ConStar Watches Scandal “Vermont is for Lovers, Too”

As always, where do I begin?

Let’s first begin with the greatness that is a primetime show with a black female lead, a black female showrunner, and a black female director (Ava DuVernary) of an episode. When has THAT ever happened? On TV ever? (The episode was not written by a black female, however, I think our brains would’ve exploded). Such a rarity to see those things together; hopefully we get to see more of it across all media.

Now, on to the episode. While last week’s episode gave us lots of backstory, this episode is setting us up for next episode’s Winter Finale (we’re not readdyyyy!). However, I think this was my least favorite—and the weakest—episode of the season. Many moments were kind of forced (really Liv? You still think he murdered your mother— sorry, we’ll get that later) or fell flat (the Josie storyline is just gonna end like that? Whomp whom). But there were some nuggets of character for the Parental Popes that I am enjoying trying to figure out.

We didn’t learn as much about Mama Pope as I think we were hoping, in terms of the actions that got her in prison, but I think we learned a lot about her personality wise. She is fierce and bold, a little nuts (you nearly threw up in your mouth when she chewed her own wrists, didn’t you), but that move made her ingenious. She goes after what she wants and does whatever it takes to get there. But what does that mean about her past? Did she use these same traits to hurt people? To pass secrets? To take action to blow up a plane? Later, I’ll ask you guys to give me your favorite Mama Pope theories (I’d like to do another blog post on those); for now, we’ve just been given her character traits–which we’ve seen have passed on to Olivia. (As well as a love of popcorn.)

Turning to her relationship with Eli/Rowan, I can’t tell where they’re at right now. His entrance into her cell didn’t seem like a surprise. He cradles her wrists in the hospital and hands her water. He brings her pictures of Olivia, touches her shoulder, laughs with her. She laughs back. They don’t seem to hate each other. She told him to take care of Olivia. Have they seen each other in the last 20 something years? Has he done anything to help her? Can he? They don’t seem to have ever talked about Olivia in all these years, but they don’t act like it’s been 20 years and a conspiracy driving them apart. I don’t get it. What could the circumstances of Operation Remington be that they’re almost cordial with each other until he denies her what we might call “visitation rights.” Then he’s Command and the leader of B6-13, angry that a prisoner escaped. We’re they operatives together? Was she on our side but then turned traitor? I need answers and I need them now.

Things I Didn’t Like (Shocker, I know)

Harrison and Candace. I called their UST from the moment they met each other in the episode, but I’m upset because it’s (so far) served no purpose. He didn’t get a storyline in the episode about it, the two don’t even seem to be sticking around for the next episode (there is clearly no room for them in the winter finale) so he and Candy probably won’t continue to see each other, and it didn’t help either him or Candy in the episode. So what was the point? To pretend to give Harrison some (literal) love? How is this helping Cyrus’ proposed blackmail to bring that guy back into the country? Did that even happen? Have we forgotten about that in honor of non Harrison story lines? Even Abbie and David’s storyline has had more forward movement than anything Harrison is given. It was disappointing. As was the Marcus storyline as a whole. I was hoping Lisa Kudrow would go out with a bang; her presidential candidacy barely last a month? Liv is free to go back to the Grants?

But that’s the easy choice; what will Shonda do to unravel Olivia and Fitz? She certainly fused them back together for a moment that might have had fans cheering a few episodes ago, but now felt extremely forced. I’ve mentioned before I’ve faltered between Team Jake and Team Fitz, but Olivia thinks he KILLED HER MOTHER. At the very least, he killed hundreds of people (under orders he’ll keep saying) and never told her about it. Then he has the nerve to be upset that she didn’t tell him about her father (who—as far as Fitz knows—could have a similar “don’t tell anyone I am your father for national security reasons” hold over her). His upset about that really made me angry (also, leave the girl be for ONE MOMENT, instead of using your power and emotional manipulation to get her to do what you want. -____-) so I was disappointed that she thought that a house (that he has to keep secret because he is STILL MARRIED) was enough to forget all of that for one night. And I get it, he’s her weakness. She forgets herself and her morals when she’s around him, but where will her self control come in? I hope Mama Pope will smack some sense into her daughter and cause another rift (final? because what else could drive Liv and Fitz apart once and for all?) between Olitz. I think I am officially over Team Fitz.

