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Scandal - Day 101 - Review: "The Three Stages of Fitzgerald"



This episode of Scandal is all about Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III and his first 100 days post-presidency. Much like “The Lawn Chair” (414) and “Dog-Whistle Politics” (504), “Day 101” is audacious in its highlighting of overt and covert racism, and in addressing sexism, privilege, and white male entitlement. It also features Marcus Walker who serves as a conduit through which these themes come to fore, much as he had in the aforementioned 414 and 504.

While two other main characters make an appearance along the way, neither of them is Olivia Pope. She does show up at the end in what is a replay of the conclusion of the previous episode, but she is otherwise physically absent. Spiritually, however, she is everywhere. She is the elephant in every room; the flame sucking up all of the oxygen; the sun that refuses to be eclipsed. She is the dark cloud that looms large over Fitzgerald as he tries to navigate his new life without her.

Much is packed into this one episode, but these Scandal writers (Zahir McGhee and Juan Carlos Fernandez) were able to balance story and message in a way that still moved things forward. The events that transpire in it happen in parallel to that which we have already seen happen in 701 and 702, and it provides insight as to why Fitzgerald is back in Washington.

A quick summary of where we left off: Mellie had succeeded in securing a tentative agreement from the Bashrani president to consider the nuclear treaty that the United States would like his country to sign. In the process of these talks, Mellie may have gotten herself a new admirer. An elated Olivia decides to celebrate Mellie’s win by finally taking Curtis home for a roll in the hay. Her plan, however, comes to a screeching halt when she finds Fitz standing by her door.

Stage 1: Adjusting to the New

It is the evening of Inauguration Day and Fitz is being led by motorcade to his home in Rutland, Vermont. There are enthusiastic crowds lining the streets to welcome him, and many people are holding up signs with various messages on them. The two prominently featured signs are the “#Olitz4Eva” and “Where’s Olivia?” ones, the latter of which features a giant set of lips!

TPTB officially made the OLITZ portmanteau part of Scandal canon and I am tickled pink!



When Fitz finally does make it home, he is welcomed by Secret Service Agent Luther before he walks into the house alone. He is next seen watching some talking heads on TV while he is lying in bed. He is the topic of discussion, and they put forth a few questions that will likely be answered by the end of the series. The first commentator wonders if Fitz will blossom out of office in the way of Jimmy Carter or if he will instead fade into obscurity like George W. Bush. The second wonders if it is possible for someone like him to thrive in small town America as just some regular Joe Schmoe. The third wants to know if kiss that was broadcast the world over was meant as a goodbye or as a sign of things to come.

I don’t know the answers to these things, but Shonda bet not (yes, I said bet not) play any games with that last one. I didn’t sit through six seasons of this roller coaster to be denied at its final stop! You will give me what I am owed, woman!!

But you know what? I’ma shut right the hell up before Shonda messes around and gives us the ship that shall not be named out of spite. Ain’t but five people here for that train wreck. NOAP!


Bright and early the next morning, Fitz is up to tackle his first day as a free man. He emerges into the living room area and is met by a line of people who he does not know. He queries as to who they all are and of the boxes that are sitting off to the side, and a young man who is standing apart from the rest provides these answers. He introduces himself as Tad and informs Fitz that he had been hired by Marcus to serve as Fitz’s aide. He goes on to explain that the boxes are of things from the White House that Marcus thought Fitz could go through in order to get a head start on the Grant Library selections. Tad then introduces the others: a housekeeper, groundskeeper, chef, and a secondary aide.

Fitz looks at all of these people as if they are aliens from outer space and then he approaches “Ted” to ask him of his previous employment before he was hired for this one. Tad corrects him on his name before answering that he used to serve as senior aide to a senator. With this information on hand, Fitz directs Tad to fire the four others and give them a year’s severance (gatdamn!). He then fires Tad with a promise to get him his old job back.

It would appear that Fitz is determined to try the regular guy life out in truth. No aides or housekeepers or chefs. He intends to handle things on his own, be his own man! He’ll grocery shop for himself, prep his own food, and even drive on an actual public road! (The Former Presidents Act prohibits former presidents from driving themselves anywhere. Ever.) Luther isn’t too happy about Fitz’s pronouncement about driving and he tries to explain that the act isn’t something that former presidents get to do, but Fitz is determined.

