Burden of Proof: Talking Scandal
In life, there are two important, telling factors: what is said and what is done. Often, people talk a good talk, but it’s just empty words. People say, more frequently than is good or right, things that they don’t mean. It’s easy, isn’t it? To offer words and not deeds. It’s the easiest solution to a difficult moment, but it is a bandaid over a bullet hole, because words are useless if they aren’t backed up back actions. Without actions, words are just pretty, like putting curtains on the window of a house that nobody lives in. That doesn’t make it a home.
In the most recent episode of Scandal (Vermont Is For Lovers, Too), the entire episode revolved around actions and words, either in tandem or in disparity. First, there’s poor shanghaied Quinn, forced to spy on her friends and attempting to cover her own, accidentally murdering ass – because Charlie is still working for B613. Quinn, who cannot be nonchalant to save her bloody life, is trying to keep track of the surveillance footage in order to ascertain whether or not she’s on it. Of course, Huck is having none of that, because the tech shit is his domain, and I’m pretty sure he suspects something, because she’s acting about as cool as a fried egg on a summer sidewalk. But the horribly awesome thing is that, despite the fact that Charlie is an asshole, there is a bit of a spark between him and Quinn. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shipping that at least a little. Because, despite myself, I am. Give me a break. George Newbern has pretty eyes, guys.
Meanwhile, Momma Pope does the crafty, unspeakable (and OH MY GOD, hard to watch) thing and chews her own wrists in order to be transferred to a less secure medical facility. Whatever she did, whatever she’s playing at, Momma Pope is fucking CRAFTY. Because, and this is very important, she even plays a few notes on Poppa Pope. I mean, she just wanted to see her daughter. Then she settled for photos. Then, once everyone was all, “Oh, she’s harmless” – BAM. She overpowers the doctor and runs for Liv. Now, you would think that Poppa Pope would’ve stationed some extra guards, since we don’t know quite what she did to deserve prison, but it feels a little bit…Irina Derevko from Alias. So, at least until proven otherwise, I feel like she was some kind of spy. Whatever she is, she has mad skills, determination, and she has to be pretty smart for finding Olivia THAT quickly, because she’s been in there twenty years. She would have NO IDEA how to work the internet. I’m just sayin’. *cough*
Of course, there’s the whole Josie Marcus storyline, which was that Josie’s sister/daughter tries to chuck her competition under the bus, by staging a fake robbery of laptop, planting it at Governor Restin’s headquarters (or was it his home? I can’t remember), with the hopes of toppling his public image. Instead, sister/daughter basically tanked sister/mother’s image, because Josie fell on her Roman sword in order to protect her sister/kid – allowing Lisa Kudrow to basically dissolve back into the political nothingness of Montana – eliminating her from the presidential race. You see, she claimed to have concocted and executed that nutball scheme. That whole Josie Marcus storyline felt like a bit of a derailment and distraction, a bit of a buildup for a not a lot of payoff. But I’ll take it, because it means more Liv and Fitz. Don’t worry – we’ll get to that in a moment.
I want to talk about Cyrus and James. Because a) they are one of my favorite TV couples and b) somebody needs to SMACK Cyrus upside his fool head. And I volunteer as tribute. In order to get some dirt on Sally Langston, Mellie and Cy go full-on Machiavelli and set up Daniel (VP’s husband) and James, respectively, for a mothereffin’ DISASTER. You see, Cyrus conveniently gets James a job interviewing Danny Boy. Mellie informs him that Cy and James have an open marriage. James, poor trusting soul that he is, doesn’t smell anything rotten in Denmark when Cy suggests alcohol and a nice cozy interview at Daniel’s home, alone, when his wife is out of town. Because nothing says NOT A SEDUCTION like a hot little vneck shirt and BOOZE. *cough* Unfortunately, the truth hits James like a comet when Danny Boy kisses him, spills the open marriage line, and James…he knows the truth about Cyrus setting him up. And the devastation that washes over his face is a thing of brilliance. Kudos to Dan Bucatinsky, who is a total darling and stunning actor. Cyrus, who is so secure in James’ goodness, had assured Mellie that his marriage is not like hers – that it won’t matter or affect his relationship. Which pretty much tanks off of a cliff, because there are PHOTOS of naked things, after James slinks home, late, and in need of a post-sex shower. James has proof that Cyrus manipulated the hell out of him, breaking his heart. Because despite everything, James trusts and loves Cy. And Cy, bless his manipulative little heart, does love James – because he also overlooks the fact that he isn’t a pawn on a chess board. And, perhaps, if he had just asked James to play along, he would’ve. Instead, he used him. And honey, nobody likes being used. I’m rather looking forward to James and Cyrus’ eventual confrontation about that whole Danny Boy thing – because for Cy to get pissed, he has to admit what he did. And for James to confront Cy, he has to admit what he did. And you know, Fitz isn’t the only one embroiled in a Shakespearean drama, is he?
