Scandal Season 7, Episode 3 Recap: "Day 101"

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
The latest Scandal episode, titled "Day 101," whisks us up to Vermont -- alas, there is no train ride with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing to us about snow -- to check in on President Grant (Tony Goldwyn), who is struggling a little bit with adjusting to retirement.
I'll confess, I actually felt a little sad for him during the montage -- all by himself in his cabin, nobody but his Secret Service agent for company, unsuccessfully trying to cook roast and turkey, not sure how to use his debit card anymore. I imagine it's a huge adjustment to leave such a high-powered job, but one that at the same time leaves so helpless because almost all day-to-day tasks are taken care of for you.
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Frankly, it's hard to believe Fitz is not glued to his phone, hanging on the events of the day and wanting to jump back in and help. This is barely comparable, but when I left a full-time job to go back to freelancing, it was really hard to adjust to the lack of emails and Slack messages and overall need to just constantly be monitoring things, so I can only imagine what it's like for the freakin' president.
Luckily, Marcus Walker (Cornelius Smith Jr.) swoops in to save the day and knock some much-needed sense into the former president. See, Marcus thought he and Fitz were going to start the Grant Foundation and start changing the world. But Fitz is more interested in telling his Bubba Watson story to fatcat donors, so Fitz and Marcus finally have it out and it's very cathartic.
The fight is largely because Marcus wants more out of Fitz in general, but there are a few other things going here. First off, Marcus rightly points out that Fitz should dedicate more of his presidential library to highlighting Olivia Pope. She's not just a campaign manager, she's partly to mostly responsible for his entire legacy, but Fitz won't acknowledge that because he's still all butt-hurt that she stayed in Washington D.C.
Fitz then levels some accusations at Marcus that aren't entirely inaccurate -- Marcus is too cowardly to be a real activist, he just keeps hopping from powerful person to powerful person in an effort to become more powerful himself. Marcus’ shots were better, but Fitz’s weren’t totally off-base.
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There's also, of course, the underlying thing of how they were both romantically involved with Mellie (Bellamy Young), so that adds a little fuel to this particular fire.
The bottom line is that they need each other. Marcus needs Fitz's charisma and influence, and Fitz needs Marcus' ideas and ability to execute them. Mellie points out the first half of that to Marcus on the phone, but Fitz doesn't get a chance to have his come-to-Jesus moment about Marcus just yet, because Papa Pope (Joe Morton) is sitting in his study holding a gun. Ruh roh.
Papa Pope is there to tell Fitz about what Olivia's been up to, taking over Command of B-613. Fitz calls bullsh*t on that, but says if it is in fact true, Olivia is going to run it differently. It’s a kinder, gentler B-613, remember?
But Rowan says that when he was Command, he had checks and balances in place, which… hmmm. What evidence have we seen of that? That seems like a convenient thing to say to prove his point, but Rowan’s point is still valid -- Olivia basically has unlimited power at this point, because she's got control of the Oval Office and B-613 and she is scaring the crap out of her father.
"Who runs the world? One girl...The woman that we love is disappearing into the darkness and I just want help. I need you to help me pull her back before she is gone," begs Rowan.
That's an interesting spin to put on it, because from the other side, the show is making it look like Olivia (Kerry Washington) is livin' large and in charge. But Papa Pope is right -- Olivia got scary in the Season 6 finale and now she's ostensibly the leader of the free world. That’s not a great combination.
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When Marcus returns to the cabin, he and Fitz make up. But before they can get started on changing the world with their foundation, Fitz tells him they're going back to Washington for a while after Mellie's been in office for 100 days (to give her some time to get her feet under her without him casting a shadow).
Before they leave town, they go see the black man protesting the statue in the town square commemorating a Revolutionary War general who owned slaves, raped those slaves and imprisoned his own children from those slaves. Fitz encourages the man, Steve (Antjuan Tobias), to keep fighting and makes sure plenty of cameras are there to capture their interaction, drawing attention back to the cause, which ends up getting the monument toppled.
And that's when Fitz returns to Washington and catches Olivia making out with Curtis Pryce (Jay Hernandez).
Overall, I liked this episode more than I expected to, given how hot and cold (mostly cold) I am on Fitz. Sometimes it's nice to slow things down from the insanity of Olivia Pope's daily life, so this was a good break -- some nice character development, a little humor, a good old-fashioned brawl and now back to the Beltway.
Odds and Ends
Marcus' summary of Olivia is outstanding: "She was America's first ever First Girlfriend. She stood tall in front of the American people and assured them you'd be OK after you got shot. And now she's the Chief of Staff to the president who succeeded you. Olivia is Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Oprah and Sister Souljah all in one...I'll play you a Sister Souljah record sometime."
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Fitz's thing with the protestor was a nice gesture, though it definitely smacks of the whole "white savior swooping in to help the person of color" thing. On the other hand, that's exactly the kind of cause Fitz should be using his influence and celebrity status for, so…good for him, I guess.
Nice dig on the shippers with the "Olitz" comment: "That's crazy!"
Fitz: "I spent eight years in the most powerful office in the world, running the most powerful nation in the world, and you're basically telling me I've been reduced to a man who loved a woman."
Marcus: "Welcome to the plight of almost every successful woman in the history of mankind."
Fitz: "I'm not talking about dating your ex-wife!"
Marcus: "Isn't that what guys talk about at bars?"
Marcus: "Your record? Your accomplishments? Are Olivia's. A black woman held you up and now you're screaming to everyone about how well you fly. And what does she get for that? A stained reputation. You took the first woman who successfully managed a presidential campaign and turned her into just another homewrecking black 'ho. I guess you can call that an accomplishment, except people like you have been doing that to black women for centuries!"
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