Scandal Recap: What Are the Stakes?

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Photo: Greg Gayne/ABC
Scandal
Show
Scandal
Episode Title
Rasputin
Season
5
Episode
8
Editor’s Rating
3/5

#Gladiators, after nearly five seasons, I am truly at a loss over Scandal. I honestly cannot determine if I liked last night's episode or if I loathed it. Like I'm not sure if watching "Rasputin" was an hour well spent or if, when I'm in a fertility clinic seven years from now and the doctor asks me why I waited so long to have kids, I'm going to go, "Because I wasted my time on bullshit like the 'Rasputin' episode of Scandal instead of sneaking onto JDate to find a Jewish dude, so we can make low-budget versions of Zoë Kravitz." Only time will tell which way my life is going to end up, but believe me, if I'm in these streets at 38 getting IVF, I am invoicing Shonda Lynn Rhimes and asking her to pay for my fertility treatments. So why am I so on the fence about last night's episode and feeling like I wasted 60 precious baby-making minutes — I know dudes only need like seven minutes to get the job done, but sometimes my vajeen is like an old 1998 HP desktop that's slow as hell and constantly starting up in safe mode, a.k.a. "I need time to get it going" — when Scandie was fairly action-packed? After all, Olivia finally revealed her big secret, Cyrus attempted to take back the White House, and Rowan finally resurfaced begging Olivia for help. Lots of juicy things clearly happened, but it didn't all add up for me. Maybe you feel the same way; maybe you don't. Either way, let's talk about it and start making predictions for next week's winter finale.

We open with Fitz strutting through the Underground Railroad. Y'all know I hate him, but his walk is as heavenly as a slice of peach cobbler fresh out of the oven. Anyway, he goes into a holding room where Liv is handcuffed with blood on her Prada suit and looking sad as hell. Fitz is like, "Tell me it isn't true" and she's quivering her lip like he just said, "Harpo, who dis woman?" Ay-yi-yi, you know I expressed my reservations last week about this turning into Defiance 2.0 and all signs are pointing toward that. But I can't jump the gun too quickly because we head back in time 48 hours to see how Liv ended up in captivity.

There's tons of activity at the White House as Fitz is in the middle of trying to sign a disarmament deal with the fictional Middle Eastern country of Bandar for quite some time now and it finally seems like all systems are go. Although Cyrus is not so sure because he's convinced the leaders of Bandar are going to view Liv as a whore. They don't. In fact, the leaders are pretty much as chummy with Liv as aunts and uncles are with fellow relatives at a family reunion. So everything's set until it's not, thanks to a young translator named Navid who, during dinner, asks for political asylum in exchange for giving up some juicy information. Liv explains to Fitz that her gut tells her that Navid is being honest. To be fair, her gut also told her that one time she should win an argument with her dad by telling him she has a magic vajeen that can make men do whatever she wants, so ... her gut is about as trustworthy as a yacht-owning murder suspect on Dateline, but okay, this is Liv's journey, so we must go with it. And Fitz also feels this way because he wants Liv and OPA to investigate Navid's claims, which makes Cyrus stamp his feet. Liv leaves and Cy is like, "Okay, well, can we at least figure out how Rowan escaped?" Fitz tells him not to worry about it because it's being handled, and Cy reacts the way I do when I try to plan a party for my bestie, but she has another friend who claims she is also a bestie and is undermining my plans every step of the way.

Basically, Cy has had enough of this mess and goes to David Rosen and tells him that Rowan is out. David freaks and says he's going to have the FBI and the CIA look into this and get to the bottom of the Rowan release. Meanwhile, Mellie is calling Olivia every 15 minutes, it seems, to get Liv to follow through on the plan to get Mellie in the White House or else she's going to tell Fitz what Liv did. How does Liv respond? By hanging up on her like Sallie Mae is calling her about finishing off her student-loan payments on her art-history courses. LOL. Liv has no chill and Mellie is too damn desperate with the "I'm going to tell Fitz" card. This is her only move? Does she not realize that Fitz loves ol' girl more than the oxygen he breathes? Two weeks ago, I was #TeamMellie and now I'm asking to be let go from this team and be a free agent because this is weak. Mellie clearly had no scheme in place other than to rack up minutes in her friends-and-family plan by calling Liv, so clearly Mellie ain't ready to be president of a bowling league for women over 40 who lost their husbands but got custody of the Ginkgo-biloba pills, let alone be president of the United States.

