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Scandal

Scandal – Watch Me (7×01)

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It’s been several long months since the last episode of Scandal and I forgot just how much I missed that Oval office.

We come back to a new era of Scandal. Luna Vargas died from a Olivia-induced heart attack, the White House replaced one Grant, Fitz, with another, Mellie, and Cyrus Been is VP. But it all belongs to Olivia Pope, who has traded in her white hat for a red devil’s cloak.

For 6 seasons, Liv has spent most of her time bringing down the villains; the threats to the White House. So what a change of pace is it that now, in the final season, she is that threat?

This new Liv is power hungry. It’s like she’s inhaled so much power and she’s high off the trip. She think’s she unstoppable but Papa Pope is quick to warn her that it all comes at a price. He knows because that light, that little glow in her eye, he used to have it. When you’re at the top of the world, the only way to go is down. And he quickly realized you cannot have it all, as she thinks. It may seem like you can but slowly, it’ll begin to crumble as those around you begin to see you for who you really are; a person who only cares about themselves, who will hurt anyone to get what she wants. It’s actually kind of upsetting to see our Liv this way.

Not only is she Chief of Staff, she’s also Command of B6-13 – yes the very organization she worked so tirelessly to take down. And I’ll give her this, at least she’s trying to change things. She has new strategies to get what she wants and manipulation is far better than murder and torture, I think.

So like I said, it’s some kind of twilight zone version of the DC we left back in May.

Madam President and Cyrus are working together to make the country better. And that isn’t code for Cyrus plotting how to steal the title from Mellie either. Liv, who knows his tactics and games, tested his loyalty while garnering votes for a free education bill, but he didn’t budge, instead telling the Senator that these children deserved the bill now, not when he was maybe President in 4 years. Go Cy! By the way, can someone please send that bill to Trump, just saying. But was that a sign of him becoming weak under the rule of these two women or of complete devotion to the cause?

Persuading the Senator’s to get enough votes for this bill also included Liv blackmailing one of them with incriminating evidence in an envelope. That’s that OPA training.

Speaking of OPA, it exists now under the new name QPA – Quinn Perkins and Associates. The name change, while subtle, has caused the group to lose a handful of customers but they eagerly take on their first client: a daughter of a professor in Bashrani who has gone missing. A very pregnant Quinn who is snacking on everything in sight and looking quite adorable since Katie Lowe is actually pregnant, quickly realizes that her father is actually CIA.

A quick visit to Liv, who wouldn’t let the pregnant girl pee because she was hiding JAKE in her bedroom (more on that in a minute), reveals that he’s actually CIA’s most valuable undercover agent. As Command, this is now a major problem that Jake suggests they take care of by killing the asset before he begins talking. Liv’s not interested in that idea because she has her own agenda and Jake decides to go behind her back and persuade Mellie, who firmly tells Liv that she’s the one calling the shots around here. Alright, we’ll see about that.

Liv takes it upon herself to spare this man by using that blackmailing technique with the ambassador. Now it is one thing to provide incriminating pictures to get what you want but Liv went as far as threatening to kill his children if he didn’t give back the professor. My palms were sweating thinking she would actually go through with it to prove her point. Also, has she really stooped so low to kill children?!

At the end of the day, the professor is reunited with his daughter, American intel is safe and so are the other operatives in the CIA. But seeing Jake, still a FWB, and Mellie, go over her head did not sit well with her. Echoing what her father said – you can’t have it all – Liv breaks her “convenient, safe, secure and easy,” hook up with Jake because he became too comfortable and she simply cannot afford to have him step out of line again. You see, she’s the puppet master and these are her puppets.

Liv wields all the power right now, with everyone. With Jake, he needs to obey her because she is Command and he knows too much to become indispensable. She controls him professionally and personally: “Go home to your wife Admiral Ballard.”

