Scandal Recap (And More) 2.14: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”

By Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour

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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.

Not sure if…hatred for Fitz is more…than for flashbacks…

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.

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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.”

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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

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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?

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  • Tanna Leigh Taylor

    Good analysis we all have these relationships thankfully most of them when we are younger that help us grow. Even though the scene was hot it was not romantic and even the scene with his wife it made him seem like a mean drunk. I know he is mad but if you really love someone then forgiveness is really important. I know she love him but Miss Pope can do better than to be talked to like that. Tony Goldwyn is an excellent actor because in that particular episode almost all his acting was facial experssions and very little diaglogue and you knew through his eyes and expressions exactly what he is thinking

  • @mezz98

    “…it was less romantic and more two people going at it like two hobos on a ham sandwich.”

    Ha! Ok, thank you for that.

    I haven’t been able to stomach this show beyond a few episodes in season 1 and one episode in season 2, but I do enjoy reading commentary on it, here and elsewhere. My issues with the show really have to do with my Shonda Rhimes baggage. I was driven from her two previous shows (Grey’s and Private Practice) by the triteness of the plots, the thinness of the characterizations, her insistence on writing THE BIG EVENT with little regard for substantive follow-up, and yes because she seemed to have very 1950’s ideas about how heterosexual romantic relationships should be portrayed.

    The little I’ve seen of Scandal seems to just continue in that tradition.

    • JosephLamour

      Haha, YW! See, I don’t watch her other shows b/c I don’t like medical dramas. But now I see where you’re coming from. I remembered watching the hostage situation story arc in Greys, (because that’s more thriller or law show than medical) and I didn’t have to know anything about the show or its characters to watch it. Which I found to not be so good, if you’re not writing a sitcom.

  • An O.

    One thing that i’ve been noticing in several reactions across the web is people acting like Olivia and Mellie are delicate flowers who have no control over their own sexuality. It’s beyond irritating and the opposite of this “feminism” people like to haul around. Yes, Fitzgerald Grant is a self righteous douchebag of epic proportions. He deserves to be thrown into a furnace for those disrespectful words he had the nerve to haul at Olivia after satisfying himself. The pity party he is throwing himself is five months too long and is in dire need of having reality shoved back in his face.

    Despite all that, he did not take advantage of Olivia in that closet nor did he do anything to Mellie sexually that makes him a rapist in that shower. Olivia is a grown woman who equally wanted the same thing in that closet. I have a problem with people not letting her own up to her desires. She chose to sleep with him in that moment because she wanted him too and was just as much into it as he was. The consequences of that is hers to deal with it. Her problem is that she is letting him get away with playing the hurt one for too long. She needs to accept that even if she did something that went against her morals and that she may feel guilty for it, it doesn’t give him a pass to use it to be rude to her and throw a tantrum. She needs to move on from her guilt and go toe to toe with him again.

    As for Mellie, just as Fitz needs to know that no means stop even if you think or know she is not serious about it, Mellie needs to know that no means no and to stop too. Fitz clearly had no interest in her sexually and told her to stop but she refused and kept going. I felt nothing but revulsion at being forced to watch such a lackluster attempt at sex but pity for Mellie who just doesn’t seem to get a clue. She should have stopped and moved on because Fitz is not worth her dignity. But she didn’t which makes her the wrong party here. She is in control of her own sexuality and being a woman doesn’t make her a victim or delicate flower who Fitz is being violent with sexually. I mean really, who would attempt to have sex with a Fitz who looks like a fish that is drowning in its own blood and polluted water filled with other dead fishes? Apparently Mellie does and she needs to accept that Fitz is not worth it and move on, Both of their political ambition is the only thing tying them together at this point.

    Aside from that, i am one of those fans who is rooting for Olivia and Fitz. But not because i think they are so romantic and so in wuv. I am rooting for them because i am entertained by watching two dysfunctional and messed up people attempt to navigate love, desire, obstacles, passion and the realities of life. If they ever end up in a place where they have sorted out their problems individually, dealt with their issues and demons and find themselves in a healthy relationship, i am hoping it is the series finale or the penultimate episode. In the meantime, i will enjoy the madness, the craziness and the nonsense that is the mess of a relationship that have.

    Secretly, i am already into creepy stalker Jake and the mystery.

    • JosephLamour

      Yeah. I agree with you. Anyone who wants to be involved with someone like Fitz isn’t looking past how the magazines in that world must describe him. I was more speaking from a place of “I realized this wasn’t going to get better, and Olivia and Mellie, too, are very smart people. So… why do they both still want him?” And not cause he’s hot and enchanting, because so was my guy.

  • Foxessa

    Captain Donutz = the Mole > Disappearance of captured operatives from their place of imprisonment?
    What happened to that program that everyone was surveilling each other by in the last episode before hiatus? They were all spying on each other. Is this the same surveillance program that Donutz is using on Olivia? And why isn’t Huck sweeping her place every day to make sure nobody’s surveilling her? After all some important people know she had / was having / is having / whatever stage of a relationship with the POTUS, which would mean the head of the Secret Service. Cyrus, who was spying on his own husband, would be equally capable of spying on Olivia. So what did happen with all that spying of each other?
    Does America’s Baby have a name yet?
    Poor Rosen. He reminds me of Xander in Buffy, announcing he’s sick and tired of being the butt monkey, and quits being the butt monkey now. And — really? Our nation’s children are being taught by people who lost their jobs and can’t find another one? No wonder nobody in his class could name even a single branch of the federal government.
    So when Fitz goes down does this mean we get the equally-if-not-more creepy Sally as POTUS? Poor Mellie. Fitz had had the biggest bang of all ordering that SEAL rescue attempt. Mere sex can’t compete with that kind of hard on. But then — the rescue just fizzles out. O brother! About it all.

    • JosephLamour

      Yeah… the entire time I was all “Shame on Huck. There are cameras ALL UP in her house.”

  • jen*

    I have been uncomfortable with the violence behind Fitz’s advances toward Olivia for a while now. Last night was way too rape-y for me. I couldn’t watch that scene. Fitz has a pattern of violent bodily threats in sexual situations with Olivia and Mellie. I was never a big fan of his, because I can’t get behind cheating – even if it’s really hot. But now, it’s not hot at all – it’s just scary.

    I hope Olivia gets the help she needs to not crave another abusive relationship. Edison was unappealing, and Captain Donuts is a creeper…hopefully someone else will come along – or she’ll get happier being herself, by herself.

  • Ayinde Truxon Flores

    I’m rooting for a humilating public takedown for Fitz. Seeing that he’s a murderer, I don’t get his whole holier than thou attitude. Total asshat.