Scandal Recap: The Book of Eli

The winter finale was stone-cold crazy, with Papa Pope reading Fitz, Sally getting a do-over and Cyrus practically quoting Jagged Edge lyrics.

Rowan "Eli" Pope (Joe Morton) goes hard in the paint against President Fitzgerald Grant in the Scandal winter finale.
Rowan "Eli" Pope (Joe Morton) goes hard in the paint against President Fitzgerald Grant in the Scandal winter finale. ABC    

Scandal is supposed to be all about Olivia Pope, and most weeks, it is: her difficulty with men, with women, with herself, with a glass of wine. She’s the show’s protagonist, the superhero. To show an episode without her would be like watching an episode of Batman without, well, Batman.

But when we talk about last night’s winter finale—the last new episode to air until Feb. 27—Olivia is a mere footnote. The scenes with her weren’t as exciting as the scenes without her. Though the episode was titled “A Door Marked Exit,” it could have easily been called “Church,” because that’s where the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, and her team of writers took us last night. Had there been an offering during the episode, the collection plates would have gotten all of my money, and I would have asked my mother to float me some more to put in.

Whereas this whole season has been about shock and awe with gruesome violence (my teeth still hurt after seeing what Huck did to Quinn in the previous episode) and disturbing criminal behavior (who can hate Mellie after seeing that she was raped by Fitz’s dad?), last night’s episode was all about the dialogue. People were getting read all up and through this episode. Here were the three best books.

When a Woman’s Fed Up, by Sally Langston

The episode begins with a flashback of Vice President Sally Langston berating her husband, Daniel Douglas. If you recall in the last episode, Sally was shown calling Cyrus for help because she killed Daniel with a letter opener, after she found out he slept with Cyrus’ husband, James. Here is where we see the argument that drove her to the breaking point. Here is an excerpt:

“You screwed his husband. That was poison fruit! You have released a snake into our garden! You have spat in the face of my hard work. You have summoned my soul with your perversion, your sickness … You are the burden I carry on my back as I make my way to salvation. You are my cross to bear. You are my original sin. You are pretty and stupid and you can’t make a living to save your life. What you have given me is our daughter, who can’t keep her knees together. I cannot wait until you meet your maker, I cannot wait until you are judged for your lies.”

Sally swears she is Martin, Malcolm and Jesse. She doesn’t want the presidency; she wants a pulpit.

Boy: The Unauthorized Biography of President Fitzgerald Grant III, by Rowan “Eli” Pope

Fitz finally gets the best of Papa Pope, kidnapping him and hiding him in the dungeons of the Pentagon. Finally, these two men are going to talk man to man. At first, it seems like Fitz will be winning this debate. The man tells Pope, “I’m screwing your daughter.”