Mellie tried to stand up to Liv and while admirable, a fruitless effort. Why? As Liv put it “you’re either a monument or an asterisk, which do you want to be?” The first female President would never want to be just an asterisk and Mellie knows that despite her brash delivery, Liv knows what she’s talking about. She can lead her to success the way she did her predecessor many, many times. They simply need to stick together through it all and trust each other.

Despite the heated exchange between Liv and Mellie, it was empowering to see two women stand in that Oval office knowing that they controlled it. For a show that started with Liv being the President’s mistress, it really gave her the power back. And proved that the mistress and wife can be friends and do great things because feminism over side pieces and all that jazz. I honestly have always liked Mellie and Liv working together it’s just unfortunate that it’ll get ruined because while Liv made it clear that the White House wasn’t Mellie’s, she truly believes it is hers.

Surprisingly, I didn’t even notice that Fitz wasn’t in the episode at all aside from the mention of him on a news channel. I guess I was too thrown off with the fact that Liv and Jake were still sleeping together. What will Fitz’s role be now? How will he fit into the scheme of things when he literally isn’t involved in all the scheming and dramatic political scene? He’s in Vermont for crying out loud, which is also proof that they both are living out their dreams – this new Olivia’s was never Vermont, although she longingly looks at it for a minute reminiscing on the simpler days. I am ride-or-die for Team Olitz but with how far she’s gone, I don’t think she could go back to simplicity of it. Still, Fitz is necessary because he’s always bringing humanity to Liv, who left alone with her father’s influence, is just a monster.

But when they run into each other, will old feelings rush back? She obviously still loves and cares about him but there’s no room for love when your that powerful because love makes you weak. There is however room for discreet hooking up with a new power-player journalist in town. Frankly, I like Pryce a lot more than pretentious Sally Langton and not just because of his looks. This is the first time I think that there might be a new “team” to ship on the series. Liv has had love interests before but it was always Fitz and Jake. At this point, I think we’ve exhausted them both and I’m digging these Fifty Shade vibes they are serving up – with Liv as Christina, obviously. We’re flipping the gender cards here, always!

What did you think of the season premiere episode? Will Shonda have you enthralled every minute of this last season? What is the endgame? Did you catch Papa Pope’s Beyonce reference when he asked if Mellie is “in formation?” You know Papa Pope lowkey gets down with Queen Bey!

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Scandal

Scandal – Army of One (7×11)

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Scandal Army of One

Does anyone even care what happens to Olivia Pope at this point? Like really, does anyone care?

There was about 5% of care left in me and in this week’s episode, Liv had the NERVE to go cry to her daddy and utter the words: “dad, she hates me,” about Quinn.

Let’s back it up just a little bit. Of course, she hates you Liv. You allowed your father to KILL HER in order to keep your power, to ride your high horse, to stay on top. You let your best friend die so you could live in a grandiose manner. So yeah, she hates you. As a matter of fact, we all hate you.

That’s why the first female President replaced you with puppy dog Jake as Chief of Staff. It’s why she told you that you either announce your resignation or you’ll be terminated publically. It’s why Fitz wasn’t in this episode. It’s why Quinn broke free and risked her and her babies life to come and point a gun at you. It’s why no one at the almost defunct OPA even wants anything to do with you.

Gone are the days where we gave Olivia a second chance. This is the Olivia who told everyone she would resign, then went behind their backs and when she was threatened with being replaced, she framed some innocent man to get caught up sleeping with Jake’s wife on national television so he would be embarrassed and forced to resign.

It’s amazing to me that it took Cyrus’ intervention for them to realize that they could spin a story as Jack’s wife simply serving as an FBI spy. If they really are this hopeless without Liv, maybe they should forgive her for everything she’s done.

On a different playing field, the idea that Jake Ballard, of all people, would be promoted to this position is comical. Jake may do the dirty work, but he’s never proven to be able to stand on his own without taking orders from someone else. He’s also the same man who threated to slice Mellie’s throat just last week. I guess in the real world, the people who do the least always get promoted too.

