her. Then she got out and went straight to her daughter. He harms Liv he's good as dead. It's one thing to give your daughter the finest education, but to leave her in boarding schools with no parental experience - he ruined Olivia and he still abuses her. I think Cyrus, Fitz, Mellie, they all abuse her verbally just like her father and for some reason she takes it. That is a direct correlation to how he treated and still does, her.


I'll get very confused with President Fitz and VP Fritz ( Tenney's name on The Closer and Major Crimes).... Too bad he has the time to do this since King and Maxwell was cut after one season...


I think Olivia and Jake pretending is not going to end well. Guillermo Diaz said Jake is going dark. Head of B613 and his desire for Olivia is going to make Fitz hate he placed Jake as head. Olivia said her father wasn't always like that and B613 changed him. Watch Jake change. 2 men want the same woman, one is President and the other one is over an organization with no boundaries. Jake does not like Fitz. This one is not going to end well for Fitz. I wouldn't be surprised that right when Fitz is finally rid of Mellie, Jake has Olivia. Shonda Rhimes does marry her characters off on her shows and they also divorce. This indeed is going to be a good one. Let's be real, Olivia is sexually attracted to Jake and she talks to Jake. She kinda let's her guard down with Jake. She doesn't with Fitz. Maybe Fitz needs to feel what's its like to be the other man for a change. I just want her happy, healthy and strong. After hearing Liv's speech last night, I think Liv is finally realizing she's given up too much and she's ready to take her life back. I think a strong Olivia Pope is beginning to re-emerge because this season she's been rattled, her mom, dad, Fitz, outed as mistress. She's been off-balanced and all alone. By the end of the season, she will have clarity again.

@ Marie

Definitely some signs of ambivalence on Olivia's part, Ooooh!


You also forgot the best part of the show, Olivia and Fitz kissing. I literally screamed I was so happy, I really, really, really miss them.


I totally forgot Mellie was getting a love interest so I was surprised. And I loved it. I also love that with all of Fitz talk about loyal Andrew. His real loyalty maybe actually to Mellie. I can't help not wanting either side to win office. Harrison is getting a story. Yay! I don't think James is betraying Cyrus. All of it smells like a scam from Cyrus. Seeing Fitz and Olivia making out in the Oval Office annoyed me. I love Liv's dad so much! Great episode.

@ CJ

I like where you're going with James and Cyrus working together. Now I want to rewatch to see what Cyrus said when that microphone was in his office to see if he's setting Sally and Leo up.

@ Miranda Wicker

Ditto, James might be a little crazy sometimes, but he's not stupid. He knew that David couldn't use the tape he made because he was told the first on wasn't admissible.


I actually hadn't read about Jon Tenney's appearance on the show, so I was pretty bowled over when it was revealed that he had a past with Mellie.
I'm guessing Olivia's gut will turn out to be right--he's not the right person for this job at this time. His relationship with Mellie is going to cause problems for all. Also---that really is some killer intuition on Olivia's part.


I think you want this triangle to happen so much that you are willing to read way more into this and no Olivia doesn't love Jake. Is it not hypocritical of you to have that poll since you hate Fitz mainly because of the affair? If there is/was (more likely was) an affair that means Mellie is the whore she has been calling Olivia. Does anyone really believe that Jake (he looked like a lost puppy) could replace Papa Pope the best actor of the night (that you forgot to mention)?

@ Bienaime Joseph

It's really not about whether I want this triangle to happen or not. It's happening. Look at the writing. Olivia goes back and forth between Jake and Fitz and that makes it a triangle. And I don't hate Fitz mainly because of the affair. I don't hate him at all. I just think that he's not a strong man and has been handed a lot in his life without really working for it and is also sort of spineless unless he's standing up for what inevitably turns out to be a bad decision. We don't yet know the extent of Mellie and Andrew's past, but if I had to guess I'd say that Mellie didn't cheat but will now.

@ Miranda Wicker

I loved Jon Tenney on The Closer. Fitsie really put up with a lot from Brenda Lee. I really like the idea of him and Mellie together. I think he loved Mellie and Mellie loved him but I don't see her cheating or leaving Fitz so is why Andrew left but now he is back to get her. Take Mellie away from crazy Fitz Andrew. This should be good.

@ Miranda Wicker

I think you are wrong about Liv being in love with Jake (Come night stands do not equal love) and wrong about the triangle. You seem to forget Kerry is pregnant. If the writers were going into a triangle, they would have done it in 3A when Liv and Fitz were fighting and not connected except for a couple of phone calls. Why start a triangle when the actress is now almost nine months pregnant. I just don't see it. Besides, all the spoilers that I've read said Jake will be turning dark. I believe the next episode Fitz will be jealous of seeing Liv with her "public boyfriend", other than that...I really don't see any long term triangle. There is the election, B613, OPA, Mellie and her love interest, the Grant kids are again...what Triangle. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Rowan kills Jake in the finale, given he took his job...thanks to Fitz. Killing Fitz is not an option. But, Jake..yes. I think a lot of people hate Fitz simply because he is in love with Olivia, an African American lead character. It is hard for some to accept that Fitz doesn't love his all American white wife. So Fitz is the worst character on the show just because he doesn't love his wife. One thing I love about Fitz and Liv is their humanity. Both feel guilty when they do something wrong. Fitz killed 300 innocent people on the plane because of Rowan's orders and he feels guilt and remorse about that. Liv feels guilty about being in love with a married man. Unlike other characters on the show, both Fitz and Liv know how to apologize. So, I will always root for these two characters. Both are flawed and imperfect. Say what you will about Olitz, their connection is stronger than any other characters on the show.

