Yo. Scandal’s winter finale was beautiful. I loved this episode and it reminded me of the 752 episode in how it tugged at heartstrings, without much action, but through the words. In case you forget that Shonda Rhimes and her team are master wordsmiths, this episode was a reminder.
Also, it was bold in where it went, with both Mellie and Olivia. Let’s talk about it.
Oh and I know I missed last week’s recap. Maybe I’ll post that next week. IDK. Sharrap. Lemme live.
Ornamental Olivia – Now that Fitz has moved Olivia into the White House, she’s doing her FLOTUS duties. Greeting kids coming for the Christmas parties, taking cutesy pics where she’s cuddling with the First Dog, ending up on covers talking about snacks and baking and shit. All the boring shit Mellie had warned her about. Most of all, her wardrobe is now full of dresses with embroidery and glitter and whatnot and she’s rocking festive red shoes. Our girl is out of her element.
At the main holiday party, a woman that Liv is talking to says she has a problem she needs solved. Liv gets all excited and the woman tells her she needs the recipe to some amazing cookie she had at a White House dinner. Olivia Carolyn, see your life. LAWD.
Holiday Cheer – Mellie walks into a laughing session with the dude Senators. The spending bill is why she’s there, because they placed funding for Planned Parenthood under “discretionary” and that means it could be taken away anytime. NAWL. She says she ain’t gon vote for it but Senator Gibson is not worried. As Liv and Fitz are getting dressed, he is excited that the spending bill is going to pass and she mumbles under her breath “crappy bill.” OOP.
Quinn calls Huck and leaves him a voicemail because he’s been MIA. Marcus walks into OPA with flowers because: Christmas! She ain’t feeling his holiday cheer though.
After a romp session, David presents Liz North with a gold bracelet and she laughs at him. He can’t even do fuckbuddyships right. You don’t get each other gifts! That ain’t in the rule book, Rosen!
No Dice – On the senate floor, Gibson is patting himself on the back for the $1.1. trillion spending bill. As they’re about to put it to vote, Mellie (in a red suit) interrupts. She stands up for Planned Parenthood, and says “As much as I’d like to get home for the holidays, I refuse to do it at the expense of women’s health.” Senator Grant pulls out a book to begin filibustering, because you know what ain’t discretionary? $5 million for the haircare of senators, $500,000 for Alaskan Salmon on one of the senator’s 737s. Everyone on the floor groans. HELL YEAH, MELLIE MEL. DO IT.
If the bill doesn’t pass by midnight, the government will shut down, so she has to filibuster for 16 hours. No eating, peeing or anything. What will the White House do? Abby recommends bringing in Olivia but Fitz says she’s busy. Mellie talks about the 38 million women who need contraceptive care in the United States. She grabs food off someone’s desk to eat, because it was already there. Olivia is watching the filibustering go down on TV.
Tom’s Order – Jake, meanwhile, is sitting in a car scoping shit out when he sees a beat up Tom walk out of a building. I thought Tom was dead! Lawd. Jake follows him to some car garage and hears a convo between him and Franklin (remember him??).
Apparently, Tom’s job was to keep tabs on Rowan because he’s the only one who can stop whoever Lazarus is. Now that Huck got him. DIS TEW MUCH.
No One’s Father – “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is playing as Huck eats his sammich while holding Papa Pope captive in some warehouse. Eli asks him what he wants. Also, why did he save him? He knew Jake was looking for him and was gonna kill him. What is he doing this for? “I have so many sons. So many ungrateful children. There is no gratitude in parenting.” Then he brings up Javi. That is when Huck almost loses his shit. He claps back by saying “She chose him, the President, over you. Do you think she loves him or do you think she hates you so much that it’s worth being unhappy with him just to spite you? Or do you prefer Jake? Which white boy do you prefer being inside your daughter?”
AWWWWW SHIIITTT! I had to grab my wig. Huck took it there and ran it back!
He ends it with “I know what you want. Knowing that you want to die? It’s almost better than killing you.”
