By Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour
If this is the kind of relationship Shonda Rhimes wants us to root for, we have a problem.
This week, I’ve written a little more than a recap, as this episode reminded me of something in my life that I feel the need to compare to Olitz to. A warning: I have now become as cynical about this program as Kendra. I still love the show, but my eyes remained at half mast for a good part of the hour.
The breakdown: Each week, Kendra or I will provide a Friday Scandal recap the day after the newest episode airs. The next Thursday morning a longer roundtable discussion of the episode is posted featuring Joe, Kendra, and a variety of guest commenters.
Spoilers for Scandal Episode 2.14, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (and my little anecdote) are under the cut.
The Recap in a Nutshell
Incapable of showing things chronologically, Scandal opens this week with Olivia swimming her pain away, interspersed with unfamiliar images (…flashbacks? No. But we’ll get to that.) of Fitz and Olivia necking in what appears to be a server room. Information technology has never looked so steamy.
Connected by water (because Olitz can never not touch, either symbolically or physically) we then see Fitzgerald Grant, showering his presidential trapeziuses. Mellie joins him (and his glass of morning scotch? Oh dear.) and tries to give him a morning pick-me-up–after all, Cosmopolitan says morning sex is the best time to do it! Unfortunately, they’re interrupted by Cyrus, who Fitz treats with disdain. Cyrus comes with an emergency, however: American citizens have been captured abroad.
David Rosen wakes in his apartment: covered in blood, knife in hand, with a dead blonde by his side. A knock at the door: Officers Drew and Bristol (heretofore known as “those bad cops”) experience a skittish Rosen, nearly sweating “I’m guilty!” bullets, and still don’t look through his apartment. Don’t they have cause? Those bad cops apparently don’t think so. Those bad cops leave. Rosen sighs in convenient relief and makes a call to Pope and Associates.
In the next scene, we see Fitz drunk with power at a situation-room meeting. Little does everyone there know that he’s probably just drunk. The American hostages turn out to be CIA operatives, and Cyrus and Fitz disagree on how to handle the situation. It becomes quite obvious that the last ten months were not that of healing between Cyrus and Fitz.
Olivia flirts with a new cutie in a coffee shop. He offers her a donut. They lie about everything in their lives and giggle about it. “Aren’t we clandestine?,” their come-hither stares imply. He leaves, but they don’t exchange numbers. Everything about the way casting directors work says they’ll bump into each other again.
Back at Rosen’s place, he fills the fixer gang in on the dead girl. Her name was Wendy, and they both were regulars at a bar. The last ten months were not good to Rosen. He lost his position as US Attorney, no other firm would hire him, and his grandmother paid his rent last month. Basically, he’s living how most of the people I know are living right now, and that saddens Pope and Associates. Rosen’s fall from grace is supposed to be illustrated by the fact he’s in the company of silent, apparently unenthused children at some district high school. Shonda, this is not the way to make us feel for Rosen. This really just makes him look like a bad teacher. Quinn and Huck stage the scene at Wendy’s place. Huck nearly has a moment when Quinn stabs Wendy again for some on-scene blood spatter. Eww to that whole scenario. Meanwhile, Fitz continues to shut Cyrus out, in that cold way Fitz does everything that he does.
The gang finds out via pictures on her phone that Wendy had a very active sexy-spy life with every conveniently attractive and muscular fair skinned man in DC, from club owners to bike messengers to Rosen. She did so to gain access to information pertinent to a scandal that each man was directly or indirectly involved in. Whatever she was looking for in this last case with Rosen, however, did her in.
Meanwhile, in the school where motivation goes to die, Rosen starts to spin conspiracies in Olivia’s presence, although this time he’s wrong. He thinks Olivia is behind this framing scheme. Olivia, though, has her own theory, and asks Cyrus if he hired someone to frame Rosen for murder. They treat this kind of like when I ask my sister if she ate the last clementine in the fridge. Cyrus denies this, and Olivia moves on. They talk about Cyrus’s daughter’s christening. Olivia gets a call: Rosen is arrested.
Cyrus and Mellie decide that if Fitz is going to shut those that are close to him out, that eventually, he will connect with someone new, and that new person may find out about Defiance…and they will all go to jail. They resolve to find a way to get close to him again.
Harrison represents a stoic Rosen at the US Attorney’s office. As they enter, I shout at my television, “Look! It’s that guy from Sex and the City who was really into Charlotte’s feet!” I will never not see this man as that character, so, in my mind, he apparently moved out of New York, distraught over the lack of Charlotte’s feet in his life, went to law school, and became the new US Attorney. He and the other lawyer who are currently employed as such both sit and listen to Rosen lose it some more. “Oh, how I love to stab.” he jokes. He storms out, because Foot Lawyer really has no evidence to hold him with.
Olivia walks into a set that looks nothing like what The Pentagon actually looks like (who knows from experience? This guy. Bam.) and runs into–dun dun dun–Cute Donut Guy, who’s name is not Donut, but Captain Jacob Ballard. They verbally spar about Wendy and what information could have gotten her killed. They basically tell each other nothing. Captain Donut (I’m going to call him this from now on, and I love it) asks Olivia out. She declines.
