There are times when I have to take a long, extended break between watching a show and writing a review, to avoid dealing with the onslaught of disappointment at my fingertips. Usually, I try to ignore (see procrastinate) on the show for as long as I can, but I live and breathe for Scandal. I live for the mother-and-daughter conversations I have after an episode, I adore the live-tweeting, and when it’s an entirely awesome episode, I enjoy writing these reviews and discussing all the themes, all the feminism—I love it all. But last night’s “Yes” left me feeling more like no.
Until this morning that is. See, the issue with watching a Shonda Rhimes production is that even these somewhat soap storylines stay with you for a long time. You start comparing things from previous seasons, many thoughts creep through and you’re left wondering if certain moves are going to play out in one way, or another. Basically, by the time I woke up to let my dog out, I was fully immersed in my thoughts about the autonomy of Olivia and whether or not Fitz finally got it?
Sally, AKA the Devil, released a flurry of photos that confirms the long-suspected rumor of Olivia Pope as President Fitzgerald’s mistress—or, as she put it, “seductress.” Fitz is pissed because, well—who dun it? Who had the gall to spy on the President? That ‘mystery’ (and I use that term lightly) forces the narrative to become clunky, muddled and unnecessary. I think a narrative trick from How to Get Away with Murder could have been used here, where Liv’s “Yes” to the crowd could have been the first scene, so that we could have watched the buildup from that moment.
As much as they tried to hold us in suspense, it all fell so flat, I didn’t even raise an eyebrow when we got our answer. I may have found the storyline more intriguing if someone close to Liv, say Abby, was the one to betray her. Someone on Twitter noted that Abby is treated like the red-headed stepchild of the White House. As much as she loves Liv, it would have been interesting to see her attempting to take control of things. But instead, it was Elizabeth North, who did it all to get back at Mellie. Snore.
Olivia thinks it’s best to run, and we’re forced to join her. Despite their inner-fighting, Quinn, Jake and Huck all join together to help their Pope. The fractured OPA’s mission of the week was, well, weak. It only served the purpose of getting Olivia out of town while the press had a field day, because the moment Sally received those photos, the media vultures showed up for their day’s meal. However, the mission to figure out whether or not a hedge fund brat was capable of murder was my least favorite OPA case. The only good it did was bring Jake back in to the story, where he gave some solid advice and cuddled with Olivia as she ran through her thoughts. Tony Goldwyn directed this scene, so yes, it was damn adorable.
Fitz, for what it’s worth, tries to do things to the best of his ability. I always give him grief for not doing enough for Liv, despite taking his country to war that one time to ensure her return. But I also gave him grief for smacking divorce papers in Mellie’s face last week, so clearly he can’t do anything right in my eyes. But in “Yes” I finally had my “a-ha” moment. In a conversation between Liz and Abby, the two mention that Olivia has taken the President’s strings along with her and Liz wants “the puppet to dance.” Many people have tried to dictate the moves and actions of the President. However, Vice President Susan’s lecture (“Mr. President, you don’t get to be just like anyone else. That’s not the job you signed up for.”) and Abby relaying the truth about Olivia—being the President’s mistress isn’t the life she wants chosen—for her, bring things together in a new way. All of these previous issues with Fitz choosing Liv over Mellie and/or the Presidency were never the real issues—it’s really about what Liv would choose.
Frankly, she always lived a life of following others’ expectations. The moment Fitz made that phone call saying he’s going to put her career first, she realized he did respect her autonomy and in return, it was worth saying “Yes” in front of all the press. Let’s just hope it really was worth it. Or that we can finally be done with Fitz and Olivia.
Mellie and Abby are slowly becoming the women they once were. It’s sad to see that Abby was relegated to some intern-like position, but the White House doesn’t appreciate her capabilities. Mellie, on the other hand, may turn straight up evil after what Olivia Pope just did. Now that will be exciting.
Speaking of puppet masters, Cyrus always has control no matter what. I miss him, too.
Quinn and Huck—just play nice. Please.
I think we need fresh new blood on the show. An intern for OPA, a new assassin—anyone. Someone great. Someone incredible. Hear my cries, universe!
Iris A. Barreto is a writer for Fangirlish, freelance writer for Paste and social media intern for Pink is the New Blog. Heavily caffeinated. Forever lost in Westchester, NY & NYC; all GPS apps hate her. You can follow on Twitter.