Scandal "Defiance" Review: The Race Toward Destruction

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?

QUESTIONS:

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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"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
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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!!
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Maybe Edison is the one who gets shot and dies? Perhaps it's his closet OP is in all shook up.
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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".
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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....
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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.
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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.
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Micthum Huntzburger gives great villain!
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The flotus can not do this . She is cold but not crazy. maybe the senator Edison Davies, or Holis , or someone else.
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-I'm mad that Olivia didn't have the grand entrance that a girl deserves with such a gorgeous dress.
- I don't hate Abby like the majority of the Gladiator/Scandalite population. She's like that annoying middle sister. She's a Jan. You don't hate Jan. You don't feel bad for Jan. You just tolerate Jan because she's family and that's what you do. Plus, I like Abby and Harrison moments, because they have a nice camaraderie.
- Harrison deserves better most weeks but that's so not the point. I think my annoyance with this episode was how I was barely mildly interested in the entire episode until the end. And I conveniently sneezed as fate would have it when Fitz got shot so I had to rewind it because I missed it. 10:58. that's when I perked up. The entire episode was just so humdrum. Olivia Pope should not spent the majority of the episode in a room with Bill Cosby Jr inquiring about her love life, while she leaves half of her gladiators in suits to babysitting an old guy, and her pet sociopath is left babysitting her dimwitted but always curious multiple identity girl. That just should not happen. Ever.
-If he isn't now, he'll be by next week. She will not be able to hide her love seeing the man that she love laid up in some hospital with bullet wounds.
-Also...WTF was the secret service? entertaining strippers?
- Tony G had me chuckling twice, first when he put his foot in his mouth unknowingly during that dinner, and second with his angry flipping through those pics. I love the soap in this show. It somehow works.
-I think Mellie's warning was more out of intuition then her knowing anything about an attempt on Fitz' life, the unfortunate thing is if she weren't her and they actually got along they way they probably did before they got married he probably would have listened to her. But now, if he remembers that tidbit their relationship is officially destroyed. I think southern dude might be too obvious a choice, and I have my suspicious that Charlie (Amanda Tanner's killer may have been the sniper).
-I found James positively annoying and unrealistic in his quest to get to the truth and he's just asking for his body to be floating in the Baltimore Harbor...
-Quinnsey thinking she could outsmart Huck was just ridiculous. Her deciding now to piece together everything is just too much. I for one don'e know why she's still there, but since she is, if they'd give her some legit busy work she wouldn't ask so many damn questions. I admire Huck's self restraint, although I sense he has an usual fondness for her anyways. She's like the innocence that counters his guilty conscious. In an annoying baby sister kind of way.
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All good points! "Bill Cosby Jr" LOL! SO right!
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But I hate Jan AND feel bad for Jan (I'm complicated).
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I'm shocked...not.
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Yes, why dress her in such a spectacular dress and not have Fitz see her? I’m scared now that Olivia has admitted to the Senator that she was with a guy and it was serious because between Fitz getting shot and she being back in the “white house circle” she will not be able to hide her true feeling and that nosey senator will figure it out.
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That's a new low for the first lady, knowing your husband will be assassinated and you dont tell him..
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Lol!
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1. Hell yes. What a waste of a dress. Plus you know she was going to the gala to piss off Fitz in some way. Angst potential wasted. Sigh...
2. Abby is a shrew. I agree she is cold, wiry and too judgmental making her character hard to take at times. But no one arrives at being a shrew overnight, and someone has to question OP.
3. Yes, Harrison deserves better. Too cute..
4. Edison? Who? I just want him to roll out of town.
Just want to add that not crazy about the shooting of Fitz. Seems too extreme of a plot, so this crap better pay off big. If Emo Pres dies I am so done with this show. My theory on the shooter is that it's nutty Billy from S1. We don't know that he's dead for sure.
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I thought the gala was supposed to be part of the show. I was waiting to see Olivia walk in and Fitz walk over and take her from that hideous Edison. He is soooooooooooooo ugly!!!!!! EWW! But no, they save it for last then shots by boy before he and Olivia even gets to see each other. So waiting on her to run to his bedside and they say to hell with Millie, we're gonna be together! I really stopped liking Abby when she got involved with David. She the worst of the worst... Harrison deserves better plots and costars definitely. If Edison hasn't figured out what's between Olivia and Fitz by now, he's blind I hope he gets a clue next week and gets out of her life. Good episode, but I'm fearful that some folks will soon meet their end or a bad accident. Oh yeah Millie knew something was gonna happen to Fitz and I really want him to recover quickly and get back with Olivia so that relationship can be rubbed in her face. Don't know if she was behind it, responsible for it or just suspected it was coming. She should BURN!!!
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Edison isnt ugly!
That said he doesnt look quite real.

