Scandal vs. Homeland: The Weekly Showdown

by Ester Bloom

Checking in on the third seasons of our favorite prestige TV dramas set in DC whose main characters are both high-powered, well-dressed, hyper-competent professional women who make questionable relationship choices while simultaneously saving the world. This week: “Tower of David” vs. “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington.” Caution: Spoilers.


Mental Health

Liv: Not great. David Rosen astutely diagnoses her as an adrenaline junkie after she once again inserts herself into a high profile, life-threatening situation. Does she not remember that the only thing Shonda Rhimes likes more than a bomb is a bomb that goes off? Later, she doesn’t take up Jake on his offer to get them burgers delivered, even though for Jake burgers = doing it all over the apartment, and Liv definitely looks like she could use some stress relief.

Carrie: Improving. She’s on her meds, though she does slam her head against a mirror in the bathroom and has to beg a nurse not to rat her out.

Advantage: Homeland


Liv: Classy, well-fitting gray-blue suit, appropriate for negotiating with terrorists

Carrie: Scrubs

Advantage: Scandal

Drug of Choice

Liv: Red wine in an elegant, long-stemmed glass

Carrie: Lithium, intravenously

Advantage: Scandal


Liv: Deceiving her client, a mad, grieving mother, and in an inadvertent and yet totally foreseeable way inspiring her to kill herself

Carrie: Building an impressive Popsicle stick house (look at that balcony!)

Advantage: Homeland


Last week Jake stumbled, battered, bleeding, but still hot, into Liv’s apartment. This week he’s still there, serving as a butler who answers her various phones and perhaps also as a spy for Liv’s father.

Last week Quinn voiced his affection for Carrie, previously only expressed in his decision not to murder her boyfriend, by visiting her in the mental hospital and threatening to quit super spying altogether because of what has been done to her. This week he is AWOL, perhaps killing more terrorists or meeting Huck for meetings of Killers Anonymous.

Advantage: Scandal


Fitz is still married to Mellie, who wins the episode with an awesome drunk tirade delivered over a glass of hooch. Instead of being trapped in Camp David with his wife, as per Cyrus’s plan, he is trapped in a bunker (where a Secret Service agent threatens to tackle him if necessary) and later in the White House. He neither gets laid nor leads the country, but he does demonstrate sexy voice.

Brody survives several attempts on his life in and around the Tower of David and is called a cockroach by an admiring drug-pushing pedophile who may not be a doctor but who has an excellent bedside manner. He gets several innocent people killed, as well as a guilty dude who pick-pocketed him (the underworld of Caracas apparently operates along the lines of Dickensian England). At least he tries to escape, even if he is recaptured during his Herbal Essences moment, and he doesn’t take advantage of sad, vulnerable Esme, who doesn’t seem to be getting enough love from her gangster father, Spider Man. Just what these shows need: More women with daddy issues.

Advantage: Tie


You could set a whole TV series in the Tower of David. Also, who knew there were Muslims in Venezuela? (Okay, fine, the internets did.) The out-of-town trailer where the threatening dude who refuses his hush money gets the royal treatment from Huck is totally boring by comparison. We don’t even get to see the view!

Advantage: Homeland


Both episodes externalize the way that their heroines feel trapped by circumstances, placing them and people they love in desperate, claustrophobic situations. Carrie will be out of the nuthouse by Episode 4, though who knows what she’ll do then. Without Saul’s support, how will she be able to focus at last on the CIA bombing and figure out who arranged it and framed Brody? Meanwhile, how long will Liv continue to be hemmed in by her own feelings for her Commander in Chief? There’s no medication she can take for that, unless she borrows a “Forget-Me-Now” pill from Arrested Development.

Of course, if Homeland doesn’t get better after several stuttering episodes, we’ll all need a Forget-Me-Now.

Advantage: Scandal

Previously: When a Man Writes a Woman

Ester Bloom is a known heroine addict based in Brooklyn. Follow her @shorterstory.