“Nice doesn’t get you president, unless you want to be president of Candyland.” — Olivia Pope
Is there anyone in town who isn’t somehow in bed with Cyrus Beene? There are so many plots happening on Scandal right now that my head has gone a full Linda Blair, and Cyrus is standing out in my Scandal-ravaged brain as the only cast member who is right smack in the middle of all of them.
The biggest thing on everyone’s mind at the beginning of tonight was last week’s strange reveal that Fitz may have been responsible for Olivia’s mother’s death, and tonight made it pretty clear that we’re going to have to wait a while to find that out. First because Olivia’s mother (Khandi Alexander) arrived in flashback scenes — and will be sticking around for quite awhile — and second, because Fitz is a horrible sociopath who doesn’t have the balls (like Josephine Marcus’) to risk telling the truth.
At this point, Scandal is struggling under the weight of too many plot lines, and I’m really hoping that they pull things together into a more cohesive, Season 2-esque arc very soon. I’m not saying I’m not enjoying Season 3 overall — Lisa Kudrow’s bits have been phenomenal — I just wish they’d slow down a little, and integrate some out the outliers into the central stories.
Anyway, let’s break it down so we have a study guide next week when we can’t remember all of the many balls that are dropping:
The episode was called “Icarus,” and Jake very nearly flew too close to the sun when he started asking questions about Remington. His old military gal-pal was already in Command’s pocket, and brought a gun to their secret meeting instead of the cockpit video she’d promised. Jake was saved by a couple of mysterious men who had been following him all night, and these yet-unrevealed baddies left him with a simple message: “You’re welcome.”
Over on the emotional side of the Remington case, Olivia began having flashbacks of her final moments with her mother. Clearly shaken by what Jake and and Huck had told her, she began drinking way more heavily (and sloppily) than we’ve seen before, and immediately drunk-dialed her dad, which is a never a good idea, even when your dad isn’t a mass-murderer.
There was a quick second there when it looked like Rowan Pope might have some semblance of a soul — Olivia’s tears inspired him to answer one of Olivia’s 125,930 pertinent questions — but all he would tell her was that he hadn’t personally issued a hit on Olivia’s mother. (Because you know that "crash" is going to end up being some sort of massive, murderous conspiracy.)
Sensing her father’s unwillingness to help/willingness to murder her if she kept digging, Olivia then went to Fitz for some info on Remington. Fitz was actually kind of terrifying in this episode, to the point where I don’t think this show could ever sell me on the two of them getting together again. He acts all “charming” and has that cool stoner vibe when he’s in control, but as soon as Olivia asks something he doesn’t want to answer, he turns into Walter White.
“One of the bodies in the ocean was my mother,” Olivia countered after Fitz gave her a firm no comment. “Do you still not know what I’m talking about?”
God, where do we even start! Err… with Marcus, I guess. Much to Mellie’s chagrin (“I did everything but roll your whore up in a rug and unfurl her at your feet!”) Olivia quit Fitz’s campaign after she found out about Remington. Marcus was the next best thing, so Liv and the gang (well, mostly Abby, for reasons we will discuss momentarily) went full throttle with the enigmatic candidate.
Unfortunately, Marcus was also stubborn, which was a major thorn in Olivia’s side until the end of the episode, when a weird, brilliant, brilliantly weird gender-bias rant — on national television, natch — made Marcus’ democratic opponent Reston look like a giant sexist. He is, but that’s not the point — the point is that Marcus has potential. She may seem too green or too unwilling to do the horrible things one does to become POTUS, but she’s a great public speaker.
Marcus had plenty of high-level support by the end of the night, but when she finds out what Olivia did to motivate that on-air (with James Novak, if I even need to say it) rage, she’s going to be quite cross with the woman in the white hat. Olivia and Abby revealed “Reston’s” sexist attack ad right before her segment was about to air — and it definitely served its purpose — but Marcus’ sister-daughter quickly called bulls**t when she recognized Abby’s nail polish on the video.
Then there’s Sally Langston, who, along with her handsy husband HRG from Heroes and her sleazy campaign manager Leo, got her Tea Party friends to rally against Fitz on national television. They did, and the intended effect — for Fitz to commission Sally for a PR-slash-secret-campaign tour — went off without a hitch. For now, that is. Mellie is ready to use Sally’s Handsy Hubby as a weapon against her, and Cyrus has more leverage over the Tea Party folks than Sally does, so the two most vicious attack dogs on Fitz’s team are a step away from bearing their teeth at the right-wing nut-job.
The Internal Gladiator Catastrophe
Meanwhile, something uniquely insane was happening in the background. Harrison — yep, you’re reading this right, Harrison — was getting a backstory. I think. All we really know is that there’s a very bad man who will kill Harrison if he’s allowed back into the country, and that Cyrus, again, is pulling the strings.
Meanwhile, Quinn’s little psycho-in-training plotline finally took flight. It was actually pretty interesting, if only because Command and Charlie are involved. The Quinn/Charlie pairing is terrifying (think about It, would you ever want to be the third wheel on a shooting range date with those two?), and both men are set to use the easily-influenced Quinn for some nefarious purpose or other.
“Seed is planted,” Charlie said after shamelessly flirting with Quinn.
“Make sure she blooms,” Command replied.
(ASIDE: In case you weren't keeping track, with Huck pursuing Remington, Harrison freaking out about his past, and Quinn being a psychopath, Abby is the only Gladiator effectively doing her job right now.)
God, that was a lot. And I didn’t even mention the part where Fitz told Ballard to back the f**k off; that he would no longer be protecting him from B6-13 (though he didn’t really do such a great job the first time around).
All of this scandal on Scandal was a bit of a whirlwind. Time to pull an Olivia Pope and curl up with an entire bottle of red on my immaculate white couch.
What did you think of the episode, Gladiators? Do you think there’s too much going on, or are you loving every single moment of it? Are you digging the flashbacks? Let us know in the comments!