Well, my friends it only took five weeks. Five weeks for everything to be blown to smithereens. In “Get Out of Jail, Free,” Fitz, Mellie, and Olivia are all trying to get through the Senate impeachment proceedings unscathed. Not possible, but high five for effort. Mellie gets to unload her feelings about life, while Olivia regresses to running from her voice (again). Meanwhile, Eli Pope and B613 are all over my screen again and the déjà vu of seasons three and four is real. The only saving grace was Susan and David, and how often do I say David saves anything?
Because the Senate continues to go for Fitz’s jugular, Mellie is compelled to testify about her knowledge of Fitz and Olivia’s affair. Mellie, of course, straight up lies about her involvement in keeping Olivia and Fitz’s affair up and running, so to speak. She’s busted when the Senate brings up Jeanine Locke and how the Grant administration, including Mellie herself, tried to sell Jeanine as the mistress instead of Olivia. So, the people Mellie thought were going to have her back, turned around and stabbed her in it, and she didn’t even see it coming. Weird, she’s usually so astute. Like when she didn’t see the same people kicking her to the curb after she voted to impeach Fitz. She doesn’t even realize how much worse it could get if Defiance or West Angola ever came out until Olivia points it out.
Here’s the best part about how shrewd Mellie is, she doesn’t figure out who Eli Pope is until Olivia physically hands over his file and tells Mellie that Damascus Bainbridge is really Eli Pope. So, at no point during the media siege of Olivia’s life did Mellie see a picture of Olivia’s father?? You know, the one the media specifically brought up for his prison sentence. She never put that together? I can usually get past a plothole, it’s how I survived watching Grey’s as an actual nurse, but this is pushing it. The only thing that made me pause was Olivia pausing over Mellie’s question “Why did you think he [Fitz] kicked me out?” Olivia legit thought Fitz kicked Mellie out for her because he was choosing her, not because he was furious at Mellie for (unintentionally) teaming up with Eli. That kinda hurt. And then Olivia brought up Jerry and finally revealed that Eli killed him. No ma’am. I call out of bounds. You don’t just drop that bomb and stand there.
As this is unfolding, Cyrus comes up with the plan to have Fitz and Olivia get married so she doesn’t have to testify against Fitz. It was very transaction-like and unpleasant. Couple of things to say here: First, No. They’re not ready. Second, does this even apply to the all the stuff that happened before they were married? I have no idea, but that seems not quite kosher. Third, No. Olivia can barely enunciate the words “get married” out of her mouth without hyperventilating. She specifically equates prison with being FLOTUS, granted she might not be wrong there. But still. She doesn’t want to do this and neither does Fitz.
The “proposal” scene was awful and brutally honest about what doesn’t work for Fitz and Olivia. Fitz thinks Olivia is upset about how their maybe impending nuptials was discussed, while Olivia is actually upset that they’re even talking about marriage in the first place. The entire cliché proposal backfires because Fitz can literally see Olivia hyperventilating when he gets down on one knee with a ring he had his assistant track down. And what in the ever-loving hell was that nonsense by the way?? Fitz delegates his engagement ring shopping duties to Charlotte? It’s not even Lauren for god’s sake.
Despite the engagement ring and proposal fiascos, Fitz is fine with getting married under the circumstances because he just wants to be with Olivia and while this way is not his first choice, it’s his endgame. Olivia, on the other hand, cannot get the fence pole out of her ass, and has not one clue what her endgame is. Nowhere is this more apparent than when Olivia keeps calling Jake to talk about Fitz. BECAUSE WHY??? Why did Olivia out herself as Fitz’s girlfriend, weather the media firestorm, be prepared to perjure herself before the Senate, if she’s not ready to let go of Jake, the wet security blanket? Jesus be a decision and character progression.
