Scandal Review: Conspiracy Theory

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And just like that, Scandal does it again. I'm sitting here, mouth open, after the last 10 minutes of an episode that, quite frankly, changes everything.

"Beltway Unbuckled" revealed old alliances while also bringing about new ones.

Fitz Worries

Let's just start at the beginning, shall we?

David and Abby's encounter last week certainly wasn't a one-off roll in the hay. They've seen each other at least eight more times since then. In last Thursday's Scandal Round Table, we asked if David was using Abby for information or if something more might be blossoming between the two. The panel thought that what may have started off as a quest for information could turn into something more and it looks like we were right.

David's phone call to Alissa, his assistant, certainly made it seem that he was using her for intel, but halfway through the episode it became clear that Abby's done a number on David. There's something about the two of them together that works and I like where this is headed.

The case this week was a particularly tricky one that forced Olivia to turn to the White House for help. And she found that help in an unexpected ally: Mellie Grant.

Mellie wants to play a more prominent political role in Fitz's Presidency. She's tired of being relegated to photo ops and tv specials. There's more to Mellie Grant than just her hair and wardrobe.

Mellie Grant has moxie.

Watching Olivia and Mellie come together to outplay Fitz and Cyrus was rather spectacular, as was Fitz and Cyrus' reactions to seeing the women work together. It's clear from Cyrus' remark about his "playbook" that Olivia learned quite a bit from him, and since Olivia is still the character about whom we know the least, small glimpses into her history are always welcomed parts of this narrative.

Which brings me to the scenes with Verna, the Supreme Court Justice.

In losing Stephen, the show lost Olivia's human, non-romantic connection. She'd been vulnerable around him at some point and he was in her inner circle. Olivia's willingness to sit with her sick friend during chemo treatments says that this is a person about whom Olivia cares deeply. This isn't just a client whose hand she's holding while they sort things out. Verna knows her and knows her history with Fitz.

A history which, at least for the time being, seems to be coming to an end.

While I appreciate their romantic conflict, and while I can see the love in the President stooping to put on her shoes, his words last week hit below the belt and sort of soured me on the Fitz and Olivia romance.

But then, here, their shared realization that this is a star-crossed love, doomed from the beginning by circumstances begun before they ever met, might've had me a little misty-eyed. As they sat there in that cafe and she asked the question "Where can this go, really?" my heart broke a little for the two of them. So much sadness! They play desperation so well. (Almost the entire scene from the cafe is recapped on the Scandal quotes page.)

And that brings us to about the last, jam-packed, story-propelling few minutes.

Huck's off the wagon. When he confronted the victim's father and tried to convince the man not to do what Huck instinctively knew the man was thinking, I thought it was perhaps part of his attempt to stay sober. That in convincing this man not to go after his daughter's murderer, he was somehow convincing himself. I didn't expect him to murder the murderer, but more than that, I didn't expect him to like it.

His speech at the recovery meeting was absolutely chilling.

Equally chilling? That final table with Hollis Doyle, Cyrus, Verna, Olivia and Mellie coming together while Fitz soared to Tokyo on Air Force One. These five people have been at work since long before Fitz became President Grant and I can't wait to find out more.

What did you think of "Beltway Unbuckled?" What are your theories about Cytron?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (225 Votes)

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


I can't STAND this President he is too DAMN WEAK! Everybody talks shyt to him all day long....HELL his wife has more balls than him! :) All he ever does is walk around like a love sick puppy!!!! I don't see why Olivia would be attracted to this whimp!


Again, I felt for Fitz, cannot connect the dots with Olivia again this week. Thought the crying at the end was too underwhelming. After the segment with the judge, I expected some feeling of devestation from Olivia. I did not see any indication that Fitz' declaration of love meant anyhing to her. No tug, no push and pull, nothing. Does she love him, or is she just hot for him? I don't understand everyone's feeling about Fitz being abusive to women--Bad situation it is true, but certainly there is a bit of blame to go around. Mellie is no ingenue and Olivia knew exactly what she was doing when she entered the hotel room with him on the trail. Loved these women together--Shakespearean drama indeed. Abby annoys me and I cannot wait to her get her comeuppance! Huck needs someone--could this be a love connnection with him? I hope so. I actually miss the Stephen character. Love the judge as well.


continued d end up getting herself into a lot of trouble. Finally, am worried for Huck's sanity.


Loved it! My god, I know it is impossible but can I ship Mellie/Olivia as best friends? I mean Mellie is a manipulative woman but I get her angst. She was the one with the brains and ambition, top of her class and Harvard and Yale and gave it up to marry Fitz. It must be so galling when clearly she used to have a place at the policy table to be relegated to a ceremonial role. And Olivia, I love her but she is just as manipulatve as Mellie. It is just that we are conditioned to root for her as the heroine. When those amazing woman got together to outplay Fitz, I cheered! Glad they are done for now. I mean Olivia and Fitz have amazing chemistry but Fitz is not at all likeable with his abusing his office and the way he talks to the women in his life. Olivia will always love him but I want her to move on from this. She will always care about him but she needs a life and a future and he cannot give her those things. Love Abby and David and am super worried Abby will betray Olivia and get herself into trouble. Finally, am so worried for Huck's sanity.