Fitz does get his way as we see him cruising down the road as Peaches and Herb’s “Shake Your Groove Thing” plays. When he glances in the rearview mirror to look at his SSA, Luther turns away in annoyance. (LOL!!)

Flash over to some grocery store that Fitz stops at, and there are photos of his and Olivia’s kiss plastered on the cover of literally every tabloid on the stands. (It’s a little insane.) Secret Service is keeping a watchful eye as photogs try to get snaps of Fitz checking out. The cashier asks him if he has one of those savings cards that grocery chains like to pass out like candy, and of course, Fitz doesn’t. The cashier uses her own card for the transaction and then passes Fitz an application so that he can apply for a card of his own. The whole exchange is obscenely normal, and yet it feels so incredibly weird.

When it’s time to pay for his $355.16 worth of grocery (WTF did he buy?!), Fitz pulls out his debit card and hands it to the cashier, but what he needed to do is use the swipe machine. When he does, his card is declined. Turns out that he hadn’t called the bank to activate it. Talk about being a fish out of water!

Fitz makes it home with his groceries and attempts to make dinner, but it doesn’t go well. The chicken burns and he has to settle for Gettysburger. He is then seen on subsequent days reading a newspaper, taking a jog, and attempting yet again to make himself dinner. He finally succeeds on the third try and he’s proud of himself.

As Fitz settles in front of the television with his food, there is a news broadcast on where a reporter is interviewing a young black man about why he has slept under a statue for 10 days now. The man explains that while General Raymond Cyst was a Revolutionary War hero, he was also a heinous slave owner. The young man wants to know why it is that this truth is not documented alongside Cyst’s monument. He believes it is “time for America to confront its violent, racist history” and he intends to keep sleeping under the statue until it is taken down.

Stand strong, brother!


Aside: This gentleman happens to be wearing a blue puffer coat, which may be a wink to activist DeRay McKesson and his ever-present blue puffer Patagonia vest.

Fitz doesn’t appear to give the report much thought as he turns the television off. He then sits for a moment, obviously bored, but with no clue as to what to do with his time. He eventually turns his attention to the boxes, and decides to get started on sorting through them.

The first container contains at least one magazine with him on the cover, but he tosses it aside and digs further into the container. He pauses upon coming across a brown box, recoiling from it as if it were an omen of some kind. He sits and stares at it for a long moment before he finally reaches down for it. There is another beat before he flips the lid open to reveal a gun and some bullets. The inside cover shows that it was gifted to “Governor Fitzgerald Grant III”.

Obviously rattled by the box, Fitz doesn’t hold it for long before snapping it shut and returning it to the container. He then abandons the sorting altogether to give Marcus a call. Marcus is on vacation and Fitz can only get his voicemail box, so he leaves him a message wanting to know when Marcus will be returning.

Meanwhile, in Cuba, Marcus is having himself a good ol’ time. He goes home with a hottie he met at a local club, and the following morning, we see the woman preparing for work. Marcus tries to cajole her into skipping work that day and her instead spending the time with him. He proposes that she can show him about Havana and then come chill poolside at his hotel.

The woman rejects his offer as she puts on her makeup, telling him that she cannot skip work. She then tells him that Black Cubans are not welcome at his hotel and she would rather avoid the hassle that would come with her showing up there. If she were to come there as a guest of his, it would be assumed that she is a jinetera (a prostitute). Tourists are only meant to see a sanitized version of Cuba and that meant that their good time could not be sullied by the presence of people who looked like her..

Marcus is taken aback by her words and he points out that he, too, is Black. The woman looks at him with pity then as she breaks it to him that he is a gringo. He may be black, but he’s an American. As such, he would be accorded privileges that his Latin or Hispanic counterparts would be denied.

Later while lounging by his hotel’s pool, Marcus looks about at those present and notices that all of the wait staff are non-Black Cubans and all of the guests are lighter complected. He is the only Black person present.

I can only imagine the kind of conflict that must have caused him.

Flash forward to Marcus has arriving in Vermont, and Fitz couldn’t be happier. The two go jogging, and Marcus suddenly stops to show Fitz the land where his presidential library will be built. Fitz loves the location, and he relays to Marcus that he wants his library to be more than just a museum. He hopes to have a wing dedicated to Brandon Parker (414) and the preservation of Civil Rights in the country. This, he says, will be their opportunity to change lives. Marcus definitely likes the sound of that.

