Scandal Season 2 Review “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”

Scandal Season 2 Episode 8 Happy Birthday, Mr. President (2)

Seriously Scandal?! Are you kidding me?! This week’s Scandal picked up right where last week left off. Fitz has just been shot. Chaos everywhere. Tensions were high. All I can say is wow, Scandal. Just…wow. I could benefit from a second viewing of this episode before I write this review, but since I can’t do that, I’m going to give this my best shot.

A few thoughts about “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”:

While this episode certainly focused on the behind the scenes maneuvering that takes place in DC and all of the chaos surrounding Fitz getting shot, that’s not really what it was about. It was mostly about relationships. Almost all of the major relationships got some focus here. We got to see what they were two years ago at the beginning of Fitz’s presidency and contrast that to where they are today. So let’s look at these relationships one at a time.

Olivia and Fitz are the most drastically different relationship. They were very much in love and trying to figure out how to move forward. Olivia rightly pointed out that their relationship had nowhere to go and they needed to stop. Both of them knew what they were doing was wrong. But both of them needed each other. Love is a strange thing. When you fall as hard as Olivia and Fitz fell for each other, it really does consume you. You feel like you’re falling and flying at the same time. That’s what Olivia and Fitz had. That conversation they had the White House garden was heartbreaking. How painful it must be to love someone so much and be unable to truly be with the one you love. As much as they have been trying to pull away from each other in present day, it’s obvious from Olivia’s breakdown in this episode and Fitz’s pain at seeing her with someone else in the last episode that they are still deeply in love. I think Fitz’s shooting will do one of two things. Either it will make Fitz realize that life is too short to be with someone you don’t love and he’ll go back to Olivia or it will bring Mellie and Fitz closer.

Mellie continues to confuse me. On the one hand, she doesn’t seem to like Fitz very much. She seems to only stay with him because she thinks it will work to her political advantage later on. During those early days of his presidency, Mellie flitted around pretending that she didn’t know Olivia and Fitz were sleeping together, but then made sure Olivia knew she knew. Why? She’s the one that pushed Olivia and Fitz together. Did she think it was going to be just a campaign affair? I don’t get it. But in present day, she seemed genuinely terrified that Fitz might die. I’m not entirely sure that was all about Fitz though. If Fitz died, then she would no longer be first lady and everything that she feels like sacrificed for would be lost. But watching Mellie sitting at Fitz’s bedside, I’m not sure that’s what she was thinking. She only seemed like a wife terrified at the prospect of losing her husband.

After watching this episode, I’m beginning to think that Vice-President Sally Langston may have had a hand in the shooting. Her actions throughout the episode suggested that she was not at all concerned about the well-being of the country. She was all about getting herself into the Oval Office. She’s the one that started the talk of Fitz being dead. She landed on the South Lawn for crying out loud. It’s no secret that she wanted to be president and only accepted the vice-presidency as a fallback position. She has refused to fall in line since the beginning, and maybe she decided that she isn’t going to wait any longer. After Fitz was shot, her first thought was not for the procedures in place to protect the US; it was for herself. She wanted to get out there looking presidential so that she could hijack the presidency from Fitz. I haven’t liked her from the beginning, and I hope when the smoke clears, she’s not one of the people left standing.

Annoying Texas Lobbyist went from Annoying to Sinister Texas Lobbyist here. He killed those people and set up Quinn for it without even giving it a second thought. He sneered and leered and made it clear that he is in fact a dangerous man. I don’t know how they’re going to deal with him, but something has to be done. He got off his leash once and 7 people died. How many people are going to die next time? I don’t think Olivia realized just how dangerous he was until he killed those people, but I think Cy did. He and Cy seem to be cut from the same cloth and I don’t think Cy was at all surprised that Annoying Texas Lobbyist would kill innocent people.

On a technical note, I liked the use of the headline news to break up the past and the present. In an episode where things were moving back and forth, it was necessary to have something serve as an anchor for each timeframe. The headline news reports were also a good way to show the evolution of the story and keeping the audience updated on what was going on with Fitz without us actually being able to see what was happening with him. I also liked the intercutting of the beginning of Fitz’s presidency with the chaos of what was going on in present day. One of the things it showed was just how much maneuvering went on behind the scenes and how much was kept from Fitz. It also made it clearer why Sally Langston has been so unwilling to cooperate with Fitz and why she was so gung-ho to get installed as POTUS. This episode also cleared up why Olivia decided to leave the White House and why she took so much risk for Quinn.

This was a great episode and has me on the edge of my seat for what’s going to happen next week. Why did Huck shoot the president? Has he gone totally off the rails? Did someone pay him to do it? Is he a mercenary now? So many questions! So what did y’all think of this week’s Scandal?