I wrote the following for Screenfish.net.
“Is he hurting you . . . . on the inside?” -Huck to Olivia
Last week the fifth season of Scandal got under way. After a crazy fourth season of going toe-to-toe with Papa Pope, Olivia is settling in nicely between the White House sheets next to President Fitzgerald Grant. Mellie is the new junior senator from Virginia, Cyrus is unemployed, and Huck is lying on Olivia’s couch.
The fix-of-the-episode centers around the tragic death of Princess Emily of the English-speaking country Caledonia after a state dinner at the White House (that Mellie was not invited to). The whole thing feels a lot like the death of Princess Di. The Queen, the Prince’s mother, even resembles Queen Elizabeth. Olivia is hired to do what she does best: make the problems go away.
Fights, Coffee, and Forgiveness
Olivia and Fitz are fighting behind a door. Jake is outside with secret service, listening. They are fighting because, while they are still lovers, Fitz does not like Liv’s new “fake” boyfriend. “He will try and fight me for you,” he tells Olivia, to which Olivia responds, “I’m not a prize to be won.” This leads to another Fitz loses his temper moment that has me wondering what’s up with Fitz.
The second half of season three, after taking a two and half month break, puts us right in the middle of Fitz’ re-election campaign. But Fitz is not the only character with his eyes on the Oval House.
“I’ve committed a sin.”
Last week’s episode ended with Sally calling Cyrus and uttering those words – “I’ve committed a sin.” This week’s episode takes us back prior to that call to show us what exactly happened. Sally is fighting with her husband, Daniel. Cyrus has pictures of Daniel having sex with his husband James. Sally tells Daniel, “You have released a snake into our garden,” talking about Cyrus, who she knows will not be able to let this go. Daniel tells her that she knew what she was getting into when she married him – aka, “Sally, you knew I was gay.” Then, Daniel tells her that he is done, and that she cannot win without him. Sally can’t handle it. So, she takes a letter opener to his back. And with blood scattered across her face, she calls Cyrus.
“I’ve Committed a Sin”
This episode was not for the those with a weak stomach. Huck has laid out the tools of his old trade: torture. Huck has Quinn duck taped on the floor, and begins to talk her through his torture process. He wants to know what Quinn has been up to. Quinn begs to be released: “I’ll be good.” Huck begins to pull one of Quinn’s teeth, when his phone rings.
It is Olivia.
An Ethical Roller Coaster
Last week’s episode concluded with Rowan walking into Omar’s cell, revealing to us that Omar is really Olivia’s mom, Maya. This week’s episode picks up right there. Rowan walks into the cell and declares, “Our daughter has been asking about you.”
This week’s episode turns its focus onto Mellie. It starts off with a reporter and camera crew following Mellie around the White House for a tour and interview. Blended through this episode are more flashbacks, but this time of Mellie and when Fitz was beginning his campaign for Governor. The flashbacks take place at Fitz’ father’s house. Larry has gotten Cyrus Beane to come in to run the campaign. “It’s our first step,” Mellie tells Fitz, “to the White House.”
Failure is not final.
Scandal has bought the Monopoly block of townhouses when it comes to effective flashbacks. In the opening flashback scene, we meet Maya, Olivia’s mother. It is a sweet scene where the teenage Olivia, complete with headphones in her ear, tells her mother goodbye before she gets on the plane that will eventually crash. It sets the tone for the rest of the episode.
The client-of-the-week in this episode is the Democratic congresswoman Josephine Marcus, played by the always brilliant Lisa Kudrow. Last week, we saw her as the President’s biggest critic who got a huge boost in the polls after Mellie was caught on tape saying not-so-great things about the Congresswoman under her breath. Now, she is running for president.
Do you believe in second chances?
That seems to be the theme of this week’s episode. At one point or another, almost every character tells someone that mistakes happen and that there are second chances.
One of these characters is the wife of the client-of-the-week, Senator Richard Meyers. Meyers, in an Anthony Weiner kind of way, sent explicit text messages of himself to a young woman named Desiree. The only difference here, is that Meyers is on trial for murdering Desiree. Pope and Associates takes the case to defend the senator because they need clients. While the family of the victim would be a better fit for Olivia, they need the cash.