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Scandal “Where the Sun Don’t Shine” Review (4×09)

21 Nov

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“I’m not choosing. I’m not choosing Jake. I’m not choosing Fitz. I choose me. I choose Olivia, and right now, Olivia’s dancing.”

If there’s one thing Olivia Pope has always hidden from, it’s her true nature. She has always attempted to take the moral high ground over her father, always donned her white hat, always presented herself as a strong person. However, there is a part of her that does not fit with who she presents herself as, a part of her that is just like her father. In “Where the Sun Don’t Shine”, that realization slaps her right in the face, and it comes from the mouths of the very people who brought her into this world.

The thing about Rowan Pope is the fact that he loves Olivia. There’s no denying that he has engaged in a copious amount of illicit activity in order to express that love, but when he tells her that all he has done has been for her, he’s telling the truth. “It is you who has no comprehension of love,” he spits at her, and there’s quite a bit of truth in that statement; after all, do her other relationships constitute loving relationships, or do they constitute passionate and lustful relationships? Everything is warped and exaggerated here–the show as a whole is, as well–but the basics are, well, basic.

In that final showdown between Olivia and her father, Olivia actually picks up a gun and attempts to shoot the man standing across the table from her. It’s a test, of course, but Olivia fails. It is during this instance in which she crosses the final line, in which she is the first one of the two to actually attempt to utilize violence against the other. In simplest terms, Olivia is still a better person than Rowan is, but here, she is willing to murder, and her father is frustrated and disappointed and shocked and saddened all at once. Joe Morton is riveting here, and Rowan launches into another one of his monologues. “You are not normal. There would be no Olivia Pope without me. You are looking in the mirror.” For the second time, “You will miss me when I’m gone.”

Then, Olivia hears something similar from her mother. “You need to move on, girl,” Maya tells her daughter, and then she draws lines connecting Olivia to Rowan. We can see Olivia’s facade crumble before our very eyes, and we can also see how the cold, brutal truth strikes her to the bone. This is perhaps the best thing to ever happen to her, though, as hearing that truth twice allows her to see her own weaknesses, to finally let go of her father, to finally be free.

So, she picks a Stevie Wonder song not on the album her father was holding, and she dances the night away with Jake, with herself, with her freedom. Then, it all comes crashing down: she’s been kidnapped by the Vice President’s people, the U.S. is now on the brink of war, and all that remains in her apartment is a spilled glass of wine. Olivia Pope has been dragged back into the mess.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

– “I don’t know who I am anymore…just a gay stereotype.” “When did you decide to let them ruin you? So what? That’s how it is.” The Cyrus storyline deals with themes of identity–a major one in this episode–and provides some great moments for Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, and Jeff Perry. The resignation scene in particular is surprisingly poignant.

– “When it comes to screwing people, I’m not as gentle as Andrew. Coming from me, it will hurt.” Oh, Mellie. You are still my favorite part of the show.

-Is that a Taylor Swift-Tina Fey/Amy Poehler reference in there? I’m all for that.

-I was hoping Jake would bite the dust at the end, because let’s be honest: his time was up a long time ago.

– “Bitch baby”. Ah, the glorious overacting that is Scandal. Speaking of, this looks to be Washington’s Emmy submission episode so far.

-Sorry, David.

-Charlie and Quinn: same old, same old. It’s good they get it all out and everything, but I just am not interested in that storyline at all.

Scandal returns January 29, 2015. It’s a long ways away.

Photo credit: ABC, Scandal

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