On this week's episode of Scandal, strange alliances were formed, new enemies were made and Olivia Pope officially became the show's villain.
President Pope: Thanks to Olivia, who got her father, Rowan, released from prison in exchange for his blackmailing the members of the congressional impeachment committee, the impeachment investigations are over, Fitz Grant's presidency is safe and Olivia is free to hang out in the Oval Office all day long instructing Fitz on exactly how to run the country. Everyone is happy … except for Cyrus Beene, who realizes that every time he has a suggestion for Fitz, Olivia has beaten him to the punch and Fitz is already carrying out Olivia's marching orders.
Things come to a head when former White House Chief of Staff Elizabeth North threatens to give an exclusive interview on Sally Langston's Liberty Report unless the White House brings her back on board. Cyrus tells Fitz to talk Elizabeth out of this plan, but Olivia convinces Fitz to bring Elizabeth back on as Vice President Susan Ross' chief of staff. Fed up, Cyrus confronts Olivia: "He's not the president anymore, Olivia. You are."
After a brief moment of deliberation, Olivia does an about-face, struts into the Oval Office, stands on the presidential seal and begins giving Fitz orders on how to run the country while Fitz sits on the couch taking notes. Olivia's the captain now!
Papa Pope: Fitz tells Olivia that, somehow, some way, Rowan and Tom have been released from prison. Ooo, wait until Fitz finds out that Olivia is both the "how" and the "way." Meanwhile, Jake Ballard shows up at Olivia's house drunk and mad because, thanks to Olivia getting her serial murderer of a father released, Rowan was able to kill his new-old wife, Elise. Therefore, Jake concludes, Olivia killed his wife.
Olivia appears remorseful for about 12 seconds until Jake starts reading her: "You are Rowan's greatest achievement. You have become exactly the woman he raised you to be: power hungry, entitled, dangerous." On that note, Olivia kicks Jake out to grieve about his dead wife on her doorstep. No edible arrangement? Not even an e-card? You're cold, Liv. Later, Olivia finds out that Fitz has tapped Jake to find and kill her father.
Susan and David … and Elizabeth: Since bonding with Attorney General David Rosen over wine coolers during the last episode, Susan seems to have caught feelings. This could be really cute. They both seem to be good people who believe in doing the right thing. But of course, that would be too easy.
Remember that Elizabeth just became Susan's chief of staff. Well, when Elizabeth was weaseling her way back into the White House, Cyrus asked David to stop her, but he couldn't. Then, when Elizabeth comes back to David's office to gloat, they dive into an intense makeout session. While we're trying to figure out who, what, when, where and how, Susan shows up bearing wine coolers. Fortunately, David's assistant doesn't let Susan inside his office because he is (getting) busy. Well, this just got messy.
“The Cosby Shade”: Bill Cosby is famously pissed off at the younger generation of black folks, but he's probably extra mad at Shonda Rhimes after last night. This case of the week was very clearly based on Cosby, the scores of women who have come forth alleging that he drugged and raped them, and the recent discussion on whether the Obama administration can revoke the Presidential Medal of Freedom that was awarded to Cosby.
In this episode, Fitz grants Frank Holland, a feminist-humanitarian-professor-writer, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Then a young student tells Olivia that Professor Holland had previously invited her to his house to mentor her, but then he drugged and raped her. She told the university, but the university labeled her a "psychological liability" and kicked her out.
The student was accused of plagiarism, which made it less likely that people would believe her rape allegations, so the gladiators need more proof. They find 22 more students who also claim to have been drugged and raped by Holland. The gladiators learn that not only were these women drugged with Holland's wife's oxycodone supply, but as many people suspect about Cosby's wife, Camille, they learn that Holland's wife knew that her husband was a serial rapist the whole time! Holland's wife told Olivia "Sorry, not sorry" because it is her job to defend her husband's legacy.
Olivia tells the Hollands that you can't be both a humanitarian and a serial rapist. Message! Olivia stages a press event during one of Holland's lectures and has each of the 22 women who came forward tell their stories to a national audience, much like when 35 of Bill Cosby's accusers came together to share their stories this summer. For anyone who didn't want to believe that Rhimes went there, she kicked off the episode with Junior Walker's "Shotgun," which, as many people recognized, sounds a lot like the popular Cosby Show theme song. Oh, the shade!
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.