Now, speaking of Fitz, we’re going to talk about Liv and Fitz. And I’m not even going to promise not to fangirl. Because I am. Hardcore and without shame. Fitz calls Liv. Liv basically tells him to frak off, hangs up, freaks out, and smashes the Fitz phone. Jake pretty much rolls his eyes and tells Liv that a frantically smashed phone will not sever their communication. Which turns out to be true, because Fitz flies Liv out to Vermont. And they FINALLY have the argument they’ve been needing to have for a while. They don’t fight dirty, and if you’re paying careful attention, Liv gets vulnerable. Liv reveals her guilty over hurting Fitz in the past, claiming that he needs to be protected for her, which is why she never revealed her father’s identity. That was a raw, honest moment – because who hasn’t been a relationship where, when you’re feeling low and a strange combination of cowardly/noble, you don’t tell the other person I’m no good for you. If you knew the truth, you’d run? (For the record, if you try to protect me from myself, I will have none of that.) Fitz basically called Liv on her shit, and then reveals that this fantastic house that they’re standing in – complete with a piano and a Fitz hand-laid fireplace – was something he had built for him and Liv.
You know, back before everything exploded and they broke up for the billionth time.
It’s funny, in life, how words aren’t enough. How actions change everything. And that house? Man, that’s words turned into reality. That’s proof. Who, at one point or another, doesn’t want a tangible token of love? Fitz was planning for their future together, outside of the public eye. Fitz even had a gorgeous kitchen put in for Liv’s figurative jam making. This reality, this solid manifestation of his love for her, causes her to drop all her reservations and walls, cross the room, and kiss the hell of him.
The next scene is brilliant cross-cut with Mellie trying to get ahold of her husband, followed by Liv – neither of whom can be reached, because they’re busy doing the dirty. For Mellie, that is her proof that Liv might come back to the White House as well as where her husband’s heart really lies. As if there was ever any real doubt. But there was, I think, a moment where she thought things might be a little different, because he did defend her on national TV. With that unreachable moment, that little hope was completely snuffed out. And I did feel a touch bad for her.
The love scene between Liv and Fitz was, as usual, pretty hot. And in a completely fangirl moment, Tony Goldwyn looks damn fine in nothing but boxers. I can’t even. Everything about him is gorgeous, and I’m not above admitting that the view of his back left me a little slack jawed.
But the emotional component to that scene, the morning after where he asked her to stay even knowing that she couldn’t, was brilliantly done. These two absolutely cannot keep away from each other, because they love the hell out of each other. What I do find interesting is that Fitz is always the one verbalizing his affections. He has no problem telling her I love you, and there are times where Liv looks like she’s going to say it…but then doesn’t. And damn, who hasn’t been there, right? She does, of course, utter those sentiments in her own way, when she tells him not to sell the house just yet. That says that she wants to be with him too, and that not all hope is lost. For Liv, there’s a vulnerability in her eyes when she tells him that, before departing. For now, I suppose, that admission is enough. Eventually, she’s going to have to say the words again, no matter how hard it is. No matter how much it reveals her heart, her fears, and all her insecurities. Because there’s going to be a moment where she can’t keep in it anymore. Or maybe where she knows that Fitz needs to hear it. I’ll be interested to see in what circumstances she says it, again. And I have to get Scott Folely mad love for his character’s “I told you so” moment with Liv, post-Vermont booty call. Because he was partly jealous and partly like, “I KNEW IT.”
Of course, at the end of the episode two things are revealed: Momma Pope finds Liv. And Liv’s whole façade of calm and in control melts away. And Huck is waiting in Quinn’s apartment, with his Tools of Persuasion and absolutely no mercy. That…is going to be interesting as hell. Because who really wants to torture a friend? (A sentence I never thought I’d write.)
The interesting thing about this episode was its push and pull between what we think we know and what actually is true. There was a constant flow of discovery on nearly all sides, and the importance of words versus actions was expertly revealed. This show constantly walks the line between secrets and revelation. The funny thing is that no matter what gets revealed, there are always more things we don’t know – the ‘we’ meaning the audience as well as the characters. And I’m curious to see what is revealed about Momma Pope – even though something tells me that we probably shouldn’t trust her.
Trust, of course, begins when you can match up words and actions. That’s a solid foundation for any relationship. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see who is trustworthy in the end.