Scandal

Scandal 5×02 – Yes

"The President's about to get Poped."

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Much better. After last week’s disappointing premiere, this was a definite improvement. Not fantastic, but certainly more effective.

My main problem with Scandal – and this is a flaw that I’ve discussed at length numerous times in the past – is the fact that the entire cast is so darn unlikeable. Apart from Mellie and Abby, I honestly don’t like any of the show’s characters, and that’s extremely problematic. Fitz in particular, has reached whole new lows. I positively despite how childish, entitled, and whiny he has become. And he’s not the kind of villain you enjoy watching either; it’s more akin to me wanting to turn off the TV every time he’s on-screen. That’s why watching Susan put the President in his place was such a satisfying moment. It wasn’t enough to make the rest of his arc worthwhile, but it was certainly a start. Perhaps the lovable VP should be running the nation instead?

What is encouraging is the fact that Scandal didn’t return to its status quo with Olivia safe once more. Instead, the writers THANKFULLY took a risk and had Liv confirm the infamous affair in the episode’s powerful final moments (that’s the second brilliant ending in a row by the way). It’s about damn time the show puts Olivia in the crossfires and has her face the truth without peddling back and forth. If handled properly, this story arc could prove to be one of the show’s best yet. After all, we’ve been building up to this for five seasons. Please Shondaland, don’t screw it up.

Finally, what exactly are the writers doing with Quinn and Huck? I was enjoying the fact that the former was being so harsh on her ex-mentor, but they ruined it with that useless bonding scene at the bar. After everything Huck has put Quinn through (need I remind anyone of that licking incident?), I can’t take these two sharing any sort of quiet moment seriously. I simply don’t buy it and it doesn’t feel earned from a storytelling perceptive. I’m all ready for Huck to leave the show for good.

Scandalous Bits

– Please make Sally a regular on the show. After Mellie and Abby, she’s the only one I can stand (and that’s saying a lot seeing as how she’s PURE EVIL).

– Olivia nervously munching on popcorn while driving? Priceless.

– Quinn’s best moment in years: taking out the reporter. This girl has ninja potential!

– Incredible scene: Cyrus giving a salad-eating Abbie advice on treating the President like a child.

– Anyone else kinda enjoy the family dynamics between Olivia, Jake and Gavin?

– Priceless moment: fans rushing at Liv and trying to sake selfies with her. I bet this is what Kerry Washington deals with on a daily basis these days.

– Loved Abby taking initiative in the press room and announcing that Mellie was still living in the White House (when she in fact, was not!).

– Who else felt bad for Jake during that spooning scene?

– Stellar work by Washington as Olivia discussed all “the shame” she has to live with.

– Abby’s “cyclone” speech was typical Shonda, and it wasn’t one of her good ones.

– Liz leaking the pictures ended up being an ENORMOUS anticlimax. But I did enjoy Abby asking for “equality”.

Quipyness

Olivia: Quinn, close the door and put the gun away. They’re reporters, not assassins.

Mellie: But the minute she stepped through these doors, the minute she moved in here, she became what we all become when we live here, and what is that? Yes. A statue, inhuman, viewed from every angle, discussed, exposed. She’s not just a mistress now. She’s America’s mistress.

Mellie: Those pictures made people feel sorry for First Lady Grant, but they make Senator Grant look weak and frigid and sexless and like she can’t keep a man. And we both know America will never elect a woman who can’t get laid.

Abby: He does have strings, but that… that Olivia is in the wind, and she took the strings with her.

Quinn: Oh, you’re like his slaughter sponsor?

Mellie: He may have told you to come here in some sort of official capacity, but right now, you are no better than some two-bit bus-stop divorce attorney.

Cyrus: You want POTUS to fall in line, to behave. Be the adult. He’ll become the child. That’s the secret of the Oval Office, Red. You want the power? You want to be the kingmaker? You want to be the hand that rules? You are the adult. He is the child, and you don’t ask children when bedtime is, and you don’t listen to children when they say they don’t want their vegetables. You threaten them and you make them eat those vegetables.
Abby: You’re a terrible father.

