SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.
Olivia actually wasn’t particularly insufferable in this episode. That was a nice change from last week’s. I didn’t leave this episode absolutely despising her. That being said, I’m still uncomfortable with the methods she uses to get her – and by extension, Mellie’s – way. Namely blackmail. And the show continues to, in my opinion, support what she does and doesn’t have her suffer any consequences for her actions, even if it looks like she will.
Olivia has always dug up dirt on people and used it to blackmail them. So far, this season, Olivia doing her usual Olivia Pope things just feels wrong and it isn’t excusable anymore to me. I’d felt that way since the last episode and I couldn’t quite figure out why that was. I think I’ve figured it out now; it’s because she is now the White House Chief of Staff, not just a fixer, and because, in the past, she used it against deplorable people who’d done despicable things. Can we even say that Olivia still wears the white hat?
The President of Bashran, Rashad, demonstrated himself to be a good man who only wanted what was best for his nation. Who understood his people and the climate within his country and, despite being decidedly more progressive, stuck with the traditional to maintain peace. He made a very good argument to Mellie as to why the treaty would not benefit him at all and I wish that at some point, Olivia would have heard his arguments. Especially before she sent Jake to dig up some dirt on him.
The way Olivia looked at the President of Bashran, with such disgust and disdain, just because he refused (and she hadn’t even known why) was the one moment in the episode when I couldn’t stand her. I was glad that her efforts to find something to use against him weren’t fruitful. And I was glad that, with the information she had found, she chose to appeal to his better nature rather than blackmail him. But it didn’t work.
In what looked to be a moment in which Eli’s words hinting at Olivia being the cause of her ruin beginning to come to fruition, Olivia’s blackmail from the previous episode came back to bite her in the butt. Her last victim warned the President of Bashran about her – going so far as to call he the devil – and it was because of her past behaviour that the President of Bashran denied her and refused the treaty. In that moment Olivia really made Mellie look bad.
Even as it looked like Olivia had played herself and was beginning to trip herself up, I knew it wouldn’t stick at that the President of Bashran would agree to the treaty by the end of the episode. So when the assassination attempt happened, I knew that that would be the thing to make him agree to it.
I also thought for a moment, that Olivia had arranged it (it wouldn’t be too far fetched for someone who threatened the life of a child), even though it made no sense and Olivia seemed not to have any knowledge of the attempt. I even thought that it had been Mellie and that she’d done it without telling Olivia. It just seemed strange that it would have happened in the White House, at the dinner. And of course, Mellie’s men saving his life would ingratiate him to her. It seemed like a perfect set up to make him agree.
I especially thought that Mellie had been behind it when she dismissed Olivia (who looked to be very annoyed that she had been) from the Oval Office so that she could talk to the President of Bashran alone. I’m not quite sure that his agreeing to the treaty was the best decision, considering how precarious a picture he painted of his position and the overall situation of his country. We shall see how it plays out since it looks like Bashran will play a big part in the story of this season.
The best moment of the episode, for both Olivia and Mellie, that really humanised them, was when Mellie was getting ready for the dinner and went on a rant about her sex life. The laugh they shared was sweet and endearing and as cathartic for them as it was for me watching the scene. It was because of this scene that I thought that Mellie and the President of Bashran were going to sleep together. They totally had a moment.
Poor Cyrus was relegated to entertaining and buttering up Fenton Glackland, who really was quite an ass. It was such an amazing moment when Cyrus read him for filth and just tore him down. It was one of his greatest moments. Given Glackland’s personality, though, I expected him ton retaliate, but he just left. Ashamed. Which, admittedly, was enjoyable to see.
- That tea thing was a weird thing to say.
- I love how Abbie and QPA keep begging David to help them with clients.
- Olivia has a friend with benefits. She doesn’t know how lonely it is.
- Huck is hilariously bad at mingling.
- The President of Bashran can’t be so naive. Countries spy on each other all the time.
- Huck: Bad at socialising, good at sniffing out assassins.
- I knew Fitz was going to be on her doorstep!
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 PM on ABC.