Ok, can we just say WHOA! I knew last week had set up an explosion, but this week’ s Scandal episode “Truth or Consequences” has explosions – plus sets up more for next week! That’s all I’m going to say here. If you want the news from this week’s Scandal read on, but continue at your own risk!
If you’re still reading I’m assuming you’re fine with SPOILERS for episode 12 of Scandal. I hope so because there is no way I’m not writing about what happened! First though, a quick review. Last episode Fritz had just come out of a coma only to be told he had to fake being well or Mellie would go to jail. He managed to pull it off, but that night he told Melanie he wanted a divorce, while over at Olivia’s Edison asked Olivia to marry him. I thought THAT would be this week’s big explosion, but it turns out there were several.
It’s not that the divorce issue wasn’t a big deal. Poor Cyrus (Jeff Perry) - this was the beginning of what had to be one of his worse days ever. The very pregnant first lady, Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) stormed into his office on a tear. He was dismissing her hysterics until she told him Fitz asked her for a divorce. That shook him out of his saccharin, “We share custody” of Fitz mode. The scene also gave us what I considered the line of the night. It’s Mellie retort to Cyrus’s questioning of Fitz’s sanity.
“Yes he’s insane. He got shot and saw the light and Baby Jesus or whatever, and now he thinks he can do anything he wants.”
Hilarious – even more so if you remembered Mellie’s the one who touted to Fitz he could ask for whatever he wanted and get it because of the assassination attempt. Mellie is a character you can’t completely hate because Bellamy Young manages to be furious and real and still ride that edge of comedy. She’s just too much fun to watch!
Still, despite Mellie swearing to god, I’m not sure if Cyrus was completely convinced this was as serious as she made it out to be. He still escorted her out saying she could use some rest, and that her reactions were probably just pregnancy hormones. However, he did take it seriously enough to go see Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) – took him out of a meeting on gun control to discuss the president’s recklessness and delusions regarding the idea of getting a divorce. I suppose he thought once presented with some rational Fitz would just drop the idea. Instead he got confirmation that Melanie’s assessment was spot on. Fitz told him that nearly getting killed had given him clarity (saw the light, perhaps?) about what’s important. He also gave an interesting description of the presidency. The president has the big ideas and the people around him make it happen. Somehow I think it’s more than that, but in the context it’s accurate. The big idea of the day is divorcing Melanie in office and keeping his office as president. He expects Cyrus to make it happen.
We also learned the last piece about how Quinn (Katie Lowes) got tangled into this whole mess. We knew her boyfriend had made the chips to rig the machines, but it turned out that he also was the guy who did the actual vote rigging in Defiance by switching the box of sim cards. Then when he saw the 2 billion dollar government contract Hollis got, he felt he deserved more that just a million dollars for his part in the voting scam. He called Hollis and demanded another 5 million dollars or else he’d take what he did to the press. Hollis hung up on him, and the guy got so mad that he spilled coffee all over his laptop and had to have Quinn sent it in for repairs. Later Becky (yes, Huck’s Becky) set up Quinn to take the fall for hit Hollis put out on her then boyfriend. Only thing, Huck (Guillermo Diaz) foiled her perfect plan by taking Quinn away before she could be caught and tried.
It occurred to me that one of the hallmarks of characters in Scandal are bad choices in romantic relationships. Abbey’s ex beat the heck out of her, and David Rosen was partially using her to dig up dirt on Olivia. Huck…well, that should be obvious. Cyrus – with all the dirt he does – is with a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter. Edison and his pursuit of Olivia is clearly problematic (more on that later), and, I’m sorry, but Fitz, but as a married man is a bad choice for Olivia, and a bad choice for him to have made. Maybe, Melanie was a bad choice too, but I’m not as sure on that one. Her comments about building his self-esteem from his family’s constant knocking it down could have merit. On the other hand the whole Svengali idea never works out well, and with his pedigree she had to be grooming him as much as for herself as for Grant. Maybe he would have been better off as a public defender in a big city. In any event, there had to a point long before the presidential push where Fitz could see that their ideals had grown apart. He chose to stay in the relationship even after it was clearly over – long before Olivia ever showed up. As for Quinn, not only was her boyfriend dishonest, but he also wasn’t wise in the ways of the world he’d entered. Blackmailing a man who manged to rig an election and get a 2 billion dollar contract? You’d think it would dawn on him that if Hollis managed to rig an US election undetected that getting away with murder wouldn’t be a difficulty.
