So Most Women Want To Be Mistresses? #Scandal #ABC #WinterFinale #WhatTheHellShonda
All pictures courtesy of ABC
What the hell, Shonda (#WhatTheHellShonda). After a few days to digest and ruminate on the winter finale (#WinterFinale) of Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder (recap coming tomorrow or later today), I could only develop one question and not in the OMG-goodness kind of way. This episode was just... I don't even know how to explain it. Cringe-worthy? Check! Not what we anticipated? Sorta check! What we wanted to see? Hell no! But it did tie into my thoughts and theories I was going to write about in a few weeks. I'll write about it now while everyone still has yet to find their mind after losing it watching that episode.
To begin, I have to give Scandal (#Scandal) and Shonda some credit for not killing off their devil played by the black guy. Having already killed off not one but two black guys (sometimes we still miss you, Columbus Short; Russell, we hardly knew ye) it was refreshing to see one of them stay around and alive, even though his living is a disappointment fan-wise. The whole story with Rowan being kidnapped by Huck and sitting in some abandoned factory with him while they did nothing was such a let down that I had to rewind my DVR twice just to see that I hadn't missed something. You mean to tell me that Huck didn't even cut off a big toe? After all that he just drops him off back at home? And then Jake comes and goes inside to have Christmas dinner with him? What. The. Hell? Didn't this same dude try to have you both killed at one point? No, he isn't family no matter how much he's brainwashed you so why treat him this way. I mean, Caesar and Brutus were like brothers and even Brutus didn't have a problem plunging that knife into ol' dude's back (or front, I can't remember the specifics). The only possible satisfying end to his story that I can see is if Liv or her mother finally do him in.
Then there's the rest of the story. Spotlighting Mellie's struggle as a junior senator, while great, I think might have done a disservice in some ways to some viewers. Look, I'm a story/TV/movie/book junkie so I'll keep watching something usually until the wheels fall off (I don't like not finishing things I've started), but I know tons of people don't like politics in their show even when it's a show about politics. Mellie's filibustering for the non-discretionary funding of Planned Parenthood is current and moving but I didn't feel like it shed a great light on modern feminism, at least when it concerned the rest of the show. First off, there was little mention of the big issue surrounding the defunding even if it does only make up 3% of what Planned Parenthood does--abortions. It wasn't an impassioned speech about all the other things the organization does (something which would have actually benefited viewers who don't know) and when that very topic is brought up we get a cut-away to something else. That, coupled with Liv's turn at the end, made it feel like the whole recent Planned Parenthood brouhaha was "totally about abortion" even though everyone said and the producers probably even agree that "it had nothing to do with abortion." Was anyone else confused?
As expected, because Liv saw Mellie's stand as one of female empowerment, and because she was bored to tears with her one-week stay in the White House, she tries helping her once adversary to remain on the floor so the budget wouldn't be passed by midnight. Mellie does succeed but I wonder at what cost to her political career going forward. She's not an old head here, she doesn't have any allies from what they've shown so far (at least not in the senate), there are tons of burned bridges left in ruin between her and her husband's staff and she just called every congress member out on their own BS funding. While she's made a name for herself to the public, inside Congress where it matters she's basically done nothing to ingratiate herself into a clique, and sadly, cliques are how things get done in Washington.
Now, to move on to the most heart-wrenching part of the episode, Liv and Fitz. Where do I begin? To start, Liv has only been living in the White House for a few days, or weeks at the most. The previous episode where Fitz had her stuff moved in also had the Christmas tree up already so it's gotta be somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet, even in that short amount of time she's shown as bored, mopey and disdainful for everything about being there. She hasn't even given herself or the situation time to settle. The countless holiday parties are getting to her as she reacts almost as bad to being asked about a cookie recipe as she did when she learned of her father's involvement with B6-13. What unrighteousness is this to have to engage in seasonal chit-chat with another woman, as if the men are constantly talking about the most important things ever. I got news for you people, the people who talk the most about politics and what needs to happen in this country are actually political pundits, not politicians unless they're being called onto a talk show. Why do you think nothing ever really gets done in D.C.? You think that people so obsessed with their jobs would take so many vacations or "recesses" from voting or would have time to make small talk about their March Madness brackets, or try to crack jokes about each other at those correspondents' dinners? Hell no! There's other stuff to do and talk about all the time. Yet, Liv doesn't see it this way.
