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Scandal Review: We The People

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The life of Scandal President Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III is full of parallels. He earned his presidency on the back of a scandal. And earned back his presidency with a scandal. And while he knows about the latter, he's still in the dark on the former.

Through the skillful use of flashbacks, "A Criminal, a Whore, an Idiot and a Liar" revealed the inner workings of Olivia's deal with the Devil Hollis, while bringing together Pope and Associates for the first time and also complicating Olivia's life in the present day.

Election Flashback

While the jury's still out on whether or not Hollis is solely responsible for Fitz' attempted assassination, tonight made it appear that he set the wheels in motion on the election rigging. He had the plan in place as an ace up his sleeve, ready to pull it out and play it when the time was right. After losing yet another debate, and subsequently points in the electoral race, it became clear that an intervention would be necessary if Fitz would take the White House.

The first attempt at helping him gain necessary ground was to call in Fitz' father, a politician with a penchant for pretty women. Hmm, sound familiar to anyone? While Papa Fitz was a garden variety philanderer and our Fitz prefers a monogamous mistress, the apple didn't fall very far from that tree. Seeing Fitz' disdain for his father's cheating ways was interesting because it's always seemed that while Olivia is the one thing he seems truly to love, his relationship with her - or perhaps the lack of a relationship - is something he seems to hate.

Maybe that's where his anger and frustration comes from in his dealings with her. It's not Olivia; it's their role as star-crossed lovers. But I digress.

Fitz intended to run a clean campaign, and as far as he knows, he did. It was his "people" who got their hands dirty, all for the sake of the Once In A Lifetime King.

Hollis: I may be a son of a bitch, but Fitz is clean as a whistle. Am I right, Cyrus?
Cyrus: He's the real deal. A patriot. A bleeder.
Hollis: How rare is that? How often does that come along?
Verna: Once in a generation, if you're lucky. | permalink

Everyone kept talking about how good Fitz is, how clean he is, how Messiah-like, and all I could think was "he's cheating on his wife." Which is, of course, his secret sin, and part of what gave Olivia pause in going through with the election rigging. She knows him and knows that he is a good man. She knows that he deserves to be President, but due to what she probably perceives to be her fault, he cannot get there on his own. And so she compromised herself, and him in the process, for the sake of his future.

Olivia knows his strengths, but she also knows his weaknesses. And as he said, weaknesses are strengths.

And I'm suddenly all conflicted about my thoughts on Fitzgerald Grant. He's good yet flawed. In a word, human.

Olivia is his weakness and the source of his strength. No one spurs him to be a better man like she does. But does their relationship in its current state make her better? I can't say yes.

Edison doesn't make her better, that's for sure. Unless we define "better" as "delivering verbal smackdowns" because she was certainly able to do that tonight.

Olivia: [to Edison] Five, that's sexist and insulting. You'd never suggest Scooter Libby was screwing Dick Cheney. Four, the lengths you're going to try to twist this into a conspiracy are cause for concern. You should speak to someone about that. Three, the President is awake and talking and the suggestion that he isn't is partisan political crap that I thought you had enough integrity to rise above. Two, in the past three minutes, you have called me a criminal, a whore, an idiot, and a liar, so this is pretty much the last time we'll be speaking, so one, who I am or am not screwing, what I am or am not doing, is no longer any of your damn business. | permalink

And there must have been something about that little speech of hers that spoke to Edison because he came back and proposed. Of course she shouldn't marry him. There's no love there for her. (And there's no chemistry there for the viewers!)

But Fitz telling Mellie he wants a divorce doesn't mean that he and Olivia can be together. So these two are still stuck. Apart. And I'm suddenly rather desperate for them to be together because of it. 

Fitz and Olivia's opposing revelations to one another when the show returns in two weeks should be interesting.

Other tidbits of tonight's episode that are worth a mention:

  • We saw the formation of Pope and Associates as Papa Fitz asked for dirt on Reston. Olivia called in her people to do the digging, introducing them for the first time. Too bad Stephen couldn't make a guest appearance because it's clear from Scandal season 1 that he predates Huck, Abby, and Harrison.
  • I want to believe that Sally was genuine when she said she hadn't slept since taking over the office, was only thinking of the country, and didn't want Fitz to die. Their exchange (which is on the Scandal quotes page) was nice.
  • Mellie was a bit insufferable. Sure, she was excited that he was alive and awake, but for the love, woman, let him rest.
  • I posited last week whether Mellie had retracted the letter before Fitz woke up. Tonight we got our answer: No, she didn't.
  • Hollis and Verna still had the most to gain from rigging the election and while it appears Hollis thought this up on his own, I wouldn't put it past Verna to have been in on putting the idea together somehow.
  • The parallels between Fitz at the press conference and Fitz at the debate were seamless. In both, Olivia's direction helped him overcome and triumph.
What did you think of tonight's Scandal? Do you like the flashback episodes, or do you prefer the show stick to present day?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (292 Votes)

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

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Love this show. It just keeps getting better. No one is totally good and everyone is alitte bit bad.