Cyrus: Who do I hate more than Elizabeth North?
Abby: No one?

Fitz: Susan, I’m a flawed person, just like anyone else.
Susan: Mr. President, you don’t get to be just like anyone else. That’s not the job you signed up for.

Olivia: I’m scared, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any answers. How is that a good thing?
Jake: Well, we’re at our best when we’re scared. Your instincts are heightened. Your adrenaline’s right beneath the surface. Everything’s crystal clear and your focus becomes like a laser and you just know what comes next. You know what to do. You know the answers. And you just act.

Liz: That’s all you want… equality?
Abby: Equality. I thought we could both be the adults around here, but if you have a problem with that, I can certainly try making you my bitch.

Conclusion
Much better than the season premiere but still not good enough. Here’s hoping that ending injects the season with the right dose of excitement and thrills.

Nad Rating
B

5 comments

  1. What Olivia did at the end of this episode made me so happy because it means the show won't backpedaling on this. They are going through with the consequences. Let those consequences fuel the rest of the season, unleashing like you said, Nad, one of the show's best story arcs.

    The moment when Sally put Fitz in his place, asking if he cares about the people who elected him was surprising and so satisfying.

    Liz's involvement in the leaking of the pictures makes sense. I actually suspected Cyrus of being behind the leak to create a situation that would pressure Fitz into accepting Mellie back in the White House. But I like how Abby used her knowledge of Liz's involvement to earn herself some long-deserved respect at work.

    I still could care less about Huck and find it surprising that Quinn's harsh position against him would suddenly soften by the end of the episode.

  2. U mean Susan putting Fitz in his place right?

    Glad to see you agree about the Quinn/Huck thing. Ugh. I think I'm ready for the show to end this season (it probably won't). A lot of my enjoyment has been tainted although it still has great episodes. Nothing quite like it's spectacular run in season 2 (although the kidnapping arc in season four came VERY close).

    Thanks for your comment sincere 🙂

  3. Yeah, I meant Susan. And I'm with you about wanting Scandal to end this season though Shonda Rhimes has talked about having the show go on no more than eight seasons.

  4. Great Review Nad, I don't know if it's me but I am feeling conflicted w/ a show I very much LOVE and one of my #1 obsessions on Network TV. That being said, I'm about to give Tough Love to SCANDAL.

    I find myself in a small minority that still likes Fitz and that's not saying much because I find him to be the WORST of the WORST Presidents. It kind of shits on everything The Roundtable of Evil did for him and he squanders it. I think part of it is he's a damaged man, still stuck in the warp of his timeline as a child, struggling to find place in the world, to be good, but also who is psychological traumatized by his father + Being spoiled and never been taught “values” because everything Fitz has done minus Olivia, was really spoon fed by his father, Cyrus, Mellie, he's a dog pampered. Scratch that, Olivia was handed by Cyrus, so he probably doesn't even feel that's earned. Also, like Remington that was him getting back at his father, and doing black-ops missions.

    Liv, I remember when she was a KICK-ASS Herorine, the central for the show and touched a little bit to reality, but now she's like a childish doll. Too many issues that reek of darkness. Olivia is very complex but I don't have time to be wasting time seeing her cry and go through Triangle Problems. This is like when Emily Thorne decided to be a dud and cry all season as Initiative took over for her.

    Mama Pope needs to smack some sense into Liv and remind her who the hell she use to be! I want MAMA POPE AS A GLADIATOR! She can be a turned OPA employee!

