The Scandal Roundtable 2.14: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”

Hosted by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour

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Last week in my recap I recounted a personal story that bears repeating, since it sums up what I think about President Fitzgerald Grant at this point in time:

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?

That is to say, now I’m pretty sure he’s an asshat now and forever. I ask Jordan St. John, Zach Stafford, Loree Lamour, and T.F. Charlton: do you agree?

Jordan: Yes. Fitz is an asshat, but I’m sorry, was that ever in question? Are we all forgetting that when we first met Fitz on the first episode, he was asking Olivia to clean up the mess left by one of his former mistresses that he denied sleeping with. That chick was killed, and he kept it moving. Both Fitz and Olivia are destructive forces of nature. He has more of a mean streak, and she has a softer touch, but they are not good people.

T.F.: Fitz has always been an asshole.

Jordan: With all the stereotypes about black women, water, and hair, I am kind of thrilled to see Olivia has taken up swimming. Way to subtly go against the grain, Shonda. I like that detail.

Loree: Yes! Jordan, I do love that she is swimming. I’m so tired of that stereotype as well. And yes Fitz was wrong, wrong, wrong–the way he spoke to Olivia! I’m starting to get tired of defending their love. Yes: Olivia is a mistress to him and, yes, he is an adulterer, but I said before it takes two, and he can’t only make Olivia the brunt of all his anger. Fitz knows how to hurt people so well with his words. Seriously, I just wish Olivia would find someone deserving of her, and now she has Capt. Jake Ballard who is a voyeur on her radar or she’s on his. Unreal!

Joe: I am the host of this roundtable, and I order all of us to call him Captain Donuts. Because I like to giggle. Moving on…

Jordan: Wow, Mellie. Your husband is requesting hard liquor in the shower, and you are giving him oral sex with full makeup and a determined smile on your face.

Joe: And her hair up. In the shower. I really wanted to see what that looked like when she came up ’cause I’m pretty sure it would have been hilarious.

Jordan: Mellie? Ummm…I am sad for you and your situation. Woman, you need to call this man out. This is ridiculousness.

Zach: Right!? I was screaming at my television when Mellie was so subservient to Fitz. I don’t even like Mellie, but that was a low moment that I couldn’t even take my usual glee from things not working out for Mellie.

T.F.: This episode put a dent in my Mellie-love, I have to admit. The shower scenes were sad, sad. And then throwing Cyrus under the bus like that when she could have just told the (partial) truth and named Hollis? I didn’t approve. Would she be trying so hard if she knew Fitz is a murderer?

Jordan: I was pleased that David was not teaching a sea of color.

Joe: I’m pretty sure that’s what we are to assume. Or maybe Shonda was like “damned if I do, inaccurate if don’t.”

Jordan: Oh look! Baby time. It’s a Fitz The Father Alert. One of his mythical children is actually in the same room with him. Frame it, and put it on a wall!

Joe: We still don’t know what that baby’s name is. Or the other two kids (did you know how many kids they had? I had to look it up).

Jordan: Remind me again why these people broke the law to get Fitz elected? For a man they all seemed to once believe in, the idea of him making his own decisions seems justifiably terrifying to them, and they are painfully aware of how weak he is. He needs someone to hold him up. Also, I find their group dynamics so fascinating. For all Mellie’s annoyance towards Olivia, I get the feeling that if she thought Fitz having Olivia back in his life would bring everything back to normal, she would jump at the chance.

Joe: Didn’t most of them do it so they could get what they wanted? Mellie is a First Lady; Verna was a Supreme Court judge; and so on? I don’t think they really thought about Fitz other than his face would look pretty great on currency.

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Jordan: Soooo…Olivia knows that David Rosen is being set up professionally, and she takes it as a coincidence that she happened to meet a man associated with the case in a coffee shop out of the blue in an unrelated incident. Really, Olivia. You’re smarter than this. I hope for her sake she is just playing dumb.

Zach: I have money on her “playing dumb.” Liv is too smart to not see this coming. I really don’t see Shonda breaking her down this much through having her heartbreak to have her be this off her game.

