TV REVIEW: Everyone’s Pledging Allegiance in Scandal’s “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies”
By Chelsea Hensley
After Sally Langston’s announcement of her presidential run, Fitz’s campaign has been harping on loyalty. Fitz even picked his former lieutenant governor as a running mate to remind people of the loyalty that Sally sorely lacks. Most of the loyalty on display in Scandal has revolved around Olivia (with her team of gladiators – one of which cites his allegiance as the reason he’s willing to torture and traumatize people so thoroughly) or Fitz (who has a whole house watching his back). Since Fitz is on his big loyalty kick, “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies” began with him and Olivia in the middle of an argument about Jake, who Fitz is worried may be tempted, due to his new position as Olivia’s fake boyfriend, to be disloyal. Even though Fitz is tiring, he’s not wrong about Jake and Olivia, and even though Jake is on his radar as a potential contender for Olivia’s affections, he hasn’t caught on to the other shenanigans taking place between Mellie and Andrew.
Both Jake and Andrew joined the show as people Fitz considered close allies, and both of them are shaping up to be his adversaries in the only way that Fitz deems important: romantically. Fitz turned to Jake when he was still smarting from the betrayal of the election rigging, and he turned to Jake for a variety of things (spying on Olivia being one of them) and was the catalyst for their relationship. Now Andrew’s his running mate, and Fitz has been more than clear that he thinks of him as a brother and ignored everyone’s advice about choosing him as a running mate because he genuinely trusts Andrew. Little does he know that Andrew’s got his own reason to be disloyal: Mellie.
Flashing back to fourteen years ago, Mellie and Fitz’s marriage suffered in the aftermath of Mellie’s rape and the birth of her son, and after Andrew saved her from a suicide attempt, they developed a very chaste romance. The two never strayed from longing looks and meaningful conversation until Mellie kissed him after tonight’s fundraiser, officially nudging the two of them into forbidden romance territory. There’s not much to know about Andrew other than that, when it comes to Mellie, he’s the anti-Fitz. And that’s enough. Andrew was right when he said Fitz would never be on Mellie’s side, and it was actually nice when he promised to take on the responsibility instead, beginning with taking the blame for the drugs Mellie took the night she overdosed. While Fitz is holding Andrew up as the beacon of dependability, Andrew’s already pledged his allegiance to the First Lady.
Meanwhile Mellie’s on her way to blossoming under Andrew’s attention. She’s often been a harsh character, but most of that can be attributed to her circumstances. We haven’t caught her at a particularly happy time in her life. She’s stuck in a politically convenient marriage with a husband who ignores her on a good day, hates her on a bad one and is carrying on an affair. But with Andrew we get a completely different Mellie. This Mellie bears little resemblance to the calculating and ruthless one who’s alternately miserable and enraged depending on what day it is. Instead, she’s a little awkward, honest, vulnerable and even cute as she tiptoes around her and Andrew’s mutual attraction. Since we’ve met Mellie she’s been stuck on providing Fitz with the political capital he needs to succeed, but after Andrew took the fall for her, she appealed to everyone she could about keeping him on the ticket despite the potential of the scandal to derail Fitz’s campaign. Just as Andrew’s shaking things up with his trustworthiness, so is Mellie, and it’s already a fun ride to see how far Andrew and Mellie will go.
Even Olivia’s trying a new thing where she isn’t all about Fitz all the time. Who knows how long it’ll last, but from the episode’s start to its end Olivia stood firm in her resolve to press pause on her and Fitz if only so she can run a successful campaign and finally get out from under those pesky and accurate affair rumors. Since most of the things Olivia’s bent over backward for in recent memory have been to benefit him in some way, it was just as surprising to Fitz as it was to me when Olivia said she’d signed onto the campaign for herself, and it’s certainly true that a successful presidential campaign (especially one as troubled as Fitz’s) will put Olivia back on top. It would be nice to see Olivia succeed, but it would also be nice to see Fitz fail. I’m torn.
- Sally is off her rocker. When she’s not blaming the devil for killing her husband, she’s incapable of getting through conversations that mention Jesus, death or Daniel Douglas.
- Adnan and Maya are working together and are interested in becoming donors for Fitz’s campaign which is a good way to tie these seemingly unrelated storylines together, and it was nice to see Maya after her absence during the winter premiere.
- Cyrus stopped being loyal to James long ago, and now that James realizes this I’m more anxious for his survival than ever especially since he and David came so close to be caught by Charlie.
- Charlie to Quinn: “I love it when you go all Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” He is the only one because spying is not Quinn’s calling. Shortly after she reminded Charlie of how good she was, Olivia caught her spying on her and Rowan’s dinner.
- I remember when Tom was just the Secret Service agent who took his job so seriously he was willing to pretend Fitz and Olivia’s secret meetings didn’t happen, and now he’s B613. This may be my favorite twist.
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