Shock Ranking 'Scandal': 'How Presidential Are My Balls Now?' Edition
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Shock Ranking 'Scandal': 'How Presidential Are My Balls Now?' Edition

By Sarah Carlson | TV Reviews | October 11, 2013 | Comments ()


Welcome, Gladiators! This season, we’ll be shock ranking the insanity of “Scandal,” ABC’s delightfully guilty pleasure starring Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn. There will be gifs. And fawning over Scott Foley. Deal with it.

Shock Ranking “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” S3E2:

5. Eli is Command!

We already knew this, so the flashbacks filling in the gaps of how Liv found out weren’t exactly revelatory. Mainly, it was interesting to learn that the Popes had an eat-dinner-with-me-and-I’ll-pay-for-school deal in the vein of Gilmore Girls. And boy, Eli was full of mastodon banter to keep his Smithsonian-by-day cover alive. Liv sure put the pieces together quickly to figure out her dad is a part of B613.

4. How does $2 million sound?


Not sure where Mellie (and whoever else she’s working with) is getting her Romney-level money and connections to accounts in the Caymans, but it sure was easy for her to buy off Jeanine to the tune of $2 million. Liv’s pleas with her client to not admit to a fake affair went unheard, although her declaration that a life of lies would lead Jeanine to not be able to recognize herself obviously came from experience. With her “white hat” talk, it’s easy to forget that Olivia has been complicit in some not great things, and seeing her lose a battle for once — outside of the fact that she ultimately won by getting the public to believe she isn’t Fitz’s mistress after all — is a good thing.

3. Papa Pope don’t play.


Olivia threw down with Eli to rescue Huck, going so far as to agreeing to marry Ellison and bringing him over to meet Papa Pope at Sunday night dinner. She kicked off the evening by bragging about Ellison’s new role on the Senate Intel committee, “the one that makes sure spies don’t break any laws like disappearing innocent civilians, that kind of thing. It’s a great move for his career — gives him a lot of influence in this town.” Too bad Eli quickly had Ellison nearly taken out in a car crash to get the message across to his daughter that she can’t beat him, so she may as well stop asking questions about how many people he’s ordered to be killed and start enjoying his taste in wine.

2. Fitz will play his part, though.

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I’m liking this “out of f*cks to give” Fitz we’re seeing. He wanted to tell the truth, but admitting to an affair but with the wrong woman was close enough, given that it meant helping Olivia out and saving Jake. Threats from Cyrus and Mellie don’t seem to have much of an effect on him now. But a phone call from Liv? That’s all it takes.

1.5 Huck attack.

HuckAttackLiv.gif HuckAttackLiv2.gif

We’ve seen various sides of Huck, but he’s never gone after Liv in any way until now. His feeling of betrayal is understandable, but his loyalty to her is still apparent. Even if she didn’t tell him all the facts about how she got him out of the Hole, she got him out. He still owes her his life.

1. Jake Ballard Watch is over!

JakeLivDoor.gif JakeLivDoor2.gif

OK, we knew he’d be back soon — Scott Foley was bumped to a series regular this season. This being Scandal, no plot is stretched out too far, so Eli gave him up. Liv endured the viewing of a lot of corpses in her quest to get Jake freed from the Hole, but Jake is going to have a longer road of recovery. ABC urged viewers to tweet their opinions about Mr. Ballad using the hashtags #GoodJake or #BadJake, but thankfully, Jake so far has been a much more complex character than those categories allow. (Additionally: Some fans started a #NoJake hashtag because they think the character is ruining “their” show? Oh, kids.) Now would be a good time to learn more about his background and motivations, not to mention what he really thinks of his job at B613.

Quinn Psycho Watch:

Hacking into Liv’s email? That’s more dangerous than torturing someone or joking about killing an intern. This girl is a ticking time bomb.

Best Lines/Tweets:

Eli to Liv: “I’m your father. So I’m going to explain to you how you are to behave in my presence. You do not ask questions that you cannot handle the answer to. You do not make judgments about things you cannot imagine. You don’t know me that way. You don’t ever want to know me that way. But if you push, you will know me well. And that would break my heart. Because I’m enjoying these Sunday dinners you make me pay for. Now, you are on my dime. Pick up your menu. Order your meal. And tell me about your day.”


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Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • clementinesalmassi321

    My Uncle Miles got white Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG by work part-time
    using a laptop. go to website J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • John G.

    I keep hearing about this show. Is it any good? It looks like soap opera.

  • e jerry powell

    It is soap opera, but you shouldn't hold that against it.

