Scandal is a show that’s often defined by the phrase “the bigger the better.” There’s no kiss too passionate, no screaming match too loud or too tearful, no monologue too over-the-top, and no performance too melodramatic.
So imagine my surprise when Tony Goldwyn decided to show something in this episode that Scandal seems almost pathologically afraid to show: restraint. His work in “The Price of Free and Fair Election” was grounded, haunting, and disarmingly subtle.
Fitz’s world was falling apart around him in this episode, and instead of using that as an excuse to reach for the melodrama, Goldwyn turned in a realistic portrait of a completely broken man that made me feel shreds of sympathy for Fitz that I thought I’d destroyed long ago.
Goldwyn didn’t have a show-stopping monologue to deliver, but he didn’t need one. So much of his performance in this episode was silent, but that made it even more affecting.
Today, I’m not really thinking about anything Rowan said or any pieces of dialogue delivered by Olivia or Cyrus or Jake. I’m thinking about the utterly heartbroken look on Fitz’s face as Mellie told him she fought his father as he raped her.
I’m thinking about the quietly desperate way he looked for Mellie in the White House after Jerry’s death because no one else would understand what he was feeling. And I’m thinking about the devastation that came seeping out of him as his hands began to shake while pouring himself a drink in the Oval Office before his entire body crumbled under the weight of what the presidency cost him and those he cared about.
Goldwyn made that final scene so visceral, so physical in its depiction of the crushing weight of grief. It was raw, and it was real. And in making Fitz feel like a real person with real reactions and not some histrionic character in a Greek tragedy, Goldwyn managed to do the impossible—he made me cry for Fitz.”
^^My thoughts exactly.