Vermont-is-for-Lovers

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I couldn’t really be mayor but you can make jam. There are bedrooms for lots of kids. This was going to be you and me raising a family and growing old together in this house. It was supposed to be our house, Livvie.

And I just wanted you to see it at least once.

At least once before I sell it.

I wanted you to see the dream.

This house is yours. Ours. I had it built for us. When it looked like there was a chance for us, I bought the land and I had it built. I couldn’t really be mayor but you can make jam. There are bedrooms for lots of kids. This was going to be you and me raising a family and growing old together in this house. It was supposed to be our house Livvie. And I just wanted you to see it once, at least once before I sell it. I wanted you to see the dream.
—  Fitz Grant, Scandal
"Where-are-his-KIDS??"

My favorite part of the series of truth bombs dream-Abby dropped. Because, and a bunch of us have talked about this, whenever Olivia and Fitz have been waxing fantastical about their hypothetical life in Vermont, neither of them ever bring up his children. In “Vermont Is For Lovers, Too” when Fitz was going on about all the rooms in the house for their kids, I was almost so sure he was about to say something along the lines of, “And for Teddy, Karen, and Jerry when they come over.” But nope, they got not one mention. As usual. But Liv knows damn well that even if she and Fitz get together for real, they won’t just be replacing their old lives with a completely new one. He still has kids that’ll be in his custody part-time, and she’ll be their step-mother. And yes, the ex-wife will be a part of their lives too, because she and Fitz are forever connected through their children. 

#Scandal 404: The Dynamic Tension of Olitz (scene analysis)

NB: I have changed the framing on this scene analysis. The introduction and conclusion have been truncated and revised, and the title has changed. The original framing is now a separate think piece (Scandalous Reflections: Queering the Black and White of Olivia and Fitz’s Relationship)

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Scandal’s Like Father, Like Daughter (404) exemplifies the dynamic tension that exists between Olivia and Fitz as a couple, whether they are together, or not. Their relationship is one in which there is constant motion, one that is not always in an upward trajectory. The tension that is produced from that constant relational movement creates a tension that is at times beautiful, but also sometimes uncomfortable and painful. Nowhere is that dynamic tension more apparent than in the the two Oval office scenes between Olivia and Fitz.

Fitz: “I thought sending her back to boarding school right away was the best thing. Get her back to normal as soon as possible. Dig in, have her team back to work. Thought it would help.”

Olivia: “Burying yourself in work isn’t always the best thing when you lose someone.”

Fitz: “Running away isn’t always the best thing either”

Ouch.

They are both right. The irony here is that Olivia and Fitz are speaking about Karen, but their words are full of subtext about their respective actions over the last three months as well as their younger selves.   At the age of 12, after the first loss of her mother, Olivia was sent away to boarding school to focus on work, building a life and future for herself away from the family home that was filled with all the reminders of her loss. She never lived in her family home again. Olivia threw herself into her schoolwork and excelled as a student. The genesis of the Olivia Pope [TM] we know today occurred during that time.

“That’s how I see myself. I am a protector. When I see people in need, I feel it is my duty to protect them” (Vermont is for Lovers, Too (308)).

It is an identity based on giving the self another chance through the continual saving of others. Fitz, as a young adult trying to cultivate his own identity, away from the expectations of the new-money Grant name, absconded to the Navy to fly planes:

BJ: “You wanted to prove something, show everybody what a man you were.”

Fitz: “I wanted to serve my country.”

BJ: “You weren’t a man because a man doesn’t need to…[sic] A man doesn’t need to run away to the Navy to get away from his daddy. A man stands up. A man does what needs to be done…You’re a Senator’s son. You had a trust fund. You’re a damn Grant!”—Everything’s Coming Up Mellie (307)

Olivia was made to leave and Fitz left of his own volition. But the act of leaving has shaped them both in some way. And of course Olivia knows all about burying herself in work to mitigate loss. I’m sure the focus required to start up OPA helped her the first time she purposely lost Fitz after leaving the White House. Work was not only how Fitz tried to help Karen cope with loss, but it’s also how he coped with the loss of both Jerry and Olivia. I can’t say I’m unhappy about that since he is the motherfucking president. He seems to have a focused vision for the second term of his presidency, and I hope that remains now that his Olivia-sized wound has started to bleed again.

