Rowan Pope Needs Unemployment: Recapping Scandal, "A Door Marked Exit" (Season 3, Episode 10)

President Fitz and Rowan Pope finally have a real confrontation.

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Complex Original

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Written by Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick)

If your life mantra can be easily summated with “WWJD?” why seek the aid of a person like Cyrus Beene, who based on past behavior, wouldn’t offer Jesus spit during a fire unless it came in the form a mutually beneficial agreement? In the well-shot and skillfully edited opening scene, we watched what preceded Sally Langston stabbing her husband to death with a letter opener in a fit of rage. Daniel Douglas Langston acknowledged his poor judgment, but didn’t let Sally get away with feigning shock over the reality that he is a deeply closeted gay man.

Daniel took credit for playing Sally’s much-needed pretty political arm piece, but Sally quickly snipped back, “Sweetheart, you are the burden that I carry on my back as I make my way to salvation.” She dismissed him as a stupid, pretty person who couldn’t support himself. It wasn’t so much a flip on gender politics as it was a gay man filling the role of the classic trophy political wife, which essentially reinforces preconceived notions about gay men and women alike. In any event, once Daniel said he was done with their marriage, Sally snapped, took him out forever and reached out to Cyrus in a frantic state shortly thereafter. 

Cyrus took care of the matter, but as her campaign manager would go on to tell her, that wasn’t the first call she should have made as she will now be beholden to Cyrus and the president—a fun fact Mellie not so subtly reminder her of. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the guilt of murdering her husband will weigh on Mrs. High, Mighty and Holy. As of now, not so much ‘cause she thinks he has a hell-bound sodomite anyway.

As for another person not as ‘bout it about a cause as they claim to be, Quinn found herself dismissed by Huck as a gladiator for her betrayal. She turned to her new B-316 boyfriend Charlie. One assumes she’ll join that group now that she has nowhere else to turn.

Even so, while I cannot stand Quinn, I took issue with Huck lamenting about her betrayal. After all, if not for Olivia Pope and Associates, Quinn wouldn’t be Quinn. She’d be Lindsey, the person her mother actually named her. By the way, when it comes to dishonesty, wasn't Huck mad at Olivia Pope for keeping her dad's identity as commander of B-316 away from him a hot minute ago?

Speaking of Daddy Dearest, let us move onto to the showdown between President Fitz and Rowan Pope that dominated much of the Scandal winter finale. Fitz brings in Daddy Pope in for questioning, still operating under the assumption that Liv’s Mama Maya is a victim. It was my favorite scene of the night because Fitz finally had someone define him accurately to his smug, entitled face. 

Ever the jerk, Fitz threw his sexual affair with Rowan’s daughter in the man’s face for the sake of getting a reaction. It did not work. Instead, we got Rowan opening the library and letting Fitz have it, rightfully dismissing his "poor little rich boy problems" and deeming him a "boy."  

Rowan was relentless in assessment of Fitz.

He was clear in depicting the differences in how each was raised. Rowan, the first of his family to go to college who would go on to be certain that his daughter "went to boarding school with the children of KINGS."

And Fitz, a guy who had everything handed to him yet still gripes about the direction his life has taken as if he ever had to really work hard to get anything. As for throwing the taste of Olivia Pope in his face, Rowan didn't flinch, explaining, "You can talk about what a great lay she is to try and get a reaction out of me all you want, but guess what? I am actually, quite literally above your pay grade, which means that I now you believe that you are in love with her as wrong as you may be. You love that she is a door marked exit. You love that she is your way out because if you are with Olivia Pope, because if you are with Olivia Pope you no longer have to be your father's son."

But, but, but: "You are always going to be Sen. Grant's disappointing boy Fitz."

As for his daughter, "She is always going to be the formidable Olivia Pope. Don't use the person that I made to make you into a man. You're a boy."

Whereas the role reversal at the beginning of the show felt flat, I loved the execution of this. The subtext of a black man repeatedly referring to a white man as a "boy" in this medium was not lost on me. Daddy Pope's speech could've been echoed by anyone frustrated with having to deal with the egotistical, pampered and supremely privileged brats of the world like Fitz. It's hilarious to see Rowan not only dismiss Fitz’s juvenile tactic of using sex as a weapon, but completely seize power for the moment even while shackled. However, power did leave Rowan in the end as Jake replaced him as the head of B-316.

His ex-wife, Maya, is somewhere swag surfing in D.C., happy to be free and plotting on her next move after murdering everyone on the plane intended to take her to Hong Kong. Liv now knows that her mother is in fact a terrorist who married Rowan to gain access to intelligence. She also now knows that she lied about carrying a bomb on the plane Rowan had shot down. Her wine glasses are doomed to get bigger.

So that's Scandal until Feb. 27, which is a long ass time. I predict Rowan plots revenge, Maya looks to bond with Olivia and blow more shit up while Sally gets crazier and Harrison still gets shafted with his storyline.

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