Anyway, Liv hangs up on Mellie and is confronted by Rowan. He tells her that his sons, a.k.a. the people he trained, are out to kill him. Knowing Rowan, this is probably partially true, but I'm sure there's some information he is withholding. I wonder what it is, but before I can think about it too much OPA is at work on Navid. They want to talk to him, but he's under heavy surveillance, so they decide to give him a pill the next day that is going to make him sick enough to interrupt the deal signing and place him the hospital where Liv can finally find out what exactly Bandar and President Razani are hiding. Once in the hospital, he's says there is a secret facility that Razani has. In order to investigate this, Fitz needs time, so he has VP Susan make a gaffe to the press, knowing it will piss off Razani. This works and the deal is, once again, on hold.

Speaking of Susan, she is still crushing pretty hard on David and it's hard to tell if he's interested anymore. I mean, now that he and Lizzie Bear are sexing on the regular, I feel like he's kind of friend-zoning Susan. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm scared. I don't want her feelings to get hurt, and instead of going to a Best Western, David and Lizzie insist on having sex in any closet that's holds a Swiffer Jet. Susan's bound to walk in on them one of these days. Oy. And also, c'mon! I don't mind the hookup, but David's ex Abby also works at the WH. This is just playing with fire.

Jake shows up to the Oval Office because he's summoned there by the "president." Turns out Olivia just wanted to talk to him, which at this point means the president. Liv tells him what's going on with Rowan. Jake is like, "And?" She goes, "But he's in danger." I. Am. So. Tired. Of. Liv's. Shit. Why does she keep going to her ex-boyfriend in the hopes that he will do massive favors for her? I mean, I can see if she was like, "Hey, I forgot how to refresh the cookies on my laptop," then it would be fine for him to take five seconds out of his day to help her. But she is like, "Remember the guy who destroyed your life, just killed your wife, and would throw your ass in a box like you are packet of duck sauce from Hunan Palace anytime you didn't do exactly as he said? Can you make sure he stays alive and in return, I will not give you my heart or body, but a 'Thanks, Bro' Hallmark greeting card?" This is not only a ludicrous request, but it's completely absurd that she is shocked when Jake tells her to get out his face. And I'm especially proud that he, once again, tells her to fuck off when she tries to bring up their failed relationship: "You wanted me to choose you. When you told me to go to Fitz, you actually wanted me to choose you."

DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH, HEIFER! That is what everyone does about every mother flippin' thing. When I tell my brother he can have the last slice of pizza, I want him to give that mess to me. When I offer my seat up to an old black lady on the train, I want her to go, "I marched for your rights, so I'm used to putting all this weight on my arches. I'll stand." When I tell a dude I like that it's totally fine if he doesn't want to meet my parents yet because it's too soon, I want him to come with me to my parents' crib, dressed in his Sunday best, holding an Edible Arrangements basket. Most people say the opposite of what they mean, so Liv just now realizing that's what Jake did makes me want to slap the perm out of her hair until it's as nappy as Frederick Douglass. Jake must feel the same way because he finally snaps and says, "You were supposed to be too good for me, it never crossed my mind that I would be too good for you." Oh. Damn. I don't know, I mean, Jake has done some garbage things in the past, too, but I do agree that Liv was supposed to be way out of his league, but they are in the same damn league and in fact, she's probably worse than him right now because she is lying to Fitz's face.

This fact is weighing heavy on Olivia's mind because later that night, she chats with Abby. Abby warns her that she has to be the one to tell Fitz about Rowan because if he hears it from someone else, Olitz will be over. Liv agrees, says she will, and that they're going to be over no matter what once he finds out what she did. So why did she do it?! Honestly, if she knew that this was going to be the end of Olitz, why did she not find another way to end the impeachment? She cannot constantly make terrible choices and then go, "This is bumming me out." Make some better choices! Just then, she gets a phone call from OPA. Turns out the facility that Navid told them about is just a soda factory. So she races over to the hospital and tells him that the asylum deal is off.

Jake and Huck are still trying to track Rowan down. Huck tells Jake that he won't do more than intel because he can't go back to his old, damaged self. Jake is on his own, which means he's never going to catch Rowan. Great. Speaking of intel, Huck takes a look at the surveillance photos of the soda factory and notices that something is off and that the soda factory is just a cover. So Liv goes back to the hospital and enters Navid's room. She discovers him lying in a pool of his own blood! He slit his wrists. OMG! He'd rather die than go home. Liv calls for help and thankfully, he doesn't die.

