On last night’s episode of Scandal, Mellie slept with Andrew, who slept with Elizabeth, who is working with Kubiak, who was murdered by Huck, which was witnessed by Javi. Jake and Fitz engaged in the world’s cattiest pissing contest. And Olivia wore a winter-white pashmina-cape-snuggie number that was so sick I took some Theraflu on its behalf.
Most significantly, however, Olivia actually teamed up with her two lovers to take down her father. Kim Kardashian may have tried to break the Internet this week, but Olivia is trying to break our brains with this one.
Jake wants Papa Pope dead, but Fitz and Liv just want to prosecute him. Um, haven’t they ever watched a horror movie? I’m not rooting for Papa to die, but I know that it’s never enough to just push the bad guy down the stairs. He always get back up. That’s why you have to shoot him, stab him and then strangle him, just in case.
Alas, it doesn’t even matter because Papa Pope is never to be outdone. Here are five reasons Papa Pope is the champ in this episode (and forever):
1. Papa Pope utters the word “boys” with such conviction, it sounds like a brand-new word.
Olivia was still upset with her father after he showed up in (not at, literally in) her apartment last episode and scolded her like she was a schoolgirl. This week, Papa Pope calls her to let her know that families fight, forgive and forget. Olivia responds by saying that Jake is family (really??) and he won’t forget what Papa Pope has done.
Papa Pope makes clear that those “boys” (that would be Jake and Fitz) are not family: “You may love these boys, Olivia. And they may even love you. But they are not your family. These boys may go to battle for you. They perhaps might even kill for you. But after the conquest, after they’ve enjoyed the spoils, they will move on to other battles. Other conquests. Other spoils.”
It isn’t just the fact that he called them boys. It’s the way he said it. It was as if the word had been soaked in about 10 pounds of stank.
2. Papa Pope is smarter, faster and all-around better than you.
Olivia fakes tears to lure her father to a restaurant where special agents can arrest him. Over dinner, Papa Pope begins what may be his most epic monologue to date: “I haven’t been the perfect father. … All that I’ve done is because of you. I am who I am because of you. I’m here because of you … ”
And just as your heart starts to break at the realization that Olivia is really plotting with “those boys” to take down the man who has loved her since birth, he moves in closer to her: “That’s what you were to me. Everything.”
Were? (Record scratch.)
That’s when you learn that not only is Papa Pope fully aware of the plan, but he has already foiled it!
The next thing you know, Papa Pope’s invisible army is killing off the snipers who were targeting him, and all the paper copies (um, it’s 2014) of the B613 files that David Rosen was going to use as evidence to convict Papa Pope turn out to have been magically replaced by blank sheets of paper.
And David thought he’d been “Poped” by Olivia in the last episode. Ha! You haven’t been Poped until you’ve been Poped by Papa Pope.
3. Papa Pope slays with his words alone.
Then Papa Pope goes in: “You have forsaken me. Your father. Your family.”
“A trial. An execution. You were going to let them do that to me. After all I’ve done to protect you from them … ”
“You wanted to stand in the sun. The bright white light. It blinded you.”
4. Papa Pope doesn’t just “go in”; he leans in.
He digs the knife deeper: “Those people you’ve chosen over me … those people are not your people. They never will be and you never will be one of them.”
“You think the world is so terrible with me in it—wait until you see what it’s like without me.”
Then he figuratively leaves the knife in her side while he coolly rides off into the night.
5. Papa Pope is the worst and yet also the best.
The special agents who were sent to arrest him are all dead, the B613 files are gone and Papa Pope hasn’t even broken a sweat. You don’t know how Papa Pope pulled it off, but you know he’s more than capable of it, so you don’t even bother with silly things like questions and details. After all, he’s already put us on notice: He’s “the hell and the high water.”
You don’t even really want to root for Papa Pope, but you kind of do because, ultimately, you want to be on the team that wins.
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.