“Scandal” never stops delivering pulse-pounding action and emotionally-charged dialogue; case in point, the all new episode, “Mama Said Knock You Out,” which aired on March 27.
Tension reaches an all-new high when Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Mellie’s (Bellamy Young) kids Jerry and Karen arrive at the White House to do a live First Family interview for the campaign. Let’s just say the kids are totally disenchanted and thoroughly disgusted with their parents’ farcical marriage. Jerry is even running an anonymous anti-Fitz campaign on Twitter.
To make matters worse, both Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Karen catch Mellie having sex with Andrew (Jon Tenney). Karen tells her dad and Fitz blows up. First, he punches Andrew in the face and then he explodes at Mellie, and blames her for destroying their marriage.
Olivia walks in on this heated exchange and he screams at her too, which sends her running from the White House until Cyrus (Jeff Perry) persuades her to return because she’s not just fixing a family, she’s fixing an entire nation.
Fitz attempts an apology, but Olivia is clearly devastated if not shell-shocked by what she’s seen and heard. She’s been on the receiving end of Fitz’s anger before, but this time it’s different. She begs him to fix his family for the sake of the campaign and her job, because it’s all she has left.
Granted, Olivia is under a huge amount of pressure in running Fitz’s re-election campaign and in working her secret agenda to take down B613. However, it’s obvious Olivia doesn’t like this dark side of Fitz. We can’t help but wonder if Olivia is finally in over her head with Fitz. In fact, at this point, we have to ask ourselves if Olivia's relationship with Fitz represents emotional and physical collateral damage she won’t be able to recover from. In other words, will loving Fitz ultimately be Olivia’s most costly and dangerous mistake?
Turnabout is Fair Play
It’s very clear Fitz and Mellie have a strained relationship with their kids. We can’t help but wince at Jerry and Karen’s very blatant disrespect and disapproval of their parents. Karen ultimately blames Fitz for all of their family problems, until she walks in on her mother having sex with “Uncle Andrew.” Yikes!
Karen isn’t the only one who catches them in the throes of passion. Olivia also discovers them together and warns Andrew to stay away from her. All Andrew can do is reply, “Glass houses, Olivia.”
Here’s what we don’t see coming: When Fitz finds out Mellie slept with Andrew, he socks him in the face. And, quite frankly, we don’t know how to take his jealousy.
Fitz is, after all, openly having an affair with Olivia Pope. And, he’s not the least bit shy about letting his wife know it.
That said, in the heated and heartbreaking tirade he launches on Mellie, he blames her solely for destroying their marriage because she refused to let him touch her. Fitz’s verbal attack is brutal here and while we can certainly understand his confusion and maybe even contempt that Mellie has decided to be a “sexual person” for Andrew, we know the horror she’s suffered before getting to this place. She was raped by her father-in-law and Andrew basically saved her life in the post-traumatic stress that followed.
Fitz says, “You ruined our marriage. You shut me down. You locked the door. You killed us. I would never have cheated. I would never have gone looking elsewhere. But I spent ten years with a wife who wouldn’t let me touch her. Ten years and I never blamed you. It wasn’t your fault you didn’t want me. Poor Mellie. My poor wife’s dried up. She can’t control her body or her libido. But it turns out that was a lie. It wasn’t that you didn’t want sex. It was that you didn’t want me because you’re all hot and bothered for Andrew and I have spent all this time feeling guilty, feeling like a monster. Feeling like I broke us. And it was you. You did this. You broke our marriage. You killed us!”
Mellie tries to defend herself by saying, ‘Don’t you dare put this on me. I have given my life for you. If you knew what I have done to get you where you are!”
He rages on, “All you’ve done is deny me love and scheme to get power” and eventually screams “What have you lost?!”
When Olivia interrupts them he screams at her, “I am talking to my wife!” When he sees Olivia’s face and realizes what he’s done, it’s too late. Olivia runs away as fast as she can.
Some big questions: Knowing what we know about Jerry and the rape, what does this mean? How, for instance, would this change Fitz’s opinion and attitude toward Mellie if he knew the truth? Didn't they basically start with a loveless arranged marriage? Yet, in this sequence it seems like he cared enough about Mellie to be committed to their marriage until she shut him out. Or, is Fitz deluding himself? And, how would knowing the truth about Mellie's rape change Fitz’s feelings and relationship with Olivia? Is Fitz’s relationship with Olivia currently doomed anyway?
Tony Goldwyn, who also directed this riveting episode, is simply a master at portraying all the many complex facets of Fitzgerald’s Grant’s larger-than-life personality. Even through his bull-headed anger, we've glimpsed Fitz's heart and we know he has one in there somewhere. Overall, this is ultimately a very strong and important scene for Fitz and Mellie and could also prove to be a game changer for Fitz and Olivia.
Speaking of complex personalities, how about the scene when Jake (Scott Foley) exerts his authority as Command to the Commander in Chief? In the ultimate power play, Jake refuses to hand Dmitri over to Fitz and reminds him that as Command, he’s not the president’s “b**ch” and he makes every critical decision for the country.
Can we just say: Wow!
This heated exchange is amplified by Cyrus busting in with the intent to crack Jake over the head with a vase. Jake puts him in a choke hold until he calms down and Fitz physically holds Cyrus back. The sad and also horrifying thing is that Jake robotically tells Cyrus he’s sorry for his loss. Can someone truly be that cold? Apparently it’s an unwavering part of the B613 Command job description.
Are Fitz and Olivia Doomed?
For the second time in recent episodes, Olivia stands up for herself to Fiz and tells him he needs to direct his apology toward his family, it’s not her job to fix his family. She emotionally stresses that if he fails to pull it together for the interview then she fails at her job and she can’t afford to fail at her job because it's all she has left.
This scene is just so heartbreaking. Olivia tries so hard to remain strong and maintain her authority, when we can easily tell she’s crumbling inside. We've already questioned if this tortured couple has reached an emotional impasse. Is this whole experience an eye opener Olivia didn’t see coming? Is Rowan right? Has she just been "the help" all along? Finally, while we hate to consider it for so many reasons, should Olivia keep herself personally distanced from Fitz from now on?
Furthermore, Adnan tricks Harrison (Columbus Short) into thinking she is seeking a way out of her criminal endeavors. She gets OPA to help ensure her immunity and then sleeps with Harrison, drugs him, and steals all of OPA’s details about Fitz’s campaign, secret service detail, the president’s itinerary, contingency plans and more. Are they planning to assassinate Fitz?
It’s really scary to see Jake sit back and tell waiting agents to hold off on grabbing them. He wants to see how it all plays out. Jake’s restraint is disconcerting at the very least. Why would he let these dangerous players make any more headway with their plan? Is Jake secretly trying to take Fitz out as well? Is Jake Ballard a wolf in sheep’s clothing hiding right under The Republic’s nose? And, is Olivia about to get caught in a very dangerous crossfire?
Olivia's mother is a monster and her morally bankrupt father has warned her more than once to run away as fast as she can. Maya Pope is obviously looking to take Fitz and his entire administration down. Meanwhile, Olivia seems to be walking a very dangerous line. Again, we must ask, will loving Fitz turn out to be Olivia’s most costly mistake?
There are only five more episodes left to see where things go from here and something tells us things are going to get much more dark and dangerous before another terrible storm …
“Scandal” airs in Flint on Thursdays at 10 pm ET on WJRT ABC12