This week's episode of Scandal introduced us to different sides of Olivia Pope and friends.
1. Leo Bergen Has a Kinky Side
Sue, a 26-year-old played by Lena Dunham, has written a tell-all memoir about her kinky sexcapades with 17 of D.C.'s power players—ambassadors, senators … and Abby's boyfriend, Leo Bergen (or "the Dustbuster," as he's called in the book)—and has distributed it to every publisher in the country. Disgusted and terrified, Abby hires Olivia to make sure the book doesn’t get published, so Olivia shows up at Sue's door making demands and talking out of turn. This isn't the first time Olivia barged into a stranger's personal space giving orders. Who raised you, Olivia? Oh, right. Never mind.
2. Olivia Has a Weak Side
Sue agrees to withdraw her book proposal if Olivia wrangles up $3 million from whoever is paying her. When Olivia suggests that Sue should be afraid of what people are going to say about her if the book is published, Sue reads Olivia as only Lena Dunham could.
"When did you become so weak? You're Olivia Pope. You and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that's all we got. … Now you're a dried-up prude who, instead of celebrating the fact that I fully own my body … you're shaking your finger at me and telling me to be afraid?"
Lena Dunham played Lena Dunham so well that I'm referring to her as Suelena going forward.
3. Mellie Has a Senate Side
Fitz announced to Cyrus and Abby that Mellie is running for senator from Virginia, and Cyrus searched the ceiling for every single crack with his epic eye roll. Mellie's move is straight out of the Clintons' playbook, and Mellie's eventual presidential bid became all the more exciting when Elizabeth North, Republican National Committee chairwoman, signed up to be her campaign manager.
4. David Rosen Has a Kinky Side, Too
Olivia, Huck and Quinn read Sue's manuscript and super-sleuthed the identity of each of the men in the book. As it turns out, Abby's former boyfriend David "Doctor" Rosen has a chapter in the book, too! It looks like Abby has a type.
Olivia rounds up all the men—everyone from "Joystick" to "Sit and Spin"—and shakes them down for their share of the $3 million, and most of them have $175,000 lying around to throw at the problem. It looks like Suelena has a type, too. To quote Kanye West, "Now I ain't sayin' she a gold-digger, but … "
Nonetheless, David shuts down the shakedown, calling it extortion and saying that the men involved would be complicit if they paid Suelena off.
5. Abby Has a "Woman Exhausted by the Media" Side
Abby decides she has to resign before the book comes out and delivers an amazing speech about how Leo's actions will overshadow her accomplishments because the media (mis)treats women differently from men. #AskHerMore
Says Abby: "I stand at the most powerful podium in the world, but a story about me ain't a story unless they can report on the fact that I'm the girlfriend of D.C. fixer Leo Bergen."
6. Huck Has a "Someone to Live for Other Than Olivia" Side
Olivia ultimately handled the Suelena problem by getting her a job in exchange for not publishing the book, and Suelena got her life back! And then Huck slit her throat. Yep. Huck killed Suelena to ensure that she never spoke of her book again, which would eventually have led to David's resignation and threatened Huck's request for full immunity for his testimony against B613. Huck isn't letting anything stand between him and his new future with his old family.
7. Olivia Has a "Take Lovers Home From the Bar" Side
Olivia is drinking red wine again, which is a good sign, but she's drinking copious amounts of it and still keeping a gun within reach—not a good sign. However, after reading 50 Shades of Suelena, Olivia feels, er, hmm, motivated, so to speak. So she dolls up in her little black dress and her Pinterest-inspired evening eyes and meets a tall stranger, played by Brian White, at a dark bar while Scandal's DJ plays Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." (I hope Scandal cleared this with Gaye's estate.)
Tall stranger, whom I’m calling "Not Fitz and Not Jake" until we find out if we actually need to remember his name, is like, "Dinner?" Olivia is like, "Sex." Boom. Everyone is on board until Olivia takes a trip to the ladies' room, freaks out with hostage-camp flashbacks and flees through the back of the restaurant.
But Olivia is no quitter. Still inspired by Suelena's words, she straps on another LBD and returns to the bar a few nights later. This time she leaves with Not Fitz and Not Jake and takes the party back to her place, and Scandal's DJ cues up Aretha Franklin's "Dr. Feelgood." Perfect.
Olivia is trying to move forward, and she's enlisting some good old-fashioned self-help, but I'm still holding out hope that she gets some professional help, too.
Akilah Green is a recovering Washington, D.C., lawyer-lobbyist-politico turned TV and film writer and producer living in Los Angeles. She currently works for Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea. She has also worked as a staff writer for Kevin Hart’s production company, HartBeat Productions, and as a consultant for Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. In addition, she co-wrote and is producing Scratch, an indie horror-comedy feature film, and is a regular contributor to The Root. Follow Green’s adventures in La La Land on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.