Scandal "Defiance" Review: The Race Toward Destruction

By Lily Sparks

Nov 30, 2012

Scandal S02E07: "Defiance"

Last night on Scandal we had a number of people racing toward their own destruction. I don't even mean Fitz, who hopped out of the car into a hail of bullets in a particularly enraging cliffhanger. First there was Cyrus's lovable husband, spending all night painstakingly crafting himself a noose by criss-crossing the country to follow up on rigged voting machines when he knows he is married to a self-described monster who put a bitch to sleep last season. Every time I saw him frantically waving down a janitor or asking about memory cards I started getting sad. "Please don't kill of James!" I screeched to an empty room, horrifying my neighbors no doubt.

Then there was Edison, who was chasing down sorrow by querying Liz about her ex and getting restive when he caught her on the verge of tears watching an announcement about the President's birthday. Edison was cracking cases like Sherlock Holmes last night, sizing up Olivia's lovelife. Dude, calm down. Need to know basis, and you will never need to know.

And finally, in terms of people throwing themselves under a sword, we had Quinn, who had the NERVE to try to outfox Huck, the man who gets all warm and fuzzy when he's slicing people's ligaments. She pulled the bubbly ditz act a couple times and then accused Huck—a cold, hard killer / possible member of the bassett hound family—and her boss of carrying out a top-secret mission against her. Fantastic. You know you almost got locked away for life, right Quinn? Was hopping on a roller coaster with the seat unbuckled and blowing your hair out in the bathtub just not enough to get your adrenaline pumping that you had to take on Huck in a dark room?

P.S. You know he smelled your hair while you were knocked out on that plane. I'd say just go ahead and kill her but Quinn did make me laugh this episode when she said the line, "Hundreds of billions. Of dollars." Oh DOLLARS that's what they trade on the stock market thank you so much. All this time I thought it was Jordan almonds.

Poor Harrison and Abby got SHAFTED last night, having to babysit this week's extras through the goofy, broad B-story of a crazy billionaire and his trophy wife who, whoops, wasn't so crazy! He just needed to talk to his son for five minutes which no one had tried yet. That's how people who build multi-billion-dollar corporations that span the globe are: terrible at communicating!

What did make me laugh about this week's procedural clients was the trophy wife bringing the chips out to the car and Abby unsuccessfully trying to pull Harrison into a discussion of her personal life. All those little sighs in the car after she checked her voicemail, how unbearable. Office co-workers who overshare their romantic histories are the best, aren't they? They're always skinny, well-preserved ladies in their late thirties and they will take ANY excuse to share the kind of details that would make Emily Post put her head in the oven. "Then I unpacked my suitcase at his place and I told him where can I put my diaphragm and he just gave me this look and I thought well, maybe it's too early to bring a night bag! But we've spent every night for the last five weeks camped out on his sofa making love and watching The Wire and eating popcorn." Said to a small room including the accounts payable guy, two interns, and the temp who buys the toilet paper. I eat it all up, I'm sorry, I love it so much. Abby is EXACTLY that lady, except all saddy and with a bobo Dr. Who scarf.

I felt deeply, deeply cheated this episode of my "Olivia Pope Grand Entrance at a Gala" moment. Last season her flawless entry to a similar event really clinched the show as a fave, and I looked so forward (because of the lying, mendacious promos) to seeing her swirl around a dance floor on Fitz's arm. While I am not even remotely concerned about Fitz dying (like, hello, please, why not just burn a barrel of money while you're at it, showrunners), I am hoping that there's a scene where Liv appears at his hospital bed in that gown with that hair and he asks if he's in heaven and she's an angel.

The other moments that made this episode 1,000 percent worth my time were Fitz going weak at the knees staring at Olivia when she couldn't see him, Kerry Washington in blurry focus like a photograph in a gallery and him practically fainting like a lady from the Victorian era. Cyrus is going to have to start carrying around a fan and smelling salts once he's out of the hospital. And then of course the Most Passionate Review of Surveillance Photos ever.

Like I appreciate the heat but I worry Fitz's hands were covered in paper cuts after this snatchy little moment of Fitz literally tearing through the pile of shots of Edison and Olivia watching TV together. (What do you think they were watching? Or should I say, which Angelina Jolie movie do you think they were watching?) He "forgot" to cancel his surveillance order on her. I'm so sure! And he made Edison the Majority Leader of the House because he's over her. I'm so sure! Just like the moon gets over the Earth right around dawn, that's how he's over her, but he'll be back.

The big question marks are how Olivia Pope can possibly justify rigging an election, or being party to people who would do such a thing. I mean, we've come to the conclusion that the people in her employ aren't so much gladiators as self-righteous criminals, but Olivia herself up until now has not done anything explicitly incorrect. She's all nerve and heart and emotional justice, none of which ties in with rigging an election. (How much did you love all the side-eye when Fitz went on a speech at that dinner across from James about how he won against every pollster's predictions? The judge was cracking me up. Do you think her little legs were flailing out under the table trying to kick him in the shins? "Shut up shut up shut up!" said the judge's eyes.)

Am I worried about who the gunman was? No. It's not Huck, if it is I don't care, and new characters don't interest me, frankly. It was probably the Angry Southern Stereotype guy or his cronies, he probably helped rig the election to put the super-conservative VP in office, waited out the first year, and now figures he can kill the president and let his gal take charge. Wow, it's just a guess but I almost want to say spoiler alert before all that because it seems so accurate.

