TV Reviews

Scandal Season 7 Episode 10: The People v. Olivia Pope Review

If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.

Synopsis: Olivia agrees to join Fitz in Vermont where she discovers that her closest friends have orchestrated a relentless intervention. (IMDB)

Writers: Ameni Rozsa

Director: Kerry Washington

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 43 mins

“The People v. Olivia Pope” starts off with Olivia awaking at her apartment to the sight of Fitz standing by her window. They exchange glances when he suggests they go to Vermont and finally live out the fantasy they have been yearning for the entire series. Everything seems happy for Olivia until she’s startled to find Huck and the rest of the gang there. “Have a seat Liv.”

At this point the episode jumps back and forth constantly from a few storylines so let’s divvy them up. First up we’re flashbacked to Charlie almost strangling Rowan; that is until Quinn intervenes and introduces a very confused Charlie to his daughter. He can’t believe his eyes and starts to go off about her leaving him alone, but she reassures him everything is going to be fine. Charlie is not getting along with the baby as it won’t stop crying, that is until Quinn and Rowan break out into choreographed song and dance to Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time of all songs. Charlie’s reaction was all of our reactions.

Later, Charlie suggests that he can take Quinn and their baby home, but Rowan shuts it down explaining she is assumed dead and therefore it isn’t safe to leave. Charlie says his obsession with Quinn is due to Rowan losing his own family. He goes to Quinn and urges her that they need to leave, but Quinn wants Olivia to pay. She wants her former boss behind bars for a long time and this is the way to do it. He then decides to visit his daughter who starts to cry which prompts Rowan to show up and teach Charlie how to hold his baby in a twisted paternal sort-of way leaving Charlie all sorts of effed up. 

At the White House, Cyrus and Mellie discuss Olivia’s involvement in Rashad’s death and Quinn’s disappearance. It was all Liv. Jake finds Mellie in the B613 headquarters where she threatens him with undermining her presidency and tells Jake to find her Olivia. In Cyrus’ office, Jake confronts Cyrus, even throwing him up against a wall with scissors to his throat, but Cyrus calls his bluff and Jake backs off. 

Cyrus meets Mellie at the Oval, tells her about Jake’s actions and explains they have to get rid of Jake and Olivia. Mellie wants to hear what Olivia has to say and Cyrus becomes suspicious of Mellie’s blind loyalty, but Mellie is appalled by the notion and demands Cyrus leave. Jake finds Olivia’s White House detail who he asks about her whereabouts, but they tell him they cannot say causing suspicion.

Jake breaks into Olivia’s apartment to find it empty, that is until he is confronted by Mellie. She wants to know if Olivia was behind Rashad’s death and after pressing Jake for the truth he answer. “You couldn’t keep your damn legs closed.” EXCUSE ME JAKE. He explains it was for the presidency, for Mellie, but she’s heard enough. The next day, Mellie brings Jake to the Oval where she reveals Olivia has been in Vermont. She complains about how Fitz got away with sneaking around with Olivia, but she can’t even go on one date which brings her to the conclusion that Olivia is the real problem.

And now onto the big story of the episode. In Vermont, Huck continues to ask Olivia: Did you kill Quinn? She gets defensive, calling it an intervention, but they continue to taunt her with Quinn’s death until she breaks down and hits back with all the cheap shots she can muster, but it isn’t enough. They’ve cut her off and she is not having it. 

Members of the team tries to reason with Liv; Abby tries to persuade Olivia that she is now the client who needs saving; David comes by and sits outside her door, reciting every law she will be prosecuted for, but nothing seems to be working. That is until Huck brings some food to Olivia and in hearing her loyal lapdog she opens the door and invites him in. She asks him for a favour: get him out of there. She pulls at his loyalty, his drive and he loses it. Huck explains that he and Olivia are not the same and that he is not her Gladiator anymore. The ability for Huck not to lose it on her here shows some immense growth.

Finally, they send in the big guns as Fitz goes to Olivia’s door. He explains for as long as he’s known her she has always been right, but for once she isn’t. B613 isn’t the answer, and Fitz will wait for as long as it takes until she realizes that. I’m not going anywhere Liv. After everyone, except Marcus, pleads their case Olivia emerges the next morning with her decision: she will resign as Chief of Staff to not tarnish Mellie, but B613 is a bigger fish and she will entrust it’s dismantling to Jake. She breaks down about her actions, regretting what she’s done and who she has hurt.

Olivia storms out with Fitz closely behind. She says she’s fine, but he knows she isn’t and after a longing gaze they embrace. IS OLIVIA ACTUALLY GETTING BETTER? As Olivia returns home, Jake comes to her apartment and berates her for going to Vermont. Rather than go to the White House and resign she hooks up with Jake. I’m about to lose every last friend I’ve ever had.” KNEW IT WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

The episode ends with Olivia instructing Jake to shut down Mellie’s resignation order while the team discusses how to prosecute Olivia, but without taking down Mellie or revealing B613 to the public it’s not possible. At the Oval, Jake threatens Mellie with files of Defiance, every miscarriage, her election rigging, the various affairs and all the other shady behaviour she’s taken part in. He explains Mellie needs someone loyal on his side, someone who will do what needs to be done without pushing back. Olivia struts into the White House like she owes the place, but finds that is no longer the case as her office is being emptied to make way for Mellie’s new Chief of Staff: Jake Ballard.

She bursts into the Oval and angrily demands: “What did you do?”

Questions

  • How will Rowan and Quinn work together to take down Olivia?
  • How will the rest of the team react when they learn Quinn is alive?
  • Will some characters forgive Rowan by the end of the series?
  • Has Jake taken only the Chief of Staff position away from Olivia or B613 as well?
  • What is Mellie’s plan?
  • Will the team prosecute Olivia for her crimes or still try to find redemption for her?

Overall, this was an alright episode. It feels like the best episodes this season are those dealing with character-centric stories surrounding the ensemble because the interest in Olivia Pope and her descent has run dry. She is a horrible person case closed, and no amount of redemption will sway my decision from how simply Quinn said it: she needs to go to jail. The inconsistencies in Scandal’s series narrative, ignoring past issues that severely affected Olivia only to gloss over the highlights of this final season, shows a real lack of development in any sort of interesting or inventive story. The final twist was slightly unexpected, but the first one was incredibly predictable making this show fail to do what it was known for: fist-pumping, jaw-dropping monologues and unpredictable, jaw-dropping scenes.

Score: 6.5/10

What did you think of “The People v. Olivia Pope”? Did you expect the two twists? Let me know in the comments below!

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