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