Skip forward to Day 41 and many of the containers are now open. Marcus is going through various items while Fitz is watching a news report about Mellie working on passing the Vargas free education bill. Fitz proclaims the legislation an ambitious one and concludes that Mellie is going to need his help to get it passed. He thinks that maybe he should make a statement in favor of the bill. (Really, Fitzgerald? Really?)


Marcus reminds him that the new President is to be given 100 days to allow them to step out of the shadow of their predecessor, and that in this particular instance, the new president happens to be Fitz’s ex-wife. Besides, Marcus says, Fitz has plenty of other things to do, such as raising money for his library. There is to be a donor dinner scheduled to be hosted at the house the following month and this will be their opportunity to garner large donations.

As Marcus is speaking, he comes across the box that had caused Fitz much agitation. He opens it and questions Fitz about it, remarking that he didn’t know that Fitz was into guns. Fitz is quick to take the box away while stating that the gun had been a gift. When Marcus asks who the gift was from, Fitz wishes for a change in subject. Marcus grants him his wish and changes the subject to Olivia. (Ah, yes. A less discomforting topic!)

Fitz’s guard immediately goes up as he turns to Marcus for clarification. Marcus wants to know how much of Olivia will be featured in the Grant library. He points out that Olivia worked for his White House, served as his advisor, ran his campaigns, and even lived with him. Olivia, he says, was “America’s first-ever First Girlfriend” who is now serving as the Chief of Staff to his successor.

“Olivia is Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé, Oprah, and Sister Souljah all in one.” -- Marcus Walker

In other words, Olivia Carolyn Pope is an incomparable. One cannot walk the Earth as a blend of these four women and not be Mother God herself! And this isn’t even all of Olivia’s resume!

Marcus continues by saying that Olivia is important and that the world cares about her. He then shares that when he was driving up from the airport the previous week, he passed a house that had “Olitz” written out in Christmas lights. (LMAOOOO!!) Marcus says that Fitz has to decide which portions of his relationship with Olivia he would care to highlight and if Olivia is to get her own wing.

Her. Own. Wing. Let that marinate in your heads for a moment.

Fitz is confounded by this, and after a moment, he asks if Cyrus, too, is to get his own wing. Marcus replies by asking Fitz if he had been necking with Cyrus on the South Lawn in front of 40 million people. (LOL!! The answer, folks, is no.) Fitz is dismayed by the possibility that all that he had accomplished during his 8 years in office is going to boil down to his relationship with Olivia, and Marcus responds by welcoming him to the “plight of almost every successful woman in the history of mankind.” Ha!

Lo siento, guapito…

There isn’t anything Fitz can say to that, so he shifts gears and asks Marcus of the last time that he had gone to a bar. Fitz wants to get out of the house, so he suggests that they make their way to a bar.

Fitz and Marcus later arrive at a local tavern with Luther in tow, and they are the only people there. Fitz orders two beers as he takes a seat at the bar. Marcus proceeds to peel off his coat while his eyes are focused on the television.  It is set on a broadcast of the latest happenings with the student protester Steve. Marcus asks if Fitz has been following the situation, mentioning that the crowd present with Steve grew after Kendrick Lamar retweeted him. (I doubt that Fitzgerald has any idea who Kendrick is.)

Marcus goes on to say that he has seen only one Black person in all of Vermont and that that one person is the guy on TV. (Vermont is white as hell at 94.6% in contrast to 1.3% Black.) Fitz is surprised that Marcus is even counting, and Marcus explains that all Black folks count as a precaution in the event that “people start getting frisky with hoods and tiki torches”. (A sad, but true fact.)

When their beers finally arrive, Fitz takes a sip and is impressed by how good it tastes. Marcus, meanwhile, has his eyes on the television again. He is wistful as he remarks about how he used to be Steve five years ago, a hellraiser who shone a light on society’s injustices. Steve is willing to freeze to death in order to get the attention of the mayor and the governor. Fitz remarks that it sounds as if Marcus misses his activist days, and Marcus concedes that he does, though he expresses some conflict. He wonders if he changed more lives marching the streets as a community activist or as a member of the White House. He isn’t sure of the answer.

