Scandal “Trump Card” Review (Season 5, Episode 20)

I know that this Scandal review is ridiculously late, so let’s get right to it. Olivia and Abby called a temporary cease fire to combine forces to take down Hollis Doyle. That was a smart move and I’m hoping it means we’re done with Hollis. I get that the show has put him up as the Donald Trump character in Scandal’s campaign race, but honestly, there’s so much more story to tell without him. He’s annoying, shallow, and distracting from the much more interesting plots that the show has going on. I must admit that I did enjoy the way Olivia knocked Hollis out of the race. I wasn’t particularly surprised by Olivia’s scheme, but it was quite effective. Goodbye and good riddance, Hollis!

Even though Olivia and Abbie were working together to take down a bigger threat, this doesn’t mean the fences have been completely mended between them. I still do not believe that they will ever be able to go back to being what they were, but it appears that there’s still at least a part of them that cares about the other. Eli gave Abby information about Olivia’s secret abortion (which I will get to in a minute) and expected her to use it to knock Mellie out of the race. Abby didn’t do it though. Maybe a part of it was to protect Fitz, but mostly that was to protect Olivia. Abby hasn’t gone full on monster yet which is actually a good thing. It means that there still might be a chance for her. If she wants to take it.

I had to roll my eyes at the show bringing up Olivia’s abortion again. To be clear, I believe every woman has the right to choose what she wants to do with her body. My problem with Olivia’s abortion isn’t the fact that she had one. My problem with Olivia’s abortion is how completely out of the blue it was. The show wanted to make a statement about Congress de-funding Planned Parenthood. I get that, and I agree with the show that Congress was wrong to do that. However, making that statement by throwing in a story point that had no buildup and no consequences for the characters wasn’t the way to do it. My other problem with Olivia’s abortion kind of relates to the first point in that she made that decision without allowing Fitz to have any input about it. Ultimately, she may have decided to go through with the abortion anyway, but the fact that she did it without even telling Fitz was wrong. That was his child too, and he had a right to at least voice his opinion on the matter. Olivia flippantly telling Abby that she feels no shame about getting an abortion really turned me off. At least she did acknowledge that that information would’ve been hurtful to Fitz, so at least she seems to understand that there are other people in the world besides herself.

I’m having a hard time feeling sorry for Olivia right now. She’s terrified of her father and she told Cyrus that she’s not willing to go up against him because there’s no way to win. That’s not entirely true though. Olivia did win against him once. He was in prison. He wasn’t able to attempt to steal the presidency. He wasn’t in a position to hurt her, Jake, or anyone else. How is it that Eli got his hooks into Edison? How is it that Jake is trapped in a situation that he’s unable to free himself from? How is it that Eli is free to wreak so much havoc on the world? Oh right. Because Olivia let him out. Olivia got him released so she wouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of the choices SHE made. So no, Olivia. I don’t feel sorry for you that you’re running scared. I don’t feel sorry for you that you’ve got a sociopath of a father doing his best to ruin you. As a matter of fact, Olivia bears the majority of the blame for these situations. I don’t know what’s coming next, but I have no doubt that Eli will be involved. I also have no doubt that Olivia will not accept or recognize her responsibility in the situation, but I do.

The only person I feel sorry for is Susan Ross. I really didn’t want Susan to accept the VP job because she is a genuinely good person. She actually cares about the American people. She wants to make positive changes in the world and be a good example for her daughter. The problem is, no one in Washington DC actually cares about doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing. No one cares about making positive changes unless it can somehow benefit them. Basically, Susan Ross is too good for DC. Furthermore, she’s too good for David and I’m really disappointed by that. For a long time, I felt like David was the only truly white hat on the show. He wanted to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do. The law wasn’t just an abstract idea to him. He actually cared about it and following it. However, that hasn’t been David at all this season. He’s been a liar and a cheat. I don’t think he set out to manipulate Susan because I don’t think he immediately recognized that she was into him. But ever since he did, he’s been nothing but a jerk to her. He’s been two-timing her with Elizabeth (which still, ewwwww) but his greatest sin is that he didn’t believe in her. For someone like Susan, who is constantly underestimated and patronized, it’s a really big deal for someone to believe in her the way she thought David did. She thought David saw all of the wonderful aspects of her, but even if he did, he apparently didn’t believe she was good enough to win. That is the straw that broke the camel’s back for Susan. She could forgive the lies, but she cannot forgive someone who thinks her less than capable. As much as my heart hurt for Susan, I’m glad that she kicked David to the curb. She deserves better than him.

All in all, this was a pretty solid episode. It looks like they’re starting something up between Marcus and Mellie, but I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, Marcus is one of the few people who calls Mellie on her crap. But on the other hand, hooking up with Marcus isn’t going to be good for Mellie’s presidential bid and she’s always been more focused on that than anything else. So we’ll have to see how this develops. It appears that Edison isn’t the only one trapped under Eli’s thumb. I mostly feel sorry for Edison because he didn’t know what a monster Eli is, but a very small part of me doesn’t. Olivia tried to tell him that her father was worse than she is, but Edison was so angry with and hurt by her that refused to see the truth. Now, he’s trapped in Eli’s web and there’s no getting out. Which is kind of sad because I think Edison really does care about the American people and he wants to make a positive difference. Eli claimed that as soon as Edison got into the Oval, he could do or say whatever he wanted, but we all know that’s a lie. Eli laid out exactly why he chose Edison, and it’s not because he thinks Edison would be a good President. Eli chose Edison because he doesn’t believe Edison will be a challenge to his authority. Plain an simple. Then there’s Jake. Jake still wants out, but at this point, I don’t think he knows how to get free. Eli has him so twisted up and messed up that he doesn’t know which way is up. That’s why he keeps trying to get Olivia to help him. For whatever reason, he seems to believe that she can lead him out, but he either can’t see or won’t accept that she’s just as messed up and trapped as he is. The thing is, I feel like Jake and Olivia are going about this the wrong way. They keep trying to take Eli down head on and they keep trying to do it themselves. But Eli isn’t a problem they can solve alone. It’s going to take everyone working together to get rid of him. It’s probably not going to happen any time soon, but I will do a happy dance when it does.