While Melanie was ranting to Cyrus, David Rosen (Joshua Malina) was telling Hollis Doyle (Greg Henry) that he has evidence that the Cytron explosion was part of a cover up for election rigging and he was gathering evidence against our group. After warning Rosen that his career is in danger of being completely over, Hollis goes straight to Olivia (Kerry Washington)to tell her what’s going on and that she’d better fix it. Olivia must have called Cyrus because next thing you know he’s pacing in Olivia’s office. His day had just gone from bad to worse. Little does he know an even worse day will be coming - when he finds out that it’s his live-in boyfriend is the source of Rosen’s information – but that’s not this episode. This episode, the nightmare was that not only has Fitz lost his mind, and David Rosen seemed to know something about the vote-rigging, but Olivia was apparently having a nervous breakdown and incapable of handling anything.
Yes, you read it right, I did say Olivia appeared to be having a nervous breakdown. This was a major situation, definitely eclipsing the whole marriage and divorce issues. Her breakdown started before Cyrus or even Hollis came into the office. Olivia had been shell-shocked by Edison’s marriage proposal. It made an amusing scene for Abby (Darby Stanchfield) and Harrison (Columbus Short) as they couldn’t believe their boss was sequestered in her office staring at an engagement ring. It’s hard to imagine that Olivia was even thinking about it actually. The fact that she was hinted that something was really off. Hollis’s information about Rosen just pushed her over the edge. Cyrus seemed oblivious to her state of mind at first. He was pacing back and forth while strategizing, even though Olivia was numbly staring into space. She didn’t react to anything until Cyrus indignantly asked “who does he think he is?” When she answered that David Rosen was “the good guy” – that got Cyrus’s attention.
What happened next actually had been building for a while. Last week Olivia called herself a “criminal, a whore, an idiot and a liar.” We also saw that she blamed herself and her affair with Fitz for getting the campaign into a place where election-rigging became the only way Fitz could win. Olivia Pope is someone who’s ideals are justice and righting wrongs. She’s been completely at odds with herself for two years – since her involvement with Fitz. Rosen’s move however made her acknowledge something she’d never wanted to be. She is one of the bad guys – and she doesn’t know how to fix that. Cyrus realized Olivia was breaking down, and told her not to worry, he would handle everything. He also told her that the reason she was thinking those things was because she hasn’t processed that the man she loves nearly died. I think that was more wishful thinking on Cyrus’s part, but he had to try to convince himself of this. Otherwise he’d not only have a David Rosen problem, but a Olivia Pope problem. He sent Olivia home to get some sleep. With her mind swirling with all of her sins over the last two years she does go home to bed…for three days.
Yeah, it’s that bad. The first night Fitz called to tell her he’d asked Mellie for a divorce. When she finally picked up the phone and he heard her voice he knew something was wrong, more so when she told him that he didn’t know her at all, and that Edison had asked her to marry him. The clincher though was this wandering little speech: ” I could….quit. Go have some babies, live in the country…or something….make jam.” Olivia? If he didn’t know something was wrong before, he did after that! Whatever it is, he promises her they could fix it – just don’t say yes to Addison’s proposal and wait for him. Olivia didn’t answer…she just hung up.
On day two, Edison came over to see what was wrong. (She really does need to change those locks.) He was concerned that she was sick, but all he got from her is a “Go. Away. Please.” She wouldn’t look at him or let him touch him. On day three Edison went from being concerned to being freaked out. He was at Olivia’s office telling her team that Olivia wouldn’t get out of bed and wouldn’t talk to him – never mind telling him what was wrong. The interesting thing to me was that he told the team that Olivia doesn’t talk to him the way she talks to them and that the team knew and understood her. In other words, he doesn’t know or understand her. This is the man proposing marriage? Does he not see that there’s a problem?
The team was silent through Edison’s plea, but when he left, Quinn said, “I think we found our next client.” She took the lead on this, although Harrison and Abbey were doing their usual silent conversation/communication thing. (I’m just waiting for when they hook up and then all the stuff Olivia had him do to cause her breakup with Rosen comes out.) Quinn had them all agree to tell what they knew – without repercussions – in the hopes that the pieces would show them what was wrong. Harrison even got Huck to agree to just “blink or cough or something” if anything they said was off base.