First, last night's episode had be on the edge of my seat. I thought it was full of suspense, political maneuvering, and sad desperation. The only part of the Scandal that disturbs me is Abby. She went from being a loyal friend to a sneaky suspicious, accusatory, I will not follow you over a cliff, type person in a matter of a few episodes. The homemaker turned detective, turned judgmental crazy person irks me and less screen time for her means more Scandal enjoyment for me. Huck character along with Olivia keeps me coming back week after week. His comparison of killing people to drinking whiskey is so classic that I find myself rooting for him in a Dexter sort of way. The fact that he's doling out justice to those who truly do not deserve to get away with their crimes is intriguing. I like that he's found a sympathetic friend. I hope they explore that. Olivia and her ex boyfriend were annoying me. He needs to go, now. He has no point, no purpose other than to be on screen to get in the way. I love Cyrus and the more devious and diabolical he is the more I love him. I want to see Cyrus and Mellie go at it because as the sneak peek said, she may be an animal but Cy is a monster. It's so weird that in all this high drama the President seems to be oblivious to the fact he's got some truly ruthless people working for and around him. I want to see how deep the conspiracy goes because I want Scandal back for a 3rd season. The Scandals are intriguing and the way Pope and Ass handle them are fun to watch. Sure it's over the top dramatic and at times completely ridiculous, but Scandal is a guilty pleasure and it should be like that. I want to see Private Practice/ Grey's Anatomy alum on Scandal as guests. I miss seeing Lexie...although I can't believe I just typed that and Mark Sloan.


Cont'd I liked teams Mellie/Olivia and David/Abby, but found Mellie screaming at Fitz and Cyrus demanding a place at the table over dramatic. The final scene bordered on incredibility and turned me off completely. This mass conspiracy is out of an Oliver Stone movie and I have never liked them.


I have mixed feelings about this episode. As usual I liked Fitz and Olivia's scenes. I do not mind him pulling the rug out from Olivia about their relationship awhile. It is only a matter of time before they get back together obviously so I don't get all this talk about them "being over." Their romance is the anchor of the show. They will never be over. I have to say that again I don't agree with the reviewer re: Fitz and Olivia. I did not see any shared "realization that this is a star-crossed love, doomed from the beginning by circumstances begun before they ever met,..." This is not Victorian England or "The Age of Innocence." Fitz will not be President forever and when he is done, there is no doubt that he will divorce Mellie and be with Olivia. The only issue between Fitz and Olivia is if they are both willing to the huge risk of continuing their love affair until he leaves office. Olivia’s answer for right now, is "no." I liked teams Mellie/Olivia and David/Abby, but found Mellie screaming at Fitz and Cyrus demanding a place at the table over dramatic. The final scene bordered on incredibility and turned me off completely. This mass conspiracy is out of an Oliver Stone movie and I have never liked them.


Scandal!!! This is the most amazing show. The acting, by everyone is just wonderful. Livia and Fitz, whether you love them or hate them, have off the hook chemistry. With just a look, you feel their love and their pain. Star crossed lovers, to bad; they'd make a powerful couple. Don't sleep on Mellie though, this woman is dangerous, in fact, both his women are, beautiful, smart, powerful and dangerous. Gee Fitz, you must have it going on :-), besides the fact that you’re The President of the United States. Abby, don’t know why she would turn on Livia, after Livia literally saved her life, is a hard pill to take, don’t like that story line. Loyalty is expected in these situations, whether you understand what Livia is doing or not. What’s the group going to do with David (he’s a white hat for goodness sake).I don't know where Shonda is going with this show, but rest assured I will be going with her for this wild ride. This show is brilliant.


Okay, I know this is hard to believe, but this episode just did not do it for me for some reason. I'm actually glad the relationship between Fitz and Liv is over, and yes, they played it well, but I did not feel sorry for either character. Perhaps I just wasn't as vested after last week.
Enter now, the cover-up. Really? An oilman, the Chief of Staff, a Supreme Court Justice, the First Lady, and Olivia Pope? There's almost a joke in there somewhere. I do want to see how they tie all the strings together, and how it relates to national security as indicated previously by the Justice. By the way, I actually like Mellie more after this episode. She knows how to work the political machine that is DC.
The arc with Huck, I do like. The fact that he actually enjoyed killing as much as he did was surprising, but the way he portrayed it was EXCELLENT. The lines were extremely well-delivered and believable.


Loved it. Mellie is an out and out power hungry maniac and her ranting about the children was as funny as it was disturbing. The Grants are no longer pretending they give a damn about each other and i love it. It seems Olivia will always team up with someone else against Fitz. I'm glad he finally had the strength to walk away from her. She hurts him so much and did again this episode. Like the judge said, she's going to regret forcing the issue with him. Clearly, Fitz is the 'good' one here and all the plotting going on around him by the people he trusts the most will be devastating to him. Can't believe we have to wait two weeks before the next one.

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Scandal Season 2 Episode 4 Quotes

Cyrus: You can't be here.
Olivia: I wouldn't have come if I didn't I need a favor.

Mellie: I want a seat at the table.
Cyrus: You have a seat at the table.
Mellie: The kiddie table. I want a seat at the adult's table like I was during the election. Or have you forgotten how things worked back then?
Cyrus: We've all made sacrifices, me as much as anyone. That was the election. This is the White House and in the White House, this is the way things work.