Let’s fast forward to Olivia “accepting” Fitz’s ring with the enthusiasm of getting a root canal. She just wakes up in Fitz’s bed, acquiesces to the whole plan, puts the ring on, and says, “Ok.” Be still my beating heart. I can’t take all this romance. The whole engagement is so dreadfully painful that I’m positive it would be a toss up for Olivia if she had to choose between marrying Fitz right now and being kidnapped again. Also, the ring is not her style and she doesn’t even remember that it was Betsy Ross’ ring. Stop the madness. The coldness of “No wedding dress, no flowers, no vows and I’m keeping my name” is icky. I get it, she doesn’t want to do this, she’s doing this, the one thing that panics her to the core, to avoid perjury and because she loves Fitz. Of course, because Olivia can’t do anything without checking in with Jake, she calls to inform him of her engagement. He’s as perplexed as I am as for why she keeps calling him, so that’s cool. Even better is he’s now a widower so that field is wide open again.
Moving onto the “wedding” because I want to depress you even more. Fitz and Olivia don’t make eye contact, they don’t speak to each other, and they don’t even stand on the same side of the room with each other. The Secret Service guy scares the shit out of Olivia by highlighting everything she’s about to give up when she marries Fitz. I sincerely don’t blame her here, because there’s not enough money in the world to have the eyes of the world on you 24/7. I’d personally be breathing into a brown paper bag.
Good thing Mellie saves the day by springing Papa Pope and Tom (huh?), to rescue Olivia from having to bite the bullet and marry Fitz. Mellie is a giver, you guys. She’s selfless. Except now that she’s done what Olivia wanted in order to avoid testifying, Olivia owes her once again. So we’re back to Mellie saying, “Jump,” and Olivia asking, “How high?” This isn’t a team effort by the way, so Team Mellivia is ridiculous to say. This is Mellie getting the upper hand on Olivia once again and Olivia standing there catching flies with her shocked mouth. Fantastic. I’m so thrilled to be back to mute Olivia and power-wielding Mellie again. And to top it off, Olivia sends the ring back with Abby to give to Fitz. She can’t even face him to give him the ring back. Ma’am.
Let me begin my following thoughts by saying that I’m certain I’ve said all of this before but since we’re doing the déjà vu thing, why not repeat it? I find it fascinating that Mellie can pass the buck on everything wrong in her life to anyone BUT herself. She makes it seem like she has absolutely no locus of control in the last 20 years of her life. Things always happen to her. She never makes choices that backfire or have consequences on her own. Choices like – and I’m just spit-balling here – choosing to lie to the Senate impeachment committee about her knowledge of Olivia and Fitz, or making a deal with Damascus to become a Senator, or inducing her own son early to hold onto Fitz, a son she now wants full custody of. Nowhere is her hypocrisy more apparent than when she’s battling it out with Fitz over the divorce details. It’s beyond rich that Mellie spews, “How do you do that? How do you talk yourself into believing anything you want to believe? Convince yourself that you are completely blameless in every situation. What kind of messed up cognitive processes go on in that tiny little head of yours to make alllllll that happen?” at Fitz. I don’t know, Mellie, you tell me.
I’m not saying she hasn’t suffered. She’s buried a child, survived a rape, and lives with the guilt of sending those jurors to their death. And yet, all the while she’s insistent that she’s been “forced” into this life like a kidnapped victim of Fitz. It’s repetitive and tiresome. Own your shit (This truly applies to everyone on this show, but I just want to tattoo it on Mellie’s forehead). Also, I’m not saying Fitz is the victim here, because lord knows he’s got the entitled white mediocre Republican bit nailed. Fitz is always the one who has to be saved or babied by someone, at least that’s how he’s presented. And he’s a murderer too; let’s not forget this. But he’s a simple creature: He wants Vermont with Olivia. That’s it.
Honestly, Mellie and Fitz are both awful, so let’s call it a draw and move on. Truly, everyone is awful on Scandal, it’s just a matter of the degree of awfulness. What absolutely kills me is how certain Mellie is that she’s suffered the most, while simultaneously reveling in her own intelligence the loudest. This is the same intelligence that has now teamed her up with Eli, the man who killed her child and easily tricked her into killing a dozen people. That sounds like a genius move.
Quick note: I loved the scenes with David and Susan. They were the highlight of the episode for me, minus those wine coolers. Let’s leave those in 1991. Also, I don’t discuss B613, but it looks like some shady shit is about to go down.
I told you the rug was gonna be snatched out from under Olivia and Fitz, but was it worse than you expected? Or better? I tend to think it’s par for the course, I’m just tired of this repeated game.