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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