abigail whelan

Scandal 413: No More Blood

Hi, guys. It’s me, KP.I’ve had a lot of feelings over this episode. You know I’m a firm believer in #TeamRewatch, and #TeamDistance. Both those things have helped me put some things into perspective. After 10 days of not talking or thinking about the themes in the episode, I finally re-watched it yesterday. I’ve mellowed in some ways, but the hypocrisy still stings in other ways. This is very informal, and there are very few gifs. I don’t have time.  I’ve got big things and I got little things, so let’s get carried way. Come right now, you know where I stay…  The little stuff first:

#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen Feminism

Mellie’s “show some solidarity, sister” quid pro quo to Lizzie?  Ugh. This is exactly the type of feminism I cannot fucking stand because it’s selfish and disingenuous. It reminded me of this scene from 409, when Lizzie goes to see Olivia at OPA after finding out who really bugged her phone:

Liz:  “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women”
Olivia: “There’s a special place in hell for women who spout that tired quote to justify their bad behavior .”

Olivia is exactly right. I’m no fan of Lizzie’s either, and you two really are a pair. I haven’t forgotten that you two respected other’s political duplicity against thine own husband (406), Mellie. That is until you found out your sidepiece had a sidepiece. How exactly is Lizzie responsible for Andrew threatening to be a douche bag to you, Mellie? She didn’t plan this kidnapping. Your boyfriend did. You really want to pretend that you slept with Andrew primarily on behalf of Lizzie’s cheese-grated back? You were unwilling to assist with Olivia’s rescue after Fitz told you what happened. You saw no use in reasoning with your boyfriend. But, oh, suddenly when Liz tells you that Andrew’s gunning to control Fitz for the next three years, the Bright Bright Political Future™ mayday signal went off, springing you into action.

We get it, you want to be President, and it’s your turn (317). You need Fitz to have a good presidency so that you look good as the one the people think helped him run the country. And we all know how your sense of self is so connected to Olivia’s existence, so you couldn’t have her gone for three years. I just hate that someone else ALWAYS has to do the work to cover up Mellie’s  mistakes. Fitz agreed to let Andrew walk to protect Mellie’s political future. When that proved not to be enough, now it’s Liz’s responsibility to find a solution? Mellie, I hope you know that the only reason you got what you wanted is, once again, because of Olivia.

Abby for the muthaf*&%in’ win!!!

Onto a better example of women supporting women. I sent in an email to someone a few weeks ago that I had a strong hunch a woman would play a key role in facilitating Olivia’s return, besides Olivia of course.  Speaking of which, let’s get one thing straight: hi, hello, how are you, Stephen. Cute beard. Thanks for being there, dude. Ok, bye. I’m not here for people heaping all this credit on Stephen. I’m so happy that he has Russian mob connections. Yay, mob connections! But…let’s not forget that Abby is the one to have even thought of him. My girl Abigail Whelan wholeheartedly believed that the life of her one friend was the most important thing, and stopped at nothing to help her. And let’s not forget that none of that would have happened were it not for Olivia’s plan to save herself.

In other Abby news, how cute is it that Abby’s turning into an Olitzer? Kinda. When David was on about burning the leash around the President’s neck:

Abby: “The President would never allow that!”

Even though their relationship is kind of awkward, I think Abby likes and respects Fitz. She knows how Olivia feels about him, and she knows Fitz would do anything for Olivia. Abby’s  been a useful bridge so far between Olivia and Fitz. I’m hoping she proves useful before the end of the season in that regard.

Cyrus, you hypocritical bastard

Cyrus, you hypocritical bastard. First, I can’t believe you told the CIA about Olitz! Neutralizing the asset is the smart play, huh? It didn’t turn out to be the smart play in 213 when James was about to tell all your treasonous business to a Grand Jury. You called Liv and told her it was over, that James was gonna sing like a canary and you couldn’t stop it. Actually, you could have but you wouldn’t. Why? Because love. In that instance, your love and your kid were more important than exposing  the Easter Bunny/Santa Claus election system to be fraudulent.  And oh, you went directly to Jake to monologue him into saving James instead of killing him for the sake of the Republic (313). Why? Because love. Because guilt. Then when he was shot anyway (for shit that you INSTIGATED IN THE FIRST PLACE!), you got mad at Fitz about it, reasoning that James died to protect him (315). Once again, you hypocritical bastard.

