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Checking In On Scandal: I Need a Minute... Or Eight

Scandal S02E16: "Top of the Hour"


Guys, it has been a roller coaster winter for me. I’ve had to limit my TV-watching schedule due to other commitments, leaving a lot of my favorite shows to build up on my DVR. However, sometimes you get a free hour and Scandal is on and you’re like, “I know I’m jumping ahead, I know I’m sneaking a peek, but I need to see one minute of Olivia and Fitz brushing knuckles to get me through this week. I am only human.”


So forgive me if I am coming at this review half-blind and half-cocked and a couple episodes out of sync. I plan on marathoning all the episodes I missed sometime in the next two weeks (while wearing a white hat and drinking a bottle of wine without any weak-ass wine glasses to help me, thanks). But it’s been far too long since we all talked about our favorite Gladiators in Suits and last night’s episode was amazing! And I could 87 percent follow it. Which made me really excited about my upcoming binge because:

1. America’s baby changed diddly between Fitz and Mellie. It was weirdly wonderful to see Mellie get the door to the Oval Office slammed in her Sigourney Weaver face. Fitz has clearly learned some lessons about how it’s lonely at the top for a reason, keeping Cyrus out of his mission to save the “aid workers” held captive by terrorists and not even giving Mellie the time of day. I loved how this episode’s subtext was that Cyrus cares a lot more about being involved in righting wrongs than he cares about whether wrongs actually end up being righted, as he was clearly kind of bummed about the terrorists getting rescued because he hadn’t gotten an invitation to the party.


2. Huck is adorably teaching Quinndsay how to be a real-life secret agent, one agonizingly poor decision at a time. To be fair, she's pretty quick on the uptake with this cloak-and-dagger stuff... but then she did spend the last couple years as an alternate personality so...


3. Olivia is DATING a secret agent army man Big Bad?! He’s one part army man, one part double (triple?) agent, and ALL Noel from Felicity. Yes, the RA who defined "needy man of the '90's" Scott Foley is still bouncing from series to series, trying to find a fit for his considerable skills, and on Scandal he has made the curious choice of delivering every line like a serial murderer. And lying to Olivia and putting cameras in her house! My skin is crawling! How soon until Fitz catches on and brings the sort of vengeance upon Scott Foley that only a Major World Leader with a raging case of blue balls can?



4. I was a little concerned that there would be no minute in this episode in which Liv and Fitz would share screentime. They had a phone conversation and Liv’s chin quivered the SECOND she heard his voice.

Tony Goldwyn continues to be the most intense whisperer not just on TV, not just in Hollywood, not just in America, but in the entire world.

He ruined her, she ruined him, but no one acknowledged the most hurtful part, which is that they both have ruined ME.


 5. Abby was surprisingly mature about Harrison being a gladiator first and a human being second. Perhaps even she was willing to admit her sexual relationship with David was sort of gross, because it was.


 6. The standalone story was worth my time, nuanced and grounded and captivating. There was a small, subtle moment of “Is this client sort of racist?” when the Sex-Crazed CEO (Lisa Edelstein's character, don’t remember her name, don’t care) assumed Abby was Olivia and then a series of hilarious pictures of the fake CEO on the fake news:


This same actress, Lisa Edelstein (who was brilliant on House so long ago) was also recently on CBS’s Elementary as a sex-crazed CEO who made racy little videos. I wonder if this actress gave her manager some edict like, “Maneaters. From now on, I only play maneaters. I got a crazy hot bod and I’m sick of covering it up in tasteful bandage dresses.”

My jaw dropped when Edelstein uncorked a bottle of wine and gave it to Olivia as a single serving when Olivia caught her swigging her sorrows away. Now THAT'S hospitality.


7. Unexpected paparazzi guy was refreshingly upbeat.

Somewhere this actor gathered all his friends and his latest crush and called his mom and told her to set her DVR and they all waited for his big scene as a Featured Extra and it was this little moment with him getting his ass kicked by Scott Foley in almost complete darkness. Hope the hors d’oeuvres for that screening party were outstanding, because guests probably needed something to fill the awkward silence. “Great… performance… that was great… very exciting. Did you get to talk to Kerry Washington? No? Well, still, good gig—better than a poke in the eye. Oh Scott Foley poked you in the eye? But he was really nice about it? Oh. Okay.”


