Hanging Up On The President
Scandal Season 3 Episode 3 recap
The fact that Olivia Pope feels entitled to hang up on the man who runs the free world (well, probably that’s actually Cyrus) is the least ludicrous thing in this episode. Yet you watched breathless the whole time, didn’t you?
What kills me, when you step away and think about it, is that even the scenario – the hostages in a near-death situation – we’ve seen this on TV a thousand, million times. Not only that – we’ve seen it be resolved in an hour! You know that this is going to go down only one of two ways: either the gunman surrenders and everyone survives, or the gunman doesn’t. It’s compelling every time, of course – it was compelling for five seasons of Flashpoint – but it kills me that we watch even though we so clearly know the outcomes. Even in situations, like this one, where the perpetrator/victim isn’t the greatest actress and it’s hard to take her 100% seriously – we still watch with mouths slackened.
It’s because nobody’s ever seen a woman behave like Pope does.
She really, truly does what she wants and thinks is right, and rarely ever, ever compromises. When she does, like last night – when her ideals conflict with her gut and she has to choose between them – we see the cracks in the tiger persona.
That’s what makes her real – but sometimes I wonder if she should crack more often. Where do people get these vast resources of inner strength? Specifically, Olivia started this episode looking at passed-out Jake in her bed. She was already emotionally traumatized by him and by Huck before the episode ever started. We rarely see her clutching a coffee for dear life the way I do if I’ve so much as had a bad dream about being back in middle school. What’s the training for being that tough?
Obviously she gets it from Eli, who doesn’t flinch in the face of Huck tailing him to kill him. I don’t know if Huck really is off his game or if Eli really is that good, but he’s been a step ahead of Huck for days or years, depending on how you think about it. How do you teach your daughter to be that, while simultaneously protecting her from actually knowing the truth about anything?
Then of course, there’s the other type of daughter who’s prepped to be tough as nails. How much did you love Melly in that drunken hooch-induced monologue? I raised my eyebrows at the idea that she thinks Olivia is her puppet – mostly because she throws the word “whore” around as though it’s supposed to hurt Olivia or Fitz, and it does neither. However, I would do a lot to hear her Southern drawl come out again, just a little, and to see her in a situation where she can own her power a little more. Couldn’t you palpably feel her frustration when she was feeding that baby, as though there wasn’t something more important she should be doing?
In other incredulous questions that should make this bananas show unpalatable but somehow don’t -- how much damage can Huck recover from? He’s pretty substantially messed up at this point, and that’s before learning that he works for the daughter of his most reviled captor, and that he might never escape. I mean, at the risk of sounding ridiculous (but this is a show where people call Quinn “Baby Huck”), does the Scandal world offer rehab for professional assassins?
Finally. I understand that Olivia has to meet her love interests through work or she wouldn’t at all, but is it weird that at this point the president and Jake are the two least interesting characters? If either of them dropped out altogether, maybe there’d be time for Abby and David Rosen to finally work it out…