 I’m not done with you. When you were fucking Michael from here to creation and got exposed for it, you were all set to run like a little bitch baby. Who wiped your tears, implored Fitz (who already didn’t want to accept your resignation) to fight this exploitation, and then spun a gay Pretty Woman fairytale out of it? That’s right, Olivia. You wanna know the reason why you, Mellie, and Hollis didn’t end up in Super Max? Olivia fucking Pope and Fitzgerald muthafuckin’ Grant. And their Love™. Bitch. If Olivia hadn’t been involved in that cabal, Fitz would have let every one of you go to jail and let himself be impeached as President. That way, he would have gotten what he wanted. A man who isn’t President can live the live he’s always wanted to lead with the woman he loves.  Just like Mellie, your life and who you love is more important, huh?

Pope vs. The Republic

The episode set up what I consider to be a false and entirely subjectively defended notion: the fate of the Republic is more important than the life of one person. That was the justification the CIA tried to make. But…Andrew tried to use the (fake) attempt on his one life as justification why the Republic should go to war—as a show of strength. In fact, the official line to the country is that we are sending in thousands of lives to protect the honor of one: Andrew.  If Mellie, or even, Karen, had been taken, do you think anyone would have batted a lash over Fitz going to war?  Fighting for that kind of love is OK. I know, I know, Mellie and Karen don’t hold state secrets. But the CIA had no way of knowing if Olivia had already talked, or given away classified information. They had no way of ensuring that. So neutralizing the asset could still have left the Republic exposed. Andrew didn’t think through all the potentialities, did he?

Let’s be clear here.  Fitz is being exploited for being a RESPONSIBLE PRESIDENT. Let me say that again, Fitz is being exploited for being a RESPONSIBLE PRESIDENT. Don’t forget the context of this war. Fitz was doing good things for the country, and the Republican party base didn’t like all that do-goodering one bit. Targeting Olivia to force Fitz to act right  was the back-up plan. I’m annoyed with everyone out there that thinks it is Fitz and Olivia’s fault for loving each other, instead of the bastards who seek to exploit the strength of their bond for personal and political gain. Shameful.

30% chance = There’s Hope


I was so annoyed with the whole #FuckYeahFateOfTheRepublic thing. I didn’t think Fitz was a moron for taking the 30% chance. Here’s the trouble with this thinking: Olivia Pope isn’t a person to the CIA. She’s an asset to be neutralized (a dehumanizing term to make killing easier). She knows too much, she’s the President’s beating heart. Cut her loose. What’s the problem? She’s a dangerous weapon. A) Olivia has always been a person to Fitz, and vice versa (more on this in the last part). He can’t think of her in cold, un-human terms like that. He’s not that guy, and Cyrus knows it (106).  B) When Fitz hears 30% chance, that translates to ‘hope’ in his mind. And he’s a man who thrives on hope, according to his own wife (208). C) Fitz wasn’t speaking as a moon-eyed lover; he was speaking from Presidential experience. Y’all know how much Fitz loves his Seal teams. He’s used them to good effect at least twice (211, 215), even when members of his Cabinet didn’t believe in his decisions (211).  So can we give this man a little credit? He’s President for a living, and I feel like his team—including Olivia—don’t always have the appreciation for the difficult position he’s in. Something is ALWAYS his fault, even when it isn’t. Yes, I know that’s the job, but it would be good if people remembered that sometimes.

The Scene

This scene hurt like a band-aid being pulled off the gaping wound on the hairy part of your forearm. But that’s also the brilliance it: so many of us felt shocked and flummoxed at what transpired. Just like Fitzgerald. I’m not going to lie, the very first  time I watched this, I was not a happy bunny. But having revisited it several times, I’m not too worried. I take umbrage with some of the things that were said because they run counter to what we have been shown, and what Olivia herself has said. I’ve literally spent hours talking about little details in this scene and it’s impossible for me to regurgitate that here. There are a few specific things I want to focus on in the scene (if you have a specific question I don’t cover, ask me).

