Scandal Review: “Heavy Is the Head”

(Episode 5.01)

TV Reviews Scandal
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<i>Scandal</i> Review: &#8220;Heavy Is the Head&#8221;

It was bound to happen. Throughout the entire span of Scandal, we have bemoaned the unrealistic fairy tale the show craves to relay when it comes to Olivia Pope’s romance department, but the four-month break almost made me forget that this is, basically, a soap opera. Olivia and her men are either wishing to dance in the sun or for a home in Vermont where they can be jam-makers; but Shonda Rhimes’ comparison of Fitz and Olivia to a few royal romances halts the promise of a happy ending hinted at in last season’s finale.

“Heavy is the Head” opens with Sally Langston, the ex-Vice President and narrator of your nightmares, slamming President Fitz for having a fancy dinner with the Queen of Caledonia, Isabel, all to forge a deal for a naval base. In the same opener, Olivia and Fitz are giddily enjoying their reconnection, while Shonda Rhimes has her own fun highlighting the couple through Sally (despite the fact that the speech is meant for Princess Emily and Prince Richard): “And even if it is true, even if it is the single greatest true love story of all time, are we supposed to care? Am I supposed to swoon?” This quote might as well be a nod to the fans who are tired of the push and pull of Olitz.

So which royal personalities did Scandal use as a symbol for the episode’s case? Princess Diana, with a dash of her daughter-in-law, Kate (Duchess of Cornwall) and human-rights lawyer, Amal Alamuddin.

It was very uncomfortable for me to watch as the dead princess lay contorted on the ground after a car accident, especially when Abby and Olivia met Princess Emily in a bathroom. Abby spoke about Caledonia’s princess the way most of us discuss celebrities; with awe about the luck heaped upon them, even though Abby has first-hand knowledge of what goes on behind the closed doors of the elites. Embarrassing Abby is a plot-device I’m ready to see thrown overboard, but this leads to an insightful conversation between Olivia and the human-rights lawyer from Iowa, Emily—despite love (or because of it), your individuality could be swept aside for the good of a career, or in Prince Richard’s case, for the good of his country. It’s important for Olivia to really open her eyes about the realities of being Fitz’s romantic partner in public, something she’s always been afraid of, in some way.

Emily doesn’t necessarily complain about the press she receives as she mourns her humanity in everyone’s eyes, but unfortunately, this foreshadows the next few minutes. The moment Olivia takes off her white coat (another metaphor for OPA’s white hat) to cover Emily’s dead body in front of photographers, the point is hammered home.

Fitz is stuck in a dream world and it’s this flimsy characterization I have a problem with. I would very much like to congratulate Olivia and Fitz on the great sex they’re having, however, I would be even more thrilled if the President could hop off his moral high horse for a few minutes. Maybe it’s just me, but I would love for Mellie to get a damn break from Fitz’s condemnation. It wasn’t her fault the twelve jurors were killed; it was Command’s. I would also love it if Fitz thought out a plan—or discussed it with Olivia—before he threw those divorce papers in Mellie’s face on the same day she was sworn into office. It’s only due to Olivia’s common sense that he arrives at Mellie’s ceremony in the first place.

Ms. Pope makes it clear that Olitz has more things to work on, such as more time to adapt, especially when they can’t help but argue when they’re on different sides of work-related dilemmas. There was one yelling match, but they later discussed this in person like adults, and without secret service closing off a room. This is what we call progress, at least.

Not every relationship had such a happy ending though. While Prince Richard loved his wife dearly, Emily was having an affair with her bodyguard. And she was pregnant. Mother Dearest, or Queen Isabel, found out the truth before the son and cruelly handled Emily before an unfit heir could take the throne. Olivia does get sweet revenge on the Evil Queen—she tells Richard the truth about his wife, so he blackmails his mother into retirement. In that final scene withe the royal family and the casket, the Ice Queen finally lost her cool.

The episode ends with a high-stress moment (photos of Olitz leak on Sally’s show—yay), but I’m very underwhelmed by this plot device. Not only is it recycled from a previous season, where Fitz announced an affair during his presidency and Olivia was connected (but not proven to be the other woman), but it would have been nice to have a few more episodes of “normalcy” as the two struggle to be a real item. Or, we might have had some other cases take more precedence. One thing’s for certain, we know the mystery about who leaked this footage is going to be a puzzle to solve, but alas, my feelings are meh. And the parallel to Monica Lewinsky, despite Liv’s career, will still happen.

Best Quotes:

“Tonight I come to you filled with the righteous indignation of a true American. Tonight my flag waves and my patriotic fires burn.” (Sally Langston)

“I am justice.” (Queen Isabel)

“First, let’s be clear, you did not do anything for me, you did that for you. You only ever do anything for your own benefit. Second, you didn’t take me in. I was your prisoner, I was your puppet, I was your bitch.” (Liz North)

Stray Observations:

When Sally annihilated the President while leaking the Olitz photos, I honestly had Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday” rendition to JFK playing in my head. SICK!

Huck, is once again, down and needs to be fixed by Olivia. But she finally admits that she can’t fix him—at all.

We do get brief glimpses of Jake and Cyrus! It’s always unusual to watch Cyrus take a backseat.

David should hang around the OPA offices more often. It’s awfully lonely with Quinn being the only one showing up to work. Sighs.

Iris A. Barreto is a writer for Fangirlish, freelance writer for Paste and social media intern for Pink is the New Blog. Heavily caffeinated. Forever lost in Westchester, NY & NYC; all GPS apps hate her. You can follow on Twitter.