Dog-Whistle Politics: Scandal Episode 504 Recap
This week’s emoji on Twitter for the Scandal hashtag was a gladiator in a suit and that gave me a very giant tip. I definitely patted myself on the back for guessing a big part of the episode. Let’s talk about it.
Rebuilding Empire – Jake is visiting Papa Pope to find out what he is up to. It is not random that paintings in the Louvre caught fire. And this is all a plan of his Lazarus One plan. Eli says this is all Liv’s fault and she’s forgot everything he taught her. Besides, he ain’t gotta get his power back because real power can’t stop won’t stop. WELP. “Boy, I am always free. No one will ever cage me.” Jake says he gon find who he’s working with and kill them. Sir, ain’t nobody scared of you. Especially not Command.
We see that there is an exposé happening from a reporter digging into the background of Olivia Pope, the mistress of the President of the United States. She mentions that Liv’s father once told someone that he wanted to raise Olivia to be an “African American girl who felt fully entitled to own the world as much as any white man.” YESSSS!!!
Gladiator in a Suit – Quinn walks into a restaurant and sits across from Marcus Walker, the activist from the “Lawn Chair for Justice” episode. He wonders what the hell she’s doing there and she gives him a similar spiel like what Harrison gives her on the first episode of Scandal. Plus, he’s broke and he needs a job, plus he’s kinda cute and knows how to make trouble. She wants him to be OPA’s mouthpiece too.
The difference is that he is not impressed. He does not want to become a Gladiator in a suit because he doesn’t like how much they fuck shit up on their way to fixing things. “You might slay dragons but the way they do down… you cut corners. You break rules. You think the law is a suggestion. You’re shifty. You’re shady and you lie even when you don’t have to.” Fair. Also, your mama is a bird. That’s all he left out. He walks out leaving Quinn there.
Fixing Things – Fitz is pissed because the press is ripping Liv apart. He tells Liz North that it’s Abby’s fault, and that she’s fired. Abby walks in and he fires her and tells her to gather her shit and bounce. Liz tells her that she will fix this. Don’t go nowhere. Yeah, aight. OLIVIA will fix it. And she does because when President Ghost calls her to say he is firing Red, she tells him not to be ridiculous. Abby did her job and did what Liv herself would have done. He’s worried because she is being lambasted publicly, and right hten, she sees flashes in her apartment. Her curtains are open and a photographer parked across the street is taking pics. Olivia Pope should NEVER have her curtains open. She’s being sloppy with her safety.
Jake meets up with Charlie and says he has a job for him. They need to find who is working with Papa Pope to set fire to the Louvre because that is Lazarus One. They gotta go to Paris to find out because: B613. Since they took it down yet one of their main plans is being carried out, clearly something fishy is going down.
Long History – The exposé is exploring collegiate Liv, talking about how she started law school at Georgetown University at 23. Her aspirations have always been to work for the government and they find footage of a hoodie-wearing young Liv talking about dreaming of working at the White House. Let me tell you about Black that doesn’t crack. The fact that Kerry Washington can play 23-year old version of herself in 2015 without any makeup.
I love it!
Anywho, Huck walks in talmbout he’s rented the apartment the photographer was using. Quinn also tells her she tried to hire Marcus but he ain’t go for it. Olivia is all surprised because she surely ain’t tell her to. How are y’all gon get another Gladiator in the middle of this chaos? Well, maybe the middle of this chaos is exactly when they could all use extra hands.
Jake and Charlie get to Paris and a former B613-er that Charlie recruits meets them. Her name is Elise and when her and Jake see each other, their stare lingers so long I’m pretty sure they read each others’ minds. When they finally talk, it’s to marvel at the corniness of each others’ names. Oh so you’re Jake now? Oh so you’re Elise? Mmhmm.
Their history must be long and strong. That is confirmed when she says she ain’t gon be able to do whatever the assignment is and flees. Welp.
Impeachment Idea – Mellie rolls into her first meeting with the Senate Women’s Caucus, and they wanna school her on what’s going to go down. “The men have their own way of doing things. So we started having ours.” Afterwards, she goes to her office to give Cyrus the tea. The women of the Senate want to impeach President Grant, but only if they have Mellie’s permission. Cyrus chocks it up to their hormones and basically says boys will be boys. Senator Grant tells him: “What is more hormonal than a man who can’t keep it in his damb pants?”
Besides, boys need to start getting held accountable for their shit, and in the case of these presidential affairs, only the women involved receive real vitriol and punishment. Monica suffers, not Bill. TELL HIM, MEL.
I want them to impeach Fitz for being a weak ass president, not for the affair with Liv. He got so much time for shenanigans. Either way, she says she is not going to get him impeached. She gotta lay low in this start. “I do not want to impeach my husband.”