Sensing Marcus’s distress, Fitz assures the younger man that they are going to do great things together and bring about positive change once they hit the ground running. He tells Marcus that he needs him and that they are a team. Marcus acknowledges his words and they clink their glasses together before taking a sip. (We’ve heard different iterations of “we’re a team” this from Fitz over the years, haven’t we? The man sells hope in a bottle at a premium.)

After a moment, Fitz changes the subject by asking Marcus if he has spoken to “her” since leaving DC. Marcus assumes that he is talking about Olivia, but Fitz is actually asking about Mellie. He shares that he hasn’t spoken at all to Olivia, and Marcus in turn shares that he hasn’t spoken to Mellie. When Fitz inquires about what happened between she and Marcus, the younger man vacates his seat and says that there is no way that he is talking to Fitz about dating his ex-wife. Perplexed, Fitz seeks to establish that this is something that guys talk about all the time at bars, but Marcus is quick to tell him that it isn’t. Fitz looks to the bartender and she tells him nope. He then looks at Luther and the agent just shakes his head in response. (Hahahaha!)


Marcus does eventually share that he believes Mellie to be an amazing person who will be a great President, and that he knows that the presidency is her primary focus. He says that he respects this and also understands that she doesn’t need any distractions. Marcus is saying all of the right things, but his body language is that of a man who is experiencing some serious heartache.

Fitz commiserates with him by sharing that he and Olivia have repeatedly tried to be together, but here he is in Vermont without her. He says that “at some point, you have to let go.” When Marcus asks if Fitz has indeed let go, Fitz is a bit defensive when he asks if Marcus believes that he hasn’t. Marcus replies that he was actually asking if Fitz has, and Fitz merely repeats what he said before: Olivia isn’t there. (This isn’t exactly a “yes”, Fitzgerald.)

It is at this moment that Fitz circles back to their earlier discussion regarding how Olivia is to be featured in his library. He states that Olivia served as his Communications Director and as campaign manager for his second run, and that this is how she is to be featured. She will be treated exactly like Cyrus. He then adds that Olivia didn’t define his presidency. Marcus clearly holds an opposing opinion, but he concedes the decision to Fitz who in turn tells Marcus that his classification is the truth.


There’s the truth and then there’s the truth. Y’all know that Olivia’s getting that wing in his library, right? He may think that he’s about to relegate Olivia to being no more than a footnote to his presidency, but that’s now how this works. That’s not how this is ever going to work. He’s just mad because Vermont hasn’t turned out as he expected and his bruised ego is outchea trying to flex. Siddown!

Stage 2: Disillusionment

Skipping ahead to Day 74, Fitz is getting ready for the donor dinner that he’s hosting and Marcus is talking him through potential deep pocketed targets. Fitz acknowledges the information, and then he can’t find his cuff links. With some exasperation, Marcus retrieves the cuff links and presents them to Fitz. He informs his boss that he can hire him a valet, and Fitz insists that he likes doing stuff for himself.

As Fitz is putting on the cufflinks, Marcus sets down the box and turns towards the muted television. Again, there is a news report on the statue protest and the headline is that the worsening weather has led to a decrease in the protest crowd. Marcus muses aloud that Steve is losing his audience. When Fitz doesn’t immediately recall who he is speaking about, Marcus reminds him that Steve is the kid protesting to have the General Cyst statue taken down. He then turns to Fitz to say that they could easily put pressure on the mayor with a meeting.

Fitz, however, isn’t too keen on getting involved. He says that while he empathizes with Steve, he feels that the last thing that they ought to be doing in their new town is inserting themselves into local politics, especially on an issue that is “this complicated and divisive”.

Did this man even hear himself? He empathizes, but he doesn’t want to get involved in something this “complicated” and “divisive”? Really!? He who incurred the wrath of members of his own party when he pushed for the Brandon Bill as President?!

You know what, Fitzgerald...


I swear, this man can be dense.

Later that evening, Fitz is seen entertaining donors at his dining table. He’s regaling them with some boring ass story involving some guy named Bubba Watson, himself, and some Prime Minister. I’ll spare you the details because it’s the driest ish ever. Marcus is standing off to the side and out of the way, but he’s close enough to hear the conversation.

