Scandal 3.18 “The Price of Free and Fair Elections” Review: “I’m the Scandal”

18 Apr

The Scandal season 3 finale showed who the real monsters are and while Olivia takes responsibility for her part in this tangled mess, she’s just a by-product and it’s both of her parents that are behind pretty much everything. Rowan’s declaration that he is “the hell and the high water” came into play as he showed just how far he will go to protect his daughter and get regain his power. It’s a revenge plot more than anything else and one that boils down to the playground mentality of you took something of mine so I’ll do the same to you, but instead of this being about something trivial Rowan did a deplorable thing and killed Fitz’s son Jerry. Well, Rowan didn’t commit the actual deed sending in head stooge Tom (who also dispatched of Adnan), but really it’s a much of a muchness.

photo1One of the most problematic aspects this season has been how little agency Olivia has; she’s become a pawn in a much larger game. Olivia deciding to make a break for it is satisfying on one level as she wasn’t dragged to the airport kicking and screaming; she made the choice. It’s somewhat sullied as she has only made this decision based on a whole lot of tragedy at the hands of her parents and she’s giving Rowan the one thing he wants; getting Olivia far, far away from Fitz. In terms of the love triangle Olivia lets Jake know that she loves someone else and he still goes with her anyway. Jake wants to be free of this life, he wants to be rescued and this is more important than being first choice at this point. Jake has always stood on the periphery and while he isn’t the man Olivia loves, the promise of Vermont and jam is a fantasy and will remain like this for at least another four years. Olivia owes it to herself to not be in a relationship that is this dysfunctional, though I’m not entirely sure that Jake is the answer. A break from all of this would have been the preferred solution, no matter how good Jake looks in that grey tee.

Early in the episode when it looks like Fitz will lose the election – the bomb turned into a huge MacGuffin – the Vermont fantasy briefly became a possibility. Until Olivia revealed the truth about Mellie and Big Jerry, which could be viewed as an act of self sabotage, but I also don’t think Olivia would want to keep something like this secret from Fitz even if it means sacrificing potential happiness. For a brief moment he thinks Mellie is lying, but why would she lie about something like this? Thankfully Fitz uses the reason part of his brain and he goes to Mellie; it’s probably the most tender we have seen him be towards his wife. There’s a renewed unity and it transpires that Fitz is indeed Jerry’s father. One brief moment of Grant family togetherness before the first casualty of Rowan’s rise to power.

The Grant children have only been recently introduced so I should have figured that one of them was doomed and Jerry takes the hit; the child that Mellie has always held at a distance because of what he represented and now he has gone. By killing Jerry, Rowan laid the double whammy of getting Fitz re-elected and taking away one of his kids. This is the hollowest of victories. Four more years of Fitz in power, maybe now we can see what a great politician everyone claims he is and yet we have never seen for ourselves. It’s going to be hard for him to get past this grief as we see him collapsed on the floor of the Oval Office and with no Olivia to reach out to.

Scandal 3.18Olivia hasn’t just left Fitz, she’s left everyone else at OPA and Abby’s the one to voice her rage and disappointment. Abby feels let down by Olivia and how they have done everything for her; now they are getting left behind. Abby’s behavior is understandable as Olivia was the one who created all of this, but I also can’t help but think how they will all be better off without it. Sure they will have to find new careers, but Abby’s media exposure during the election could open a wealth of avenues. There is of course the many files in David’s office that Jake sent him to “Go get the bad guys” so if she wants to continue to pursue this line of work then she can.

Everything is a little bit more complicated for the spit twins and I even beat Abby with yelling “MY EYES” first at the sight of them banging on the conference room table. Please let this be the end of whatever the hell this is and let Quinn and Huck become characters rather than caricatures in season 4. The reintroduction of Huck’s family is a step forward that I appreciate. Now to the last member of the OPA team and it’s so long to Harrison, who thanks to figuring everything out with Rowan’s plan is now a loose end that needs to be tied up. I’m disappointed that this character didn’t amount to much, but considering everything that is going on off-screen with this actor it is something that needed to happen. There’s no gun shot on screen so there is always the chance that Harrison could come back next season.

Where does this leave everyone now? Scattered and without Olivia. There will no doubt be something that pulls Olivia back and she’s not going to hit ignore every time that phone rings, but I am glad to see Olivia acknowledge that she is accountable, even if she isn’t the one who is doing the bad deeds. Olivia is still part of this machine and if time away from Washington D.C. allows for this character to regain her agency then this can only be a good thing.

This season has been messy in places and the focus on B613 has taken away some of what made watching Scandal fun as it got too complicated for its own good. Focusing on questions of power and what people to do to obtain and keep it is at the heart of Scandal and how to make things better in the face of monsters like Rowan and Marie (who is currently residing in the Huck/Jake hole of despair). The puppet masters have already been targeted this season and Rowan ends the season in power and this finale signifies a lack of hope; it’s not all doom as Huck takes a huge step with reconciling his past with his present and David still stands representing one white hat wearer. Maybe Olivia just needs a good old fashioned vacation and then she will be able to fight the real monsters.


2 Responses to “Scandal 3.18 “The Price of Free and Fair Elections” Review: “I’m the Scandal””

  1. danielle thomas June 21, 2014 at 5:08 am #

    Great synopsis and I agree! I am very anxious for Season4; I truly miss Scandal and of course the Season3 finale produced a lot of questions about what will the future be for the lives of all these characters whom I care so much about!

    I’m sure Fitz and Mellie will have some degree of redevelopment of their marriage but, how much?.…Fitz has shown he does not Love Mellie and truly is in Love with Olivia.
    But, Mellie in her strange way does Love Fitz and sometimes I think she Loves him a lot, which is truly pitiable because Mellie seems incapable of showing her love in the warm way most women do and Fitz needs his mate to be warm and giving, so Mellie’s seemingly cold calculating ways will always be to her detriment.

    How will Olivia and Jake develop as a couple. I cannot see an actual strong romance between these two, on Olivia’s part particularly it may always be more of a partnership in which she also enjoys Jake as the kind of man she prefers (dangerous) and their sexual desire for each other. And, Jake in his own weird mysterious way says he Loves Olivia, although the almost mechanical acting by Mr. Foley belies the words even as I hear Jake speak them. Jake is a wonderfully written character but, it seems Foley just cannot truly give birth to the character, his acting skills appear too limited to give the incarnation that would bring the greatness of Jake to life, as written so wonderfully by Shonda.

    What will Poppa Pope be about in Season4 within his recaptured position as head of B613?… he’s a villain but the fabulous acting of Joe Morton has made me a fan of Poppa (Rowan). And certainly I wonder what will happen to B613.

    I Love Fitz, even though I now distrust him as regards that possibly Olivia must never return to his arms because I think she now will become just used by him in his rejuvenated affections for wife Mellie. But, Tony Goldwyn plays Fitz so excellently, truly incarnates the role, that I am always deeply involved with the Fitz character; sometimes negative but always there is love in my heart for him because Fitz is not only beautifully written but, also, Tony makes me love Fitz no matter what; when Fitz does something bad I always eventually see it from his point of view. I’m, sorta like a wife who loves her husband no matter what. And that’s, also, sort of like Mellie’s position.


  1. Scandal Season 4 Promo Photos: Going Back to Work? | TV Ate My Wardrobe - September 10, 2014

    […] not all fun and frolics. Far from it and at the end of season 3 Olivia flew into the sunset accompanied by Jake after everything has gone to hell thanks to […]

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