corruption of the facts: a snake in the garden
Sometime, we lose perspective. It happens to everyone. We get so caught up in a moment, or in blaming someone else, that we lose sight of the situation at hand. That can be a very dark place to be in, one where we often do not make the right decisions. Because it’s hard to make the right choices with your eyes closed.
There are moments in life where you put our faith and our trust in the wrong things and the wrong people. Then, it all comes crashing down through some revelation grand or otherwise, and it sets the world on edge. Trust, when it’s repeatedly shattered, is difficult to repair. Because of the past history and the fear that goes along with it. Take Hollis Doyle in Thursday’s Scandal (A Snake in the Garden). Hollis’s daughter has been kidnapped. Apparently, she’s every terrible person you’ve ever met, with a drug addiction, horrid taste in men, and a huge attitude problem. Hollis brings the case to Olivia, only to protest that he doesn’t think she’s really been kidnapped – and he won’t pay one sent of her random. One severed ear later, Hollis recants, the random is paid, and the daughter is recovered. A few scenes later, it’s revealed that Hollis was right. His daughter staged the entire thing. Huck and company reacquire her, and Hollis gives her a choice: she can come home and start fresh OR she can take the money. In a moment that crushes her mother, and Hollis (who showed some real emotion), his daughter takes the money.
But who, then, is the snake in the garden? It isn’t Hollis. It isn’t the director of the CIA, who realizes Olivia is having him followed – only to later be found dead, shot to death in his car. It’s reported as a suicide, but a quick scene between Jake and an unidentified man (I feel like we’ve seen him before — in one of the war room meetings) reveals that it was not a suicide. So, Osbourne was not the mole. Which makes me wonder if the mole is Jake, whose got a suddenly convincing pair of crazy eyes in several scene (the male version of Overly Clingy Girlfriend).
The snake in the garden could very well be Jake. She tries to cancel their date, even after she’s put on fabulous black shoes and a white dress. After a brief phone call to Cyrus, by the time Jake arrives, Liv’s wearing a different kind of armor: sweatpants. Fancy sweatpants, but sweatpants nonetheless. He takes one look at her, and sees through it, because he knows more than he’s letting on. Olivia, in a moment of vulnerability, tells Jake a version of the truth: that she was in a relationship, but she’s not over it. And hot damn, if you cannot relate to what she just said, please check your heart for its functionality. Because she talks about a very specific kind of emotional haunting, when that person has seeped into every corner of your heart, leaving you to look for a ghost that is (and isn’t) there. To bastardize Neil Gaiman’s brilliance, love takes hostages and eviscerates almost casually.
He confesses that she doesn’t know anything about him – but that she’s sad and he could be her fresh start. The idea of a fresh start, a clean slate, is appealing. Who hasn’t wanted a do-over? A reset button? A way to rip out the feelings that you’re feeling, the kind that haunt you when waking and asleep, and start anew? Everyone has wanted that. Except it’s kind of the coward’s way out, because you can’t unlove a person. You don’t stop loving someone when they start making wrong choices, or because he/she is acting like a bit of an asshole. (I’m looking at you, Fitz. And yes, that’s me understating the situation, scotch-fiend.) What Jakes proposes is great in theory. But in practice, it’s a huge pile of crap. A kiss can make a person stop thinking. It can steal a person’s good sense, chuck everything else out the window, and rearrange the breath in your lungs. But a kiss, if not accompanied by a true and solid interest, is merely a wonderful distraction. Jake is, obviously, keeping things from Olivia – while spying on her. But I wonder about the man he met in the park. Who is it, truly, that Jake is answering to – and what is his angle? Mad love to Scott Foley for being wonderful in this role. He’s playing both sides to the middle, whispering in everyone’s ear. He’s keeping secrets when it suits him, telling half-truths, and using every available playing piece on the board. Jake has a nice guy charm, and I nearly forget that something is a bit off about him – until he sneaks in a wide-eyed, I might be crazy moment.
For Fitz, there are too many damn snakes in his horribly overrun garden. He’s trusting Jake, who clearly is keeping things from him. He is still keeping Cyrus at bay, although I think Cy made some headway this week, with a well-done speech to Fitz about mistakes – and how we all make them. But Fitz is all scotch, all the time. And it takes an extremely amazing speech from Mellie to make him snap out of it.
Because she acknowledges that Fitz has been absolutely devastated by Liv, simply because she’s human. She’s flawed. And he cannot handle it. To cope, we’ve seen him with a drink in his hand more often than not. Nothing has cracked that booze-soaked armor, until Mellie confesses that his kids do not want to see him, because he’s gotten mean. This is Fitz drunk in the elevator times three thousand. Mellie takes in a little far, comparing him to his asshole of a father, and this cuts Fitz to the quick. Fitz may be many things, but he has always been a good day. But he’s been so wrecked that he’s turned into someone else, someone he’s been resisting being his entire life. There’s a poignant shot of Fitz leaving the glass of scotch on the table and walking away. We can hope that’s one less snake in Fitz’s crazy ass garden.
However, I will say this: as RIGHT as hell as Mellie was, we cannot forget that when it suited her, she was the one supplying him with the scotch. In the morning. IN THE SHOWER. If it was affecting their kids for so long, she sure as hell took her damn time to tell him. Perhaps that allowed her to be the favorite parent for a while. Perhaps she relished the idea of being the one Karen and Jerry run to. I think that there’s at least a part of her who enjoyed being their safe place. But I have to admit, I CHEERED when she took Fitz to task. Because she championed the one thing (his kids) that might turn him around, turn him back into himself, instead of the person who keeps punishing everyone around him. Everyone who loves him. Everyone who is, for whatever reason, on his side.
“[Olivia] is just a person, like everybody else.” That line, right there. We are all just people. We fall in love. We make mistakes. Hopefully, we don’t pull a Van Gogh and slice off our own ears. But we are all flawed, all human. We lose sight of who we are, sometimes. We lash out at those we love. We heap silence upon silence, as punishment for things that might not need punishing. And we often drown our sorrows in alcohol, using it as a crutch – when that’s only a temporary solution to a problem. Crutches break. People fall right off pedestals. When that happens, so many things shatter. We are all capable of hurting those we love, simply by doing the wrong thing. But that action doesn’t negate love. It doesn’t turn us into a monster. It reveals our vulnerable humanity.
You cannot love an illusion. You cannot worship the idea of a person. Who hasn’t made a mistake in a relationship? Who is polished and without rough edges? Who hasn’t hidden things, or lied, or been decimated by a truth?
Good love – and a good relationship – is messy. It’s rare and raw. It’s honest. It’s talking. It’s showing up with popcorn and a bottle of wine. It’s telling the difficult truths, because they need to be said. It’s about forgiving and forgiveness, even and especially forgiving ourselves. Without these things, we become less. We lose sight of ourselves. When that happens, things slip into the garden under the radar, unseen. We make huge mistakes. Because without proper perspective, we maneuver like angry, blind bulls in this damned china shop of life. You can’t tell who to trust, who to forgive, who to believe, or what your lack of love is doing to yourself – and those around you. That is a great tragedy: when we get so wrapped up in ourselves, and our own heads, that we forget that our actions have consequences. That things are not quite what they seem. That trust is earned, not granted like a wish.
“No, the serpent did not
Seduce Eve to the apple.
All that’s simply
Corruption of the facts” ~Theology, by Ted Hughes