Jaxs girl

I love the flashbacks. You learn so much about the characters and how they came to be. This season's flasbacks have been so enligihtening. Even though the relationship (Fitz/Olivia) is forbidden I enjoy seeing how it has progressed. I love this show. I think Hollis is behind the president's assassination. That man knows no bounds. I want them to get rid of the Vice President too. I don't care for her. This season needs to end with Hollis being exposed.


Don't get me wrong i like Scandal, otherwise i wouldn't keep watching it. But one thing keeps getting on my nerve.
Can someone please tell Shonda Rhimes to stop using the expression "leader of the free world" when referring to president? I can very well understand patriotism even if i am not a us citizen, but i am nonetheless as free as can be (or, at least, that's how i consider myself) and the us president is not my leader.


My problem really is with the writers of the show. I think they are in the process of ruining the main character of the show which would equal the death of the series. I really really like the prmise of Scandal but so much hinges on the integrity of Olivia that they have to be very careful not to make her out to be a weal and arrogant person who puts her own desires over morals but expects everyone else to do the opposite. I am just a little upset that they are going down this path when season 1 was just so incredible.


@Blu: The point is that I'm really indignant over Olivia's (retro-active) development as a character. In the first season she was portrayed as a moral, political super-hero! The clients had to pass a MORAL screening test in order to be helped by her, and if they did, Olivia's crew would do anything to defend the client. I loved it and I loved her. As I said before, it did not bother me at all that she was a "homewrecker" as it was convincingly conveyed that she was trapped in an "amour fou" and therefore gets (from me at least) a free pass. However, with the conclusion of the last episode all of this has evaporated. Her moral superiority that justified all her actions was never there. She is simply a villain. And so, I got indignant over you not sharing my indignation...


I mean if we are so willing to differentiate between "normal "people then why get so up and arms about fictional ones?


Doesn't mean I condone sociopathic behavior or serial killing. Its great that philosophy is brought up. As a social scientist I find these discussions interesting and find that snap judgments made from tiny facets of a character or the people who like that character more specifically kind of sad. Especially when some of the people guilty of such didn't like it or got equally defensive when it was thrown back at them. I never demand to know why people hate a character and ask in such a tone that implies that that person is somehow wrong for hating them. My overall point being extend the same courtesy.


I never said that anyone who doesn't like Olivia is sexist. But I did point out sociologically if you will that in general I find the response to Olivia's actions over anyone else's to be interesting. She's often times held to a different standard than most of the other characters. IN GENERAL. Scandal conversations have brought up all sorts of interesting points about politics, marriage, race, gender roles...I thought it was a valid part of this discussion which I've had plenty times before. Apologies if it got people hot and bothered. also find it disheartening that just because fans choose to like Olivia Pope as a fictional character their morals as human beings are coming under attack. Honestly, I'm more than willing to admit that I get defensive about that. I understand why people may not like Olivia when they make fair points so why call into question why people do? My generalizations can just as well be in response to sweeping accusations.My favorite character is Huck. Doesn't mean I condone sociopathic behavior or serial killing in reality.


And for someone who claims to be so righteous like Olivia and to the same extent Fitz acting on it is just hypocrotical to that they want to portray. "Normal" people dont have to have the recpect and trust of a whole country.
I agree that the forbidden love is hot and they have chemistry but consider what she is doing to get that. Treason ,lying , betraying and the lost goes on and on. Look at the list of people that have gotten seriousley hurt or betrayed by this. Its a long list ....
Most agree that Oloivia is flawed , but for my taste the flaws have gotten to a tipping pint where Olivia goes from sexy and strong to arrogant and weak.


If you read my post i dont only blame Olivia for the affair. I specifically pointed out that Fitz is not this "holier than anyone else" man they make him out to be. Of course he is seriousley flawed as well but they had to rigg the election because he is sooo perfect and honest for America. Its ju8t plain wrong and hypocritical.
There would be many many people with better morals than him and actual honest people ( yes they do exist ). This putting an adulterer on a pedestal just kinda makes me sick. And someone said something about i wouldnt write this if Olivia wasnt black ? Really ? REALLY ? I couldnt care less if she was black , white , asian, Latina or whatever .. this has zero to do with race and everything to do with morals.
You know its not impossible to keep it in your pants even if you are attracted to someone else. Im sure just about everyone in a committed relationship had their share of temptations but in the end its still your decision alone if you act on it.
And for someone who claims to be so righteous like Olivia and to the same extent Fitz acting on it is just hypocrotical to that they want to portray. "Normal" people dont have to have the recpect and trust of a whole country.
I agree that the forbidden love is hot and they have chemistry but consider what she is doing to get that. Treason ,lying , betraying and the lost goes on and on. Look at the list of people that have gotten seriousley hurt or betrayed by this. Its a long list ....
Most agree that Oloivia is flawed , but for my taste the flaws have gotten to a tipping pint where Olivia goes from sexy and strong to arrogant and weak.