If you can’t be royalty, drop everything and become Olivia Pope. My addiction for the show Scandal goes all the way back to the first season when Olivia Pope, the show’s protagonist, and her associates were still handling crime on a case-by-case basis. Already on its fourth season, the show has taken quite a turn. Long gone are the days of “Good Samaritan” work in which Liv & Associates (Olivia Pope’s firm) used to partake. Now, the show is far darker in plot, revolving more around Olivia’s familial problems with her terrorist parents and her challenging relationships with close colleagues, lovers, and, above all, herself. This past Thursday the show came back after its winter hiatus, and I have already heard several mixed reactions, ranging from “creepy” to “what did I just watch?” So, without further ado, let us sort through this enigmatic plot that had us all wondering, “what the hell is going on?”
Red. That seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the entire episode. Between the spilled wine on Olivia Pope’s couch in the first scene, the daunting red door at the end of the hallway in the prison-like warehouse where Olivia was being kept (did I mention she was kidnapped?), and the splattered blood that was shed at the end of this dramatic episode, it was a hard color to miss. The episode starts out as Olivia and Jake, one of Liv’s two lovers, are dancing in Olivia’s bedroom to some classic throwback music (I’m talkin’ 1980s). Before things can get steamier, Olivia suddenly disappears as her boy toy goes to fetch a blanket from her bedroom, leaving behind only a red wine stain on her furniture, an open door, and Jake panicking in his underwear. Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with leaving Jake behind. Liv just better get some nice OxyClean for that wine stain, though, or else she’s gonna have to put aside some money for a new couch.
The entire episode revolves around Olivia’s emotional struggle as she is isolated from the outside world. She has been kidnapped by an anonymous group, whose motives are unknown. She is kept in a sinister prison cell in the middle of god-knows-where, with only the sounds of Muslim prayer chants and the company of an “American journalist” alongside her in the cell to keep her company. Olivia is tested like she has never been before, going through absurd obstacles to find a means to escape, which even involves using a metal wire from her bra in an attempt to sneak out the bathroom window (Subtle feminist message? I think not) and a lead pipe she finds under the bathroom sink. This is all an attempt to make an escape out the looming red door at the end of the hallway, and what lies on the other side is not what she expects. SPOILER ALERT: It’s not an escape.
All-in-all, a solid half-season opener. Was I wishing to have more storyline from other characters? Maybe. Was a part of me inside hoping that Olivia would escape once she opened that red door? Perhaps. Did I hope to see more on-screen footage of Jake running around in his underwear? Abso-frickin-lutely. But hey, we can’t always get what we want.