Scandal Season 3 Episode 15 recap
You know what? Bullsh*t. Everything about last night was. Some of it in decent ways that served the over the top, ridiculous, ever-more-punk-ass story. Some of it in ways that pull me out of the same story so badly I want to scream.
One thing rises above all. Are you ready? Here it is.
HOW IS A FIFTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL NAMED KAREN?!!?!!??!??
It would never be. It can never be. In fact, she couldn’t be more incongruously named if she was Gertrude. Gertrude would actually be more fitting, because I bet there’s been a first lady who was called Gertrude. A teenage Trudy might almost be adorable. Karen is….unthinkable.
And I know this sounds like it’s Duana just finding fault for the sake of it, but actually I think it’s more of an indication of what’s beginning to happen with this show. As the pursuit of ever-increasing plot twists grows faster and farther and stronger, there are tiny little details that start to show their cracks. The show’s never been about character as much as it has about sensationalism and the plot moving and moving and moving – but especially after a relatively emotional week last week, this Scandal just felt kind of flat.
The children are irritating spoiled brats who think that anti-Fitz webpages make them badass. Fitz is horrible in a new and different way than he has been in the past. Which leaves Mellie as the most palatable member of the Grant family this week. And to be honest, it is a pleasure after all this time to see Mellie smile, and smile not because she's just completed something Machiavellian, but out of pure happiness. It's a delight to see her actually seem like something good might happen in her life. Don’t you see the years fall off her? For that matter, Uncle Andrew appears to be who he says he is. These people are deluded, their happiness is fleeting, and they mock the institution of marriage that you know they defend to their constituents, but at least they are real people to a certain extent (not Mellie’s hair, though) and they seem happy. .
Nobody else on this show is a real person anymore, if they ever were. Abby and David Rosen have the best chance of being so, if they jump onto a spinoff about an odd couple of fighting the good fight in their children's PTA or something. But nobody else has real reactions or real fears, and it seems it’s gotten away from us and now we can’t get it back.
The most obvious issue here is of course B6-13 and the tongue bath of lust and bloodlust that Quinn and Huck continue to share. What is this? I don’t know if anyone is rooting for them to be together. It started off siblingy, and this whole plot – including the part where Quinn was legitimately upset that Huck hurt her (remember that relative innocence, way back in the fall?) – could have been done without the romance at the end. I’d even have bought the romance, if Quinn was messed up sexually after torture and Charlie thought she was absurd to be turned on by it … but that’s not the case. Instead we watch a woman who seems thoroughly dead inside kiss one creeper with something like enthusiasm and regard another with something like terror, without actually getting emotionally involved with any of it. Huh?
Still, while Quinn and Huck and Charlie have a love affair based in saliva, at least they all know each other. As opposed to the weird and strangely obscure Harrison-Adnan-Liv’s Mom plot. Sure, I understand there’s a plot going down, but there’s so much dramatic removal of underwear and syringes and we had to go through all that just so Olivia’s files could be stolen? Isn’t there some security? For that matter, with the amount of dangerous people who just stroll in and out of Pope & Associates, is it time for, like, a lock?
It’s just one more failing in the long list of ways Olivia has disappointed me. She’s shrill. She’s getting extra vibrate-y when she talks. She has a wildly varying degree of concern for her staff. But most importantly, most disturbingly, Olivia Pope continues not to have a backbone where the truly repugnant president of the United States is concerned. The True Detective Season Two joke is already overplayed, but the degree to which I want to see Olivia and Mellie do something by themselves and leave whiny arrogant Fitz to stew in his own juices is enormous.
The problem with Olivia Pope is actually that the worse Fitzgerald Grant behaves, the more she accepts his horrible horrible nature, the less respect I have for her. There's something to be said for Jake, as annoying and Boy Scout and disturbed as he is (who was he talking to in last week's monologue anyway?). Generally when he wasn't trying to kill Olivia he respected her. Fitz, on the other hand – the worst part is of course, that he believes his own revisionist history; he believes that every transgression he's made against their marriage was caused by Mellie. Because it allows himself to be let off the hook, since he's always letting himself off the hook. Maybe you have to, to live with yourself as President. Maybe you are required to realize over and over again that your imperfections must be forgotten in order for you to wake up again in the morning.
There have been whiffs of feminism about Olivia - wisps of what she won't stand for and whispers that she's destined for something better - but Olivia Pope makes a lie of those assertions every single week. No wonder her father is upset with her. No wonder Mellie sees her as a person paid to do a job – even a whore. At a certain point, we’ve all said – or wanted to say -I don't get paid enough for this sh*t. Olivia certainly does get paid enough, but does that mean she doesn't have a threshold past which it's not worth it? What is attractive about the man anymore?
I never thought I would see the day when the person whose threshold has been reached is Cyrus. He was beautifully affecting this week, genuinely grieving James, and in the most poetic way, loving and missing him far more in death than he ever did in life. This is what's poignant and sad. Cyrus is softer than ever, something James would've appreciated - and now he's gone.
There was a pretty stunning lack of white hats. But then again, Olivia Pope hasn't been Olivia Pope in the longest time. Rowan/Eli is our only hope.