In which Viv and Keidra snarkily pay tribute to a semi-beloved character.
KC: I can’t stop thinking about poor James in this episode. I think I went through the 5 stages of grief Of all the the people in the Scandalverse, James was the most ill suited to this life of treachery. He was never good at playing the game, married a master manipulator, and now he’s dead. DID HE NOT LISTEN TO ALL OF OUR SCREAMING AT THE TV TO TAKE ELLA AND RUN!? Now he got his fool self killed. RIP James Novak.
VO: I CALLED IT! I CALLED IT LAST WEEK! I WIN THE OFFICE POOL OF NOTHING!
KC: I hope you enjoy your prize!
VO: rolls around in her prize of NOTHING like Demi Moore rolling around in cash money in Indecent Proposal
But seriously, I hate the idea of losing James, but between the two of them, James was the safer bet. I hate losing him Dan Bucatinsky is just amazing as his snarky, waffling, naive baby playa in this horrible game.
KC: Dan Bucatinsky was fantastic and I will miss him, though James bugged me a lot of the time, as I NEVER saw what he saw in Cy. Which is nuts because Cyrus is my second fave Scandal character but he’s clearly, like, evil. James could ALWAYS do better, but, you know, love.
VO: But that’s always been the hardest thing about this relationship for me to swallow. What did they see in each other? I know we kept asking that over and over as the seasons progressed, with James waffling because the “I WANT A BABY” screech and then “I’M SO BORED! I WANT A JOB!” hollering. HIs character at times felt pretty inconsistent, which is also why he was probably such a terrible player at this game.
KC: Why do I imagine him sounding like Carol Channing?
VO: I also hate the fact that to get the good times, the man had to die first — the checking each out at the bar was fun for me to watch, because apparently the black leather jacket does things for Cyrus. I really do wish we saw those happy moments on the show, because then I feel like I’d root harder for them as a couple, as opposed to being all “WHY DID YOU NOT DIVORCE HIM” throughout the season.
KC: That’s Our Shonda! Seriously, it’s totally a Shonda Rhimes move to show you the happy moments at the point where those moments are gone forever. She’s a twisted woman.
VO: Cyrus’ grieving and reaction to being relieved of his duties is really honest and true. As someone on Twitter put it, everyone grieves in their own way. I identify with what Cyrus is doing, since I had to help plan my dad’s and my grandma’s funerals. It’s not until you have a moment that all the sudden all the emotions come crashing down on you and you’re in the fetal position ugly crying on the news.
KC: Also, he’s the kind of guy who buries his feelings into work. He and Olivia have this in common, also, not to reveal too much about myself, I do that too. He’s the kind of guy that works to stave of his feelings and then they come at an unguarded moment and it is FUCKING UGLY. It was a gut wrenching moment but bravo to Jeff Perry who sold this. This entire season is bringing some a-level acting.
VO: Jeff Perry and Dan Bucatinsky had some of the major moments on this show (the naked confrontation regarding Defiance, Cyrus’ reaction to James sleeping with Daniel Douglas, etc.) and this episode really made me wish that Cyrus and James had their own flashback episode like Olivia and Fitz, where we could see more of that snarky chemistry. Ah well, I can now wish for fanfic and hopefully get some of the happier days and not the screaming harpy ones.
Come to the dark side. We have cookies and speeches
VO: I think Rosen survived because he’s definitely more of a player in this game that is Scandal, we need him to be the voice of (relative) morality. And this is the seeds of creating tension between David and Abby — the secrets that we hold onto. I wonder when Rosen is going to crack regarding this. He’s the white knight and he can’t do this which means he might be dead soon.
KC: We knew the happiness was too good to last. Maybe this will make Abby interesting again too. Rosen is slowly cracking under all of this finally, Unlike James, he knows he’s not cut out for this, and while he’s moral, he’s not naive. He wants to be the voice of morality and honesty but it is impossible to keep your hands clean when everyone is dirty. He is a true Gladiator now.
VO: Jake is now lawful neutral/lawful evil. And he’s giving the Daddy Pope speech. I think that honestly, when you take over as command, you get a box of speeches. And Jake really is a terrible micromanager in this case. I weirdly admire his whole commitment to not hurting others, but the man is gonna be dead meat soon if he keeps this up — be it an assassin or a heart attack.
KC: WHAT DID I TELL YOU THOUGH!? I said that from JUMP. Jake was NEVER on the side of good, he was damaged from the beginning, and was always driven by revenge and power, and he can speechify to himself and others all he wants, but he’s not on the side of the light.
VO: YOU SUGGESTED HE WAS GOOD ALIGNED. Was this to fill out the bracket so we didn’t have poor David Rosen all alone?
Really Jake? Burying bodies?
KC: He’s a hands on dude.
Sometimes Papa Pope doesn’t have shitty parenting advice
VO: Joe Morton’s “What?” is a beautiful thing. I weirdly love Daddy Pope’s rationalization on how you’re responsible or not for murder. The hand of God speech is just unsettling and terrible, but it’s a dazzling speech about agency, taking ownership for reactions and the whole separating the self from the actions. And this speech he gave her was exactly what Olivia needed in a way. The point of Olivia is to better than her parents, and it’s a heavy burden, but I think that as parents, we always want better for our children and for them to be better than us.
KC: Ha! My mom liked that part too. He’s… not a good parent (not now, maybe he was), but he does love Olivia in his way. And I do hope this is the speech that kicks her in the ass, she needs it and he is really the only one who can do this for her. He literally knows where all the bodies are buried.
