Thoughts of the Day

There is No Vermont: Why I Prefer Jake Ballard Over Fitzgerald Grant

ABC’s Scandal is many things. It’s intense, it’s heart-pounding, it’s gut wrenching and above all it’s scandalous. For all the insane messes that Olivia Pope and Associates manage to cover up, stop in their tracks, or sweep under the rug, there is one mess that cannot be fixed as easily. Olivia Pope has a very complicated love life and that’s not just because she’s got two men vying for her hand. Fitzgerald Grant and Jake Ballard are two very different people. They want to give Olivia everything but they won’t be paying the same price for it nor are they always willing to pay that same price. Not by a long shot.

Here are 5 reasons why Jake Ballard is better for Olivia Pope than Fitzgerald Grant:

5. To Fitzgerald Grant, Olivia Pope is the ultimate prize. Winning her means winning everything. It means fulfillment in his unfulfilled life. In his unsatisfactory marriage. In his less than warm family. He desires her above all else and wants her to belong to him. He TONY GOLDWYN, KERRY WASHINGTONdoesn’t want anyone else to have her, to utilize her, to love her. He treats her as an object that was made for his needs and him alone. He wants to be the King of the Castle and wants to make her his queen, no matter who he hurts.

Jake, on the other hand, doesn’t see her this way. He sees her as a powerful, beautiful woman who he could have a life with. He understands her job and he understands her feelings. He wants to be with her and but he also wants her to want to be with him. He wants her to love him the way he loves her. He doesn’t desire to win her. He desires the chance to be with her. The privilege to be by her side. He wants to show her off to the world and say “this incredible woman chose me!” and that truth would be something he would be in awe of.

4. An Olivia Pope that’s with Fitzgerald Grant is an aggressive, angry and explosive woman. In fact, any woman with Fitzgerald Grant is those things. No need to look further than the First Lady herself. Olivia and Fitz yell. They yell a lot. They scratch and claw and bite with their words. They are each the aggressor and they each fight back. It’s very loud and wounding and painful. For two people who supposedly love each other there is an awful lot of hurt being thrown around.

With Jake, it’s another story. They talk. They speak to one another in a calm fashion. They have their occasional heated battle but it ends quickly. And although it doesn’t usually end with them having sex in the control room in the West Wing of the White House, they find that they can walk away and still be people. People who are not hopped up on sexual desire and use that as another form of battle. Another way to punish each other. Olivia and Jake can walk away from a fight and still have their pride. They can still be the people they were when they walked into the room.

3. Jake Ballard cares about other people. As command of B613, he has to make the tough choices. But not only does he make the tough choices, he carries them out himself. When he had those reporters killed along with James Novak, he did so with remorse. He killed the two of them clean and quick and even though he couldn’t do the same for James, he still sat with him while he died. He didn’t want him to be alone. He apologized for what had to be done. He got blood on his hands in order to protect the Republic but that doesn’t mean he stops being a human being. He doesn’t care what other people think of him but he sure as hell cares about other people.

Fitzgerald Grant cares only about himself. You can say he cares about his Presidency but that is a reflection of himself. It’s how he can prove himself to others. It’s how he can show the world what he’s made of and he wants a good image. You can also say he cares about Olivia but that is also a reflection of himself. She is a reflection of his failed marriage. She is a reflection of his needs. She is the unattainable toy that he desperately desires to covet. He holds her over the heads of others and shoves her in their faces. In Mellie’s, in Jake’s and in Cyrus’. He’s a child shouting “In your face!” to Mellie, “Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner” to Jake and “I’ve found another shoulder to cry on” to Cyrus.

2. Jake Ballard would give up everything for Olivia. He once told her that he would leave B613 and would run away with her. He would leave everything behind in order to start a life with her. Fitzgerald Grant would never do that. Sitting behind that desk, in the Oval OlakeOffice, is not only his life but it is also his wife. He is married to his Presidency and he would never leave it for her. Although he talks a good game about how a man who isn’t President can leave his wife, how a man who isn’t President can have a life, he’s not actually going to do it. That chair is too important to him. He has too much to prove by keeping it. Specifically with this second term, his biggest desire is to prove to the world that he can win this thing on his own. He needs to prove his own self worth to everyone around him, and above all he needs to prove it to himself. He needs to quiet the voices that are shouting at him that he’s not good enough. The only thing that Jake Ballard has to prove is how much he loves Olivia and I’d say he’s already proved that a hundred times over.

1. There is no Vermont and there never will be. Vermont only exists in the alternate universe where there is no B613 and “Grant for President” never reached our eyes. It’s the universe where Liv is just a girl and Fitz is just a boy and where love is all you need. It’s the place where Fairy Tales come true and “Happily Ever Afters” come in bottles. It’s a world that realistically cannot happen for these two people. The world they live in is one of an ill-tempered, married to his career, father of three and the woman who cleans up his messes. She is this man’s emotional maid. Who looks after him when he’s in trouble. Who does the things he has too much pent up rage to handle himself.

