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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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@Miranda Wicker: You are partially right. My comment was too sweeping an accusation. I did not mean all the comments, but rather some of them like Deann's and Blu's declaring how they adore Olivia and how criticizing her is sexist. That said, in an earlier comment I did criticize your review for not pointing out how the portrayal of Olivia, which was of a flawed human but still of an ultimately moral person over the past one and a half seasons and therefore of a likable heroine, has now been transformed into an irredeemable villain.
Finally, I do disagree with you concerning the moral compass: It is a common practice in moral philosophy to propose fictional moral scenarios and to assess our moral compass by our judgement of the situation.


I have to disagree it was quite clear he got dumped in the episode prior to this one and him just letting himself into her house should raise alarms. I also think their is a reason their engagement ended before and I also think Edison is not upstanding as he trying to make himself out to be and I wouldn't be surprise if he using Livvie and has thrown his lot in with Hollis.
And no what he was doing was out of line. The man lacks tact.

Miranda wicker

@biophill--no one is condoning her actions simply because they aren't part of this discussion. Calling our moral compasses into question over a fictional TV show is a reach.


Well said, peaceful.


People have to remember that Edison did not/does not know anything about Fitz and Olivia. He's a man who was in a relationship with her and who wants her back. He is not doing anything differently that another man would not do. And because he knows Olivia, he knows when she is lying. That she stood her ground and ignored his accusations of lying was something to watch. Loved her speech. I feel sorry for him because he was right on the money but she wasn't backing down, and he does seem like an honest and nice guy, but she can't help herself. She's too in love with Fitz, and the heart wants what the heart wants, in both their cases. Sad.


Regarding the infidelity, yes it is awful--especially after she be-friended Mellie on the trail, but is this totally Olivia's fault? Fitz was an open wound that Mellie chose to ignore. A partnership is great, but that's not love. Mellie, with all of the planning and machinations, took her eyes off the prize and now has to deal with that. Fitz suffers plenty for his indiscretion. Question now is how will Fitz react once he finds out about the election rigging and the subsequent crimes that Oliva committed on his behalf? Will he love her enough to forgive her this huge error in judgement? Will he rescue her and put her pieces back together now that she is unraveling?


More and more I ask myself "Who is Olivia Pople?" This episode clarifies Fitz, but not Olivia. I understand totally why he fell so hard for her. He was living an incomplete life and Olivia, allowed him to be the man the he was to be. She spoke life to him and offered him a love that he never knew. He was wise to love her. I wonder why Shonda chose to reverse on Fitz' mother--making her dead after having Mellie ask Tom and Hal if she was the cause of Fitz' foul mood in Hunting Season. Mom lived with Jerry's infidelities and over-bearing ways. Why didn't she save her son? Was she Mellie or Olivia? As for Olivia, what made her give over her entire being, her freedom, her self-respect to Fitz? Why did she need to fix Fitz? It is obvious that she loves him beyond measure and this is no ordinary love story--so I get it AFTER the fact, but why choose Fitz? By saving him, she must be saving herself in some way. Who is Olivia Pope? Regarding the infidelity, yes, it's awful--especially after be-friending Mellie on the campaign trail, but must we blame the entire affair on her always? Fitz was an open wound that Mellie chose to ignore. Fitz and Oliva belong together--messy, but true. How do they choose any other love now, once they have experienced the depths of this love? Edison, Mellie or whomever, no other love will do. Question now is can Fitz save her back? Can he forgive her this horrific crime and subsequent cover-ups on his behalf? Would he risk as much for her?


I simply can't believe what I am reading here. How can you adore Olivia? The love affair with Fitz is really not a big deal. This I could count as a "flaw", or not even. Love trumps all. But how can your moral compass be that far off to condone all her other actions, like treason, covering up murders, destroying other people's lives and helping other corrupt individuals into the highest positions in the country. I'm appalled.


"How dare you accuse me of things I am actually doing." Eddison needs to call ahead though.


@fudgefase - I have watched the episode several times on OnDemand cable today and I agree with you.... When Fitz finds out what Liv has done to rig the election they are getting to have a serious love crisis. It may not separate them forever, but it could be a while. I just hope she is not foolish enough to seek solace with Edison....that would be a huge mistake. Besides, I do not trust him at all.