8. Director of the CIA is the Big Big Big Bad? Dun dun dun!!!

Okay, so you know how once in a while, we’ll do a pre-season cram where we tell you what episodes to watch to get caught up on a show? Can you gladiators please do that in reverse for me? I intend on watching them all, but which can I have playing while I fold laundry and which should I uncork the $300 wine for? (Read: What are the good Fitz-and-Olivia episodes?)


And what did you think of this week's installment?

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"Huck is adorably..."

WOOO! Progress ;)

"I was a little concerned that there would be no minute in this episode in which Liv and Fitz would share screentime. They had a phone conversation and Liv’s chin quivered the SECOND she heard his voice."

D'Oh! Progress halted. Though I think I've figured it out, you're the Huck of Scandal's relationships. You're addicted to the pain, agony and torture inflicted on it's characters.

"He ruined her, she ruined him, but no one acknowledged the most hurtful part, which is that they both have ruined ME."

Acceptance is the first step
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Hey Lily!
Im a longtime reader and first time commenter. I came out of my comfortable perch as a lurker to say how excited I am that you are back to recapping Scandal! If you need your fitz and Olivia fix, I'd say go with Whisky Tango Foxtrot, which has a scene that is pretty much lady porn at it's finest. But since it's shonda, she'll proceed to riip your heart out immediately after that scene.
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Anyone else realized that Whiskey Tango Foxtrot stands for WTF (what the fuck) and aptly matches the theme of the episode?
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Oh sweetheart! Watch it all! ALL OF THEM! You must start at the beginning. I mean, I don't actually know when you stopped, was it around the last review you did? I don't know. But things happened. Like things. Big things. Little things. All things. They happened in practically every single episode since then. To me, this episode and the one before were kind of slow for Scandal, but even in Scandal world, slow isn't really slow. You know? I would have folded laundry on this episode. The more recent ones, the past three maybe, have been lacking a bit, to me. But before that, it's all good. There is less of Olitz, there is some Olitz steam in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot though. And Mellie and Fitz...what's the opposite of steam?/Anyone? Can you like, tweet about them when you watch them or something? Just little tweets to amuse me, because I love Scandal reactions. Scandal reactions are the best. Is that selfish? OMG I've become selfish. Just ignore that part...unless it worked. ;)
-There's this thing with Jake where I kinda adore him and then he creeps me out too. Like that is such a confusing and conflicting feeling. I mean, he's played by Scott Foley, which doesn't help because I love Scott Foley, but his character...I don't know how to feel about him, and my feelings are all mixed, but not in the usual mixed way but in the, this is uncomfortable but I'm kinda still liking the discomfort kinda way. He was cool in most of this. He trusted olivia enough to deliver the intel. He went to her house! But then he beat up a poor paparazzo, and that was like scary, but kinda good too. But then that creepy smile at the cameras he installed. Gah. Jake. You sexy creepy weirdo!
-I never thought there would be a time when Quinn didn't annoy me. But I gotta say. I dig Huckelberry Quinn. They are kinda stellar together, with their dark and twisty, weird mentor/mentee of all things dark and twisty. Huck does that serial killer voice when he tells her how she's good at something, and you can see the pride in his eyes at having a protege. And she's all bright eyed and eager to learn, and get approval, and it should be weird. it should be scary. It should be kinda disconcerting. But it isn't. It's awesome. And amusing. And possibly good for both of them.
-Abbison cuteness. Abby is at her best when she interacts with Harrison. What is it with the lesser Scandal women being awesomer when interacting with their male Gladiators in suits counterparts? I should be annoyed by that, but I enjoy it too much to get riled up.
-Oh that moment when Lisa Edelstein's character thought Abby was Olivia. Happens all the time. I shook my head, sighed, and then chuckled. Because it isn't that intentional racism. Like, it's Ryan Phillipe in Crash, didn't even know I had preconceptions sort of racism that everyone has but they don't know it, until they unconsciously tighten their purse strap while standing next to a Hispanic or Black male, or ease into the farthest corner of the elevator while heading to the top floor of a car lot when a balding forty year old white guy with seventies glasses and a hinky disposition is your only company in the car. It's just there against everything in you. I love how realistic that was, because it was subtle but it's what honest to God happens daily.
-Mellie and Cyrus and their ongoing quest to rein in Fitz, their prized pony, it's amusing, and sad, and stuff.
Thought it was a fairly drab episode, given it returning after a hiatus and all.
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Have I already mentioned how happy I am to see Scott Foley back on my TV screen? Thank you again Shonda! He is playing the hell out of this role! And...eye candy! Swoon! Noel's back baby!
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Scott Foley never left your TV screen. He's been in every show every year since Felicity. And even on the show's he didn't star in, he provided craft services and wardrobe for.
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What you said and some!
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Chat room for Scandal