Liv apologizes for not believing him and he's grateful that the asylum is back on because he's gay and if he went back to Bandar, he'd be killed. Ooof. So sad. Liv calls Abby and has Fitz stop the deal signing with Razani. Meanwhile, David shows up to Cyrus's office and reveals that it was Liv who was behind Rowan's release. On the outside, Cy is like:

Yet on the inside he's like:

Finally, Cy has his chance to take the White House back from Olivia and he tells Fitz what Liv did, which leads back to the opening of the episode. Fitz is actually convinced this is all a mistake and that there is no way she would betray him like this. Then Liv eventually breaks down and tells him everything. The pain on both of their faces. Wow. What a scene. Fitz then returns to Cy. Cy is trying his damnedest not to praise-dance at Liv's demise. Fitz says he wants Liv released and the charges dropped. WUT?!? Cy is stunned and so am I. Fitz says that he believes Liv's concern about her father's life. So after she's released, he wants Cy to bring her home to the White House and not her apartment. O ... kay. Where is this going? This is so insane. Anyway, Fitz and Razani sign the deal and then Fitz tell him the U.S. is about to blow the soda factory up and there's nothing that can be done to stop him. I see you, Fitz. That was a baller move.

We catch up with Jake. He tracks Rowan down and then calls Fitz. Fitz basically says, "Lemme know when you kill the dude," which means Jake ain't gonna kill shit, but let's all pretend like Jake the Bae is going to handle this. Jake shows up at the location and Secret Service Tom is dead and I pretty much Kanye Shrug because SST has been nothing short of crazy for the past two seasons, so he needed to die. Back at the White House, Liv is dealing with another phone call from Mellie, who is threatening her. Liv says she already told Fitz and hangs up again. Then she notices all her belongings are being moved into the WH residence. She's confused and Fitz is like:

Liv is screwed and on her own, y'all, and excuse my incorrect aaaanglish, but she shoulda done chose Jake the Bae. At least he wouldn't turn into Kathy Bates from Misery. Fitz has lost all his marbles, so, moral of the story? Beware of everybody, but especially of these pale-faced white men. First, Secret Service Tom, who not only killed Jerry Jr., but also pretty much made a fresh batch of Cream of Wheat in his pants every time he saw Liv. Now, we got Fitz holding Liv captive instead of just breaking up with her and then throwing her in prison. I'm not sure how she's going to get out of this mess, and if I'm being completely honest, I'm not sure I care. Why?

Because Olitz is trash. And not the kind of trash that ends up being treasure and highly valued on Antiques Roadshow. No. Olitz is the trash in the ocean that is killing baby seals and jacking coral reefs. Sure, Olitz have sexual chemistry, but together, they are garbage humans who bring out the worst in each other. All they do is commit acts of betrayal to one another, and at this point, I'm done. Yes, Liv shouldn't have lied. Yes, Fitz shouldn't be moving her shit into the White House without her permission, but does any of it matter? No matter what they do to each other, they forgive each other, so what are the stakes here? Why does any of this matter? They are going to end up together despite the lies, despite him having her followed, despite her letting her father out of prison, despite him banging Amanda Tanner after they broke up. And they're definitely going to end up together if he manages to have Rowan killed, which is hinted at in the final moments of the episode with Huck threatening Rowan. So why should I care? Nothing is truly at risk here because neither of these characters has a breaking point. They are just going to continue to be foul, and it's really becoming unpleasant to watch, especially because we all know that Liv is going to have to do something three times as manipulative to gain her freedom from Fitz's creepy behind. I'm not fooled by the white-hat symbolism at the end of the episode. There is no way she can change this scenario in her favor if she doesn't do something shady. So what is the point in this "scary" plot twist? I'm not moved, which really bums me out because for the first time in Scandal's history, Liv doesn't elicit any empathy from me. She and Fitz deserve each other, and if they want to stay locked up in the White House constantly trying to one up each other and carrying on all this foolishness, go 'head. This just needs to give me somebody or something else to root for instead.

Alrighty, what did y'all think of last night's episode? Are there any Olitz shippers left or was Fitz's creep factor too high?