I do wonder why Fitz was motivated to send Karen back to boarding school so soon. Is this learned behaviour from his own family? Was Mellie supportive of this since it was her idea to send the children to boarding school in the first place (217)?I remember Fitz saying that he did not want his children to go to boarding school as he was made to do. I wish I knew when Fitz’s mother died. I’d like to know if his running away to the Navy was motivated in any way by his mother’s death.

 [cue the angst-driven Olitz theme music]

Fitz: “Liv…where did you go?”

Olivia: “Fitz…”

Fitz: “Where did you go? You just took off for two months all alone?”

Olivia: “I…[nodding her head] Yes…I did. I needed some time alone—after everything. I just needed to be alone.”

 

Throughout Olivia’s entire lie, nearly every word she utters is done without looking directly at Fitz. She looks at him in the pauses between phrases, but she does not look him in the eye as she lies.If her relationship with Fitz is in the past, why lie and say she went alone? She lies because we sometimes do that to spare those we love pain. Also I noticed Olivia’s shoes in this scene. She’s not wearing platforms, which are what she wears when she’s confident and sure. Instead there are stilettos. She’s not on firm footing with Fitz.

Fitz: [thinking he understands] “You were having a difficult time.”

Olivia: “We were all having a difficult time.”

Fitz: “I’m sorry—about your mother.”

Olivia: “No. She did a terrible thing. She ruined your family. She ruined my family. She ruined [emphatically]…us.”

You know what I love about Fitz’s “you were having a difficult time”? It’s not a selfish accusation or comparison to his pain of being the victim of loss. There’s none of that here. It’s a genuine inquiry because he knows she’s detrimentally connected to his own sense of loss. Jerry’s death is at the hands of Olivia’s mother (according to Tom and Rowan). Fitz’s words reflect what he said to her on the night of Jerry’s death:

Fitz: “You’re not your mother. It’s not your fault. I know better than anyone we’re not responsible for the sins of our parents. I don’t hold it against you.”—The Price of Free and Fair Elections (318)

Through the devastation of her tears then, Olivia didn’t hear him. Even now she does not want to show her grief about what happened. Not here. Not now.  The irony here is that Fitz was already responsible for killing Maya 22 years ago (so he and Olivia thought), and Olivia forgave him for that (308). Here he is responsible for Maya’s death again.

The last time these two spoke of mutual ruination was in Top of the Hour (216). That conversation was also about the circumstances surrounding Fitz’s election. Back then, Olivia’s love and belief in Fitz led her to an election rigging cabal, the discovery of which led Fitz to murder Supreme Court Justice, Verna Thornton (1/5th of the cabal) for Olivia (213). So don’t say Fitz never does anything for Olivia. Lol. Anyway, their ruination is not at their own hands this time, and their families were compromised in the process. 

Lastly, how must it feel to believe that the mother you thought your boyfriend indirectly killed 22 years, ago comes back only to convince you to commit treason by helping her to escape the country (309), then tries to blow up said boyfriend, supposedly stabs your father, and then kills your boyfriend’s son on your behalf? Then you lose her all over again, mere months after finding out she was alive all that time. Like,

.

I don’t understand how some people don’t get the amount of trauma Olivia went through in season 3. And that wasn’t even the half of it. She still doesn’t know that her father, once again, is pinning all the blame on her mother. Ugh.

Olivia leaves Fitz’s office before anymore could be said. We see Fitz do the same later that evening.

________

Part II (later that evening)

Fitz: “Say it again.”

Olivia:The parents want money.”

Fitz: “2.5 million dollars?!”

Olivia: “2.5 million.”

Fitz: “The Morgans think they can blackmail the President of the United States of America?!”

