Written by Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick)
Remember Scandal’s “Fix of the Week” format? As much as I’ve enjoyed season three, I now have a greater appreciation for that earlier structure. The salaciousness was a bit more simplified then, and the storytelling didn't seem so inspired by a game of Hot Potato. It's fine, though, because I'm just as good at that game as I am at Duck, Duck, Goose.
Speaking of games, last night's "YOLO" edition of Scandal kicked off with Huck playing his favorite one: Torture. It's the sadistic equivalent of Doctor. His unwilling patient was, of course, his wannabe apprentice, Quinn, who mostly pleaded in vain for Huck not to rip her apart—starting with her teeth. Listen, I’ve had my wisdom teeth yanked out of my mouth without the anesthetic working, so suffice to say, even though I can’t stand Quinn, I felt her pain.
Huck, you and the dentist who did that to me can burn in hell. Huck’s torturing was interrupted after Olivia called to pass along the following information about her mother: "She's alive. My mother. She's not dead. She's here. She's here in my apartment."
Not only is she alive, she's in full-blown mother mode. Making up for lost time much? While scrambling to figure out how to get Maya Lewis out of the country without alerting everyone and their B-613, Mama Pope and Olivia finally sat down and attempted to communicate like normal human beings.
And that’s when Mama Pope did what most mothers do to their children: Make them feel like shit.
Mama Pope explained to her daughter that while incarcerated, she’d make up these fantasies about how her Olivia led her life. Mama Pope said: “In my mind, you were married to a fella named Ray, a dentist, because dentists comes home for dinner. This was my thinking. And it was you and Ray and your son named Son and you’d sit around your dinner table and you’d just laugh. There was lots of laughter, love, and happiness. So now to see who you really are, what you’ve really become…”
Olivia interrupted her before she could finish her inference, though Mom did explain right after: “There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of laughter in your life.”
Bless Olivia’s heart. If your mother hasn’t seen you since pre-civilization (i.e. before broadband Internet) and can conclude you look as happy as a rainy day in L.A., maybe it’s time you step away from the gigantic red wine glasses and reevaluate your choices.
Ha, like that’ll happen. Instead, we get Olivia turning to her married boyfriend, President Fitz, lamenting to him about her struggles trying to break the law to get her mama out of the country. Of course, Fitz helps her only for Olivia to realize at the very last minute that her dad was never the monster, her mother was.
In hindsight, this makes perfect sense. Rowan Pope explained last night that even though he will send you to the afterlife faster than you shout out NRA, he doesn’t take any joy out of murking people. And while he may not be the best father, you can tell he at least cares about his kid. Mama Pope played her kid for a fool and all Liv got in return was repressed memories coming to haunt her and a quick read from mommy dearest about appearing miserable (even though that can mostly be attributed to Maya’s actions versus Olivia’s).
You better leave the tip the next time you go to that steakhouse with your dad, Liv.
Now let’s get to the other big reveals of the show: VP Sally ain’t a killer, but don’t push her. That along with the reality that hell hath no fury like a passive aggressive queen scorned.
Cyrus may be the political equivalent of Aladdin’s arch-nemesis Jafar, but he usually gets the job done. However, his plan to use his own husband as the bait of outing Sally’s big gay husband and then use the evidence to keep Sally in her place as Fitz’s number two blew up in his grumpy face.
Not only did James get his and bed Sally’s husband, but when Cyrus presented the photos to her, Sally didn’t buckle at all when she found out her man topped his. She stood firm, alerting Cyrus of how such exposure would ruin both he and Fitz’s political futures—calling his bluff and shutting him up for once.
What a pity that she let her anger get the best of her, murdered her husband, and then turned to Cyrus for help. Now she will be at his mercy, which will only aid and abet his superiority complex. Cyrus is a despicable monster who should be sentenced to a life of menial work and masturbation for pimping out his own husband. But James is like one of those people who doesn’t realize their own strength until they’re like 60 and turn on the Pandora Whitney Houston station randomly.
At least my girl Mellie Mel will be able to gloat at James’ indiscretion to spite Cyrus. Cyrus just knew his man was too good to cheat on him the way Fitz always runs off with Olivia in Mellie’s face. It was nice of the First Lady to see Cyrus cry as if someone shot his puppy right in front of him, instructing: “It hurts until it doesn’t. You think what he did will break you, but it won’t. You may sleep as well at night, but you will be fine. Numb, but…numb and fine all the same.”
You still suck, Cyrus.
Also, so does Olivia’s boyfriend number two. I dig the guy, but Fitz was right when he told him, “You don’t want to be a hero, you want to be her hero. Word to the wise: She doesn’t need one.”
What Olivia needs to improve her social circle.