Also the end. We knew Olivia and Maya would meet again, but it felt a little flat to end it on their first meeting. I might have preferred if Liv had actually passed out (she certainly looked like she would. and maybe they’ll begin next episode with such a move). but it was kind of anticlimactic because we’ve met her mom, we knew where she was going and that they’d meet eventually. If mom had been doing something else (killing someone, breaking into Liv’s apartment, something), maybe it would’ve have been a good ending, but since it was expected, and came after the HUCK KNOWS moment, it fell a little flat for me.

But part of this is being the set up for the winter finale, it’s putting as many pieces in place as it can to set those explosive events in motion. I just wish the moments hit stronger in this one; because now I have to wait two weeks for the next episode and I was underwhelmed by this one. =/

Other thoughts

Mellie, Mellie, Mellie. She was so sad and had such a change of heart about the Honey Trap when she learned Fitz and Liv were off somewhere together. But what can she do next? She’s already threatened divorce, outed his affair on national television, he’s already been shot at—what’s left for Mellie? After all that she’s sacrificed and she still will only get to be the First Lady for another term—she hates being First Lady.

Will Shonda write in an Olivia pregnancy from the Vermont scene? I think she could ave written it in by now, but maybe the timing wasn’t right when Kerry told her about it? If it had been written in before, the obvious plot would’ve been the question of whether it was Jake’s or Fitz’. If done now, it would most certainly be Fitz’. And where would that leave us? I was hoping they wouldn’t write it in at all, but now it’s certainly possible; hiding Kerry in those black and white pants suits, giant coats and behind lamps will only work for so long, I suppose. And in order to keep the scheduling promise they gave us, these run of episodes, then the next set after winter break with no reruns, Kerry will have to keep working through the baby bump, until probably mid/late spring when she’s likely due. So it’s highly likely they just wrote in the pregnancy and when we get back, Liv will be having the president’s baby. Guess it’s good she told him to keep the house, huh? I wonder what that might mean for the Grant kids, of which I am not sure any of them are his. Can he only reproduce with Olivia? Mellie might snap on that information.

Finally, what are your Mama Pope theories? She and Rowan were my favorite parts to this episode, figuring out what their current relationship is and what events in the past determined it is really fun. The one thing I truly believe they agree on is that they love their daughter. It looked like they loved each other too. So what happened to destroy it all? Let me know your theories!

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ConStar Watches Scandal “Everything is Coming Up Mellie”

I don’t even know where to begin! It’s amazing how you can guess certain plot points (and plan to *finally* try to write spec scripts based on them) and STILL be shocked when they actually occur on the show.

Mellie has long been the underdog of Scandal since the beginning. People fight over #TeamFitz vs #TeamJake for Olivia’s affections, but rarely is anyone on Mellie’s team. This season we’ve seen a different side to Mellie’s character (including the ever memorable Drunk!Mellie scene–we’ll all have to go back and watch that for hints!), but tonight’s episode takes the cake!

We flashback 15 years to before Fitz was in the political eye. His father is awful as usual and Fitz doesn’t want to run because of what he did as a marine/Operation Remington. “Big Jerry” continues to berate him and take the credit for everything he is (“That’s all you are is my son…not as smart…I made you…I can destroy you.” ), leaving Fitz unwilling to run for office, despite Mellie and a bearded (in more ways than one) Cryus’ pleas for him to do so. Mellie tries to talk to Big Jerry, but in his drunken state, he rapes her. It’s awful and Bellamy Young pulls off the horror of the act and walking back into her and Fitz’ bedroom just right. The choice of her full length clothing, turtleneck included, and no makeup is a classic but heartbreaking choice. But Mellie soldiers on, dedicated to the cause of getting Fitz elected. Weeks later, Mellie tells Fitz–who’s decided to run for office after Mellie gets Jerry to back him up–that’s she’s pregnant. Fitz knows his father’s going to make them name a boy after him. And the entire audience shudders.

