TV Recaps

‘Scandal’ Recap: ‘Gladiators Don’t Run’

Normally, I would give you, the readers, a witty intro as to what happened in the latest episode of Scandal. But since I’m not feeling it or last night’s episode, I’m going to change it up a little this week. That’s not to say I didn’t like a couple of things, but overall? I can’t decide if boredom outweighed my eye roll or vice versa during “Gladiators Don’t Run.”

Basically, Olivia is still kidnapped. Fitz, Mellie, and Cyrus are trying to get her back via White House methods while OPA and Jake are using their methods, including making a deal with Mama Pope, who is always welcome because she shades everyone she speaks to. In the end, it doesn’t matter because Olivia Pope is sold. That’s right, in 2015, an African American woman is auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder, Iran, all while airing right in the middle of Black History Month. Anybody want to comment on that nugget of WTF?  While you’re mulling that over, here’s what I liked, because I don’t want to hear that I’m a completely biased hater.

The Good (Relatively Speaking)

  • Olivia still has her inner strength to threaten a Lorena Bobitt on Gus when he’s entirely too close to going down that disgusting road of sexual assault.
  • Cyrus seems to have remember his balls and decimates Lizzie Bear as she’s trying to sever all ties with Andrew. It was also nice to see Cyrus and Fitz bromance again.
  • Abby is not okay with being kept out of the loop concerning Olivia’s disappearance, and I completely agree with her. When she rips David a new one for it, I was cheering because let someone mess with my best friend and me not be informed and see if I don’t raise holy hell over it. That’s Abby’s person. You don’t mess with someone’s person and not tell her (I also vote Abby as Olivia’s most ride-or-die gladiator because she’s always called her out when Olivia needed it AND has never tried to choke her).
  • Fitz and Mellie’s partnership is actually nice because it kinda works. They work as friends with a common goal, anything else is a solid no. Honestly, I don’t get an ounce of sexual tension with them and that’s because there isn’t any. It was a little weird when Mellie said, “We sleep better with her [Olivia] between us.” I mean, she’s not wrong, but it’s still weir. (Still not buying this new calm and levelheaded Mellie 100 percent, but for now she’s fine by me. Also, as I said last night, if you didn’t see Mellie wanting to run for president, I have a guide dog and a cane to give you).
  • The final scene of Fitz talking to Cyrus while Mellie met the caskets and families of the men killed in West Angola was really lovely and reminded me of The West Wing, musical score included.
  • Speaking of Mellie, her character growth from the beginning of the series until this episode is astonishing, especially while others seem to be stagnant. Mellie seems to be a calm, centered, strong wife and mother after Jerry’s death and I say that with no shade. Also, I wouldn’t be opposed to a spinoff of Mellie being president, because the way she’s being written, she’s the only one telling the truth about life and it’s entertaining to watch.

Now onto things that make me question why I’m still watching this show:

  • Olivia Pope has been sprayed by brain matter twice since Scandal’s winter premiere. Offensive, unacceptable and undesirable.
  • Olivia Pope has been sold at an auction. What in the actual fuck? Period.
  • Huck has always been shown as Olivia’s ride-or-die guy (except for the one time he choked her, but let’s gloss over that incident), however, that completely extra “paint the walls with blood” was just that – extra. I get that he’s B613 and likes to color by numbers with blood, but at some point all that shock value of blood and gore becomes monotonous. You can only pull the shock card – like wrist chewing and teeth pulling – so many times before it caricature-ish. Same for Jake sawing that dude’s head off.
  • Speaking of Jake, he is literally sitting in OPA in one scene, and then the Situation Room in another, and I still don’t understand what he adds to this rabbit hole of a storyline.
  • Fitz has sent people to their death to get Olivia back, how do you actually get over that as a couple? Olivia can’t get over Jerry’s death, but Olivia is going to get over 30+ deaths in her name?
  • While Mellie seems to have enjoyed a great character advances, I’m still waiting for Olivia to be given this chance. Maybe it happens next week, and I’m jumping the gun, but I’m pretty tired and bored with Olivia Pope, the fixer who apparently has fallen into a new hybrid show. I may be snarky and say Homeland Scandal, but the honest truth is this show is 180 degrees from the flawless first seven episodes. It’s unrecognizable.

There are people loving the latest episode of this version of Scandal and I don’t hate them for it. I’m glad people are still being entertained. I’m just not one of them right now. For as much dialogue and blood as there was last night, it dragged. I’m sure (I hope) there’s some great long-term plan for Olivia Pope, but right now I don’t see the forest through the trees. And if this turns out to be Rowan literally owning his daughter? Siiiiiiiiigh.

What did you all think of it? Am I just nitpicky or was this episode the penultimate example of this show going off the rails?

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.

  • emery

    The last bullet point…!