Scandal 2×08 – Happy Birthday, Mr. President

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I have no words. This was one of the strongest and most powerful episodes of television I’ve ever watched and an outstanding example of why Scandal is one of the single most intelligent shows on the air.

I don’t even know where to start. Shonda took Fitz’s shooting from last week’s final moment, and crafted a phenomenal hour that had me completely enthralled from start to finish. It managed to cement just how attached I am (much to my surprise) to Liv and Fitz’s relationship which has evolved into one of the most complicated yet romantic couplings I’ve ever seen unfold on TV. Their dynamic is dark, twisted and I enjoyed every single flashback that further shed light on their intricately passionate history. Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn were both spectacular in this and deserve all the accolades they’ll hopefully get if the Emmies decide to recognize the show this year.

I was especially impressed that by tackling Fitz’s shooting, Shonda still managed to unify a bunch of storylines and tidbits from the show’s inception. Everything from tying in the Cytron event (and finally ensuring Quinn has a crucial purpose) to Supreme Court Justice Verna was expertly handled. I particularly loved the fact that Olivia had basically given Hollis the go-ahead to ruin Quinn’s life and kill seven people without knowing it. Appropriately, Hollis has been painted as an effective and ruthless villain who has been pulling the strings for quite a while.

And of course, the final reveal with Huck being the shooter was incredible. It doesn’t look like they can write him out of this so I’m ecstatic Shonda went ahead with such a bold move. Is he being blackmailed? A sleeper agent trance? Or has he just snapped? The ramifications are intense and I can’t wait to witness them.

Truly I can’t fathom that this wasn’t even the mid-season finale. What the hell are they going to pull out of the hat next week?

Scandalous Bits

– Utterly chilling opening with the gunshot aftermath and Kerry Washington in that dress in the hospital.

– Interesting twist with Cyrus not really coming out until after Fitz was elected. I never expected that.

– Oval office sex for the first time! Very well played out and appropriately dirty.

– With everything going on, this episode also managed to showcase just how impressive Olivia is at her job as she very easily slips back into damage control mode and takes over handling the situation in the White House.

– Nice little moment with the secret service agent telling Fitz he saw him on camera with Liv and erased it.

– Awesome montage of Liv & Fitz working on policies and having sex all over the White House.

– The most emotionally charged sequence of the hour: Fitz and Liv having that beautiful screaming match on the White House lawn. The entire “you are me” speech by our President was especially moving and impactful.

– Olivia breaking down in Fitz’ closet broke my heart. Because Kerry Washington is that good.

– I love Kate Burton as the devious Vice President. And now she’s in power. This should be good.

– Gorgeous moment with Liv giving Mellie the pin as they stood by Fitz’s side. What an emotionally draining hour. I love that I actually feared for Fitz’s life throughout the episode even though realistically Shonda would never kill him off (being part of the “endgame couple” and all). That’s great television.

Quipyness

Olivia: Look where we are. This can’t happen.
Fitz: I think this can happen right there on that desk.

Verna: Have you two lost your minds? I whored every ounce of my integrity to get that man elected. And here you are sitting on Mount Olympus, telling me to go be a good mortal and we’ll send down some nectar when we find the time. No sir, no how, make it happen!

Fitz: (To Olivia) See it used to sound sexy when you called me “Mr. President.” Now it sounds like I’m a gym teacher.

Conclusion
One of those rare perfect hours of television. Mind-blowing.

Nad Rating
A+

4 comments

  1. Not enough accolades for this hour. The highlight of the TV week indeed.
    I have absolutely nothing to add. Except that they didn't have sex all over the white house, those scenes were set during their stay at camp David. These 2 are made for each other. Bravo Shonda.

  2. Oh really I didn't notice it was at Camp David. Was it at some specific point that we'd seen on the show previously? Ah I remember now, he asked the secret service where there were NO cameras and they cut to the montage right? So I guess the answer was the camp. Truly magnificent episode!

  3. Nadim, is this show really that good?
    Have seen this yet. With your reviews,
    you got me intrigued and interested. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I've already stopped watching Grey's after S3
    'cause I find the storylines cyclical pretty
    much like what TVD is becoming. ๐Ÿ™‚

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