When I saw Olivia’s mom gnawing her own wrist in Thursday’s edition of “Scandal,” I thought to myself, “Wow, how awful. I could never imagine doing that.”
Just a few minutes later, as Olivia fell for Fitz’s latest, ostensibly-romantic-but-actually-super-creepy gesture (flying her to Vermont in a helicopter and showing off the secret house he’s built for her and their brood of unborn children), suddenly I could relate.
I am exaggerating (slightly) but the latest rekindling of Olivia and Fitz’s relationship fills me with profound dread -- not just because they are bad for each other, but because they are bad for the show. The endless back-and-forth between these two is starting to grow tedious, especially because any seasoned “Scandal” watcher knows their latest romantic detente probably won’t last through the show’s winter hiatus.
After she wisely refuses to take Fitz’s phone calls, Olivia gets a knock on her door from Tom, the president’s favorite Secret Service guard/wingman. He indicates that Fitz knows the truth about Rowan’s identity, and sends Olivia off to the Green Mountain State in Marine One. (Serious question here: Can a helicopter even fly that far without refueling?)
There, at a rustic chalet straight out of the Sundance catalog, Fitz complains that Olivia never disclosed her father’s identity to him -- a grievance that, in a normal world, would be perfectly reasonable. Honesty is important in any functional relationship. But this is coming from a guy who shot down a civilian airliner, killing all 329 people on board including, at least as far as he knows, his mistress’ mother. So, you know, he’s not really one to talk.
And it only gets worse from there. Fitz guilt-trips Olivia by telling her he bought the land in Vermont -- the state that symbolizes the “normal” relationship these two are incapable of having -- and built a dream home on it for them. “This was going to be you and me raising a family and growing old together, he says.
Now, we know Fitz is rich enough that a spacious Vermont love shack (complete with an orchard!) probably isn’t much of a stretch. But let’s not forget that Fitz is also the leader of the free world. When, exactly, did he have time to pick out the land, obtain building permits and review plans with an architect? As anyone who’s watched a minute of HGTV knows, building a dream house is an all-consuming process. We all know Fitz, who’s supposed to be campaigning in New Hampshire, has never made governing his No. 1 priority, but this is ridiculous.
It’s also one of those gestures that, in real life, would send any sane woman running for the hills. A guy, who already has a wife and several kids he never sees or so much as discusses, secretly builds a house for you and all your future progeny? That’s called stalking. (Not to mention, he does so without any design input from Olivia. Does he really think she’s not going to have strong opinions about paint colors and lighting fixtures? Has he seen her office?)
But this is “Scandal,” and the whole thing turns Olivia into a lovesick lunatic and she and Fitz are back at it like two crazy rabbits. (Let us pause for a moment to consider how hilariously absurd it is that Vermont, of all places, is the place that gets Olivia all hot and bothered. You should see her when “Newhart” reruns are on.) Somewhere in the middle of their Bill Withers-scored tryst, he also sort-of- confesses to his involvement in Operation Remington, but claims he doesn’t know why he was ordered to shoot down the plane. The plan now, it seems, is for Olivia and Fitz to team up to answer that very question.
Their investigation should prove easier now that Maya, after chomping through her own flesh and killing Rowan’s personal physician/dungeon master, has revealed herself to Olivia. The biggest question now is why Maya faked her death, and whether she can be trusted. Knowing “Scandal,” it could be that Rowan had very good reasons for resorting to such extreme measures to keep his daughter away from her mother.
Maybe it was inevitable that Fitzivia would get back together, but did it have to happen so soon? To me Fitz and Olivia are far more interesting when they’re on opposite sides of a fight, which is why I was disappointed to see the Josie Marcus story line come to an end so soon. After her “sister-daughter” stages a Watergate-style burglary to frame the Reston campaign, Josie takes the blame and drops out of the race. It’s an anti-climactic end to what was shaping up to be a juicy three-way campaign among Sally, Josie and Fitz.
A “couple” I am thrilled to see back together are Cyrus and Mellie, whose scheme to out Sally’s husband, Danie, takes an amazingly screwed-up turn this week. (It’s dawning on me that Mellie and Cyrus are basically the Thomas and O’Brien of “Scandal,” which must be why I enjoy them so much. Olivia, be careful next time you’re getting in the bathtub!)
Cyrus lures his unemployed and depressed spouse James into writing a profile of Daniel for the prestigious DC Times magazine (what, you’ve never heard of it?) then goads him into wearing a fetching pink sweater and loosening Daniel up with some bourbon. Meanwhile Mellie tells Daniel that Cyrus and James have an open marriage. The plot backfires spectacularly, with James piecing together the plan and hooking up with Daniel in retaliation (or at least making it look like he did). Brings all-new meaning to the term “revenge sex,” doesn’t it?