He looks like Eddie Murphy or Adam Sandler after they spent four hours in a make up artist's chair having latex applied .
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I just want to say that the wife knew of the attack, don't know how, but she totally knew (or at least that is what looks like, right?)
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I wonder if Fritz has any inkling that he did not actually win the election, and if not, will learning the truth affect his feelings for Olivia?

I love, love, love James, he is adorable and too fantastic for Cyrus by a mile. I will be positively sick if something happens to him and Cyrus has any hand in it over some lame cover-up attempt.

I think Edison is putting the pieces together about Liv and Fritz, which will ultimately jettison his relationship with Liv. He would not go public with it, that is not his style, but she is not over Fritz, not by an eternity, and Edison does not deserve to be the fall-back guy.

Quinn is hilarious, but I commend her persistence is working to determine what happened to her. Would anyone seriously just let it go if their entire life was snatched away from them? Huck is scary, no doubt, and I do not think most of his colleagues grasp how deadly he truly is, but I do not think he is yet an imminent threat to Quinn. Quite the opposite, I think his experiences will influence his behaviour with Quinn, lend him some empathy toward her in her quest.

Abby is terribly cliched and trying most of the time and I was extremely put off when she betrayed Olivia and the team by revealing information to David Rosen, but I presently do not feel any sympathy for Harrison in the least. Feel guilty Harrison, burn with it. You did a nasty thing, and it should hurt.
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Problem with quinn is she let it go this long. Why start delving into it now? And why be so blatant about it?
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Because it was only revealed slowly to her, as to us, what kind of sociopaths she works with.
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They are, aren't they? Except Huck, because he just didn't quite manage to develop the ability to mimic an appropriate range of human emotions to pass so dazzlingly through all the lies and mayhem as the other sly charmers, so I guess he's stuck a psychopath? I confuse the two. They are also all weirdly delusional in their own fashion, like Superman, Kryptonite and a hive of angry bees shaken and stirred up into frenetic, pretty beings. I love it though, these quirks are really part of the charm.

I think some of Quinn's audacity boils down to 1) rage at how powerless this made her and 2) simply testing the boundaries of her new high-stakes playpen. She's bitter, naive and self-righteous, a dangerous combination.
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it's 8 episodes into the 2nd season and and the plot of the election rigging made me realize that I'm actually hate watching this show cuz it's too much politics (which I hate SOOOO much, and is what makes this world so difficult), and I really don't care if Fitz lives or dies, he's so annoying. and I think Olivia is totally capable of rigging an election or at least have something to do with it but everything will prolly get swept under the rug, as it is usually the case with these kind of stories. Olivia is a terrible person and her job is to fix lies by covering them with more lies and that makes me sick.
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In other words, you have feel you have little to nothing of value to add to the conversation. Fantastic, you may now cease watching without remorse. Your characterizations and evaluation being trite and juvenile generalizations, not to mention arduously ungrammatical, shan't be missed.

Personally, I find "Scandal" to be second only to "Boss" in the most interesting exploration of American politics since "The West Wing" ("Political Animals" a serious contender as well). Despite the often soapy relationships, the context of the moral and political issues explored thematically within the show, especially for instance in "The Other Woman" and "Beltway Unbuckled" episodes this season are, in short, fantastically relevant and profound, and simply cannot be so breezily dismissed.

As someone who volunteered for the DNCC in Tallahassee, FL during the 2000 election, I can say with authority that election rigging/tampering does not "get swept under the rug" but knowing and proving are at times two distantly disparate realities. And as a point in fact, it is not politics which as you claim "makes this world so difficult", but the people making politics difficult.
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Just wanted you to know, your apology was exceptionally classy.
x
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Eh, give her a break. Given that both sides use the same play book, she may be talking about politics in general and not the people. But you're correct, she shouldn't watch the show anymore, and I'm not sure anything will ever match the Sorkin years of the West Wing.
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what makes you think I'm a "she"?
and this show isn't sci-fi and the plots and intrigues on it aren't so far from reality, in fact, reality is PROBABLY much worse BECAUSE on TV things tend to end much better. (happy with my grammar now emmie?)
you're obviously very into politics and we're complete opposites in that manner.
I DID enjoy the 1st season though because it was very suspensful and made me wanna watch the next episode each time. also Henry Ian Cusick was the best character on the show and he's gone so...
but maybe I should have known better than to watch a show where one of the main characters is the POTUS.
and politics still sucks.
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@yona21, several hours after I posted that comment I was having a tangential conversation and recalled my comment in response to your original post and I began to regret both the tone and content of my reply. If everyone in this community behaved as I did above this would not be a very cool place to share any opinions, and the community as a whole would suffer. I apologise. Your opinion is as valid as any other and however it may differ from my own, I was out of line being such a boorish prig in rebuttal. It was not one of my finer moments and I hope you can forgive my error in judgement and any personal offense my words may have caused you.
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Sorry about that, I forgot to use my usual s/he pronoun aggregate, and didn't realize until after I hit the submit button -- you can't edit these, unfortunately. No offense was intended. As for the rest, I guess you went back to Emmie? Because none of the stuff you're talking about was anywhere in my post. (I miss Cusick, too.)
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Great review Lily!

