I mean I suppose we got to see Olivia play out her roles as “a criminal, a whore , an idiot, and a liar” in the flashbacks, but the flashbacks weren’t even focused on that. They were about Fitz’s daddy issues. So let’s start with that:
I’ll categorize this as the first episode that was about Fitz. And I was rolling my eyes all over the place. I am just not here for (emotional) Fitz angst. I thought the Fitz scenes in the present were good, him trying to get back on his feet and snatch his presidency from Sally’s voracious hands.
I was as nervous as Mellie about Fitz doing a public interview. I thought he was going to forget or fall. Or forget and then fall. But with a little coaching from Olivia about how to take his time, he pulled through. I did feel bad for him during the briefing when his brain seemed to go on pause and everyone was looking at him, some waiting for him to prove that he’s incapable of continuing to hold office and others hoping he’ll defy those nasty expectations.
The Fitz flashbacks failed for me for one reason and one reason only: they didn’t connect to the Fitz in the present. They didn’t use them to connect to the Fitz we currently know. On the political side, yes there was a connection. But on the personal side? We learned that Fitz has daddy issues because one time when he was ten, he came upon his dad sleeping with his secretary. Then his mom died, but we’re not sure why the mom died, just that she did, and Fitz seems to kind of blame his father for that. But mostly he hates that his dad cheated. Was the mom sick while the dad was cheating? Is that where Fitz’s ire came from? We’re not sure.
What we’re also not sure about is how Fitz views himself in relation to his father. Fitz is cheating on his wife, who bore two kids by him and is pregnant with a third. His dad cheated on his mother while she was helping raise his kid, Fitz. Dad is an asshole, according to Fitz. Fitz is….what. What is Fitz, according to Fitz? In love? We know that, but what does he think about the common ground he’s currently sharing with his dad? Does he think he’s walking in his dad’s shoes? Has he, since hooking up with Olivia, considered that his dad might’ve fallen for Hope? Or that his dad realized that Fitz’s mom wasn’t the woman for him (which doesn’t have to be related to him possibly falling for Hope), but he didn’t want to divorce her, so he just stepped out of the marriage many times?
Part of Fitz’s anger seemed to be on behalf of his mother, on behalf of the fact that she was betrayed. Well what about Mellie? If his mother deserves someone to be angry on her behalf long after she’s been dead, then what about Mellie? Why is he so cool with treating her like crap (by cheating on her and making no bones about the fact that he prefers Olivia)?
What does Olivia think about Fitz’s cheating since she learned that Fitz disliked his father due in part to him cheating on his mom? She didn’t think to herself or ask him, “If you have such a problem with what your dad did, then why are you doing it yourself?”
None of those questions were answered. What we learned about Fitz’s childhood wasn’t used to comment on the man (not the politician) he is in the present. What we learned about Fitz’s childhood was apparently just standalone angst completely unrelated to how he was living his personal life in the present. And that frustrated me as a viewer.
While I can see how Fitz’s dad (and his many accomplishments) could irritate Fitz, I have to say the guy was entertaining. I even laughed at his joke. And he did accomplish things, just saying.
I admired Fitz for not smearing Governor Reston during the debate. With that said, every time they show Fitz being a standup guy and taking the straight path, I remember that he lost the election. Speaking of Fitz being a standup politician:
“People like Fitz, they go down in history. People like us, we create the history.”
What a great line. My favorite line of the episode.
They showed us how Fitz got on his way to going down in history, AKA how the round table came to decide that they were going to rig the election. The decision needed to be unanimous, but our darling Liv of course had issues with breaking the law. But put her face to face with a sad Fitz who wants the election because, according to him, it’s his, and she caves. I simplify her decision to go through with the rigging, but that’s pretty much what happened. She didn’t make the decision lightly. She cried. Yet as she cried at the round table, I found myself asking, “What would be so bad about Fitz losing? Disappointments happen.” But Fitz’s feelings and hopes and dreams needed to be protected, so, as an example of what Governor Reston said to the man, Fitz was handed the election.
The scene of Liv yelling at Fitz, asking him who he was, was well acted by Kerry. Fitz’s attitude was stank. I did like Olivia realizing that she missed a flaw in Fitz’s public image because her judgment was muddled due to the whole sleeping together deal.
Fitz assaulted Olivia in the elevator. That should be noted. I’m thinking of how easy it is to go from the oval office scene a couple of episodes back where Olivia started off reluctant to have sex in the room, and at one point she was telling Fitz “No,” but he kept going, and that was framed around “Fitz wants Olivia, and Olivia is reluctant, but not that reluctant,” to the scene in the elevator where Olivia is saying no because she’s reluctant, but Fitz kept going because he’s sad and angry. The first one basically says that it’s okay for Fitz to ignore Olivia’s displeasure because she wants him a little bit. The second one….well, there are Olitz fans who forgive it because Fitz was in a bad mood. So there you go.
And I’m bringing this up in a larger context, the context in which tv shows and movies always presents these things. Fitz and Olivia are an example, not a rare case.
Mellie came upon Fitz assaulting Olivia and her first move was to make excuses for Fitz’s behavior. Gross. I hope they weren’t playing that as, “Mellie is apologizing to Olivia; if only she knew they had something going on.” Because that should not be the focus of that scene or Mellie’s problematic (but in character) response.
While Fitz did okay in the present and failed in the past, Olivia failed in the present and did okay in the past. I’m talking about the scene that produced the lovely title of this episode.
After weeks of Olivia getting worse and worse at pretending that her attachments to the White House have nothing to do with her relationship with Edison, Edison figured out the truth (don’t forget that this man was fired by the president of the U.S. for….having a conversation with Liv. No questions, inquiries, nothing). Edison confronts Olivia with the truth, and she not only denies, denies, denies, but she goes in on him. It was not a good look.
Olivia got super intense, was mock offended, and she called herself a whore. Why did she switch Edison’s label of mistress for her label of whore? Was it some type of, “Mistresses are whores, and I wouldn’t do that. Never that. Not me. How dare you?!” That has to be it, because she didn’t once call the Pastor’s mistress a whore, and she always kind of checks Abby when she makes with the slut shaming.
It was Olivia’s worst scene in the episode.
Olivia? You are a criminal. And a liar. And a mistress. And a whore, if you so choose to use that label. And all of those add up to you possibly being an idiot, or at least behaving idiotically.
Then Edison threw me for a loop when he proposed to her. Um, what? Edison, that is the wrong move! I want you to be free from this lady who tells people to find their Normal yet clings to the married president!
I still love Olivia, everyone, but sometimes. Sometimes, man.
Is Edison planning something? He must be. 1) This show is filled with people who are planning things, and 2) This doesn’t sound like the guy who told Olivia that he could stop calling if she really wasn’t interested.
I await to see what’s up.
- Fitz asked Mellie for a divorce. Almost dying has him wanting to live to the fullest, I figure, and that includes being with (marrying?) Olivia. Understandable. I doubt the divorce will be public. But do you think he wants a divorce ASAP or after he steps down from office? I can’t wait for Mellie’s reaction.
- “Hi, I’m Huck.” HI, HUCK!!!!
- Sally showed up to Fitz’s office, ready to cover her butt. It was so amusing. You were pulling for him, my buttocks.
* Episode Title: A Criminal, a Whore, an Idiot, and a Liar