Scandal “I See You” Review (Season 5, Episode 14)

Scandal I See You

My grandmother used to say, “You lie down with dogs, you rise up with fleas.” When I was a kid, I didn’t really understand what that meant. I thought she meant literally, but as I grew up, I came to realize the wisdom in that statement. Basically, if you spend all your time with monsters, it won’t be too long before you wake up and realize that you’re a monster too. That’s pretty much the lesson of this week’s Scandal.

Last season had a lot of problems, but none more so than the way the story seemed to be all over the place. There was no clear focus or direction, and many of the characters were so out of character that I had to check and make sure I was actually still watching Scandal. Olivia’s story in particular lacked direction. There was Island Olivia hiding out somewhere in the tropics with Jake. Then there was Olivia Pope: Super Spy who was trying to take down B613. Then there was Kidnapped Olivia. Then there was White House Olivia who finally got her man and her spot on top of the world. The problem with so many different versions of Olivia is the fact that the show didn’t spend enough time on any one version for it to truly mean anything. Olivia’s kidnapping and subsequent sale on the black market should’ve been a much bigger deal than it was. But instead of dealing with it and the ramifications of it, they pretty much ignored it except for Olivia getting the shakes and telling everyone she was fine when she clearly wasn’t. At least she wasn’t for a few weeks, then POOF! It was like it never happened. Her PTSD and anxiety suddenly went away, and there was no indication whatsoever that she’d ever gone through that ordeal at all. Which is why Olivia bringing up her kidnapping at this juncture as a justification for her behavior felt completely disingenuous.

It was a relief for someone to finally call Olivia out on her behavior because she really has been ridiculously selfish. Not that everyone isn’t selfish to a certain degree, but Olivia took it to the extreme and a lot of people got hurt because of it. I kept hoping the show would explain why Olivia was behaving that way, but I had to roll my eyes at this explanation. It’s not that being kidnapped and sold isn’t a terrifying and life-altering event. Of course it is. And I would’ve been much more ready to accept it as Olivia’s justification if the show had spent more than three or four episodes dealing with it. I understand her not wanting to talk about it right after it happened. I even understand her not wanting to talk about it with people who are supposed to be her subordinates. However, I do not understand how it all went away suddenly and then just as suddenly is brought back up to explain why she abandoned her people, destroyed Fitz’s life, and basically made a spectacle of herself. Maybe this was the show’s way of saying that Olivia’s erratic and uncharacteristic behavior over the last year has been the result of her coping badly with her trauma. It’s not outside the realm of possibility, but it would be easier to believe that if the writers had done a better job. As it is, this looks like Olivia’s weak attempt to justify herself and her poor decisions.

On the positive side, it looks like Olivia has finally stopped lying to herself about who she is. Even when I liked Olivia, I never viewed her as the white hat she claimed to be. It’s not that she was an evil person like, say, Hollis Doyle. But she was much more comfortable living in the gray areas than a true white hat would be. However, now that the dust from all of her shenanigans has settled, Olivia has finally admitted that she was corrupted by the power of the Oval. She also admitted that she knows she can never go back to being the white hat again. Going back to my grandmother’s words of wisdom, Olivia got fleas. It probably should’ve been liberating for her to finally be able to honest, but it was mostly just sad. She’s become a cautionary tale, and she tried to prevent Abby from walking the same path but it looks like Abby refused to see the lesson. I guess sometimes people just have to go through the fire themselves before they realize that they’ll get burned.

I have a feeling that Abby is going to suffer the same fate that Olivia suffered after she finally got herself into the White House. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never been an Abby fan. I find her personality grating, but at the end of the day, I’ve never felt like she was a bad person. That being said, I don’t know how well she’s going to be able to live with herself after what she did to Cyrus. I completely understand wanting “your turn” at the table with the big boys, but that turn never comes without a price. A very high price. Oftentimes, you may not even know what the final price is because you never realize you’ve paid it until it’s too late.

I had sincerely hoped we were done with Hollis Doyle, but he keeps popping up like a bad penny. I can’t say I’m surprised though. Scandal gets a lot of its storylines straight from the headlines, so I knew it wouldn’t be too much longer until we got a Donald Trump-esque character involved in the Scandal election process. Honestly, I wasn’t really looking forward to it and the fact that it’s Hollis Doyle just makes it even worse. He’s an arrogant, sexist, racist and his “Southern” accent drives me up the wall. I also had to roll my eyes when Mellie acted so surprised that Doyle would double cross her and co-opt her campaign slogan. Has she met him? That’s one of the least slimy things she should’ve expected from him. Hollis entering the race does complicate things for Mellie now because he has dirt on her and you can bet he won’t hesitate to use it.

All in all, this episode wasn’t bad. I’m hoping this will be a turning point for Olivia. I mean, how many people do you need to tell you that you’re being a jerk before you realize you’re being a jerk? Olivia needs to get her head back in the game though because it took her far too long to realize that Jake picked up Vanessa the same way he picked her up. Granted, that was probably due to Olivia thinking like a scorned woman instead of the professional she is. I literally laughed out loud when she thought she could spy on Jake without him knowing about it. Even if he weren’t a trained operative, he’s the head of the NSA. At any rate, the fact that Jake used the same moves on Vanessa that he used on Olivia says that he and Eli need Vanessa for something. Whatever it is isn’t good, and Vanessa is no doubt going to wind up with the short end of that stick. Susan Ross also showed even more sass than usual. It was actually kind of awesome. I hate that she agrees with Hollis Doyle about anything, but she was right when she went off on Fitz. She’s the candidate, not him. If he’s going to help her on the campaign trail, he needs to fall in line with what she wants. I hope Abby is prepared for all the trouble she’s brought down on herself. Cyrus may leave quietly now, but he’s not going to forget what she did and he’s not going to miss his opportunity to make her pay. Just as an aside, Sally Langston seriously cracks me up. She was an awful Vice President and an even more awful person, but she is an awesome talk show host. So what did y’all think of this week’s Scandal?