Hey there Gladiators, B613ers, and Devil Incarnates. It's been a long while since we last checked in with Scandal, the show that proves that once you believe that a cast of characters can't possibly reveal themselves to be worse human beings, you're wrong. The fall finale, the last episode for a looooong time, revealed some key information about Olivia's mother, allowed the POTUS to halfassedly interrogate the leader of a covert organization above his pay grade, and gave Jake a big-boy promotion to the top of B613. Oh, and Cyrus spent most of the hour trying to convince himself and others that he's (and let me put my Chris Traeger voice on for this) literally the devil. I haven't seen someone push the "I'm the devil" issue so hard since Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate. Which is fitting, because Jeff Perry was chewing so much scenery in "A Door Marked Exit" that I was prepared for him to starting ranting about how God was a tight-ass and a sadist.
Not to be outdone by Perry, Joe Morton decided it was fine time for him to start destroying every living, breathing thing in his warpath. I'm actually really glad that the monologue Morton gave while Eli destroyed Fitz for, frankly, the petulant child he actually is, happened this week because that means it's eligible for best-of-the-year conversation. Scandal is an absolutely ridiculous show, as much of this season has proven, but it's so easy to go with it when actors like Perry and Morton are birthing such next-level spit-fire on the screen.
It's weird, though, because in the time since we stopped reviewing the show on a weekly basis, it's as if Scandal just stopped being Scandal. It's, like, boring now, right? In case you're not caught up (or you only watch shows that we review because you're awesome), here are some of the generally innocuous, zzz-inducing moments from Season 3's first 10 episodes:
– The investigation into Operation Remington eventually revealed that Fitz, on orders from Eli and B613, shot down a commuter plane full of civilians because of a possible bomb threat. I don't know what's more insane, that the sitting president of the United States murdered a Supreme Court Justice in an intimate setting, that he previously took down an aircraft in an operation that killed hundreds, or that Fitz was hanging out in Iceland before he got the call to take down the plane. Can you imagine the trouble that he got into in ICELAND? What do you even do to get in trouble in Iceland?
– Though Eli delivered the order to bring down the plane, he did so in an earnest attempt to stop what he thought was a bomb onboard. The really bad news? The intel came from Olivia's traitorous mother, who Eli subsequently had locked up for 22 years. And only on Scandal is the father who's carried out a half-million black ops and attempted to take out those around his daughter kind of the good guy in a marriage. But again, in case you were concerned that Olivia's mother seemed too much like a helpless victim, the show made sure to underscore that she, like everyone else on this show, is a generally awful human being.
– Speaking of awful human beings: Quinn is the world's most boring budding psycho-assassin. It's still a little unclear to me if she and Charlie are naive enough to assume that their romance can last, or if he's just running an op on her, but she's basically a B613 agent now. Oh how far she's come.
– Ugggggh Mellie was raped by Fitz's father, in the show's attempts to REALLY emphasize that she'll smile and do anything for her husband's (and her own) career. One of my favorite aspects of this half season is that it consistently underscored that Mellie is often the show's most interesting character and sometimes, the one who seems the most human. You can get doe-eyed about Fitz and Olivia all you want, but I want them to be together just so Mellie can have her own thing.
– Cyrus is the devil. In hopes of derailing VP Langston's not-so-secret, third-party bid for presidential candidacy, Cyrus and Mellie concocted a scheme that involved seducing Langston's husband (hey, if you need a dude to play a closeted gay man involved in politics, Jack Coleman is that dude) to lure him out of the closet. Unfortunately, that scheme used James as the bait, which created a spiral of terrible events that ultimately led to Sally stabbing her husband in the back, literally, and Cyrus soaking himself in booze at 7am. He was so desperate to keep Fitz in the driver's seat for the upcoming election that he used HIS OWN HUSBAND as a sexual decoy, then looked at the pictures, then got jealous, then kind of caused an innocent, naive woman to kill her spouse. THEN he had to cover that up. We haven't even gotten to real election yet. The Fitzgerald administration has killed more people than some very serious diseases.
– Huck, who's now generally less insane than he was when Olivia found him, tortured Quinn—and all he could talk about during the proceedings was how cool it was to torture a friend. I mean, I agree, but try not to be so enthusiastic about it, right?
– Harrison grew a beard. Kind of.
See, nothing to even shake a stick at! Scandal could probably do better. The show isn't going to be back on the air until almost March, but that won't stop us from speculating about where the story goes from here. Or at least it won't stop ME from speculating. Here are some important questions:
– How will Jake's new gig at the top of B613 go over? I'm guessing somewhere between "very poorly" and "hilariously, disastrously bad."
– How will Eli deal with his newfound free time, having been ex-communicated from B613? Surely he handles that masterfully, right? No hard feelings, I'm sure. He'll probably just catch up on his Netflix queue. (Okay, now I'm imaging Joe Morton yelling a three-minute screed at his computer screen about how he makes hard choices so that unknowing simple folk can enjoy old episodes of Bones on Netflix.)
– Is Olivia's mother back in D.C. for nefarious reasons? Well, let me rephrase that because everyone on this show is always doing things for nefarious reasons. Is Olivia's mother back in D.C. to directly harm Olivia or Eli?
– Will Harrison continue growing out his beard? Seriously though, I'd really appreciate it if the show committed to giving him something concrete and interesting to do. It keeps dancing around the issue without fully getting there.
How are you liking Scandal's third season so far? What do you think will happen when the show returns in March?