Upon the conclusion of dinner, Fitz is sitting with the deep pocketed Jim Whale and Marcus. The three are sitting around smoking cigars when Whale remarks on its fine quality. Fitz informs him that the cigars are courtesy of Marcus who brought them back from Cuba, and the donor turns to Marcus to say, “Muchos gracias, Chico.” (Eek!)

That remark wiped the smile right off of Marcus’s face and his eyes shift to look over at Fitz, who had also caught the offense. Fitz, however, does not address the slight. He instead chooses to drive ahead with trying to get Whale to contribute to his library. Much convincing isn’t needed because Whale readily agrees to being a contributor.

As Fitz and Marcus exchange a look, the donor remarks about how the whiskey has dried up, so that is his cue to leave. Fitz says to him that he couldn’t possibly let Whale leave before he signs over a check, which prompts Whale to say with a laugh that more whiskey will be needed. He then remarks that Fitz probably shouldn’t have dismissed the help.

In a remarkable feat of horrible timing, Fitz directs Marcus to get them another bottle of whiskey. Marcus tells Fitz that he can get the bottle himself since he’s all about independence these days.


Of all the times that Marcus had to openly question a directive, he chooses this particular moment in the presence of a donor?? Brother couldn’t wait to chew Fitz out after?!

Later, Fitz comes into Marcus’s room to find the man throwing things into a bag. Fitz wants to know what the moment in front of Whale had been about, He says to Marcus that he can’t leave because he hasn’t fired him yet, and Marcus says that Fitz can’t fire him because he quits!

Genuinely confused, Fitz wants to know what Marcus’s problem is, and Marcus says that his problem is that he’s stuck in a cold town with a “lonely, sad ass man who can’t do anything for himself”. Fitz doesn’t understand how this connects to him asking Marcus to get a bottle of scotch, and he wonders if he hadn’t said please when he made his request. Marcus tells him that he hadn’t (you didn’t, Fitzgerald), and Fitz says that next time he will do that.

Marcus says that this isn’t the point, and when Fitz asks him what the point is, Marcus tells him to forget it. As he continues to toss clothes into his bag, Fitz asks him why it is that he is so angry. Marcus thinks he is referring to the present moment, but Fitz clarifies that he means always. Marcus is always pissed off about something. He then informs Marcus that not everyone is out to get him.

Fitz continues by offering an apology for being inconsiderate, but the fact of the matter is that Marcus works for him and he is expected to behave professionally. He adds that should Marcus have a problem, he is to speak with him privately.

These demands are all reasonable expectations from an employer, but Marcus hears something else entirely. Fitz’s use of the word “behave” is like a spark on a trail of gasoline and it sets Marcus off. Fitz sighs his aggravation as he guesses that he had just said the wrong thing. He tells Marcus that his behavior in that moment is proving exactly his point, and Marcus suspects that Fitz is thinking him to be an angry black man. Fitz counters by saying that what he thinks is that Marcus is a bitter person.

To this, Marcus says that Fitz knows nothing about him other than the things that he does for him that makes his life easier. He goes on to recall what Fitz said about them being a team and him needing him, and he says that he had no idea that entailed him serving as a glorified valet. He tells Fitz that they aren’t in Buckingham Palace and that Fitz isn’t wearing a crown.

It is now Fitz’s turn to say to Marcus that he doesn’t know anything about him, and Marcus describes Fitz as “an insane narcissist” who doesn’t realize that he’s entitled. When Fitz replies that he has given all for the country and that he doesn’t have to defend his record to him, Marcus scoffs. He states that the records and accomplishments that Fitz touts as his are actually all Olivia’s.

Listen to Marcus tell it, a black woman held Fitz up, yet it is Fitz who is out here taking the credit for her work. He says that all Olivia got in return is a stained reputation. He accuses Fitz of having taken the first woman who successfully ran a presidential campaign and “turned her into just another homewrecking black ho”. He supposes that this in itself can be considered an accomplishment since men like Fitz have been doing these things to black women forever..

Lord Jesus, be a pain reliever.


I swear Brother Hotep Le’Militant never fails to view the entire world through a hostile racial spectrum. Unless you’re a white woman or a suffering black person, Marcus will find some way to have a problem with you. Remember how he deemed Olivia to not be “down” because she lives in a fancier part of DC (414)? He didn’t know a damn thing about her then, but he sure had a lot of opinions about who she was. Now here he is equating Fitz with a slaveowner. How, Sway?

