Scandal Roundtable 2.20: “A Woman Scorned”

Hosted by Joseph Lamour 

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If you read Kendra’s recap last week, everyone in Scandal is slowly becoming less horrible-but-redeeming and more “horrible, just horrible.” Jordan St. John and Loree Lamour join me for to wade through the bad behavior.

As usual, spoiler alert for Scandal!

But also: for Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother, and 1993 romance movie Untamed Heart. We’re an odd bunch when it comes to references here at the R.

Joe: Commenter Ruthie O has an interesting theory or two about the show:

“I have two theories: one, we actually are not supposed to root for Fitz and Olivia. We are supposed to cringe. At least, that’s what I tell myself each week because Fitz gets meaner, more abusive, and uglier each episode. We have not been shown a single redeeming quality of Fitz, and I think that means something.

And here’s my second theory: What if Fitz is the mole? Furthermore, what if Fitz is the one who hired Charlie? Remember, it was Cyrus who showed up at Olivia’s door–not Charlie. Why would Cyrus show up to the scene of a murder when he hired his evil henchman to do the dirty work for him? Isn’t that why powerful people hire evil henchmen? So they don’t have to show up? I think that Cyrus really was just going to talk to Olivia. Even if Cyrus isn’t the mole who is trying to kill Olivia, he still is one of the main villains of the show; I just don’t think he’s the one behind Charlie’s most recent attacks.”

I tend to agree with some aspects and not others. First: Fitz is horrible, and other than his ab-tastic frame and Fear like obsession love for Olivia, he really doesn’t have redeeming qualities. He isn’t just flawed, he is Olivia’s flaw. That is not to say that Olivia isn’t flawed. 
Regarding the second theory…I love how all of these genius lawyers working for Olivia can’t seem to figure out a CIA-trained assassin is probably capable of having more than one client.

What do you guys think?

Loree: I don’t think Fitz is the mole. We haven’t really seen the back story of Fitz before Olivia, and, yes, we know now that he is capable of murder, but Olivia is the love of his life. He’s said it several times of how he would give up the presidency to be with her. I mean the norm in our society is when a political official is known to cheat on their spouse they resign right after. Fitz didn’t blink when Mellie revealed that she was going to announce his infidelity to the world via the TV interview. I mean, he watched the clock count down like it was New Years Eve.

Joe: 3… 2… 1…Happy Public Affair!

Loree: ::eye roll:: Anyways, I do love the chemistry between Fitz and Olivia but, yeah, I feel like the line has slowly crossed over from love to complete addiction between the two.

Jordan: I feel like this opening scene with Olivia, Jake, and Fitz is supposed to be cute. It is not cute. There are several issues I have with it. First and foremost, I am reminded of something my father said to me when we were watching Untamed Heart with Christian Slater that always stuck with me. If you are unfamiliar: in the movie, Christian Slater follows Marisa Tomei home from work most nights to make sure she gets home safe. He ends up saving her from an assault–which is great–but there is still that whole following her home from work bit. At a later point in the movie, after she has mentioned she wants a real Christmas tree, he essentially breaks into her house and puts one up. I swooned–how wonderful, how romantic. And it was my father who put it in perspective–that’s not love, that’s creepy. And it was–really creepy and stalker-ish and dismissive all sorts of boundaries and privacy personal space.

By comparison, this foolishness with Jake and Fitz makes Christian Slater’s character actually seem romantic. Olivia Pope is a brilliant strategist and very capable woman and to have any man–but certainly a man who in the next breath says “my wife moved out” like it’s some grand declaration of love–limit her freedom and movement is not playful or protective, it’s dangerous. He is using his position as a man–and a man in power–to take away Olivia’s rights and agency. I really hope Shonda has a bigger plan for this because as much as I like the Fitz and Olivia chemistry, I am not on board for this at all. Also, Jake does not get a pass in this situation. What the hell, dude. Can we also mention that I hope Olivia is keeping the “and I slept with your boy” card to be thrown down at the right moment for maximum impact against Jake and Fitz. Sad thing is, she’s probably afraid that info will get Jake killed…and she may not be wrong.

Joe: I have heard countless times that Shonda says this isn’t supposed to be a love story. Look, I don’t care. I think that in order to spend so much time on them, you have to root for them. Look at a show (I’m going to get side eyes, but here goes) like How I Met Your Mother. Robin switches between Ted and Barney just about every other episode. But the difference is, even though Barney is an asshole, you still like him. You really need that glimmer of charm to keep the love story from being infuriating, and Fitz just. does. not. have. that.

Jordan: Agreed. And I used to be ok with Fitz when he was just your typical self-centered philanderer. Olivia Pope is certainly no saint, so if they could look past each other’s faults, lovely. But this new Fitz who ran around calling Liv a whore and had her followed while simultaneously being a jerk to his children and Cy and Mellie all because he had his feelings hurt, I am not on board with this guy.

Loree: Man, you Fitz haters. LOL. I don’t know how I feel about Fitz, either. I mean if you look at it from his position, he is stuck in a loveless marriage to a woman who just won’t let go. He is in a position of the highest authority, which he didn’t get on his own merit. And the people who he truly believed and had faith in were the ones who didn’t have faith in him and rigged said election. Also, he got shot in the head, for goodness sake–that’s gonna change you. So yeah people say hurtful things when they’re hurt, but to err is human. I think Fitz is changing into the character that his environment, his family, his friends have created. I’m not saying he’s blameless, just saying that no one is perfect.

