Scandal "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" Review: Fiery Flashbacks

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Scandal S02E08: "Happy Birthday, Mr. President"

The Constitution is groped.

A Supreme Court wannabe slams a door to make a point.

The POTUS removes a thong on Lincoln’s desk.

It must be time for Scandal.

Holy cow this episode was steamy, guys. It went from a beleaguered fake news guy (an actor trying desperately to make us believe he was getting breaking news on an ear piece at the most bare-bones newdesk set outside of SNL's "Weekend Update") to Mellie slapping doctors in an emergency room (nice move, Mels. Ugh.) to Olivia getting clasped by Fitz in an Oval Office flashback.

Like, oh my goodness, is this why they cast Fitz? Based on the fact that his huge, manly hands absolutely swallow Liv with one bear hug? Good gracious. Sexy + Steamy + Sensual. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the president is not allowed to leave his inaugural events without a team of aides and a security detail literally at his elbows, and it was incredibly dumb of him to think there weren’t surveillance cameras in the Oval freaking Office, but we can enjoy the moment. This is Scandal, after all, not Super True: How the President Lives (A Documentary).

Basically this episode was pretty bare-bones, it laid out a lot of things we already knew while trying to create suspense over Fitz’s life hanging in the balance! (He won’t die, yawn.) And once again it showed us that Olivia Pope is who you want handling your life when the sh*t hits the fan. Still in her gala gown, she waded through an ER full of hysterical people and immediately went into crisis-handling mode, with the presence of mind to wrangle White House staff, throw someone some keys, and shout them a laundry list. “I’m going to need a pearl suit, a beige suit, a cream suit, an ivory suit, and six lace thongs. And stilettos. All the stilettos.”

If I were sending someone into my closet during a crisis my demands would have been more like “I’m going to need sweat pants, a sweat skirt, my cozy socks, two banana clips, the hoody without the blue popsicle stains down the front, and my Uggs. No, they’re not actually Ugg brand.”

Despite the many confirmations on information we got last night (everyone connived to get Fitz elected and the Cytech? Cytron? whatever office was blown up without OP’s knowledge to cover her tracks and James really was promised a baby and the Supreme Court Justice is kind of a jerk, and Huck shot the president—more on that later), the meat of the episode was the highlight reel of Fitz and Olivia’s relationship. Olivia’s frequent flashbacks, brought on by small things like smelling Fitz’s sweatshirts in the First Closet, gave us some serious facetime between our two romantic leads for the first time in weeks.

Olivia and Fitz rolled round nuzzling each other in a cabin while “working” on the State of the Union address, Olivia told Fitz she loved him after he let her touch the Constitution; in so many ways their relationship weirdly is wound around Important Political Ideas. (How much did you love Mellie coming to the cabin? Olivia looked horrified, Fitz was awkward, and then Mellie just had this smile on, like, “So why does this cabin smell like my husband’s dick?”)

Anyway, despite Olivia’s obvious distaste for adultery, it seems that combining her passion for reformative legislation with physical chemistry is what really sets off her fire. When Fitz offered via screaming in a rose garden to leave this all behind and run off with her, it was almost like, well, would Liv even want that? Maybe deep down Liv loves the president kind of because he is the president?

Call me crazy, but Olivia’s passion for righting wrongs seems very intertwined with her passion for Fitz and hence the reason she left her job when she found out how corrupted the little cabal was that had put him in place. If they did run off together and leave D.C., how long before she’d be missing her suits, smartphone, gladiators, and ability to steer a press conference like Santa handling his reindeer?

Of course there was their beautiful scene full of very romantic speeches which for some reason they SHOUTED at the top of their lungs while standing 10 feet away from each other. Uh, guys, he has security detail, this looks like the uh White House Rose Garden and you’re having an illicit affair. Screaming “I EXIST FOR YOU!!! I WANT TO ESCAPE ALL THIS AND RUN AWAY WITH YOU!” is a good way to end up on the front page of every national tabloid. Also it’s not sexy, Fitz. What was that acting choice to just holler at Liv? I don’t care how knee-melting the words are, no man will ever yell in my face like that and get any reply other than my back being turned to him.

So the Huck reveal is B.S. Obviously Huck’s brain got hacked or he had to shoot the guy who was actually shooting the president or I don’t even care. I did laugh at Hagrid Huck turning up in the episode and Liv telling him without a trace of humor to shower before he touched anything in her apartment.

So yeah, weird episode. What did you think?


1. Why did Huck shoot the president?

2. What items of clothing would you send a White House intern out for?

3. Would Olivia love Fitz as much if he was, like, a history teacher?

4. How do you feel about touching the Constitution?

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