Scandal "The Other Woman" Review: La Maîtresse

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Scandal S02E01: "The Other Woman"

'The Nation's Pastor' dies facedown on top of his mistress.

A Pregnant FLOTUS begs for forgiveness.

A high ranking Washington insider photoshops a picture of a mass grave and passes it off as intel.

Immaculate pearl-colored suits.

IT MUST BE TIME FOR SCANDAL.

This week's "The Other Woman" storyline existed almost solely to give Olivia the chance to show the audience that she is NOT OKAY with having an affair. Deep in her heart, it's not what she wants to do, but love is love and the President is the President, even if he does complain he's more like a prisoner of the Crown Jewel of America's prison system. (AKA The White House, which has its own movie theatre, airplane, and brewery last time I checked. Fritz is so emo.)

After Olivia's team of morally flexible gladiators in suits moved a 300+-pound pastor back to his home so he could be found dead in his bed as opposed to dead on top of his mistress of 15 years, Olivia spent the rest of the episode whispering the word "Mistress" with all the coy intrigue of a Parisienne Viscountess. "She was hiz miztress, zat is zee way of zee whirl. Oui, she love him, and he love her, but what iz zere to be done? Such is Parizzz." That was basically the subtext. It also allowed Satan's FLOTUS, Millie, a moment of humanity as she comforted the Pastor's wife (expertly played by Lorraine Toussaint) as Olivia listened, chin trembling, behind a door.

Millie's argument that they were still partners and a mistress is nothing because WIFE was oddly hollow and undercut further by a scene in the car where she begged Fritz for forgiveness and he clasped her hand and gave her a Patriarchal blessing and then went back to reading his Emo Newsletter.

The moment of overheard psychological knife-twisting would lead Olivia to race to the Mistress's house (who was demanding more money for her silence as the pastor's high-profile funeral loomed) and have an Other Woman huddle that was waaaay sexier than the wife huddle. Then she brought the mistress and the mistress's illegitimate kid with the pastor to the funeral and in a genuinely touching moment the Pastor's widow took her arm as she walked down the aisle during the processional out of the funeral. (Genuinely touching…although also a good way to blow the pastor's cover.) So yeah, honestly all of that was pretty great and well done and looked fantastic. We even got a moment where Olivia and Fritz made eye contact in the same room at the funeral and practically set the place on fire.

Funeral boners are the greatest of faux pas, Mr. President, so control yourself.

The whole being-in-the-same-room thing was extra welcome because their phone conversations have been so cute. At first I super hated the phone conversations but the whole idea of 23 people having to stay up and Mr. President being okay with it and the genuinely brilliantly intimate tone the actors bring to it is kind of adorable. With 2 caveats:

1. How could Olivia reveal such a whopping huge state secret as the way she found the pastor over the phone? Has she not had enough experience with phone bugs and tapping and spying to realize someone, anyone, could be listening in on the so-called "secure line"?

2. The "cleansing bout of laughter" between Fritz and Olivia was really weird. It was kind of off and they cut back and forth waaaay too many times and it felt like the last take of the day. Like, there is no question that these people are not really laughing:

Knock it off, you two we know you're both utterly, untouchably humorless and that's the way we like it. Get stuck in an elevator together already.

Also, it looks like Quinn is living with Olivia, on Olivia's couch, so they can have more of their every-episode hissy fits at each other.

Quinn seemed to fill the position not so much of a roomie as a dog, with Olivia asking Huck to check in on her because she was getting "stir crazy" (take out the stir and you got it!). Huck found Quinn had escaped the apartment and ran away, so he grabbed a container of her food and went up and down the street shaking it.

Quinn had flown out to Forks, to meet with her estranged father for flapjacks and seemed offended that he was questioning her innocence. Yo, Quinn: you were accused of bombing a building and then you disappeared for YEARS with no explanation. Cut the guy some slack. He asked his ladyfriend to make you up a bed, so he's not disowning you, he just probably won't be down to shoot off some fireworks anytime soon.

Quinn was later shown sobbing while watching the pastor's funeral. Sack up, ho! Or mourn for a famous figure, whatever, this was kind of an intense moment to just throw in there.

You know who should be sobbing for reals is Abby. She seriously has the worst job of all the Pope-ettes/cast of Scandal. Every episode finds her racing through a room talking at an extra or yelling at a prop phone or sorting through a garbage bin. She's the first line of contact for all the stuff we really don't care about, and she's become so isolated from all the storylines we do care about, that the tone of her voice makes my brain shut off at this point. It doesn't help that her editorializing while laying out the specs for a case has the same rambling, psycho-energy cadence as the label for Dr. Bronner's soap.

Like give her something to do or at least a massage, cool it down.

And in this environment already chock-a-block with crazies, the D.A. has SLIPPED INTO MADNESS.

Yawn.

More interesting: Olivia met up with a pack of cigarettes in a white wig that was also a Supreme Court judge. Teasingly, Olivia and the Supreme Court Cigarettes eye-f-cked in the mirror and discussed how Quinn had been a cover-up for a larger conspiracy that could TEAR THIS COUNTRY APART…

NEXT WEEK! Hey guys, I'll be watching, you don't have to hook me all hard, I'm already hooked…

That having been said, PROMO LOOKS AMAZING!

…QUESTIONS

…Do you like the POTUS/Olivia phone relationship?

…When she said "Let me go" what does that mean and do you relate?

…Did you feel sympathy for Millie this episode or do you not even care about that bitch?

…Could you forgive your husband's mistress?

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