Changing Minds – The new coverage on Liv continues and the words used include: articulate, aggressive, arrogant, urban. They mention that her father is now in jail. Liv watches all of it, because sometimes you cannot look away even when you need to. When Quinn and Huck show up to OPA offices, they find Marcus there. Ummm… why do they not have better security? How do random people have so much access to them? Anywho, he says he’s ready to be a Gladiator in a suit.
Of course. I’m ready too and I’m in pajamas. He admits that he just needs the cash. Eh, I guess that will have to do, New Harrison.
Jake and Elise – Jake goes to Elise’s apartment and she is not happy to see him. WHAT DO YOU WANT? What’s their history? He waited for her after a mission at Grand Central Station and when she didn’t show up, he thought she was dead. She’s mad because she said she showed up late. He grieved for her and she felt abandoned. They were married, but probably as a spy thing. The two then make out. AW SHIT. Olivia is gon wanna unfriend zone Jake the moment she learns someone else had his heart.
Anywho, the mission for her is to track down some stolen art pieces from the Louvre. She’s now an art dealer so this is up her alley.
Hurt for Hurt – Liz North goes on a golf course to talk to a senator, to basically try to convince him not to go for any impeachment proceedings. He ain’t buying the shit. “His whole administration, he’s had these bitches lined up like planes on a jetway.” WATCH YOUR GAHTDAMB MOUTH, SENATOR.
Mellie walks into the bedroom she shared with Fitz, and sees him crawling on the ground. She realizes he’s playing hide and seek with Baby Teddy. Remember him??? Now if we can only find Ella. The hiding boy gives them a chance for a tender moment. Mellie doesn’t want to fight with him and says “If you don’t hurt me, I won’t hurt you.” He agrees and she leaves, saying she’ll get the rest of her things. I am a sucka because I do enjoy these sweet moments they share, because they are few and far between.
New Gladiator – Marcus turns off the TV in OPA offices because he is sick and tired of watching the bullshit being said about Olivia. The narrative is that she’s some angry Black woman who made it out the ghetto to seduce the President. He wants to help her out like she helped him when he was in need and he wants to call the press out for their messed up coverage. Huck ain’t here for that. He said “Gladiators don’t ask questions.” The hell they don’t!
Painting Elise – Jake and Charlie are surveilling Elise on an assignment to track down the paintings. They’re watching as Elise meets with a guy who they immediately identify as a Russian who is DEFINITELY not B613. As they’re listening to the feed, the video scrambles and all they have is audio. All of a sudden, they hear gunshots. They run out the van and get to the apartment to find the guy gone and Elise is on the ground with gunshot wounds. Will Jake lose her for a 2nd time?
Price of Mercy – Lizzie Bear tells Fitz he has to have a meeting with Senator Gibson otherwise he will be investigated by Congress. So he does, along with her and other Senators. Then Gibson asks for the room so him and Fitz can be alone. When they are, he tells President Ghost that the true cost of mercy is going to be high. He wants him to kill the Brandon Bill, because it has made them many enemies from the police force. That is the bill introduced in the Lawn Chair of Justice episode so hold police accountable for brutalizing unarmed people of color. That is the one Marcus fought for too.
Whatchu gon do, Fitz? Face impeachment or KILL BILL? Hey rock. Hey hard place. But really, keep the bill. Gibson leaves and tells him “Next time you go outside of your marriage, choose a girl who is more palatable to the base.” BITTTTCHHHHH you mean “Don’t choose a Black girl for your mistress” right? TRIED IT.
Price of Womanhood – The coverage of Olivia talks about how she “hustled” after law school and dated older, powerful men. They basically called her a gold-digger, as if she wasn’t powerful in her own right. Fitz calls Olivia and she is not doing well. She’s received thousands of threats online because of her newfound infamy. “How come whenever women do something people don’t like, the only way these men on the internet know how to express themselves is by threatening rape?”
Olivia is speaking the struggle of ANY WOMAN who is outspoken on the internet. These trolling ass sexist and racist men online spew so much hate. Their keyboard courage is bar none. Fitz told her to turn off the computer. So necessary. But being sent thousands of messages threatening your life will bog you down.
Jake goes to see Elise in the hospital and she’s doing ok. It was just a flesh wound. She admits that she didn’t show up at Grand Central Station because what was the point? Ain’t no heaven or forever for spies. He wants her to come back to America with him. Sir, you forever making these “run away with me” propositions to these women who treat you like a disposable razor. But ok.
On Children – Mellie doesn’t wanna hurt Fitz anymore and she tells Cyrus but he ain’t tryna hear that. Beene the Based Goon is not forgiving. Mellie asks why he’s so obsessed tih revenge and he basically shows that he has lost some of his mind.