I had a theory that Teddy wasn’t Fitz’ kid (which is still a valid theory, not yet proven), but as @DetroitDelta15 on Twitter thought–what if Fitz is infertile? None of those Grant children could be his. This certainly explains why they have been shipped off to boarding school all this time; Mellie must have a hard time looking at them.

Mellie’s portion of the episode was about sacrifice. She says to Fitz, that he doesn’t understand what she’s given up for him, given away. (Again, I need to rewatch the drunk!Mellie scene for clues in that speech.) What has Fitz given up? For Mellie? For Liv, even? He “threatens” to give it all up for Liv all the time, but he hasn’t. He’s still the president, they are not in Vermont making jam. He’s still married. He still calls Liv. He has it all. Liv gave up her relationship with Edison and is not fully committed to the one she kinda has with Jake right now, because she’s still hung up on Fitz. We see what Mellie gave up for him. When will Fitz have to sacrifice anything?

As if this wasn’t enough for one episode, Shonda Rhimes pulls another one on us in the other half of the episode. While Quinn tries to get down with Charlie from B6-13, the Pope and Associates gang look into Maya Lewis’ death. They determine that someone was brought off the aircraft before it took off; everyone goes looking. They track down someone who might’ve seen the passenger who was taken away, but Quinn kills him because she was distracted by Charlie’s lips. He told her she was drugging the guard, but the poison kills him instead. Quinn has been initiated into B6-13. Clearly by her reaction after the man dies, she isn’t ready, but we’ll see what Rowan’s plan for her is.

Speaking of Papa Pope, he goes to a prison looking for the passenger who got let off the plane. Shoddy prison blanket unrolls and it’s none other than Maya Lewis! Who has been alive this WHOLE TIME! Many fans knew it, but why is she in jail? Why is she under the name Omar Dresden? Why didn’t she seem too surprised to see Eli?

Going back to the theme of sacrifice, I’m sure it will be explored more next week, but it is clear Maya Lewis-Pope sacrificed something. Eli did too, if he loves her. If he doesn’t, he still gave up Olivia, who he clearly loves. They both sacrificed their happy family–for what? Hopefully we’ll find out next week.

Quotes

“How am I? I’m surrounded by murderers. That’s how I am.”

“I’m standing in a graveyard made by people I thought I loved.”

“I love you.” “So what?”

“The pieces of myself I have given away.”

“Our daughter has been asking about you.”

We’ll have plenty of time to discuss Mama Pope’s survival next week. This week I want to know: Are you #TeamMellie? What convinced you? Was it her revealing past in this episode? Or are you yet convinced she deserves our sympathy?

sidenote: I really did think about writing a Scandal spec today and was legit thinking of 1. Quinn trying to kill someone and either doing it and freaking out or killing the wrong person. Either way, she is and will always be in over her head. It also featured Liv discovering Fitz wasn’t Teddy’s dad and Mellie needing Liv to “fix” it for her. That’s as far as I got. Crazy how it just got shot down basically. #sigh #tvspecwriterproblems

 

ConStar Watches Scandal “Icarus”

“You get to ask me one question”

We’re gonna need more than one question to make it through this week’s episode of Scandal, but I’ll start with one from each major plot point and go from there. No guarantees about the amount of questions I ask. Please don’t kill my friends or try to recruit them for your evil, secret government agency, thanks.

This week’s episode went through these major storylines:

Liv and Operation Remington: Why does Fitz refuse to acknowledge Operation Remington to even Olivia—even after finding out it was her mother?

I had a feeling that Fitz didn’t know about Olivia’s mother being on the plane, but it concerns me to no end that he refuses to acknowledge his part even after he knows about her mother. Liv already knows the worst of it. She knows more than HE did, seeing as how he didn’t know about Mama Pope (Maya Lewis is her name). And yet, despite his claims of how much he loves her and they know each other, and it could be how it was before, yadda yadda, he doesn’t admit to the operation and he doesn’t even say sorry or console her. There must be more to his side of the story.

