It’s time once again for Laura’s weekly rundown of all things Scandal!
There’s one big question throughout this episode: Should Olivia (and others) trust her gut, or has it started to fail her?
When a translator from Bandar asked to defect to the U.S., Liv’s gut told her he was afraid to return home and honest about having intel. Navid Turani offered up a soda factory that isn’t what it seems. When Olivia’s team told her there was no uranium at the facility, she thought her gut got it wrong and took out her frustration on Navid. She was furious she might have misjudged such an important situation when she relies on her gut so heavily.
Jake also made Olivia question herself in their brilliant scene in the Oval Office. There was some fantastic writing and acting in that scene! It started when Olivia summoned Jake to the White House, letting him believe the president himself issued the summons. Naturally, Jake was livid to find out the truth. When Olivia said she needed to talk to him, he told her, “Do you understand how much I do not care about what you need?” That was especially true when she said she thinks her father might now be an innocent victim, and she hinted that she wants Jake’s help to protect him:
Jake: Have you ever lied to someone’s face when your back was completely against the wall to get what you wanted? Have you ever looked someone in the eye and made them think you loved them? Really truly loved them? So you could take whatever is it you needed from them?
Olivia: I believe him. My gut says he’s telling the truth.
Jake: Of course… Otherwise you’d be a fool with daddy issues who just got played by a mass murderer.
Olivia: What if he is innocent and someone really is trying to kill him?
Jake: Honestly, Liv, I just hope I get to him before they do. … What did you think, that I’d come here and spoon you? Give you a shoulder to cry on? Listen to you talk about all the dark places built inside of you? That train has left the station, and you do not get to ride this anymore. If you want someone to talk to, tell your boyfriend that you just let his son’s killer out of prison. See how that works out.
Olivia: Jake, I am going to tell him.
Jake: You are? That I’d like to see.
Olivia: I was supposed to choose you… When you told me Fitz loved me and that I should go to him, what you meant was that you wanted me to say I didn’t love him and that… I was supposed to choose you.
Jake: No. You were supposed to be too good for me. It never crossed my mind that I would be too good for you.
Olivia: The crimes, the violence I have forgiven you for, and you won’t even consider that I might be….
That’s when Fitz came in and interrupted them. Personally, I found that scene brilliant and emblematic of this season so fare as a whole. Jake used to be the one who needed forgiveness, who made mistakes and needed Olivia to pull him back into the sun. Now, she hasn’t yet realized she needs him to do the same thing for her. She isn’t wearing the white hat anymore. Sometimes I think Jake’s more upset about that than he is over her choosing Fitz, like he said in this scene.
Jake doesn’t really get to wear the white hat either, though. Huck called him on that, knowing searching for Rowan isn’t just another job for Jake. But Jake’s words got to Olivia, and she wondered whether she misread her father—if she was manipulated by the master of manipulation.
Then, Olivia learned Navid was telling the truth; the soda factory is a site of several cyber terror attacks on the West. She was right all along. Even more, she read his fear correctly. When Liv got to the hospital, she found Navid has slit his wrists, preferring to die than return to Bandar, because he’s gay and can’t live in fear and hiding anymore. Fortunately, he was already in a hospital, and they manage to save his life.
Having her gut proven right with Navid gave Olivia the confidence to tell Fitz her father is being hunted—once the FBI figured out what she’d done and she was arrested. That was another incredible scene, starting with Fitz absolutely convinced the FBI got it wrong and there was no way Olivia could have let Rowan out of jail, to his growing horror as she explained everything. Of course, we didn’t get to hear what she said to him. Instead, we listened to the song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” as we watched the shock and disillusionment on Fitz’s face as Olivia sobbed and told her story.
Before we get to the surprising end scene, there were a few other memorable moments in the episode, starting with the scene between Papa Pope and Olivia. Eli told his daughter, “I hope you know I did my best for you. Olivia, I take tremendous pride in who you have become.” It’s hard to read her expression in that moment—if she’s pleased that he’s proud of her or if that scares her. I think it’s probably a mixture of both.
There was also Susan, who remains the moral compass this season, speaking the truth when no one else will. Even though David’s sleeping with Elizabeth, it’s Susan he admires. I loved the moment when she waited like a schoolgirl to “accidentally” bump into him in the hallway.
Mellie and Cyrus also had their ups and downs in a couple of brief scenes. Mellie completely lost any leverage she had over Olivia once Fitz found out the truth. Cyrus had a fleeting moment of ecstasy when he thought Liv would go down for masterminding Rowan’s escape, only to get that joy crushed when Fitz pointed out that if he forgave Cyrus he can forgive Olivia.
Meanwhile, Jake went to the location where he thought he’d find Rowan, only to find Tom’s dead body. And Huck, after telling Jake he can’t be involved, apparently had Rowan as a prisoner in some abandoned factory.
Which, at last, brings us to that final scene between Olivia and Fitz. She got out of the shower in the Residence to find people hanging up all her clothes in the closet. Fitz told her he’s had all of her clothes and all of her belongings brought over, because she now lives there. He’s going to keep her safe—whatever it takes: “I’m assigning you a Secret Service detail, and you will live here,” Fitz told Liv. She does not look happy about this as he kissed her and told her, “You will be safe and protected.”
So much for having escaped the shackles of being First Lady! Olivia is now even more of a prisoner, with her own Secret Service detail to report back to Fitz and control her every movement. He wouldn’t have kept this close an eye on her if she’d gone ahead and married him, but now…
What do you think? Is Fitz going to keep Olivia under lock and key? Is he protecting her from herself or punishing her for her role in Rowan’s escape? Or both? And what do you think of the fact that Huck now has Rowan? The winter finale next week will definitely be interesting!