Open Thread: Scandal S03 E08: ‘Vermont is for Lovers, Too’

By Arturo R. García

Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) indulge in a shared future for one night.

Score this round for the (relatively) good guys.

In the last episode before the winter finale, we saw the pieces begin to move. While Olivia and Fitz’s dalliance in the house revealed just how far Fitz’s obsession flame went — not to mention how badly he seems to want out of politics — the duo also came to an understanding, if not an outright alliance. Each would do what they had to do to unravel Eli and B613.

And now the wildest card of all has landed on Olivia’s doorstep.

The episode ended with Olivia’s mother, Maya, completing her bloody, harrowing escape from Eli’s clutches and going to “Livvie.” Presumably, we’ll figure out how Mrs. Pope made her way across D.C., but her determination isn’t to be doubted; kudos to guest director Ava DuVernay(!) for letting us get just a little uncomfortable with the lengths Maya went to in order to position herself for her great escape.

Quinn (Katie Lowes) did a bad, bad thing.

While Eli’s probably aware of where Maya went, it’s doubtful he’s twigged to the fact that his other plan for undermining his daughter is seemingly in danger, since Quinn has been compromised. And while the shot of Huck licking her face while she’s apparently about to be tortured is problematic, it was hard not to smile just a wee bit at the moment when she figured out she’d been made. Too bad, so sad, “Robin.”

Speaking of failed plans, Cyrus came to realize all too late what the apparent cost would be of essentially inviting his husband to cheat on him, despite Mellie’s warning. While it’s still likely that James and Daniel Langston are playing their own game in retaliation, the pain on Cyrus’ face was still real.

Of course, even a broken heart might be preferable to dealing with a story accusing the sitting president’s chief of staff of trying to undermine his vice president’s marriage. Which, should James write it, would be exactly the kind of thing Sally could seize upon to kick-start her insurgent campaign, a threat that Fitz still doesn’t see coming.

For the moment, Fitz is just relieved to see Rep. Marcus fall on her sword, putting her family ahead of her campaign and covering up for her daughter’s — it must be said — bonehead play at framing Gov. Reston for stealing vital information. But even if he’s confident of beating Reston in a rematch, Fitz can’t stop holding on to his past. Or rather, to the future he still wants to share with Olivia, out of the public eye.

While Jake is right to point out the manipulative nature of Olitz’s relationship, it’s also possible that the relationship is important to Fitz not just because it’s Olivia, but because it’s his way out of a career he never wanted and a marriage he doesn’t want anymore. Fitz’s tenure as Chief Executive is almost turning into a Truman presidency — Truman Burbank, that is. And if he and/or Olivia can scuttle the B613 threat … well, one election was fixed to get him into office. Would it be so out of place to have one manipulated to get him out?

Scandalous Thoughts

  • We’d be remiss in not pointing out the momentous occasion this episode delivered: Women of color as the showrunner, star and director. Would that the rest of Hollywood would catch up. Quickly.
  • So, Harrison gets his own subplot, then his own (brief) romance? Definitely moves him up in the Death Pool.
  • Another possible cause for concern for Eli: Charlie actually hesitated a little at the thought of “neutralizing” Quinn.
  • How did Fitz’s grand gesture play with you, Racializens? Romantic, creepy, creepily romantic?
  • What do you think Maya could have known or done to merit her being “disappeared” for all these years?


About This Blog

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.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

Use the "for:racialicious" tag in to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Support Racialicious

The Octavia Butler Book Club

The Octavia Butler Book Club
(Click the book for the latest conversation)

Recent Comments

Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

Feminism for Real

Yes Means Yes – Latoya

Yes Means Yes

Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

Youth and Sexual Health


Online Media Legal Network

Recent Posts

Support Racialicious

Older Archives


Written by:

  • gogobooty

    I want a cash pay off every time one of these characters says “This is over. We are DONE.” Seriously, how many times has this happened? One, two three dozen? I just watched 2.5 seasons in a week and honestly the repetitiveness of the lines and scenarios is both annoying and a bit boring.

    Also, when Olivia wears her endless supply of fancy coats and her hair in straight bangs and opens her eyes really wide, she reminds me of “That Girl” from the 60s.

  • Pingback: The Scandal Mid-Season Finale Prediction Thread | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture()

  • Foxessa

    P.S. I’m glad James went for it. Cyrus asked for it, all right. That’s just the lowest thing to do — pimping out your spouse — even if you believe your spouse won’t go there. Just like Fitz having zip interest in his existing children and that the only person on that plane anybody thinks matters is Olivia’s mother. Huck torturing Quinn? Quinn wanting to torture and murder? They’re all horrible.

    • jen*

      They are indeed, all horrible. Cyrus asked for it, and I only feel sorry for James a little, because the writing just makes him into this pawn, only trotted out to be manipulated and used. He seems to be extremely easily played.

      • Foxessa

        Yeah, James is shallow and easily played — like most ‘journalists’ in D.C. — and elsewhere too, it seems. They are indeed part of our problem.

