Scandal Review: A Family Affair

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Maybe it was all the revelations. Maybe it was all the confrontations. Maybe it was HuckleberryQuinn.

Whatever it was Scandal Season 3 Episode 15, might be going down in the books as my favorite installment of the series to date. Maybe. I think.

I've had a lot of favorite episodes over the past three seasons, but tonight? Tonight took the proverbial cake. There's nothing like the introduction of a couple of moody teenagers to make things go absolutely ape.

Let's just jump right into the Grant family dynamic. And by "dynamic," I mean "stuffed to the brim with dynamite and ready to explode." Or implode. 

This family is seriously screwed up. Not that they're not screwed up for good reason, but they're seriously screwed up.

Jerry and Karen arrive from their boarding school and Olivia's gut tells her something's just not right with the two of them. As it turns out, Jerry planned to tank the interview by wearing a Reston for President shirt and had started an Anti-Grant Twitter account.

Ahhhh, teenage rebellion. 

Karen, however, was united with Mellie in an act of female solidarity against Fitz for his philandering. That is until she found her mother diddling "Uncle Andrew." 

Kids really know how to shake things up!

Andrew and Mellie's kiss on the trip to the gun range turned into something a little more upon their return. A full-blown affair.

The irony of Olivia leaving an encounter with Fitz, discovering Andrew and Mellie's tryst, and then telling Andrew that the campaign didn't need another sex scandal was excellent. Even better was his response to her.

Olivia: Andrew, the last thing this campaign needs is another sex scandal. Stay away from her.
Andrew: Glass houses, Olivia.

She doesn't have any room to throw stones, and neither does Fitz. Not really. Not when it comes right down to it. 

He can't blame Mellie's lack of interest in sex with him as his reason for cheating. He can't blame Mellie for cheating. (Mellie can't use "well Fitz did it!" as an excuse to cheat either, so I'm not giving that to her.)

Punching Andrew in the face was a low-blow and one of the things that frustrates me about Fitz while simultaneously proving previous points that Fitz and Mellie didn't always hate each other. Theirs was not strictly a marriage of convenience.

Decking Andrew was Fitz' way of laying claim to Mellie, either because somewhere deep down he loves her or because he just doesn't want anyone else to have her. I can't seem to decide which story I want to be true.

During Fitz and Mellie's fight tonight, I just kept chanting "TELL HIM THE TRUTH! TELL HIM THE TRUTH!" And yes, I might have been on the verge of actually shouting. She was so close to telling him that the reason she turned away from him all those years ago was because his father raped her and their son might be Fitz' brother. So very close! And yet she couldn't do it. 

She couldn't bring herself to utter those words which really makes me sad for her. She's carried the weight of that around sharing it with only one other person and not the man who most deserves to know. 

I found myself wondering what would happen if Mellie told him the truth about the rape tonight. 

Where would the story go from here? Would that lead to some sort of reconciliation between Mellie and Fitz, sending Olivia back to Jake?

Would we have a Mellie-Fitz-Olivia-Andrew square with Andrew sure he wants Mellie and Olivia sure she wants Fitz but with Mellie and Fitz not sure if they want their old partners or their new?

But she didn't tell him. She couldn't. 

I don't blame her for not being able to tell him. I can't. I can't get inside the mind of a rape victim and wouldn't deign to tell one what to do and how to respond and react, fictional or otherwise. (Suggest counseling? Sure. But throw out a "you should really..."? No.)

Not only did I feel sad for Mellie tonight, but also for Olivia.

Her realization that she's splitting both worlds when she's in the White House but that ultimately she's the help was poignant.

She's a hired hand around there, which is evident from the way absolutely everyone speaks to her, Fitz included. Thanks to Cyrus, she realized the truth in her mother's words, even if her mother was quite menacing during that phone call.

(Was that phone call a ruse to throw Olivia and OPA off Adnan's scent? Clearly her quest for immunity was a decoy planned...when, exactly, I have no idea. But Harrison!!! Don't trust the pretty women who seduce you in the office!)

