Scandal Review : “A Woman Scorned”

"A Woman Scorned" has landed in my top Scandal episodes of all time.  I put no other episodes above it, but it is in a dead heat with “The Trail”, “Happy Birthday Mr. President” and "A Criminal, A Whore, An Idiot and a Liar."

In other words, this was an epic, canonical episode.  If anyone is still in doubt about Olivia and Fitz being one of the foundations of this show, I recommend you watch this episode and the three others I mention above. Rinse and repeat. 

You all know I don’t do these full reviews very often because I’m wordy and emotional, so thanks in advance for hanging with me on this one.

Mole Hunt 2013

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Where is Anderson Cooper when you need him?  The hunt for the mole continues, and ironically falls down a rabbit hole or two along the way.  OPA is on the case looking for who attacked both Olivia and Huck.  And the trail leads them to Charlie (Payne) and by felony by association, Cyrus Beene. So OPA chases that hole all the way down to Barnes & Noble where Charlie suddenly has developed a penchant for slutty bookworms (go slutty bookworms!)  Or has he?  Sorry, no go.  He’s actually just been chasing down the court stenographer for the Defiance election scam grand jury.  Oh and shockers – her laptop got stolen.  So now we know a few things:

  • Charlie is collecting two paychecks these days, one from Cyrus and one from a Mystery Person.  Watch out, Cyrus doesn’t like his boys cheating on him.
  • Cyrus isn’t the mole because he doesn’t need the court testimony from the Defiance grand jury because he could write a freaking doctorate thesis on it in one afternoon.
  • Slutty bookworms really gotta be more discerning in their hookups.

So now OPA knows Cyrus isn’t the mole.  Again I ask, where’s Anderson Cooper?

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James: I’m Ready for My Close-Up Mr. DeMille

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Speaking of the Silver Fox.  James.  We love you.  We do.  You’re a hot mess and we get that.  But don’t you find it odd that you suddenly got an offer to become the latest talking head on BNC AND just happen to land the interview of the decade with the First Lady all within 48 hours?  Mmmm’kay.  Biggest coincidence ever.  NOT.  I know you have dreams of being the next AC, but let’s not be stupid about it.

Jake: Putting the Creep in well, Creep.
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Jake is hanging around stalking/protecting Olivia on Fitz’ command.  That’s really all he did this episode.  Except for the 3 minutes when Cy tried to trick him into leaving his stalking post, which he didn’t fall for and instead headed Cy off at the pass when he tried to sneak in to see Olivia.  Cy dropped the obvious hint that he knew about Jake crossing the line with Olivia, which led Jake to the conclusion that Cy had spies on him too (touché).  So he then goes home to check his trusty video tapes and realized Charlie had paid a visit to Casa Jake and watched the sex tape he made with an unaware Olivia.  And then he proceeded to watch the sex tape again – creepily.

imageEven creepier than Charlie was watching it earlier with a big ol’ 2 liter of generic soda.  And that’s saying A LOT.

Sorry folks, I know there is a small but loyal contingent of people who still like Jake, but  I personally can not understand how anyone can overlook that this guy has SERIOUS issues.  The “he’s doing it for his job” excuse holds no water for me.  He didn’t sleep with Olivia for his job.  He developed an unhealthy fixation on a woman he had under surveillance.  He then used information he learned about her during this surveillance to wheedle his way into her personal life under FALSE pretenses.  How is that okay? 

We all want to see Olivia happy, and there are those who don’t feel Fitz is that guy for her, but seriously, is Jake the right person for Olivia? Single should not be the only hurdle one has to jump to land on Olivia’s dance card my friends.

Mellie : Shaking a Stick at Crazy
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After Fitz spent all night by Olivia’s bedside, Mellie knew that what she had feared all these months had finally come to pass.  Olivia is back.  In reality, Olivia was never gone, but Fitz has finally cleared his head of the liquor and anger (partially thanks to Mellie herself) and was finding his way back himself.  And Fitz is only truly himself with Olivia by his side. 

Mellie saw the writing on the wall, and I give her credit, she walked the walk.  Mellie had one real card left in her arsenal because at this point, she knows it’s only a matter of time before Fitz starts the divorce talk again.  So she played her hand and set the ultimatum that Fitz has to rejoin the original cast of their lifelong stageplay of a craptacular marriage or she goes on a road tour as a one-woman show.

The problem in her plan?  Fitz really doesn’t care.  Now I do think part of Fitz thinks Mellie won’t go through with it, but he also is fully prepared to deal with things if she does.  So end result?  Mellie didn’t get her way. 

Mellie has always underestimated the depth of the Olivia and Fitz relationship.  Even the “magical thighs” speech a few episodes ago showed that even though she knows Fitz is VERY involved with Olivia, part of her still thinks it is driven by sex/lust, and that Fitz will eventually “get over” it.

But as she sat in that parlor all alone watching the minutes of the clock tick away, she realized Fitz wasn’t coming.  That her final play had not executed as she expected, and she now really only had one choice – to go through with announcement of Fitz’ affair.  Because by not showing up, she knows that Fitz has made his choice.  That honestly, there never really was a choice.  She was never an option.  So now all she has is the hopes of forcing him to rejoin their circus sideshow marriage by public opinion and humiliation.