Aww, the last time we heard “say it again” in that office it was said more sexily. Now it’s gym teacher-y :o(. Fitz is rich as fuck. We know this from Olivia’s chiding of Cyrus in White Hat’s Off (201). She told him that it’s too hard out here for a pimp for Fitz to be cavorting on his yacht with a crew of 14, trailed by a Coast Guard vessel with 8 Secret Service people, and a special diving team in case he fell overboard. He should have spent his vacation behind the gates of his ranch where people can’t see how rich he is. So, it’s not about the money, money, money. It’s the principle. How very dare the Morgans try to pull this bullshit kiddy porn blackmail! Still, Fitz, it’s your fucking kid. Get over it. This isn’t about you. Everybody’s whole life isn’t about you.

Olivia: “You have the money. Do you want to refuse to give it to [the Morgans]? Ok..but they could release the video. The video of your daughter having sex with two boys. Game over. That video will become Karen’s story. It will become who she is for the rest of her life. It will become her legacy. She’ll be no better than a reality star—the lowest form of life. It’ll be what they remember her for— not her charity work, not her accomplishments, not her brain—her sex tape. And I know you want more for your daughter.”

Fitz doesn’t get it because of his male privilege, the same way he doesn’t get Olivia’s life because he’s not her and, in some ways, he doesn’t see her. Quite literally, he doesn’t see her life. He doesn’t see Karen that much either and also doesn’t understand her life. Fitz’s vision is obscured in many ways as a man in his position, that it’s like he has blinkers on. He’s finally awake in his presidency, but still failing to get it in other ways.

What Olivia says about the threat to Karen’s future is about Karen’s integrity as a person. Her knowledge is both professional and personal. We have evidence of Olivia being a party girl who did irresponsible things (presumably out of anger and grief) back in her law school days, at least. We could argue that this reveal started in season one with Amanda Tanner’s confession of coming to Washington to save the world only to get tangled up with some man. The first overt hint, however, was in Beltway Unbuckled (204), the Jenny Nystrom case she took on pro bono.

“Here’s a girl, Bay’s University co-ed, wasting her opportunity, and throwing herself, like a—I’m just gonna say it—a whore at every powerful man in town…What I wanna know is who takes responsibility for this? How was this girl raised?! Where were the parents in all this?”Scandal’s Nancy Grace (aka Brooke Foster)

Sounds more familiar now, doesn’t it?

Olivia had a lot of sympathy for Jenny Nystrom. She knew so well that if “you’re young and hot and men like talking to you, you’re on the [party] lists” of important, high powered Washington events (204).

Then, of course, there was her identification with runaway “poor little rich girl”, Maybel Doyle (217). But everything came full circle in It’s Handled (301) when Cyrus had Ethan and Janine dig up Olivia’s party girl past, including her well-documented penchant for dating a slew of older, powerful Washington gentry, both black and white.  That’s how she met Edison.

More recently, after being outed by Fitz as his mistress (when will Olivia find out about this?!), Olivia had a taste of how quickly she went from formidable to punch line. She knows. That act of outing by Fitz is a clear example of his lack of perspective (lack of seeing) as a rich, white male in America. He has the power to rescue Olivia from the zombie apocalypse, but not the power to stop the media from skewering her reputation and trampling her accomplishments.  Everything Olivia said, especially the “more for your daughter” part reminded me that Rowan could have chosen a far less degrading way of speaking to Olivia in It’s Handled (301), after she was allowed to be outed. I say “allowed” because his double agent, Tom, is the one that Fitz asked to do it and Rowan would have seen the video tape evidence from the Oval. Rowan let that shit happen and did nothing about it because he wanted to teach Olivia a lesson about Fitz more than he wanted to protect his daughter.  

Speaking of protecting one’s daughter…Olivia’s statement also stands in both support of and contrast to what Mellie later says to Karen.

Mellie: “Like it or not, you are the famous daughter of the most famous man on earth. And it may not be fair, it may not be right, and it’s definitely sexist. If you were a boy, they’d be giving you high fives…but you’re not, so your knees are gonna have to stay together.”