I really felt the sense of Olivia's being torn tonight, and her resolve to tell Fitz to fix his own family was excellent. She knows it's something that he has to do even if it means she loses him in the process. It's her job. 

Olivia is trying her best to get back to being the white hat by focusing on the tasks at hand and bringing down B613, but will that be enough? Will that fix the fact that the White House is full of murderers and she is in love with one? Or two? 

Rowan and Jake's showdown was incredible. Coming off Jake's quiet moment next to James in last week's episode, coupled with Rowan's rant last week that he made the tough calls, tonight really drove home the point that while both men share the same position, they're not the same kind of man. Or perhaps they're more alike than they think.

Personally, I don't think they're alike. I think being Command will break Jake in a different way than it broke Rowan, and to be clear, it broke him. Making those decisions day in and day out broke Rowan Pope. But they were different men before assuming the office and that makes the difference. 

Jake doesn't want to lose himself in the office of Command (evidenced by his plea to Olivia to save him) which says that's what's going to happen, and Rowan is going to make sure it does.

Throwing in with Olivia and offering up the information about the B-613 funding source was a self-serving move in more ways than one. First, it endears Olivia to him again making her affections and loyalties a pawn in his game with Jake. Second, it gives Olivia the ammunition she needs to begin disassembling B-613, which will further alienate her from Jake. 

Rowan Pope has become the character I love to hate. He's so good at being bad.

And speaking of good at being bad, Quinn, Charlie, and Huck and their little love triangle is bizarre and weird and I'm totally all in. Whatever the writers have in store for this, I'm in. 

I suspect we're building up to a moment where Huck and Charlie face off and Huck doesn't hold back this time. This time Charlie dies. Maybe Quinn kills him to save Huck. That'd be interesting.

Finally, major, major props to Jeff Perry for continuing to play the grieving husband so beautifully. His rage at Jake and then his confession to Fitz that James died to save the Republic, just in a different way than he'd planned, made James' death even more real and gutwrenching. Ugh. And then Ella dancing around.

Brokenhearted, party of one.

What did you think of Scandal Season 3 Episode 15? How screwed up IS the Grant family? Should Mellie have told Fitz the truth tonight?

Here is your first look at Scandal Season 3 Episode 16, "The Fluffer."


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (90 Votes)

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


This episode was one of the best ! Well written. Olivia finally realized that she is the help. She cleans up after them. Mamma was right.
But damn that episode was full of goodness. Almost gave me a whiplash !
From Mellie, to the kids , to Fitz and Olivia, to Andrew, to Jake and Rowan, to The Spy Triangle that is Hick/Quinn/Charlie and finally Adnan and Harrison. Just amazing. I cannot believe that the finale is almost there !


No Olivia and Fitz NO SCANDAL.


LOL! A lot of the comments here made me laugh till I teared up. "12 years a slave" "rewatch it again on ABC and salivate" "Olivia is a mammy on top of being a whore"etc. Anyway, I understand and equally feel the pain behind the comments BUT on further reflection, this episode is deeper than we think. At first I was upset but after sleeping over it and watching it again, things are clearer. I have MASSIVE respect for Fitz now that i have mulled over everything. Every single thing he said needed to be said. Married but celibate for 10 years? I don't know any man that would do that. Wow! At the end of the day, the million Dollar question is: What was said behind closed doors, just before the Grant family interview? I smell a much needed Presidential divorce in the horizon.


