It's Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) cranked up to 11 in the latest episode of Scandal, titled "Adventures in Babysitting." Alas, that does not mean she sings the blues in a club and threatens warring gang members with a switchblade, but it does mean that she knocks some sense into those around her about letting her handle things.
"Let Command be Command" would have also been a good title for the episode, come to think of it. Not "Let Olivia be Olivia," because the Olivia Pope we all knew and loved for so many years is all but gone. This Olivia Pope is terrifying, even if she's trying to do the right thing.
First, she dresses down her father for going behind her back to enlist Fitz's (Tony Goldwyn) help, telling him he has lost his dinosaur privileges (among other privileges) and that he can have his bones back when he learns how to behave.
But Rowan (Joe Morton) just can't help himself, so he goes back to Fitz again. This time it's to tell Fitz to go back to Vermont, but Rowan knows Fitz generally does the exact opposite of what Rowan tells him to do, so he really should have known better. Predictably, Fitz runs to Olivia to try to talk her down, but what's less predictable is that when appealing to Liv doesn't work, he goes to Mellie (Bellamy Young) and tells her everything. I mean, completely, 100 percent, dirty dog rats her out. He tells Mellie about B-613, he tells her about diverting Pentagon money to fund it, he even tells her about Olivia being responsible for killing Luna Vargas (Tessie Santiago). On the list of crappy things Fitz has done to Olivia, this might take the cake.
Mellie understandably freaks the eff out. She knows Olivia is a "boss bitch" who will do whatever it takes, but she did not think that extended to "murdering the vice president." Olivia tries to tell Mellie it was all to protect her, but Mellie is having none of it. She can barely stand to be in the same room as Olivia, and she orders B-613 to be shut down.
However, after Mellie and President Rashad (Faran Tahir) finally admit their feelings for one another (and come very close to some White House sexy time), Mellie has a come-to-Jesus moment about Olivia's dealings. She wants this coup handled to keep Rashad alive, because if it isn't taken care of, he’ll be executed the minute he steps off the plane in Bashran.
So Olivia and Jake (Scott Foley) work on sabotaging the coup, because it's being orchestrated by two different factions working together. Their plan is to kill the leader of one faction and blame it on the other faction, thereby causing infighting and letting Rashad swoop in to restore order. And it apparently works, because he (and his niece, from the "We Need Something for QPA to Do This Week" subplot) gets on a plane to return to Bashran, only to have it blow up on the tarmac.
That's an intriguing twist, because now Mellie will be hell-bent on revenge – not only because her nuclear arms treaty is dead in the water, but because her potential love interest is also dead. The big question is: Who was behind the explosion? Could it have been Olivia? Even after the great Thelma & Louise thing she and Mellie have going?
Now's a good time to talk about how they came together to give Fitz the boot back to Vermont, because how dare he pit them against each other the way he did. It was a terrific, empowering moment for them, and as I said in the season premiere recap, the final season of Scandal would be awesome if it was just Mellie and Olivia kicking ass for 18 episodes.
But who else would have done that? Cyrus (Jeff Perry)? He wasn't in favor of a war in Bashran anyway, so this flies in the face of that. And this could actually get the U.S. involved in a war, unless Cyrus was so out of the loop that he thought this was the only way to stop a war. Hmmm.
Could it have been Fitz? That seems unlikely. Rowan, just to screw with his daughter? That's...not outside the realm of possibility. But maybe it's not someone we already know? Maybe this isn't designed to be the big whodunnit of the season. It's hard to say at this point.
Either way, good rebound from last week’s episode. It’s a shame how extraneous QPA feels at this point, but other than that, solid offering.
Odds & Ends
"I WANT MY BONES!" is the new "GIVE ME BACK MY SON!"
Fenton's (Dean Norris) nickname for Cyrus is "Laser Beene" and that is amazing and precious and awesome.
The kiss-off Curtis Pryce (Jay Hernandez) gives Olivia, telling her she's attractive and smart but basically lacking humanity, stirred a lot of emotions. It's super harsh and also maybe smacks of some misogyny? Because he can't handle being with a "boss bitch" who gets things done? But he's also not wrong about Olivia. I feel like she's gotten pretty dark and that has nothing to do with thinking women need to be nice and pretty and diplomatic and all that other BS. I would feel that way about any character behaving the way she is, man or woman. She's a little scary and her humanity is bit questionable at this point. Hmm.
Huck (Guillermo Diaz) barely had any lines this week, but he did get to scare the living daylights out of an unsuspecting college co-ed: "If someone really wanted to make you talk, you'd talk. Everybody does. Eventually."
Rashad's niece being a lesbian and therefore afraid to return to her country because of how that will be received was the only interesting part of that storyline, and it led to a solid joke about showing up for a family gathering all "Guess who's coming to Ramadan?" If that went over your head, Google "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," it's a 1967 gem starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sydney Poitier.
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