Mellie really could have imparted the message of sexism without emphasizing that Karen’s actions reflect badly on her father as President. Then again, that’s how Mellie sees her life: that it’s been compromised by (voluntarily) remaining Fitz’s wife. She makes the moment about people’s perceptions of Karen as Fitz’s daughter, not about Karen’s ability to lead the life she wants to lead.

Fitz: “The most powerful man in the world. An entire army at my disposal and I can’t stop two idiots from releasing a tape.”

Olivia: “Not in the world of the internet.”

Fitz: “What kind of parents are they?”

Olivia: “The world is full of terrible parents.”

The world is full of terrible parents. Yeah, yours and Karen’s. I am not a parent, but I am somebody’s daughter. Olivia’s parents are the goddamn worst. Do we not now rue the day we asked to know her background? All this “I did this for you”/”he took my child, so I took his” meddling and murdering in Olivia’s life has actually caused her more pain than simply irrevocably loving a man who is unavailable. No matter what her parents do, no matter how many fingers Jake inserts, no one can change that fact. Except Olivia. From everything I have seen, she has not convinced me that she wants to change that fact. She is trying to live and move forward despite that fact.

Fitz: [huffs in resonance with her statement]

Olivia: “I didn’t mean you.”

Fitz: “Why not? I’m failing.”

Olivia: “Fitz…”

Fitz: “I’m a failure as a father. And clearly we can all agree I’m a failure as a husband.

Dude, I’m not gonna lie, you are failing as a father…with Karen. From the evidence we’ve seen and heard, you aren’t totally failing as a father to Teddy because he actually lives with you. You make time to play with him (214), to feed him (215), to know every detail about his day, including what new words he’s learned (308). Maybe it’s also because Teddy is Olivia’s brainchild (albeit hatched with Mellie), so you keep him close. So, ummm, take heart. A little bit?

The husband thing has been done and dusted, and we all know why. Your duties are ceremonial at this point. 

Use of The Light

In part one of the Oval Olitz scene, we heard that familiar angsty music play. It’s music that plays in angst-ridden scenes between Olitz, or about Olitz, even if only one of the two is present. The Light, however, is not an Olitz theme song. I first argued last year that this song reflects Fitz’s feelings about Olivia as a light that is returning and departing from him. This notion of Olivia as a light to Fitz was recently validated by Tony Goldwyn on the Shondaland: Revealed Podcast. Use of the song in this scene still reflects my original theory. We hear the beginning of the music the moment Fitz closes the gap to within centimetres of Olivia. Two bodies who hadn’t been that close to each other in three months, trying to eradicate the coldness with a little warmth, a little light.   The coldness Olivia complains about to her father in Inside the Bubble (403) is momentarily eradicated once Fitz closes the distance and they are inside the Olitz bubble. The warmth returns as the song plays on before the warped and twisted notes play out against the backdrop of a cruel turn and the bubble bursts. The Light fades.

Olivia: “Fitz…”

Fitz does his patented pelvic press[TM] by bringing Olivia’s body to his torso. The PPP[TM] is ,in fact, not a surprise to Olivia. She sees it coming and allows it to happen by  uncrossing her arms. She does not object,  nor does she move to get out of his embrace right away. In fact, she places her left arm on his right forearm. So she is not there involuntarily-at least initially. She’s clearly not elated, but she knows this move. WE know this move. It’s been in the Fitzgerald Grant repertoire since chapter one, verse one of Scandal. Not only that, Olivia is not helpless. We have seen her rebuff Fitz’s advances before by slapping the shit out of him (214) or pushing him off of her (203, 208); tell him off for disrespectful treatment of her (211, 219, 220); put up a hand or back away from his attempts to touch or comfort her (106, 222, 312); or the numerous times we’ve seen her yell at Fitz because she was angry with him. This is her man, and she knows when and how to handle him. So for this brief moment that she is in his embrace, trust that it is because she allows herself to be there.