Fitz has been on my crappy list this week, but after my husband asked me how I'd feel in Fitz's place, I thought about things and became less of a militant feminist about the Fitz Mellie fight. Basically, Fitz was faithful and celibate for ten years, before Olivia happened. Ten years. That's a mighty long time. He believed Mellie when she told him that having the baby had killed her sex drive. Fitz blamed himself and presumingly stopped putting pressure on her to have sex. One year becomes, two, then five, then before he knows it, it's been ten years since he's been truly intimate with somebody. By this time, the marriage is dead, but he's still been faithful. Then somebody comes along who sees him, who finds him attractive and sexy, and somebody who eventually loves him. Who would pass up on that after being in the wilderness for 10 years? He then embarks on this affair, and he falls in love with the woman, yet he feels guilty because he thinks that he's become as bad as his emotionally abusive, cheating father. Think back to him asking Liv if she didn't think he wanted to be a better man, blah, blah, blah in episode 2x08. Guilt, because he thinks he's the one who destroyed his marriage. We know that Mellie was raped, Fitz doesn't. So fast forward the years and he finds out that his wife is screwing his best friend. A best friend who was there when Mellie started not letting him touch her. Fitz puts two and two together and works out that maybe that's why she wouldn't let him touch her. It wasn't because she was frigid, it was because she didn't want him. She lied to him. All those years of celibacy (sex once a year or for procreation purposes really doesn't count) and she was having it off with his "Uncle Andrew"? So all those years when he assumed that her condition was his fault and the guilt he'd had over his affair with Olivia was for nothing? How would any of us react to that? Mellie isn't to blame for the way she handled her rape, but it's undeniable that shutting Fitz out, not telling him the truth, not seeking professional help, all helped kill her marriage. And as much as I don't blame Mellie, there's no way I'm blaming Fitz for either the affair or his reaction to Andrew, because the fact is, he tried to keep his marriage intact for way longer than the average man would, and it turned out that his wife had been lying to him all that time.

Drea xoxo
@ Kendy

I appreciate your explanation too! i couldn't have said it better myself

@ Kendy

Love gladiators! This is awesome. Well thought out & makes perfect sense. Thanks for taking the time to write this & really think about it.


The argument about race cannot be dismissed from the conversation. Olivia mentioned it years ago when she refereed to the Jefferson affair, her father mentioned it when he said "You have to be twice as good" and finally her mother when she was refereed as "the help". I'm sure many of you have seen that movie. Yes, for some of you, like Fitz. You don't see it from that perspective but if you are of color, you ALWAYS do. This notion will always be a thorn in Olivia's side until she is able to sit at Fitz's side and be able to have opinions on his family. I know many of you want to make this a color blind show and that is commendable but misguided. Trying to make the 800lb gorilla invisible doesn't mean it will disappear. Addressing issues of race and sexuality and the influence it has on our society does not make the conversationalist racist. We are simply discussing human behavior in all its dimensions. Only when we can have truly dispassionate dialogue about race, ethnicity and sexuality will the 800lb gorilla leave the room. However, we are not there yet .

@ Aykme

Very well said. No one is 1 dimensional.


This OLITZ thing is so drawn out and tiring. Let's move on but I don't think we ever can because this love triangle takes up a big part of the series. Put it to rest please!!!

@ Mariah

Couldn't agree more. I'm so over these two! They'll never be together so why's she wasting her time, especially when she has someone as fabulous as Jake wanting to be with her, and really be with her. Not only in a blind spot of his office.

@ Gracie-belle

Totally agree. Team Olake!!!

@ Gracie-belle

Someone as fabulous as Jake? I'm going to need an explanation as to why you think Jake is so fabulous, and being single is really not a good enough answer. Go.

@ Gracie-belle

I totally agree with you. Jake has shown time and time again that he loves Olivia.

@ JT

The only reason people think that Jake is the better man for her, is because he's single. I'm sorry, but a man who professes to love a woman would never threaten her life the way Jake has. Oh and there's that whole trying to kill Rowan part too, regardless of what it would have done to Olivia. Olivia was devastated when she though Huck might have killed her father, and she understands that he put Huck through hell, imagine what she'd felt if Jake killed him? He didn't even bother imagining because he didn't care. Fitz at least said no to killing Rowan, purely because he was Liv's father.
And not forgetting that his mission was to sleep with Liv in the first place, or that he handed over a sex tape of her and him to Rowan, or that he landed her in hospital when he wouldn't let her leave. Or that he killed James in cold blood, when there were so many other ways to deal with him. Murder wasn't the only solution, and James had done nothing to him personally. Jake is not the guy. Not for Olivia. No way.