Fitz and Cyrus argue, yet again, but this time Cyrus has worn Fitz down with some very good advice on the hostage situation. Will things get better? Of course not.
David continues his descent when he fires Olivia. He asks her how much he owes her. Olivia utters a diva hot line I hope to utter one day, “You can’t afford me.”
Mellie and Fitz are in a limo on the way to the christening. Mellie pins everything that happened with Defiance on Cyrus. Oh, Mellie. “I can be an animal if I want to be. I’m glad to rip the flesh off anything that comes between me and…” she stops because the next word likely had nothing to do with her husband. He falls for this speech, mostly because he’s now too tired to care about thinking objectively anymore. I’d feel the same way, man.
At the christening, Fitz becomes hotheaded with Cyrus again (I knew it wouldn’t last), and it’s all thanks to Mellie that he sends in a seal team to rescue the hostages. (Spoiler: they turn out not to be there.) We later find out this is because there is a mole in The White House. Where is Claire Danes when you need her?!
Olivia and Fitz are conveniently Ella’s godparents because that is what Cyrus probably meant in his conversation with Mellie about Fitz needing another confidant. In what must be the most awkward place to have sexual tension, Fitz and Olivia stare at each other longingly as Ella is being baptized. This obviously erupts afterward in the sex scene from the beginning of the episode. Why? I have no idea. Did she have a premonition in earlier? Sigh. This is where my cynicism kicks in.
After the sex scene, which, for the first time, I had to leave the room for, not because I’m a prude (LOL to that notion) but because, for the first time it was less romantic and more two people going at it like two hobos on a ham sandwich. At a christening. Something off about how they were together in that IT closet. Apparently I was right–because after Olivia attempts to apologize for Defiance, Fitz says, and I quote:
“That was not a mistake, it was a betrayal… We are done. I may not be able control my erections around you, but that does not mean I want you. We are done.”
Fitz is an asshat. There’s really just no other way to put it.
Meanwhile, Rosen found Wendy’s flash drive, which holds a trove of highly classified information. Where did she get her hands on this information?
Fitz, is in the shower again. He shows he is bad with every single woman he has ever been with, and he tries to become passionate with his wife. He looks completely disgusted, which I’m sure Mellie very much enjoys. Again: what an asshat.
Captain Donut asks Olivia out for the second time. She agrees, which he sees because he is spying on her from his living-room surveillance of her apartment. Is it possible for Olivia to not have a creepy relationship? The answer seems to be no.
And Now For The Extra–I Promise It’s Relevant
When I was a 22-year-old living in New York City, I met a man. He was moderately famous, which at that age, already had me head over heels. He was considerably older than me, considerably richer (which is to say, he had money,) and very into me, as I was to him. I met him a week after I moved to the Upper West Side the summer of 2005, and I dated him until I moved back to DC, having exhausted my immature mind and wallet in New York. This fellow was the first relationship I ever shared a mutual love with–that is to say, I loved him at the same time he loved me.
I have this endgame love fantasy that when I meet a man…the man…one balmy Saturday, we’ll wake up, leash the dog (a toy poodle or a shiba inu or something else fuzzy and precious), and I’ll walk out the door with the dog, the man, and my Celine tote–overpriced, but in this fantasy I can afford it. We go to the farmer’s market, picking up locally grown kale, bluefish, and a jar of pomegranate preserves for dinner that night. You know–super-gay, comfortable, perfect, aesthetically pleasing love on the weekend. He was the first guy I was able to visually place in that fantasy.
Unfortunately, while we both loved each other immensely–and almost moved in together–we also both had mental issues to work through. Like I said, I was immature: I had problems with responsibility; I used to flirt with his friends to make him mad; he was bipolar and only sometimes took medication for it. Obviously these two personality types don’t mix for long. We used to have these intense screaming-over-the-phone fights that would make everyone around me uncomfortable–and I wouldn’t care. What I did care about is what he used to say to me. I won’t repeat them because this is a family blog (where the word asshat is allowed, of course). I guess not telling you anything about what he said is a cop-out. I will say he used a lot of C-, W-, F-and S-words with me, in increasingly unpleasant combinations. A lot of it was because of his swings between mania and depression, but since he chose to forego medication, it was something I had to deal with the whole time I was with him. Those things he used to say to me were a lot like the things Fitz says to Olivia when he’s angry at her. That kind of emotional abuse is something I couldn’t live with, and after some thinking, and crying, (and pondering, and weeping,) I broke up with him a little bit before I moved south.
And now how this all connects: that last scene between Olivia and Fitz reminded me why I had no regrets moving to DC (at least, initially). No person–and I don’t care what they’ve done–should ever be spoken to like Fitz spoke to Olivia. This is especially pertinent in a relationship. For me, Fitzgerald Grant has officially passed over “flawed” and into “bad person.” It appears Olivia thinks so, too, since she accepts the date with Captain Donut, who again, is the wrong man, since there’s probably no good explanation as to why he’s spying on her. I’m glad I had the forethought to break up with someone to continue my hunt for happiness, but will Shonda ever let Olivia find a little happiness of her own?