Scandal Season 4 Episode 5 Review: One Of the Good Guys

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Man, do we have a lot to discuss about Scandal Season 4 Episode 5, Gladiators. Is it just me or did that feel like one over-stuffed hour of television that we just watched?

Like, the kind of overstuffed where you feel so good and just a little sleepy and you need a nap but if someone put another slice of pie in front of you, you'd totally eat it. Or a glass of wine since this is Scandal we're talking about.

After last week's EPIC COMMENT THREAD, I've vowed NOT to discuss Olivia's love life (too much) in this week's review. So you're all welcome for that. Or not. 

But some things do need to be mentioned before we move on to alllllllll the other things that were so good about this episode.

So, let's do that.

  1. Olivia is blatantly and openly calling Jake her boyfriend.
  2. Fitz did not deny that Jake is there because of his relationship with Olivia, though I'll give Fitz a (small) pass seeing as how he was there to interrogate the man and Interrogation 101 is "don't put all your cards on the table."
  3. Everyone is trying really hard to make Jake sound like the worst bad guy who ever lived when Rowan Pope is at least 9 times worse.

I'm not reading too much into the "Jake is my boyfriend" thing because, meh, it's a word. It's an important word, at least for the two of them, but Cyrus -- and Jake -- acknowledged that Olivia sort of has two boyfriends so, again, meh.

Point number 2 is pretty much explained up there. Jake, in my opinion, wasn't just saying the things he said to get a rise out of Fitz, but getting a rise out of Fitz was part of his plan. Jake needed Fitz to feel vulnerable so he would listen when Jake acknowledged that Fitz is a good guy, which is why Olivia loves him. Why she loves them both.

Later Fitz did his best to shed that image by beating Jake for answers he's not going to get, but we'll just go ahead and blame that on Mellie. (Whoa, Mellie. For real.) Suffice it to say that when Jake does get out of there, which he will, Cyrus is coming for him, as he should.

If Olivia is being smart, and there was a sliver of hope at the end with Abby that she is, she knows that the things her father was saying about Jake as he tried to make his former protege sound so terrible are equally applicable to both her father and their parental relationship.  All of the reasons Rowan gave as Jake's reasons for killing Jerry and Harrison are his own reasons for doing exactly what he did.

Fitz was re-elected. Mama Pope took the fall, assuring Fitz and Olivia's relationship was a little more doomed. Olivia left town. 

Rowan is as obsessed with his daughter as he claims Jake is and that's more disturbing than any romantic relationship in which Olivia may be involved. For real.

The Rowan-Olivia relationship is such an interesting and bizarre one because they're absolutely not normal, but underneath it all, there's this sense that both of them wish they were. His final line to her in his office said it all:

[to Olivia] I just wanted you to be happy. That's all I ever wanted.

Rowan

All he has ever wanted for her is happiness, but he has a severely misguided idea of what Olivia's happiness should look like. 

In many ways, everything Rowan Pope has ever done, from the despicable to the drab, has all been done for Olivia's wellbeing.

If the country is well, then she is well. If she's not in a secret relationship with the President, then she can be in a public relationship and be happy.

If no one knows her mother is a terrorist, she can be happy. If he pops in with a bottle of wine and discusses his job with bird exhibits like that's his REAL job and pours her a glass, she can be happy.

She's not happy. His plan isn't working.

Well, it worked in the sense that Mellie Grant is completely freaking looney tunes and called her son's death at the hands of domestic terrorism "meaningful" and said that Jerry was their "soldier" who died so they could stay in the White House for four more years, then yeah, Rowan's plan is going swimmingly.

But something tells me Mellie Grant wasn't really on his mind when he devised the scheme that killed the First Son. 

There was something shockingly evil about the way Mellie reacted to that news, and then watching her strip out of her sweats and boots and take a shower, rinsing away the last few months of mourning that was just...well, shockingly evil. She's so horrible! And then she has great moments like the one last week with Karen and then she's just so horrible again!

I think the reason I like watching Mellie so much is that she's so unpredictable. She could have vowed vengeance on whomever killed their son. She could have said "meaningful" and then gone in a different direction. But no, she went straight to sacrificial lamb so you could be POTUS and that was not expected.

Finally, the character I most want to hug award goes to Huck. It always goes to Huck.

This man is broken into tiny little shards, and while Olivia was off having sex with Jake and Abby was moving on at the White House and he was working as a computer repair guy by day, he was sitting outside his wife's home by night, hoping to catch a glimpse of his son. 

I want his wife to believe him, to forgive him. I want to see Huck find a way to heal, though I don't know if it's possible for someone as broken and damaged as he is. He seems to be the one person who needs human connection the most, but he's also the first to turn away from it when the possibility of pain is too great. 

He broke my heart tonight. (Again.) That tiny moment where Quinn put her hand on his shoulder and he didn't pull away spoke volumes of how much he's hurting.

David's phone calls and visit to Abby did the same. He, too, is broken, though not to the extent or degree of Huck.

He tried to be Olivia Pope and he got burned, just like everyone else.

What did you think of Scandal Season 4 Episode 5? Were you shocked by Mellie's reaction to learning that Jerry was murdered? Does Olivia believe her father's version of events? I know you have thoughts itching to pour out of your fingers, so spill them in the comments!

Remember you can watch Scandal online right here at TV Fanatic so you never have to miss a minute.

Take a look at the promo for Scandal Season 4 Episode 6, "An Innocent Man."

The Key Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (73 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Scandal Season 4 Episode 5 Quotes

Fitz: Mellie's in the residence.
Cyrus: Respectfully, sir, she's probably drunk, and in a coma from too much fried chicken. You're safe there.

Olivia: I'm working. I'm gladiating.
Quinn: You're getting your expensive pants dirty. What are you doing here?