Who among us isn't a sucker for a wedding? Is it possible for a drama to air during which a wedding does not take place?
Those questions are mostly rhetorical brought on by the marriage of Cyrus Beene and Michael Ambruso on Scandal Season 4 Episode 17.
The episode got me right in the feels. Up until the previews for next week, that is, and then I got hit in a different set of feels. The ragey ones.
You guys all know where this is headed, right? If you watched the previews for Scandal Season 4 Episode 18 you definitely (probably) know.
We have to talk about Olitz and Olake again because Shonda Rhimes and Co. just can't seem to quit them.
For the record, before we proceed, I'm not a shipper. I swear it. I like Olitz sometimes and I like Olake sometimes, and I have myself firmly planted in the middle of both camps depending on the story. I lean toward Olake because he isn't married but it's clear that Olivia's heart belongs to Fitz. I'm not blind. Their chemistry is off the charts and damn near palpable.
Team Olitz fans were no doubt thrilled with tonight's episode and the flashbacks to the origin story of her ring, the Doux Bebe, aka "Sweet Baby" and all the swelling music and long glances shared between Fitz and Olivia tonight. Olake fans probably weren't so thrilled, and were likely even less thrilled by the end.
Here's why this is all so problematic:
The only way the writers can make either relationship on this show work is by tearing one of the men in Olivia's life down.
Any time Olivia is thrust in one direction or the other, it's because the writers have done something with the guys to make them unlikable. They can't just present Olivia with two equally great options and let her go with her gut. Or her heart. Or her brain. They can't trust us as viewers to do that either.
Tonight's scenes between Olivia and Fitz were my favorite kind of Olitz scenes. They talked. They shared a small moment, a moment which showed that this thing between them is real. Tonight we saw Fitz love Olivia not in a possessive way but in a longing way. There was no jealousy or malice. He understood why she had to leave the White House, gave her some space and seemed to respect her decision, and at the end of it she kissed him.
That's important. Super important. It gives Olivia agency in their relationship which she very often doesn't seem to have.
What we see most often when it comes to Fitz and Olivia is Olivia saying no to Fitz and him continuing to push the issue until her resolve wanes. Moments where she's in charge are the moments when I most love their relationship and feel its authenticity.
The simple act of her putting the ring back on is a signal to Fitz and the diehard Olitz fans that she still wants Vermont. And jam. Or she's still telling herself she wants those things, no matter how ridiculous the idea of Fitz coaching little league soccer for their kids (when he shipped his others off to boarding school...) and Olivia making jam might be.
Fitz was built back into the role of Good Guy through those flashbacks and longing glances tonight. And through that great moment when he complimented Olivia on her decision to go behind his back with Mellie.
Which means that Jake must absolutely be torn down. SPOILER ALERT (if you consider previews for next week spoilers, that is) that's what happens next week.
I can't speculate much on what we'll see, obviously, but judging from the 30 second clip, we're going all in on making Jake out to be the absolutely worst who ever was. Ugh. It's such lazy writing and I expect more from a production company of this caliber.
We got more with Cyrus, so why is it so hard to expect that from all of our characters?
Cyrus' relationship with Michael has been on the back burner since Olivia convinced him that the way to save face was to announce their engagement. Apparently Cyrus has been pushing the wedding off since that moment. He never wanted it in the first place so it makes sense, but what we learned tonight is that it's been a downright hostile environment at home between the two men.
It might be hostile on occasion moving forward, but it'll be hostility couched with a mutual understanding of their shared predicament, and softened with a good ol' dose of "I get it."
Cyrus' first marriage was destroyed when his very Catholic wife discovered Cyrus was gay and also cheated on him. Whether he continued "playing racquetball" after they were married or she put it together based on what her affair taught her about what relationships could be like, we'll never know. (I'm inclined to believe he didn't cheat, but maybe that's just me.)
His second marriage ended when James was murdered, but in some ways it was over long before that. Early on in their marriage, Cyrus began working James in order to further his own agenda, breaking the promise he made on their wedding day.
Cyrus Beene is not an altogether good person. He does, however, have his shining moments, and Jeff Perry plays those sides of Cyrus so well I can't figure out why all the characters on this series can't be as well-layered as he is. Clearly the writing is possible.
The turning point for Cyrus in this sham marriage to Michael came when they had dinner with Michael's parents and learned they had only come to D.C. because Elizabeth North paid them. They openly disliked their gay son, perhaps even hated, and Cyrus could see the damage which Michael had suffered through the years and decided he couldn't add to it. But it was what came next that mattered most.
Cyrus Beene has probably just entered into the most open and honest relationship he's ever had in his life. It isn't love. It isn't even trust. It's just...honest. He was honest with Michael about what this marriage would entail, saw the good in the man who was once paid to have sex with him, and saved them both by going through with the wedding.
He didn't have to do that, but I'm pretty glad he did. Maybe just because I love weddings.
What did you think of "Put A Ring On It"? What was your favorite flashback? How do you feel about Cyrus and Michael getting married? Sound off in the comments below and remember you can always watch Scandal online!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.