How did Fitz manage to turn Olivia into a “homewrecking black ho” when it was Fitz who was married? Would the homewrecker not then be Fitzgerald? Married penis can tarnish a woman’s reputation, but not the reputation of the man to whom the married penis belongs? Why does this make sense to anybody? Other than her becoming the first First Girlfriend, Fitz didn’t turn Olivia into anything. Misogyny did.

And for the record, FITZ IS NOT THOMAS JEFFERSON!

Anywho...

Marcus has had his say and now it was Fitz’s turn. He starts off by remarking on how he knows who he is, and that he isn’t someone who is constantly trying to maintain an image of himself that hasn’t been real in a long time. He points out that no one made Marcus give up his activism to run for mayor nor make him jump from OPA to the White House. Those decisions were all made by Marcus himself. Fitz calls him a phony and then says that if there is anyone in the room that Olivia made into someone, that someone would be Marcus.

LMAO!! Fitzgerald, please stop because really, Olivia made y’all both.


Fitz asks Marcus if he started a revolution while he was in Cuba on behalf of the thousands of people living in poverty there or if he instead drank cheap rum and lay by the pool at his fancy hotel? (Welp!) Fitz tells him that if he wants to be an activist, he can be one, but the truth is that Marcus doesn’t want that anymore. What Marcus wants is to play with the big boys, to have the power that Fitz has. He observes that Marcus has latched on to whomever he can in order to gain that power, including Olivia, Mellie and now him. (Eek!)

Much of what these two men said to each other is either grounded in truth or close enough to it to make it hurt, and because they have nothing additional to add to what they’ve already said, they resort to trading insults. Marcus calls Fitz a joke and Fitz calls Marcus a coward! Marcus tells Fitz that where he comes from, them’s fighting words, and Fitz calls him a coward again!


Marcus steps to Fitz then and dares him to call him a coward one more time. Fitz asks if he’s going to hit him and Marcus says no because Fitz wouldn’t dare repeat himself. When Fitz doesn’t immediately say anything else, Marcus is all like, “That’s what I thought!” And he returns to his packing up his stuff just as as Fitz orders him to get out….and calls him a coward AGAIN!

Next thing you know, Marcus is charging Fitz, but Fitz is quick with the right jab! POP! Marcus is stunned that he got hit, but he’s quick to get in a punch of his own, and now the former president and his press secretary are body slamming each other in this big ass house in Vermont over some stupid shit.

Men.


Soon Luther comes running in and he yanks Marcus off of Fitz. Once Fitz is on his feet, he orders his agent to release Marcus who apologizes to Luther for the “inconvenience” before he grabs his baggage and departs from the house.

Stage 3: Acknowledgement and Finding Purpose

Flashing over to Washington, Mellie is reading over something in the Oval. She appears to be rehearsing some speech when her desk phone rings. Upon answering the call, she is informed of who it is and she becomes somewhat flustered. As she adjusts her clothes and fixes her hair, she instructs her secretary to patch the call through. (Mellie, he can’t see you through the phone! Ha!)

The caller is Marcus. The conversation starts off simple enough with awkward pleasantries, but it is apparent that Marcus didn’t call just to say hello. He tells Mellie that he’s quitting  because Fitz has no respect for him and that he is also lazy. Mellie chuckles at this and tells him that he is in “stage two of a relationship with Fitzgerald Grant”.

She explains that stage one was when Fitz showed that he is “passionate, capable, inspired”, and he makes you feel like you could conquer the world with him. It is at this stage that everyone falls in love with Fitz. Stage two is when you come to realize that Fitz is exactly the person that he was raised to be: entitled, selfish and unmotivated. It is at this stage that you start to wonder why you are even with him. (Or as I like to think of it, the stage at which I want to kick him in the throat.)

Mellie says that stage two is long and painful, but that it is survivable. On the other end of this is stage three. It is here that you realize that Fitz has something that almost nobody else does. She refers to it as a type of magic that the world tends to responds to. She says that it isn’t something that one can learn no matter how much you try. Seeing it in action makes you understand why it is that you are still there with him.

She acknowledges that Fitz is challenging and complicated, but she says that Fitz is a “golden ticket to change the world”, a good man with an incredible gift that he didn’t ask for. She urges Marcus not to quit and asks him to consider the fact that Fitz has lived his entire life in the eye of a hurricane, but now has to navigate a life where the weather has changed on him.