This is the most I’ve ever heard Huck speak and this is one of the first times he has gotten a proper opportunity to READ someone for filth. And it was sweet. And for the first time ever, Eli Pope looks on the verge of tears.
Not You – Liv is watching Mellie’s filibuster as Fitz whines to her about how Mellie is just trying to spite him. She disagrees and tells him that maybe just MAYBE this ain’t about him. Maybe the woman actually believes in fighting for the rights of other women to have access to birth control and other services provided by Planned Parenthood. EVERYTHING AIN’T ABOUT YOU, PRESIDENT GHOST. I bet he thinks that song was about him.
Girl Power – Liv’s job that makes her too busy to help address the spending bill situation? Doing place settings for a dinner happening at the White House later. She’s dropping off the cookies Senator Harding’s wife said she loved. As this is happening, there’s interviews happening about when “biology” will kick in for Mellie’s 16 hour filibustering? Because you know what’s important? Figuring out how long it will take for her to need to go pee. Not the actual issue that she is standing up for. Ugh.
Olivia gets a note sent to one of the women senators, asking her to meet her in the lobby. She wants the woman to ask Mellie a question so she can have a chance to go pee. “Mellie Grant is political quicksand and I refuse to go down with her.” Well damb.
Susan Ross visits David with a holiday gift. Limited edition whiskey. She looks at him all expectantly and he says he got her something: the gold bracelet that Liz rejected so properly. She’s all touched by it and looks enamored. NOOOO.
On the Senate floor, Mellie’s hair is pulled back and her shoes are off as she continues to read off all the ridiculous shit that is guaranteed to be funded by the bill. She’s bouncing from side to side. That “I need to pee” bounce we all know. Then, in walks Susan Ross, like a BOSS. She tells the President of the Senate to get up from her seat (because as VP SHE is technically the President of the Senate). She tells Mellie to yield the floor to her to ask a LONNNGGG question. Mellie thankfully does and basically runs off to go pee.
GIRL POWER FOR THE WIN!!! I am here for Susan Ross and for this solidarity she is showing Mellie.
Mellie comes out the bathroom stall and Liv is there. She tells her that she thinks she’s done but Olivia says “You’re the biggest bitch I know. Don’t tell me you can’t do this.” That gives our girl just the push she needs.
At the Cabinet Dinner, Fitz is holding up the food being served because Olivia isn’t there yet. He finally tells them to go ahead. On the floor, Mellie is running down the clock and says “I’m sorry I had to resort to theatrics to protect what is basic human rights.” At midnight, she wishes everyone a merry Christmas and the debate closes. The bill does not pass. She makes history by having the longest filibuster in modern times. The media reports that #IStandWithMellie was the #1 trending topic on Twitter.
Liv watches all this on TV in a waiting room. A nurse says “Miss Pope. Are you ready to begin?” Wait… what?
Family – Franklin is sitting down when Jake tells his ass to stand up and get on his knees. He tells him that he needs Ballard for Lazarus One and to bring B613 back. Franklin was the one who killed Elise but he looks at Jake and says “we’re brothers.” Too bad he ain’t buying it. Jake from State Farm sends one bullet through Franklin’s head. WELP.
Huck tells Eli he shouldn’t have mentioned his family. Command says “Family is a burden… Family doesn’t complete you. It destroys you.” Huck tells him the only reason he is still alive is because of Olivia.
Olivia, whose feet are in stirrups, is getting an abortion as “Silent Night, Holy Night” plays.
No Future – Fitz is in the White House bedroom, dinner over, when Liv walks in huffing, throwing her bag on the bed. She runs into her closet looking for something desperately, when she says “YES” as she grabs the hooch Mellie gifted her.
“Where were you, Olivia?… You were running. That’s what I want you to say. That’s what I want you to admit. It doesn’t matter where you were tonight. You just weren’t here.”
