#Gladiators, a couple weeks ago I crowned Shonda Rhimes the “Queen of Giving Zero Damns,” but I was wrong. She gives all the damns. And not only does she give all the damns, she presents us with the damn and withholds the gift receipts, as if you say, “You gon’ like this damn, dammit.” Basically, Queen Shonda treats this loyal Scandal viewer the way my parents did when they bought me knockoff L.A. Gear sneakers, except instead of giving me second-rate footwear and telling me to deal, Shonda & Co. gave me amazing commentary on social media misogyny, on how coded language is used to perpetuate racism, on how double standards hurt women, in particular women of color, while men who behave just as badly are rarely reprimanded. Or if they do get in trouble, their reputations will mostly remain intact. Shonda & Co. called b.s. on all of these injustices because they cared that much. They gave enough damns to take all of us to college last night, which explains why Sallie Mae is calling me this morning asking me to fork over $800 for the one-hour class I inadvertently enrolled in last night, called Things Your Black Female Behind Better Not Forget So Long As You Walk This Green Earf. And dare I say not only was this one-hour class amazing, this might have been the best one of the best episodes of Scandal in a really long time.
We open last night’s episode, entitled “Dog-Whistle Politics,” in the middle of the Olitz affair scandal. A journalist is doing an exposé on the life of Miss Olivia Carolyn Pope, and even though this newscaster has a bomb-ass Keratin treatment and sleek, tailored clothes like she is the utmost professional, she is not. You know how at the Olympics, when Russia is really good at a particular event, and the country sweeps the medals in that event? Well, this trifling newswoman is basically winning the gold, silver, and bronze in Shade Olympics with all the mess she’s spewing, calling Liv “urban” every five seconds, insinuating that Liv is just swinging from one high-profile peen to a higher-profile peen like she’s on a set of monkey bars, and showing Rowan rocking a Stedman Graham mustache. Like she couldn’t find a better picture of Rowan than that? I hate this newswoman, but I also respect her because if you’re going to be shady, you might as well be as shady as all the awnings over the outdoor-seating area at a California Pizza Kitchen.
Next we pick up on Jake and Rowan’s convo, and Papa Pope basically blames Liv for getting rid of him because there is now someone or “someones” far more dangerous who are wreaking havoc on the world, which is why the Louvre is on fire. Okay, so I’m guessing that means Mama Pope is up to her old tricks again, right? We don’t find out in this episode, but I’m betting good money on it. What we do know is that someone caused this fire as a distraction to steal valuable artwork. But the Louvre isn’t the only thing engulfed in flames. OPA is quickly losing money and clients, so Quinn pulls her best Harrison to recruit Marcus (the hottie activist from last season’s episode “The Lawn Chair”), but Marcus shuts her down like a Dell computer, which means that after the commercial break, he will take her up on this job offer, but okay, let’s all play along like he’s not interested in this job.
Back at the White House, Fitz has just fired Abby, and as we saw last week, he wouldn’t take Cy back, but he’s keeping Lizzie because? Since she has taken over for Cy, she has literally done nothing well and is always one step behind the media, but this decision just proves that Fitz has lost his doggone mind and is not well equipped to be president of his 50-plus YMCA basketball league, let alone president of the United States. I feel bad for Abby, and so does Liv, because she later tells Fitz he’s being stupid and emotional for firing Abby when she is pretty much doing everything to preserve his job and deflate this scandal. THANK YOU, LIV! Just then, she sees paparazzi snapping photos of her while she’s inside her apartment, and she freaks out. Y’all, this freaking apartment. She has been abducted from it, had people break in it, she’s been videotaped in it without her permission, and yet she keeps living there! And not only that, she’s always shocked when someone discovers where she lives. It’s like, girl, the location of your crib is such public knowledge at this point that it has about 37 Yelp reviews. Get a grip, log onto Craigslist, find a new place to live, and move out.
Jake is now in Paris … with Charlie! I missed Charlie!! He’s so cute and mentally off his rocker. Anyway, these two are there to get to the bottom of this Louvre business and meet with a woman named Elise. She gives Jake the Bae the once-over like he’s a brooch that’s being evaluated on Antiques Roadshow. She says she’s not working with him and then mentions something about “Jake” being his fake name. WAIT. Jake isn’t his real name?? What is it? Dave? Trent? Michael? Gordon? Some other white-guy name, like Heath? Someone, please tell me, so I know what to yell out when he and I eventually have sex. Because screaming, “Hey, you,” during sexy times is a boner killer. Moving on. We later learn that Elise, who is also a spy, and Jake were once married and they had a job in NYC, but she showed up hella late, so Jake left and thought she died. Elise is like, “You should have waited!” No. This is spy business — if you do not show up on time, you get left behind. Ain’t nobody trying to die for you because you pressed the snooze button on your alarm. #
Cy is continues his revenge plan by trying to convince Mellie to impeach Fitz. As much as she hates how the media is only focusing on Liv and dragging her through the mud for the affair and completely ignoring Fitz’s role, Mellie isn’t onboard with this plan. And I don’t blame her. I don’t care how much of an appetite you have for revenge, you don’t just launch into the impeachment process lightly. Cy needs to calm down. And he’s not the only one. Tons of politicians are seeking Fitz’s head on a platter. The Republicans, because they loathe how Fitz has not been in step with them and they see this scandal as an opportunity to get him to do what they want, while a gaggle of female senators want Fitz gone because they are sick of double standards where male politicians get away with bad behavior. When Abby, who was thankfully unfired, tells Fitz about possible impeachment, he acts … shocked, like he didn’t think this was a possibility. Y’all, did Fitz think he was going to get a fruit bouquet from Edible Arrangements when he revealed this affair? This guy is straight-up a Looney. Tune.