This Remington storyline is a clear mirror of the Defiance storyline with Liv at the center: everyone is plotting around her to keep her from knowing some awful truth about how she got where she is today. But Fitz needs to learn that he can’t throw that in her face anytime he wants; not anymore. This is about her mother. Who he shot down in the sky. He may not want to talk about it or the circumstances, but if he wants Liv to ever speak to him again, he’s going to need to come clean about Operation Remington once and for all.

But turning to Papa Pope for a moment: I truly believe those were real tears he shed when he was watching the news of the plane crash. What I want to know is: was he in charge of B6-13 then? He says he didn’t order the plane down. I believe him (not just because I believe in his love of Olivia, and I hope to extend that to Maya, but because of Joe Morton’s acting choice of shaking his head no before he verbally responded to Olivia’s question over the phone (homegirl needs to just chug that wine from the bottle—saves time on washing wine glasses)). The “no” was a visceral response to the question, probably not even conscious. But he can’t talk about the rest: What did he know when it was being planned? Could he have stopped it? Did he try? Knowing they killed his wife—and subsequently destroyed his relationship with his daughter—why did he accept command of the organization (or continue as leader if he was already in charge). Side note: I was DONE after seeing Joe Morton in that hairpiece and moustache! Especially knowing that he didn’t look that way back on A Different World. lol

12-year-old Olivia’s love of Fruit Loops makes me wonder if she can ever eat them again, all things considered. It might be a nice moment, to see Olivia have a box of Fruit Loops in her cabinet (but no milk in the fridge…).

Baby Huck/Charlie: What is Rowan’s plan for Quinn?

Quinn is spiraling out of control! Huck gave her the taste for darkness and she’s grasping at it. It’s interesting to me that Rowan/Charlie think they’ve “planted a seed” in Quinn that they must watch bloom, when this has been growing in her this whole time with no one tending to it but Quinn herself. They didn’t introduce the gun to her, she bought it on her own. Rowan told Olivia he wouldn’t kill her friends, but he didn’t say nothing about turning another one into B6-13! (I think fans, and possibly Olivia, won’t mind as much about this one. Baby Huck has been getting on everyone’s nerves since she arrived… I’m surprised the whole office doesn’t groan whenever she speaks.

I wonder if she will be trained to replace Jake’s would be assassin. Maybe B6-13 operates with a Token Female…

Actually, I would LOVE for Quinn to join B6-13, because then she’d be able to destroy it from the inside (not because she’s awesome, but because it would just implode due to her presence, annoyance, and incompetence).

Harrison/Cy: Will Cyrus’ threat spur Harrison into action against Olivia?

Finally some Harrison backstory! It’s been a long time coming that we find anything about Harrison Wright. What I understand so far is: Harrison was a used car salesman. Then he was involved in insider trading. This man, Saliff, is out of the country and if he is allowed (?) to return, he will kill Harrison. I suppose Harrison sold this man out to save himself. We know that Olivia “fixed” it for him. If he allows Cyrus’ threat to move him against Liv, Liv won’t fix him twice. But I think there must be more to it—they waited so long to give us a Harrison storyline, and Olivia trusts him with her company but then snubs him every time he asks her a question. I wonder what the whole story could be. I do know that Cyrus wildly underestimated Harrison’s loyalty to Olivia, but I don’t know how much more of Olivia’s dismissals Harrison will take.

The Election: How does Mellie plan to use the wandering First Vice Husband against Sally’s betrayal?

This part of the storyline was mostly set up for future chess pieces moving around. Josie Marcus’ bits were great, I know her interview with James will go viral on tumblr, due to the strength and truth of her comments. But the Sally/Mellie/Cyrus parts of the game were just pawns being moved into place. Mr Vice First Husband (Heroes’ own Horned Rimmed Glasses!) is making eyes at Mellie; but if he doesn’t know already, he is going to learn that Mellie will do whatever it takes to keep Fitz in office (including “rolling up your whore and unrolling her at your feet” !!). Whatever Mellie’s plan is, it is going to be devious.

