Previously on Scandal: Lisa Kudrow is yelling at people! Everyone Olivia knows is a murderer!
Scandal is probably best known for its insane, numerous, lightning fast plots. Every episode features at least two or three things that most other shows would dedicate a three or four hour arc to, but Scandal is all “NOPE. MORE MORE MORE. NOW. FASTER. GO. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE DETAILS. SOMEONE HAS A BOMB” and screams off toward something equally as intense. (“SOMEONE’S SECRET BABY HAS A BOMB.”) But even for a show that has made this kind of madness its default setting, last night’s episode was … it was … there was a lot going on last night. Probably too much. I think this will work best if I break it all apart piece by piece.
- Most of the episode focused on Mellie, and was split between present day and a flashback to 1998. The highlights of the present-day action were (a) a speech Mellie gave Fitz about “showing up,” both literally and figuratively, even if he doesn’t love her anymore; and (b) Fitz snapping at a reporter and defending Mellie from an attack regarding her actions after his affair, which was hilarious because the speech was equal parts “SHE’S A STRONG WOMAN AND SHE DOESN’T NEED ANYONE TO DEFEND HER BUT I AM GOING TO STEP IN AND DO IT ANYWAY” and the Presidential version of Mike Gundy’s “I’M A MAN. I’M 40” speech from a few years back. Other than that, the present existed as a way illustrate the effects of the past.
- And about that past: Jeeeeeeeeeesus. Let’s get right to it. While she was trying to work as a liaison between Fitz and his overbearing, egomaniac father to try to get Fitz to run for governor, Fitz’s father raped her on the couch in his study. And instead of telling Fitz or the police, she used it as leverage to get Fitz’s father to tell Fitz what he needed to hear. I’ve already seen a few people pointing how maybe throwing in a “BECAUSE SHE WAS RAPED” in the middle of the third season to explain her past actions and behavior may not have been the most delicate way to handle things. This is certainly a fair point, and its something that probably would have bothered me more if Bellamy Young didn’t act her face off throughout the whole episode. Sh*t was heavy, though. For real.
- Oh, and p.s., Fitz’s dad may actually be the father of his oldest quote-unquote grandchild, because Scandal just can’t help itself sometimes. (All the time.)
- The last time Scandal did a flashback, it let us know we had traveled through time by giving Olivia bangs and Huck a wild lion’s mane. This time, it gave Mellie a simple, stylish, Rachel-esque hairdo, and it gave Cyrus a beard. And some facial hair. (Very proud of this one.)
- In other news, Olivia is bringing in her team to look into her mother’s murder. Which, as we find out at the end, spoiler alert, is actually not a murder, but a disappearance, because her terrifying father had her mother pulled off the plane moments before Fitz shot it down, and then he locked her away in some top-secret prison under what appears to be a Middle Eastern male pseudonym. This is somehow not the most notable thing that happened last night. Unless we find out Olivia’s mom DID die, and she’s a zombie now. Can’t rule that out. Not on Scandal.
- I think this is probably the best way to sum up how busy last night’s episode was: The hyper-Christian Vice President is planning a secret Presidential run as an independent. To try to thwart her, Cyrus and Mellie ordered a hooker and brought her to a classy White House function, in the hopes that the Vice President’s allegedly handsy husband would take the bait, but he didn’t fall for their plan because — SURPRISE — he’s secretly gay, and even though this very important thing happened right in front of my face I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT IT UNTIL I REWATCHED THE EPISODE THIS MORNING.
I love you Scandal. I do. But maybe consider dialing it back a tiny bit. I don’t need you at a 5 or a 6, because you’re no good to anyone in that range. But I don’t need you to rip the damn knob off of the meter and start waving it over your head like a loon, either. Somewhere between an 8.5 and a 10 is fine.
Things Fitz’s father said out loud in this episode while chugging scotch, between belittling his son’s feelings and accomplishments, and sexually assaulting the soon-to-be First Lady of the United States of America:
- On his his son’s military service: “It should have been some poor kid from some backwoods town who shot that plane down!”
- On parenting: “I was a decent father. I didn’t beat him. My father used to beat me. I was a decent father.” Says the dude who just dumped a wheelbarrow full of psychological abuse on his son.
- On national security: “[reveals tons of highly classified information that implicates his son as the party responsible for a plane crash that killed over 300 people, which everyone has been working very hard to keep secret, and not, like, tell relatives in the study of a palatial California home after 5000 glasses of Macallan]“
Point being: The part where he drunkenly forced himself on his daughter-in-law and now may or may not have fathered her baby is going to dominate most of the discussion today, understandably, but he was well on his way to an all-time classic Bad Dad performance LONG BEFORE that even happened.
Anyway, I vote we strap him into a catapult and launch him off a mountain. You guys pick the mountain. I’ll bring the catapult. I know a guy.
Here is my impression of Quinn:
“Oooooooooo, I’m Quinn. I’m a big stupid torture fangirl who likes to play pretend spy with real spies. Huck started shutting me out, justifiably, after I got this creepy-as-nuts look in my eye when I took a drill to some guy’s thigh to get answers out of him. Now I’m acting out by going to a GUN RANGE and hanging out with EVEN MORE DANGEROUS SPIES and KISSING THE SPIES and WHOOPS they tricked me into killing an innocent man who was also the only lead in our case about the death/disappearance of my boss’s mother — a boss who, if you recall, saved my life and pulled some shady strings to get me out of murder changes — and now they’re blackmailing me into joining the murderspy group and probably turning on everyone who has had my back over the past few years. HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY, DAD! … I mean, uh, HUCK!”
It says a lot about my feelings regarding Quinn and her torture phase that I literally just got done writing something about a self-important drunken sociopath who raped his son’s wife, and I’m still sitting here thinking “Oh my God Quinn is the woooooooorrrrrrrst.” That is obviously an overreaction on my part. But it also kinda isn’t, though.
I repeat: Everyone on this show is terrible.
Next week on Scandal: More stuff about Olivia’s zombie mom!