Of course, we know we cannot trust Cyrus because his one and only goal in life has been to become President. At this point, he’s done so many questionable things and he doesn’t have anything left to lose, so why wouldn’t he just bump Mellie and take her spot. Liv really sat there are questioned his loyalty about it too like she didn’t just turn her back on Quinn and let her die. “She’s your friend, Cyrus,” she said. Yeah, so was Quinn.

The time has come where Scandal has become caught up in itself and the convoluted B613 schemes have taken over the show. Arguably, B613 was fresh, impressive and full of potential when it was first introduced. But a few seasons on this show and the logic has sucked itself out, leaving an institution with gaping holes, illogical decisions and truthfully, only two employees. And in the absence of logic, purpose no longer exists. We’re here for the “wow” and the “OMG” factors.

Jake has been in the game long enough that you’d be certain he would have secured a gameplan if Liv were to be pushed out of Command. Or anyone for that matter. How does Liv hold onto her power so long, even when she’s been booted. They say you cannot take Command, but surely you can prepare for Command’s inevitable fall?

Maybe Jake just has too much on his plate these days; Chief of Staff, Command and NSA director. It’s no wonder he can’t find the time to do any of them properly.

With all this in mind, this cat and mouse game between Rowan and Liv continued on the road of “absolutely no sense.”

Liv wanted to retain her power, but in doing so, lost it completely. Rowan wanted to beat his daughter at her own game to assure himself that his daughter was still there, deep down inside. And yet when he lost, you’d think the endgame was kill or be killed. Yet, Liv didn’t want to kill Rowan and as much as Quinn wanted her revenge, Rowan would never allow his child to be hurt.

So, what’s the point? Why keep Quinn a prisoner? Why allow Liv to believe she’s dead?

Quinn revealed herself to be alive and while it spooked Liv, there was no real outcome. Liv took a bullet for Quinn, which is the least she can do at this point. Quinn picked her daughter up and bolted for the door. Given Quinn’s training with B613 and being married to top agent, Charlie, you’d think she would have realized Liv would have people protecting and watching her every move. How novice of her.

Charlie didn’t retaliate against Liv either. They simply waltzed back into OPA like “tada” I’m not really dead and Huck and Abbie were like “whoa, what.” Not the “I’ve just seen a ghost” type either. They should be celebrating because losing Quinn was more of a setback business-wise than I thought it would be for OPA. They actually told a client to “get a good lawyer,” after Liv was found responsible for setting him up. That’s it. It’s like they failed to realize that helping Jake and the President wasn’t actually helping their client.

Hopefully, they don’t just forgive Liv the way Rowan did. The Pope’s may be powerful but lord, they are also on a different spectrum. They go at each other’s throats and then just pretend like nothing ever happened; like they haven’t spent the last several years trying to take each other out.

That’s a new level of dysfunction and no one needs to be a part of it.

I commend Liv for admitting loss and doing what’s right for her country. In a semi-redeeming moment, she blindsided Cyrus instead of burning Mellie’s presidency to the ground. Can you imagine if a woman actually ruined the presidency of the first female President? It would really go against all the female empowerment Liv always claims to stand for. She even released her street-hacker hold on B613 to Jake.

With Liv’s hands out of all the pots, what happens now?

Does she find a new purpose? Does she return to OPA and pretend nothing ever happened? Does she hope a place in Vermont still exists? Do we even care?

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Scandal

Scandal – The People vs. Olivia Pope (7×10)

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Scandal The People vs Olivia Pope

After tonight’s episode, I have a piece of advice to Liv: “don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

By now, Liv should be completely over the back-and-forth tug that consistently repeats itself on Scandal. Yet somehow, she’s so drawn to this idea of power, she cannot let it go.

And once again, she’s proven that the power is more important to her than the friendships that she’s built, the ones that have been her foundation all these years.

Fitz whisks Olivia away for the long weekend under the guise of a finally having their Vermont. Liv is intrigued by the idea until she walks in and finds Huck sitting in the living room. Hey, at least we got to see what the perfect ending to this tumultuous story could be — Vermont for 3.5 blissful seconds!

