Scandal Season 4 Episode 8 recap

Do you buy it? Because I do.

I buy that everything Olivia Pope has accomplished has been with the guiding hand of her Daddy behind her. Some of the time, even most, she hasn’t needed it, like a parent who holds a cautious hand behind their child in case they fall on the stairs – but it’s been there the whole time.

I buy it. His long florid speeches are pretentious and ridiculous but somehow he sells them every time. I love how much smarter he is than Olivia and Jake and the PRESIDENT. He can outsmart them by what basically amounts at this point to Dark Magic. If you tell me he’s Voldemort, at this point, cool, I get it. Because Papa is so unflappable, so often, that I have to believe he’s a supervillain. And now that he’s said, in so many words, that Love was his Achilles heel, but isn’t anymore, well, what’s stopping him? Or was that the very thing keeping him alive??!

I mean it’s a silly question, but it’s a silly show. Until that last sequence what I really wanted to know was what’s his deal now, Rowan/Eli? I get the undying fatherly love and I get that he is somehow psychologically traumatized because he needs to hurt Liv before he gets rid of her and pushes her away and pulls her close, but like, are we going to find out why? Are we going to meet his mother? I’m not even joking. Nothing harms like a mother. Is that where this is going?

In general, though, the show is trying to tell us Olivia will be OK. We have an ‘outside OPA’ shot like we haven’t had in weeks to tell us it’s all going to be OK. There’s more than 70s music montage of gettin’ sh*t done. She’s going to be fine, she’s going to tell women like Elizabeth North that she doesn’t like her, which sort of but not really exonerates her when she starts to dig into her under the guise of ‘helping’ a client. I mean, it’s dirty, it’s Olivia, that’s what she does.

What she does that I don’t care about, that I’m not down with (other than actually checking in on her employees, of course) is she still has this thing going with Fitz and Jake. I’m not even talking about her back and forth between them, although enough already. I’m talking about her insistence on catchphrases. “To Go And Make Jam.” “We Stand In The Sun.” She loves to have sentences with meaning and impact and at the risk of sounding like her mother (or, well, someone’s mother) how can it possibly be special if everyone gets his own catchphrase? What does she actually feel anymore? Is she able to acknowledge that she’s become the kind of person she herself would, under other circumstances, mock?

Regardless, we’ve been shown for years that Olivia is most like Cyrus. She’s going to wind up like Cyrus: intelligent, successful, suspicious – and ultimately alone. Cyrus is, of course, not even surprised that his worst self comes out to play when there are big things at stake. Not even surprised that he is the one that undercuts himself.  This is the difference between him and, say, Huck, who is constantly surprised.

Huck thinks not that he’s a good person, so much, but that there is infinite room for things to turn out all right. For he and Javi to recreate a new relationship. For his PI work not to get in the way of being a regular person who has a life. Even to engage with Quinn on a more-than-childish-sibling level, though that seems mostly absent this year. The fact that he keeps trying for a normal life, and keeps getting thwarted, is what makes Huck such a real-life character. Try hard, eat sh*t. Repeat.

It’s also called “The David Rosen Story”.

But we don’t have time for that because we have to talk about Mellie Grant, who is back in form and good LORD she looks beautiful in red, and I really hope that it is foreshadowing on behalf of wardrobe, because I think Mellie is going to go absolutely insane when she finds out (and of course she will) that she’s being affaired-on by her affair partner. She’ll see red and be vindictive and go to a place we’ve never seen before because now, what the hell does she have to lose?  

Yes, Scandal. That’s it. Turn up the one knob that says ‘Parents disappoint’ and dial up that one that says “Crazy unforeseen deaths” and just a little nudge on the knob that says “Elaborate white coats that would never stay clean in D.C., ever”, and I think you’re getting right back into the groove.