Other thoughts:

Icarus is an interesting title choice. Obviously it involves flying and something crashing down to the ground, but it is also about parent/child relationships, escaping imprisonment (feelings of being trapped), and a tragic downfall. These themes apply to many characters. Fitz is trapped with Mellie (and kind of trapped in the White House by Mellie and Cyrus and the ghost of his father’s influence on him. Liv is trapped in the situation with her father, she doesn’t want anything to do with him, but he keeps appearing in her life and if she doesn’t stick with him, he may kill her friends. Obviously the plane crash is the prime example of the myth in action; did Maya get too excited about something for her own good and it led to the plane “needing” to be shot down by B6-13? Did someone ignore the warnings they were given to not fly too close to the sun? Is the sun B6-13 or something else?

I suppose they’ll start covering Kerry Washington’s baby bump with large coats, because I highly doubt Olivia will get pregnant and they’ve already established her wardrobe as a symbolic device.

They took all episode to get to Fitz learning that he killed Olivia’s mother. His eyebrows tell me he clearly didn’t know, but he schooled his expression real quick and continued to not acknowledge Olivia’s question. What does this mean for the coming weeks? Let the torturous wait til next Thursday begin!

Please , please, please check out my (condensed) version of this post on UnderScoopFire.com: Scandal ‘Icarus’ Discussion: “You Get One Question”

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ConStar Watches Scandal “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington”

The last two episodes of Scandal were explosive through and through; this one simmered more before delivering some blows. Even though Mary took up most of the screen time in today’s episode, the scene with Huck and Olivia and Mellie’s scene with Fitz carried the most emotional weight this episode, but let’s start with Mary.

Poor Mary. I had a feeling she would blow herself up if she found out her son was a terrorist. It really does suck because Liv had a choice to tell her the truth, she chose the lie, and her lie cost her. I’m surprised they didn’t give her a wardrobe change towards the end of the episode; but I suppose the soot on her light colored suit speaks for itself. I suppose she who wears the white hat must always be wary of dirt getting on it.

Olivia/Huck/Eli. There was no answer Huck could give that would save the relationship between Huck and Liv: Either Huck kills Papa Pope (I guess I’ll call him Eli now?–thanks cell phone caller ID) and Liv is destroyed or Huck doesn’t kill him and Huck is destroyed. We got treated to the latter, but I won’t be surprised if the former also happens sometime down the road. It’s a no win situation. The bond they had before is irreparably damaged. Eli is awful, but I love him for it; I love what he brings to the show and the depth he’s brung to the characters. And I love the lines they give him, so deliciously theatrical. So clearly he is going to be around for a while. it was never going to be that easy.

It’s interesting to me that Huck never met this man before, so the commands coming from Command were always faceless, yet Huck felt the man’s power over him enough to kill that man (who we’ll get to briefly later). But I guess if I met someone who I was told was God (obviously I’d have to have very good reason to believe such a claim–just go with me here), after listening to him all this time, and he told me to go do something, I suppose I’d just do it too. Out of fear, out of loyalty–there are many reasons why Huck went and did what he did. Let’s not also forget, though, that Huck loves this stuff. It’s his drug. And Eli handed him a hit on a platter. Huck kind of had no control over his actions. Poor, poor Huck. He and Liv are basically brother and sister: they suffer from the same damaging “parental” figure who they can’t escape from.

“He owns me too.”

Yes, girl, even that wine you’re drinking is a product of his influence on you. Huck is back in the hole and Eli is trying to drag Liv in too. She says “Nobody walks away from him,” not realizing that both Huck and Jake are alive because of his love for her (which I still believe must be the one genuine, non evil thing about him). If Liv liked every member of B6-13, I don’t wonder if he wouldn’t shut it down.

[Anyone else catch Eli’s eye twitch when Huck’s gun was in his face? I think he stood his ground, but thinks that Huck is a real threat to him. He’s just aware of his power over him and knows he’s able to make use of it. But I don’t think Eli underestimates Huck. I think he might be very afraid. Let’s not forget that Huck, while possibly unaware–and possibly unwilling to use this tactic–has Olivia. Huck could threaten Olivia in some way and Papa Pope might change his whole perspective on things. Just something to think about.]