“I didn’t want to go. What would I, Fitz? So I could sit in the corner with the other housewives and force myself to watch you run with the big dogs across the room. Guess what? I am a big dog so I didn’t want to go.”
She tells him that he’s basically punishing her by having her be in that place because of her father, even though she released him to save her. He calls bullshit and says she did it so she wouldn’t have to marry him.
“Be your housewife? Your girlfriend? Your property? You stand there and you think about what I’ve been doing and about everything I have ever told you and you tell me who wouldn’t run.”
Honestly, this entire scene. I wanted to transcribe this ENTIRE GAHTDAMB SCENE. Let’s keep it going, shall we?
Fitz: You’re worse than Mellie. At least I knew the entire time unlike you. I knew where you came from but…
Olivia: Where I came from? We both know who your father is. I came from a palace compared to the man that raised you. At least my father loved me.
Fitz: You know who wouldn’t run? Someone capable of being in a relationship. Someone capable of being normal.
Olivia: If you were someone capable of being alone. Someone capable of not suffocating me…
Fitz: I wasn’t suffocating you. I was trying to show you…
Olivia: You were trying to save me!
Fitz: I was trying to save us!
Olivia: There IS no us! There is no this! There is no Vermont. There is no jam! There is no future! Not anymore.
Fitz: I was unavailable before. You liked me unavailable.
Olivia: I don’t know you available. She got this side of you. She did this part. I didn’t have to. I didn’t have to be everything.
Fitz: You coulda had something. Been something. Mellie. That’s what she said.
Liv sits there drinking hooch as he looks on. She passes him the jar. He clearly needs a gulp too.
Fitz: I hate that you’re always right.
Olivia: Me too.
Fitz: We tried.
Olivia: We did.
Ave Maria plays as Quinn walks into OPA and tells Marcus it’s just them two tonight. NOPE it is just HER because he’s about to leave. He’s off to his aunt’s place.
Abby is excited about being off for the holidays and is telling her staff not to contact her when she sees Olivia is leaving the White House. She is on the job and tells them to contact the Post.
Susan gives Liz North a scarf, and Liz notices the bracelet she rejected from David on her wrist.
Huck drops Eli Pope off at home. Command turns around and sees Jake, who tells him he was right. He wasn’t Lazarus. Eli tells him “Welcome home, son.”
Olivia is on her couch, back in her white. She gets a call and she tells the person to come on up. The elevator door opens and it’s delivery men, there to replace her old white couch with the missing couch seat, for a darker couch.
Quinn is on her couch, drinking a bottle of vodka by herself. Her door knocks and it’s Charlie! He got on reindeer ears and everything. Aaawwwww! With tears in her eyes, she kisses him. Surely happy to not have to spend the holidays alone.
President Ghost is sitting in the Oval Office, in front of the fire, drinking.
Mellie is with Baby Teddy and their daughter, in front of the Christmas tree.
Papa Pope invites Jake into his home.
Olivia settles in with her red wine, looking happier than she has in ages.
She’s back where she belongs.
Wow. Just… wow. WOWWWWW. It’s one of the few episodes of Scandal where we aren’t left with a cliffhanger or something shocking us into sliding off our chairs. But it is incredible in its tenderness. The closure for many, the fresh beginnings and the uncertainty of what is next. I especially loved it for the writing. The dialogues in this episode were so dope.
Mellie and Olivia. Huck and Eli. OLIVIA AND FITZ.
LAWDT. I had to transcribe the main parts of their bedroom scene. That is the stuff Emmy Awards are made of. Let’s talk about THAT.
Olivia and Fitz cannot do normal, even when it is presented to them on a silver platter. They are finally out of excuses not to be together, but they always find some. Liv is no one’s housewife. Never has been and never will be. The reduction of role that happens as FLOTUS was killing her softly. This isn’t the person who was made to organize dinner parties, and she was clearly feeling like the walls were closing in on her. Liz North’s “it won’t last too long” prediction to Abby at the beginning of the episode was on the money. Now that she’s back at home, on her own couch, our girl smiled. A real smile that we haven’t seen in so long I forgot when the last time was.
