Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sistas are Doin It For Themselves

Lord have mercy Lord have mercy!

I’ll just get right to it.

This week was Mellie’s back story. And you knew she had to have a compelling story. Because ShondaGirl writes strong female characters, and Mellie is kind of a mess. And she can’t just be THIS fractured without a story. My friend Debbie and I have endless debates about whether or not Mellie is a respectable character. She says no woman would allow her husband to be IN LOVE with another woman and stay married. That her cold bed is what she gets for sacrificing love for power. I say – Mellie’s Achilles’ Heel and the reason she can’t do any of that is that she actually loves Fitz.

Or at least she did. The back story picks up about 15 years ago. Flat-haired Mellie (seriously – her flashback hair involves about 20% of the product First Lady Mellie uses) and Fitz are newly married, and they are shaking the sheets in hopes of her getting pregnant (that little throwaway nugget becomes very important). They are living, I guess, in Fitz’ childhood home, and his father Gerry (Barry Bostwick nails this role. He is an unmitigated SOB) bellows up the stairs. They canoodle as newlyweds do (and DAMN! Tony Goldwyn is in hella shape), and when they go downstairs, it’s to meet Gerry’s “King Maker”, namely, one bearded, married (to a woman) Cyrus Beene. Gerry wants to start working on his governor candidacy, a surprise to Fitz as he wasn’t planning this for another 3 years. He is ADAMANT they will not use his military career to further his political career, which causes Gerry to be all...awful.

Present day, Olivia is still a broken mess (but ROCKIN’ a black and white tuxedo swing coat). The Super Fitz Phone (SFP) rings, but she can’t talk to him. She can’t get past the fact he killed her Mom. Fitz is worried about her (as he should be – after all, by her own words, she’s “surrounded by murderers. I’m surrounded by men with a body count. I’m standing in a graveyard made by people she thought she loved”. And I could see how that could make for a rough day. Fitz is broken up about this, but he can’t discuss it. Since I’m TOTALLY team Fitz, this conversation broke my heart. She’s not just reeling from the fact that he shot this plane out of the sky, but there’s something she doesn’t know about Fitz. But when she drops the name Rowan, he realizes there more to her story too.

Olivia has decided her client (besides Phoebe, who’s off camera this week) is getting to the bottom of this plane crash. Their client is her Mom. They want to know what happened to this plane. [side note: is Jake a gladiator now? I say no. Still not sure he wears a white hat.] She knows by asking them to do this, they could be in danger too, because her Dad is Super Assassin, but you know the gladiators – “over a cliff”. Even Abby is like...”damn girl”, and in what is probably one of my favorite scenes ever, she goes into Liv’s office and warns her that “she’s about to hug her and she (Liv) just need to stand there and take it. So here’s what we know on this plane crash so far:
- Flight was delayed, but not listed as delayed
- Flight was overbooked, but the flight manifest is missing a name
- A federal marshall takes someone off the plane (Omar Dresden)
- The subcommittee that headed up the investigation into this crash was Gerry Grant.
- The guy driving the plane stairs (you know the ones) is still in DC and probably saw Omar Dresden.

Oh – and also in present day – it would seem that CrazyQuinn has a new friend and admirer in Charlie (the OTHER assassin. We know this is not going to end well, but WOW) Huck is giving her (Quinn) about 450 different pounds of shade, and that’s not helping her infatuation with Charlie. She ends up tailing Charlie (and what IS IT with people trailing ASSASSINS?) She and Charlie lip lock and he invites her to hang out. Which she does. But I’m not speaking to Quinn. Keep reading, you’ll see why.

Other present day action – Mellie is trying to rebuild her image (and that of the president’s) by a documentary of Mellie’s days in the White House. She pretends she loves it, but to Cyrus she admits what we all know: the role of docile wife does not suit her. She hates it, and is more interested in helping Cyrus pick out an escort to derail Sally’s husband (we know more and more that Sally’s husband is not the faithful type). She picks a good one, leading Cyrus to note she’s “way better at picking out hookers than China Patterns.” And. Ha. Cyrus successfully gets Madame Vice President away from this dinner, and asks him to remember his promise to her. [Turns out – the big secret the VP is hiding – it’s not his love of women. It appears to be his love of men. A fact that tickles Mellie. And me.]

