Scandal, Season 3, Episode 5, “More Cattle, Less Bull”
Written by Jenna Bans
Directed by Randy Zisk
Airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC
On this week’s Scandal, Olivia picks up a new client, Mellie makes a startling request, Fitz faces off with Papa Pope, and Jake teams up with Huck to uncover secrets from Fitz’s past.
After last week’s dull procedural episode, Scandal ups the intrigue by throwing the audience back into the political election game season one explored so memorably. Sure, the teenage pregnancy storyline is well-worn and a little boring, but Lisa Kudrow keeps it compelling with her brilliant portrayal of a presidential nominee torn between family and her career. It’ll be fun to watch her square off against President Grant–he may actually have decent competition this time around.
Of course, from the moment hints of re-election began this season, we knew it was only a matter of time before Olivia joined Team Grant again, but the way it happens in “More Cattle, Less Bull” (with Mellie pulling Olivia from the dinner via Agent Tom) provides the best scene in the episode. Bellamy Young consistently kills as Mellie, but every now and again she gets a deliciously perfect scene that’s simultaneously heartbreaking and jaw-dropping. Funnily enough, these scenes usually occur when Mellie’s around Olivia.
Actually, let’s talk about the relationship between these two women for a moment. Both are headstrong, self-motivated, highly intelligent women; the same taste in men is hardly their only similar quality. Honestly, Fitz is lucky to have them in his life at all. Whenever the pair team up, they’re downright dangerous for the competition, which Mellie obviously understands very well. (She would never have asked Olivia to join the re-election campaign otherwise.) But, their biggest flaw is Fitz himself. Neither women seems capable of shaking him from their lives–Olivia literally dug through a trash can when he gave her a call!–and is he really worth the praise they give him?
Both women are wholeheartedly on his side because they believe in the man he can be, but hasn’t he proved repeatedly that he’s not such a good person after all? Let’s not forget his cold blooded murder of Verna, the multiple women he’s cheated on his wife with, the way he treats Mellia and Olivia (emotional abuse is still abuse), and now whatever he’s done that Huck and Jake have uncovered. Not ideal qualities in a presidential candidate, let alone the actual president.
Though Fitz is finally gaining a bit of control in his life by going head to head with B613 boss Papa Pope (not the smartest of moves, granted, but at least he’s genuinely taking charge somehow), so maybe the audience will finally get to see him be the type of character we merely glimpsed in season one–AKA, the one worthy of Olivia Pope and co.’s love and admiration, not to mention the approval of the American people. That’d be lovely to see–Fitz re-earning the love of his constituents whilst simultaneously re-earning the love of the show’s audience (which, admittedly, he doesn’t seem to have lost).
Lastly, on a lighter note, how beautiful is Ms. Pope’s black-and-white gown? Definitely one of the best–if not the best–thing Olivia’s ever worn. The costume designer(s) on this show deserve a raise, for sure.
So, how excited is everyone for the upcoming election storylines? Scandal‘s never failed to deliver quality stories come election time, so they should be pretty excellent. And this year there’s the added bonus of B613’s involvement, some new candidates, and, of course, Olivia Pope’s family drama. Seriously, these upcoming episodes are going to be wonderful!