“Scandal” aired a bonus episode last night on ABC. Instead of the next installment of “Grey’s Anatomy”, we got a replay from “Scandal” season one. It was the perfect intro for “Trojan Horse” episode of season six, because it included the moment that Olivia Pope and then Governor Fitzgerald Grant fell in love and formed the hashtag known as #Olitz.
The excitement of the budding romance, nevermind the sight of Olivia with bangs was a welcome respite from the current season that time jumps all over the place. One moment it’s post-election, the next it’s pre-election with the introduction of the season’s bad guys, Ms. Ruland and Mr. Peus. One second Olivia is working for Mellie and against Cyrus, then she’s switched sides.
Have we gotten even one hint that you can recall about where the heck these bad people came from that are so powerful, that the previously unshakable Rowan/Eli Pope a/k/a Command cowers at their feet? Sometimes there are emanations of Andrew Nichols’ old henchmen who kidnapped then auctioned off Olivia in season four.
We are not sure why the story of season six took this form. Instead of linear storytelling we were served up a puzzle that kept us off-balance. Sometimes that is a good thing for a show that’s getting long in the tooth, but in this case it’s been overused. Even now, with Mellie declared president and all former warring parties on the same page to kill the bad guys, you know there’s more fill-in material coming. We have no back story of Peus & Associates, and if this season has taught us anything, there’s plenty of that ready to be revealed in a dripping faucet kind of way.
But, we digress, because this is about the good old days of “Scandal”. Pope & Associates prancing around D.C. and the full-blown love affair that began on the campaign trail . The simplicity of the plot lines in season one, and the ease with which we could identify the black hats from the white hats was just fine, thank you.
You know what else was great about the first season? Stephen was there, someone who never got replaced at the Pope offices or in Olivia’s life. Once he was gone, there was very little holding Liv accountable, particularly as she escalated the affair with Fitz. He was her conscience and she was his. He had the power to change her mind, to read it when she paced in the office with the door closed, as Gladiators wondered what the heck was going on. There was no B613, and there was plenty of #Olitz.
In “Trojan Horse”, with Diana Ross singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” Olivia Pope and Fitzgerald Grant tumbled into the bedroom of the White House residence quarters. He finally banished his FBI Director-lover after she threatened Liv, and Fitz had his aha moment. If Angela Webster went ahead with her plans to arrest Liv for the money trail that led to Tom Larson, “I’ll lose you”, Grant blurted out. He’s been sleeping with Webster, but at the fork in the road, it was Livvie he wanted.
As an aside, on Tony Goldwyn’s Twitter account, he posted this while live tweeting the episode. “Did Angela just call POTUS “Boy?” and then this: “Omaha is what happens when you call POTUS Boy”.
So, fans of #Olitz, is there still hope for the relationship that broke up every way possible over six seasons? With Fitz moving out of the White House, can he share a life with Olivia without controlling her? The previous week’s episode was the “what if?” show. You saw Fitz shrink as a man and a lover without the power of the Oval. We watched Liv lose respect for him and almost serve him with divorce papers. Was Shonda Rhimes telling us that no matter how many times we hear Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder or Diana Ross, #Olitz was never meant to be?
Perhaps it’s a reboot of the show, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. But we have to get past the Peus/Ruland takedown, and that might just keep us pining for the good old days of season one. Thoughts?
“Scandal” airs Thursdays on ABC as part of its TGIT night of programming. Image credit: ABC, used with permission