Back to Flat-Haired Mellie and Gerry’s house. I love this scene- Cyrus running down politics, Fitz in a black turtleneck, Cyrus calling Fitz and Mellie “Richie Rich and Snow White”, Fitz in a black turtleneck (that was my favorite part) Fitz is all – if I can’t win without my military career, I won’t win at all. I had to laugh – when Fitz told his Dad no, his dad was one step from a spit take. He looked like I’m sure I do when Alex says if to say – I don’t understand that word coming out of your mouth. Gerry and Fitz have a knock down fight that highlights just how jacked up their relationship is. Gerry alludes to getting Fitz out of the jam of shooting down the plane and how he now owns him and that without him, he’s nothing. He actually says “I made you. I can destroy you. So you’ll do what you’re told and that’s an order”. Fitz gets off a line, but it’s still an incredibly hurtful scene to have to watch. Up until now, whenever Gerry was in the story – he wasn’t kind, but Fitz didn’t make it easy on him. The second time I watched this it hit me: we are not just getting Mellie’s backstory, we’re getting Fitz’ too. In the mist of this melee, Mellie runs in to say Cyrus is leaving. Cyrus is all – I can’t help this boy and rolls out. Mellie tries to stop him, but he tells her it’s not his job to take care of this guy, it’s Mellie’s job. Mellie is genuinely confused, as she has a pedigree of her own, and big plans for her own career. Cyrus plays the role of foreteller here telling her that she will not be able to have a career, for being “the woman behind the man” will become her career. Mellie, on the spot, makes a decision (and you know – Bellamy Young is one HELL of an actress to get this across her face as quickly as it happens), she’s going to make Fitz her full time job and promises that he’ll be ready to work.

Present day – Mellie and her documentary cameras are headed to the oval office so he can say good night to Teddy, and he’s not there. She lights into Fitz that she’s doing the best she can, but he has to help. He has to be there, seeing as she’s the one America hates even though he had the affair. [side note – she is KILLING this red dress]. She admits she’s tired of having to do everything herself, and that he’s a lousy partner. She foreshadows the next scene, saying, as much to herself as to him, that he had no idea of the things she’s given up, the sacrifices, only to be treated like sh!t. I must quote here because the words Shonda put into Bellamy Young’s mouth here are damn near poetic and I wish I had written them: ‘You declare war on me, and you shame me, and you make me beg for scraps when I have done nothing but fight for you. You don’t have to love me, but we’re here in this hell together and the flames are burning both of us with equal intensity, baby, so the least you can do is be my friend. Just a little bit. The least you can do is show up. Show up for me, Fitz.” And I got nothing. She killed this scene. Fitz doesn’t have anything either, but shame, because he shows up for the next interview, and it’s a good thing – because he saves her from a disasterous line of questioning. Fitz saves her from the attack, and you see they are in this together. And...awww....

15 years ago, a drunken Gerry tells Mellie more of what we know as the Remington Story. What we learn:
- Gerry confirms that Fitz shot the plane down, because of a dirty bomb that was supposedly on board. Gerry fixed Fitz’ military record so he’s nowhere near the plane.

What happens next is awful. Fitz’s dad rapes Mellie.

Editorial rant: I’m so conflicted about this scene. I detest rape as a story line. I find it cheap, and easy, and usually beneath the writers. It’s far too easy to victimize a woman. Here’s the thing – I could not begin to fathom what it’s like to come back from such an attack, a brutal theft of what you hold most dear – what no one should be able to take from you. And I’m not just talking about sexuality. So do we really need a rape scene to make Mellie sympathetic? Should this ever be a story line? It absolutely happens – I don’t say that, but should we EVER use it in ficitional television? I don’t know. Scandal doesn’t flinch, but I admit, watching this scene, I did.

Mellie goes upstairs, where Fitz pulls her into bed, and tells her all he wants is for his father to be kind. He wants him to, just once, apologize and be on his side, noting if he’d just admit that, he thinks he’d be a great governor. But as of now, he just wants to pack it in. It’s really messed up. And in the dark, Mellie makes her next decision. The next morning, shades of big haired First Lady Mellie surface as she tells Gerry they will never speak on it again, and he’ll tell Fitz exactly what he wants to hear. Which he does, and the next flashback shows them celebrating his election to government. She also whispers in his ear she’s pregnant, but when he hugs her, her face is not joyous. In fact, it’s terrified. Remember – that assault happened when Fitz was trying to get her pregnant. A smart girl like Mellie probably knows when she’s ovulating. That was the first DAMN!

And THEN!! CrazyQuinn is hanging with Charlie, and between making out, he dangles the carrot of helping him, allegedly by knocking out the guard to get some information. But no – what she injects into his hand is a lethal something because he dies. She’s otherworldly freaked out (because she’s a nut) and trying to dial Huck – and Charlie tells her that’s a bad idea, and welcomes her to B6-13. DAMN! DAMN!

