Scandal Season 5 Episode 5 recap

Welcome back. Sorry for last week, I was dead. But I’ve been resuscitated by Cyrus.

Because Cyrus cannot help but be good at what he does, at running the President’s life and fixing his mistakes and teaching everyone under Fitz how to work like he does. He’s a force, and so you can’t be angry when he does things that are morally questionable, or that have dubious ethical lines, for the reason that Fitz points out—he’s Cyrus. He is utterly and completely devoted to the cause. Some small markers of sanity may be lost, but those are just collateral damage, in the bigger picture of …

…of what? The greatest and worst things about the presidency on Scandal is that it’s all about gaining Fitz’s power, maintaining it, and…then what? None of these people have a plan for the day, very soon, where he’s no longer the president. Then what happens? That is, except for Mellie, who is trying to endear herself with the committee who’s impeaching her husband. Bless, but at least she’s trying to build a life for herself. What the hell are the rest of them doing?

What is Olivia doing? I love that she doesn’t know. She goes to Jake to figure out the best way to make sure that doing what she needs to do for herself – Popeing herself and spinning the message—doesn’t forever link her to the (gross) President. And so the brilliant maneuver that is ‘I wish we weren’t here but we are’ is her greatest professional triumph, maybe, even as it’s one of her personal nails in the coffin.

Is Olivia happy? The thing about a secret coming out is that it’s meant to be a huge weight lifted off your shoulders. But are we getting that impression from her? She’s sort of randomly wandering between people, idly intimidating David Rosen and idly eating burgers with Jake. Idly being handled by Leo. What is good about this? Where’s the part where she has guilt-free, excited sex in the residence, or goes back to her booming business, proud and in charge?

Oh, is that not coming?

Because the business is being run by a bunch of children. I like the subplot with Marcus being asked to be a spy, because as soon as you can be turned by one side, you can be turned by the other…

…but it doesn’t hide the fact that this week, as in several previous weeks, these guys just stood around talking about the hypothetical work that they would do, if there was work, especially given that they’re not paying themselves when they spend all day doing their own dirty work for themselves.

I love that the story happened—that Olivia and Fitz are out of the closet. And I would never say one of those annoying, people-are-too-fond-of-them phrases like ‘jump the shark’.  The show has not jumped the shark, but it has altered one of its central premises. The secret is not a secret anymore. So now that that’s the case, how does Olivia do her job? How does Fitz?

Only Cyrus, the only one who never had his judgment clouded by anything he wanted for himself, except the daily power he already had, is unchanged. But the whole point of stories is people who do want. So who wants what next? What is Olivia audacious enough to hope for now that she has everything she ever wanted?