Look at Melody with the valuable insight. This is probably the nicest thing that she has said about Fitz ever. Isn’t it interesting how perspective can change when one’s position shifts? Who better to vouch for your character than a no longer bitter ex-wife?

Having received that feedback from Mellie, Marcus pauses for a beat before he tells her that he’s proud of her. She thanks him for that and then Marcus attempts to end the call, but neither of them hang up. Instead, Marlie has a “one minute” moment where they just listen to each other breathe, secure in the knowing that the other is there.

Give Marlie their free, Shonda!!


The call does eventually end and Marcus is left with a decision to make.

Back over at the house, Fitz is checking out the shiner that Marcus gave him in the mirror of a downstairs bathroom. He eventually makes his way upstairs, and as he walks into his bedroom, he comes to a dead stop upon seeing Rowan there! He’s sitting on the floor with Fitz’s gifted gun in his hand. He instructs Fitz to close the door, and when Fitz does, he tells him to casually walk over and close the curtains to the window. Fitz wants him to hand over the gun first, and Rowan replies that if he wanted to kill another president, he would have done it 30 seconds ago. (Not exactly reassuring.)

When Rowan does hand over the gun, Fitz proceeds to do as instructed and draw the curtains closed. He turns back to Rowan to ask him what is going on. Rowan asks if Fitz has noticed or heard anything strange in the house since he arrived there, such as any unexplained mechanical sounds, lights or sensors. Fitz tells him that he hasn’t, but Rowan is searching about for these things anyway.

Rowan goes on to ask if there have been any echos on phone calls, interference with his cable, a new Secret Service agent, and Fitz again tells him no. Rowan has more questions about whether someone brought him an appliance that he didn’t ask for or the delivery of a new TV, and Fitz dismissively replies that Rowan’s questions are crazy. (LOL!)

Rowan demands to have an answer, and Fitz again replies in the negative. He then asks to know what Rowan’s problem is and the older man answers that Olivia is the problem. She is the problem of every person who cares about the Republic. Rowan spills the beans on Olivia being Command, but Fitz doesn’t believe him. When Rowan points out that Olivia is of him, Fitz counters by saying that while this may be so, Olivia is not Rowan. He then says that if Olivia is in fact running B613, she is going to run the organization differently. (Ever the optimist, this Fitzgerald.)

Rowan scoffs at this notion as he says that things are indeed different now. Unlike Olivia, he himself had checks and balances as Command. He says he had limitations.

Pause. Checks and who now? Limitations? Where?


Rowan continues by sharing that Olivia is running the White House while also serving as Command. He refers to her as the “dictator for a country that does not know that it no longer exists”. The American way is now obsolete with Olivia’s way being the only thing that matters now. As Rowan’s manic ramblings continue, he reveals that Olivia killed Luna Vargas, and Fitz barely reacts. (Odd, that.) Rowan concludes by saying, “Who runs the world? One girl.”

Ah, Shonda and her Beyoncé references.


Rowan tells Fitz that he needs to take care of the situation with Olivia, and Fitz informs him that he has done his time, that Washington and Olivia are now in his rearview mirror. (Aww, look at Fitzy with his delusions.) He further states that if what Rowan is saying is true about Olivia and B613, that Rowan ought to handle the matter himself. Rowan says that he isn’t able to handle anything because he is no longer in charge and has no power.

Right then, Rowan looks at his watch and says that he has to go because Olivia will notice if he isn’t back before dawn. He heads for the door, but before he departs, he turns back to say to Fitz that he thought he was raising a champion. He muses that maybe he had disciplined her too hard or maybe it is that he taught her too well, but his child is slipping away. He says that the woman that they love is being lost to darkness, and he just wants help to pull her back before she is gone for good.

There are tears in his eyes and real desperation in his voice as he speaks. He seems genuine, but it’s hard to trust Rowan. He’s a master manipulator who knows just the right buttons to push in order to get a person to do as he wants them to. Is he truly afraid that Olivia is slipping into darkness or is this some ploy by him to somehow regain the control that he once had over her?

