Scandal Season 5, Episode 7 Recap: Meet Your New President

Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless.
Let's get something out of the way really quick. Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is brilliant. She runs her own business. She has a strategic mind that everyone should be jealous of. She is the reason we all tune into Scandal. But, she is also an idiot when it comes to all of the men in her life — Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), Jake (Scott Foley), and even her lying, murdering, psychotic father, Rowan (Joe Morton). I'm not sure she has ever made a decision as stupid as when she released her father from jail last week. His first steps were a surprise to no one but her — he murdered someone, and he got his henchman released from jail too. When Jake confronts Liv about this decision, she says, "If I had known." Uhm, excuse me? Did she need someone to remind her that her father murdered countless innocent people, killed her boyfriend's son, locked up her mother, and blackmailed every person who has ever taken a breath? Of course she knew bad things were going to happen. We all did. Papa Pope's first casualty was Jake's wife. Jake is mad, but mainly confused. Really confused. But for once I'm on #teamjake because I am also confused by Olivia. I actually laugh when Jake says the most Felicity thing ever, "The woman I love killed the woman I used to love, or the woman I used love killed the woman I used to love, I can't figure it out." As someone who grew up watching General Hospital (and Felicity), I could get behind this line, if we, as viewers, ever got to know his wife. But we didn't. There really aren't any tears. It looks like we are back to the simple love triangle of Jake, Fitz, and Liv. Thank goodness, however, because there is a case this week: Olivia Pope & Associates can get back to work! A woman, Hannah Taylor, says the famed author, Frank Holland, raped her. This is the man who is described as "God's gift to women," and wrote the book that inspired Abby (Darby Stanchfield) to leave her husband. To top it off, Frank just received a Medal of Honor from the President himself this week. OPA is officially working for both the client and the White House. Olivia can't date a President that publicly embarrasses himself, you know? Quinn (Katie Lowes) remembers what it is like to wear the White Hat. She could care less about Fitz's reputation. She reminds us why we fell in love with Olivia, and it wasn't her love life. We fell in love with her because she cared for the underdogs, because she believed in the victims. She listened to the females that came forward even when especially when society refused to care. For her to almost turn her back on the one client willing to work with her, a rape victim, is not OK. Especially when our reality is one that continually bashes the more than 50 women who spoke out about an icon from our childhoods. One where 13 women can speak out about a police officer raping them, and the rhetoric consists of people questioning the women's credibility. So, Liv, please listen to Quinn. Believe in your client, and be a true member of OPA again.
Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless.
YES. Old Liv is back. Frank's wife just reignited her fire. Turns out she has known all along, and gave him the drugs he used on the women. Her excuse? Her husband has empowered so many women, it's OK if he rapes a woman every once in a while. Not only that, but it's actually the females' fault because, "One thing has been true since time began, young women are going to throw themselves at their professors." I can't believe any character on this show, even one set up as a villain, would say that. Olivia says it best, "Frank has got to go." All of this seems eerily familiar. There are black and white photographs of the 22 women claiming they were victims of the man who claimed he would mentor them, and then attacked them. The media is discussing how these women "recount chillingly similar stories." Just like that they were able to take a stand against a "national icon." On a more positive note, Elizabeth Norton (Portia de Rossi) is back. She asked for my dream job title — Head Bitch In Charge. (Let's all ask for that title in our next promotion. Deal?) She doesn't get that job (sadly). Instead Fitz Liv gives offers her Chief Of Staff for Vice President Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani). This brings us another love triangle — Elizabeth, Susan, and David (Joshua Malina). And don't forget Abby, she'll clearly be back in the picture soon. But we really didn't need another complicated love shape. The Jake, Fitz, and Liv triangle is already exhausting enough. Elizabeth being re-hired has really pissed off Cyrus (Jeff Perry). This means we have some really good episodes ahead because nobody fights better than Liv and Cyrus. In the meantime, he understands who he is working for — Olivia Pope, Head Bitch In Charge. He tells it to Liv straight, "You have pulled off a clean, bloodless coup in the United States of America...He isn't the President anymore, you are."

In the closing scenes we see Liv decide to both lie to her boyfriend and take ownership of that statement by telling him exactly how to do his job. Which just so happens to be running the free world. This episode left me with a lot of questions: Will Liv make a good "President?" Will Jake continue to look for Rowan? Will Liv's and Fitz's relationship be ruined the moment the truth comes out? Will David get another woman next week? And, why wasn't Mellie (the VERY best character on the show) not in this episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. See you next week, Gladiators.

More from TV

R29 Original Series