say you’ll wait for me
Everyone like the idea of a normal life. Because a normal life, supposedly, is a comfortable one. It’s an ideal dream, one born of long-dead television shows and impossible standards. The truth is – the one we often hide from – that normal is a) quite possibly a myth and b) highly overrated. To quote from Practical Magic, “it rather denotes a lack of courage.”
For a complicated, passionate person – one filled with verve, and wit, and piss and vinegar – normal is a concession. Normal is settling. It’s a picket fence, bland conversation, and matching chocolate labs. It’s easy. It’s expected. It is, most likely, unfulfilling. Especially if you are Olivia Pope, facing a choice between two men of vastly different caliber.
In last night’s episode of Scandal (Truth or Consequences), Olivia has a breakdown. She goes to bed and does not get out, until she is shocked out of her emotional coma by Huck. In the throes of this breakdown, she pushes everyone away, not because she doesn’t need them. No, it’s because she’s vulnerable. Olivia Pope is a gladiator in a suit. She is smart. She fixes the unfixable. She is not supposed to be vulnerable. Gladiators don’t flinch. And yet, Olivia is breaking down in such a way that even Cyrus looks worried. The weight of her past decisions – consenting to voter fraud to rig the presidential election for Fitz – has swallowed her up. Coupled with Edison’s proposal – a convenient, safe, normal way out – and Olivia is broken. Olivia has lost her compass, her sense of self. Because she wears the white hat. Only the white hat, as it turns out, isn’t white at all. It’s grey. And what do you do with things that are grey? They’re not so easy to parse out.
Fitz calls Liv, and she nearly doesn’t answer the phone. When she does, he tells her that he asked his wife for a divorce. She tells him that Edison proposed. He can hear, right from the start that something is very wrong, and he comforts her. He says listen to me, whatever’s wrong, we’ll fix it. Don’t say you’re marrying Edison. […] Say you’ll wait for me. Olivia hangs up the phone, unable to respond properly to the situation – although, the look on her face shows the audience a small flicker of surprise…and hope.
Say you’ll wait for me. Fitz finally knows what he wants and what he’s willing to do to get it. He’s not a coward anymore. He’s found strength and courage to be with the woman he loves, because he almost died. And that tends to put life into perspective. Cyrus, who is so used to handling Fitz, has lost control of him. He gives Fitz one of his pretty and powerful speeches ,complete with dominant posture and head tilts, and it does…nothing. Fitz has finally grown a pair.
No one, not even Mellie (for all her schemes and manipulations), knows to control Fitz, now. Cyrus and her conspire in this very Macbeth/Lady Macbeth scene, and I half-expected her to start monolouging about being unsexed (lit reference). She plays her last possible card, somehow convincing her doctor to induce her labor, even though it’s not medically necessary. Instead of going to see Liv as he intended, Fitz rushes to be by Mellie’s side, filling his role as coach and cheerleader. But that’s all it is: a role. It’s an expectation he filled, because he’s not an asshole who would leave his pregnant wife to have a baby ALONE. It is not where his heart lies, and Mellie has to understand that this desperate act won’t salvage her version of normal. It’s a life built on lies, not trust. On opportunity, not love. It is a thing of convenience, not happiness. And neither of them are truly, truly happy.
But then there’s still Liv, who only gets out of bed because Huck says that Cyrus is going to have Hollis murdered to keep their secret. Olivia may not feel like she deserves a White Hat anymore, but she sure as hell won’t voluntarily become a complacent villain either. She scrambles to help her team uncover the last shreds of truth about the election rigging – which the discovered together, while Olivia was in crisis. They traced Hollis’s payment for the election, trying to make a connection between Hollis and Becky, the woman who was hired to shoot the president. At the very end of the episode, we discover that it wasn’t Hollis who hired Becky. Someone else did. Concurrently, Cyrus’s hired assassin gets in the elevator with Hollis – and everything fades to black.
Olivia isn’t quite herself yet. She’s functioning, but just barely this side of emotional trauma. She has to get herself together and actually decide what she wants: if normal is the answer, or if it is just a Band-Aid covering a bullet hole made by a shotgun. If given the chance between an easy thing and passionate, crazy love – is it really a choice? Can you honor anything, if you don’t honor your own heart? Life is too short to play it safe, to settle for normal, to choose anything but everything. Fitz knows this, because his life nearly ended. Olivia has always been the one to pull away. And what if she finally does the opposite? What if she decides to stay, and not run? Forget normal. Be courageous. What if she decides to fight? I have a feeling that if Olivia Pope goes to battle for love, it’ll be one hell of a war.