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Scandal – Why the scissors? Why? Why?

This episode was already sufficiently steamy, soapy and properly cynical about politics. There was no need for those over-the-top scissors.

- Season 1, Episode 6 - "The Trail"

The flashbacks to the then-Gov. Fitz Grant’s presidential campaign, and how Olivia Pope swooped in to save the day with her no-nonsense advice, explained a great deal about the characters and why they interact the way they do.

Fitz had (and likely still has) a dead marriage to Mellie, who picked up a boy toy on the side during her husband’s campaign. Mellie — who felt that her husband winning the presidency, enabling her to serve as First Lady, was what she rightly deserved for all her years of sacrifice — was willing to do whatever it took to succeed, including lying about a miscarriage to elicit voter and media sympathy.

After word of Mellie’s affair got out (though Olivia stomped on the story) and after she made up the story about a pregnancy loss, Fitz figured he stood atop the moral high ground in their marriage and could sleep with Olivia, with whom he instantly shared an intense chemistry.

But then things in this episode got unnecessarily murky. Conspiracy theory murky. Not a good thing. They already had the kidnapping and unsolved murder of Amanda Tanner, who had slept with the president but was pregnant with someone else’s baby. That was more than enough of a mystery to maintain tense drama, that and the behind-the-scenes scandal mongering and the still-burning heat between Olivia and Fitz. (The hug they shared on Olivia’s couch seemed more meaningful and intimate than their interlude in the hotel room that was surriptiously recorded by a political rival’s presidential campaign.)

I would have even been fine with the fact that Billy Chambers, the campaign manager of Fitz’s chief Republican opponent Sally Langston, recorded Fitz and Olivia having sex and sent the two-year-old recording to Cyrus Beene because Chambers was still ticked that Langston was easily bought off with a vice presidency slot.

Here’s where things get messy. Chambers apparently had an affair with Amanda Tanner, who later became a White House aide. Chamber then “sent” Amanda to try to seduce and sleep with Fitz, all in an attempt to get something on the president and cajole him into resigning, thus allowing Chambers’ preferred candidate, Langston, to assume the presidency. That’s a lot of moving parts for this blackmail scheme to work, never mind the little tidbit about Amanda’s baby likely being Chambers’. And that’s without the complications brought on by the scissors.

Those damned scissors.

Of course the reporter who started to unravel this story (in record time yo!) had to get jabbed in the neck with a pair of scissors. It may very well be something politicians fantasize about doing to reporters who are trying to uncover and shine a spotlight on their misdeeds. But they usually just entertain a fleeting thought about it. High ranking members of presidential administrations don’t usually kill people. Bribe, yes. Intimidate, yes. Sully reputations, yes. Strong-arm, yes. Stab in the neck with a sharp object, no.

This is where Scandal pulled out the “camp” card and slapped it on the table, edging itself toward Revenge territory. Not that Scandal was a reality-based political show to begin with. It has always been a fun, soapy look at dirty laundry and libidos in the nation’s capital. But I was disappointed that they descended to this … to those scissors.

Photo Credit: Carol Kaelson/ABC

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