Scandal Season 5 Episode 17 recap

Well, it’s happening.

They are doing it. They are pointing out exactly what happens if you’ve been keeping secrets for the president for years, and kidnapped and sold, and you can’t keep track of whether it’s your father or your ex-boyfriend who has killed more people – well, until you take into account your other ex-boyfriend. This is what happens.

Olivia has gone.

Are we after the jump yet?

Is this her first killing? She’s really behind, from that perspective, given that all the people around that kitchen prep table have Some Secrets in their past (though not ones they’re willing to cough up $5 million to hide). But it seems appropriate, if you’ll bear with me using that term.

She didn’t kill for Fitz. She didn’t kill to silence something, to keep something from getting out into the world. She didn’t kill to protect Huck or her father or some poor, defenceless person who couldn’t take care of themselves. Well—maybe she did, on that last point. Olivia killed for the trapped, kidnapped woman who couldn’t defend herself. She took revenge for the person she had been. She remembered.

But you know, that last bit, where she said to Abby, ‘never cross me again’?  Blood spattered on her face? I’m not sure that went over the way she hoped it would. That is, I thought, and you thought and most importantly, Fitz and Abby thought, that she had lost it altogether. She might well be justified in bludgeoning Andrew to death, and who knew those aluminum chairs had that kind of power, but this is not the move of a woman who is outplaying someone else. It was sloppy. It was unplanned. Heavy-handed, even (sorry).

So even though she did it in a grey coat—even though there was evidence that this is the ‘real’ Olivia coming back, I didn’t look at it as something that she did out of control. She did it out of passion, out of rage, out of all the feelings she hasn’t allowed herself to feel all this time.

What’s most interesting, though, is that those feelings weren’t actually raised by Andrew. Oh no. Not really. By the time she got to his locked-down enclosure, she was already in a very particular frame of mind.

Instead, it was her argument with Abby. And the idea was supposed to be that she was doing it to prove something to Abby, but dude—Olivia was not the winner in that scenario. Neither was Abby. Now Olivia’s a rogue problem who can’t be controlled, and that is Abby’s issue.

Now, there has been a lot of talk over whether or not Abby is a ‘big dog’. I’m still not seeing it. Sure, she consults with the president on his various women, and yes, she fired Cyrus Beene, but I’m still not seeing the actual steel that would allow her to cut Liv out of the White House, not really. 

That’s not the same thing as saying I don’t see her motivation. Olivia offering to have Abby come back and work under her is the stuff of nightmares. You can see her realize what her life would look like. You can see her determined not to let that happen. But the coldness, the cut-dead-ness, is not something I buy…at least, not yet. But she’ll have plenty of chances.

Because Olivia has moved back into her father’s house. Abandoning the poor OPA orphans who at this point, I assume, are just paying themselves in whatever office supplies they can pawn, she’s more or less overtly moving to the dark side. In her bright blue coat. That’s great, because Fitz and Abby were getting lazy and need a real opponent, and Mellie Grant, who is the savior of this show even when she’s only in a few scenes, will relish Olivia’s…you know, relish. The idea that she can be even more unleashed.

But first, we’ll see what happens when Cyrus’ scorned husband (and daughter!) get a chance to prove they’re scorned. Plus I’m sure it’s time for Abby to feel the effects of all the lines drawn in the sand recently—you know on some level she’s just praying for the term to end so she can start a high-end consulting firm. The collateral damage on this show, like David Rosen and Susan Ross and, as I mentioned, the staff of OPA – they’re the ones to watch as things are about to get the best kind of terrible.

Because, to turn into a TV person here, nothing much has happened, yet, this season. Cyrus was fired, yes, and Susan and Mellie and Vargas became contenders. But really, this has all been a chess game. Moving the people into position. But there are five episodes left in the season.

Now we’ll start to see some strikes.

Attached - Kerry Washington at a screening of Confirmation in New York last night.