“Mellie, I devoted my life to him, to you, to the Grant cause. The last 14 years. He kicked me in the teeth and didn’t even look back… The difference between you and me is that your heart was never broken because you never loved him. You needed him, used him, coexisted with him, but you did not love him! I would have died for that man.
I loved him as my son, as my child, as my soul. That does not end. That never ends. It just rips a hole that never closes inside you. Your child is dead. You can visit his grave, bring him flowers. You know exactly where he is and what he is. … My child is breathing and talking right down the block from me at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue… Your child is safe in the ground where everything bad has already happened.”
OUT OF ORDER, BEENE. OUT OF ORDER. She tells him to GTFOH her face because he crossed a line he should not have.
Dog-Whistle Politics – Marcus tells the Gladiators that he ain’t got time to stick with no damb script. They WILL handle this by defending Olivia in the media, and turning the conversation to the fuckshit reporting happening. They must talk about the dog-whistle politics happening, and it is when coded language is used, so only the intended target hears the offense and feels the insult. “This is war and there is no script.”
He trains Quinn and Huck with talking points and they go to work! I would not have let Huck be in front of any cameras but that’s just me. Either way, they successfully go on the press junket. “On this network alone, Olivia Pope has been described as lucky, sassy, ambitious, well-spoken, well-mannered, articulate, shrill, calculating, overconfident, secretive, urban, hot-blooded, known to use thug politics, arrogant, a siren… when women of color like Miss Pope hear that type of language, they know EXACTLY what you’re getting at.”
YESSSS!!! Come through and talk about media bias in dealing with Black women, telling our stories and painting us as villains.
What Would Olivia Do? – President Ghost goes to see Red and asks her if she makes all her decisions based on what Liv would do? She says yes, since that’s the playbook she learned from. He asks her what he should do: kill the Brandon Bill or go forward with impeachment. Abby says the smart move would be to give Gibson what he wants, even though that bill is his legacy. He turns to her and says “We don’t work for Liv. I am President of the United States. We work for the American People. The playbook is the Constitution. In my office, it’s not about doing the smart thing. It’s about doing the right thing.”
That is the smartest thing he’s ever said.
Dating Bae – Olivia is watching the TV from home when breaking news happens and it is a report that says the President’s motorcade is taking an unscheduled ride. The reporter is freaking out when she realizes that it’s headed towards the neighborhood known to be where Liv resides. Aw shit. Liv watches as Fitz strolls up to her building and she’s basically like WTF. She jumps up and walks out her apartment to the elevator and when the door opens, President Ghost says he’s taking his girlfriend out on a date. He pulls her into the elevator and he makes a display of kissing her. They walk out her building arm in arm and the press goes nuts.
Mellie watches all this and marches into the Senate Women’s Caucus. She’s ready to lead the charge on that impeachment. The one thing she asked him was not to hurt her. And to not rub that relationship in her face. IT IS ON.
Fitz taking the Presidential Motorcade to Olivia’s house as the press trails is ridiculous. I get what he is doing on a romance level, but you know what you ain’t doing? TELLING THE ENTIRE COUNTRY WHERE I LIVE, FITZ! He is putting her in jeopardy. EVERY DAMB BODY knows where she lives now for real. Yes, I’ve said her shit must be on Foursquare by now but everyone is now privy to her exact address. Even the newest trolls. The thousands of men who are threatening to kill and rape her. He took them to her doorstep. Press was previously in front of OPA offices, not her actual apartment building. And even if they were, her doorstep wasn’t breaking news.
The dude drove his motorcade to her house like he was Alfalfa picking up Darla. NAWL. At this point, Liv’s home should be added to tourist stops in DC. “Look to your left. The President’s bae lives there.” Olivia’s building should evict her. The condo association should be all “we can’t deal with all this drama.” Olivia’s neighbors shouldn’t feel safe. Ugh. Fitz, man.
I guess it was a little cute, doe.
They are finally out and can stop sneaking around. That’s freedom.
Ennehweighs, speaking of simping men. Jake’s repressed love for Elise came roaring back and there is something about her that doesn’t curl all the way over. Did she shoot herself to get back into his good graces? Is she working with Papa Pope? She is not what you see and for that, I am afraid for Jake because these women he continues to get close to will always burn him.
Ennehweighs, I’m SO here for our newest gladiator, Marcus Walker. I’m excited to see how he’s going to deal with Huckleberry Quinn and how he’ll work with Liv. I really appreciated this episode dealing with the way the media talks about Black women. Times like this, you cannot deny the amazingness of having a Black woman running this show. Shonda Rhimes makes sure we are not invisible and this is one of the reasons why she is ForeverBae.
Gladiators, ROAR in comments!