T.F.: I dunno. Olivia and her team have screwed up in some pretty major ways in the past, e.g. not realizing that Huck’s former colleagues would be packing double. Really? They bungle some fairly basic things on the regular.

Jordan: Also, Fitz is sitting in the White House that his team secured for him and pissy at them because they secured it. He wants to stay President, killed to stay President, but not he just wants to bitch and moan. Fitz is just so weak-willed. Dear God. Pull it together, man.

Joe: He’s an asshat. I really want Cyrus to take his scotch, pour it over his head, and say “Boo hoo!”

Jordan: How symbolic that we have Fitz and Olivia looking at each other over an adorable brown baby. The child they will never have…

Joe: …until Season 4 where she gets pregnant and doesn’t reveal that it’s the second-term President’s child.

Jordan: I thought I was going to feel worse about the sex scene between Fitz and Liv, but this seems par for the course with them. Also, on the Fitz asshole meter, I wouldn’t say his snark towards Liv after their tech-closet rendezvous registers no higher than a 6. Judging from the flashback of him almost forcing himself on her in the elevator that time, this is one of his milder episodes. Far more depressing, that sad shower scene with Fitz and Mellie. That made me want to cry and tell Mellie to run for the hills. You can make some other man president.

T.F.: Ok, but what about Fitz telling Liv that isn’t “able to control his erections” around her? Talk about rape culture –what, he can’t keep himself from chasing her down and forcing himself on her? It was also a really emotionally abusive thing to say. Fitz is a master of gaslighting: he can’t live without Liv one second and is cold as ice the next.

Joe: I’m pretty sure you don’t write a line like that unless your goal is to make the audience hate someone. I know she was taken aback (because who wouldn’t be), but a line like that is never a good thing. Never.

Jordan: Fitz loves to hide behind a lack of control as an explanation for just being an awful person and making bad decisions (again I point to that truly disgusting assault of Olivia in the elevator), which is why this new morning drinking habit is an especially bad look for him.

Jordan: Captain Creepy and his wall of videos. I didn’t see that one coming.

Joe: Captain Donuts, Jordan, Captain Donuts.

T.F.: I’m both apprehensive and looking forward to seeing where Shonda is taking that storyline. I have a feeling Scott Foley will make a great villain.

Joe: He did on True Blood!

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  • Foxessa

    They — Vera, Mellie, Cyrus, Cyrus particularly, with Hollis, wanted Fitz to be POTUS because — they believed he was electable (none of them are / were) and because they all believed they could control him for whatever they wanted, particularly Cyrus, like Cheney controlled dubya. And Sally Langston, unlike Cheney, definitely felt and probably still does, believe she’s electable. I can’t recall — did she know about the election rigging? OTOH, Sally is the only one who seems to have an actual agenda for the nation with herself as POTUS — a totally evil one from my point of view, but an agenda nevertheless. No one else has any designasted objectives other than the Power, and it seems merely for the sake of holding the Power, not what the Power can do, other than to make other people cry if you want, or die, for that matter. At this point who hasn’t had somebody killed? Other than Rosen, Mr. Power’s Perpetual Butt Monkey, and Mellie?

    Olivia wanted Fitz to be POTUS because, as she says, she was in love in with him, wanted him to have what he wanted and that caused her to break the law. She never has, as far as we can tell, used her position as his mistress to do anything for anyone. Didn’t she get Sally to back off Huck due to some other kind of dirt she had on Sally?

    But most of all Fitz has no leg of to stand on when it comes to the election rigging. He cannot play holier-than-thou after he murdered Vera to keep the information from getting out to the country.

    Also, I cannot get over Cyrus murdering that woman in the first season, and almost murdering his husband.

    If there are critics of how Olivia behaves in relationships, what about Cyrus? Sheesh ….

    It’s all very strange, but so far I’m very curious to see where it goes. I hope it does go somewhere, of course, instead of like X-Files or Lost, just chewing on its own tail.

  • Jeffrey Willis

    My hope was they were going to play off his more extreme personality and paranoias and anger (the killing) on the brain damage from the bullet… they did mention all of those and more as possible symptoms, even the extreme conviction in asking for the divorce finally… I was just bummed they jumped to 10 months later… which lessened the possibility in my mind… but I can still hope.