Scandal "Snake the Garden" Review: Mole Uncovered, Ear Removed

By Lily Sparks

Mar 29, 2013

Scandal S02E17: "Snake in the Garden"

“I like how you answer the phone with ‘What?', that you always seem to be wearing white, and that for you, wine seems to be a food group.”

Can somebody tell me why psychos always have the best lines? Maybe if a guy is masquerading as your fantasy on full-time basis in order to better monitor your life via secret cameras and fake relationships for the benefit of some shadowy government-overturning force, he puts more effort into observing the little things about you and saying the things that will twist your psyche like a puppet on a string. In my case, that would be Jack saying, “I like how you’ve not been able to find your phone for almost a week, that you always seem to be wearing clothes from the kids' section of Target, and that the floor of your car is two feet deep with little Arrowhead water bottles.”

Last night’s Scandal really filled its plate with some heaping helpings of crazy: The murder of the head of the CIA and the president being borderline alcoholic in and of themselves might have been a finale-sized feast for a lesser show. But this is Scandal, and there is filler to be sown amongst the rapid reveals, lest the total anarchy this administration is headed for hit Fake Washington before Season 3. In this case, that filler took the form of a fake kidnapping and a Van Gogh reference.

Generally the one-off stories are throwaways, but Scandal did something commendable last night, bringing in an established character from the Defiance arc so that there were relationships with Olivia and the Gladiators already in place. Hollis, my favorite Angry Southern Stereotype on TV right now, did a great job not giving an eff about his daughter’s kidnapping until an ear showed up, and then giving her her birthright while falling to emotional pieces in the fourth act. The weakness with the storyline was that it was obvious from the beginning that the girl had kidnapped herself. For starters, she frequently looked off-camera and then quoted something the kidnapper had allegedly said to her during periods of complete silence. I appreciate the dedication it takes to saw your ear off to buy shoes and poppers, but couldn’t she have recorded some threats on a vocoder and cut that into the ransom video? Addicts get so lazy with post-production details.

I also loved Olivia’s no-patience speech about how she wasn’t just a spoiled little rich girl, she was straight-up stupid not to take her parents up on a second chance after what they’d put her through. I myself constantly fight the urge to shake the shit out of people like that, and this was intertwined well enough with Jake’s promise of a “do-over” to give it tons of emotional resonance.

The Fitz-is-a-lush plotline was less successful. I appreciated that it gave us twenty minutes of Mellie running around scheming and traumatizing Fitz’s secretary, and that it was ultimately another tribute to the deep connection between Olivia and Fitz, but for all of that to pay off in a reveal that Fitz is emotionally abusive to his children? Yikes.

And a half-hour speech from Mellie about “Big Jerry” and everyone tip-toeing around the White House trying not to get on Fitz’s bad side? (What else should they be doing, if you don’t mind me asking? He is in charge. I’ve had to ‘tip-toe’ around Trader Joe’s managers during a work day, I would hope that people tip-toe around the, uh, leader of the free world.)

Between that and Cyrus’s monologue earlier about how History will decide whether he is evil or not, but we are all mere players on this great stage and tomorrow and tomorrow and  tomorrow hath but lighted our way to dusty death etc., the Oval Office is starting to feel more like a Julliard audition room than a place of important international business. If I were Fitz I’d interrupt these people about two paragraphs in, tap “The Buck Stops Here,” and say, “Our Town auditions are Wednesday. Get back to work.” But that’s just the nature of Scandal: big awesome speeches for big awesome actors. Cyrus and Mellie gave great performances delivering their speeches! I’m just starting to question the president’s conversational acumen if he finds himself on the receiving end of a tearful, hate-filled lecture three times a day.

Still, aside from these content potatoes in our juicy Liv & Fitz/government takeover burrito, there were enough revelations and insanity (brains splattered on a window, Jake creeping in Liz's apartment and turning all her secrets over to Fitz) to keep me happy. But what about you, viewers?! 