I’m Fine

Olivia is not fine. The fear and panic as she heard footsteps approaching her apartment. The signs of PTSD in the CIA debrief.  The anger she displayed in kicking the shit out of Gus, after she shot him in the leg. She may have killed him if she wasn’t pulled off of him. She’d be well within her rights, but the point is, that’s not an Olivia that we know. Like Quinn in her foray into the darkside, she’s violent now. She’s killed a man while fighting for her life.  Many of you were confused about why Olivia smiled to hear Fitz’s voice at the end of 411, and here she is now reaming him for going to war and being a ‘bad’ President?  We need to remember that we, as the audience, are omnipotent. We can appreciate how hard this situation was for Olivia, as well as Fitz and various others who made decisions to affect her outcome. Fitz has no idea what Olivia has been through, or where her head is. She’s been through horrible shit, the severity of which doesn’t always hit you right away. Olivia also has no idea that Fitz’s was being held captive in his own way, his every move  watched and even undermined by his team.

 Who are you right now?!

Secondly, Olivia’s anger is  appropriate, even as I think some of its content is bullshit. She should be angry. She’s taking it out on the one person with whom she knows she can safely do that.  Fitz has had no problem strolling into her apartment in the past (220, 406). But he stays posted up by the frame finally getting his breath back upon seeing that she’s actually there. Home. Safe. Olivia told Jake to go away because she was tired and wanted to sleep. Yet, she lets Fitz inside to engage him. I don’t even think Fitz expected to be let in.   She let him in and then she let have. Is it unfair? Yes. But some of us do that with people we love the most. We take follow an emotional thread and let rip our frustrations. In that moment the problem seems entirely one-sided and so simple. That’s how this felt. Who else can she yell at but Fitz?  It’s not his fault that she was taken, but who else does she have to blame? She needed to release that anger. As for the ring that she threw at Fitz, because these people know each other very well, they know the most precise ways to inflict wounds. Remember after Closetgate, Fitz delivered a nasty and awful blow to Olivia, insinuating she was a whore:

Fitz: “I may not be able to control my erections around you, but that does not mean I want you.”

Being a mistress is Olivia’s sore spot, and Fitz deliberately used it against her (also in 213) to hurt her because he had been hurt and killed a woman because of Olivia. Throwing that ring at Fitz was a final blow she could deliver to him to get the message across. What was that message? Neutralize the asset. Perhaps she wants to be dead to him and that was her way of making that clear.

The height of vulgarity

There are two things Olivia said that let me know she’s not thinking clearly; that she’s flattening the last five years of her life through a singular lens.

Olivia: “Let go of me…I have been riding and dying for you. I fixed an election for you. Sacrificed everything to keep you in office. We all did: Cyrus, James, Jerry, Harrison, Mellie. Every one of us. I was your mistress because you needed me.”

Some of you have heard me say that I thought this part, the last line in particular, is vulgar. It’s patently untrue, revisionist history. She can’t possibly think this. Before I get to the mistress part, let me address the names she brought up. Now here’s where I curse her out in her fragile state. What the fuck does Harrison and Jerry have to do with this? Jerry was an innocent who was killed by your father so that you could be the best. So that you could make history, and have what you wanted (318, 405), which was for Fitz to be President. He is a bastard for going about it that way, but how is that Fitz’s fault, or yours? Harrison went to snatch your dad’s wig over  Adnan’s death and connected all his dirty dealings in the process. Harrison died because of your father, not because of you, or Fitz.

