Scandal reminds us that Washington is all about power and that you are no one without it!
Scandal, or rather “Previously on Scandal…” These words bring me joy! They are simply not just words; they are a call to suit up because the gladiators have been called back into the arena, an arena that happens to be Washington DC. However, no one does “previously” quite like Sally Langston! And therefore, it is only right that I start this article the way Sally Langston did in the opening scenes of episode 10.
“Lovers of Liberty, we are back! Now, where were we? Ah, power! Power, my dear lovers of Liberty, is the beating heart of our Nation’s bosom. The high and mighty members of the political elite feed on it, breed on it, for power is the host, the enormous teat off which this entire town suckles. Oh, and you wonder why Washington can’t get anything done? The hunt for power is all consuming, everyone always needs more and nobody ever has enough. The stories I could tell you.”
I spent the first three minutes of Scandal smiling like a bloody idiot because I was happy this show was back. I honestly had to re-watch this episode just to understand what I was watching. Ah, the power of Shonda Rhimes!
Back to the episode, after having dinner with her father (It is always good to see Eli Pope), Olivia went home to find Jake Ballard waiting at her front door. (Side note: Olivia looked gorgeous in that outfit! As Beyoncé would say, “Slaying!”) And then they proceeded to make out while the song Tramp by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas played in the background. I’ll give you a minute so that you can let the title of that song sink in. In fact, let me help you out, here are some of the lyrics from that song so that you understand how well that song paired with that scene.
Otis: “What you call me?”
Otis: “You didn’t!”
Carla: “You don’t wear continental clothes, or Stetson hats.”
Otis: “Well I tell you one dog-gone thing. It makes me feel good to know one thing. I know I’m a lover.”
Carla: “Matter of opinion.”
Otis: “That’s all right, Mama was. Papa too. And I’m the only child. Lovin’ is all I know to do.”
Carla: “You know what, Otis?”
Carla: “You’re country.”
Otis: “That’s all right.”
Yes, you’re catching on! Olivia and Fitz are splitsville, and you can call her what you want, but I guess Shonda Rhimes already did that for you with that song! God Bless Rhimes! She never misses a thing! Ladies and gentlemen welcome back to Scandal, where hot sex scenes are political statements!
While Jake and Olivia are having fun, there are two other people in this episode who are not, Abby and the director of the NSA. Abby, believe it or not, has become Fitz’s new work wife because as Cyrus puts it, “…the man (Fitz) needs a wife. He always has and he always will. He can’t function any other way; he was not meant to be alone. He doesn’t know how.” Tough luck Abby, but you can handle it. And she did, when she lost her patience and finally told Fitz to stop calling her in the middle of the night toward the end of the episode. On the contrary, the director of the NSA did not get to do her victory dance because even though Olivia Pope was on the case, she still got fired. You might be wondering how Olivia could lose this case. The answer is quite simple; she has lost her power. However, the biggest shocker of the night was that Jake Ballard became the new director of the NSA. Oh yeah! It turns out that Jake was working against Olivia all this time because he wanted, you guessed it, Power! And with that twist, Scandal did what it always does best, reminded you that everything in Washington is a lie, even the hot make-out sessions.
Now that the fun stuff is out of the way, let’s talk seriously about what happened on Scandal. Episodes like episode 10 are the reason I started watching Scandal. This episode was a return to form for a show that almost went off the rails when they forgot that the main character was Olivia Pope. Watching Olivia Pope trying to become the first lady was cringe worthy. Olivia Pope is not a housewife. She never has been. Power drives her; she wields power, and she thrives on power! She does not bow to power. Olivia Pope is an institution. She is the reason I got hooked in the first place, the reason I cannot miss an episode because I want to glean a bit of power just by watching her. And Episode 10 returned that Olivia to me and I am so glad we are back to that Olivia.
However, some damage was done while she was trying to be the first lady, and it seems we have lost a bit of that power. Olivia, and by extension the rest of us, are on the side-lines. As Papa Pope elegantly put it, “…get yourself some power. Real power! 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue power! You think you have that now, but you are standing on the side-lines screaming at the referee like a sad drunk parent at a high school football game.” Damn! So what did Olivia do? She went and started getting herself some power, real power! How is she doing this? By helping Mellie write a book that will help make her president. And I am all here for it! It is about time the women stopped fighting with each other and started working together instead. If Fitz and Jake can do it, so can Olivia and Mellie.
And so, we come back to Sally Langston because what she was saying at the beginning of the episode is what Olivia needed to hear from her father and it is the point of this whole episode. Power is everything and without it, you’re not a key player anymore. As Sally said,
“Power! Like it, hate it, want it, have it, feel however you want about it, power is the fuel that runs this great industrial machine we all help move forward.”