Home > Uncategorized > “Demons run when a good man goes to war.”*

“Demons run when a good man goes to war.”*

We like to pretend that war is simple. Black and white. Good and bad. Two clearly opposing sides, without any carryover, any bleed. Sometimes, that’s true. Sometimes, a battle is easily discerned. But when there are no declarations, nothing written in stone or blood, there is another kind of fight – the one waged in secret. Carefully behind the scenes, like a game of chess that only one person is even aware of. To win that game, you must know your enemy. You most surprise your enemy.

 

And we are, all of us, fighting some kind of war. In last night’s episode of Scandal, everyone was fighting a battle. Some battles were old. Some were new. And some were a bomb, dropped from a clear sky, while someone else held their breath. The episode, interestingly titled, “It’s Handled,” (Olivia’s, for all intents and purposes, catchphrase) is not about handling a situation. It’s not about fixing a problem. Instead, I believe it’s about handling people. Managing them, in the various wars that our characters find themselves.

 

When Olivia is confronted and whisked away by her father, you no longer see Olivia Pope. You see Rowan’s daughter. You see her, initially, slip off the white hat and become less of herself, because she falls back (one can only assume) in their usual power dynamic. He shouts, and she listens. (Oh, the irony.) She caves in. She gets on that plane. She wears the gift of her father’s disappointment like a bad haircut. Head bowed. Then, she talks to Cyrus — the political monster. He utters a brilliant line and brings her back to herself. “I may be a monster. But honey? I’m your monster.”

In that moment, Cyrus chooses Olivia’s side. And then Olivia chooses her own side, not content to run away and hide. Because we all know that Liv doesn’t hide. She goes to war. She gladiates. And Poppa Pope has kind of meltdown, and it is clear that while he is trying to protect her, they are one two opposing sides.

Meanwhile, Olivia’s clients are fleeing in droves, because no one is more fickle than a political in Washington, when someone is thrown to the wolves. Liv, who protects and rescues people on their worst days, is pretty much abandoned by the very clientele she has struck her neck out for, routinely. Who is left to go to bat for Liv? Liv. Her team. Cyrus. (In his way. We’ll get to the kill file in a minute.) Fitz. (We’ll get to that bomb. YES, WE WILL.)

Liv does a thing. She pulls an emergency bat signal and ends up in a bunker, with Fitz. (Hi. –Hi. Annnnd, I’m DEAD.)  Fitz’s face throughout that whole scene was naked and vulnerable. And then Mellile shows up, at Liv’s invitation, calls Liv a whore — which doesn’t sit well with Liv. She tells Mellie that in order to fix things, she might need to stifle herself slightly, at least in Liv’s presence.

But here’s the trouble: Mellie doesn’t want to admit that her husband is in love with another woman. An affair is one thing. But these two, Fitz and Liv, can’t stay away from each other. They broke up, reunited, broke up and reunited — in a way that only speaks for love. Not just sex. Sure, that was part of the equation. But Mellie isn’t willing to admit that her husband loves someone else. So, in order to “fix” things, Fitz and Mellie agree to give a press conference about how he had an affair with Olivia, which she—sacrificing herself, like a Roman on his sword—consents to. A narrative is crafted, out of half truths, one that one paint Liv as a whore, Mellie as a saint, and Fitz as nothing more than a man who has committed ill-timed indiscretions. Which is not the same animal as a relationship.

 

The Gladiators, obviously, have Olivia’s back. But they are also, honestly, a bit on the outside. They are scrambling to figure out how to help her. Liv’s name is out there in the worst, you-can’t-avoid-it, just-as-bad-as-a-blue-dress way. Scrambling to figure out what to do, they eventually reach out to Cyrus, who gives his best, “Bitch please — I don’t know you. Goodbye.” Until, of course, Cyrus needs their help. After Mellie struck a deal with Liv and Fitz, she runs straight to Cyrus with a HELL NO, and tells him that she and him have to fix things — they need someone else to blame. The Gladiators give Cyrus a target, someone who works in the White House. Thus, Cyrus puts aside his kill folder, which he couldn’t stomach. You want to know why Cyrus had that put together? He had no intention of using it. It was merely to keep up appearances. If anyone else but Liv had been The Other Woman, making a kill file would’ve been his first move. He had to keep up appearances, not show favouritism, and buy himself a little time in order to figure out what to do. It was a show, a brilliant show, so that Cyrus could figure out how to handle the situation and all the players involved.

You see, this episode was all about appearances, about navigating. You have to navigate your allegiances in order to win a war. And everyone is fighting for something. Mellie is fighting to keep her position, her status, her prestige. She is clinging to the illusion. Cyrus is fighting for Fitz, but he is also fighting for Liv. He was her mentor. He is her friend. He is torn by both sides of the battle. By placing the blame elsewhere, sure it looks like he’s throwing his lot in with Mellie, but, really, he’s just doing his best to protect those he loves.

