What can possibly change in six months' time? As it turns out on Scandal Season 5 Episode 10, A WHOLE LOT.
For starters, Olivia's wardrobe. Secondly, Olivia's relationships. Third? Just about everything else, too.
The only thing missing from this episode was a nice dose of David Rosen.
First of all, we have to give props to costume designer Lyn Paolo for the fierceness she brought to Olivia's wardrobe. GONE is the "white" hat. The gray/black color scheme was tossed out its very expensive ears, too.
This Olivia? She's the lady in red. And blue. And yellow.
The good news is those colors all look great on her. The bad news is that Olivia might be having a little bit of an identity crisis if her color palette is any indication of her character.
She's having dinner with Rowan Pope again, a somewhat shocking reveal, in my opinion. She helped her father get out of prison, yes, but that was primarily so she wouldn't have to marry Fitz and not because she believed her father to be a good man worthy of her love and forgiveness.
If she was trying to keep her enemies close, she sorely underestimated who her actual enemy was and ended up sleeping with him. A lot.
Oh yes, Olivia and Jake? They're getting down and dirty and going down and being rough. It's clearly just about sex for Olivia. Probably. But then her Dad has to go and call them "daughter" and "son" and make things incestuous and super gross.
(Just another reason to hate Rowan.)
And in case we needed another reason to hate Rowan, he helped facilitate a man's death so that Jake could become the next director of the NSA, ruining Olivia's client's image and livelihood in the process, all so he could have an inside man in DC politics.
Rowan Pope is going to claw his way back up to the top if it's the last thing he does. (Please, please, TV gods, let this be the last thing he does.)
I would love nothing more than to learn that Fitz somehow knows Jake is working with Rowan and maybe Jake is working with Fitz to take Rowan down for good and forever because THAT MAN HAS GOT TO GO. He has to go! Somebody drop a house on him!
He's manipulative and evil...and yet...
When he talks to Olivia about having power and being close to power and wanting power, she hangs on his every word because that's exactly what she does want. She wants to have the ability to control Fitz and the country and BE powerful.
That's what her red dresses are all about. Power. Standing out. Being seen on purpose. That red ensemble says, unequivocally, "I am here. SEE ME."
I'm okay with Olivia trying to find a way to stand in her own power instead of standing in the shadow of powerful men. Let's do that, writers. Let's get there.
And let's ditch her dad in the process, okay? Okay.
But in that process, let's not have her just stand in Mellie's shadow, either. Olivia is going to help Mellie with her campaign for President.
On the one hand, this is a ticket back into the White House for Olivia without the trappings of being First Lady or Fitz's girlfriend/mistress. It's a ticket back to power.
On the other hand, it's not her power. She'll go down in the history books as the one who ran the campaign, but Mellie will get the glory for the decisions made in office.
Elsewhere on the episode, Huck and Quinn discussing how they have to keep Marcus at arms' length so they don't inadvertently screw him up as badly as they are screwed up was oddly endearing. Just as Huck trained her to be a killer, he's now training her not to mess up others.
It's a good thing she's still with Charlie, the Batman to her Robin.
He gets it and understands what it's like to live that life. It's also not nearly as weird as when Quinn and Huck were knocking boots on the hoods of cars in parking decks. Quinn and Charlie are almost as normal a couple as we're likely to see on this show. Particularly since Leo has gone to Texas, a state he hates, because Abby's a workaholic and also the President's "work wife."
For half a second, I thought there was going to be a moment where we learned that Abby had begun sleeping with Fitz, and I was legitimately holding my breath until she mentioned Leo's name. THEN came the understanding that the President 1) isn't sleeping 2) has thrown himself completely into his work 3) is sort of abusing Abby's loyalty and position by having her on call 24/7.
She's the last person he trusts (which is why Olivia should've had Abby ask him not to fire the NSA chief), but she doesn't want to be the last/only person he trusts. Now that she's blown up at him, maybe we'll see him slowly let Cyrus back into his good graces.
Maybe. But probably not.
What did you think of "It's Hard Out Here For a General?" Were you shocked to find Jake and Olivia sleeping together again? How do you feel about Rowan's plan to find his way back into power?
Sound off in the comments below and remember you can watch Scandal online!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.