Scandal “Dog-Whistle Politics” Review (Season 5, Episode 4)

Scandal "Dog-Whistle Politics" Season 5 Episode 4 (3)

One immutable truth that exists in the universe is you don’t know like I know what I’ve been through. You don’t know the battles I’ve fought or the obstacles I’ve had to overcome. You don’t know what kind of humiliations and abuses I’ve endured to achieve whatever success I have today. That’s true of everyone. When people are standing on the outside looking in, it’s always so easy to assume that every step was planned and every move calculated. But the truth is, very rarely does life follow the path you lay out for yourself. That’s a truth the people destroying Olivia seem to have forgotten. There were a lot of hot-button issues touched on in this week’s Scandal, so let’s get to it.

At the risk of sounding like an unsympathetic jerk, I had a difficult time feeling sorry for Olivia because this was a mess of her own making. When Olivia decided to confirm her affair with Fitz, she opened herself up not only to the scrutiny of the media. She also opened herself up to the crazies on the internet who feel free to say horrible things about another human being because of the anonymity the internet provides. To be clear, there is NEVER a situation where it is appropriate or ok to even suggest that someone should be raped. That being said, Olivia’s admission took away her status as a person for many folks. I’m not saying it’s right, but it is what it is. When you succeed in dehumanizing a person, it’s easier to do barbaric things to them. And that’s what the media did to Olivia. They systematically stripped away everything that made her a person so they could feel alright about getting on tv and calling her a whore.

The truth of the matter is, sexism isn’t anything new either. If a man is aggressive, that’s seen as a positive attribute. If a woman is aggressive she’s considered a witch with a capital B. If a man sets his sights on a goal and works hard to get there, he’s motivated, dedicated, and resourceful. If a woman sets her sights on a goal and works hard to get there, she’s frigid and needs to get laid. There is definitely a disparity in the way men and woman are treated, but it’s not just the men who are sexists pigs. Other women are just as bad if not worse. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman ripped apart more thoroughly than by another woman. That’s why I found the female caucus simultaneously amusing and sad. Mellie may be a drama queen, but she showed up for her first day actually ready to work. She wanted to talk about things that actually matter but the women’s caucus wanted to talk about impeaching Fitz. And not because he violated the Constitution. They want to impeach Fitz because he’s a man who couldn’t keep it in his pants, and they’re tired of men being able to sleep around and get away with it. While I understand the frustration, that kind of behavior plays right into the hands of those very men you despise so much.

In addition to Olivia being attacked as a woman, she was attacked as an African-American. I know it’s something that many people don’t like to hear, but racism is not dead in America. It would be wonderful if it were. But the sad truth is, racism still exists and pretending otherwise only ensures that it’ll be that much longer until it is truly gone. I once had someone say to me that African-Americans are overly sensitive to issues of race and they always jump to the conclusion that something is a racial issue when it’s not. Ignoring the racism inherent in that statement, I looked the person in the eyes and asked him when was he last mistaken for the housekeeping staff at a swanky hotel he was patroning. I asked him when was the last time he went downtown to buy a birthday gift for his mom and was told that a particular item was “in all likelihood out of your price range” even before asking what my price range was. I asked him when was the last time he was sitting in an advanced placement class and his teacher asked him whether he was planning to go to a technical school after high school despite having asked all of his classmates which top tier colleges or university they were planning to attend. Those aren’t stories I heard. Those are stories I lived. Racism is not dead, and burying your head in the sand about it isn’t going to help the situation. I don’t particularly care for Marcus, but I do appreciate the way he called the media out on their racist reporting on Olivia. They can claim otherwise all they want, but Marcus was absolutely right. If Olivia were a White male, no one would’ve batted an eye.

It seems Marcus has joined Pope and Associates for the time being, and he’s going to shake up the way they do things. I’ve said before that Olivia likes to keep people around her who will just do what she says without question, but Marcus doesn’t look like he’s willing to do that. Not only is he going to ask questions, he’s not going to follow Olivia blindly off a cliff because she’s declared it’s a good idea. Marcus is also a man of conviction and principle. When we last saw him, Olivia had a plan to save his political career, but it would’ve meant him lying, so he refused. I respect that. Since Olivia’s business is built on lies and more lies, it’ll be interesting to see how long he can work their before he either compromises his integrity or gets fed up and leaves.

Now on to Fitz. For a few moments, he actually sounded like a President. When Senator Racist Sexist came to the Oval and told Fitz to scrap the Brandon Bill or face impeachment, Fitz actually considered doing it. But then, he decided that the Bill was important for the country, and although it may have been the smart move to take Senator Racist Sexist’s offer, it wasn’t the right move. I was proud of Fitz…for about thirty seconds. Then he decides to go to his mistresses house in the middle of the evening to take her out on a date. There are several problems with that. First, I get that you’re in love with Olivia, but she is not your wife. You are still married and traipsing around town with your mistress just makes you look sleazy. Second, you have children, one of whom is old enough to be affected by what is going on. How do you think she’s going to feel about her father parading his mistress around town while he’s still married? Third, you know Mellie is already hurt and angry. So why antagonize her? She’d already agreed not to hurt Fitz if he didn’t hurt her, so what exactly did he think going to pick Olivia up for a date was going to do? Did he think about it at all? No. No he didn’t. I get that he was concerned about Olivia, but the way he handled that is just going to make the situation worse.

This episode didn’t annoy me quite as much as last week’s episode, but we didn’t really tread any new ground either. The show addresses racism and sexism at least three or four times a season, and there weren’t any new steps in that dance routine. I sincerely hope the fact that no B613 agents showed up about the paintings means that we won’t be going through all of that again. I really, really, REALLY don’t want to walk that road again. Although, I get the feeling that Jake’s wife isn’t being entirely forthcoming with him. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I wanted to feel bad for Cyrus when he was passionately explaining why he was so angry with Fitz, but minimizing Gerry Jr.’s death right to Mellie’s face was extremely bad form. I get that Cyrus is in pain, but there is no comparison between what he’s feeling and Mellie losing her son. I suppose, though, pain is pain but Cyrus was still completely out of line. It doesn’t look like things are going to die down for Olivia any time soon, so she’s going to have to put her armor on. Because this is going to be rough. So what did y’all think of this week’s Sandal?