More importantly, what did you think?


1. Are you mad Olivia and Fitz never made it to the dance floor?

2. Abby: the worst?

3. Harrison: deserved better costars this week?

4. Edison: on to Olivia and Fitz yet?

  • Comments (47)
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  • marcusj1973 Sep 24, 2013

    "Are you mad Olivia and Fitz never made it to the dance floor?"

    Fitz as in the psychopath who ordered surveillance on his ex-girlfriend because she had the nerve to half heartedly reject his advances, Fitz? Nope, not mad in the least

  • daniellecio Dec 06, 2012

    I think Millie or whatever her cranky ass name is set up the shooting and then when it was time she had doubts and that's why she kept trying to make FItz not go to the party! I can't wait until Olivia finds out hes been shot!!

  • EstMoi Dec 02, 2012

    Maybe Edison is the one who gets shot and dies? Perhaps it's his closet OP is in all shook up.

  • monicaconso Dec 02, 2012

    I don't agree with those who believe that the FLOTUS was in on it. Maybe I am overestimating Shonda and her writers but it felt to me a Caesar's wife moment. It would make sense given that the POTUS is the Caesar of modern times and it'd feel poetic. Anyhow, I am not sure about Hollis being the one that organized the assassination attempt. Wouldn't it be a little too obvious? Or maybe the twist is that he didn't do it because of the whole thing with the majority leader but because he wanted the VPOTUS to become POTUS as Lily says. Still seems like a meh twist to me. Also, I wish they didn't have to go with the whole the President is almost dead and thus Olivia will realize the error of her ways. The attempt at the life of the President makes me think about TWW. And sorry Shonda but nothing will ever surpass "Two Lone Gunmen".

  • Crabtreeacres Dec 02, 2012

    Yeah, it felt that way to me too. I just hate the idea that she had a feeling something was going to go wrong. I'd rather she stay a creature of evil.

  • KayWatkins Dec 02, 2012

    1. Yeah, a wee bit.
    2. YES. SUPER annoying! I can't even have sympathy for that psycho.
    3. YES! But I was just glad they gave him something to do. He was seeming a bit underutilized.
    4. Not yet but she's making it a bit obvious with the swoony eyes while watching about his birthday gala and how all of the sudden it was "over" with the ex immediately after the white house backed the opposition and therefore secured Edison's win.

    OAN - Agreed about FLOTUS, she absolutely knew what was coming!

  • Crabtreeacres Dec 02, 2012

    I almost hope that Mellie knew bc otherwise she was a wife attuned to her husband and that's the last thing I want. Fitz and Olivia forever!
    James, dear James, what will Cyrus do when he finds out? And he will.

  • Shreela Dec 02, 2012

    I'm PO'd at Olivia being in love with Fitz, now that we know she rigged his election results. All this time, I was thinking the only reason she was all swoony over him was because he became POTUS. But now that we see that she made him POTUS, I'm kind of creeped. Either she fell for him so hard before he was POTUS that she rigged her man to win, or worse, she fell for him after it required her rigging in order for him to win. Bleh!

    I can't remember the exact order of when Abby apologized to Olivia -- was the apology AFTER Abby figured out (wrongly) that her new fling (Olivia's nemesis) was allegedly (not really) a wife-beater? If yes, then Abby is a desperate women who'll change their loyalty on on a dime, after just a few rolls in the sack.

    Flotus SO knew that Potus had a target on his back that night!

  • afroindia619 Dec 02, 2012

    I don't wish for the Fitz character to die and I certainly don't feel he's served his purpose. Shonda pulled us in with the romance of Liv & Fitz so to kill him off...well...I don't think the show would continue to hold my attention. It would be no different than the 100's of other dramas on tv right now. However, if she does kill Fitz off then it's a MUST to replace Liv's love interest with either a Blaire Underwood or someone else because Edison does not have the swoon factor.

    As for the grand entrance, yes...I definitely feel cheated. I feel like Liv purposely made herself that stunning to catch Fitz's eye...because even though she's "moved on" she really doesn't want to and neither does he.

    Also, while I like the fact that Harrison's character is really stepping up to the plate, I find the other characters interesting but not enough to take it from here sort of speak. Don't know about anyone else but I'm sadistic, I need that tortured can't live with your or without you kind of love that Olitz has.

    Can't wait 'til next week....

  • safibwana Dec 01, 2012

    1. I am overjoyed. I am holding out hope that he actually dies. His story is totally over. He served his last purpose by putting James onto Defiance.

    2. No, not really. I have no strong feelings about Abby. Middle of the pack maybe?

    3. Nah, no strong feelings about him either, but it seemed like an appropriate story for him to be having.

    4. Nah, not yet I don't think.

    Now, on the issue of rigging the election. It could be morally defensible if they had information that the opposition had rigged a different state to make it so they would win unfairly. Then it all equals out. I don't think that's it, but I expect there will be some explanation.

  • write2ap Dec 01, 2012

    Tony Goldwyn acting in this episode was top-notch. I wanted to cry with him when he was looking at the photos of Olivia and Edison. I have to admit that Edison is growing on me. I don't want him with Olivia but I can see why she chose him to be her "second choice." I love Gregg Henry as the Southern Redneck guy. He is awesome! Funny, scared, stupid...I love him. My money is on him for being behind the shooting. Can't wait for next week.

  • hamblemary Dec 16, 2012

    Micthum Huntzburger gives great villain!

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