The world of Olivia Pope and Fitzgerald Grant is a lie. It’s secrets and stolen moments and hard pinned emotions that add up to a dream that can never be fulfilled. They cannot have a life together, most certainly not the one that they see in their dreams. There is no Vermont.

However, there can be a Washington D.C. There can be any place, in fact, if Olivia wanted to make a life with Jake Ballard. With him, she can actually have a life. They both can leave. As command of B613, he can leave. He has that ability. He can walk away from this life. They can run away together. Olivia doesn’t have to keep fixing other people. She can toss away all the secrets and lies and start fresh. She could become Mrs. Olivia Ballard if she so chooses. She can get married. She can be married to her husband and not her career. She can have the life. The one she’s always wanted with a man she loves.

And there you have it. Now all I need is a shirt that says “Olake Lives” and I’ll be good to go. P.S. Watch Scandal tonight!

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9 thoughts on “There is No Vermont: Why I Prefer Jake Ballard Over Fitzgerald Grant

  1. I’m an Olake fan. I prefer Jalivia but Olake will do. I enjoyed reading your take. I love love Jake with or without Olivia, But I’m definitely TEAM OLAKE. And by the way, any man who cheats on his wife and claims to love the other woman is NOT worthy of either woman.

    1. I completely agree with you! And yes, I just love Jake over all. He doesn’t need Olivia to be a good man, where as I feel as though Fitz does need her in order to be a better man.

      1. and that’s why he went groveling to liv begging her to Save him …. a bit of a contradiction

  2. Les we forget the reason Vermont wasn’t in the cards.. Olivia , not Fitz.. Honestly, people Fitz has done everything from trying to resign ( in which liv’s response was to go to mellie with the baby idea, and taking the fall for the affair) to attempting to make Olivia first lady and give Mellie her own political career ( for which she promptly refused to go stay with her team at OPA, even though she was the mastermind behind the plan)… The man knew olivia and jake were lovers and he still reached out and got papa pope to release him.. I mean jeez it’s not for lack of trying… We don’t know if Fitz would be terrible for Liv because they were never in a relationship, they were lovers.. I don’t see how Jake’s “love” for liv compares on the same scale to Fitz love , they barely know one another… Fitz and Olivia have known each other for years , hell they finish each other sentences, and can read each other like no other.. Rewatch the first two seasons and dispute that ..

    Bottom line, Olivia really isn’t good for anyone until she gets herself sorted, and figures out what she really wants… When she does, and the opportunity arises for either man, million to one it won’t be the rebound guy

  3. First off…thanks for your post! I completely understand where you are coming from regarding Jake…because while I have always been #TeamOlitz….the past several seasons I have actually warmed up to #Olake…because I really do love Jake..like soooo much. I melt anytime he shows any type of caring or feelings towards Liv. And I always feel awful for him…especially playing second best to Fitz. So on many levels I completely understand where you are coming from that Jake is the better option for Liv….However, that being said…I would be remiss if I didnt bring up several counter arguments to your post where you said the following…..”Jake Ballard would give up everything for Olivia. He once told her that he would leave B613 and would run away with her. He would leave everything behind in order to start a life with her. Fitzgerald Grant would never do that. Sitting behind that desk, in the Oval OlakeOffice, is not only his life but it is also his wife. He is married to his Presidency and he would never leave it for her.” I just wanted to comment on this post…and respectfully disagree with most of your statement…as I guess after 6 seasons it is easy to forget about the various times that Fitz was literally willing to do everything and anything to make his relationship with Liv work.
    Lets just wind back the clock a bit and review the numerous times where Fitz said and did numerous things to further promote his relationship with Liv….For example…. Fitz in S2….”sit here and watch me choose you” anyone? Or him saying he was not going to run for another term so they could go to Vermont to make jam and him saying “I love you more than I love the presidency”…..or him wanting to literally make public announcements about their relationship at least several times but she said no. Or him showing up to her place…media and all to “take his girlfriend out on a date” or the many many times he said he didnt want to wait and just wanted to be with her…or that time when I dont know…he built a house for them in Vermont?? oh and that other time he literally went to WAR with West Angola to save her life?
    But lets face it… at the end of the day…Olivia just refuses to allow Fitz to do anything that may possibly push their relationship into the right or more serious direction.
    So yes while the argument can be made that Jake would give everything up for Liv….lets not kid ourselves and act like Fitz wouldnt do the same and hasnt said or offered a million different times in a million different ways or actually acted on what he says to Liv and that he wanted them more than being president or wanted their relationship to be public or did a ton of things for them and their future (e.g., filed divorce papers, builds a house, goes to war, goes back on most political decisions to do the right thing in general but also because he knows how strongly Liv feels about it….or provides Mama Pope with a jet to get the heck out of dodge only to find out shes a terrorist that ends up killing every single person on that plane…which could significantly impact his presidency…as could Angola, as could the countless times where he has sacrificed his own values or ideological beliefs FOR HER because he loves her….or showed up at the hospital when he found out Huck might be dying because he knows how much every single one of those Gladiators means to Liv…..because he absolutely has been there for her and has said on various occasions that all he wanted was her and he loves her more than the presidency…he has said so many times that he wants Liv instead of the Oval)…
    However..the problem is….(and lets be completely honest with ourselves here)….almost EVERY SINGLE time Fitz has made his declarations of his love for Liv or tried to get a divorce or said he didnt want to run a second term or wanted to make a public announcement about their relationship or that he wanted to put their relationship before his presidency….Liv has literally said NO to him EVERY SINGLE TIME…and gives a thousand reasons for why he shouldnt do those things….he has wanted to ever since the beginning but she has pumped the brakes on every single move that Fitz has tried to make towards enhancing or developing their relationship into something more serious. Fitz has not ONCE hesitated to make public statements and wants to always make them just so his relationship with Olivia can finally have a legitimate chance…whereas Olivia is more concerned with power, control and maintaining the almighty “Pope brand”…..Abby said it best in S5E2..when Elizabeth asked her why she was so calm when Olivia’s name was leaked to the press…..ABBY: “do you really think Olivia is going to go in front of the cameras admitting her relationship with the President?….The president is about to get Poped”……yea because at the end of the day….the main concern of Olivia has and will always be OLIVIA….not Fitz, not Jake, not her father…maybe her Gladiators but other than that…she has always made it very clear what Olivia Pope’s # 1 concern is…and that is…..HERSELF.