Immediately, she realizes this is an intervention by her nearest and dearest. It’s not something she’s really “feeling.”

Seeing all of her apprentices, friends, those who looked up to her staring disappointingly at her is powerful. Unfortunately, not powerful enough to break her.

Liv isn’t half as cunning as her father, although she continues to try. Everyone caught onto her, which Rowan warned her about. Yet, she couldn’t let go of the need for an emotional connection and it caught her up. And when she finally did learn her lesson, it was too late.

They give her an ultimatum: give up the White House and B613 and she gets another chance. David won’t prosecute her, which he warns would probably put him in the record books for the most recent death penalty. This isn’t simply about Quinn after all, Liv also killed Rashad, who was a Head of State.

We find out that the USB drive Abby and David found did, in fact, have all of Quinn’s findings on it. I guess a mother’s intuition never fails her. They seemingly handed it over to Cyrus, who informs Mellie that her right-hand gal is actually the woman who killed her lover.

Understandably, Mellie is pissed with a capital P. Had Liv been in the White House then and there, we’d probably witness the most glorious pantsuit girl fight in history. But, she wasn’t because as we know, she was locked up with no way of escaping and no way of reaching the outside world. Hey, she has no one to blame but herself, she trained them after all.

One-by-one, each of the Gladiators tries to talk some reason into Liv. They try to help her see that she’s thinking irrationally; she doesn’t feel guilty for Quinn’s death because Quinn should have entrusted that B613 was doing the right thing.

Even Fitz isn’t affected by Livs cheap shots and low blows nor do they flinch when she tries to deflect and bring up the terrible things that everyone else has done during their seven-season tenure.

I’ll spare you the repetition and echo what Huck told her; they are not one in the same. Quinn was family and you simply do no kill your family, one of your own.

“I’m not your gladiator anymore,” Huck barks at Liv. I’m over here like “YAAAS” because you know what pissed me off more than the idea that Liv could kill Quinn? The fact that she still doesn’t get it. Everyone is trying to help her, trying to give her a second chance and she tries to manipulate Huck by making him feel like he owes her. Girl, NO!

Realizing that none of the tricks she has up her sleeve will work, a doeful Liv emerges from her chambers and offers up a resignation letter. She can’t necessarily muster up the words “I was wrong,” which is understandable for a woman whose claim to fame is that she’s always right.

“I can admit is that I have to stop. I can’t continue like this,” she tells the group. See, it would have been a sweet and meaningful moment had she actually stood by her words. Had she meant them, I would have given her the benefit of the doubt.

I can proudly call myself a true Olivia Pope body language expert because I KNEW homegirl was lying. It was all an act out of desperation because she knew that this group of people wanted to so badly to believe in the narrative that she did feel guilty and she did want to change.

Why did they simply let her go all on her own? Why didn’t they escort her to the damn podium? Who knows.

The only thing that truly matters is that this is not the same Olivia Pope. No second chance should have been given. She killed Quinn in cold blood justifying it as “for the Republic,” and she just as quickly turned her back on the last few souls who actually gave a crap about her.

Here’s the thing though — when you have less than a handful of friends, you can’t take any of them for granted.

At the time of the press conference, Liv had lost Mellie’s trust because of the Rashad thing. Mellie too was willing to give Liv the benefit of the doubt, much to Cyrus’ dismay. If Liv blew up his plane, she must have had a good reason, right?

Well, according to Ballard, the reason was that Mellie couldn’t keep her legs closed. Which is the most hypocritical reason, to be honest, because like Mellie pointed out, Fitz was allowed to spread his DNA all over the White House, especially with Liv. No one shot her down? It never was looked at as “compromising” the President.

So without the Gladiators, without Fitz, without Cyrus, without Mellie and without Rowan, Liv only had Jake.

And then she went and used him like a damn dog. My problem with Olivia is her entitlement. It used to be bearable because it wasn’t so overbearing but at this point, she thinks she can get whatever she wants with the snap of her finger.

