Scandal Recap: Hoping is Bad

 Posted by on September 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm  Scandal
Sep 262014

OliviJakeWelcome, Scandal Nation! Season 4 has begun, Olivia Pope has returned from paradise for some reason, Gettysburger has a new sandwich on the menu called the Underground Railroad, and pretty much everything is a mess. Shall we discuss how our friends are doing in the fake nation’s capital? 


Poor Sugar Trousers. He’s right where he’s always been: close to power but not able to really touch it, in love with Liv but not able to say she feels the same; hot in every way that matters but still, well, Not. Jake is forever “not”: not-Fitz, not-Command, not-a-Gladiator. Jake is a good soldier, but every role he wants seems to require the opposite of goodness … including the one he has now. As Olivia’s boyfriend. For a while, anyway!

We both know it’s not my turn anymore. – Jake


“I am Randy the Smart Guy. Randy doesn’t hope; Randy works. … Hoping is bad for Randy.” This is an excellent point, Guy Formerly Known as Huck.


Quinn is still on the show. I am just as disappointed as you are.


Last time we saw David, Jake had dumped all the B613 documents on him and hopped a flight to Tanzania. David, evidently taking the George Costanza approach to that mess of files (“I even color-coded them!”), has now stuck all the dirt on B613 in a storage unit and lit out for a new gig at the White House. I’m beginning to wonder if you understand anything, David!


Still dead.


Ranty old Cyrus seems to be back on a healthy regimen of scheming and yelling. He looks trim and testy, even standing next to the gleaming Tower of Peevishness that is Portia de Rossi. Welcome to Scandal Nation, Portia! Hope you like talking really fast!


Mellie is wrecked. Right? That’s what it means when a female TV character slouches around in baggy clothes and no makeup, eating handfuls of cereal and laughing inappropriately at her husband.

Good for you, baby. Fight the power. – Mellie

Bullshit. Call it the Ophelia rule: a woman in the throes of insensible grief often glows like nothing else on earth. Mellie is beautiful now, and the dance she’s doing with her pain feels exactly right. 


Fitz is doing great without Olivia! Working hard, firing people, looking pensive and Presidential! He totally doesn’t want to know where she is! No, he is NOT going to see her! Oh, but then he does see her, and he’s glowing like a schoolboy, and … is anyone else beginning to think this guy maybe shouldn’t be the leader of the free world?


Helen Bishop Abby, now the Press Secretary the White House refers to as Red, is managing the message as smoothly as you’d expect from someone who’s been a single mother since 1960. Which looks like a good thing, until you notice that she’s also harried and snippy and punching her phone with both thumbs like an angry teenager. But she’ll be happier now that she can carpool to work with her boyfriend, right? Whatever, mom.


He’s not a good guy, he’s not a good father, and no one has ever said “I’m sorry for your loss” with less conviction. But he can choose a wine, he can help a girl disappear, and he is right to argue with Olivia for coming back.


What makes Olivia Pope compelling — her mortified refusal to seem broken, her ruthless work ethic, her conviction that she can somehow make the world better if she alone manages to do everything perfectly — is neither a fictional condition nor a good thing. Heroism is deeply unfair to heroes; more often than not, it kills them.

I was thrilled when Olivia Pope got on that plane at the end of last season. She wanted to go, she was right to want to go, and I was glad that she went. I understand that there is no show if she goes, but I am disappointed.

I wanted Olivia to stay gone. I wanted her to stay on that beautiful island with that beautiful man, rocking those beautiful curls. I want equal pay for equal work to be such a boring fact of life in America that it doesn’t show up as a plotline on the season premiere of a wildly popular show created by, and largely for, women. I also want to see Hillary Clinton call a press conference, look the United States of America dead in the eye, and tell us to kick rocks.

I’ve spent my entire life cleaning up other people’s messes, I want her to say. Find somebody else for 2016. You’re not my problem anymore.

“No matter what face we present to the world, we know our worth.” How I wish that were true, Olivia Pope — in your America or mine.


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