Scandal Season 5 Episode 8 recap
I am going to be writing this review through a thorough Year of Yes haze. I tore through the book in a day, loved it, and feel like I have a whole new perspective on all of these shows. Like I might be able to go back into Grey’s Anatomy, even. I know, and I’ve checked my fever already. But just so you know where we’re at here.
Maybe, too, it’s that I’m impressed at where we are. I was really skeptical about the trajectory of Liv so far this season. Her waffling and futzing and moaning at Jake – it seemed so aimless. Obviously that was on purpose, because when Olivia tries to right the ship it goes horribly, as you might expect.
Even though Olivia surprises us a lot, there are parts of her that are utterly predictable. For example, Jake is 100% right that she needs to never whine and bitch to him ever again. She uses him like the popular girl uses the less popular one to talk about her boyfriend for hours, because the less popular girl has nowhere else to be. She’s maddeningly self-centered, even for the lead of a TV series. But, most frustratingly of all, if you are asking for advice, either TAKE the advice or stop asking. This is the universal principle of whining, and she should know. Jake should, of course, stop taking her calls, but now that she is basically calling from the White House line, that’s harder to do.
Olivia’s also very predictable where her father is concerned. I don’t fault her for it, but every time she’s said oh, how much she wants him dead and how she’s ready to make it happen – just so much bravado. When she’s confronted by the idea that he’s actually in trouble from sources she can’t locate or control, she’s immediately weepy and terrified at the idea that he might die.
This is not just reasonable, this is expected. Olivia’s Daddy-wounds run deep, and she needs to have a fatal flaw. Now, ten points to Gryffindor if you were all ‘yeah but Fitz is her flaw’. He was. But we’ll get to that.
There are parts of this storyline I’m enjoying—the idea that Olivia can’t deal with a defector the same way she would have if she were chilling at OPA, or the sick satisfaction that Cyrus is taking from watching what he knows to be the slow, slow descent of Olivia Pope. Let this be a lesson to all of us. If you know someone who used to be power-hungry and strident and they suddenly go all meek, you should be afraid. Even if it’s after a smackdown such as Cyrus got – still. Worry. Because they’re learning to keep a lid on their stuff, and nobody is as dangerous as someone who can keep it close to the vest.
Olivia was doing a pretty good job of it, as far as I’m concerned. She knew what she was going to do, and it took her all episode to figure out exactly how to do it – and it backfired.
Let me explain.
When Olivia told Fitz the truth about having released her father, she knew that he would walk away from her. She knew it would be over. That’s what she says to Abby. “I don’t want to give him up.”
But she still puts herself in a position to be caught, arrested – to have to tell her truth to Fitz (and man, wasn’t that rendition of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow effective). The man she loves, ostensibly – the one she’s gearing up to marry.
So my question is, when she says all that and chooses her father, despite all the terrible things he’s done, despite what he’s done to her…isn’t she hoping that Fitz will walk away? That it would be her get out of jail free card? Jake talked to her about lying when her back was against the wall – wasn’t that the performance of a lifetime, proving that she was so broken up about what she ‘knew’ she did ‘wrong’?
But she underestimates him, in a way that feels like it might become the series’ theme this season. Either out of love or calculation or both, he outplays her. He’s going to keep his lovely Helen of Troy prisoner, in a beautiful White House jewellery box. “This is your home now.” She’s imprisoned by what’s supposed to look like love, and the feeling of it is so creepy that I didn’t even mind the heavy-handed shot of the white hat being placed up on a shelf, out of reach. Olivia is many things, but what is she without her autonomy?
Attached: Kerry Washington at the 2015 Bill of Rights dinner in Beverly Hills last week.