She’s really allowed the power to get to her head because even after all of this, she still thinks she’s invincible.

Jake has gone on as Liv’s lackey for far too long and simply didn’t see it because the sex was good. Until Mellie pointed it out. And when Liv snapped her fingers this time and disregarded his sound advice as Admiral to give him an order, he decided to cut her just like everyone else.

Liv thought she played everyone in Vermont, but upon arriving back in DC, she found out Jake actually played her twice as hard… and removed her from the White House. Buh-bye Liv!

And if she thinks THAT’S BAD, she really has no idea what’s coming.

Quinn. Quinn is coming.

And she’s scary. Like new mommy, ready to protect her cub and get justice on the woman who wronged her, scary.

Like singing Britney Spears lullabies with Rowan scary. Yes, we all had the same look that Charlie did when that scene happened.

Even after everything that Rowan has done and how drastic he was in last week’s episode, he was quite pleasant this week.

Aside from a few altercations with Charlie who suspected that Rowan was trying to steal his family, it turns out, a cold-blooded killer can be really good with newborns. I almost melted when he was teaching Charlie how to hold his baby.

I’m glad that Charlie now knows his girl is alive because he wouldn’t have held it together for long. It’s also good to know that Rowan doesn’t have any ulterior motives here about keeping Quinn for selfish reasons.

They’ve both agreed that for her to get her revenge on her so-called best friend, she has to stay with Rowan and pretend to be dead. Keep the element of suspense until she can surprise her and torture her.

It seems to me like whichever road this series takes, Olivia’s fall to the bottom is going to hurt.

The power is gone and so is any idea of Vermont. Her “stunt” today proved that she’s beyond redemption.

She’s either going to end up dead or in prison, but the latter seems unlikely because even with Quinn, there’s no way to expose her to the courts without also exposing B613. Would the world finding out that the government is a sham really help anyone? Nope.

So really, the series has to end with Liv dying because she’s not good for America. She never has been.

To finish, I’ll echo Fitz’s statement back at the cabin: “you don’t have any power here.”

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Scandal

Scandal – Good People (7×09)

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Scandal Good People

I’m not usually a fan of flashback episodes, but this one was necessary to give us insight into Rowan’s mentality.

We’ve never seen Rowan’s day-to-day; what does he do when he isn’t running B6-13?

And boy, it was beyond weird. Rowan at a department store befriending the associate and then meeting him out for wings is much creepier than Rowan torturing and killing people. We’re used to that so while terrible, it isn’t as out of our element.

To catch you up: Rowan kidnapped Quinn when she arrived at OPA right before the wedding. He somehow managed to stuff her 9-month pregnant body into a suitcase (which is nearly impossible because sometimes, I can’t stuff my vacation clothing into that thing), and then chained her up in his sound-proof and secret basement.

Now, I’m a stinger for consistency and this episode lacked a lot of it. For starters, the basement was DEFINITELY not sound-proof as Quinn heard Rowan’s full convo with Liv, up until the moment she said: “bring me her body so we can give her a proper funeral.” Can you imagine hearing your best friend tell her father that you should die for the republic? Like, what does that even mean to Liv anymore? Does she even know?

The other part that really irritated me was the gunshot. When Rowan went down to kill Quinn, she attacked him with the chain she’d been tied up with and a gunshot fired. From Liv’s perspective, she heard Liv scream and then a gunshot go off, which in this timeline, happened after the first gunshot. How did she not hear the first one? Does the basement pick and choose when it is soundproof?

Despite how much anger Quinn has for Liv, she still helped her. Maybe unintentionally, but the hairpin that Liv gave Quinn was actually what she used to free herself from the chains. And as we know from last week’s episode, what led Huck to figure out that Liv gifted her the pin and was probably responsible for Quinn’s death. Also, whose body did Rowan burn up? Was it the store clerk Marv aka his only friend?