We return to Paris, where Charlie, Jake, and Elise are on a mission to set up a fake art deal to trap a bad guy. As Charlie and Jake are watching this deal from surveillance in a van, the feed cuts out and there are several gunshots. They go to the house and see the guy Elise was meeting with is dead, and she has a bullet wound in her arm. This is suspicious as hell, so what does Jake do? He asks her to come back to the U.S. with him, and I have to say that I think Elise is the waterfall that T-Boz and Chilli sang about not chasing. I mean, really, does anyone think this isn’t going to end with her betraying him and his beautiful face?
And in what is probably the episode’s most in-your-face commentary on modern-day society, Liv gets on the phone and vents to Fitz about the verbal abuse she’s receiving online. There’s a litany of rape and death threats, folks are calling her a slut and painting her as a villain without one mention of Fitz. And then there are the Olitz-inspired pornos. There’s three of them now. Oh, really? Cut to me pausing the DVR and going to my computer like …
…a nd doing an extensive Google search trying to find those Olitz pornos. I mean, obviously I’m super sad that Liv is in pain right now, but I’m already curious about these skin flicks. Can I at least see a thumbnail from one of them? In all seriousness, this kind of commentary is what Shonda & Co. do best. As much as this show indulges in fantasy, it will also sucker-punch the audience with the truth and hold a mirror up to us. After all, halfway through the exposé on Liv, there was a small part of me that thought, Liv does seem a little trifling, and the thought was almost just a reflexive one, which illustrates just how much respectability politics when it comes to female sexuality is indoctrinated in people. I mean, I certainly would never think of a guy as a social climber for having such an active dating life with such high-profile and powerful people. We’re all guilty of letting society’s conditioning make us judge women negatively, and it’s good to be reminded of that so that we won’t make that mistake again. Now, on to something lighter. Like Cy berating Mellie because she still has not decided to impeach Fitz.
I kid, I kid. This scene was brutal. Mellie pleads with Cy to let go of the thirst for revenge, but Cy refuses, which makes sense because he has essentially given up 20 years of his life to get her and Fitz into the White House, and spent countless hours fixing their messes and losing his soul along the way. So it makes sense that Cy wants payback, but then he had to go bring up Mellie’s dead son and say that she has closure, but he doesn’t because Fitz is walking around and Cy doesn’t know what he’s doing. Jeez Louise. The man is so far damn gone that Mellie fires him, and I don’t blame her. You don’t bring up someone’s deceased child and tell them to build a bridge and get over it.
So remember how I said that Marcus was going to change his mind and work for OPA? Well, that happened, and he rallies the troops to go on TV and talk about all the coded language that is used to describe Liv, and that a huge part of the problem the media has with the affair, is that Liv is a black woman and she’s not behaving in a “respectable” way, which is shocking because she’s so “articulate.” Once again, Shonda & Co. drop a truth bomb in the middle of the show about how people of color are judged more harshly and are more easily vilified when they don’t behave in a way that is deemed acceptable by society. Fitz is also dealing with how to behave in an acceptable way.
The GOP says they will fight impeachment if Fitz gives in, namely by killing the Brandon Bill (it was created after a young D.C. boy was shot to death by a racist cop). Fitz doesn’t know what to do. A senator from the GOP tells him to squash the bill and then offers some unsolicited advice: Only bang women who are more “palatable” to the party, a.k.a. bang white women only. Wow, this show is getting so damn real. Anyway, Abby tells him that the bill is his legacy, but that if he wants to stay in office, he has to end it. He then calls Liv and says that he has to do his job and be a leader. Well, that would be a first. I wonder what he’s going to d— oh. OH. OH. He takes a presidential motorcade to Liv’s apartment building, goes to her apartment, tells her, “I’m taking my girlfriend out on a date,” and they kiss. Excuse me while I …
… and then follow that up with a little:
I know I’m in the minority here because a lot of people think this is so romantic and swoon-worthy. I just can’t feel the same way because I’m too busy thinking, What the hell happened to the Brandon Bill? I’m all for true love or whatever, but the Brandon Bill was going to protect countless people of color against police brutality, and Fitz basically said F-U to all that just so he could take his mistress turned bae to Applebee’s and split a blooming-onion appetizer with her. This is two scoops of foolishness. What is the point of being president of the United States if, when you have the opportunity to truly change the country for the better, you throw it away for vajeen? Furthermore, him going to her residence is completely reckless and dangerous AFTER she just told him that she has been receiving so many rape and death threats. Great, now EVERYONE knows where she lives, and she has an even bigger target on her back than before. This is why I constantly say that Fitz ain’t shit. It’s not just for jokes. It because he doesn’t care about national security, he does not care about advancing society for the better, he does not think about how his children are affected by him never being present — he just thinks about what he wants, when he wants to love, how he wants to love. He is not presidential. He is a petulant child who turns on a dime and expects everyone else to step in line. UGH. With all that said, I have to give it up to Shonda & Co. for having Fitz do this, because if you’re going to an affair plotline, then you have to go all in. And the Scandal writers are certainly doing that, and I’m really intrigued to see where this all goes. Because as much as I don’t want to, I still give a damn about Olitz and hope they’re going to be okay. And it seems like they won’t because after seeing them on the news, Mellie decides to go through with impeaching her estranged husband. Someone, pass me the popcorn, because things are getting good!
Alrighty, what did you think of last night’s episode? Anyone else excited about Marcus joining OPA? Let me know in the comment section below.