It turned out to be a fruitful endeavor. Abbey was amazed that the Quinn, the woman she’s usually at odds with had been kidnapped and rescued by Huck via Olivia. Huck realized that Becky tried to set him up because he’d unwittingly foiled her job for Hollis by rescuing Quinn. It’s Abbey that revealed that Quinn’s then boyfriend had sold vote-rigging software to Hollis, but it’s Huck who let’s them know it wasn’t to rig votes to get his oil pipeline passed…the other three came silently to the shocked correct conclusion: Olivia had been in with Hollis Doyle on rigging the presidential election. While they were stupefied in shock, Huck left.
Which led to my next favorite scene. Huck walking in to Olivia’s bedroom and laying down parallel to her on the bed. Awesome exchange: Hollis Doyle has to go. I can take care of that for you.
Huck: Hollis Doyle has to go. I can take care of that for you.
Olivia: Huck, you have to stop killing people
Huck: Why? It solves the problem.
That was just a priceless exchange. Again, it’s that razor’s edge of humor that Scandal does so well. It’s a completely straight scene, and a legitimate conversation under the circumstances, but when you just look at the dialogue – the absurdity of the situation really shines through. No wonder Olivia is losing her mind. At the same time, it was the reality of the situation that ultimately brought Olivia back. First she reminded Huck that killing was wrong (I know, hilarious!) and that he had to learn that. Huck wasn’t thrilled, but was even less so when Olivia told him Cyrus was “handling” it. He informs Olivia that Cyrus “has a guy.” He knew that one of his murder-for-hire super-spy associates worked for Cyrus. That would be how Cyrus would handle things. That is what got Olivia out of bed.
Seriously though, did anyone really think Olivia Pope would just stop being Olivia Pope? Didn’t think so. Still 3 days of lying in bed depressed is like years for the regular person – so yes, this breakdown of Olivia’s was serious. Her first stop was to Chief justice Verna Thornton (Debra Mooney) She looks worse now, frailer. Maybe because she’s not wearing her wig. Olivia informed her that planned to turn Hollis in for the attempted assignation attempt of the president, but wasn’t sure if she’d be able to keep the election rigging issue out of it. She started to promise to try keeping Verna out of it, but Verna stopped her. It seems Olivia wasn’t the only one dealing with guilt and . Verna saw the cancer as the price she was paying for what they did, and that she wasn’t worth saving. Olivia was another story though. She was worth it and should take the chance she had for”redemption.”
So Olivia went and turned in Hollis by giving David Rosen the information about the burner phone in Hollis’s desk and his connection to Becky (Susan Poufar). Rosen, while grateful, informed her it wasn’t going to keep him from going after her if she was in fact involved with the vote rigging. As Olivia said, he’s one of the good guys. Although, not totally. This whole situation is more of a vendetta Rosen has against Olivia than a straight desire for justice. He’s still angry about losing the case against Quinn for murder. More than anything, that is his motivation. I’m not sure that self-righteous rage makes someone a good guy – even if they are doing “the right thing.”
Olivia then went and told Cyrus what she’d done. That when I realized that she wasn’t so much turning Hollis in because he should be brought to justice. She did it so Cyrus’s hit-man couldn’t get to him. Cyrus was furious. As far as he’s concerned Hollis was a blight on humanity anyway. He scoffed when Olivia said she believed justice. I loved this scene because it pointed out just how much Cyrus is like Hollis. Hollis is a problem – so kill him. Hollis did the same thing with Quinn’s boyfriend. I’m left thinking that if Cyrus had been in the situation of knowing Quinn’s boyfriend was willing to turn them in he would done what Hollis did – had the boyfriend taken out. Perhaps it was the messy way Hollis did it that annoyed him? (Yes, that was sarcasm.)
Back at the office, our gladiator group was at odds again. Quinn was demanding answers, the others said they weren’t required. (In all fairness, Huck didn’t need answers because he knew the situation.) Olivia walked in during their arguing and apologized for “doing things that has made each of their lives very hard and offered to tell them whatever they wanted to know. Quinn was ready, but the other 3 made it clear they didn’t want to know – and for a very good reason. Knowing meant they could be subpoenaed and held as a material witnesses. If Quinn insisted on knowing the information she would then be isolated and effectively off the team because the other three couldn’t have their knowledge tainted with hers. Reluctantly, Quinn decided to stay in the dark.