And THEN!! Turns out, the guy Quinn killed? That was the guy driving the stairs the night the plane crashed! The lone link to Omar Dresden! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!

BUT THEN!!!!!! Fitz is looking into a file on Liv’s Mom, trying to figure out how his life got so batsh!t crazy. He sees that the Mom is survived by a daughter, and a husband who is a curator at the Smithsonian. He puts together that Rowan is the husband is the dad! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!

AND THEN!! What we all know! Rowan goes through a building, down a hall, into a basement and says “your daughter has been looking for you” OMAR DRESDEN WAS LIV’S MOM!!


So – Rowan obviously knew the plane was going to be shut down, so he saved her, but why take her from Liv. What will Fitz do now that he knows Super Assassin is Liv’s Dad? And just who the hell fathered Fitz’ oldest child?

Whew child. I’m grateful that next week has to be a repeat. It’ll take me some time to digest all this!

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

One Part Be My Lover

This week in ShondaLand, Olivia and Eli are having dinner (apparently, Sunday dinners are back on the table), but without any of the pretenses of the other dinners. He says they are making progress because she hasn’t accused him of any crimes against humanity, she says she’s only there so he won’t make her friends kill people. He takes a little pride in that she’s a lot more like him than she wants to be. When she says she’s who she is in spite of him, and not because of him, he notes it’s “two sides of the same coin”. And, word. Ever notice the more people try to get away from being whatever it is they detest – they swing so far on the dial they are still pretty closed to it? He leaves her with an ominous warning that as long as Huck and Jake leave him be, they’ll be okay. Loving Joe Morton even more, loving the Jake and Huck bro-mance (because I’m still not speaking to Quinn) LOVE MY SHOW!!

I mention the JaHuck bromance because Jake is currently breaking into Eli’s place and stealing files, and I cannot stress enough how much I do not understand the freakish chances these people take with this man. He’s an assassin, and he’s a mean one. So really? B&E on his property, is, at best, misguided. It’s a nail-biting scene, but he doesn’t get caught. He has “it”. And no, I don’t know what “it” is…something to do with Remington. I’m gonna need them to let me in on this secret.

In the Oval, Mellie and Cyrus are showing the male version of Tyuana Bailey around, because he is so elated to be in the office he is looking at every single artifact as if to say…WHOA!! THIS IS THE OVAL OFFICE! Turns out, Leo is another campaign guy they want to run Fitz’s campaign…and while he is appreciative of the offer, he says no because there’s NO way Fitz is going to win (he’s got problems – big problems – character problems, credibility problems…and a penis problem). To his credit, he tries to have this conversation without Mellie, but she won’t leave because he’s not her husband, he’s “their guy”. I probably would have left though when he called me a frigid shrew. But that’s me. Anyhoo, Leo can’t back a loser. He also says…everyone knows they pissed off Olivia Pope, so why would he take them on? He plays the part of Greek Chorus here – asking them why America would reelect this guy who’s head is so clearly not in the game…and it’s a good scene considering we all know he’s going to get reelected somehow. Really, who would CARE about the heart of Scandal if Fitz was not the POTUS, so whatev. But it was a great scene.

OPA has been hired by Phoebe to work her campaign, and what gets her hired is her brutally honest speech on what her shortcomings are and how she can fix them. Phoebe doesn’t want her to manage her campaign, she wants her to ensure that the baby she gave up for adoption before she decided to go into politics stays hidden. And I loved this – she doesn’t want her to not come to light because of her politics, but because she wants that child, now woman, to enjoy the life she’s built and not have it be destroyed by the political machine. She says she won’t use it for political gain and needs it fixed. So we (and by we, I mean the Gladiators) all head to Montana to keep this secret, and find out the real secret is that Phoebe’s sister and manager is actually her daughter she gave up for adoption. Olivia knows this is going to come out, and encourages her to come clean, as if she wants to be the president, her personal life is going to be on full display. She warns her of the upcoming ambush during a debate, and when it goes down EXACTLY how Olivia tells her it will, Phoebe looks like a hero, and Cyrus gets closer to that second heart attack. Pheobe, now America’s sweetheart walks off, and fires Olivia for her great work. Because her sister Candy has figured it out and she’s pissed.