I know some people think this was inappropriate of Fitz at a time when he’s dealing with a crisis about his daughter. But these are not ordinary lovers. This may be his only audience with Olivia, so he seizes the opportunity. He opened the door earlier in the day by asking the question he’d been wanting an answer to for three months: “Where did you go”.  If you have been in a long-term relationship with someone, you start to notice their patterns. You know all of your lover’s little tricks to get their way, gain sympathy, or manipulate an argument in their favour. The PPP[TM] is one of Fitzgerald’s little tricks to dissolve Olivia’s defences and re-establish not just physical connection, but also emotional connection. That’s what we see here: Fitz attempting to show that they don’t have to allow Maya to ruin them, even if she did ruin their families.

Fitz: “What, am I failing as a man, too?”

[Olivia looks up at him]

Am I the only one who sees that almost imperceptible shake of the head in answer to Fitz’s question?

Olivia: “Fitz…”

Fitz: “Don’t  ever leave me like that again. I almost didn’t survive. I almost died without you.”

[starts unbuttoning Liv’s jacket]

This is the third time she says his name. I know she wants to correct her earlier lie about absconding alone, but being inside the bubble is intoxicating. Did you notice that when Fitz bends down closer for his next sentence, Olivia has her mouth poised for a kiss? Look.

On a serious note, I don’t like what Fitz said here. I don’t find co-dependent, need-based supplications at all romantic. They are too desperate to curry sweetness. I know that Olivia is Fitz’s best friend in many ways. Now this is true, even if Olivia once denied that they were friends (201). You have to be friends with someone you love so deeply. Orgasms can’t sustain a relationship. But the friend angle is not what Fitz was going for here. There are times that Fitz sees Olivia as a function of himself instead of as a person. Even peeling back the surface notion of Olivia representing “light” to Fitz can be viewed as a Biblical analogy (the way, the truth and the light by which a man comes to salvation) or in straight up objectifying ways because a light is a tool which allows one to see. It’s a function that can be turned on, or turned off.  I have been writing for a while about Fitz’s dependence and self-definition as a man through Olivia.  Perhaps the most blatant example of this comes from the hospital scene in Seven Fifty-Two (219). They are words I used to think were romantic until I peeled back the layers (sigh, always a mistake):

Fitz:  “Just wait. Just wait one minute. This past year, I have learned only one thing: that I cannot exist without you. I cannot breathe without you. That the man that I am without you…I’m nothing. I’m nothing, and you are everything. And I need you to give me another chance. I demand another chance. We’re worth another chance.” 

Here’s the thing: saying that your existence is pointless and nothing without another person is actually kind of weak. It’s not being the better man that Olivia has been asking Fitz to be since season one. But Olivia also has her own problems in that when Fitz doesn’t seem to need her, she feels aggrieved. None of this is cute from them. Moreover, by seeing himself as “nothing” and Olivia as “everything”, Fitz is defining Olitz in binary terms when it should be mutualistic.  “Nothing” is by definition the absence of “everything”, and therefore one cannot exist without the other. But Olivia and Fitz do exist without the other. A mutualistic relationship in nature is when two separate organisms exist in a relationship wherein the activity of each organism benefits the other. Aka, the teamwork Fitz speaks of wanting in that very same episode.  I know I’m mixing structuralism with biology, but you get the point.

I do want Olivia to find out about Fitz’s suicide attempt, though. Hell, I want to find out about it, too. If Fitz doesn’t see his life as worth living without Olivia, the weight of the responsibility of keeping him alive will be too much for her. It would be too much for anyone. This is what I mean when I write that Fitz has to learn to not need Olivia.

Fitz: “Didn’t you miss me? Liv…”

 [nipple graze]

Fitz: “Didn’t you miss me?”

[Quiver, buckle]

Fitz: “A little?

[knee failure]

Olivia: [breathily] “Oh, I did miss you” 

Now we get to my favourite part ^_^, so I’m going to indulge myself. This was some 90s R&B shit. Olivia went straight up SWV on Fitz (h/t thatmaroongirl):

‘Cause my heart starts beating triple time,
with thoughts of loving you on my mind.
I can’t figure out just what to do,
when the cause and cure is you.