    Fitz has also sacrificed a TON for Liv…since the beginning…yet has continuously lost in the face of Olivia’s villainous father. For example, how about that time where Fitz saves her father because he knows she loves her Dad even though Rowan killed Fitz’s FIRST BORN SON due to Eli’s extremely bizarre and twisted belief that Fitz “took his daughter” and in turn Eli said for revenge he wanted to take Fitz’s son from him??…I mean as much as I have really tried to view Eli Pope (and the B613) as a necessary evil or a “for the greater good and for the best of the republic” service because according to him all of his decisions have been based on trying to keep Olivia safe….and because of her professional reputation she has refused to trade her professional reputation for someone she “supposedly loves”….whereas after all 6 seasons of the deviously violent, cruel, and villainous moves Papa Pope has made…under the rationalization guise of “I am merely protecting my daughter and the republic”……I just cannot in good conscience sit here and say Eli Pope is not a bad man. Because he absolutely is. In fact he is a few percentage points behind being considered nothing short of a egomaniacal, inherently evil, remorseless, cold, cruel, calculating, manipulative, and extremely DANGEROUS individual. The only minimal percentage of that man that is not bad is because of Liv and his feeling that he needs to protect her…but that is also an extremely minimal part of his character as his decisions are very rarely based SOLELY on protecting Liv but mainly on how he can obtain the most amount of power and control over everything and everyone within his immediate and distant orbit that could potentially threaten his role of power.

    I mean this is a man that literally trains cold-blooded killers to manipulate and coerce their way into his daughter’s life to exert control over her and then she falls for them and vice versa…yet her father has absolutely NO PROBLEM killing them (i.e., Jake) in the blink of an eye and breaking Olivia’s heart merely just to keep Olivia under his thumb and exert his power over every individual he comes into contact with…why do you think he ruthlessly shot his girlfriend Sandra in the head in front of Peus? Because he CANNOT STAND not being in control and will do anything and hurt or kill anyone by any means necessary to maintain that role of power and control…..That is not loving your daughter…that is completely fucking up her life, any sense of trust in men, and people that she loves to make sure she continues to be the good ole pawn on his ultimate chessboard that Eli Pope calls life. And in turn…Liv has essentially become all that Eli has systematically and cognitively trained his daughter to be after all these year…a cold, emotionless, calculating, and loveless woman that no longer opens her heart up in any way to any man….if you have noticed….Olivia with every passing season has slowly transformed into this emotionless and loveless robot that gets annoyed, angry or indifferent to either Jake or Fitz when they try to see if shes ok. or talk to her or touch her…. Which as a fan that has been on Liv’s side at all costs….it is absolutely heartbreaking with every passing episode to watch Olivia transform into Eli 2.0. And one of the main reasons why Eli is so adamantly against her being with Fitz is not because Eli is right in saying Fitz is nothing but a “weak BOY…” but Fitz is essentially a weakness and vulnerable spot to Liv and what is the # 1 rule of B613? NO ATTACHMENTS….NO FAMILY…NO WEAKNESSES. And in turn…Eli knows that both Fitz and Jake pose a significant weakness and vulnerability to Liv’s life and in turn can completely mess up Eli’s plan to control his daughter like a robot.

    THAT is why he has such a problem with Fitz. It has nothing to do with the fact that he thinks Fitz doesnt love her or cares about her or that hes a boy or not good enough for Olivia…same with Jake…its because Eli Pope will NEVER like or approve of ANY MAN that Olivia ever brings home (remember Edison? He managed to throw that poor bastard into a staged car accident where he maintained serious injuries and Edison out of all of the men Liv has been with was probably the most respectable and least damaged out of them all…yet Eli did not hesitate to either attempt to murder or manipulate Edison) …because at the end of the day…. any man Liv is involved with…Eli perceives and treats every man she cares about (other than him) as a significant threat to his power and control over her.

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