Scandal Season 3 Episode 8 recap
Expressing that you are shocked and overcome never goes over that smoothly in print, as evinced by our title here, but damn. That was a fantastic hour of thrill-ride television.
Or, I should say, a fantastic 42 minutes. You know that annoying poster that has been posted on social media and Twitter that says “You have the same number of hours in a day as Beyonce”? Well, Shonda has 42 minutes just like everyone else on network TV. She just does more with it. This is, I think, the 10,000 hours principle applied. Maybe Private Practice won’t go down in history. Maybe Grey’s Anatomy is mockable in seasons 5 and beyond. But she is truly a master at what she does now. All that work came together to make Scandal unimpeachable in its deliciousness.
I was really disappointed that the Josie Marcus story ended so quickly. First of all, I thought she was able to withstand more than Candace. Candace? Candace brought the campaign to a screeching halt? Not my favourite. I hoped her rage issues, her frustration with being feminist when that’s a dirty word in politics – something – was going to fuel us at least until February sweeps. “Taking the fall for her secret daughter” seems really weak, and I think one of two things: Either the producers realized that this wasn’t going to work out, for character or actor reasons, or Josie Marcus is going to come back with a bang in the new year to throw a cog in the works. The latter would make sense, especially where Candace sleeping with Harrison could actually have mattered in any way…maybe? Like they’ll come back stumping against Pope & Associates somehow? I have no reason to believe the former has any weight, except – why cast a big name if you’re not going to have them actually do anything?
Still, the idea that I could be mad at this episode is nothing short of preposterous. What I actually thought was that it was, more than many episodes in weeks past, a series of perfect moments that our characters just can’t leave alone.
Most comedically, of course, this plays out with David Rosen and Abby which – who knew those two were going to be such a delight long-term? Amusing and dry as hell, both of them, but he illustrates the point for us. He can’t leave well enough alone when he’s in bed with his beautiful girlfriend. Wouldn’t life be easier if he could? Less righteous, perhaps, with a white hat decidedly dirty – but still, easier?
There are other perfect moments. Mellie and Cyrus when they giggle and conspire together, James and Cyrus when he plays the doting husband for once – these both involve Cyrus, who they’re not even trying to pretend isn’t Machiavelli, so there’s that, but it’s fascinating that these people really do like each other, at times. They really do know how to give what the other needs.
They just can’t leave well enough alone. I thought the idea that Cyrus was offended by James engaging with Sally’s husband was a bit rich – he’s always used James as a tool and he’s never been afraid of collateral damage before. Can he really claim alienation from a scenario he engineered into being? I know the sentiment was supposed to be “he didn’t know he would care this much” but am I really meant to buy that?
Then, of course, there’s stupid, stupid Quinn. Nobody is stupider than Quinn.
As we know, the whole genesis of Pope & Associates is that when people were in trouble, Olivia saved them, and now we have who we have. Quinn, of course, could have thrown herself on the mercy of P & A, been scolded and screamed at within an inch of her life, and then become bait for Charlie and the rest of B613. But she won’t, and hasn’t, because she knows she’s used up her chance when she was saved the last time, and when she was let off the hook for trying to be a tiny assassin.
So fine, she and Huck are going to settle it with a little more vigilante justice between them. I know this is going to be good for us to watch. The shot of the pliers and blowtorch was exactly chilling enough - and I like secrets between the white hats – but it still doesn’t change the fact that Quinn is stupid.
Or that, luckily, she’s sort of off the hook. I mean, she’s not, at all, but the whole tracking down of the person who got off the plane was kind of rendered moot since Olivia’s mother just showed up.
Just showed up!
After she chewed her wrists down to the nerves.
Again, perfect moments ruined. She and Eli actually bond over the beauty of their daughter. She takes in the fact that she helps others for a living. (If you want to go down the google hole, you can search “Maroon and White School Newspaper” and have fun imagining which institution the clipping is supposed to be from.) (Yes, I know where it’s actually supposed to be from.) But they can’t leave well enough alone. She has to dig into Eli’s relationship with Olivia. Which tells me she hasn’t been aware, over the past 25 years. She doesn’t know a thing about what’s been going on.
So because this show is never a straight line, what do we think? Was Olivia’s mother a terrorist? Was she a spy? Who is she being kept from?
Oh and do we have time to discuss Olivia’s love life? Need I remind you, again, that this was just a regular network hour?
A couple of weeks ago in this column we discussed blind spots, and I have to say that I forgot one – “Ain’t No Sunshine” is definitely one of mine. So I was already going to love the love scene. I don’t like Fitz. I still find him bland and boring and not nearly charismatic enough for my Olivia Pope – but I love that she loves him. I love that this is something she wants, and that she gets a tiny taste of it in Vermont, of all places, when the sun is just about to rise. I am also a sucker for the early sunrise. So this scene got me in all the tingly places it’s supposed to. Olivia, too.
But the fact is she can’t leave well enough alone. Fitz could. Fitzgerald Grant is, it turns out, a surprisingly simple kind of man. He could leave it all alone and never think about the things that bother him ever again.
But Olivia can’t. And won’t. Especially now that her mother is at her doorstep. Surprise! Hahaha. I still can’t get enough of this thrill-ride. So bit by bit the gorgeous night in Vermont with Fitz will be tainted with the memories of what comes after. If only she could live without turning things over to look at the tarnished side.