[Chorus]
I get so weak in the knees I can hardly speak.
I lose all control and something takes over me.
In a daze, your love’s so amazing, it’s not a phase.
I want you to stay with me, by my side.
I swallow my pride, your love is so sweet.
It knocks me right off of my feet.
I can’t explain why your loving makes me weak.SWV, Weak 

We have had three consecutive episodes (401-403) wherein Jake verbally refers to his sexual prowess. In episode four, Fitz breathes on Olivia and she comes. The rule for sex and writing remain the same: show, don’t tell.

The hunger ensues with passionate kisses being devoured by both, and  “mmms” coming from Olivia specifically.

 I don’t think arousal is always voluntary, meaning it’s not totally under one’s control. Being in state of high arousal is like seeing and thinking behind a veil. Blood from your brain is literally rushing to other parts of your body, making it harder (not just for the male body) to focus.   Fitz is a pretty and intoxicating motherfucker who knows how to wield his sexual power over Olivia. She is certainly not sex-starved, as she commands sex from Jake whenever she wants it. But Olivia has a sexual rapport with Fitz that is unparalleled. It is that connection that she misses.

All jokes aside, Olivia’s capitulation to abiding desire for Fitz is not a weakness for me (despite the song). It’s the thing that she holds on to. Witnessing these little moments of joy and pleasure from Olivia are what reinforce for me this couple’s bond.

But before her heart starts beating triple time with thoughts of loving [him] on [her] mind , she’s stops herself. We’ve seen this in other episodes (203, 219, 311, even 208 before she decides to hike up that skirt). The moment is not quite right. It’s dishonest, in fact, and an indulgence. They are supposed to be solving Karen’s sex tape crisis.

Olivia: “Stop…I can’t.”

[he doesn’t]

Olivia: “Stop”

Fitz: “Why not? Why can’t you? What’s the point?”

Now here’s where I can easily see the problem. If Olivia says stop (twice), she doesn’t have to give a reason. Stop, much like no, is a complete sentence.  But for me, there is nothing sinister happening here. There is precedence for this behaviour (episodes quoted above), which is not an excuse, merely context. But whenever this does happen, it’s always full of a desperation by Fitz to literally hold on to Olivia and keep her from running away—especially after three months of her having gone away leaving no trace behind. Love allows freedom of movement, and this couple doesn’t have that. So you get really uncomfortable moments like this one repeatedly.

Olivia: “I didn’t go away alone.”

This time she looks him straight in the eye as she corrects her earlier lie. Fitz backs up as he soaks in that statement. The bubble goes bust.

Fitz: “You didn’t go away alone.”

Olivia: “No.”

Fitz: “You went with Jake.”

Olivia: “Yes”

Fitz: “Say it”

Olivia: “Fitz…”

Fitz: “Say. It.”

Olivia: “I went with Jake.”

I liked that Fitz asked, well, demanded that she Olivia say the words “I went with Jake” even after he drew that conclusion himself and she confirmed it. In a way, hearing Olivia say the full sentence gives him permission to be openly wounded, to receive and swallow the very words he has been fearing since Jake became her beard in Ride, Sally, Ride (311). Remember that in We Do Not Touch the First Ladies (312), Olivia tells Fitz that she is a person, one whose whole life is not about him, and that Jake’s being by her side is for her. By the end of the episode, Fitz, knowing he behaved like a cock in their hotel room argument approaches softly, asking if she has feelings for Jake. After telling him it’s none of his business, which he doesn’t deny, she then answers that she doesn’t know. Fitz left it alone until after Jake tried to shame Olivia in front of Fitz, Cyrus and all her employees in Flesh and Blood . He tells her during a phone conversation, “ I don’t like you sleeping with Jake. It makes me crazy.” That’s a statement of feeling, not a request or a demand. God knows the boy likes to demand things. Olivia, for her part, keeps the conversation moving and doesn’t respond. 

