You can just tell by the title of the episode, “Icarus,” that something or rather, some things were going to go wrong – and they did in a big way on this week’s episode of Scandal.
As Olivia’s team continues working with Josie, Cyrus and Mellie continued scheming to bring her down. Meanwhile, Harrison’s loyalties were tested and Olivia had to make a crucial choice that impacted all of her White House relationships. Sounds heavy right? Well let’s put it this way — Olivia is a mess over her mother; Fitz is a mess over Olivia; Harrison is a mess and we’re finally starting to find out why. While all of this is going on, the Democratic primaries are just beginning, which could only lead to even more chaos in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, let’s get to what happened in this week’s episode, “Icarus.”
Maya Lewis aka Mama Pope and Operation Remington are all tied up in a huge knot
We got to meet Olivia’s mom! Granted, it wasn’t the divine Phylicia Rashad, whom I’ve been sending smoke signals to showrunner Shonda Rhimes in the hopes that’d she’d cast her, but I’m actually really happy with the casting of Khandi Alexander. Alexander’s proven her phenomenal acting chops over the years, most recently on HBO’s Treme; and as far back as Peter Benton’s sister on NBC’s ER.
The flashback-limited appearances focused only on the timeframe right before she was “killed” in the airplane crash over Greenland. I say “killed” because I truly don’t think she’s dead (and no one’s ever truly dead on a soap opera). While re-watching this episode today, there was something about Maya’s behavior – whether it was the inflections in her voice or the way she holds on to baby Olivia, which told me she knew she wasn’t coming back. I don’t know if she was a super secret spy like her husband or just an innocent bystander that left her daughter to protect her, but there’s definitely more to this story. That door closing means something big (just like it is as the end of the episode.) Do I think Rowan (aka Eli Pope) had something to do with it? Yes and no. I doubt it he who gave the order; the tears falling down his face as he watched the coverage of the crash were legitimate. More importantly, his answer during Olivia’s drunken phone call felt real, but that doesn’t mean someone else in B613 didn’t put this plan into action.
Getting back to the phone call for a minute, Olivia needs to learn what a compound question is when speaking to her father. She should have asked, “Did you give the order to have my mother killed and did Fitz shoot down the plane?” You should always have a game plan if you’re going to drunk dial your father, especially before you’re two bottles into your wine stash.
“I have so many questions I want to ask you, but I’m afraid you’ll kill my friends if I do. So, you know…let’s just talk about the weather or how I can’t form attachments to people because my mother is dead and my father is the thing that goes bump in the night.” Jesus, Olivia. Her screwed up existence beats every others on TV right now. At this point, she should be rocking in a corner, honestly. Whatever happens, Olivia needs to move onto something stronger – like tequila.
Fight or Flight
My “Olitz” (that’s Olivia and Fitz for those unaware) loving heart is full of conflicted feelings over the chaotic state of affairs in their lives. The moment Olivia walked into the Oval Office, I just knew it wasn’t going to go well. Hence when she asked, “Are you lying about your military record? Are you lying to me?!” and he responded, “Like you did to me about Defiance?!” All I could see was figurative shots fired. It was even worse when Fitz referred to Jake as Olivia’s boyfriend. Talk about throwing salt on the wound that is my ‘ship’.
Olivia and Fitz pull no punches when they fight (it’s part of their appeal) – it’s down and dirty and ugly..and it’s only going to get worse in the weeks ahead. His indignant attitude about her questions and her consequential refusal to work on his re-election campaign highlighted the worst elements about their relationship. They don’t communicate; act on emotions and do reactionary things that lead to more trouble. Sigh.
Although I still only see Jake and Olivia s friends, I’m beginning to enjoy their platonic relationship. He protects her and continues to help her in her quest to find the truth about her mother, but I don’t feel the heat. Even when Fitz and Olivia are at their worst, I feel the passion (that very thin line between love and the) and know this is something.
Take their last conversation in Olivia’s apartment for example. Olivia refused to back down from her line of questioning; Fitz continues to stonewall. In fact, all he wants to do is brush it under the rug and start over. Now, whether it’s a result of fearing for her safety and protecting her from B613, or his hubris relating to be questioned as the President of the United States, or a little of both – I’m not sure.
I’m a hardcore, ride-or-die Olitz fan, but in this sitation, I’m Team Olivia. This is about her mother; everything she is today is a result of not having her mother around to protect her from Rowan. She even acknowledged that during the call with her father. So when she says, “One of the bodies in the ocean was my mother. Do you still not know what I’m talking about,” she means business. All I could think of was Damn, Fitz. Game, set, match.
It’s obvious he had no knowledge of that detail, considering the expression on his face was one of pure shock. In the end, he loved her enough to forgive her for everything she’s done – the question is, does she feel the same? Was there symbolism in the last scene with Olivia’s door, Fitz’s elevator door, and her mother’s door closing. Is it the beginning or an end? Is Fitz coming back? Is her mother? Once again, Shonda Rhimes leaves me with 47 more questions than I had before.
One last thought — Fitz protecting Jake? This triangle is a freaking mess. Both men are in love with Olivia, both are keeping secrets, forming alliances with people to get what they want, and both aren’t telling the whole truth. At this point, I’m having a hard time remember who knows what and who knows who is on each side of this triangle. Truthfully, I’m having flashbacks to Alias (and I loved that show but it was also confusing). Sometimes, more twists doesn’t mean more drama, it just means more confusion that doesn’t add to the story.