SCANDAL, S4E2 ROUNDTABLE: ‘I like to think of it as winning’

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By Josh Axelrod, Anamika Roy and David Oliver 

It’s only been two episodes, but Season 4 of “Scandal” is already much more enjoyable than its predecessor. Without a central villain (i.e. both Pope parents), the show has been free to return to its roots of Olivia solving problems and the White House slowly crumbling from its own lies. You know, the usual trashy, intoxicating mess that drew people to “Scandal” in the first place. Let’s discuss where we’re at two episodes in:

Photo courtesy of KPopStarz

Olivia/Jake  

JOSH: So…these two aren’t a couple? Couples don’t call coming over to each other’s apartments “booty calls.” They stood together in the sun for long enough that I thought they were pretty established. I’m starting to think they’re a couple in the way Sookie and Alcide were on “True Blood”: into each other, but the girl is always thinking about someone else (Sookie had Bill, Olivia has Fitz).

It’s also funny that Jake thinks he has any power in this relationship. He may call Olivia coming to his hotel room a booty call and tries to “summon” her, but all Olivia had to do was take her clothes off and he ran to her in a second. Sorry Jake, but Olivia wears the white pantsuits in this relationship.

Last thing: I love how this show has now had two of Elliot Reed’s (“Scrubs”) exes on this show. Scott Foley was the doting whale trainer Sean, and Josh Randall (who played James Elliot in this episode) was the brooding, emotionally closed-off Jake. Zach Braff must be on tap next.

ANAMIKA: This show has made it clear that Olivia doesn’t do the couple thing. I think the power between Jake and Olivia is more balanced at the end that you say, Josh. Olivia ends up Jake’s hotel room, contrary to what she wants earlier in the episode. But Olivia still “summons” him and still calls the shots. This is a refreshing change compared to Olivia’s relationship with Fitz. That relationship was entirely on Fitz’s terms and he always “summoned” her. Thought I feel bad for Jake and how he’s being treated by Olivia, I think this episode was more a step in the right direction for Jake.

Fun fact: Room 207 was trending on Twitter last night. #TeamSun

Final point, I’m surprised Olivia isn’t looking into Harrison’s death. Doesn’t it seem even remotely suspicious to her? Also, it can’t take Jake that long to retrace Papa Pope’s steps. This investigation isn’t even over and I’m bored.

DAVID: Josh, totally agree with you re: Sookie and Alcide. Am I the only one who doesn’t buy Jake and Olivia ever lasting, really? I can’t help but think back to an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” another Shonda Rhimes show (Josh you can get mad at me for referencing it, but it’s amazing and always has been overall) where Dr. Lexie Grey identifies with a patient who is an author, writing about a character who falls in love with the wrong guy but winds up with him because that’s just who she loves. No rhyme or reason about it. That’s what I feel Fitz and Olivia are: “it’s unavoidable,” to quote a Neon Trees song. I predict a midseason finale hot hook-up for these two.

Abby

JOSH: Okay Abby, I see you. She’s always been my favorite. This show needs her sass and willingness to call people on their BS. Her big scene this week was explaining to Mellie that life does indeed go on, no matter how much she’s grieving for Jerry. Comparing her to Jackie Kennedy was a nice touch. I hope we seeing more of kick-ass Abby going forward. Also, I really don’t want to see her get back together with David. They were always a weird couple, and at this point they’ve lied to each other too much for a re-coupling to make sense.

ANAMIKA:  I agree, that scene with Mellie was one of Abby’s best. She was able to accomplish what even Olivia Pope couldn’t. Maybe the Fitz crew could bother to learn her name now? Also, Olivia had no businesses overstepping Abby and trying to “help” her. Is anyone else getting a little tired of Olivia’s “I know best” attitude?

DAVID: I’ve always loved Abby and am so glad they are using her more this season – it’s refreshing to see a new face in the White House that isn’t corrupt. Yet, anyway. “Children die, Mrs. Grant” – harsh, but necessary. And yes, Anamika, Olivia Pope is certainly a household name, but let’s not forget she ran away from her problems because Daddy told her to.

Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield), “Scandal,” photo courtesy http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com

Fitz/Mellie 

JOSH: Fitz may be a terrible husband, parent and leader, but that speech was a reminder that he is one hell of a politician.

But more importantly, #TeamMellie. I was a big fan of chip-guzzling, magazine-flipping Mellie, but it was only a matter of time before something snapped her out of that grief-induced stupor. I wouldn’t have guessed Abby would have been the one to do it, but whatever it takes. And her breakdown may have just gotten Bellamy Young an Emmy nomination. That was a mother’s despair right there. And to his credit, Fitz was there for her for once. Too bad he’ll probably be screwing Olivia again in an episode or two.

ANAMIKA: When Fitz asked Olivia to proofread his speech, I was yelling “NOOOOO” at the TV. You know what would be a better pre-speech scene? If Fitz had gone to Mellie to go over the speech and TOGETHER they had decided to change the speech. It would show two grieving parents using their power as president and first lady to bring change. It would be an amazing comeback for Mellie and, let’s face it, fantastic politics. Because even though it was an amazing speech, in one fell-swoop, Fitz just went back to letting Olivia do his job for him.

The scene with Cyrus and Mellie eating fried chicken on the balcony was a great juxtaposition to all of the past scenes with the duo brimming with more ambition and thirst for power than POTUS. Another fun fact I learned from Twitter, Bellamy Young is a vegan so they were nibbling at plastic chicken.

DAVID: That’s so funny about Bellamy Young and the plastic chicken! I’m always #TeamMellie, but I have to say so far Young’s best work came from last season’s “Everything’s Coming Up Mellie,” and if that didn’t earn her an Emmy nomination I don’t know what will. Then again, this is “Scandal,” so I’m sure more powerhouse scenes are coming up. Though her breakdown on the floor was very profound, though I wish Fitz didn’t come to her side. She still isn’t back to normal Mellie yet, and this would’ve been a good chance for her to fall apart then get back up again. I’m sure it’s coming soon.

Side note: Fitz saying “We don’t know how they got through with all the security” re: Mellie’s photo was rather coincidental considering all the current White House security issues, no?

Cyrus 

JOSH: I knew that guy was way too good-looking to be interested in poor, love-starved Cyrus. I’m happy he didn’t go through with it, but it appears this guy is going to be persistent at the behest of Portia de Rossi. Clearly she’s out to take down this presidency, considering she tried to use those doctored photos of Rosen’s beaten wife to destroy his bid for Attorney General (didn’t work). She’s clearly trying to entrap Cyrus as well. It’s only a matter of time before Cyrus gives in too, so we’ll see what happens.

ANAMIKA: “A broken heart is a broken heart. To take measure is cruelty.” That was my favorite line in this episode and likely one of the best lines spoken by Cyrus Beene. The chief-of-staff’s actions in the episode were so all over the map that I still wonder, does Cyrus have a heart or not? I do feel bad for the man and his loneliness. But, the bench scene where Cy blackmailed Olivia was reminder that he will never change.

DAVID: I am loving Portia de Rossi on this show. I hope Cyrus finds someone suitable soon.

Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry), “Scandal,” Gif courtesy http://www.scandlmoments.tumblr.com

David 

JOSH: I mean, I don’t really care about this storyline, but I did appreciate take-charge, blackmailing David Rosen. That’s a side of him we haven’t seen in a while. He better watch out for Portia de Rossi though. She might chicken dance him to death.

ANAMIKA: Make him AG, don’t make him AG. Frankly, I really don’t care.

DAVID: Yawn.

Huckleberry Quinn 

JOSH: EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. I still can’t get the image of them screwing on the Pope & Associates desk out of my head. They are one of the most disgusting couples on TV, right up there with Louis Litt and Sheila Sazs. They need to stop what they’re doing, now.

ANAMIKA: Naw, I think Huckleberry Quinn is worse than Litt/Sazs. Those two were cute, sometimes. I’m really sick of Huck’s wheeze talking and Quinn just needs to mind her own business.

DAVID: What happened with Huck’s family?! I know we’ll find out soon but the anticipation is killing me. I hope they’re still alive. I miss Quinn’s reporter boyfriend from the first season.

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