Scandal Season 2 Review “A Criminal, A Whore, An Idiot, and a Liar”

Scandal Season 2 Episode 11 A Criminal, a Whore, an Idiot and a Liar (5)

Just when I think I have Scandal all figured out. BOOM! Curveball. As is always the case with this show, there was no shortage of action; both dramatic and otherwise. I’ll just let your minds wander with that one for a minute. But back to the review. One thing I’ve learned about this show is that you should never, ever, under any circumstances miss the last 2 minutes. That’s when your mind really gets blown. Let me not get ahead of myself though.

A few thoughts about “A Criminal, A Whore, An Idiot, and a Liar”:

This episode doesn’t follow the normal case of the week format. There wasn’t really a case per se. It was more about giving us some backstory than anything else. This week picks up pretty much where the last one left off. Olivia returns home to an interrogation from Edison about whether she was sleeping the the President. That conversation doesn’t go quite the way Edison thought it would, but more on that later. Meanwhile, Fitz is awake and lucid which is amazing considering he’s been shot in the head. The doctor warns that he needs at least 3 weeks before he can be ready to assume the Presidency again, but even after he’s back they still have to worry about some of his motor functions, comprehension, and verbal communication. Fitz had planned to take his time recovering, but because of Mellie’s stupidity and Sally Langston preparing to seize more power to herself they needed Fitz back. Fitz walking into the Oval during Sally’s meeting was perhaps one of the most awesome moments on this show, and that is saying something. In an effort to prove that he was ready to assume his job, Fitz went through a full day’s work even though he really should’ve been in the hospital recuperating. He made it through the day and proved to himself, the American people, and Sally that he was ready.

We also received some more backstory on Fitz and the election rigging scheme. During the election, Fitz was down 10 points in the polls and Hollis brought up the idea of rigging the election so Fitz would win. Initially everyone poo-pooed that idea (it is a felony afterall), so they had to come up with another option. The Roundtable of Evil put their heads together and decided to bring Fitz’s father in to the campaign. Fitz was adamantly opposed to that idea, and at first, I couldn’t see why. His father was a big political asset, and it didn’t make any sense to me that Fitz wouldn’t want him around. That is, until we met him. The Elder Grant (portrayed by the always wonderful Barry Bostwick) was a sexist, possibly racist, overbearing, petty man who took every opportunity to show Fitz that he’ll never be as great a man as he believes himself to be. The Elder Grant had no faith at all in Fitz and didn’t do very much to support Fitz at all. He took every opportunity to point out Fitz’s failings and to undermine Fitz’s confidence in himself. It felt like he showed up to “help” with Fitz’s campaign more for himself than for Fitz.

To say that Fitz had a complicated relationship with his father is an understatement. Part of the reason Fitz works so hard to be a good leader is that he is desperately trying to prove his father wrong. But even more than that, he’s desperately trying to avoid becoming his father. He insisted upon running a clean campaign because it’s the exact opposite of what his father would’ve done. I get the sense that no matter what Fitz did growing up, it was never enough to please dear old Dad. Whatever Fitz did, his father maximized his failures and minimized his victories. One thing that was abundantly clear is that the Elder Grant did not bring out the best in Fitz. We saw Fitz getting drunk and, as a result, coming dangerously close to assaulting Olivia. Although Fitz never said it, I get the sense he ran for President because he wanted to prove to his father, and to a certain degree himself, that he wasn’t a failure. Fitz’s complicated relationship with his dad led to complex feelings at his father’s death. I have no doubt he was relieved, but he also felt sad, angry, and possibly even a little guilty. But even with the complicated, tumultuous relationship Fitz and his father had, it’s still painful to lose a parent. Goes to show you that no matter what family does, they’re still family and you love them.

Oh Fitz and Olivia. Part of what makes Fitz and Olivia’s relationship so interesting to watch is that they have a kind of intimacy with each other that they don’t share with anyone else in their respective lives. I’m not talking about sexual intimacy. I’m talking about real, know what the other is thinking without saying anything intimacy. The contrast between the Fitz/Olivia relationship and the Fitz/Mellie and Olivia/Edison relationships is drastic. Fitz isn’t nearly as open and honest with Mellie as he is with Olivia. And Olivia keeps Edison at arm’s length even though he wants so desperately for her to let him in. Even more than that, Olivia puts Fitz before herself and vise versa. For example, when Olivia was talking to Fitz, she was talking about the fact he almost died and she didn’t want him to leave her like that. When Mellie was talking to Fitz, she was all about the political fallout, the political capital they’ve gained from the assassination attempt, and so on. Olivia really only cares about Fitz the man. Mellie really only cares about the Presidency. The moment when Olivia went to the Oval to try and talk Fitz out of doing the press conference was a lovely moment between the two of them as was Olivia comforting Fitz after his father died. Fitz and Olivia can try to deny that they should be together, but they’ve fallen hard for each other and there is no turning back.

Watching how the scheme to steal the Presidency unfolded shed some light how Olivia got involved with the Roundtable of Evil. Hollis kept pushing the idea of election rigging throughout the end of the campaign, and his motives certainly were not pure. He wanted to own everyone at that table. It explains why he struts around the White House like he owns the place. He does; in a manner of speaking. It was pretty obvious from jump what all the other members at the Roundtable of evil wanted, but I never could figure out why Olivia decided to go along with the plan. It just never seemed like it fit her character. In the end, Olivia did it for Fitz. She truly believed that he would be a great president and she didn’t see any other way to get him elected. She held out until the last possible moment, but she still made a deal with the devil. A very dangerous, very powerful devil. I’m interested to see how Hollis is going to play this now that Fitz is back in the White House. He’s not going to have as much unfettered access to the President as he had with Sally Langston, and I don’t think he’s going to have to like slinking back off into the shadows.

This was a solid episode and laid the foundation for a really good last half of the season. Hollis is most likely going to be a big problem for everyone, and I’m interested to see how they deal with him. Sally Langston also turned a corner. I can’t tell whether she was being genuine when she admitted to Fitz that being President was no walk in the park. If so, that’s a completely unexpected development. If not, it would be par for the course for Sally. I think Mellie is going to blow a gasket now. After all she’s done to get into the White House, I have a feeling she’s not going to leave without a fight. So what did y’all think of this week’s Scandal?

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