My point is that Olivia being with Jake is a long-time sore spot for Fitz. Let’s face it, Fitz knows Olivia loves him dearly, but he also knows his hold on her is tenuous, despite that love. In fact living beyond her love for Fitz is what Olivia is trying to move forward with this season.  In this q&a, I said Olivia is the answer to the question Fitz had been asking for at least ten years before he met her. He does not want to go back to that time of emptiness.  But again,

Olivia: “I have to take care of myself. I have to protect my people. I can’t spend all my time worrying about you. This whole house worries about you: what you want, what you need. It has to be about what I want and what I need.”—We Do Not Touch the First Ladies (312)

Fitz heard Olivia but he did not receive her words  because nothing changed after that. And those words above directly relate to Olivia’s decision at the end of 318 on how to cope with her loss.

Fitz: [sighs multiple times] “So I am failing as a father, a husband and a man. Good to know. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, they say.”

Sometimes acknowledging the truth out loud is helpful. In 318, Fitz was compromised as President (bomb scare, manipulated ‘free’ election), husband (found out about wife’s rape 15 years ago), father (son murdered), and man (pain caused to Olivia, her leaving).  Fitz came to the conclusion at the end of 318 that a lot of people he loved sacrificed themselves so that he could be President. Brought to his knees on the Presidential seal , he recommitted himself to his presidency. Now in season four, let’s see if he can work on improving his grades as father, husband (divorce) and man.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. This statement reflects Fitz’s earlier read of Mellie—a read I thought was mostly appropriate, given the evidence we have seen and the fact that he stood up for Olivia and took shared responsibility for the mess of their family. (When does Mellie ever do that?) It also made a nice parallel to the one Mellie gave to Fitz about his failings as a perpetually lubricated father in Snake in the Garden ((217)something I wrote about). Maybe something good can come out of the fact that they have mutually identified that they are terrible parents. This time around, Fitz is wearing his crown as President responsibly, and seems to be doing a good job as President, but he doesn’t have that work-life balance down pat. He’s been almost exclusively focused on his work as a means of coping both with the pain of losing his son and Olivia’s Without a Trace-like disappearance.

 

Olivia: [reaching out to comfort or explain] “Fitz”

Fitz: [aggressively grabs Liv’s hand to stop her touch]

Olivia: “Ow.”

Now here’s where it becomes cruel and problematic. I screamed at Fitzgerald through my television screen the first time I watched this. Fitz derives currency from being wounded because he gets to lash out and reject rather than be rejected. In that way he takes some power back for himself after just having the wind knocked out of his sails. The insult isn’t the Jake-sized dagger (that was the injury of her moving on) Olivia  just delivered to his heart and ego, it’s her attempt to try and comfort him immediately after doing so. Please do not mistake this as some excuse or justification for Fitz’s behavior. It’s not. It’s an explanation of emotional motivation.  When someone has just hurt you, the last thing you want from them is comfort - though they may genuinely feel regret for having hurt you. We have seen a verbal form of this kind of cruelty immediately following closetgate in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (214). It was a very low time.

I thought about this moment in the context of real life relationships. In my marriage, I’m the one who’s likely to try to comfort after saying something hurtful. I’ve experienced my partner yanking out of my grasp or pushing me off of her. And I have unintentionally hurt her. To anyone witnessing those moments, I’m sure it looks terrible and the person would be concerned for me (or her). I’m not concerned for myself or my safety because I know what’s going on. I know those actions are not designed to make me feel small about myself, but a reflex to rebuff any attempt at tenderness when it is not wanted. Grabbing someone is never OK behaviour. Hearing Olivia say “ow”, makes me hurt even as I see the slipperiness of the situation is familiar to me.

Fitz: “Pay the Morgans the 2.5 million dollars.”

[Goes for more drank]

Olivia: “Do you want to discuss it with Mellie.”

Fitz: “Because…? My marriage is such a partnership? Because I’m so happy? Pay the Morgans the 2.5 million dollars. Let’s just do what my father would do: throw money at the problem and sweep it under the rug.

