Is Love Stronger than a Mistake?
Often times, our life is defined by what we do not know. Things kept hidden from us are, occasionally, more vital and more powerful than we realize. Confessing truths is the opposite side of this coin. Both are important. Both can be devastating.
In last night’s Scandal (Nobody likes Babies), everything and everyone on the show exploded and imploded in a painful array of fireworks. Let me just say that everyone on the show is so amazing that I cannot even compliment them enough. The characters were very true to form, and yet surprising as all hell. From Abby’s tour de force performance with David – who she does love – where she steals from him, going over the cliff for Olivia, and subsequently obliterates the last shard of their relationship. To Huck who keeps Hollis alive, and yet manages to look impressed and alarmed at the illicit recordings of Abby and David. To James and Cyrus, who had the most hilarious and yet poignant fight ever – stripped down to nothing, because ONE of them might be wearing a wire. Later, Cyrus nearly had James killed, but loved him too much. And James lied to a damn grand jury to save his husband. They are an amazing, if not slightly offbeat, couple. Because even when they’re mad and a weeeeee bit crazy, they’ve got each other’s back. Although, CYRUS RUTHERFORD BEENE. Please stop trying to murder people. It’s unseemly.
Speaking of unseemly, Verna turned out to be quite the villain (my only complaint, here, is that it almost seemed that her cancer was blamed on her previously nefarious dealing, which was kind of offensive to me, personally. ‘Cause cancer isn’t asshole-specific. But still.) Now, Verna seemed like such a sweet, strong lady – but turns out she not only helped to rig the election for her own gain, but then tried to kill the President in order to preserve her mothereffin’ reputation – only to accomplish the most devastating thing possible. She told Fitz the truth about the election. And then Fitz, who previously professed his love for Olivia and his intention to leave Mellie, killed her. Sure, she was dying anyway. And sure, she DID have him SHOT, along with an innocent woman. But Fitz, in a moment of blind fear, committed murder. Not exactly the most sane, rational, LEGAL, or moral decision. And yet, in that moment, Fitz was protecting everyone. It wasn’t just himself. Because Verna was going to come clean to David Rosen, the DA, and take everyone down with her. Talk about going out with a bang. Yes, Fitz’s presidency was in question. But I don’t think it was a purely selfish move. I think that Fitz was also protecting the people who, in the past, have protected him. While Cyrus has previously mentioned that they (the cabal) get their hands dirty so that people like Fitz don’t have to, when push came to shove? Fitz went over that fucking cliff without blinking. Decision made. Gloves off. White hat…basically in the garbage.
Which, of course, brings us to Fitz and Liv. Fitz asked Liv to wait for him, and she said she’ll think about it. He has made his decision. He knows where his heart lies. And he’s ready. It’s not just theoretical anymore. Check the scene. I’ll wait.
Edison shows up at Liv’s (stop showing up unannounced, btw, and then acting like a wounded puppy) and she begins to decline his proposal. Edison asks her to give him something to go on, some reason why she wouldn’t want to be a senator’s wife, have babies etc (which, interesting, were all status symbols – and NOT anything about him personally, or them as a couple. It was as if she filled role, instead of it being about who Olivia is, why they’re good together, and the love that they share. It was almost very…clinical).
Olivia: I don’t want normal and easy and simple. I want…I want…
Edison: What? What do you want?
Olivia: I want painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing extraordinary love. Don’t you want that too?
Edison: Love isn’t supposed to be painful or devastating. Love isn’t supposed to hurt, Liv.
Isn’t it, though? Think about all great loves. All epic, storybook, legendary loves. They’re not easy. They’re never safe. They have an element of pain, obstacles to overcome, and challenges. Great love is not something you find on the shelf at the drugstore. It’s not a flat, easy course. They are speedbumps, and ditches, and the occasional dragon. There are mistakes. But it’s not run-of-the-mill. It’s not a checklist kind of love. It’s extraordinary. And what extraordinary thing is easy?
Of course, Liv’s best efforts and intentions are shot to hell. Because Fitz’s heart is broken by Liv’s involvement with the election rigging. When Liv walks up to him right before Verna’s funeral starts, he echoes their argument in the rose garden, borrowing her line, “Did you need something?” He barely looks at her. He is deliberately trying to drive her away. When Olivia tells him that she gave Edison his ring back, and that she’ll wait for him as long as he needs, he blanches. Then he tells her that he changed his mind, calls her his mistress, and makes it clear that he knows. These are the actions of someone in pain, someone who is lashing out in anger. In defensiveness. Because of a betrayal.
And yet, the first thing that came to mind is a scene from season one, when Liv and Fitz were discussing another couple’s situation. Fitz said, “I think that love, at the end of the day, is stronger than some mistakes somebody made.” We will see if this philosophy plays out. Perhaps we’ll see Liv refuse to run away for once – because we’ll see her stand up for their love, instead of Fitz. At the close of the episode, we have this emotionally wretched, yet romantically awkward, scene between Fitz and Mellie. Fitz is this wounded shell of himself, and he rushes back to what is familiar. Somehow, he can excuse Mellie’s involvement in the rigging, because she’s “always been honest” about who she is. And yet, she HID it from Fitz, too. Just like Cyrus. And Hollis. Verna and Olivia. But Fitz, sinking in his scotch again, isn’t himself. He asks Mellie if she loves him, and she says yes. He says that he has no one, and then uses a line that he’s used with Olivia, “Then we’re in this together. We have to be in this together. ’Cause I don’t have anybody else – I don’t. You’re all I have.”
In a moment of pain, feeling betrayed, Fitz pushed Olivia away. He didn’t even give her the decency of a discussion. He doesn’t realize that what she did, she did for love – for him. It really didn’t serve her purposes at all. She compromised herself for her feelings. Did the wrong thing for the right reasons. And Fitz runs back to Mellie. Aside from the WTFery of the whole murder thing, this made me want to smack Fitz. Because while no one is perfect, and what Olivia did is wrong, no one wears the White Hat. He isn’t perfect. And yet, as she’s falling down from this pedestal he placed Olivia on, he judges her for it. Love isn’t about perfection. It’s not about what’s easy. It’s about seeing someone, flaws and all, and loving them anyway. In the past, Olivia has loved Fitz for all his faults. At the first real test of his love and resolve, he flees. Oh, he’s hurt. Understandably so. But running away is the act of a coward. And here I thought that love is supposed to stronger than the mistakes we make.
I suppose that is a thing that only time will tell.