@ Miranda Wicker

Where is the triangle happening? Now, if you said Mellie, Fitz, and Liv triangle yes. This has been ongoing since season one. The out of blue kisses from jake is so random, how can you take them seriously? You do hate Fitz. Every review, it is very obvious you hate this character. Jake is suppose to turn dark. Let me see if you drop that pedestal when the writers start dirtying him up like Fitz. All Scandal characters will be sabotaged. Shonda calls them all monster. But, I'll willing to bet you won't judge any character more harshly than Fitz.

@ Miranda Wicker

I think you are wrong. I think Mellie has already cheated. Think back to was it last season? Mellie apologized to Fitz in the limo and said forgive me and Fitz took her hand and said I forgive you and then he turned back to do his work. What
was she apologizing for? Where did the breakdown of the marriage occur? That scene was put there for a reason. Somebody did something first and it was way before Olivia came on the scene.

@ Marie

It was not Defiance - it was something else.

@ Miranda Wicker

I am not sure what you mean about her going back to him, she keeps using him to stay close to Fitz. If it were really a triangle she would go back to him because she had feelings for him not because she wants to keep Fitz.
If I were to compare Fitz and Jake I would say that the weaker one is Jake. We know that everything Fitz does is because he loves Olivia and knows that Olivia loves him back, Jake does not have that assurance and if he were so strong how come he agreed to go along with Olivia's plan, especially after his big speech last time about not playing second fiddle?
Fitz may have had everything handed to him so what? That is life and sometimes life is not fair and to resent him for that makes no sense. I am not sure what you mean by being spineless, do you mean he should ask his wife for a divorce, because he did and had tried to walk away from this sham of a marriage many times, Olivia is the one who keeps walking away.
You are right we don't know the extinct of their relationship, whatever it was, it was not kosher and it is hypocritical to celebrate Mellie having an affair while we condemn Fitz and especially Olivia. I will say it again if Mellie has an affair then she is a whore just like she has called Olivia many times before, she is a WHORE (can you tell that I am angry she keeps calling Olivia that word? LOL).
I have to say you are no emphasizing the best part of this show, the relationship between father and daughter. If Olivia or anyone has a father like that , how can they even function?

@ Bienaime Joseph

Everything Fitz does is because he loves Olivia. Poor Fitz. Olivia and Mellie need to free him from his misery right now, so he can live in Vermont and make jam. What a joke. Women really do have a romantic notion of men. What frightens me the most is how many believe that rich and powerful men need to be saved from themselves. Do you honestly believe that Fitz does not want to be the most powerful man in the world. That he wants to sit by the fireplace and jar preserves what is even worse is how many believe that Olivia wants to sit and jar preserves. Fitz is who he is for a reason and Olivia is who she is for a reason. They will NEVER make jam in Vermont, they live in D.C. for godsakes. They love what they do, that is why they do it. No is saying they may not end up together. Sure they will, its Meredith, Alison and Derek and now Sloan all over again. However, do not make them smaller than they really are, these people move mountains and they like moving mountains. Don't belittle them by making them smaller than what they really are

@ Bienaime Joseph

Yeah, it was like she forgot all about that relationship. That is one of the most, if not the most complex relationship on the show - father and daughter and Joe Morton and Kerry Washington plays it to the hilt. Olivia never utters a word or show any type of disrespect whenever they are together. That in itself is amazing.

@ Miranda Wicker

Mellie cheated since she was involved with Andrew 12 years ago. That would be way before Olivia came on the scene. Who is really the whore now? Jake is going to turn out to be a bad guy since no one is good on this show. So all of you who are rooting for him are going to be very disappointed. BTW Jake with all his whining is weaker than Fitz. Jake did not earn the job of Command. It was given to him on a silver platter by the Fitz who has saved his life multiple times alright. Jake is the worst spy ever even Huck could do a better job. Unless we are watching different shows, Olivia is not in love with Jake. She is using him as a beard to get who she really wants and love Fitz. Jake is going to turn ugly when he is frustrated. I think Fitz is playing everyone and knows about Mellie and Andrew which is why he was insistence of having Andrew as his running mate. Fitz is playing a long game con. He knows Mellie and Andrew will restart their affair and he will have ammunition to get out of his marriage. James and David are playing with fire going after monsters. One of them likely James will end up dead.

@ Lee

I agree with you. Fitz knows and this is his long game. To me, it's obvious. I think she cheated, he found out about it and that maybe what caused the rift. Always remember, Mellie's smart but she doesn't plan and it always falters. In the words of Ms. Pope, do nothing and Mellie will be Mellie. In this case, Mellie is going to be Mellie and destroy herself and Fitz will have the ammo he needs to end it. Remember, to Fitz, he and Mellie are at war.