Fitz/Liv: I bet that 4th fellow in the office when Fitz was telling Liv about Mary’s son was like “Oh, Miss Pope is about to lose her job or something for hanging up on the president,” not knowing he’s her boo. Also Fitz had to tell Liv that guy was on the phone very clearly so she didn’t slip and say something he wasn’t supposed to hear.

Let’s talk about the quiet, but powerful scene Mellie had. It’s the most imperfect we’ve seen her, if I’m remembering correctly. Her hair is loose, she has little make up on, and she was so relaxed. Drunk!Mellie might be my favorite Mellie. Even a bit of an accent popped out there, especially as she talked about her Daddy’s “hootch.” Homegirl knows what’s up. She knows that if Olivia Pope died, she’d have nothing. Fitz wouldn’t have the time or the energy for her; it would all go in to grief and trying to champion some sort of monument to “Saint Olivia Pope.”

I am spectacular but I cannot compete with religious fervor.

Mellie knows how to run what’s given to her, but a curveball like that would take things out of her hands. As she said,

“As long as she’s still alive she’s your flaw. your achilles heel. She’s the string I’ll pull to make my puppet husband dance.”

Mellie y’all! They both, but she especially, are done playing. They are even over playing for the public; Cyrus was going to have a coronary trying to get them to go to Camp David together. Poor Teddy, he’s going to have some deep emotional scars from them yelling at each other in his face like that. Mellie intends to play the Olivia card to get what she wants; I wonder what she has planned…

Remington UpdateLet’s see: The man Huck murdered wanted to speak to the president about Remington. He though he was the only honorable person involved. Does Jake’s release have anything to do with all the Remington stuff coming out? Why did that man not try before to speak to the president? What prompted him to want to do it now?

I don’t like David and Cy in the same room together. They’re more than opposite sides of the coin, that implies shared traits. I worry Cy will corrupt David, but David shocked me (and twitter) tonight when he showed up and OUT against Cy. I was proud of him. I wonder what this might mean for their interactions in the future. Cyrus is always trying to blackmail or guilt or extort something out of somebody; David isn’t letting that happen. You go, David!

This week and (it seems) next week are sort of back to the case of the week format, but so far it hasn’t lost the serial edge that it seemed to last season after the Defiance arc ended. Is it next Thursday yet?

Quotes

“I’m all killed out today.”
“Wrap it in plastic and put it in a dumpster so it never bothers you again.”
Ok Dexter…

One last thing: Liv’s phone blowing was UP tonight… oh wait, too soon? 😉

ConStar Studies Scandal “It’s Handled”

How I felt watching most of the episode.

Season Three came out of the gate FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS! I’m still in shock from that premiere. *major spoilers below*

I’m rewatching the episode as I type to get some of his lines right. This episode was chock full of fantastic, fierce, and fiery one liners.

Key thoughts:

  • Joe Morton KILLED IT as Papa Pope. Act One was amazing. I basically wrote a dissertation below; lots of questions about him & his motivations.
  • I want to know what happened to Olivia’s mom and the plane crash. I have a feeling that will be important*[theory at the bottom]
  • Shonda did a great job of using dialogue to express character and relationships.
  • Fitz basically told us he leaked the name halfway through the episode.
  • Harrison is Liv’s champion and she (still) refuses him. I blame Papa Pope.

Quotes:

  • “I know more than  you could possibly imagine; about things of which you cannot possibly dream.”
  • “Just to be clear, I am the hell AND the high-water.”
  • “You have to be what?” “Twice as good.” “Twice as good as them to get half of what they have.”
  • “I am done with you and your superiority and your rudeness.”
  • “I am a monster, but honey, I’m your monster.”
  • “The White House will destroy you.” “That’s what mom used to tell me about you.”
  • “The time has come; I want it to come.”

Tl;dr under a read more cut, but just know I have a lot of thoughts. This is a long post. Continue reading