Rowan is a very unlikeable character. And no matter how many times Shonda wants to make him likable, it’s impossible because he’s so morally corrupt. And he knows it. Do I have to remind you that he shot the woman he was dating at point-blank? Obviously, Marv was going to end up with a bullet through his head, but only after Rowan used him to get what he needed. In this case, he needed him to deliver Quinn’s baby.

Rowan uses a lot of people, but their usual people who also play the game. Quinn’s kidnapping was hard to watch, but she’s B6-13. She plays the game, she understands this world. Marv was completely innocent and there was something so wrong and devastating about an innocent man getting so caught up in Rowan’s game. He didn’t know any better — he thought he just made a friend. He even offered him his 40% employee discount!

Yet, he’s still a better human than Olivia at this point. She’s gone from boasting the white hat to stepping all over it.

While I wasn’t sure if Quinn survived Rowan and Liv’s power tiff, I knew she would have it handled. It’s Quinn after all. But it wasn’t as easy as it should have been. Someone with that much experience in killing people should have been able to come up with a better escape plan, quicker. But, I guess when you are pregnant, your instincts aren’t as strong. She’s more focused on keeping her baby safe and giving birth.

Thankfully, her team came to help out in the form of hallucinations, which are very common when you are being kept in a windowless room. I loved everything about it — Charlie encouraging Quinn to push, Huck telling her that she’s going to die if she doesn’t escape, and Abbie holding her hand through the birth. The team that is OPA is so ride-or-die even when they aren’t there, they are never too far behind. It also allowed the writers to have them all present during the birth, making it a little easier on the eyes.

Let’s face it, that birth scene was the stuff of nightmares! A woman is already sensitive and scared before pushing out another human and this added so many deep layers. She wanted so badly to get to a hospital but Rowan put her to sleep instead. Then some untrained man came to deliver the baby. It was all so brutal, Quinn is a pro for making it through.

Rowan definitely had a few internal struggles with what he was doing. He’s Command so wielding power is in his blood, but also, if he loses, it means his daughter is gone for good. He never wanted to hurt a pregnant woman, to keep her captive, but Liv gave him no choice. I’m wondering if there will come a moment when he just calls quits and goes off to some tropical island to serve up Mai Tais at the beach bar.

Quinn is definitely going to experience some Stockholm Syndrome here. She sees a smidge of good in Rowan, even though no normal person would ever actually do this to another human being. She has gratitude, she’s indebted to him and she’s obviously not going to leave because she realizes what’s at stake. Furthermore, if Liv did find out that Quinn was alive, she would probably kill her to silence her. In some twisted way, she may be safer with Rowan.

As for that Charlie scene; she’s obviously going to come in and pull them apart. Charlie will be really confused by the whole thing and it might cause a rift between them. Will she stay with Rowan or go with Charlie? Ultimately, I’d like to see them all takedown Olivia Pope. If someone has to die for the republic, it should be her.

Next week seems promising because they’re staging a group intervention for Liv. Will she believe everyone if they’re all in unison about how out of hand she’s getting? Or will this just anger her more?

The fact that Fitz is able to lure her in on the promise of Vermont speaks volumes. She may be Command and she may have let Quinn die, but she still believes there’s an out for her. A homely ending where she gets to make jam and raise kids with the love of her life. Maybe, there is hope for Olivia Pope.

Other Thoughts

  • Best scene ever goes to Rowan yelling about how he needs his dinosaurs in a public restaurant. He looked like a damn child.
  • Why the hell did Liv help Rowan clean up Marv’s mess? Is this her admitting that she’s okay with what he’s doing?
  • Rowan calling Marv his only friend and saying what he does is “necessary” is just an admittance of his crazy. No of this is necessary!
  • Did Liv’s dino cameras not see Quin walking around the house with Rowan? I’d assume she’d have cameras posted up around the house if she really wanted to keep tabs on her daddio.

Has this season lost its way? A bit. We have a limited amount of episodes and I fear that it won’t go out with the bang that we’re all hoping for. And is there anything that will still surprise us?

Prove us wrong Shonda, prove. us. wrong.

 

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