Scandal Roundtable 2.16: “Top Of The Hour”

Hosted by Joseph Lamour and Kendra James

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Kendra: I think, had I been able to do a recap this week, it would have been less snarky than usual. This hiatus return (is three weeks a hiatus?) didn’t feel crammed with shocking! plot! twists! and, because of that, I think it was one of the better episodes this year. It wasn’t slow, but I felt like the story was… measured? Almost as if, by restraining themselves in the writer’s room, they were able to hit fewer sharp and flat notes and the episode benefited from that overall. I was even marginally accepting of Quinn’s presence! Anyhoo, It gives us a lot to talk about this week, from Fitz’s long-suffering secretary, to the morality of cheating, Olivia’s collection of structured white jackets, and everything in between.

Jordan: I want to talk about Olivia’s client casually assuming that Abby was Olivia Pope. Loved that Shonda put that in there.

Johnathan: Agreed, Jordan! “I’m Olivia Pope!” It seemed like Twitter was loving it, too! It’s a testimony to the assumptions people carry about identity and power.

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Jordan: Scandal is far from a perfect show but that moment reminded me why, despite its flaws, I connect with it. I’m sorry but you’re just not going to get moments like this on a lot of other primetime network shows. Also, in a show known for its over-the-top drama, I appreciated the realistic way they handled the moment: a look was exchanged, and the world moved on. No teachable moments or surprised indignation. Olivia just kept it moving.

Johnathan: I’m interested in how demeaning several characters treated Olivia this episode. From Cyrus’ “Is your vagina apolitical?” comment to Fitz’s “I don’t care!” after Olivia retorts back she is ruined, we see the pattern of white men not giving a damn about Olivia’s feelings. Art reflecting reality? It’s a damn shame!

Jordan: Well, except for Captain Creepy Stalker who has now taken to showing up at Olivia’s job (which she didn’t tell him about) unannounced.

Kendra: Correct me if I’m wrong, but of the show’s recurring characters it’s only Harrison and Huck, two men of color, who’ve continued to stick by her and show her total respect throughout two seasons.

Johnathan: Kendra – 1, Fitz lovers – 0. What was up with Cyrus’ “White House version of a Siberian work camp?”

Johnathan: I really appreciated the scene where Olivia and Fitz talk. Sarah and her husband are in the backdrop and you hear her say, “I wish I could take it back!” The husband yells back, “You can’t!” It mirrors Olivia and Fitz’s relationship. She did what she thought was best at the time, and she can’t take back her decision. But when is Fitz going to stop play innocent victim, though?

Jordan: I had hoped Mellie would be the one to call him out on his self-indulgent madness, but I see she is just trying to avoid divorce. My money is on Cyrus getting sick of his complaining sooner rather than later. I miss his “real talk” moments from earlier in the season.

Kendra: Probably around the time we do something about his raging alcoholism. I think what we’re being set up for is Olivia eventually playing saviour, probably in the season finale. Fitz has cut Mellie and Cyrus out once again, and his relationship with the one other person he trusts, Creepy Military Boyfriend…I don’t see that lasting the season. Fitz doesn’t share well, and I can’t imagine him being thrilled with the reality of how close he’s becoming with Olivia.

Loree: Kendra, I’m glad you brought up Jake Ballard a.k.a. Creepy Military Boyfriend. Fitz did introduce this character into Olivia’s life and has no one to blame this time but himself for the results of their introduction. Now it seems Mr. Ballard is starting to have some feelings for her. I don’t know if its because he likes her or if it’s because she had a relationship with the President and he now wants to take that away from him. He seems on great terms with Fitz, but I think there’s more to the story between the President and Mr. Ballard that we’ve yet discovered.

Jordan: I agree. I’m sorry but I just can’t believe that Captain Creepy can think anything good can come from whatever he’s doing with Liv so he must have some bigger picture. I hope he does because he is truly risking his life. I don’t think Fitz would hesitate to have him killed for being with Liv.

Johnathan: It’s fascinating how Fitz gives Mellie a second chance. He gives Cyrus a second chance. But Olivia, the woman he supposedly loves so much, where’s her second chance at? *looks around*

Jordan: I cosign that. This show is really big on people magically moving past things. Fitz cheated on his wife and tried to divorce her, and she got over it. Fitz lied to Liv about sleeping with her client and his Chief of Staff killed said client, and everyone moved on. Cyrus told his husband he rigged an election, and James got over it. James almost had Cyrus put in jail for said election rigging, and they moved past it. Olivia ruined Quinn and Abby’s lives both directly and indirectly, and they all still work together. Somehow though, Olivia commits a felony, at great personal risk, to make sure the man she loves becomes president and this drives him to drink and mope for what looks to be about a year. Seriously, dude…no.

Loree: I guess it depends on what your definition of what ad “second chance” is for Mellie, Johnathan. Man, I felt so sorry for her this episode. Fitz basically treats her like the hired help and didn’t even acknowledge her when she brought their new son to him. Also when Mellie walked into Cyrus’ meeting–and everyone went silent when she asked what all the cheering was about–and no one said a word. She is reverting back to being invisible again and makes me wonder how much of being ignored she can take. Although I feel that she doesn’t feel alone because she went to Cyrus later in the day and stated “Fitz is not cheating on me Cyrus, he’s cheating on you” with Jake Ballard’s info. I wonder how she got that information, now that I think about it. It also makes me wonder what Cyrus is planning on doing next.

Jordan: Yeah, I am not in love with Captain Creepy, but I can’t imagine what Cyrus will do to this man who he thinks is after his job…I almost feel sorry for him.

Johnathan: I guess it was a temporary second chance but still one Olivia has not yet been afforded. But wait. Was anyone else waiting for Maury to pop out of the closet when the paternity test results came back? “You are not the father!”



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