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‘Scandal’ Review: The Same Song and Dance with Brighter Colors

SCANDAL - "It's Hard out Here for a General" - It's been six months since Olivia and Fitz have broken up, and they are both handling their newfound freedom in very different ways. Meanwhile, the Pope and Associates team take on a case that could lead to a national crisis on the red-hot return of "Scandal," THURSDAY FEBRUARY 11 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kevin Estrada)
KERRY WASHINGTON, SCOTT FOLEY
SCANDAL - "It's Hard out Here for a General" - It's been six months since Olivia and Fitz have broken up, and they are both handling their newfound freedom in very different ways. Meanwhile, the Pope and Associates team take on a case that could lead to a national crisis on the red-hot return of "Scandal," THURSDAY FEBRUARY 11 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kevin Estrada) KERRY WASHINGTON, SCOTT FOLEY

So Scandal is back after a three month hiatus and after that winter finale, I knew I would need the extended break to get outta my feelings. Turns out, it didn’t really help. Just like colors in Olivia Pope’s wardrobe haven’t helped her out any. In “It’s Hard Out Here For A General,” Olivia and Fitz are learning to live her new normal without each other, Olivia’s father and “brother” Jake are plotting their next move to run the universe from their evil lair, and OPA has a new case to solve (fumble.)

In the six months since Olivia aborted her fetus, broke up with Fitz and moved out of the White House, she’s seemed to have found bright colors for her wardrobe and enjoys banging Jake every night. Yes, we’re back on this merry-go-round of get rid of Fitz, fall onto Jake, literally. The thing is, there’s no talking, there’s no affection, and there’s zero romance with these two. It’s literally hate sex, which would be fine if it was hot. But it’s not. Olivia physically pulls away from Jake when he tries to bring the slightest amount of affection into their “relationship.” Remember when Olivia returned from the kidnapping and decided to bang anything that walked to avoid dealing with her feelings? This is the new old Olivia Pope with a better range of colors in her clothes.

Anyway, Olivia and her team catch a new case: the head of the NSA, a woman, has been hacked by someone, putting national security secrets on the line. Of course, suspicion is immediately cast upon her computer programmer boyfriend. The team tries to prove he stole all these files, either to blackmail their client, or reveal that the United States is spying on everyone, a la Snowden. As OPA investigate, their client stands by her assessment of her boyfriend and his innocence because she says that love hasn’t clouded her judgment. But with the mounting evidence, Olivia’s client maintains even if her boyfriend did spy, future generations of women shouldn’t be penalized for her individual mistake of the heart. Because obviously you can’t have both power and love. It doesn’t work like that in Scandal, ask Olivia.

SCANDAL - "It's Hard out Here for a General" - It's been six months since Olivia and Fitz have broken up, and they are both handling their newfound freedom in very different ways. Meanwhile, the Pope and Associates team take on a case that could lead to a national crisis on the red-hot return of "Scandal," THURSDAY FEBRUARY 11 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kevin Estrada) KERRY WASHINGTON

While OPA stumbles around this investigation, Quinn and Marcus run into Jake at the suspected boyfriend’s house. Here’s the kicker: neither one of them question why Jake is there, knowing FULL WELL he’s previously pulled some massively shady shit like murder and torture. Every single time I start to root for Quinn, her stupid shows. Also, Olivia argues with Jake about him showing up at the house and learns that he’s working for Fitz, which she doesn’t like, but doesn’t think anything of it.

Time out. Can we take a minute to parse this plot point out? Fitz asked Jake to help him out with this possible spy revealing NSA secrets because he says that he trusts Jake. What in the ever loving hell am I watching??? Fitz. Trusts. Jake. I literally cannot keep up with who trusts whom at any given point on this show, but I’m supposed to buy it hook, line, and sinker. Stop. Even better, Olivia doesn’t even question Jake’s involvement in this guy’s disappearance, when she ALSO KNOWS FULL WELL about Jake’s past behavior. I mean, she was the one who was choked by him so I assume she remembers his temper, but as it’s never mentioned, I can’t be sure.

Eventually, and I mean 84 years later, Olivia figures out that Jake murdered the boyfriend to clean up the situation and take over as head of the NSA. What’s even more absurd is Olivia knows Jake is hiding out in Rowan’s lair as they hatch the next scheme and still doesn’t put two and two together until the very end. Jesus be a clue for Olivia, OPA, Fitz, and Rowan. Because does Rowan know his “children” are banging every night? If he does, he needs more than Jesus.

In other news, Abby is Fitz’s new work wife, and she’s already done with his neediness. In all fairness, the man has not a single trusted friend in the world, as Olivia kindly points out during her girl talk session with Abby. I loved this scene by the way. No snark or shade. Abby and Olivia’s friendship is nice to see again, even if I don’t see it lasting as Abby takes on a bigger role in Fitz’s life. Fitz is clinging to Abby for guidance because he needs that shoulder.

The interesting thing to watch is how Abby will manage this newfound power. She’s got the ear of the president at her disposal and Olivia doesn’t. Of course, right off the bat, she recommends Jake to replace the ousted NSA head, so that seems about right for this show. I did enjoy her laying the law down about the 2 a.m. phone calls with Fitz. No sir, you need to get a dog and talk to him all night long when you can’t sleep. I also applauded when Fitz refused to take Olivia’s call. She wanted away from Fitz and that’s what she got. I don’t care if it’s related to work, she gets to bathe in all that alone-ness she ever wanted for the rest of time. She made her bed, and all of that.

While all of this is going on, Mellie shows up at OPA to have Olivia read her manuscript about her life as she preps to run for president. Y’all, my feelings on having “Mellivia” unite for Mellie’s presidential run require 40 more pages, several more drinks, and a laser pointer for me to point out on screen every single time Mellie Grant called Olivia Pope a “whore.” For now, let me just say this: never once has there been an apology from Mellie to Olivia and never once has Olivia called her out on it. It’s like it happened multiple times in a vacuum and I’m not supposed to remember this. So while I know this headed down a “Yay! Women supporting women for the White House. I’m with her,” road, remember: it was paved with a white woman interchanging a black woman’s name with the word, “whore” for years.

But hey, it’s all good because Olivia initiates contact with Mellie to make her memoir better. Seems like Rowan Pope’s thirst for power is alive and well inside Olivia because she wants to make another president and since she doesn’t wear the white hat anymore, it’s a good thing she’s got all those strong powerful colors to fall back on.

About the author

Angela Romack

Angela Romack is writes what you’re thinking about when it comes to your favorite TV shows. If you don’t agree, that's fine. She's okay with being right. Follow her on Twitter at @AngelaMRomack.

  • oliviared

    I am so done with this show..I just can’t anymore I tried …Done!!!

  • Gallacious Grant

    Agree 1000%. The original Scandal centered around a true love story. This revised Scandal is gratuitous unappealing sex with no chemistry; no love, no purpose. Secondary characters are replacing the leads. What! Man-hating ‘Girl Power’ w/o men your life. What! Unqualified Mellie as President. What! Joke Ballard as the sexy lead star. What! A ridiculous spy story line. What! … Just “No.”

  • Ree

    Yes!!! All. Of. This. The suspension of reality around the Jake-Fitz relationship and his new position is just too much. And I’ve suspended a lot of reality for this show.

    The hate sex is just disgusting. I’m sorry. I wish I could find it hot, but is isn’t. It isn’t on a fictional level because these two characters are just bad for each other. Additionally, the actors have minimal chemistry and the love scenes are choreographed and awkward to watch. They make me feel like I am watching two people get paid to kiss when they don’t want to, which isn’t really what you want viewers thinking about.