Falling into the duties of a housewife, Olivia sees to more Christmas decorations, makes sure she gets those cookies to that lady and spends much of her time doing absolutely nothing but watching Mellie do the pee-dance on live television. It's become painfully apparent that the world truly doesn't revolve around her. Mind-blowing! In her boredom does she call her office to see if they have a case? No. What about seeing where Huck is or where her father is? Nope. Instead she wallows, briefly pulling her self from the self-imposed muck to help Mellie.
|Forget the months I took off work to do nothing multiple times, I've been here a few weeks and I'm already going crazy.|
Finally, when she is to be with Fitz at another dinner that night, she skips it to apparently have an abortion? What? Hold on, so she was pregnant with Fitz's baby, the love of her life's baby, the all-time great man Fitzgerald Grant's baby, the one who she enslaved with her... everything's baby and she gets rid of it? And without even telling him? Whoa! OK. As if that isn't shocking enough, and in-line with Mellie's story about Planned Parenthood and how, yes, the funding really is about abortion and nothing else that they saw fit to cover, she then comes home to have an argument with him.
Not just an argument, it's the argument. In the most side-eye inducing, side-chicky, narcissistic slut walk drivel ever, she expresses how she now feels trapped by him and that it's his fault, he's punishing her because she let out the man that killed his son; that she only got the good parts of him and not all of him before, and now that she sees all of who and what he is, she doesn't want it. Quite possibly the biggest sigh I've ever sighed escaped from my mouth. It's over. Their five season love affair is ended by a few weeks of actually having him, of actually living with him, of actually being his woman and he, her man. And she moves out of the White House and back into her place. And this is why I had my theory from literally episode three of this series. And this is why some people are so quick to blame gold-diggers and side chicks.
My theory has always been that Olivia Pope never (read: never ever ever) wanted to be the main woman. She does not want to be the wife, nor does she even want to be the only girlfriend. She always wanted to be and still wants to be the mistress. Now, I still enjoy viewing and discussing shows in common with my family members, mainly my mother. She could not fathom why a woman, especially of Liv's ilk, could want such a position. I explained just as Liv said in her speech that when you're the mistress you have it easier than the wife. You get the hot sex, you get spoiled and treated the way he used to treat his wife in the early days, you get his happy side. What you don't get our the expectations that come with being his wife, you possibly don't have to take care of his kids (every situation is different) and you don't get the back and forth nagging until the relationship is ready to end. Oh, but what about all the heartache and the pain and blah blah blah! All of that wraps itself up into passion. In other words, that not only becomes tolerated but welcomed because "that's how they know it's real." Since the man is doing something forbidden you know that you're getting the bad boy side of him and let's not act like the bad boy motif is something only found in books and never in real life.
I know, this is not only a longer post than usual, but it's probably pissing some long-time fans off, but know that this "love story" that the show has been billed as was never between Fitz and Liv. It was between Liv and the idea of being wanted uncontrollably by a man who can't fully have her. The fact that he is the president does not matter. Her job really does not matter. Yes, she spun it as some new age feminist BS (really, look back at the earlier feminists to compare and contrast) that no matter what she did, she'd lose her identity behind him. Because, you know, nobody even hears about Michelle Obama. I don't even think she's done anything with her husband's platform since he's been in office, right? God forbid that she claim stake on how she wants to be the first lady. Liv doesn't even bother to try to be different than those women before her, instead giving up because none of it is what she wants in the moment. And why? Because she's always wanted to be the mistress, be the one who is pined over, searched for, sought after, but never fully gotten. Their past break-ups were never her trying to spare his career or her own, but served only to keep him at arm's length whenever things got too close to being real. She doesn't want real, she wants fantasy.
Trust that they will probably write the character in a way that suggests she just "wasn't ready" for things with Fitz at the time, but that's not the real story. The truth--and here's what I've always expected to happen come the end of this series--is that she is not that white hatted person she so desperately wants to be. The truth is that she is just as ruthless as her father, even more so than her mother. The truth is that the only realistic end to the series is for her to end up not just without Fitz, not just alone, but unhappy because that is actually what she deserves. See, it's not just enough for her to be alone because being alone or single is no great punishment, but she has to be unhappy too. Why? Because she has flirted not just with Fitz, but with love personified far too often not to end up having "love" break her heart.
What do you think? I know there are plenty of fans out there who I'm sure disagree with a lot of what I said, so sound off if you're on both sides. Did you think that the fallback argument of blaming Fitz for this was good, or did it just make her look like a whiny baby? Were you just as shocked as I was about the abortion? Do you still want to see Olitz live to see Vermont? Or are you starting to lean toward my expected ending? Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).
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Until next time, "when a rich man want ya, and your current man can't do nothin' for ya. Ohhh! These *** ain't loyal."
P.S. OK, admittedly the thoughts and lyrics from that great philosopher Chris Brown is taking it too far into misogyny. I apologize, but don't say that you didn't unexpected laugh when you realized, "is this fool quotin' Chris Brown? What the...?" I think of a better sign-off next time.Amazon
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