@ JT

After Shonda and her writers put April with Jackson instead of letting her marry Matthew like a decent person, I am almost past hoping Olivia will not end up with Fitz (so Mellie and Fitz can grow old together with a love that is built on commitment, not hot sex.) It just seems like the writers of Scandal and GA have rather fixed ideas about who is MFEO and who is not so I am so not holding my breath for an outcome where Olivia does not end up with Fitz. booyah. D:


I think it would be cool for future episodes if they had Jake find someone, hopefully this will spark jealousy in Olivia and make her realize that she does love him or not even that but has feelings. #⃣TeamOLAKE

@ Jaden

I think it would be even cooler if Jake died. If Olivia has to be with somebody else other than Fitz, then a guy who was originally sent in to sleep with her, who landed her in hospital, who tried to kill her father after Fitz said no (because he at least considered the fact that he was Olivia's father) a guy who's currently losing his mind being head of B613, a guy who gave a sex tape that Rowan didn't even know existed to her father, a guy who threatened to harm her if she didn't stop digging into Jame's death, is not the guy for her. Olivia is a beautiful smart woman, she deserves better than somebody who tries to feed her beer when she's clearly a wine drinker. Jake is not the guy for her. On any level.


It is sad how every time something happens between races if it doesn't please another race then it is considered racist. I believe wholeheartedly that the "help" comment has nothing to do with race. I think it was a reference to the role Olivia plays in Fitz's life. I feel sorry for Olivia, even though I don't condone sleeping with married man regardless of how bad his relationship is, she looks pathetic. She continues to run back to a man who can not give himself to her wholeheartedly and it is saddening. I think she is trying to feel a void that was left open from her father. If she had him around like he should have been she would have not let a man treat her like and she knows that she deserves better (Jake). This goes for Mellie too (love her)!

@ Malaina

I don't know. She seems mighty much like the help particularly when she has to have sex with Fitz (and have the Secret Service block out the whole effing corridor to boot) before big speeches to calm him down. If that's not the help, I don't know what is.

@ Malaina

There is a lot rolled up into that help comment. It does have a special sting for most African Americans (no race card - it just does) + mama pope said it + papa pope has also very vocally not approved + Fitz yelled @ her. All that equals a horrible vulnerability & self loathing & how did I get here bad feelings.


I think we all forget that Olivia does not like working for Fitz. She didn't like how it makes her feels. She quit the first time because she did not like sleeping with Fitz while working for her. This season we got to dig deeper into how it effects her. Olivia works best when she is not working for the white house. I think she will realize that again and quit.


They built up and then tore down an epic romance between a married man stuck in a loveless relationship and a talented, self-confident woman. Certainly, they will build it back up again. In regards to the help reference, it was intentional and it is an all too-familiar feeling among marginalized folks regardless of education, income, social class or cultural capital. Shonda likes characters who are grey, layered, and complex. I'm certain that she could care less about the politics of respectability pertaining to the lives of Black women/gay men or whomever. For that reason, she will make you hate one character (Mellie) and love another (Olivia), which happened on seasons 1-2, and then flip that convention on its head (season 3). All characters on this show are flawed and she has stated many times that Olivia is not perfect, nor is she interested in portraying her that way. What she does is provide understandable reasons. Regarding Mellie and Fitz's relationship, she recently tweeted "loving this debate about Mellie and Fitz's sex life. Screwing to make Baby Teddy & a random bj in the shower is not the same as a sex life".

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Scandal Season 3 Episode 15 Quotes

Olivia: Andrew, the last thing this campaign needs is another sex scandal. Stay away from her.
Andrew: Glass houses, Olivia.

You don't take down B613. You run, you hide, or you die.