http://www.cafemom.com/group/scandal
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People still use chatrooms? I'll just text my friends.
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There's only one reply on it.
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ily.. Plz plz plz catch on all the episodes u missed .. n do a retro review of all.. I love ur reviews as much as I love scandal.. btw.. do not watch episode 14 without the wine.. Waitng for reviews
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YES! No pressure though. Okay, some pressure. YES!
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Good God!! The major smiled at his own peeping cameras! how creepy is that???...
on the other hand, i really like the major!.. He didn't tell Fitz that HE the major is the man Liv is "dating" ..What if he actually falls for Liv??..(not that hard to!!). I love strong and powerful women (some to look up to), but there were times i really hated how love was making a mince out of Liv. I know the lesson here is love can topple or make presidency, love can make the strongest people cry,..but i kinda hate that lesson. ..So yeah! i love the Major. Unbeknownst he is actually making Liv less "sad". He knows Liv is sad, so they banter, they plan dates..he cheer her up. Her chin didn't quiver that much when Fitz called this time...
Plus the Major, well guys Jake is a gentleman! (no shower cam spy) ..and ..On this episode he took a leap of faith and used the info Liv gave him without knowing the source...(the fact he beat the pap up to get his+Liv pics back is..i forgive him okay!!)... Bottom line is, i don't like to see Olivia cry ,..so if The Major can kiss away all the pain The President gave/is giving Olivia, then i'll be making all the "Major HAT Olivia" buttons i can.
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Hey Lilly, so the following episodes will make this episode make complete sense 2x13 "Nobody likes Babies" and 2x15 "Boom Goes the Dynamite".
As far as $300 bottle of wine episodes I would say 2x10 "One for the Dog" especially the end of the episode, 2x11 "A Criminal, A Whore, An Idoit, And a Liar", 2x13 Nobody Like Babies", and 2x14 (FTW) "Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot". The rest of the episodes you can fold laundry too, although they were still pretty good.
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This show would be 67% better if the characters weren't written to be constantly screaming and ranting to each other. Apparently Shonda Rhimes decided to write an entire show in which the characters are all Dr. Miranda Bailey on the inside.
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And also, it isn't necessary to refer to the wearing of the 'white hat' in every single episode.
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I really love Scandal and TV dot com episode reviews but I'm not a huge fan of the free form review style; if feels rather cartoonish. Not that all things must follow a particular formula, but there were dozens of conversation starters in this episode that didn't come through in the review, just saying.

Good call on Lisa Edelstein's 2nd round of guest starring as a morally ambiguous CEO in a single season.

Do most US citizens generally think CIA upper management is corrupt and/or inept? The predominance of this trope in media portrayals could lead one to think so.

It is good to see Quinn so engaged in her new life and career, but I don;t think she is intelligent enough for spycraft OJT. Plus, if she is hurt or killed, Huck doesn't strike me as stable enough to weather the storm.

Anyone else totally freaked out about Ballard's secret cams all over Olivia's flat, including in her loo?!!! OMG, that is so skeevy. It's my worst paranoid conspiracy fear come alive in technicolor fiction (flashes of Edvard Munch The Scream inside my brain). He watches her all the time, and now he is romancing her as well. I thought he was beating up the paparazzo because he'd snapped a pic of Olivia but it was actually because the paparazzo caught Ballard on film and he doesn't want POTUS finding out he's made contact with [romancing] his mark. Absolute skin crawl. Adorable Scott Foley is so convincing as creepy stalker guy, I will never be able to look at him the same.

I think Abby has been a little too blase about her colleagues collusion and influence over the events in her life. I feel as if she is a powder keg ready to explode, I'm just not yet certain what will be the triggering event.