But an even deeper meaning of this final act?  She has effectively ended her marriage.  Any hopes Mellie harbors of ever reconnecting with Fitz on even the business merger level of joint goals and ambitions they built their relationship on is now gone.  I’m not sure if she really understands that repercussion yet.  I’m not sure she fully understand any of the repercussions headed her way.  Which to me has always been another flaw of Mellie’s – she plans ahead, but never quite far enough to anticipate the duplicity of others.  She tends to think that she’s the most evil one in the room, and doesn’t realize that she is playing a game against of group of people who do it much more often and much more effectively than she does.  She’s formidable, but she underestimates her opponents.   Cyrus, Olivia, but maybe most of all Fitz.

Mellie landed the first punch, but the round isn’t over yet.  Not by a long shot.

Cyrus:  Wanted- A Xanax and an Oxygen Tank

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Y’all know I love me some Miss Cyrus Beene, King AND Queen of Mean.  He’s a magnificent bastard, an evil genius and he’s also available to come by for wine and smack talk in a pinch.  In this episode, when he wasn’t playing marriage counselor, blackmailer or arbitrator, he was running through the tunnels under the White House like rat on a sinking ship trying figure out how the hell he ended up the Resident Assistant at Melrose Place University.  Give this man a Xanax, an oxygen tank and a few days off before he strokes out.

Cyrus is Team Fitz.  All Day.  Everyday.  Anyone that attacks Team Fitz will get the evil side of Cyrus’ brain, including Olivia, Mellie and yes, even Fitz.  How is Cyrus going to use the information about Olivia sleeping with Jake?  How is Cyrus going to handle Mellie going rouge Sarah Palin-style?  How is Cyrus going to handle Fitz now being officially on 24/7 Olivia-Patrol.  I suggest you start building those tunnels out to Olivia’s apartment building cuz our curly-haired boy seems to like it over there quite a bit.

Not to mention that Olivia now knows that Cyrus was behind giving Amanda Tanner that really bad scuba lesson in the bottom of the Potomac.

Unlike Mellie, Cyrus has many cards to play.  In fact, he has a hidden deck and loaded dice to go along with it.  Load up the oxygen tanks- it’s going to be a doozy.

Side Note:  Cyrus running is now becoming as iconic as Carrie Bradshaw running through the streets of NYC in her Manolos.

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Olivia and Fitz: Countdown to the Inevitable

This episode is one of the few times we see Olivia and Fitz forced to deal with their relationship as a REAL couple.  The brutal honesty, pain, arguing and yes, the undeniable love.

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From the first scene of them bickering on the phone like children on a playground, we knew it was coming.  When Fitz “summoned” Olivia to the White House, we knew it was coming.  The Oval Office seems to be where Fitz and Olivia have some of their most significant moments, and this time was no different.   Their argument there had to happen.  Had to blow through the walls that Olivia and Fitz have been putting up for years.  Fitz again declared his love and Olivia again declared she couldn’t accept that because she needed more.  The argument was a gauntlet to put up or shut up for Olivia and Fitz. 

So when Fitz shows up at Olivia’s apartment at the end of the episode, Fitz knew he had to do more than just declare his love once again.  He was there prepared to show it.  To “earn” it as Olivia had challenged him to during the argument in the Oval.  He came there to “run out the clock” on his marriage with her.  While Fitz knew he had always been willing to do this in the past, he realizes that Olivia didn’t believe it.  So with complete  control, confidence and love in his heart, he chose Olivia.  He asked her to sit with him let him prove his love and commitment to her once and for all.

And on Olivia’s part, she had to sit her ass down and LET Fitz do what he said he wanted to do.  No calling Cyrus to hatch a plan.  No cutting deals with Mellie.   Olivia has always played a role in her own unhappiness regarding Fitz.  Out of her fear of losing him and fear of him not being President, she has sabotaged almost all attempts he has made to “earn” her in the past.  So after she laid herself bare telling Fitz he had to prove himself, she now had to ALLOW him to do it.  And surprisingly, she did.  She sat there with Fitz, full of fear, shock, love and hope, knowing what it meant for her and for them.  That she could no longer hide behind “doing the right thing” – she had to accept the love she said she wanted, that she knew she wanted.  The love they both know is inevitable.

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As Fitz and Olivia counted down the minutes to what is in some ways the beginning of their own relationship,  we listened to  the words of “You’re All I Need To Get By” sung by the incomparable Marvin Gaye and Tammie Terrell (I could write a whole commentary on that song alone so don’t EVEN get me started on that), the inevitability, the inescapability of the love Olivia and Fitz have is driven home even further:

I took one look at you, and it was plain to see you were my destiny

Stand by you like a tree and dare anybody to try and move me

Darling in you I found strength where I was torn down

Don’t know what’s in store but together we can open any door


As I read those lyrics, I remember Fitz’ words during their argument in the Oval:

"We’re not over.  We’re not EVER going to be over.  I am never going to be over you.”

Truer words were never spoken.  The road ahead for Olivia and Fitz is long and twisted.  There are cracks and fissures – even areas where the road seems to end altogether.  And there will also be moments of sheer bliss paved in gold.   

But one thing I do believe is that they will never be over.

 

Additional Thoughts:

  • I am happy that Olivia’s apartment has officially been christened with some Olitz sex.  And it looks like they did it in Olympic fashion-leaving no piece of furniture unturned, followed by a victory lap in Olivia’s shower.  Well played you crazy kids!
  • And yes, Olivia’s hair got wet.  Black girls everywhere gasped in horror and understanding.  Some guys are worth the extra two hours.
  • Mellie sitting in the parlor sad as hell brought joy to my heart.  I ain’t shamed to say it.