  • Foxessa

    The Vermont Jam Mansion was stupendous. Has there been enough time for Fitz to finance and get it built? Unlike the fast food McMansions this one isn’t constructed of toxic ticky tacky, for one thing. Fitz makes such a point of telling her that everything in it is local, of the highest quality. That takes a lot longer.

    Is Maya perhaps a Hannibal Lector? That remark about young Olivia, “I could eat her right up,” seemed so, odd, in the context of where and when she was viewing those pictures. And then, well she did what she did, which seems just about impossible. The most EEEEEEEEEEEEUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU thing I’ve see onscreen since Gnarl on season 7 Buffy. Naaah, that can’t be.

  • Alyssa Bacon-Liu

    Olitz. Sigh. I thought we were done with them when Oliva finds out that, oh I don’t know, he (to their knowledge) killed her mother and like 300 other people. But no! He bought her a house! For their future children (with no mention of the children he already has!)!. Not creepy or desperate or bizarre at all!

    If Olivia was my best friend or something I would tell her she needs to drop all these men and focus on herself. And her super spy killer dad. And her potentially super spy killer mom. And stop sleeping with men who are 1) president 2) married 3) murderous and 4) any combo of the aforementioned.

    • jen*

      I’m with you Alyssa. I found Fitz’s mention of possible future children just gross. At this time and place? Nope.

      All I hear from Fitz is “I killed your mama, I’m gonna kill your daddy, but I got magical powers and I built you a house. Make me some babies and some jam.” The rest is manipulative bs. In fact, I don’t like the fact that Liv met her mama, just cuz it gives Fitz another out – who cares about the other people on the plane?

      But wev. I’m ride or die for Scandal, so I’m still here. I mean…after last week’s Mellie blindside, what else is coming? ugh. Kerry and her outfits keep me coming back even if nothing else did. But I still love the show.

      • Alyssa Bacon-Liu

        “Make me some babies and some jam.” <— HAHAHHAHA. Pretty much.

        I love Scandal SO much which is why I'm overly invested in all of these characters haha. I think it's a sign of a good show when you don't really know who to root for sometimes!

      • ahimsa

        While listing all the folks Fitz has killed let’s not forget that he murdered Verna in cold blood. That death was not part of some military action (which at least has some gray area) or self defense. No, he killed Verna in person with his own two hands. And the main motive seems to have been to protect his position and power. Okay, probably a bit of revenge in there, too, since Verna was the one who tried to have him assassinated.

        Olivia knows that Fitz did this and she still wants to be with him? *shiver* I’m no psychologist so I don’t understand the attraction (daddy issues? obsession with powerful men?).

        This series is thought provoking but it’s getting harder and harder for me to watch.

    • aboynamedart

      If Olivia was my best friend or something I would tell her she needs to drop all these men and focus on herself.

      Well said. But at least we now know it’s her mother’s absence that has prevented her from developing any social attachments. Hopefully there’s some positive after-effects from her return, no matter how this season plays out.

    • nicthommi

      She should have been over him after his performance in the church after the christening…you know, after she dumped her fiance for him like an idiot and he decided she had somehow betrayed him and he was hella nasty to her. But maybe that’s just me…

  • mnelise

    I’m just tired of Olitz back and forth, it’s getting boring and predictable. I thought we had something going for awhile, the last few weeks of her realizing the power he has over her. Alas. While I understand/appreciate showing the difficulty of leaving a relationship that is manipulative and has power issues, but still has love, I am tired of seeing women portrayed as always returning to men who treat them so poorly. But I get it, I’m still tuning in each week to see if it will ever happen, so I guess it’s working.

    I want the show, in its final end, to end with Liv single, powerful, and happy. Wouldn’t that be new?!

    • jen*

      I am all for Olivia all by herself. She’s a messed up person who needs some time to sort herself out anyway. I’d love for her to just have some actual friends, as well. Everyone she’s around are colleagues or clients.

  • jen*

    Since my DVR cut off the scenes from next week, I missed the Huckeberry Quinn lick. But that is indeed unsettling. I hate Quinn, and have always hated her, but I don’t want her to be tortured to death (or just tortured). Especially not by Huck. I just want her to reap the consequences of her actions and fall off a building or something. I don’t understand the direction the writers have taken her character, since she seemed much more capable before she got caught up with Charlie. Now she just seems sad and easily fooled.

    I was quite disappointed that the first time Harrison gets a little love, it’s from an idiot. There could have been other options. I was embarrassed for him. They really need to utilize his skills better overall.

    As for Fitz’s Vermont Hideaway? #1 – I will never like the “being summoned for a POTUS bootycall” thing. Never. It’s gross. I will admit that Olitz is H.O.T. But I am not on that team. Period. I want Olivia to be happy, but, this ish is not healthy. It’s a distraction she can’t afford until she gets the rest of her ish together.

    And her mama? Ohh whee. We’ll see.

    • aboynamedart

      The show seems to be pivoting harder toward the idea that it’s “Washington” (because it’s a monolyth, y’see) that’s the problem with their relationship.