Joe: I agree, but there’s a point where the jerk needs to stop, and you need to see a little bit of what made these two fabulous–and yes, very flawed, in both cases–women fall so in love with him. It isn’t just power or lust (despite the scene last week). I… just… don’t know what.

Loree:  Yeah, despite the fact that Fitz is sexy as all hell, they’re becoming one of those couples where you’re, like, I can’t believe they’re still together. I mean who knows the real Olivia and the real Fitz. Do they feel like their true selves when their together? I mean isn’t that what true love is about, being yourself without the disguises. Of course, we all have our secrets, and I know we’ve yet to hear all of Olivia’s and Fitz’s. Also, we haven’t seen Olivia’s backstory. How her family life was before Fitz and what makes her fall in love with these men in her life.

Jordan: I dare anyone to find fault with one thing Mellie says to Cy in this first conversation. I find it interesting that it is really Fitz who is acting like a child. All she is asking for is the partnership they agreed to, and she is only cutting him off from Olivia because he has shown, time and time again, that he is not a big boy and he cannot handle it. As I have said before, Mellie seems like she would be fine with Fitz if he could be a pleasant husband, interested father, and strong president who occasionally dipped out quietly to see his mistress. Fitz has shown that he cannot handle the rules of that mature arrangement. He wants everything his way all the time. He is acting like a child and he needs to fall in line or be punished.

Joe: What’s new?

Jordan: They do give Cyrus some of the best lines: “heavy phone breathing done.” Classic. I love that Mellie is the only one who seems to have any resolve here. I hope that she becomes president and Fitz has to be first husband to her while she runs around with some fabulous gentleman who appreciates her unique gifts.

Joe: I would love that to be a dream montage at the top of tonight’s episode.

Jordan: OK. Ambition really does drive all relationships. James should take a hard look at himself.

Joe: At least in the world of Scandal, ambition drives relationships. Everyone is screwing over the one person that loves them for something they want more.

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Jordan: I don’t know why, but these pass offs, where it feels like Jake hands Oliva over to Fitz, really make my skin crawl. This, “Jake you can stop protecting her because I am here now”–they do makes me ill. I was thinking about it because I am a fan of The Vampire Diaries. I love a good three-way relationship but for me; it is all about the agency. In Vampire Diaries, it is all about choice. Sometimes Elena wants to be with Damon and sometimes she wants to be with Stefan. Sometimes she is done with both of them; sometimes they are done with her, etc., but here, Olivia, this strong powerful woman, is literally being passed around by the president. Sometimes he keeps her to himself; sometimes he shares–but there is no agency for her. I can’t see how we are not supposed to be offended and upset about his treatment of her.

Loree: Yeah, he does treat Olivia like property, which I do not appreciate. But you gotta remember that Fitz doesn’t know that Jake and Olivia’s relationship has become physical. When Fitz does find out, I am dying to know what his reaction is going to be. Which is messed up, since obviously Fitz has been intimate with his wife until recently. Yeah, they are all truly messed up.

Joe: Not to beat a dead horse, but like I said, these people are supposed to be imperfect, but I think they are starting to pass Seinfeld-dislike into It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia-dislike–without any of the comedy.

Jordan: Fitz is a damn fool who doesn’t deserve to be president, and I agree that some time during this running-down clock, I hope one of them made a call to their children, so Fitz and Mellie Junior didn’t have to find out about their parents’ dysfunction on the evening news.

Joe: That is a good point, Jordan. Wow. First: when are they going to cast those children!? The kids’ constant involvement in the plot (remember the Tennis Weekend?) despite their invisibility is reminding me of Ringer. I didn’t even think of the kids, though, and I doubt anyone else did, either. If anyone called them, it’s likely it was Mellie.

Jordan: Team Mellie!

Joe: Seconded. That ending was so shocking. I was all, “She’s not going to say anything. She’ll change the subject. She’ll say she’s pregnant again.” Then boom. I love it when television shows do that. Once Upon a Time did it when they broke the curse at the end of the first season. Last summer everyone who watched the show was saying, “Well what’s next?” I wonder what’s going to happen tonight!

Loree: Yeah, Mellie spilling the beans about Fitz and his affair surprised me, too. I’m thinking it will be a Bill/Hillary situation. It’ll be talked about for a bit, but his wife will dutifully stand by her man, and people will just eventually forget about it or not make it the main issue because something bigger will take its place. But what could that be?

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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  • Foxessa

    I want them all to go to prison.

    I haven’t even been able to watch last week’s episode.

    Pretty bad, huh! Taking it all too seriously. Must stop this! :)

  • littleeva

    Interesting. I don’t watch Scandal but I thought Jordan’s comment was interesting about what is and what isn’t “creepy.” To me, one person’s creepy is another person’s romantic. You saw Christian Slater as being romantic, which is your right, but your father saw it as creepy. Are you right? Is he right? It’s one of those things that’s up in the air. If you watch romantic movies from the 1940’s, a person might concur that the men are acting, what we think now is creepy. But if people thought that was romantic back then, was it? Or are we right today?