No, Fitz, you should discuss it with Mellie (or at least tell her) because Mellie is Karen’s mother and still your wife, Fitz. That’s why. Your lack of happiness and partnership in your marriage is your problem to do something about Fitz. And until you do, you’re not going to have the kind of relationship you want with Olivia. Like in Algebra and trigonometry, you have to show the work, you can’t just arrive at the solution. Fitz is doing the work as President (again, finally!) and his platform seems really great. Now he needs to do the work in other areas of his life. Without that, he’ll keep failing. His maleness, his whiteness, his richness, and his pretty boy looks can’t save him. Do. The. Fucking. Work.

Also, Fitz should stop drinking. Like, none at all. His propensity for assholicness when wounded is on 10 when he’s drinking. We have A Criminal, A Whore, an Idiot and a Liar (211) and most of season 2B to back this up. Now this.

Some of you can’t stand Olivia and Fitz together, or you find it impossible or uncomfortable to root for their relationship. I Get it. After all this is not a romance novel, and fraught with problems from the start. Someone wrote to me saying they are experiencing ennui with the Olitz relationship. It is supposed to feel like that because their dynamic tension sometimes makes their relationship laborious, and made so by external circumstances and interventions more than as a result of their interpersonal relationship. I don’t like to see Olivia in pain. I don’t like to see Fitzgerald feeling isolated and unhinged.  The Olitz relationship is not in a state capable of romantic unification right now. That’s actually OK. They can, however, be friends to one another and that is something I would like to see moving forward in season four. Olivia and Fitz as individuals and as a couple are under transformation within themselves and in relation to each other. It’s completely necessary if they have any hope of making a real life together. 

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Song from Olitz Vermont Scene: Bill Withers - Ain’t No Sunshine

People have asked and messaged me several times today about the song during the Olitz scene, and I thought maybe I missed an extra song or scene, but if everyone is asking about the song that played during their actual lovemaking scene, here it is.

I will say I used to not like this song because it’s actually a pretty sad song if you listen to the lyrics with no sexy Tony and Kerry to stare at, but Olitz has given me a new perspective on it.

This is a classic y'all - know your musical history!

Welcome! Also, I got My JAM

To all the ‘special’ teams now following me. I see you and I welcome you with open arms too. We will have fun today and tomorrow. Enjoy!

Also, Here is some Vermont Jam to celebrate that was just delivered today. I ordered it especially because Kerry Washington gave this particular brand to all her coworkers for the Holidays.

After All, Vermont is For Lovers and Jam is best.

kerry washington ‏@kerrywashington22 Dec

Video Link below:

Vermont Is For Lovers 

All time favorite scene of scandal 💏
“I just .. I wanted you to see it at least once. This house is yours, ours. I had it built for us .. This was going to be you and me raising a family and growing old together in this house. It was suppose to be our house Livy .. I wanted you to see the dream” ❌⭕️❌⭕️

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                               never. effing. forget.

You guys are gonna have to be patient with me because...

My prurience is foremost on my mind. I have to get that out first (3 photo memes already I’m the works for later) before I focus on serious stuff:

•The state of Olitz

•Olivia’s relationship with her mom

•Quinn’s need to belong

•That “gays have all the fun” comment and the Novak-Beene marriage.

•How we still don’t know the actual truth about that plane crash

•Why the fuck Huck has been sidelined for Jake’s #NoChildLeftBehind ass

•Mellie finally acknowledging that pimpin’ ain’t easy.

And so many other things. But first I have visions of dancing Cobras in my head that need to find an outlet.

If you’ve got questions, get them in.

Oh, and don’t forget:

I’ll be on the Scandal Podcast for 308 is TONIGHT at 6 PM EST with first thoughts and lots of thirst. I’ll post the link to Jaha’s site where you’ll find the live link at 6PM-ish. As always, I’ll post it after the fact.

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Otis Redding 1967 - Try A Little Tenderness

Song from the ending scene of Vermont Is For Lovers Too - another classic folks!  Otis, like Marvin, much imitated but never surpassed.