Scandal s5 ep 5

Cyrus is sitting on his couch in pyjamas scoffing junk food and watching TV, much to the consternation of his husband, whose existence – rather like Teddy’s – I had somewhat forgotten about. But Cyrus doesn’t want to get dressed or go outside: “This is the day”, he trumpets, “that the Lord has made! And he’s made it for me!” The news is that the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mellie included, has voted unanimously to investigate the relationship between Fitz and Olivia. Fitz needs legal advice, so instructs the entertainingly snarky Patty Snell (Romy Rosemont, Finn’s mom on Glee). Olivia has in-house counsel in the shape of new Gladiator Marcus but needs PR help, so that America doesn’t hate her, and hires the oleaginous Leo, one of my least favourite Scandal characters.

So it doesn’t look promising: another Olitz episode, no Case of the Week, and Leo. But at this point there are two little glimmers of promise. Firstly, Leo is actually being funny. “Weirdos! Focus!” he snaps at the OPA team, having previously called Quinn and Huck “Thing One and Thing Two”. And, secondly, the whole setup is accomplished in what feels like twenty seconds or so, with dialogue zinging like crossfire. Sure enough, ‘You Got Served’ is the best episode of the season, and better than most of season 4 as well.

Leo’s plan A is to paint Olivia as a woman helplessly in love. She nixes that, so plan B – Olivia, Woman of the People – gets the go-ahead. It’s a tough sell, of course, because Olivia is anything but, so it needs someone plausible to sell it. Step forward Edison Davis, ex-fiancé, and the man who once memorably, if by implication, called Olivia “a criminal, a whore, a liar, and an idiot”. Edison agrees to go on TV talking about how great Olivia is, but the whole strategy is blown out of the water when Mellie – snuggled up with Cyrus for much of the episode – leaks that Fitz once gave Olivia a ring, which was a family heirloom.

So we’re back to plan A – woman in love – about which Olivia still has reservations. She goes to visit Jake to look for advice, and is surprised that he has a female visitor, although not quite as surprised as when she discovers that it’s Jake’s wife. (As I wondered last week, Jake and Elise are indeed still married, it would seem.) Jake once more treats her with perhaps more tolerance than she deserves in the circumstances, but can’t resist the mischievous observation that she has a thing for married men.

Olivia then goes on TV to talk about her relationship, and in doing so admits that she wishes she’d never met the President, because of the pain Olitz has caused to her friends, and the problems it’s raised for her business. (Kerry Washington acts the hell out of this scene, incidentally). The talkshows like this, and it’s looking good for Olivia. But then yet another problem arises: Olivia’s legal tactic, which was to drown the Committee in discovery paperwork, backfires when someone finds evidence that the President went to war in West Angola because Olivia had been kid***ped. (Sorry – I’d still sooner not think about that plot.)

While the Committee attempts to browbeat Marcus into spying on OPA, and Quinn and Huck in turn discuss how to get to the Committee, Fitz and Olivia know that Cyrus is the key – he saw Fitz watch the video from the kid***ping, and if he speaks up there’ll be sufficient evidence that Fitz sent the American armed forces into war to save his mistress. Now, that’s an impeachable offence if ever there was one.

So Fitz brings Cyrus into the White House to buy his silence by offering him a job. To start with, Cyrus declines, and does so by means of a speech which is meant to show that he cared for Fitz much more than Fitz did for him, although it comes off as more than a little obsessive and creepy, if you ask me. But Fitz – and my God Tony Goldwyn is good in this scene – discloses that he remembers some significant details of their early campaigning days together, and apologises to Cyrus for the way he’s been treated. It’s good enough for Cyrus, as Fitz, the consummate politician, presumably hoped it would be. You can be heartfelt and calculating at the same time, of course, and I suspect Fitz was both.

Anyway, the price of admission is Cyrus getting his old job as Chief of Staff back, which means that Elizabeth North will need to be sacked, presumably generating yet another enemy and/or Mellie ally. Still, we’ll have Cyrus serving once more at the pleasure of the President, perhaps the only man he’s ever truly loved, albeit platonically. A great episode.


2 thoughts on “Scandal s5 ep 5

  1. CPS January 7, 2016 / 12:22 am

    Yes, this was a great episode. I think it ranks as my favorite episode (okay maybe its a tie with episodes 7and 8) for season 5 thus far.

    Leo was hilarious and it was good to see a lighthearted episode of Scandal which subtly poked fun at the media and how to spin a story in your favor – woman of the people, love story, etc.

    Plus the acting by Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn and Jeff Perry was excellent. I really like when the show focuses on these characters so it is about OPA and White House drama not B613.

    The Cyrus speech was creepy and reinforces the idea that he has an unrequited love for Fitz. Yeah, Fitz (likely coached by Olivia) knows how to charm folks by being heartfelt and sincere even when it is self serving. Cyrus got played like fiddle.

    I have to say that I don’t understand Mellie’s actions. They always seem idiotic and not strategic to me. The reveal of the Grant heirloom ring given to Olivia moved the affair from tawdry to romantic and love struck which helped not hurt Olivia and Fitz. I would have kept that information private.

    At this point, I just pretend that useless Jake does not exist on the show. Instead of getting more Abby who is a better candidate as Olivia’s confidante we get more Jake just to give him air time.

  2. Jed Bartlet January 8, 2016 / 12:53 pm

    Cyrus’s love for Fitz is difficult to parse. In the last episode the show made a very big point of describing it as paternal, but I don’t think their in-universe ages are that far apart, are they? It would be very easy to see it as romantic.

    Agree entirely about the acting, mind you. Kerry W was amazing in the interview scene, and Goldwyn and Perry was fantastic at the end. A great reminder of how good the show can be when it plays to its strengths.

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