… Jake: Is his relaish with Olivia something that's developing in spite of, or because of, his double agent role?

… Fitz: a common drunkard or is Mellie playing with his mind and "gaslighting" him?

… What drama series would you say packs the biggest emotional punch? Scandal or…?

… Do you know any truly spoiled rotten rich kids?

... Did you get a bad vibe from Jake all along or did last night take you completely by surprise?

... Do crazy guys always have the best pick up lines?

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  • marcusj1973 Sep 24, 2013

    I wonder if Olivia would be able to exit her body long enough to give herself the same "You're being stupid!!!" speech that she gave Hollis' kid...cause she needs the same kind of tough love

  • Sw33tEscape Apr 07, 2013

    Definitely have to say the so far Scandal is the show that packs the biggest emotional punch, currently on.

  • un0rmal Apr 05, 2013

    I'm not sold on Jake being a bad guy. I mean, the best people in this show have all done some terrible stuff. Doesn't make them bad. Except for Angry Southern Stereotype guy. He's kinda awful. So I'm still hoping Jake turns out to be a good guy.

    Crazy guys are the best, btw. I'm a crazy stalker myself. But in the good kind. Not the "leaving a dead cat on the doorstep" kind.

  • Sw33tEscape Apr 07, 2013

    Is this such a thing as a good crazy stalker? Seems too much like an oxymoron.

  • CamilleGosnel Apr 03, 2013

    Scandal is good TV not GREAT. Great is FX's Justified and The Americans. But FX isn't one of the top 3 networks so what do u expect. Jake throws a wrench in the Fitz and Liv love affair. But it won't last. And Liv will figure it out his true nature in the next couple of eps. Harrison does need at least an entire ep to himself. We know nothing of his backstory. Mellie...well I love to hate her. But her speech was the best since the beg of the show. Fitz needs to get over Liv. And once he does, then Jake won't have anymore purpose on the show. Which is fine by me. Liv should focus on herself right now and regain her professional gut instincts. I agree that the relationship between Huck and his new protege is a decent new storyline. Let's see if it plays out or not. I just don't see her being innately murderous. DA David should join the team. He is kinda of a debbie downer right now because he no longer has purpose. And lastly, the kiss... Well let's say it was nothing short of weird. I don't know what they were going for but it had no passion or sincerity. She isn't really that into him. He is just trying to find out more about her and get her to fall for him. But I don't think he is her type. What I do see is him using her to his advantage as leverage against Fitz. We shall see....

  • bleumystique Mar 31, 2013

    And thus a Scandal review is here and all is right with the world. :)
    -Jake. Maybe it's Scott Foley. Okay it's definitely Scott Foley but I LOVE this guy. Like he creeps me the hell out but it's a sexy kind of creepy and then the fact that I find it sexy makes it all the more creepier and then I'm left with all this feelings that I don't know how to wrap my head around, and then I salute Scandal for their deliciously complex characters, because dammit you can't just love or loathe a character. Is it kind of both? I mean he likes her because through his surveillance he's come to know her, but he likes her despite the vague "she's a horrible person" comments Fitz tells him, so isn't it kind of both? I freaking loved his speech in all of its creepy glory and if Olivia had been paying attention (and maybe she has and we just haven't seen it yet) she'd have started to get suspicious of him right then and there because some of the stuff he said, he technically shouldn't have known.
    - Fitz is...I don't know how to describe poor, bitter, drunken Fitz. But damn if that speech both Cyrus and Mellie gave them, they kick ass at their speeches. Tiny diamonds fall from Jeff Perry's lips every time he opens his mouth. Anyhoo, LOVED the speeches. Loved them to pieces. Only this show can give us over the top monologues and it be so gosh darn entertaining.
    - Are there any other options?
    -Who doesn't. Hell, I know half the characters in this show person. Most of them are in my family alone. Including a sociopath or two. Just not the lovable Huck kind. WHY can't I just have a lovable pet sociopath like Huck? Ugh.
    - Eh. Even though I kinda love Jake, I wasn't naive to him being shady. I expected some shade. It wasn't a jaw dropping shocker that he could be hinky.
    - Always.

