Only in Scandalworld can the death of The Actual Worst inspire a stampede of volunteers to take his place. This week, everyone vies not only to make horrible choices, but to do so repeatedly, in an uninterrupted stream of suckiness that lasts to the end of the episode.
From the bottom (that would be the least sucky) of our terrible friends to the top — in Scandalworld, bad is good! — here they are:
Cyrus. Still throwing himself into work to manage his grief, poor Cyrus does the best with a generally bad week. He even makes some time to play with beautiful Ella, the most perfect preschooler in TV land, and do some soul-searchy truth-telling with his boss.
James did this to himself. He was foolish enough to think that we lived in a world where the Vice President of the United States shouldn’t be able to murder her husband in cold blood and get away with it. My husband believed in fairy tales. – Cyrus
DADDY POPE. (All-caps once a week, out of respect to the man, the gravitas he brings to every scene he graces, and the fact that I know he could kill me.) Despite being forced into B613 retirement, Eli/Rowan’s still taking care of business, handling a visit from Jake “Who’s Your Command?” Ballard with cool, sinister grace, and reminding his nosy daughter that some pastimes are more dangerous than others.
Stop digging. Don’t play this game anymore, Olivia. – Daddy Pope
Jake. Fond as I still am of Sugar Trousers, he seems a little bossy!
I am Command. You don’t tell me to do anything. I decide whether America sleeps at night. I decide whether America endures. – Jake
And while I haven’t forgiven him for killing The Actual Worst in a fake carjacking, Jake redeems himself a bit by hitting his marks at work (he’s got eyes on both Terrorist Dmitri and Adnan, even as they toss around the contents of Olivia’s computer) and by being gracious in the face of Cyrus’s rage: “I’m sorry for your loss,” he says.
The FitzMellie Kids. Lauren and Gerry are your typical TV teenagers, with very slight resumes, smile allergies, and a strong talent for mouthing off to their parents. The problem with these two is that they are completely ignorant of the fact that those parents are the President and First Lady of the United States.
I SAID GET OUT OF MY ROOM! – Lauren FitzMellie
Lauren? Dear? “Your room” is inside the White House. That actually makes it MY room!
Andrew Nichols. The sweetly-competent, clean-as-a-whistle running mate of weeks past is all but gone in this episode, replaced by a snarky tool whose only real interest is getting Mellie alone for a quickie. When he’s not going under Mellie’s skirt, he’s being bratty to the President (“you seem to like getting your ass kicked, sir”) and the President’s campaign manager:
Stay away from her.
Glass houses, Olivia. – Olivia and Andrew
Charlie. Is this dude really still Quinn’s boyfriend? Leaving aside the weirdness of that, Charlie is King of the Creeps in this episode. He can’t stop asking about The Curious Incident Of Huck In The Night-Time, and his performance evaluation skills (“the kid’s a natural with the drill!”) leave a lot to be desired. But it’s the moving-in thing that’s the worst.
You get to keep the apartment, I get to keep my eye on you! – Charlie
Mellie. NOT ONLY does this woman refuse to seek White-House-affair advice from the two people most qualified to offer it (her husband! his mistress!), she further refuses to give either her kids or her husband the blistering lecture they so clearly deserve. And then she’s really just wrongheaded with Olivia.
WHAT DO WE PAY YOU FOR?! – Mellie
But not even she can rise to a certain height of dickishness. Nope: this week, that honor goes to …
Olitz. These incredibly powerful, well-connected people make one misstep after another in this episode, together and separately. They’re hours (then minutes) away from a critical live interview with the whole family, yet neither of them can pull it together.
Fitz is, first of all, mean to his wife. But when he refuses to be an authority with the two people who need that from him the most, he just loses me. And Olivia is no better.
Why don’t we just talk this out? You talk, I listen. – Olivia to the FitzMellie Kids
So here’s a thing you DON’T do with whiny teenagers who have mad lying skills: give them more airtime. You give them less. If attention’s what they want, that’s the one thing they don’t get. But this week’s Olivia can’t seem to control anything: not the brat eruptions, her Fitzweakness, or even the unwanted calls from her mother:
You’re nothing but The Help. – Mama Pope
Point taken, Mama Pope. Point deeply taken. Ouch.
Final Scandal Thoughts:
Once again, Quinn and Huck are the source of all squickiness. There is so much No in the air around this couple, so much ick and REALLY? and eeeewwww, that it makes me long for the days when Quinn was merely dead to me.
This week’s Song of the Episode was an interesting choice. “Me and Mrs. Jones” started by serenading Huckleberry Quinn, and I was all NOPE NOPE NOOOOOPE; but when it cut to Jake and Daddy Pope’s meeting, I was like, This is better!
Harrison is having a lot of sex these days, and I do not care. This is all the evidence anyone needs to prove that a well-written story, not the absence of a shirt, is what makes a good-looking actor’s story hot.
I think Mellie has a plan. Mellie’s never at a loss for words, and I think her silence in response to her husband’s “you killed our marriage” attack was at least as strategic as it was stunned. I believe Mellie’s going to spill the beans on Big Ger in that live interview. Talk about great TV!
Things That Would Never Happen In An Actual Campaign: “Hey, you know what would be great? Let’s force the guy’s teenage kids to come in, get dressed up, and sit there and do the interview with their folks.”
Line of the episode: “This is not a game, Mr. President. You’re not getting your ball back.” Yes sir,
Sugar Trousers Command, sir!