Other things we learn in Montana:
- Huck has bugged Eli’s office and has a tape of his meeting with Fitz (Presidential Fitz, who we know I love). Fitz wants to take Eli to task for having Pete Foster killed. He calls him on the bs card that he (Pete Foster) committed suicide and asks who else will die to “protect the secret no one is looking for”. Eli knows Pete’s files have been accessed so he knows someone is looking into it.
- The term…”Poped”. Cyrus’s sweet assistant (whose name escapes me) realizes Olivia’s people are quicker than he is, and he’s so afraid to tell Cyrus (and. Word.), and he shrieks, we got Poped. I love that, and it will surely make it into my business lexicon in the near future.
- Huck told Harrison and Abby about Quinn’s newest appetite (Harrison: drill baby, drill), and she’s basically grounded from helping them. Huck really is trying to help her, but this fool buys a gun while she’s out in Montana. And please, Shonda, I beg you…bring her back.
- Abby and David are back together, but she’s having a hard time. Turns out, David invited her to the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and she stands him up because her husband is there. We know her husband abused her, but I’m not sure if we’ve seen him yet. Maybe it’s Leo???

Huck is giving Jake details of the meeting between Fitz and Eli when a Suburban rolls up and tells him to get into the car. Jake thinks he’s being kidnapped by command (making me wonder why he didn’t run like hell), but actually he’s escorted to the White House’s basketball court (seriously? There’s an outdoor court there?). Fitz admits he wanted to get into Jake’s head by having him kidnapped, and says everyone takes it easy on him and doesn’t expect this game to be easy.

And cut. I readily admit right here, my comments are not at all objective. I love basketball. I love to watch basketball. And Tony Goldwyn and Scott Foley look like they can ball a bit. So it’s kinda gratuitous, but I don’t care. And Jake’s crossover dribble made me forget, just a bit, that I am all about Fitz. The point of this game, after a few hard fouls – was that the President is OTHERWORLDLY pissed off that he sent him to protect Olivia and he instead shakes the sheets. Jake ain’t talking about Olivia. Period, and that doesn’t set well with POTUS. Olivia could do worse – these are some pretty pretty boys fighting over her.

And speaking of Olivia – she watches the phone. This is so…normal. She’s waiting for the president to call on “their” phone, and when the phone rings she’s so hopeful, but no, it’s her other phone. It’s Cyrus calling looking for dirt on Phoebe, and gives her enough information to know the gladiators are not alone in Montana. In a snit, she throws the phone in the trash can, after Jake (rightly) points out that waiting for “the secret Fitz phone” to ring is so beneath her. You can tell from her face she’s not leaving the phone in the trash, but she wants to. She so wants to – but when it rings, in the trash, she answers, and it’s Fitz. I wanted to think about how this was a crucial scene showing how they enable each other, but then. The conversation that takes place is so honest, so ordinary, so mundane, and so electric because the whispers of two people in love tend to be electric. He admits to her that he’s afraid of the correspondence dinner, because he’s ashamed of his image. She helps him by vetting his jokes, and her ability to help him thru it despite his failings is why he loves her. It’s the type of conversation that should NOT be heard by your wife. And watching Mellie overhear this conversation is why I just can’t help but root for her character.

Which makes it all the more heartbreaking when, during the correspondence dinner, Mellie uses the “secret Fitz phone” to get Olivia to a hotel room to BEG her to run Fitz’ campaign. Because he is “her guy”. Because she knows Leo was right and that the only person that brings a spark to Fitz’ eye and makes him presidential is Olivia Pope. They wisely cut this scene with montages of Fitz’ speech where he’s killing it – it’s clear he needs Olivia. Mellie [and girl! What happened to your hair?] breaks my heart, admitting that Fitz isn’t alive when she’s not around, that he can’t breathe, “because she’s everything to him.” And wow. I got nothing.

Harrison calls Live back to the office, where Phoebe is waiting to offer her the job back. She turns it down (over Harrison’s ‘dafuq’ expression. Remember. He knows they have a mortgage), and leaves him standing there. And for you Jake fans, she goes to the office after Jake leaves her at the correspondent’s dinner, telling her, he “won’t be second, not even to the president”. And Yowsa. BUT BUT BUT! (and there’s always a BUT BUT BUT!, isn’t there?) Huck has continued to put the pieces of the puzzle together on the flight that never was. It would seem, according to Huck (who tells Jake this after breaking into his house, and really? Have these people heard of doorbells), that the big secret is Fitz shot a commercial plane out of the sky. A commercial plane carrying Maya Lewis, who was still using her maiden name. Her married name is Pope. JaHuck interrupt Liv’s reminiscing about her days as “banged Olivia” (election rigging not withstanding)to deliver this very disturbing turn of events – that quite possibly the President caused the death of her mom.


There’s more to this story and we will not find out next week. I’m convinced the previews are filled with red herrings. So, in my mind, Remington remains a mystery. Because why would Eli want this covered up? Did he not realize his wife was on the plane? And what else was on this commercial airline? There’s more questions than answers! I can’t stand it!

Until next week!

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