Friday, February 12, 2016

Scandal 5x10 "It’s Hard Out Here for a General" (The Lady in Red) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]

“It’s Hard Out Here for a General”
Original Airdate: February 11, 2016

Scandal is BACK, people! Six months has passed since Olivia walked out on Fitz and the White House. She’s back running OPA, and I couldn’t be happier about it. The first part of season five was a rough road, and a break from the usual episode structure that we’d grown accustomed to. There were fewer cases, there was more O-litz turmoil, and the Gladiators were left spinning their wheels most of the time with subpar storylines as everyone took a backseat to give Olivia and Fitz a real chance.

I hated Olivia and Fitz together. From season one, I hated them together. Fitz is little more than a very tall and petulant child and Olivia deserves way better than the role of mistress and the slightly elevated role of pseudo First Lady she got this season. Seeing them break up in the winter finale, and finding Olivia back at OPA with her Gladiators is exactly what I was hoping for. So let’s get to it, shall we?


The director of the NSA, General Diane Peters, stops by OPA after her home computer gets hacked. This woman is not only the first female director of the NSA but insanely accomplished and talented. OPA performs their usual rundown of her accomplishments and it’s truly impressive. This is not a woman to be messed with. The question OPA is asking is how does the head of America’s spy agency fall victim to a computer virus? More importantly, why is the NSA Director keeping sensitive documents and files on her home computer to begin with?

In typical Shonda Rhimes fashion, she ripped the basis of this case from real headlines, with thinly veiled parallels to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.

Turns out the virus was installed directly into General Peters’ computer and the only one who presumably had access besides herself is the man she’s been dating, Billy. Billy of course cannot be found anywhere. She refuses to believe it could be Billy — she is, after all, a master reader of people and situations — but OPA remains convinced it’s him.

Of course, it wasn’t Billy because poor Billy’s dead, stuffed into an old, avocado green refrigerator. Why, when bodies are hidden in refrigerators, is it never a nice, shiny stainless steel refrigerator? Why does it always have to be a dirty, barely functioning one in a hue that hasn’t existed since the 1970s? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Turns out, all of this has been a ploy by Jake (and Olivia’s father) to force the removal of General Peters as head of the NSA, and position Jake as her successor. It works, of course, because Jake is very good at killing and framing people, and assuming positions of authority.

It’ll be interesting to see in coming episodes if Olivia embraces her opportunity to rule the country alongside Jake, after she soundly rejected ruling alongside Fitz. There are, after all, multiple roads to power. Her crisis of conscience may prevent her from doing so, but it’s clear she misses the power and adrenaline rush of the White House.


Olivia’s major wardrobe change has been much discussed and debated. For a woman who has worn only white, black, and grey for five seasons, her sudden embrace of the color wheel is obviously supposed to signal something deeper. What exactly that something deeper is, though, is up for debate.

In my opinion, the show creators are trying to signal a deep, seismic shift in what’s happening to Olivia’s character. Her father hints that she got a taste of ultimate power, running the White House (albeit secretly) and she’s not content with normalcy now. Her internal struggle was real this episode — doing what’s right or diving headlong into the power — and that struggle is only going to get more pronounced as the season progresses.

I especially love all the red they put Olivia in this episode. I can’t remember her ever having worn red, and not only does she look fantastic in it, but her mood seems to match the color — everything seems to be simmering right under the surface, ready to explode. Things feel a little more dangerous, a little more chaotic.

The costume designers on this show are always amazing, but they’ve really taken it to the next level now. One thing’s for sure: I need another Scandal/The Limited fashion collection, stat.


As much as I’ve loved the Jake and Olivia of days old, I do not like this new chapter in their relationship. They seem to truly hate each other, and I understand why. I mean, Olivia did get Jake’s fake/real wife killed. He has a right to hate her. And he’s done some pretty despicable things too, like murdering roughly 2,185 people. So this whole, “let’s sleep together but despise each other while doing it,” thing they have going on is disturbing and sad.

And clearly as much as I hoped Olivia would be able to completely disentangle herself from Fitz, that has not happened. She doesn’t want to call Fitz for a favor because she’s scared just that simple act will send them spiraling down the rabbit hole again. And when she does call him, he doesn’t pick up, which leaves her in all sorts of turmoil and confusion. Not to mention, the secret operation Olivia had in the winter finale is going to come to light at some point (as secrets always do), and that is going to cause a huge explosion between her and Fitz.

It wouldn’t be Scandal without the ongoing love triangle but I do get tired of the back-and-forth. Plus, I’d love to see Fitz actually progress as a character for once, but that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.

Gladiator Gems:
  • Any episode that opens with Sally Langston spewing her nonsense is going to be a great episode. She’s the anti-Gladiator. 
  • Apparently Olivia and her father are doing their daddy-daughter dinners again? Is he blackmailing her into them again? Is this going to be explained at some point? There were so many twists and turns in the winter finale, maybe I just missed why they’re back to playing nice with each other. 
  • “So the hack came from inside the house? Spooky.” 
  • “What, you thought you’d find me drunk, playing Russian Roulette with the nuclear codes?”
  • “You’re more of an office guy.” 
  • “It’s not easy finding someone when you’re a General. Men find my stars threatening.” 
  • “He’s not lonely. He’s alone. He doesn’t have anyone.” Cue an orchestra of tiny violins, please.
  • “I think we need to prepare for your next step.” That’s the nicest way of telling someone they’re fired that I’ve ever heard. Once she’s ready for a simpler life, Olivia should really consider being an HR Director. 
  • “I’m detecting a note of anger in your voice.” 
  • “You’re standing on the sidelines, screaming at the referee like a sad, drunk parent at a high school football game.” Papa Pope gets the best lines.
  • “I am not a companion animal.”
  • “I’m not interested anymore. Say less words.”
  • “He’s normal. He’s a normal person, Quinn. We have to protect him. We can’t let him be friends with us.”


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