BTW, if you are a fan of Scandal, do check out Nashville. Hasn't quite reached the epically delicious level of juicy drama Scandal delivers each week, but it is really a treat to watch and has the same level of potential.
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Staff
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbLlCxK0pHY&t=0m35s
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Most US citizens think everyone in Washington is corrupt, CIA upper management is just better at it because they're spies.
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Not to forget her similar recurring role in House of Lies this season ;)
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Good call! Perhaps Edelstein is giving Gerald McRaney a run for his money on the Mark Pellegrino guest appearance award.
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Ha! Don't know where to begin with those two! But this year Lisa might take it ;)
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Looks like you stopped after 2x09. Must watch closely episodes since then (i.e. good + Olitz): 2x11, 2x12, 2x13, 2x14. Glad you've decided to review again, the show is taking off
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I love this show as it's even better than Revenge this second season. I don't understand why Fitz hates Mellie so although I do understand why he loves Olivia or at least his manhood does. Mellie is a great character and pretty much the only one with good sense and I believe Fitz got it right the first time. But, of course it's Kerry's show first and foremost and her quivering chin is legendary. Just watced Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and it was great...$300 bottle of wine great. Go Mellie...
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Well, now that Fitz's character has done something that you can't really return from that may be a better question, but I think the main reason he hates her is that Mellie doesn't have any moral fiber. She is extremely ambitious and Machiavellian all the time and will do anything to advance herself (and some other people who she sees as an extension of herself -- as long as she can control them). She does seem to have Fitz as a love object/interest but for his part he would never be able to relax with her, to talk about his deepest feelings or to just hang out since she's always scheming and always looking for an angle. That might be okay if there were a way out, but basically at this point, Fitz feels trapped by her and probably that on some level he deserves his suffering - both the kind of nasty sentiments that would get someone to hate someone else. Plus, they have a very long history of Mellie betraying Fitz in certain (small but regular) ways and trying to control him. Mellie is a great character to watch, but I would never want to be married to her.
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Weren't Mellie and Olivia sitting right there together when the go ahead was give to rig the election? Doesn't Fitz feel betrayed by all? Is not moral fibre overrated on this show? I see your point but yeah, I think they took it too far...
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I think the key is that with Olivia Fitz's anger isn't about the betrayal of going behind his back and deciding his fate for him as much as it is about the idea that he thought that she believed in him enough to think that he could win the election on his own (the show went to great lengths to show just how tortured Fitz's father not believing in him had made Fitz). As layle1 says Cyrus and Mellie go behind Fitz's back all the time and they are consummate schemers. Fitz knows that and so doesn't really confide in them (though Mellie recognized how and in what way his father had hurt him). With Olivia he laid himself bare -- crying and what not and she assured him with her words and presence that she believed in him. Then she agreed to the Defiance scheme proving to him that she never really thought that he could win. Objectively everyone on the show is scheming and amoral but that's not how they see themselves. Olivia and her team see themselves as wearing the White Hats and so far Olivia has stopped short of murder to get results. Fitz, at least before the incident in the hospital, used to think of himself as a good person and that there were certain things he would not do. David the disgraced attorney had things he wouldn't do as well. Cyrus and Mellie are two characters who would own up to being willing to do whatever it takes or almost whatever it (Cyrus' hesitation with the assassin and James) takes to attain their objectives.
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I think that's the point. At some level he's not surprised by Cyrus' and Mellie's betrayal. He's had their number for a long time. He had Olivia on a pedestal. He believed she not only knew who he was, but believed in him. Her betrayal was the most devastating.
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Considering we don't know when you stopped watching, I can't really tell you which episodes are the best for Olitz. However, I think a good rule of thumb would be to start at the start. The most recent episodes have been a bit lacking in Olitz. Ever since he found out about Defiance, he's been really pissed at everyone. What makes it really funny is that Millie managed to get into his good books but just f**ked it up all over again so now she's on the outs. Seriously, start at the beginning. They're all good.
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Seriously, all the stuff that's shocking you in this ep was established a month ago. Start at the beginning :)
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The First Lady's name is Mellie.
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You'll want the $300 bottle of wine for episode 14 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Or as I like to call it W.T.F.! Did that just happen! Yes. Yes it did. And 13 if you haven't seen it yet. 12's a laundry episode.
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