The gladiators got to work, but although fun, it’s the results that really matter. The laptop of Quinn’s dead boyfriend was still at the shop where she’d taken it to be fixed two years ago. From it, they were able to extract the account Hollis paid him to rig the election. Huck took the information that he’d messed up Becky’s job and leveraged it into her giving him her bank account number.
I did have a difficult time watching the scene between Huck and Becky. I really hope Huck was playing her, because while they were both killers, Becky clearly had no problem with killing innocent people, while Huck seems to have more of a moral code.(I know, it’s odd to be talking moral code with paid killers.) It’s not just that Becky killed that family, but the way she chose to take out Quinn’s boyfriend also killed 5 other people. It wasn’t necessary. Huck seems to have a sense of needing a necessity for a killing…I really am looking forward to learning more about him.
Anyway, with Becky’s account number, the team was able to see that the account the boyfriend was paid from was the same account that paid Becky to kill the guy. unfortunately, things are rarely that simple. It turned out that the money used to pay Becky to kill the president wasn’t from that account! Apparently Hollis wasn’t the person who hired Becky! (I say apparently, because, let’s face it, the man certainly could have more than one account.)
While it might be nice for Olivia to know that Hollis hadn’t gone that low, the problem was that Olivia had Hollis put in jail to protect him. She called David to tell him the bad news about Hollis’s innocence, but asked if he could hold him until she could get down there/ That’s when she found out that Cyrus had been down at the attorney general’s office and had managed to get the case stonewalled. He’d had to let Hollis go an hour ago. (At least he knows Olivia had nothing to do with the stonewalling.) Panicked, Olivia sent Huck to protect Hollis, but the next scene was Huck’s assassination friend getting into the elevator with Hollis…
The final note of this episode when back to the divorce issue. Cyrus told Mellie that he no longer understood Fitz, so if she had any card to play, now would be the time to play it. Mellie’s card was to go to her obstetrician and have her induce labor – because the closest she and Fitz had ever been was when they were in the delivery room. Fitz got the call just as he was about to go see Olivia to find out what was going on with her. In the delivery room Mellie reached out to Fitz (even in labor the woman is manipulative) to hold her hand. There’s a moment where the conflict is clear on Fitz’s face, but then he does the right thing and grabs her hand to coach her through labor – the way he did for their two other children. Mellie definitely played an ace. The question still remains if it will actually work to hold him.
As usual Scandal created more questions than answers. The biggest one is who did try to have the president assassinated?Did Hollis just use another account? I can’t see it being the Vice President…anyone have an idea? Post it in the comments! A more minor question that I really want to know – when is Abbey going to find out what Olivia and Harrison did to split her up from David? Also, let’s hope the baby survives.
This episode also made me think about my own perceptions of good and bad, because I should not like Cyrus. He’s sees murder as a solution to problems. He sees people like himself and Olivia as being above the law, and stated that “Justice is for regular people.” Describing the electoral process as “magical” to the ignorant masses, he actually equated Olivia’s trying to do the right thing with destroying Christmas for children by telling them there’s no Santa Claus. Then he accused her of not having the stomach to do what must be done!
Yet, I somehow I still like Cyrus and can convince myself that he’s just being a realist. His comment that, aside from the obvious reasons the public wouldn’t take kindly to Fitz divorcing Mellie, his constituency wouldn’t like that she’s African-American wasn’t racist, just a reality check. Cyrus just believes in the end justifying the means. However, who’s to judge which ends are worth the compromises?
I shouldn’t like Olivia with Fitz either. Yet, I feel badly for them meeting at the wrong time and being star-crossed lovers. While I also feel badly for Mellie, I’m more often annoyed with her. I get annoyed with her holding on to a man who doesn’t want her, her manipulations, and self-centeredness. Yet, in the situation, Mellie is the woman being wronged. Apparently my head and my heart aren’t always in agreement. While certainly nothing in my life is at the scale of Scandal, I think Shonda Rimes has tapped into the basic dilemma of the human condition. Sometimes the head and the heart don’t agreed, and at various times you’re choosing between breaking your heart or breaking your own moral ethics. No one is exempt from it, so perhaps having a bit more compassion for others – even for someone like Hollis Doyle – is something we all could work on.
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