Scandal - Episode 4.02 - The State of the Union - Synopsis
Cyrus hopes to recruit an influential power couple (Mary McCormack and Josh Randall) during preparations for the State of the Union; Mellie’s struggle gets the nation’s attention.
Given this essential detail is out, I will explain the couple deal (I’ve read more than what was in casting sides, further reason why I shut up. None of the media reported, so at this point given the synopsis is out and it specifies one essential detail, it’s safe to speak.)
So, Mary McCormack and Josh Randall play an army veteran and his wife, who is seemingly also a war hero, who are to deal with Fitz (see above) and whose marriage is an all too familiar mirror of Fitz and Mellie’s “let’s fake it” situation. When they are invited to go to Washington, the husband absolutely doesn’t want to go and fake in front of millions of people, and the wife of course wants to go. Enter Olivia who is to fix this situation and make them go (because they are national heroes at this point.)
The title of the episode seems all too obviously about what the (very bad) state of Fitz and Mellie’s union is, too. In fact, because Mellie’s struggle gets the nation’s attention, the situation for Fitz is exactly the same for Josh Randall’s character, who is forced to stay in a loveless marriage because his wife is in a wheelchair after becoming a hero that saved children during a shooting… which made them a public “legend” and “dream”, so they must fake and carry on. The husband can’t stand the situation anymore, and the wife is well aware of it and explains it to Olivia and Quinn. She explains how the marriage was over a LONG time ago, well before the shooting, and that they were to divorce, but then she ended up in a wheelchair, and they became heroes as a couple, and started faking it. Mary McCormack’s character is embarrassed by what Olivia/Quinn thinks, seeing them fight in front of them (the husband explains how he is a nurse and not a husband anymore, how he’s never gonna have sex for the rest of his life, and how no one gives a rat’s ass about what HE wants… sound familiar?) and explaining how they didn’t always fake it blatantly in public, a very long time ago they were in love, but it ended quickly and it’s been pretty much faking it since.
I think this not only clearly shows Fitz, when dealing with them, how he can’t go on like this, but more importantly, because it happens directly in front of Olivia — especially the part about the husband saying no one cares what he wants, and it is OLIVIA who asks him what he wants — it is supposed to give Olivia a shocking wake-up call on the reality of Fitz’s own unhappiness and what SHE has put him through by abandoning him repeatedly and giving him no other choice than to keep faking it with Mellie. Naturally, that won’t be having immediate consequences, because things are dragged to the extreme on this show, but it’s very clear what the intent is.
In the end they do go to Washington and stay in separate hotel rooms, with Quinn and Huck staying with wife and husband respectively, and hearing the tales of unhappiness from both. Wife tells Quinn how she must think they’re the worst people in the world, and tells her the whole reality of the marriage having been over for a very long time, and husband gets drunk with Huck and even starts singing an army song with him (given Huck is a military man too). Wife may have had a scene by herself with Fitz and Olivia, the one Tony tweeted a photo for, when they were on chairs clearly in a White House set, where you could see Kerry was there and additionally there was a blonde head that was possibly Mary McCormack.
Other things that happen in the episode, that I had already mentioned: it seems like Cyrus is approached by a hooker. Male hooker. Escort, call him however you want. LOL. At a hotel bar. And when they’re in the room and getting naked, it DAWNS on Cyrus that this is a sex worker. Cyrus wants to go, dude tries to convince him to stay. Now. My problem with this scenario is that if they make Cyrus this dumb, a member of the administration hooking up with people at a bar, then we’ve reached a new level of stupid on this show. SO, it could also be that Josh Randall’s character is, in fact, gay. Keep the two options open. For a couple of details, I think it’s Cyrus, but it seems SO exaggerate to me that I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and keep the husband as alternative. (LOL I’m ready to take all my benefit of the doubt back as soon as this airs).
Further note: seen where things are headed in ep. 5, with Mellie looking at the watch after she’s been waiting for seemingly a long time and asking an SS Agent “where is my husband?” and the script specifying how she’s not buying excuses and knows better, and goes past the SS, I would think it’s safe to assume that things are of course business as usual in terms of being in love and spending time together, between Fitz and Olivia.