  • e jerry powell

    All this crap to set up next week's bomb scare makes me even more annoyed than I would be with all the problematic elements already.

    1) Apparently Olivia's mother knew about B613 before Olivia was twelve, but Olivia didn't know until five years ago? (That whole remark Olivia made to Daddy Dearest about how Mums said that the White House would destroy him last week.) Come on.

    2) Apparently Shonda Darling thinks that everyone who just spent days Netflixing season one has already FORGOTTEN ABOUT AMANDA TANNER, because everyone in D.C. is POSITIVELY SHOCKED that the President had an affair with a White House staffer? Come on.

    3) I am still completely perplexed about how Mellie could have been upset with Olivia about Point #2 back in season one (saying something to the effect that Fitz sleeping with Amanda Tanner was the direct result of Olivia leaving the White House and abandoning her affair with Fitz) and still pissed about Olivia's affair with Fitz. There's only so much than can be blamed on the pregnancy hormonal shifts, Shonda.

    4) Really, Liv? You're going to play petty, defiant little daddy's girl that late into your adolescence? You're a law grad dating a senator, and that is just a Basic Woman move. Must you be so mediocre?

    5) I know this is a soap, but Christ on Fucking Crutches, Shonda, you've been better at shading characters thus far. Everything about everyone in this episode was so inexcusably two-dimensional, all the way down to Huck. I feel like we're headed into season five of "The L Word," because you're more interested in making Shocking Things Happen than in being true to who the characters are. You're on broadcast TV, you're supposed to be better than Ilene Chaiken.

    6) Fitz, you're gorgeous and I adore you as much as I love Burr Connor, but you're the worst. You know what you can do to save all of us a lot of needless annoyance? Figure out that, like you say, you want Wallis more than you want to be King and do the honorable fucking thing. Your personal shit is not supposed to be throwing the nation into crisis every third day; that's the Tea Party's job.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    I interpreted the "The White House will destroy you" "Funny, mom said the same thing about you" exchange to mean that Livvy's mother had told her that her father would destroy her one day. That perhaps there was tension in the house before the mother died, which fed into why Olivia never lived at home again after that and why it wasn't until after law school when she was in massive student loan debt (feel you, girl) that she attempted to have a relationship with him.

    Of course, as you point out, the show is not particularly self-aware and seems to suffer from past-season amnesia. So it's possible that they tried to have it both ways.

  • I still cannot decide if Scandal is a good show. Entertaining? Sure. Quality? TBD.

  • LaineyBobainey

    Love the show, love the gifs, love you, but Sarah, can you put up a different header picture that doesn't spoil the episode for those who haven't watched it yet? I think this pretty much kills the suspense of the whole episode.

  • Pretty please.

  • foolsage

    I only just watched the episode, but I'd already seen the picture and been spoiled. I didn't click to read the article; the header pic was on the main Pajiba page. :/

  • Hollyg

    At least this Pajiba's header image didn't spoil Ben's proposal to Leslie on P&R. That was a bummer.

  • I loved that scene where Olivia and her dad were in her soundproofed office being completely vicious while smiling and appearing affectionate for her staff.

  • kushiro -

    I haven't seen this show yet, but that banner image makes me think "I just want my kids back".

  • Maya

    Question: Does Cyrus know that Eli is Olivia's father? I'm assuming he does, but the show has never explicitly made it clear.
    Also: why did Eli make Jake Ballard living or dying dependent on whether or not Janine (or whatever her name was) admitted to having the affair? What's the connection? Is it because if Janine denied the affair attention would shift back to Olivia and that would lead to questions about her past, potentially affecting Eli?

  • foolsage

    Eli wanted Jeneane to admit to the affair, to keep Olivia out of it. His reasons for that, in turn, are murky. Presumably he wants to protect his daughter, but it's also certainly possible, and even likely, that he has additional motivations. We do know that he wanted to keep Olivia and Fitz apart (which is why he ordered Jake to sleep with Olivia) but it's not clear how Jeneane fits in there.

    Frankly, we don't know much about what drives Eli. We don't know what he wants, or how he intends to get it. We don't know how he feels about any issue or person, in any detail. He's a cipher.

  • Maddy

    To the first question - I don't think Cyrus knows he is her dad, going off the scene where they prepared the 'kill' file which had the museum curator story, plus Cyrus seemed genuinely surprised by details about her childhood.

    I think? Because he cares about her professional reputation? That seemed to be the extent to me but the plot on this show exhausts me.

    I generally think Fitz is the worst, but I think I'm liking him a bit better at the moment, especially when he seemed genuinely adamant about Janine not being slandered.

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