Scandal 5×03 – Paris Is Burning

"Oh, look, it's the girl who can't shut her legs... or her mouth."


Someone needs to “fix” Olivia Pope because I don’t like our lead anymore.

Why is the show’s writing staff is so insistent on making Fitz (and by default Olivia), so darn unlikeable this season? Not only Fitz is tremendously aggravating with his endless tantrums and childish antics, but even Olivia was rendered unlikeable as she barked orders from her corner while the leader of the free world answered to her every whim. It just doesn’t make for fun television, not to mention the fact that so many characters (Abby, Liz, Mellie) were bullied as a result. I’m all for making your heroine flawed and complex, but not at the expense of making her so hard to root for. Even Liv’s phone call to poor Jake was frustrating; she came off as needy and desperate, and that’s so not who the character was at the show’s inception.

This is why it was so immensely satisfying to see Abby completely berate and obliterate Olivia for lying to her. Abby felt like the perfect audience surrogate in this case, and I actually wanted the monologue to go on even longer. Liv’s subsequent apology felt a bit rushed, but it was worth it to see her finally trust Abby with handling the scandal and throwing her under the bus (as the trashy home-wrecker). Honestly I’ll take any scenes I can when these two women are concerned; their dynamic has always been one of the show’s most potent and layered dynamics.

I’d genuinely forgotten how much Cyrus adds to Scandal, but having Jeff Perry back this week was a welcome move. I’ve long said that he and Mellie need to form a team against Fitz and Liv, and it seems like the seeds for that epic war have finally been planted. It was an absolute joy to watch the former Chief of Staff navigate all the White House negotiations and manipulate everyone in the vicinity. And what of the moment where he begged Fitz to take him back only to be completely humiliated? Cringeworthy.  I honestly can’t wait to see what he and his vengeful loose cannon (Mellie) will do next.

And then there’s Papa Pope. Scandal started its downward spiral when this character and the whole B613 conspiracy was introduced in season three. That arc singlehandedly transformed the show from an intelligent thriller into a wannabe spy-series that often became too ridiculous to take seriously. It pains me that Shonda Rhimes still insists on bringing the character back and all his baggage, but it looks like we’ve got a whole new conspiracy now with “Lazarus” and the Louvre burning. I’m praying this storyline doesn’t halt the show’s momentum with pointless mysteries and unnecessary shenanigans. Fingers crossed.

Scandalous Bits

– How brilliant was Abby faking an emergency in the teaser to stop the presidential interview?

– Did anyone else get uncomfortable when Fitz basically cornered Liz against the door with his bully antics?

– So many beautifully-acted moments in this episode, particularly Mellie’s “You’re soft” speech, Cyrus’ “think like a warrior” monologue, and of course the priceless “hooch” sequence between Liv and Mellie in the closet.

– Liv screaming at Fitz to “sit down” was the perfect showcase for how much of a child he’s become.

– Gorgeous editing with Mellie flashing back to all the poignant moments of the last four seasons including that disturbing rape. It just made the moment where she turned around and left Fitz all the more impactful.

– Why were Huck and Quinn even in this episode?

– I can’t wait to see Liv handle the media now that she’s been painted as the villainess of the story (under her consent of course).


Mellie: I want her to suffer so much it makes him suffer. I want to make them bleed. I want their every breath to reek of poison!
Cyrus: Mellie. This is a very important moment. Don’t waste it being human. Your answer will define your future. Think like a champion. Think like a warrior. Raise your sword and run into battle and tell me what the inscription on your monument will read when the history books glorify you. Tell me. What do you want?
Mellie: I want the oval.

Quinn: You were gonna turn off the Internet?
Huck: Oh, no, I was gonna erase the Internet.

Cyrus: Senator Grant needs President Grant’s support in order to become the next President Grant.

Cyrus: First of all, the president will support the senator’s bid for the White House. That doesn’t mean waving a few pom-poms and phoning in a couple of interviews on the Sunday circuit. It means that, politically, the president is her bitch. He will be by her side on the trail, at the click of her Ruby-red heels. He will fill her collection plate as many times as she asks. Got it?

Mellie: You have lost it, Cyrus.
Cyrus: I’ve what?
Mellie: You have sat at home too long with your TV and your whore, and you have lost your edge. The Cyrus I knew was an animal, a monster who cared about one thing and one thing only… getting it done. And that is… You’re not him anymore. You don’t have the fire. You don’t have the drive. You’re soft. Everybody’s changed on me.

Mellie: I’m looking for my hooch. You didn’t drink it… did you, Olivia?… while you were sleeping in my bed like Goldilocks?

Mellie: You don’t get to say what you don’t want, not in here. Your wants, your needs… Nobody cares anymore. All that matters from now on is him.

Mellie: You think you can just apologize to me after years of treating me like a mutt and I’ll just go down there and sell your lie to Noah Baker? I have sacrificed so much for you… So much. What have you ever sacrificed for me, Fitz?

Certainly a gripping hour of Scandal, but at the expense of its characters – and that’s never a good thing.

Nad Rating

1 comment

  1. Yeah, I don't like Olivia this episode too and in general based on how much of the show I've seen so far. I admit there are times she can be a badass with the savvy to outsmart her enemies and defend those in her corner. But a lot of times, she comes off as weak, indecisive, and seems to be on the verge of tears as others use her as a pawn or a trophy.

    My heart went out to Mellie this episode along with Abby whose anger against Olivia was completely justified and Cyrus. When he was begging Fitz for his job back, I knew what Fitz's reaction would be and how much that would hurt Cyrus enough to seek revenge through Mellie. I like the direction the show is taking with Cyrus and Mellie joining forces against Fitz and Olivia. I just wonder how far they are going to take it because I believe eventually Cyrus is going to come back as Fitz's Chief of Staff. Mellie, on the other hand…I think the ship has sailed for her and Fitz. And I think it's for the best long-term.

    And Olivia's father is back. I knew he would be at some point since they left him alive at the end of last season. And once again some spy drama is about to stir up with him and Jake involved. Surprise, surprise.

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