Fug File: Scandal

Fug the Show: Scandal season 3 finale


I have to say, I think Scandal would be well-served to limit itself to fewer episodes EVERY season. Because, as rushed as it was to find ourselves on the doorstep of the presidential election — without even a word as to who Sally Langston’s running mate even is — I am glad we didn’t have four more episodes on top of these. It felt like a lot of water-treading as it was, the number of times Olivia would let out a shaky breath and realize that she does horrible things in service of horrible people who pretend they’re America’s heroes.

So, last week, we left off with Harrison being romanced by Adnan Salif’s pistol, Rowan Pope brutally stabbed and bleeding out all over Olivia’s office floor, Squick setting records for being the Foulest On-Screen Pairing in the Universe on account of how they make out like they’re horny cannibals, and Cyrus being willing to vaporize a bunch of innocent people — and Jon Tenney — just to make election night easier for him. We pick up with Fitz rehearsing his eulogy and Cyrus becoming increasingly agitated, because he has realized that maybe, just maybe, the karma police like to throw you in solitary with moldy bologna if you effectively mass-murder a Church full of people just so you can keep your fancy office.

Meanwhile, Mama Pope, one of the most wanted women in the WORLD, is standing outside the Church she plans to bomb — a Church crawling with Secret Service and other security personnel because the people inside are all government types — WITHOUT WEARING A DISGUISE or even sunglasses and a kicky but inappropriate hat. No, she’s just merrily chatting on the phone about how Fitz will show up, for sure, no problem, and they can blow that joint into holy smoke, while NOBODY NOTICES THAT THE TERRORIST WHO THEY KNOW WANTS TO KILL THE PRESIDENT IS STANDING THERE IN PLAIN SIGHT CLAD IN GLOWING GREY AMID A SEA OF MOURNING BLACK. COME ON.

This blurry shot of Jon Tenney is one of VERY few we get of him in this episode, which is a shame, because the show went to all that trouble to set up emotional stakes for him and Mellie and then just wiped that off like they’re a dry-erase board. I can’t remember at what point they decided to cut the order to 18 episodes from 22, but perhaps not with enough time for them to cut down their planned arc for him in a way that made sense, and as a consequence, he got left with nothing. ANYWAY: Jake Ballard interrupts just as Cyrus is about to confess to Fitz about the bomb, and more or less doesn’t point the finger at Cyrus, which was nice of him — or at least, any implications he makes seem not to concern Fitz in the slightest. Instead, they clear out the funeral.

And then, while they’re in the bunker, and Jake Ballard is swearing up and down that there REALLY IS a bomb and they will not end up looking foolish…

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Fug the Show: Scandal, season 3, episode 17


Plenty of terrible things happen in this episode, but most of them are TO OUR EYES. It’s the penultimate one of the season, so I decided to go long and not skimp on the screen grabs, so that you can get the full flavor of the unique hell that is Squick, which is my new nickname for Huck and Quinn (their names, plus ewwwwww).

What you need to know off the top is that suddenly, it’s six days before the election. SIX DAYS. This show is wretched at the passage of time. It’s never clear when anything is happening, nor what season it is, and I think it’s deliberately vague specifically so they can pull a fast one like this and have us be like, “I… GUESS that’s… sure?” Shouldn’t there have been some concern in the last episode — whose events immediately preceded these — that they were a week away from the vote? It’s like the writers’ room didn’t think of it until it was too late.

In fact, the expression on my face for much of this episode was this one:

Our favorite Secret Service agent turned B-Ullshit spy actually ended up being a pretty boring plot twist, right? Nothing happened with that. Look at this man. He is hungry for Happenings. I bet HE knows how to kiss a woman without unhinging his jaw. I’m just saying.

When we left off, Jake Ballard had just grabbed Olivia by the throat and thrown her against a wall, because he’s enraged that she shut down B-Abusive, and I guess we’re supposed to think it’s super manly that he’s fine with hurling her around like a rag doll. This show is the classic example of wanting to have its cake and eat it, too. It’s trying to turn him into this tortured romantic hero, and yet also, he’s behaving like a Neanderthal assbag. See?

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Fug the Show: Scandal recap, season 3, episode 16


All righty, I’m doing this old-school style — no slideshow — for a variety of boring technical reasons (and as a semi-shout-out to Television Without Pity, which went dark yesterday), so get your scrolling finger warmed up and ready.

This episode of Scandal begins with Abby at the White House, doing Olivia Pope’s usual strut, and in an Imitation Olivia white coat. Cyrus treats her like a fly to be swatted, insisting she couldn’t possibly do Olivia’s job of speaking at an unrealistically rapid pace and bossing Fitz around a bit and then later having to concede every point and then also her pants. But Liv isn’t coming to work today because she’s punishing Fitz for being mopey about Andrew and Mellie, and thus ensuring she’s high on the list of people on this show who are unable to be professional. So it falls to Abby:

And rather than back her up, Cyrus just stands there and watches as everyone in the White House Pre-School Playpen totally ignores her. Fitz acts like a jerk, Fritz smolders, Mellie lusts in silence, there is resentment everywhere, and basically nobody is governing anything, as usual, because whatever, America is totally on auto-pilot, right?

Wombouflage #27: Academia. Liv is visiting her father at the real desk at his apparently real former fake cover job — I am confused by the fact that he was running B-Rontosaur this whole time and yet also apparently a bunch of people still think he works at the Smithsonian, enough so that he has actual things to do there. He is spilling to Liv the secrets of the realm: There is an algorithm skimming money from every department and from taxpayers, and funding an account for B-Jornborg. If that were true, wouldn’t Ron Livingston be Command and The Other Michael Bolton would be beating up office supplies with a baseball bat? Rowan tells Olivia that there is a spot on her Jump To Conclusions Mat that says, “Find algorithm and disable it, and B-Olton will die,” and she gamely agrees. So long as he promises not to harm Fitz. Rowan points out that Fitz may not see his second term REGARDLESS because he is an election-losing chump, but Olivia presses and so Rowan says he will not harm a hair on Fitz’s head. Olivia does not seem to remember that everyone in Washington, herself included, specializes in very carefully crafted language and conditional truths, so in fact, Rowan could easily pay someone else to harm even only one hair on Fitz’s head.

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Fug the Show: Scandal recap, season 3, episode 15


In which we meet the Grant children, for the purpose of unearthing Mellie and Jon Tenney’s affair. Really? Fitz and Olivia get to carry on for ages and Mellie’s bubble gets burst in one episode? NO JUSTICE. Also: More Quck (Quinn + Huck = Yuck with a Q), and this week’s anagram: April Fool’s Day.

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Fug the Show: Scandal recap, season 3, episode 14


In which Mellie shoots and scores, and — despite some banal moments — this damn episode got me misty at the end.

This week’s anagram: Cyrus Beene Sad.

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Fug the Show: Scandal recap, season 3, episode 13


This show loses me all the time, and then it makes Kate Burton say, “YUM YUM, CRISPY PIGGY, YUM YUM,” and I am back in again.

This week’s anagram: Jake Ballard Command.

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