Liv was right, though. Fitz cannot be alone. He needs people to prop him up, so I’m not sure what he will do now. The bad part is that everyone else has someone but all he has is his presidency to keep him company. Liv got the Gladiators. Mellie has her kids. Even Cyrus got his arranged boo (and baby Ella, who we ain’t seen in 56 years). JAKE. JAKE has someone now, in his dysfunctional relationship with Eli. Who/what does Fitz have?
As much as we roast Olitz, there’s something endearing about them together. Two people who are like magnets. They cannot stay away from each other but they cannot be together either.
But let’s talk about one of the major moments of this show: Olivia Pope’s abortion. Whew.
Scandal is an unabashedly feminist show, and it is in moments like this that I am especially thankful that the people behind it are not afraid to talk about what is important. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an abortion happen on Scandal. On a previous episode, Olivia stood and held the hand of a raped servicewoman who was getting an abortion. This time, it was her opting to do this.
When the camera focused in on Olivia’s face on that table, I was like WHEW.
This isn’t a look of regret either. This is of a woman making a decision that is physically painful but she is standing on it. Every abortion is not followed by torment, and every abortion is not done by people who made one night stand mistakes. Here is a woman who is getting an abortion just because it is the right decision for her. Not because she doesn’t have the money, the support or the partner to raise a child. This is real life and the faces behind those numbers are real women who gotta do what they gotta do.
Olivia’s decision to support Mellie’s filibuster of the spending bill now comes with the layer of her realizing that some of the services provided by Planned Parenthood empower women like her to make decisions like this and have them carried out safely. Which brings me to my continued fandom of Mellie Grant. Every time I say that, some of y’all take to my comments to fight the air. I DO NOT CARE. I love Mellie and this episode made me fall in love with her character even moe. She did her Wendy Davis thing and stood up for 16 hours to make sure women are not being sold down the river in the national budget. She did it while rocking her power color: red. Remember that it is her go-to when she needs to make power moves, and she usually gets what she wants when she’s rocking red.
Mellie stood there and dropped some real facts on why Planned Parenthood’s funding cannot be optional when the government can find $1.24 million for tree-snake control in Guam. She is a Republican too, which is atypical for the platform she is supposed to believe in.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) November 20, 2015
Back to the color red. It makes me think about the colors Liv wore in this episode as she did her duty as proper FLOTUS, and she stands in front of her coset, which is looking strange, she stares at the dresses hanging. One is pink and red, the other is red. She looks down and sees red shoes there and she looks more miserable than ever. The decision to have red be the color Liv is wearing is probably to show that she’s more Mellie than she ever imagined. For the first time, she really understands how Mellie could be who she is, because she was in the same cage. And that is why she finally knows that her and Mellie are fighting the same battle.
You know what I was really here for in this episode? How the women supported each other and put aside differences for a greater good. An all too uncommon thing to see happen on TV, but it happens more than the world wants to admit. Because it’s more convenient to think of all of us as nothing but competitive wenches. Olivia believed in what Mellie was doing and she heloed her make it through those 16 hours by getting her a bathroom break. Susan Ross heard her cry and sprang to acton, showing up to save the day, even if only for 3 minutes.
Liv’s pep talk was hilarious though. Sometimes, you just need someone to remind you of who you be (if they don’t know).
This episode was superb. Where will they all go from here? What next for Olivia, now that she’s reclaimed her home? After all the fallout from her and Fitz’s relationship, how will they deal with it publicly? Because this seemed like a “no takebacks” thing. Until they both took it back.
And Papa Pope? Is he going to get back to B613-ing? What does he do now? He seems to have an ally in Jake so what does this mean for Ballard too? And Tom is still out there. That dude ain’t loyal to NODAMBBODY.
Finally, will Elizabeth North feel some sort of jealousy about David now that she knows Susan is in crush with him. We’ll find out in 2016.
Gladiators, ROAR in the comments!