The second episode of Scandal plunged further into soap territory, although the procedural end of things is still beating a path through the emotional garden Shonda seems more interested in cultivating. It appears that when Olivia Pope said last week that the suicidal intern was her client, she hadn't yet been hired by the still-comatose presidential groupie. However, she certainly had her hands full with D.C.'S FINEST MADAM!
This lady is like the Rolls Royce of making sex happen illegally.That statement, which lead out of our cold open, was maybe the most flagrant nod to Scandal's premise of, well, scandal. A madam is arrested, the DA wants her client list, and the gladiators in suits busily paper the windows of Olivia Pope's conference room/loft from La Boheme with the license photos of 20-something years of Johns.
Among them: the president's recent nominee for the Supreme Court! Dum dum daaaah! Or something? At this point I was gripping my head and trying to focus beyond the blurs panning across the screen. How alarming Scandal must be to someone with cataracts! I feel like the cinematographer is bringing out all the bells and whistles to counter the heavy verbosity of the show. And word up, it's no enviable task to keep a show visually interesting that centers on high-power gossip. Still, almost every scene looks like it's being shot through a crystal chandelier and its starting to distract me from the actual story.
Remember how if you work for Olivia Pope, you're a gladiator in a suit? It's because she wears the white hat. Except the DA wears an even larger white hat?
Where is that client list?! Oh, turns out one of our gladiators-in-suits regularly had D.C.'S FINEST MADAM (according to what, Yelp?) procure prostitutes for him. Yes, the one who Olivia is desperate to marry off. It made the poor man's Julianne Moore hopping mad for some reason. Meanwhile, a blogger was hot on the trail of the suicidal intern.
I'm sorry, but bloggers do not leave their computers to get extra information. Like, a blogger wearing shoes? Please. Bloggers sit in front of their computers raking content sites and eating Polly-O cheese sticks until sleep overtakes them, and I should know. Still, it got the president's attention.
Because Olivia said she was taking on the president's OTHER mistress as her client, she was restricted from entering the White House grounds by the White House security guard, who she is on a first name basis with. Good thing for random asshole guy with cell phone, who mades a point of putting the security guy in his place and sweeping Olivia into the inner sanctum, where she could alert Mr. Katimski that the Supreme Court been whorin' and exchange some spicy eye contact with our dreamy president.
No offense, but I find it hard to believe the American people would elect a man to lead them who had absolutely no eyebrows. Where are his eyebrows? The American public demands answers, Mr. President.
Despite the Supreme Court nominee being on the client list, Olivia's gut told her he wasn't lying about never having been a-whoring. Case closed! I love how we can nimbly leap over reason, law, or any semblance of connecting the dots with the conceit of Olivia's magical gut. It makes things soooo much easier!! Bargain-Bin Julianne Moore's rant about prostitutes gave Olivia a brain hunch to go along with her gut sense and led her straight back to the White House to confront the Supreme Court nominee's wife about her history as a hooker.
Like most hookers, she used her booty-derived gains to pay for Georgetown. Olivia gave her a speech about coming clean to her judge husband after this woman just spilled and spilled and spilled about her prostitution past. Well, that was easy.
Later the President of these United States and Olivia would have a tortured conversation about their own relationship while watching Mr. and Mrs. Supreme Court Justice hash out her former career as a slick prossy. I'm sorry, but they were so clearly staring at the fight happening a few feet from their faces, it was seriously rude. How do you not notice two people sloppy sighing and touching fingertips directly across the window gallery from you? Whatever. It was kind of hot.
Then all the suity gladiators had to do was gather up all the Johns and manipulate them into pulling strings to acquit the madam and make sure the Supreme Court nominee goes through unchallenged. Uh, isn't that kind of corrupt? What, the gut said it was okay? Well, then I guess it was okay.
Olivia then managed to flush out another monologue for the episode from Ms. Suicidal Backup Mistress, who had crawled out of the hospital and back to her apartment. Olivia gave a stirring speech about how bad this girl needed her help, and got a door shut in her face. Then she told rookie Katie Lowes (Quinn) to leave her number so Backup Mistress would call. "How do you know?!" Katie asked, dumbfounded. "Because I'm good at my job!"
Um...I am still not clear on what this job is. Being a politico woman-about-town extraordinaire is roughly the idea, but with the added caveat that she interprets the mysterious urges of her gut like an oracle hovering over a fuming crack and whispering prophesies. I don't know if that's being good at your job, per se, but this series will verge on making Olivia ridiculous if she continually privileges her digestive system over her brain. Of course, she could never be as ridiculous as the very emo president.
After several rounds of eye contact and tremulous sighs with Olivia, the president confessed to Mr. Katimski that Olivia was the love of his life while tipsy in the Oval Office. Sir, you are a mess! Save it for your emotions diary, Mr. President! SOOO EMO I love it. I absolutely love it. I can't even tell you how much it delights me to have a plot from Passions playing out with the full production values/gravitas of The West Wing.
However, the episode ended at the exact same place as the pilot: with Olivia representing the OTHER WOMAN as her client! Okay, fair enough, I'm re-hooked. Maybe next week we can explore that idea a little more, like we were supposed to this week? Assuming Washington, D.C.'s SECOND finest madam doesn't need help with something...
– Did you know wearing the white hat is not actually a reference to the pope but to Western movies?
– Do you like the brooding, romantic president or do you not trust a man without eyebrows?
– If you were Olivia, would you fire the new girl?
– How many prostitutes have prostituted their way through Georgetown?
– What baked good would work best as a bribe on you?