In last night’s episode of Scandal, titled “Yes”, Fitz, Olivia, and the rest of the gang of traitors, murderers, and blackmailers are dealing with the fall out of the leaked photos of the happy couple before the State Dinner. Of course, since this is Olivia Pope we’re talking about “deal with fallout” means run and throw yourself into work. So, Olivia takes on a case of who killed a wealthy older man to avoid the press and her current life.
The case is about Gavin Price, a rich dudebro accused of murdering his older father because he was about to be cut off from billions. Olivia is hired by Gavin’s very young and beautiful stepmother to find him and bring him back before he does something stupid, like kill himself. Not surprisingly, Gavin can’t stand his stepmother, while she “just wants him to come home safe” before the court realizes he’s missing. Olivia runs off to find Gavin and ignore the Category 5 hurricane that is her current life (I should note that you could tell Olivia is disaster because she spends the majority of this episode in one of Quinn’s dirty t-shirts and a baseball cap. Also, she stress eats popcorn by the handful. I mean, it’s not chili cheese fries, but at least Olivia Pope can be (sorta) human like the rest of us).
Not surprisingly, Olivia finds Gavin immediately with Quinn’s help. Because she’s Olivia Pope. Duh. While waiting for Jake (huh?) to help her out with her plan, she also whips Gavin’s behind in blackjack because she fails at nothing, except the whole falling in love with the married guy thing. Olivia and her new confidant, Jake, wrangle Gavin into coming with them and solve the lukewarm mystery of Gavin’s involvement in his father’s death. But the real story lies in Olivia taking stock of what her life has become: a walking shitshow (I’m paraphrasing here), where people swarm her to get a selfie with “America’s Mistress” in a diner. She finally has to face her biggest fear of people judging her for choosing to be with a married President. As Olivia says:
“I’ve spent so much time, years, ashamed. With shame pressing on me, suffocating me. For just a little bit, I let myself breathe. And…then those photos come out. And that’s what I’m running from. That feeling, the shame.”
I have to say, I completely understand her fear. It’s a valid, human, and vulnerable fear. Love can only do so much, before the real world sets in and takes over and destroys your career and everything you worked twice as hard for. That said, I had a hard time understanding why her self-realization moment had to happen while spooning with an ex-lover, who desperately wants out of the friendzone and still insists on serving her beer. Olivia Pope needs to get this all out, but in the office of a licensed therapist, not with Jake, clearly the newest associate at OPA. In a related note, I miss Harrison. He was a good shoulder to lean on.
In the meantime, the White House is dealing with the repercussions of the leaked pictures. Liz is running around pretending to manage this crisis, a crisis she gleefully (and pretty obviously) started by leaking those photos to Sally Langston. Fitz, on the other hand, is waiting for instructions from Olivia because that’s what she asked him to do, much to Abby’s chagrin and pride. By the way, this only really matters to Abby because her pride is taking a beating in the pressroom, her first time at the grown ups’ table. It’s this hurt pride that suddenly makes her forget her “over a cliff” loyalty to Olivia and fall prey to Cyrus’ scheming to get his foot back into the White House. I honestly don’t think Abby hates Olivia. However, Olivia’s lying to her face, and unintentionally undermining everything she tries to do in the press room, is grating on her nerves. She sees an opportunity to take some power back by regurgitating Cyrus’s narrative for the press. Is it her power to take? No way. She’s the mouthpiece of the White House, not the policy-maker. Know your role. On a more personal level, do I agree with her manipulating Fitz by using Jake’s name? Nope. You don’t pull that nonsense on your ride or die friend. You know damn well Olivia is love with Fitz and vice versa. Knock it off, Abigail.
Mellie, on the other hand, would sell one of her children to make this story go away and end up back in the White House. I do believe that she was hurt when Fitz served her the divorce papers, because it screwed up her plan for their political partnership, something she believed to be solid. Although she had nothing to do with the leaked photos, she’s ready to use this hiccup to further her political career. It’s what she does on a day ending in “-y.”
Fitz is willingly taking every shot launched at him while he waits for Olivia. When he finally understands what Abby is saying about Olivia not wanting this public life spectacle, he makes the decision to stay where he is, bring Mellie back to the White House, and forgo years more of his happiness if it means Olivia is happy. He sets up an interview to cover this leak and move on as status quo and leaves Olivia a voicemail proving her loves her enough to let her go. Bless his heart, Fitz is slow, but he got there eventually. Simultaneously, Olivia finally takes the fence pole outta her behind and decides to face the press and answer, “Yes,” when asked if she was the President’s mistress. So, both of them did what they thought the other one needed, but is that enough? I dunno. But I sure hope that was the end of the “will they/won’t they” merry-go-round. For real. I can’t take another season of it.
Finally, Susan Ross should be the only one running the country. Period.
Alright, I know I’ve been slacking on my reviews for Scandal, but I needed a break by the end of last season’s mess and I also needed to see more than one episode to decide if it’s worth taking the time to do these again. I’m hoping I’m right and this show is righting itself this season, despite the weak episode last night. I appreciate that we’re seeing more Case of the Week so far, but they’ve been so obvious that the parallels drawn to Olivia’s life are like anvils raining from the sky. I’m still willing to take this heavy-handed symbolism over B613 any day of the week, and twice on Sundays though. I didn’t mention Huck, because quite frankly, I haven’t gotten back to liking him yet and he added nothing to the episode last night. I hope Jake gets an actual storyline because he needs something to do besides be a lapdog.
I remain a loyal Fitz and Olivia fan, but I’m very leery of where this is going because of the warning, “Be careful what you wish for.” Shonda is soul crusher (Hi, Mark and Lexie on Grey’s) so I hope you’re all ready for the chaos that’s probably definitely gonna go down this season.
What do you guys think of the first two episodes?