Scandal Season 2 Review “White Hat’s Back On”

Scandal Season 2 Episode 22 White Hat's Back On (5)

There are many things Scandal does well, and exciting season finales is one of them. This episode moved at an even more breakneck pace than usual and it threw so many twists in that it’s a wonder we weren’t pretzels by the time those last two minutes came. There was so much going on in this episode, that there’s no way I can really touch on all of it, so I’m going to try to hit just a few of the high points.

A few thoughts about “White Hat’s Back On”:

I’ll start with David because of all the many surprises in this episode, I have to say I was most pleased by how his story worked out. I must admit that I was pretty disappointed with David last week when it was revealed that he’s the one who stole the Cytron card and was working with the mole aka Billy Chambers. I was disappointed because, up until that point, he had been the only character on the show who I felt was truly a white hat. He was the only character that was trying to do the right thing simply because it was the right thing. He had a solid sense of justice and a deep love for his country and the law that governs it. Last week I was disappointed to see that he had allowed himself to succumb to the easy path instead of the righteous path.

As it turns out, my disappointment was somewhat unwarranted. Yes, David broke into Olivia’s safe and stole the Cytron card. But it wasn’t for the purposes I thought. He stole that card from her so he could get his life back. His scheme to reveal the mole’s identity was simply brilliant because no one expected it of him. I know I didn’t. I was actually proud of David because he did something that no one else on this show has done: he fixed himself. He didn’t rely on Olivia or anyone else to solve his problem(s) for him. Now David isn’t beholden to Olivia, Billy, or anyone else for his life and he didn’t have to sell his soul to get it all back. His time with Olivia and Co. has obviously changed his perspective on her and her team. It helped him see that although they certainly aren’t perfect, they really do try to help people. Although their friendship may have gotten off to an extremely rocky start, I do believe him when he says they are his friends.

Cyrus continues to perplex me. He is simultaneously cruel and kind; cold-blooded and compassionate; powerful and weak; treacherous and loyal; emotionally guarded and emotionally vulnerable. His actions in this episode put many of those character traits on full display and made my feelings about him even more complicated. The hopeless romantic in me really wants Cyrus to just back off of Fitz and Olivia and let them be together. They love each other so deeply and that is a precious gift that shouldn’t be squandered. The more reasonable part of me completely understands why Cyrus did what he did to the two people he holds most dear. It’s Cyrus’s job to look at the big picture, and he seemed to be the only one doing that. Olivia and Fitz could talk all they wanted about how much their relationship would change the Republican party for the better, but Cyrus is a realist. He knows that it would be extremely difficult for a president to get re-elected if he divorced his wife while running for office. He also knows that it would be a cold day in hell before the Republican party would re-elect a president who divorced his wife and married an African-American woman. I’m not trying to start a racial war here, but it just is what it is. And Cyrus was the only person who could see that because he wasn’t blinded by love, lust, or all of the above.

It was interesting to watch the conflict going on in him. I think he’s wanted to tell Fitz about Jake almost since he found out, but he hasn’t because (a) he didn’t want Fitz to shoot the messenger and (b) Cyrus really does love Fitz and doesn’t want to hurt him. The same thing with Olivia. He knows how much Fitz loves and needs Olivia, which is the only reason he didn’t tell her about Fitz killing Verna. He didn’t want to hurt Olivia and he didn’t want her to leave Fitz. It was only after Cyrus felt like he was out of options that he revealed his ace in the hole to each of them. If Fitz and Olivia could figure out how to be together without putting the Presidency in jeopardy, I believe Cyrus would move heaven and earth for them. But as Fitz’s chief of staff and best friend, it’s his job to look out for Fitz even when he doesn’t realize he needs it. Jeff Perry continues to do consistently outstanding work in his role. As it stands, his portrayal never allows me to put Cyrus into just one category nor does it allow me to linger too long on one emotion. He continues to add layers and complexity to a character that could become stale and one-dimensional in the hands of a lesser actor.

Fitz and Olivia, I just don’t really know what to say. Their love story is so complicated and tragic. Just when they think they’ve got everything figured out and can be together, something comes along and throws a wrench in their plans. I’m not entirely certain Olivia actually bought into the idea that she and Fitz would get married and she would be FLOTUS though. Olivia is too much of a pragmatist to really buy what she was selling. Some things cannot be fixed, but she really wanted to believe that her relationship with Fitz wasn’t one of those things. She wanted to believe that somehow their love would conquer all. Fitz just wants her, and it really didn’t matter what plan she devised. He would believe it if it meant they would be together. Like I said, tragic. The sad thing is, Fitz was ready and willing to fight for them this time around but Olivia was not. She looked at all of the damage and chaos her love affair has caused, and she decided that it’s time to grow up. She doesn’t live in a fairytale world and she cannot, in good conscience, follow her heart if it means destroying the country. She decided that, at least for the time being, Fitz needs to be with Mellie.

The Fitz/Mellie relationship is a tragedy of a different sort. Their tragedy is not in how much they love each other. It’s in how much they don’t. Fitz has made it abundantly clear to Mellie where she stands in his life. He doesn’t love her. He loves Olivia. He wants Olivia. Mellie has also made it pretty clear that she doesn’t love Fitz either. Not really. She’s just tired of him being so openly in love with Olivia. Fitz went back to Mellie (literally on his knees) out of necessity. She accepted him back for pretty much the same reason. Without FLOTUS, Mellie has nothing to validate the choices she’s made. She doesn’t really want her husband any more than he wants her. She doesn’t really want her children. They aren’t loved ones to cherish; they’re a means to an end. A part of me (an extremely tiny, tiny part) feels bad for Mellie because she gave up on fairytale endings a long time ago. I’m not sure she ever really believed in them. But most of me feels no sympathy for her because she’s a cold-hearted, manipulative person who will crush whoever gets between her and whatever she’s set her sights on.

The one negative thing I have to say is that I was not a fan of the camera work and extreme close-ups during the David/Billy conversation. They were poorly done and distracting. I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed during that entire sequence because it was so badly shot. I don’t know what effect the director was going for in that scene, but all he achieved was a hot mess.

Otherwise though, I have no complaints. I am pretty bummed that Jake looks like he’s about to suffer Huck’s fate though. For all his creepiness, Jake seems to have turned out to be a pretty decent guy. I mean, the guy disobeyed orders to save Olivia. I really hope Jake will be saved. I’m with Huck in being concerned about Quinn. She enjoyed torturing Billy a bit too much. They need to figure out how to reel her in before she goes too far over the edge. If Park Bench Guy is Olivia’s dad, then why did he send someone to kill her? Why doesn’t anyone know that she’s his daughter? Why would he want a copy of the tape of Olivia and Jake if he wasn’t going to give it to Cyrus? So many questions! My little nitpicks aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode. It kept me guessing and left me wanting more. This is going to be one long summer. So what did y’all think of the Scandal season finale?