Before watching “Like Father, Like Daughter,” I wrote a little note about what I wanted to see this week: “Rowan is easily one of the best characters on the show, and I anticipate Olivia being more like him. I want to see Olivia aggressive, not complacent. I feel like we haven’t seen strong, capable, headstrong Olivia yet. I miss her. How much like her father can she get? I love antiheroes—what if Olivia’s white hat turned a little grey?”
Ooh boy, was my wish GRANTED! (Get it? Grant-ed? Sorry.) I’d like to rename this episode “How Olivia and Mellie Got Their Groove Back.” Yes. Both ladies stepped up in utterly righteous ways, and it was delicious to watch. We’ll get to Mellie in a minute. For now, let’s focus on Olivia.
Last week Olivia was struggling with being “outside the bubble.” Well, thanks to the First Daughter’s wild teenage antics involving sex, drugs, and “a trip to Paris,” Olivia is so deep back in the bubble that not even Abby or Mellie know why she’s in the White House. Careful what you wish for, right Olivia?
Ok, let’s just dive into that trip to Paris because I’m sure it’s trending on Twitter and the poor person who runs the Eiffel Tower’s account probably has no idea why. Karen Grant (now played by Body of Proof alum Mary Mouser) is having a booze-and-drug-fueled night out involving two men, a camera, and a compromising sexual position known as the “Eiffel Tower.” (Seriously, has anyone checked if “Eiffel Towering” has peaked on Google yet?) Since one of the young men filmed the event, Olivia’s been called in to get rid of the tape before it’s distributed.
Huck and Quinn do their thing and track down the guy who made the film and Olivia pulls his parents into her office. Sure, they’re ready to keep quiet about the teenagers’ sexcapades—for $2.5 million. Oh yes, they just blackmailed the President of the United States. Fitz accepts the deal, Olivia cuts the check, and those greedy little turds up the price to $3 million. And then they call Karen Grant a “whore” and “slut.” Big mistake guys. Huge. Because you just woke up Olivia Pope, and she’s well-rested from hibernation.
“You two are the worst kind of people because you are the kind of people who have everything and still want more,” Olivia rants. After threatening to plant evidence, falsify testimonies, and crush any ounce of character they may have left, she continues, “I will destroy you because that is what I do and there is no one in the entire world better at it than I am.” BOOM! She’s back folks! Olivia Pope has risen from the ashes and left a pair of quivering dolts in her wake.
So that’s how Olivia got her groove back, now let’s talk about Mellie (or rather, the “First Lady of Uggs and Chips”—thanks Shannon). Yes, she’s still moping around in a robe and boots, but actually, yes—the boots ARE a new color Cyrus, thanks for asking! I think she had a new robe too.
Aaanyway, Smelly Mellie (thanks Fitz) is still checked out of life. The only thing that snaps her back is seeing Olivia in the White House and she goes storming into Fitz’s office to find out why. Or should I say, she stormed into Fitz’s library because he read her like a book. After Mellie told Fitz that she “picks up the pieces and holds the family together,” Fitz opened the book of Mellie, turned to Chapter 15, and told her she’s not the one. In fact, Fitz continued, since Jerry Jr.’s death, Mellie hasn’t mothered anyone, the baby thinks the nanny is his mom, oh—and, Karen spent the night in a threesome.
You’re probably thinking, “So how exactly does Mellie get her groove back?” Because she steps up and starts mothering again. Her heart-to-heart with Karen was perfect. Both mother and daughter acknowledged their own pain after Jerry Jr.’s death, and their inability to get over it.
My favorite takeaway from the scene was Shonda Rhimes’ not-so-subtle swipe at gender relations and sexual politics when Mellie said, “It’s sexist, but if you were a boy, they’d have given you high-fives. But because you’re a girl, your knees are gonna have to stay together.”
I think this kind of theme will carry through the season. We saw rape, sexual harassment, and equal pay in episode one, and a mess of sexual issues in episode three. In this episode, Karen Grant flipped out when her dad suggested she was drugged and raped. “What they did to me?” she hisses. “What about what I did to them?” Ooh Shonda, there you go again playing with gender roles in sexual politics (like you did with Katherine Winslow last week—the unexpected statutory rapist).
It’s a good theme, and one I don’t mind revisiting, but honestly I’m still missing the overall story arc of the season. Season One dealt with Amanda Tanner, Season Two was all about Defiance, and Season Three covered the re-election campaign. This season… well, we’re four episodes into it, and I still don’t know where we’re going with it. I mean, I don’t need to see anyone chewing off their wrists again, but I’d like to see something happen that moves the season forward.
“But what about Olitz,” you’re thinking, “What’s going to happen to them?” Well, I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: I don’t care. I really don’t. I’m not on Team Jake or Team Fitz. I’m on Team Olivia, and I don’t think either men are good for her. Well, there’s a chance Jake is better for her in the long run, but since he’s now on B613 lockdown overseen by jilted-lover Fitz and cold-blooded Rowan, my chips are not on his side of the table yet.
Cyrus makes cute pillow talk, but how does he not see through Michael? Will Michael fall for him, and have qualms about giving up sweet ol’ Cyrus to the nasty-but-finely-coiffed Elizabeth?
Speaking of Cyrus, he went in on Abby swiftly, brutally, and accurately re: her jealousy of Olivia. Good. I hope now Abby and Olivia can go back to being friends, because I don’t buy this frenemy crap. And frankly, they need each other.
Oh and poor Tom… It looked like he was ready to rat out Rowan when the devil himself showed up at the interrogation room door. Hey Jake, save room in the B613 holding cell, because your boy Tom might be there soon!
Favorite quote of the episode:
“Karen spent the night in a threesome with two guys Eiffel Towering” (just because Fitz turned that word into a verb).
?So what do you guys think? Is Olivia back for good? Am I wrong for being on Team No One? Do you have any guesses about the story arc this season? Sound off below!
Emily Worden is a Boston-based freelance writer and author of Make. Sell. Repeat. The Ultimate Business Guide for Artists, Crafters, and Makers. You can follow her on Twitter.