‘Blackmails and Potato Chips’ at first felt like a more fitting title for the episode, but after Fitz’s State of the Union address it’s clear that this scene is what really earned the episode title.
The episode starts with Cyrus blackmailing Olivia to figure out why the Elliots, the poster couple for Fitz’s new gun control campaign, didn’t show up for two flights to DC to be guests of honor at the State of the Union. Lisa Elliot was shot while saving children during a school shooting and was made to be a hero in the news, even publicizing her wedding to a war hero. When Olivia refuses, reminding Cyrus she no longer works for the white house, he threatens to tell Fitz that while she was away she called president constantly, but he just never got the messages.
Olivia soon finds the couple screaming at each other in their apartment, Lisa Elliot setting the fire extinguisher on her husband. This sets the tone for how off balance each of our Scandal couples really are.
Jake can’t possibly live with Olivia because he’s his own man, so if she wants a “booty call” as he mentioned multiple times, she would have to come to his apartment instead of him sitting and waiting for her to come home. Really, Jake? I suppose you can’t blame the guy since he’s in love with a woman who is most likely still in love with the President of the United States.
Intermingled with the few Jake and Liv moments in the episode (including one rather steamy scene in the end involving a trench coat and nothing under it), were scenes of him trying to figure out more about Harrison’s death. Not too much progression here, but even though Jake and Olivia have more scenes together, it’s the one scene between Fitz and Olivia that made me gushy.
Mellie of course is still mourning her son, eating a bag of potato chips over his grave as Fitz waits patiently in the car for her. But as the Scandal camera snaps occur, capturing Mellie in her state of denial and sadness, the images are splashed across the front pages claiming basically that Mellie is unstable. Fitz makes a final plea to her as she gnaws on some fried chicken (her new favorite) to come to the State of the Union so the public can see that she is strong and not … crazy. She laughs in his face of course, Fitz leaving the room hurt and melancholy. Cyrus gives it a shot too, trying to relate to her with the murder of his husband. Mellie stays unconvinced though and goes back to her couch on the balcony.
Abby took the show when she gave Mellie a rather blunt pep talk about how children die, that’s a fact. But there are millions of parents with children who have died, but they don’t get to eat potato chips and sit around crying about it like she does. Abby reminds her that she still has a job to do.
While this is going on, Olivia has managed to convince the Elliot’s to stand beside the president at the State of the Union by telling them she will help them to divorce. The once in love couple now only share their stance in gun control. However, they weren’t the only ones there supporting Fitz. Mellie sat next to Lisa sporting her cocktail dress and pearls showing the world that the first lady is back.
At least … for the moment.
If Abby’s pep talk to Mellie didn’t give you goosebumps, then Fitz’s speech about gun control did. He talks about how death by weapons can be prevented and if you have seen a child die (as he did his son), that is when the argument ends. It was unlike any of the speeches we have heard President Fitzgerald give on previous episodes. It wouldn’t have been, however, if he hadn’t asked Olivia to go over it first.
Of course, when Olivia brought the Elliot’s, Fitz asked for the room for him and Ms. Pope. That’s when, hesitantly, Olivia looked over his speech like old times, helping him with some last minute touches. Oh Shonda Rhimes, she will never let us think that Fitz and Olivia can let go of each other for good.
Well, his speech left everyone moved and invigorated. However, immediately in the scene following, Mellie kicks off her shoes, breaks her string of pearls and collapses to the floor crying. Fitz is soon at her side, embracing her. While it was an extremely emotional moment, I think it was the breakthrough we have been wanting for Mellie since last week’s premiere.
Lizzie wasn’t so happy with Cyrus letting Fitz do the gun control speech and having David Rosen become Attorney General, despite her efforts to stop it. But when Cyrus nearly has sex with a flirtatious man from the bar, he stops immediately after he finds out he’s a prostitute. Unfortunately he wasn’t just an attractive man from the bar, but is indeed working for Lizzie. It is amazing that after all the horrible things Cyrus has done, karma is now constantly finding its way to him.
The start of the episode was a little rocky with the coldness between David and Abby plus Huck and Quinn. But, as long as tender Fitz is here to stay, Olivia Pope stays with her gladiators and Mellie is back in her first lady heels, Scandal is right around the corner.