Tag Archives: 3.18

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.

 

New Girl 3.18 “Sister III” Review: Roommates or Living Together?

5 Mar

The Abby Day trilogy has come to a close and she caused the kind of chaos that both Jess and Cece predicted. It wasn’t quite a cyclone of disaster, nor did Jess really ‘fix’ her and in the end she acted as a way to get Schmidt to move back into the loft, as well as ruffling some feathers and bringing characters back together.

NG_318-29_0007At the end of the first “Sister” episode Abby declared that she didn’t want to go home because she didn’t want to be a woman in her thirties living with her mother, she felt like a failure and a baby. By the end of “Sister III” Abby has made the decision after a discussion with Jess to do just this and earn some money for independent living. You see, the Day sisters are very different (ok yes everyone saw that) and while Jess likes her space, Abby is afraid of being alone and has bounced from guy to guy. She’s also pretty sure she’s never paid rent. So while Jess thinks this is exotic and fun, Abby is clearly tired of this lifestyle even if from the outside it looks like she is having a blast.

As with the conversation about their mom in “Sister” this is an Abby/Jess high point as Linda Cardellini and Zooey Deschanel have really great chemistry; the most disappointing thing about this arc is how few of these moments there have been. There’s a familiarity here so when Abby brings up the jazz ensemble story, it feels like a thing that actually happened and it’s believable that Jess would still be annoyed all these years later – “What’s that mean? “Too enthusiastic?”” There’s also the discussion about Nick’s “hippie cult leader feet” which mirrors the little blue denim backpack discussion from “Sister” and yes Nick you really, really need to wash them.

Jess has always been the sensible one (she is both the grown up and the baby) and she could fit all her lovers (I can’t read that word without thinking of the Carrie Bradshaw pronunciation) in one SUV, yes someone would have to sit on someone else’s lap but they would fit. Jess is also the kind of person who rings up inquiring about adult movies and ends up crying to an Ethel Kennedy documentary. This is all about sibling comparisons and I think no matter how comfortable you are in your own skin, this kind of comparisons will always occur and there’s always the feeling they are better and have less flaws than us. Jess sees Abby as being free and leading this exciting life. With her new relationship with Schmidt, Jess thinks Abby is challenging her to a ‘who is a better couple’ contest (which she isn’t) and this leads to all the dramaz. Jess feels like a failure as the whole sharing a room with Nick thing leads to her spending a night in a hotel and really as with any sibling rivalry (manufactured or real) there are no real winners or losers.

The Jess/Nick moving in together on the surface seems rather silly as they’ve lived together for over two years now, however there is a distinction between roommates and sharing a room like this. Their romantic journey has been bumpy and taken many baby steps; going from roommates to something more is a minefield of “what next?” Each step has been laced with uncertainty from the initial kiss, to the decision to go for it, followed by the boyfriend/girlfriend definitions to the most recent “I love you” declaration and so it’s not surprising this is also fraught with things left unsaid. Pretty much every time there is a status update at least one of them freaks out. Where Nick is a terrible liar (ditto Winston), Jess is excellent and comes prepared – yes she smokes in Sacramento.  As with a crime procedural ending an episode with finding out who the killer is, any Nick and Jess relationship quandary installments end with a smooch and them revealing how they actually feel.

There’s a twist to this in “Sister III” as Schmidt interrupts revealing he is moving back in and is taking Jess’ room, giving them no option but to embrace their new living situation. Apartment 4D is about to get very crowded and there is no real resolution to this Nick and Jess problem other than they’ve got to try it. As they point out, Jess’ room is bigger (and has a much better closet); they really dropped the ball on which room to live in. Also please Nick, ditch the Victorian match girl long shirt and this joke had me laughing so hard because it would appear that Liz Meriwether has incepted my friend’s life once again. Nick, the Henley can stay. Oh and there is definitely a difference between getting changed and getting naked in front of someone, though by this point in their relationship Nick should be fine with the former as well as the latter.

So Schmidt’s back and the Abby story ended up being a bit of a plot contrivance to shift the pieces back into place. Of course this relationship always had a short shelf life and it is a way to reinforce the good Schmidt, as opposed to whatever the hell they were doing with him earlier this season. The conversation with Cece after the whole spying/car getting stolen thing is further emphasizing this about Schmidt. Cece has known Abby for a long time so she is naturally suspicious of her motives and despite what transpired between Cece and Schmidt, she clearly still cares about him. I’m just not ready for round three of this romantic merry-go-round so I hope they hold off from going down this path for now.

The Cece/Coach relationship is firmly friends, so much so that Coach is putting on an act as if he is one of her girlfriends and as Cece points out she never asked him to do this. This is more about how Coach is with women, as before Jess and Cece he doesn’t appear to have had any meaningful non-romantic relationships with the opposite sex so he puts on this kind of performance because he doesn’t know how to act. Coach is growing as a character and he’s developing relationships with the entire core cast and this is definitely a good thing; sorry Schmidt I really like Cece/Coach friends dynamic.

Off on his own this week (again) is Winston as he trains for the LAPD fitness exam and it produces the episodes funniest moments (as well as the return of Ferguson) as he shows off his crab and fears the rings thanks to Nick pantsing him when they were kids. This leads to Winston going off on a kid, making this even funnier as Winston digs himself a giant hole. Another scene at the beach with the group must have been cut as half the promo photos for this episode show this happening (and Nick pantsing him all over again).

Next week we will be returning to the regular set up and now there are five people living in the loft (don’t tell the landlord), this should definitely lead to shenanigans. While the Abby storylines didn’t always land and these three episodes have felt overstuffed at times, this last part is definitely the most successful and seeing Linda Cardellini in a comedic role again has been a delight.

Julie Hammerle

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