Boom, Bust, and Echo
Scandal Season 3 Episode 10 recap
(My apologies for the misnumbering last week. I forgot about Thanksgiving.)
This was the name of one of those sure-winner Christmas-gift books about 20 years ago. About the baby boomers and all they wrought; we, by the way, are the “echo”. I like the concept here. Something goes boom, then it all goes wrong, and the echo is what’s left when it’s ready to be dealt with, or not.
This is Olivia’s parents. BOOM – they’re not who she thought they were. BUST – what’s black is white and everything she’s done to try to save or help or contain each of them is ruined. ECHO – they have to live this way, with this knowledge.
So Olivia is, once again, reminded that she should never ever trust or believe anyone. Because it’s usually the wrong person and it’s usually going to go badly for her. I kind of wonder why she doesn’t have better instincts, say, where Quinn is concerned. She didn’t know she was going to betray her? For that matter, is this the first time something like this has happened to Liv?
I’m not worried about her not having parents. She didn’t used to, then she did, briefly, and now she doesn’t again – or she has adversaries rather than people she’s supposed to thank for molding and shaping her the way she is now. But what does this mean for Olivia? We’ve spent a very enjoyable fall season finding out who her parents are and why but…now what? She can hardly be more closed off. She can hardly be less trusting. What corner does she turn?
I suspect part of it will be about the evolution of Quinn, and I have to retract my statement from last week because I started to buy this woman in this role. Not that she’s especially great at being a hired assassin, or that she fits the type of someone who would be, but here she is, she’s going to do it and give it her by-god best shot because what choice does she have? That girl, I totally buy, and I have to give Katie Lowes credit because her trapped-in-a-cage calm felt really believable to me. She’s not freaking out and crying. She’s done with that. Now she needs to actually figure out what she’s going to do. It’s a skill she would seem to have learned from Liv.
And Liv very likely learned it from Cyrus, who is in the bargaining stage. I didn’t know there was anything that could make him actually feel that he was beyond the pale, that he’d gone too far. It seems almost elementary, the murder of a man. Surely Cyrus has done worse, seen worse. If Sally had been competent and complicit, would it have made it better?
I have to believe that the reason James stays – other than having a bit of Stockholm Syndrome and abused-spouse scars where he clearly believes Cyrus when he’s told you can’t go anywhere or do anything without me – is because Cyrus is now finally being honest about himself. “The 666 is visible on my forehead” is something he’s thought for years, been afraid of, even – that James would see who he really was and leave him because who could love a monster. What they have now – an understanding about how they’re going to march forward in a union that benefits both of them – well, it may not be love, but it’s something more than a lot of people have, and Cyrus knows that very, very well. I choose to believe the camera lingering on James was him debating this fact, debating whether it’s worth it.
Because that’s what the show is telling us, right? Olivia is alone (no jam talk, please). Mellie and Fitz are, ostensibly, alone. (Why was Mellie talking about bringing flowers as though she would go out and get them herself?) Those who aren’t alone are the ones who are in trouble. Sally (especially now that David Rosen has a magical new assistant attorney-type), Quinn, my poor beleaguered David Rosen. When you’re with someone else, you’ve got more problems and you also have to ask yourself why you chose this monster in the first place. If the show can get us to the place where Charlie asks that, then we’re really in business.
It is possibly weird, then, that this was the first episode where I was all in on Jake. It’s about slickness, I think. Fitz bellows and barks at Eli, but he never breaks him. Eli is much more calm and cool than Fitz will ever be. Even as he screams at him, he’s calculated in the way he hits to hurt. “You’re a boy. I’m a man.” By comparison, when he’s ousted from his office by a very casual, very slick Jake, well, that was the first time I thought to myself that he was really worthy of Liv. If she could stand to have anyone in her life, which of course, she can’t.
Because here’s what’s in front of Olivia Pope: two parents, each failing spectacularly to be examples of anything she wants to be; a lover who not only can’t leave his wife, can’t make up his mind, but resorts to middle-school tactics to try to break her father – and fails miserably; a group of employees who, while loyal, really really need her for their next marching orders.
The most promising thing this episode gives us is new combinations, new loyalties. Sally and Cyrus? Maybe. Quinn and Charlie, who really does seem to be taken with her. David and James. David and the new chicky-boo, whom the show took care to have Abby dismiss just so she can be mad about her later. Olivia – and Jake? And nobody? And Huck, even though he hurt Quinn? Harrison, who might finally get a storyline in the second half of the season?
Does Olivia need other people to be who she is? What happens if she’s all alone? And is Olivia capable of changing? Is she ready to be the echo of everything that’s just happened, or will she keep moving – with her mother as target – so she doesn’t have to process?