As some of you know, the Vice President kidnapped Olivia Pope during the winter finale. Now, several weeks and two new episodes later, Liv hasn't gotten home. Now normally, I wouldn't mind the long drag. The first episode, psychologically speaking, was on point in that we felt Olivia Pope's isolation in captivity. We got watch her unravel and unhinge slowly, as her physical appearance and mental health deteriorated at approximately the same pace. We also got to observe the realistic methods of her tormentor, which suggests that someone on the writing staff finally did some research.
But what bothers me is that Fitz actually lets the kidnapping of Olivia goad him into obeying the Vice President and declaring war. Now...Fitz visited Tom Larson, his ex-bodyguard and and B6-13 agent in prison, and Tom actually warned him about his Olivia Pope problem. He laughingly recites, "The face that launched a thousand ships" and reminds Fitz that King Menelaus had to wage a 10-year war to get his wife Helen back, because that's what happens "when you launch a thousand ships."
At first, Fitz is ready to let Olivia die because it makes no sense to get thousands of people killed over one person. But then Mellie - of all fucking people - talks him into declaring war because she thought Fitz loved Olivia, and would hate to think their family's gone through hell for years "over a cheap screw."
Oh, yes...this is the pep talk which convinces Fitz to sends soldiers to their deaths. But it's no so farfetched, after all, Liv's captor told he'd do it because there's a precedent. Bush invaded Irag to "avenge his dad" and Clinton bombed Serbia "so everyone would forget about Monica Lewinsky". And Napoleon...(the actor playing the kidnapper laughed so hard he couldn't even finish the sentence).
As much as we loathe to admit this to ourselves, these really are the reasons wars get declared sometimes.
And this is the reason why I despite the current story arc. Black women, my dear sisters, listen to me: I know that a lot of us want to be the Helen of Troy for a change. After all, it seems other women are constantly being put on pedestals, and enduring daily misogynoir in so many forms is just...so...draining. "Helen of Troy" a very flattering title. The idea of someone launching a thousand ships to get us back is very a romantic fantasy.
But Scandal tries to make that fantasy a reality (of sorts) and innocent people start dying because Fitz can't bear to lose his Helen of Troy. That...I cannot stand. A lot of our brothers have died because our paler sisters were put on a pedestal, and that's the sort of horrendous loss life of life which we shouldn't wish on someone else.
Fortunately, the story arcs are moving a bit more quickly on this show, and it makes sense - Sam Keating's dead and the clock is ticking.
Last week's episode began brilliantly. Remember Viola Davis's famous wig scene? We get to sort of watch a similar scene in reverse. As Annalise prepares to lie through her teeth, she painstakingly applies her makeup and dons a new wig, only to sniff and shed crocodile tears at the precinct while she throws her (conveniently) missing husband under the bus. Because by painting Sam as a Lila Stangard's killer, she can get Rebecca off on murder charges.
And she's successful. With the help of
But ah...Sam's sister Hannah shows up at the very end telling the police her brother is no murderer.
Which brings us to last night. I don't know how I feel about this ep; seems way too much like filler. We have a creepy new client who helped her husband imprison two young girls in their basement for breeding. Seriously. The students don't want to help defend this woman, but Annalise actually asks them, "What? Have none of you every done anything bad that you need a lawyer for?"
Via flashbacks, we also get to see how the students spent Christmas. Wes and Rebecca hung around his apartment, 'cause you know...no parents. Wes is having a slow mental breakdown in the form of nightmares. Connor was glued to the awesome and understandably irresistably Oliver (Conrad Ricamora), finding every possible excuse to stay by his side (we also learn he has a supportive family, which is great). Laurel goes home to her family and we finally get to hear actress Karla Souza bicker in Spanish, which has been looooong overdue. By the way...her family explains soooo much about the way she is.
Then there's Michaela. O...M...G. The murder and the loss of her wedding ring (she bought a replica) had her going nearly full-on unhinged at a party with her fiance. For real...she gets tipsy and accuses loudly him of screwing a male coworker, proving what we all knew - she's never going to let his teenage tryst with Connor go. And her fiance isn't trying to deal with her apparently increasing bouts of crazy, so...Aidan says he wants to postpone the wedding. *pause* Think Ross and Rachel going on a break. 'Cause we all know that wedding ain't happening now.
Annalise apparently spent her Christmas in a hotel crying her eyes out and working her way through the mini-bar. But now she's back, working, and not bothering to hang up flyers or go looking for Sam. Hannah finds this suspicious and starts following Annalise everywhere (like to Nate Lahey's house) because she feels Annalise is avoiding her. Annalise shares the evidence she used in court against Sam and shoos Hannah away. Of course, while Hannah's following Annalise, Frank is free to destroy evidence (like Connor's SUV, which transported the body) and plant false leads (like having someone claimed to see Sam upstate).
Very clever, Annalise!
Hannah and Annalise finally sit down for a dinner at home, and Annalise does that thing where she lies by telling the truth, partially anyway. And she has to be convincing because Hannah is a trained psychologist who reads people very well. And we're not sure yet if Annalise's performance took because the episode ends with a news station confirming Sam Keating's remains have been found.