I’m not going to go through why bringing up Mellie, Cyrus and James as people who have sacrificed for Fitz is complete bullshit. I’m going to say this instead. If y’all didn’t have Fitz as some symbol, some guy you could get behind/beside, through whom you could fulfill your own hopes and dreams, where the fuck would any of you be? Not in the positions you’re in today. Mellie hitched her ride to Fitz as a means of succeeding in politics, even though she is brilliant. Cyrus, this is the closest he will ever get to being the President because he’s not pretty, tall enough, or has enough hair. Olivia, I love you to death, but don’t pretend your reputation and OPA don’t benefit from the fact that you made a President, that you were WH Communications Director. You are incredibly smart and would have been successful anyway, but that campaign and rigging your way to an election led to OPA. It led to you being Olivia Pope™.

I almost blew a gasket at the mistress line. In fact, I wanted to vomit. That’s not Olivia talking. I could detail every single instance in which what she said is so untrue, but it’s unnecessary. I recall two people who weren’t the candidate or the fixer standing in a hallway, giving each other nearly a full minute of uninterrupted eye contact. That woman, of her own volition, with her back turned to a certain man, stood outside her hotel room door and decided she didn’t want to go in. That woman, wordlessly, turned and walked toward a certain man’s hotel room instead. And when he opened the door, she went in first. So, miss me with the bullshit. 

Olivia: “…If you gave up the Presidency, what did I do all this for? Everything we did—I did—If you gave up the Presidency, it would be a waste. Everything I’ve sacrificed to get you here, to keep you here, so you could be the best. So you could make history. So you could be the President you were meant to be. And you were. You were the President you were meant to be. Then, when the true test came along, when I was taken because of you, you go to war?! You sent thousands of innocent soldiers into harm’s way—some of them to their deaths—for one person”

There are many things wrong with this paragraph, chief among them is the fact that it’s entirely aimed at the Office of the Presidency, not Fitz. He’s not a person. Also, during the CIA debrief, the specific words running  through her head were these:

“If I’m missing, the President of the United States is looking for me. He’s looking for me everywhere, and he will not stop until he finds me.”

Part of Olivia’s anger is really the guilt that she takes on. You know why she wished Fitz had let her die instead? When you’re dead, you don’t have to be guilty for anything. She clearly knew how much she meant to Fitz. Again, they were not even together. She bragged about it before finding out that Bradley was really Ian, her kidnapper. She didn’t want innocent people being hurt because of her, though. That’s what she can’t take. Fitz’s actions to her translate as more guilt that she has to take on. Jake was able to re-enter her life after season 2 because of guilt. She left for that island because she blamed herself for Jerry’s death and the pain that caused Fitz. And so much more. Why does being loved and loving this man mean that people die? No more blood. But is that her fault? Fitz’s fault for loving her? Or is that the fault of the assholes who exploit them for gain? You’re not ever going to convince me that these two people are the problem. 

The disappointment of predictability

Rowan: “People are predictable. Unchanging. Monotonous. They use the same language. They offer the same excuses. They make the same mistakes. People are endlessly disappointing because you hope they won’t be…”

He goes on to say that he’s out in the wilderness alone, fishing because in that solitude—being on his own—anything is possible. There’s no one there to disappoint him. He can be hopeful even in failure because at least that failure is his own.  Fitz has been very predictable. He’s always been the guy that has been guided by his sense of integrity and his emotional compass. These lot know that’s who he is, who he’s always been. Why else do you think Andrew was so confident about Fitz going to war if he had Olivia kidnapped?  Some of Olivia’s language was predictable and familiar: be the President we all need you to be. Olivia is disappointed by Fitz’s predictability—that his main impetus will always be her.  

But now that the worst of what could happen has happened, I think they should just be done for the rest of his Presidency. It’s not ever worked, has it? I said way back in my S4 poster analysis, that I don’t see them being together in any traditional sense this season. Nothing’s changed. There’s always a threat. But no one’s going to try to repeat this crazy scheme again, so what’s the solution? I love them so much and I won’t stop believing in their love. In the meantime, I don’t want Fitz to call her directly, or ask her to work on a case. I want Olivia to go about her business. Be angry. Try to turn away from the best and strongest part of yourself: love, emotion. Go hide in the shadow thinking it will protect you, then you’ll see that you need light.