And yes, I think to do the kind of work that he did as Command, you do have to remove yourself emotionally from what is happening and disassociate yourself in a lot of ways. The Hand of God speech was chilling, and Olivia’s confrontation with Rosen later means she’s taking it to heart, but I don’t agree with Rowan, not all monsters can be taken into the light, not all deserve compassion at a certain point.
Welcome to the big time Adnan
VO: And Andan — girlfriend, you don’t know what you got into. For real. She’s gonna be dead soon. Depending on how stupid she is. I now wonder if Mama Pope will keep her alive because they need a face to deal with Cyrus and the gang and the campaign funds, if that makes sense.
KC: Oh yeah, that was an “oh shit” moment with her and Momma Pope. I feel you girl, sometimes you don’t know the gig is a hot mess until you’re there. Also Momma Pope “I don’t make bombs, I make money” is probably the Twitter bio of a couple of hundred Z-level hip-hop artists now.
This is not the Huckleberry Quinn I signed up for!
VO: So that’s why Olivia’s safe is so easy to pick — Huck’s watching everything.
KC: It’s a trap! </ admiral ackbar>
VO: OH GOOD LORD HUCK. THIS IS NOT THE HUCKLEBERRY QUINN I WANTED. THIS IS JUST WRONG.
KC: Well some people wanted this, and those people are sick fuckers. This is a WTF Shonda moment for sure. This is like George and Izzie level WTFness for those of you familiar with Shondaese. Also, the weird possessiveness that Huck has about “creating” Quinn, he can sit the fuck down with that. This weird like Bride of Frankenstein falling in love with your creation shit is not sexy, it’s just nasty and an old sexist pop culture trope. Also, nasty spit kissing can GO TO HELL!.
VO: That possessiveness bugged me back in the “I’M A MONSTER AND YOU GAVE ME SOMETHING TO LOVE!” speech with Olivia that we talked about earlier. But anyways, does this mean that Quinn is deep undercover? And I never thought spitting was a turn on, but that’s just me. Weirdly I like that Quinn is savvier now. She just doesn’t seem as stupid as before, which is bonus.
KC: She’s not as stupid, and I was waiting for this, hoping for it even. Again, she’s the one to watch, I could totally see her taking down B613 AND Huck if she gets her shit together. She’ll go all berzerker. I will love it.
Go Mellie, it’s your birthday, you better jump on that like it’s your birthday!
VO: Mellie knowing how to shoot is weirdly hot for me and her scheming is amazing. DRUNK MELLIE IS MY FAVORITE MELLIE. Girl, you need to get some. I’m so proud of you really. And I”m also impressed that her bra matched the dress. That’s coordination I don’t even have.
KC: She is not as powerful of a player as she thinks she is, but she is shrewd. Mellie is a HOT LADY. And she knows it! I love Drunk Mellie because she is flirtatious and funny and seemingly fun-loving. I don’t agree with her politics but I would party with Mellie in a heartbeat. She’s like everyone’s WOOOOOO!!! girlfriend. And I am SO GLAD she finally got some. She deserves some loving after being ignored by Fitz for ages. And I like that she comes prepared for action, with the matching dress and bra. She’s always a lady.
VO: I also don’t agree with her politics (and her strawman argument regarding guns was hilarious), but she would be fun to hang out be snarky with. It’s fun watching her be funny and smart and fun-loving, especially because around Fitz it always seems like she’s just checking the angles and seeing how things pay off for her. I don’t know if Nelson is forever, but I like that he brings that out of her (drunk and sober).
In which Viv speculates on a Scandal spinoff
VO: Poor Lauren: “I DO NOT GET PAID ENOUGH FOR THIS.” If they chose to do a cracked out
Office-like short of Lauren and the security guy at the gate, it would be hilarious and I would adore every minute of it.
KC: OMG I wish I was talented at video so we could do this.
And a moment of silence for poor baby Ella
VO: Jake killed James by a speech. Thank you Twitter for that joke.
KC: Yeah, you’re no Joe Morton, Scott Foley. But seriously, he died in the MOST FUCKED UP WAY I HAVE SEEN ON NETWORK TV IN A LONG TIME. Him calling for Ella broke me, I went to sleep thinking about this. I started writing Ella Beene Novak fanfiction in my head. Poor girl is gonna go all Kill Bill on people’s asses, go to Auntie Quinn’s house and ask for killing advice.
It freaks me out that Jake still sees himself as a moral force in all of this, honestly I respect dudes like Cyrus a LOT more, who wear their evil like a badge.
VO: And now we see the cycle of vengeance with Ella begin. I feel like a lot of this is the cyclical nature of things — they said they wouldn’t campaign dirty, and they’re probably going to pull another Defiance. People were murdered to protect secrets, Olivia says they’re going to work from within to tear things down, but I wonder if that’s the rationalization she’s giving to keep David from dying.
KC: People rationalize a lot on this show, but Olivia is truly becoming Daddy’s Girl. Also, on a related note, Season 1 Olivia Pope is back. “Lose the battle so we can win the war!?” She’s ready to fight again.
VO: Poor Ella. That poor kid is gonna get shuttled off to other places and maybe end up like Olivia Pope — seeking love from someone who’s probably too emotionally stunted to give it. Or Cyrus devotes his energy into being a good dad. I’m such a fucking optimist.
VO: Maybe the best Cyrus can do is teach Ella about good red wine and how not to spill it on white clothing. I’m going to temper my expectations on his parenting skills.