“I wasn’t raped,” Olivia Pope tells the President upon safe return this week on Scandal. “Guess what I learned. There are worse things than rape.”
These words, and the monologue that enveloped them, hit me harder than any single moment on Scandal thus far. Through it all, Olivia still has the power to surprise. Instead of being grateful to the President for going to war with West Angola in order to secure her safety, Olivia chides Fitz for being weak enough to do something that stupid, that politically warped — and she does it while deeming herself the ultimate ride-or-die chick. “If you gave up the presidency, what would be the point of all this?” she says, before throwing back a ring presented to her just moments before.
Kerry Washington played off fragile rage perfectly throughout the fever dream that was the hostage Olivia situation, but last night’s Scandal was on some beautiful dark twisted fantasy level. The only part of the episode’s ending that didn’t work for me was when she told Fitz, “You were the president you were meant to be.” I laughed outloud. Fitz is a terrible president.
By the looks of her next-level manipulation these last few episodes alone, Mellie is going to make a much better president than Fitz. And I honestly can’t wait for that to happen. I’m glad the writers figured out something substantial for Mellie. She deserves fulfilling plotlines, something more than the betrayed wife, the grieving mother, and the woman cheating with her husband’s best friend (who, by the way, she knows she trumps in intelligence). Andrew’s threats of blackmail — regarding Mellie’s sexual turn-ons, of all things — are meaningless, and would also destroy his career. I never like when Huck goes to his emotional cellar for a violent timeout, but to be honest, I was glad he served up a bit of karma to Andrew this week.
Anyway. At first, I was really not on board with the #freeOlivia thing, but now that it’s ended — in an AWESOME twist involving ex-Gladiator Stephen Finch, a season one character I know I totally forget even existed following his abrupt exit to get married — I see the bonus of the whole diversion for Scandal writers. Olivia’s PTSD will inspire plotlines and twists for seasons to come, even as she bounces back to her own fearless self. Olivia’s biggest reason to dump Fitz yet will throw her (hopefully) back into Jake’s arms.
Additionally, Papa Pope has been identified; you just know he’s gonna pop up again sooner rather than later. I did love his reaction when Jake tracks him down while he’s ~communing with nature~. Rowan’s basically like, “Jesus Christ, can you fuckers do anything?” Apparently it’s only been a week since this whole hostage charade has started?! Was that the purpose of having him on the episode at all — to reveal how much time has passed? Because he didn’t do anything to help save Olivia. I’m fearful for Rowan’s return, mostly over his meddling between Jake and Olivia. I’m #teamJake if you couldn’t tell. Scott Foley is next level. Unlike Huck, he’s created maximum security around his dark side, leaving him with a detached sense of calm that allows him talk about licking his victims’ tears without totally cracking.
While I’m glad Olivia is free, I must admit that part of the reason is that the show’s military fatalism was wearing thin for me. The President’s advisors warn him that if they try to extract Olivia, not only is there a 30 percent chance they’ll even succeed, but in the process ISIS will run rampant, drones will wipe India off the map, Russia will make us close bases in Turkey, and England and Germany will find out America is spying on them. Next thing you know the fate of global warming crisis will be in Olivia Pope’s hands. Cyrus wants to quit and tell the President that not only is he letting love cloud his brain, it makes Cyrus have a bitterness-fueled rage blackout. No president would make these kinds of decisions with his heart — and no president should. I thought Fitz wore a white hat, but I was wrong.