    David chillaxing at P&A;? Awesome! I'd love him to sort of kinda be a member. I mean it isn't like he has anything else to do and he'd be putting his knowledge to good use, and could act as a foil or just balancing out this crew of Olivia with the sketchy morals who always means well and her host of gladiators who would jump over a cliff if she asked them too. He would be a nice addition, because Huck and Harrison are blindly loyal to the point that they don't even bother asking questions, And Quinn and Abby ask questions (usually at the most inopportune time) but don't really stand toe to toe with Olivia. David doesn't have that kind of loyalty, so it would be interesting having someone like him in the fold. At first I thought he'd be compared to Stephen, the long forgotten Gladiator and bestie from S1 but he wouldn't be similar. His relationship would be professional with no personal entanglements with Olivia to keep him from going off on her if he feels like it. That could work.
    -I knew that heathen kidnapped herself, but I was both amused and appalled at watching just how chill Hollis was about the whole thing for most of the episode. Hollis is such a devious, evil, asshole, but he's entertaining. Loved the ending though. He paid her off and told her to never come back if she chose money over family, and it killed him, but he held strong and I don't blame him.
    -Also. I don' t know how they managed this, but Huckleberry Quinn. There is a genuine giddiness in Huck's eye at having his very own protege and Quinn is so eager to learn everything he has to teach her. I love it. They are such weird, and twisted friends and it's so awesome. Like I typically don't even like Quinn. Never cared for her, but somehow, working with Huck she's actually likeable. He made her likeable and tolerable, and she kind of gave him a new purpose to keep him on track. And who doesn't love a good stalker family. Love those two.

  • enctv Mar 31, 2013

    Ok, so my scandal theory. Every other character has had a major storyline this season, EVERYONE, but Harrison. So the rest of the season has to revolve around him somehow. This came to at the end of the last episode "Snake in the Garden" when I thought it was him talking to Jake.

  • gmanBegins Mar 31, 2013

    (1) Its something but duty will come first. Scandal writers are good at giving you the morally conflicted with good intentions!
    (2)Looks like a gaslight to me! (3) Scandal reminds me of that Fox show Boston Public. They are throwing so many emotional haymakers early in the series that there will be nothing left soon.(4) No (5) No surprise.(6) Yes, that's why they're the best characters
    I would grade this episode a B .Not as good as last weeks but decent .My favorite DA/David was diving on the floor within 30 seconds of the show starting,,(This guy has got to get a spinoff show)

  • safibwana Mar 30, 2013

    Oh, it's obvious that Fitz is a full on alcoholic and has been for a couple episodes.

    I have to say, I was shocked when you stated you saw that was evidence of a deep connection between Fitz and Olivia, I was expecting to see the word Mellie there. She's been shown to be the good guy, the supportive wife and caring mother since the shooting. A reversal? Yes, but they also reversed Olivia's character in latter episodes. Really seems like the writers jumped ship from team Olivia and got on board team Mellie. Me, I can see Mellie's point, she does deserve the payoff from all the work she put into creating Fitz, but I think she deserves better. He's awful. Olivia at this stage is a mess and probably deserves no one and needs to spend some time alone.

    Luckily, this is a Shonda Rhimes show so this can't go on much longer. She'll get distracted by some shiny new triangle soon enough. I mean, she's already on her 3rd just involving Fitz and Olivia. I predict she picks a new OTP and introduces a new character to form a triangle very soon.

  • JamesOliver Mar 30, 2013

    I like Lindsey and Huck getting close.

  • meganoyer Mar 30, 2013

    I had such high hopes for Jake. Olivia deserves to be happy, and I love Scott Foley. I'm still hoping that their relationship is developing in spite of his double agent status in stead of because of it. Really i'm just hoping that it's all a big misunderstanding and he is still good. But if that's not the case, Olivia better give him the best verbal beat down ever.

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