Then, of course, Liv is furious with her team for leaking the name of an innocent woman. And, good lord, if all of us could get into trouble for calling someone hot? I’d be in every single headline, ever. (Because, Tony Goldwyn, you’re hot. And I am pretty sure I’d be utterly shameless telling you that to your face. But I digress…)

But that’s not the best bombshell. In the last few minutes, the audience learns a thing. Fitz has been deliberately playing Mellie. He has, after Liv and him broke up, crafted a plan. He pretended to go to Mellie for comfort, when it was nothing more than a show. It comes out that it was all a clever show, because when he choose Olivia last season, he really meant it. And it was FITZ who leaked Liv’s name to the press, to get things out on the open, to try and navigate the situation as best he could, by putting the truth out there. And Mellie realized it. Mellie found herself in the role of pawn, instead of queen, and basically said hell no.

But for Fitz? The gloves are off. He finally reveals his hand — that he has been navigating his allegiances, choosing Liv — fighting for Liv. If Fitz isn’t a Scorpio (who can, very patiently, wait and wage a quiet war — when a Scorpio goes to battle, he’ll walk into a fire without so much as a sigh, stand in front of a bullet, and dance in the middle of a hurricane), I’ll eat my hat. My non-white, many shades of grey hat. Fitz threw down a gauntlet. He is done with Mellie and her shit. In that moment, a new war was revealed, one with clearer sides than how to fix the Affair Situation. It is a war that has been going on since Fitz fell in love with Olivia. It has morphed and changed shape over time, but when Fitz sat with Liv and watched the clock run out on his marriage? There was no going back from that. Fitz has an endgame. And that’s Liv.

 

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. But woe to the idiot who stands in the way of a love like that.

*title is a line from Doctor Who.

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  1. Bran MacFeabhail
    October 4, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Geez. I’m going to have to watch this show.

    • October 5, 2013 at 8:32 am

      It’s my favorite. A lot of my friends have recently caught up by marathoning the first two seasons on Netflix! 🙂

  2. stephaniekidd
    October 5, 2013 at 11:42 am

    you are spot on thanks i wish more bloggers would read your view of scandal.
    my question is,are liv and fitz in this together. you know that sentiment always comes into play with these two.kudos , kudos to you i will be here again next week to read your view of guess who is coming to dinner.

  3. auntiepaulie
    October 6, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Of all the reviews, you are the only one who seems to actually know what’s going on. The others are so hating on Fitz, Olitz and wanting Mellie to be star of the show that I wonder if we all are watching the same show from season one. These people HAAATTTEEE Fitz. There would not be a show today if not for the Olitz outspoken, tweeting fans! I get the impression that many of these people who hate Olitz, Fitz, and think Olivia is evil/stupid are new viewers who just caught on and are not used to an AA in lead role (so they want to give the smarts to Mellie) or that the show is loosely based on Judy Smith, the very smart, dependable Fixer who worked for President Bush senior and who is still out their using her smarts. The characters can only speak the words that the writers put into their mouths so if it coming down that Olivia is evil and stupid then I think the writers have failed to represent JS as who she really is and that is a disservice to her and what she does worldwide. I am reading and from what I know of OP, her biggest flaw is her love for Fitz and how it shapes her life. I live in a real world and I see this happening, even in the church. Human beings, real people do things they are not supposed to do, I call it the human condition. People marrying for the wrong reasons or the wrong person, leaving spouses for the real love of their lives(those who are brave enough). So to see this evil coming down on Olitz makes me see the hypocrisy of the common man and help me to understand how this is taken to Washington which in turn creates havoc on the worldwide political landscape. People are very misguided about who we are, the things we do and who we are as mortal, sinful, imperfect beings. Not saying adultery is in any shape or form okay, I have learned to dig a little deeper and not be judgmental. The same ones who will stone Olitz are the same people who will take food stamps from hungry children or prevent Americans from having health insurance, you know, those moral upstanding people. People are flawed, all people, in many different ways. So many of them do not know what the dialogue between Olivia and her father was about. That’s the speech heard worldwide in homes of POC. I recall giving that same speech to my nieces and nephews. As Ali said above, the dialogue at the start was about daughter and father just as it was between Fitz and his dad. Parents will reduce you to whimpering kids, they know how to do so especially if they are of a certain character. In any case, I liked Ali’s take on season one as it was more about what has been going on and sees the characters for who they really are…I saw that for the first time Cy did something that he was not happy about, seemed like he wanted to cry when he pulled the ‘kill file’ on OP. Ali was the only one who picked up on that conflict within Cyrus. Of course it could also be because I am an Olitz and Cyrus (sometimes) fan. Don’t care for Mellie and Jake and can’t wait for more of Rowan. I knew he was not going to kill his daughter, did not make sense.

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