Two steps forward, 14 steps backwards. That’s how I’m interpreting this episode of Scandal. “The Key” starts off with a great homage to Rear Window with Olivia and Quinn during the cold opening, and then disintegrates into Olivia Pope acting like a 13-year-old girl pining over her “boyfriend.” Just when the glimpses of season one Olivia Pope started to happen consistently, she goes back to being a ping pong ball reacting to life versus owning it. Quinn keeps making sense, so that continues to throw me off, while Huck just wants to see his son. Also, Fitz delivered a two-season-in-the-making ass whooping to Jake.
Let’s pick one Olivia Pope and stick with it.
Olivia is still investigating who really killed Katherine’s daughter, which leads her to Katherine’s husband and his top security guy, Dan Kubiak. Olivia and Quinn witness this guy murder Caitlyn’s best friend a la Rear Window style, so they know something is still not kosher with this case. Olivia even confronts Katherine’s husband about his involvement with his daughter’s murderer. All of this is positive. This is the Olivia that takes no shit. This is season one Olivia. So of course, the next Olivia that shows up is the one who is lamenting that she hasn’t heard from her boyfriend, because the character of Olivia Pope is schizophrenic.
Last week Jake was a booty call, or they were maybe seeing each other, and maybe this week she’s in love with Jake (something else equally as boring). Whatever they are, I’m almost to the point of telling Olivia, “Well, you apparently chose Jake, because he keeps insisting to everyone that you have, so go forth and prosper and die of boredom.” I’m irritated with Olivia Pope. What’s probably the most irritating thing, however, is watching her demand favors from Fitz and Abby, people she basically been a jerk to for months to rescue her new boyfriend. Both Fitz and Abby blow off her demands, but Cyrus takes pity on Olivia and gives her a heads up and a good old fashion read of what her boyfriend has done, a faulty read, but a read nonetheless. Basically, the only thing Cyrus (and Fitz) have correct is that Jake killed James, which is still all kids of wrong by the way. Olivia defends Jake after hearing that all this information Cyrus has is based on an interrogation Rowan lead, because her father is so awful.
Wait, what? Now Rowan is awful, but the night before Olivia has no problem trying to have a normal father-daughter moment when discussing Jake? First of all, how can Olivia buy anything he says just based on his previous heinous behavior FOR HER ENTIRE LIFE? Secondly, the minute someone else points out Rowan’s involvement, Olivia suddenly remembers he’s awful and is probably the root of all these murders? Rowan is not a new devil. She couldn’t put two and two together on her own? Once Olivia confronts Rowan about his role in all this, he plays her emotional Achilles’ heel like a fiddle yet again, and spins it to make her feel responsible for Jerry’s death. She falters, and Rowan wins again. I will defend Olivia here, though, because I know exactly what happened to Jerry and Harrison and Rowan had me confused for a good minute. On last thought on Rowan, the man has entirely too much interest in his daughter’s uterus. He’s playing god and controlling people’s lives all based on Olivia’s lovers, like she can’t be trusted to have the locus of control of her own life.
Remember when I said that when Abby and Olivia have their showdown, it was gonna be good? I was right. Olivia is still reeling from hearing that Jake killed Harrison and Jerry when Abby lays into her. She’s haranguing Olivia about making David Rosen a bad guy for resorting to blackmail with that judge when she realizes that something is really wrong with Olivia. Abby stops yelling and just hugs Olivia so she can have her breakdown moment. Isn’t that what real friendship is? Calling someone on their bullshit, while simultaneously giving them a hug when they need it. Abby and Olivia have been friends for years, Olivia may not like it, but she just needs her friend in her corner. Cue the countdown for Abby returning to OPA.
Jake gets an ass whooping
Rowan has successfully framed Jake for Jerry, Harrison, and James’ death (well, it’s not framing for James since he actually did kill him.) Accordingly, Fitz has had Jake resting his ass in the bowels of the Pentagon. Fitz finally confronts Jake, which we all knew was coming, about Jerry’s death and of course, Olivia. There’s taunting on BOTH sides and Fitz eventually beats the ever-loving tar out of Jake, something that was long overdue honestly, even if it was for misguided reasons. We all know Fitz makes poor life decisions when it comes to being jealous of Jake and Olivia, so add that frustration to his rage over Jerry’s death (even though deep down I think he knows Jake didn’t kill him), to his shackle of marriage to Mellie, and the hopelessness of never living in Vermont and being a normal soccer dad and you get Jake’s ass whooping. Fitz needed an outlet for allllll the feelings he’s been holding in for months and Jake running his mouth about Olivia and the island was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Jake goes to his happy place of the island with Olivia and takes the beating. I would feel bad for Jake taking said beating while still being handcuffed, but he purposely choked an unarmed woman against a wall, so nope, I feel not one ounce of sympathy. Of course, this going to blow up in his face when Olivia finds out he did this to Jake, because remember, it’s always Fitz’s fault.
Smelly Mellie remembers she’s Power Hungry/Bat Shit Crazy Mellie
Smelly F@&$ It Mellie is still in full swing, with Uggs on the couch and liquor in hand. She can’t find her way out of this grief and makes life miserable for everyone, but she won’t leave because her son is buried four minutes away from her house. When she realizes that Fitz isn’t going to show up for their daily visit to Jerry’s grave, she automatically assumes he’s with Olivia. It’s understandable because any other time that’s the real truth. Mellie rages at Fitz for his assumed new/old infidelity, and he fires back that he’s trying to get a confession from their son’s murderer. Here’s where the real Mellie starts to reemerge. She sees Jerry’s death as a “he died so we could stay in the white House for four more years” and “not a senseless death.” She spins her own son’s murder for momentum to hold onto the power of the White House, because remember, this is the same woman who faked a miscarriage to garner votes for a presidential election. It’s disgusting but that’s the bitch on wheels that is Mellie Grant, and Fitz is horrified. Mellie has been allowed to struggle through all the stages of grief, keep her inherent intelligence, and evolve into a revitalized Mellie Grant with a purpose throughout this whole story. In the end, she literally washes off the past to start fresh in the last scene and you want her to because Power Hungry Mellie is on her way back. This is why she remains the best written character on the show.
To sum it up, Olivia is bouncing around in her life again like season three, and most importantly, I can’t tell who I’m supposed to like because everyone is either whiny or borderline slow or both. Except Lauren. She can stay because she is the comedic relief desperately needed. I want nothing more than to see Olivia pull her shit together and choose to be alone if that’s what it takes for her to evolve as a character. I don’t worry when people argue over who Olivia should be with, Jake or Fitz, because it means they’re still invested in it. I worry when people outright stop caring about the triangle. And this show is teetering dangerously close to it. Also, stop screwing with Huck. He’s been through enough to at least lay eyes on his child.