Rowan has subjected Olivia to varied forms of abuse from the very moment he showed up on the scene, much of which involved him using her love for Fitz as a weapon with which to keep her in check, and now here he is asking Fitz for help?? And he’s using Fitz’s love for Olivia to gain his cooperation. Maybe I’m being super cynical and it’ll turn out that I’ve got this all wrong, but until he proves otherwise, I’ve got a narrowed eye on Eli “Rowan” Pope. Yes, I do.

Now it is Fitz who has a decision to make.

Later, Fitz is seen in sitting in a rocking chair out in front of the house. He still has the gun in hand when Marcus pulls up. Marcus comes out of the car and then pauses upon seeing the gun and he asks what it is that Fitz is doing. It is now that Fitz finally reveals that it is his father who gifted him the gun some weeks after he had been elected Governor. He shares that Cyrus had once told him that one day when all the attention is gone and he is no longer President, Fitz would use that very gun to kill himself. (That’s a rather morbid thing for anyone to say to another…)

Upon hearing this, Marcus seeks to confirm that this isn’t what Fitz is planning to do with the gun. When Fitz assures him that it isn’t, Marcus finally lets out a breath. After a beat, Fitz says that Marcus “throws a mean punch” and Marcus expresses a similar sentiment by saying that he can barely move his jaw. (Ha!) Marcus then moves forward to claim the seat next to Fitz and the two men lapse into a brief companionable silence. Marcus is the first to speak by remarking that he had said “some things” earlier, and Fitz states that he, too, had said some things. Marcus then points out that they don’t know each other very well, and he suggests that the two of them work on rectifying that. Fitz solemnly agrees. It’s not exactly an apology, but it’s close enough.

Another moment passes before Fitz asks Marcus if “Olivia Pope is everyone’s world or just [his]”.


Marcus looks over at him, but he doesn’t provide him with an answer. Though it is a rhetorical question, Marcus appears contemplative as if he may be giving the query actual consideration. Fitz goes on to say that upon the conclusion of the first hundred days, he will be returning to Washington for a while, but before they leave, he would like to do something meaningful.

As the next scene breaks, Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Help Us All” begins to play. We see the student activist still at the base of the statue of General Raymond Cyst a.k.a. Ray Cyst (y’all better had caught that!). The crowds have since disappeared and he is once more the lone person protesting the monument. He notices SUV’s pulling up, and out of one of them pops Fitzgerald! It is Day 101.

Surprised by his visitor, Steve stands from his seat as Fitz, Marcus, Secret Service, and some camera men approach. Fitz introduces himself and Steve accepts his offered hand. Steve then tells Fitz that he should probably leave because he doesn’t want the cameras to capture him (Steve) walking away. Steve believes that he has lost the battle and that no one cares about his cause anymore, so he is heading home. Fitz encourages Steve to continue on, telling him that the only way that he can lose is by quitting. He tells Steve that he is doing the right thing, but Steve is ready to give up. The cold has been brutal. Fitz gives him a hug then and assures him that he can do it. Once they pull out of the embrace, Fitz gifts Steve with a new pair of gloves and thanks the young man for his service.

As Fitz turns to leave, Steve stops him to ask for a selfie, which Fitz agrees to. The photograph ends up getting millions of likes on the Gram and catapults the protest back into the spotlight. After over 100 days of protest, Steve is finally getting the sit down that he had been denied with the local mayor. We next see a noose (if you will) being dropped over Ray Cyst’s head and the statue is torn down to much fanfare.

Meanwhile, Fitz has made his way back to Washington. We see him emerge from the elevator in Olivia’s building and knock on her door. There isn’t an answer, but he isn’t there long before Olivia makes her way out of the elevator with her tongue down Curtis’s throat. Fitz waits for them to realize that they aren’t alone, and when Olivia turns around...


Hahaha! Olivia is fitna cop an attitude once she recovers her senses. But it’s all good because Fitzgerald is apparently over her. Or something.

So is this emergency to pull Olivia out of darkness a real one or is Rowan paranoid? Does he have a legitimate concern? Is he angling for something? Now that Fitz and Marcus have managed not to beat each other to a pulp, one can hope that they can avoid having this sort of confrontation in the future. But what of Mellie and Marcus? Is there a future there? Hmm.

Share your thoughts on the episode in the comment section below or tweet me all of your commentary!

This is the end of this recap/review of Scandal episode 703. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you all next week!





 
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