This was the best episode so far, leaving me constantly asking myself (again) what Quinn has to do with the vote-rigging, if Fitz knows at all (and if he does, he's doing a great job hiding it) and most importantly, as Lily pointed out, what got Olivia Pope to go along with this mess!? My theory is that she must have realised what was going on too late in the game, too late to change the outcome at least, so she did what she always does, damage control. It pisses me off though, i can't for the life of me find anyting that justifies going along with it.

Anyway, I was also hoping to see Fitz lose his shit at the sight of the gorgeous Olivia Pope, but, alas, he was shot and I am also onboard with the FLOTUS theory, and I really hope she wanted him out because of his shitty mood and attitude. The second best bet is Hollis Doyle who, more than anyone else on the show, seems to think he's above it all.
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Dont think Fitz knows at all, hence him clumsily shooting his mouth off at the dinner party.

He's an innocent dolt, in love with one woman, trapped with another.
I dont think we've actually seen him doing any work yet.

Perhaps *that's* the conspiracy. He's a mentalist convinced he's the POTUS, and all the others are Truman Showing it for him.
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1. Yes, I wanted to see his face when he saw Olivia walk into the ballroom.
2. I don't know if she's the "worst".
3. Harrison deserves better costars ever week.
4. Please, he has no idea.
5. This was probably the most interesting episode that didn't directly involve Fitz and Olivia together. Plus, I totally agree with you. How could Olivia knowingly rig and election? Why??? Also, I think Millie was in on the assassination attempt. I hope they don't kill James. I love James.
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James has to live, at least until he gets his fat Chinese/ Ethiopian baby.
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I don't ship Olivia and Fitz at all so hopefully Fitz will die now he has been shot and we can all move on because Olivia and Edison are much cuter and healthier than Olivia and Fitz. I honestly didn't see that gunshot happening my curiosity was peaking at First Lady's desperation to leave but she runs so hot and cold I shrugged it off only for seconds later Fitz to get shot. First Lady defo has a hand in his attempted assassination, she knew it was coming and that's why she wanted to leave, I think First Lady is in too deep and now she's realised it.

Btw I keep referring to her as First Lady because for some reason I haven't a clue what her name is...

Also Quinn needs to stfu and leave well enough alone, be grateful you are A. alive and B. not in jail.

Last thing: Olivia looks incredible in her gown and yes Abby is still the worst.
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Your posts properly crack me up.

You love the show but fundamentally dislike its central strut!
If you arent into the serious wish-fulfilment element of the show- what else is there? Huck and the Scooby gang? Voting conspiracies?

:D Your posts are so off-key that I love them!
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I'm sorry I don't like watching a powerful woman be reduced to a teenager who is being used by this man. He uses Olivia, he treats her like shit. They have to keep their relationship a secret because he isn't man enough to step up and do the right thing. I don't care if this is a TV show, I don't want to watch 5 years of back and forth, will they won't they bullshit.

Olivia and Fitz are in an unhealthy relationship, nothing about the two of them together is healthy. And the show has made such a point out of Olivia being so powerful and strong and independent and yet, when it comes to Fitz she is reduced to just another woman who needs a man or her world will end. It's bull.

And in case you haven't noticed, while Olivia and Fitz haven't been the central story and the voting conspiracies and attempted assassination have been central, the ratings for the show have gone up. Hm... I wonder why... So, actually, your posts seem off-key and I love them!
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Olivia and Edison are the worst couple on TV.The actor doesn't fit with her. cuter I don't think so. First he looks like her father. and second he is not cute at all. Bad choice as actor to play Olivia lover. THERE SO MANY HANDOME AND BLACK MEN .
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Yes oh my goodness there are so many other men who would be a better match for her. He has the swagger but not much else. RIP Edison, soon I hope.
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anyone else think the FLOTUS was in on this assassination attempt???
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That was my thought entirely the way she was going on about "Let's not go. Let's just go home and watch a movie like the old days." As if. As if, after the Ice Queen freeze out routine the man would want to spend his B-day cloistered with her bitchiness than torture himself by seeing Liv in all her finery on the arm of her new beau. Could we even think anything else after the dramatics she put on?

I believe however, that is exactly what the writers want us and Fritz to assume. I think rather that Hollis Doyle went off the reservation and ordered the shooting as a warning to Cyrus.
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I agree, but that was obvious too the way he threatened Cyrus in his office. I would prefer it to be more unpredictable than that, the FLOTUS doing it in a bid for her future career as a politician, would make sense with her anger and ambition.
Though a really good plot would be to tie back in the original POTUS storyline and have it been Amanda Tanner's father who some how finds out about the affair and blames him for her 'suicide'.
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