    However, I feel if the SHOW, the writers spent less time on B613 Conspiracies, Case of the weeks, And examining the psyches, let's face it, Scandal could be a psychological thriller as well, it could be setting the ground work in exploring these characters than adding new stuff, or new fluff or twists each episode that feel very mashed together and unearned. Like all of a sudden we're suppose to see Mellie in one episode begging for Fitz to give her an apology? HELL TO THE NO. THAT IS Mellie GRANT! She don't ask for apologies, she'll bring down the house on LIVE TV and ask no questions and let D.C. burn, and when the actors/actresses say oh, our characters are hurt, I don't see that on screen. Maybe I need to watch it a second time? But I don't see the much added layers, and EXTRA time being spent on good writing for these episodes. It still all feels very put together, and a very much flawed, now cheap former of itself. Much like, when Revenge was still limping on one leg after plauged by the Initiative arc. ONCE you go HIGH and once you go insane, there is no change of returning back to itself. SCANDAL set the bar high and sadly, it spoiled us.

    That's not to say, Scandal isn't bad. I LOVED Season 4, (Run probably one of my top five fave Scandal episodes) but when the case of the weeks are so fluffed, put together and not even well done, why do I care? If the groundwork on the whole show on a writing level not there, why do I care? B613 has damaged this show's momentum and now Scandal is lingering from the after-effects and sadly they don't know how to re-tool the show and THAT WORRIES me. They burned through so MUCH story, where can they honestly go from here, rather than recycle?

    Remember when this show use to be smart, fun, and combine fun octane political thrills? Balance some great needed character beats, development, while balancing the A + B stories and not forcing too much into an episode to break TWITTER or Force Twists for momentary shock and awe.

    I feel there's so much story to tell, but I don't have much hope on the writers these days, and I'm not hating on Shonda or her brilliance because First Two Seasons were BRILLIANT. (3A too but it reeked of Papa Pope/Darkness so NO) But now? It's sad.

  5. That being said, I love where we could possibly be headed in Season 5, I'm proceeding w/ caution, I want WAR like Good Wife level War mixed with Season 2 brilliance of writing. But when Liv turned around and said “YES”, I was going crazy with happiness because I was so READY to have the show stack up on my DVR for the rest of the season. I' usually watch it live, but give me a reason and I'll save it for a marathon months down the road. SO Far, the show is making good decisions.

    I don't think Shonda wants to write likable characters on this show LOL. She's stated that these characters are Empowered Hypocrytes who Murder, Lie, Cheat and Commit Treasonous Acts. I think it's pretty ballsy to do that, but SCANDAL is a FORMER shell of itself at this point, Hate to say that.

    Biggest Huck Supporter, but in the age of TV and especially this show they RELY on So called JAW-DROPPING Crazy Twisty Plot Points, why not have Quinn kill him? or slaughter Huck? If he is so dangerous to the republic to go on a killing spree, why keep him alive so he can kill another day? Oh god, and that happy ending in the bar is so typical Shonda, like NO. It just wouldn't work that way.

    Sydney Bristow, Jack Bauer and NIKITA would've taken turns taking him out in one split! Damn, I actually need them three to come to D.C. and PUT these people IN CHECK. Imagine?

    I hope Olivia grows up and becomes THE FIXER, (What happen to the Bad-Ass Conflicted Anti-Hero Shonda?), Fitz I have no hope of, MELLIE – Needs to be written like Mellie, Empowered, Badass, and Brings the house down.

    Cyrus, Huck, Quinn, David, Charlie – I just have no damn use for anymore, especially when I was LOVING most of this list.

    Knowing Shonda, she'll do something in one episode making me go crazy for this show again. But I am just done, I want GREATNESS for this show, I want SEASON 2 LEVELS of Brilliant, SMART, Elegant Writing! I want the SOAP Melodramatics TO COOL DOWN. Damn Shonda just gives me a little of everything when I watch Scandal. I be raging!

    Imagine if Scandal pulls the DREAM Card and says Season 3/4/5 is all a dream LOL. It will jump the shark, but re-do everything LMAO.

    AMEN, Change up the show. Impeach Fitz, have Susan Ross become POTUS. I do have a feeling Fitz's death could be coming…………..Derek, Mark = SIGNS!

    Sorry, Nad didn't mean to make this too long!

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