Scandal Season 5 Episode 3 recap

There were very high highs in this episode, when both Fitz and Olivia smiled during the ‘yes’. The freedom of telling the truth was immensely exciting for both of them.

Unfortunately, those highs came in the very first moments of the episode, and it was all kind of a parade of tyranny after that. I think the way to discuss it is to go down the list of people and see what it is they have to complain about, and how legitimate it might be.

Fitz, The Skinniest President.

What’s he complaining about?

That his self-sacrificing wife of about 20 years won’t go quietly into some hotel for unloved wives after he decides he’s done playing with their marriage and wants to throw it in the garbage. Also…

That the people he hires to help him do arguably the most important job in America or, you know, THE WORLD, are invested in helping him to do that job, as opposed to invested in helping him to make his penis as happy and guilt-free as possible.

Any of it legit?

Zero. Not presidentially, not personally, no. Next week he’ll be complaining that all of his decisions make him look selfish in front of Olivia.

Olivia, Designated Whore

What’s she complaining about?

Nothing, actually.  She is markedly silent.

So does she have legit feelings, then?

It depends. Olivia spends the episode thinking about what it will be like to be with Fitz, ‘legitimately’, always being second to his desires, always suppressing herself for him. So she’s legitimately mopey, I guess.

Then she chooses him anyway….


Now that she’s actually doing it. Now that she’s actually ‘choosing him’, the reasons for doing so seem poorer than ever. What does he give her except sex? It’s not being the proud man who stands behind her. It’s not even tweaking her brain. What does he give her, except the promise that he’ll do ill-advised negotiating with terrorists in order to get his prize back?

What are we hoping to get from watching this relationship?

Cyrus Beene

What’s he complaining about?

He’s the most intelligent operative within this administration, nobody will listen to him, and his best attempts to suck up, control Mellie, use Olivia’s smarts and manipulate ‘Red’ to his advantage go completely unheeded and unacknowledged.

Is it legit?

I mean, yeah, but I don’t want to change it, either. This show has a theme with brilliant older men who are rendered impotent by Olivia Pope, and they sort of gnash their teeth in resigned frustration. It’s totally legitimate, and it’s annoying that they’re thwarted in their attempts to retain political power because some people are in LOVE, but it’s more interesting this way.

It’s also most interesting that of all the consolation prizes Cyrus should have gotten if his plan didn’t all-the-way work the way he wanted to, Mellie is the least good. He might have strong-armed Elizabeth into doing dastardly things or manipulated Abby over to his side or even joined forces with Olivia. But with Mellie, he has the most mulish and inflexible yet still demanding charge.

Mellie, Queen of Pain

What’s she complaining about?

Oh you know, just being discarded like so much garbage because her husband doesn’t like her anymore.

Is it legit?

I mean, of course it’s legit, in the sense that nobody likes being told they’re over, and that it’s not fair to be playing by one set of rules and then be told that those rules don’t apply anymore – all the upholding you’ve been doing is not longer welcome!

Having said that, Mellie wants to cause pain and manipulate and harass generally, and not even because she wants political power, necessarily – so I think it’s ultimately a good move for her.

Abby, Red Queen of the Press Room

What’s She Complaining About?

Not being told that Olivia and Fitz really were sleeping together (again? Which time?).

Is it legit?

NO. She’s gaining power weekly, she’s ‘very, very good’ at her job, she’s spoiled for opportunity. Why she’s complaining about what amounts to a junior high school friendship with a woman who has demonstrated over and over again that she doesn’t need or want friends is beyond me. Get a clue, Abby.

As for the rest – the supposed ‘series regulars’ whose scenes amounted to ‘some phone calls’, yes the complaint that they’re doing nothing is legit. Let’s hope they negotiated per episode rates rather than dailies.