Scandal Season 5 Episode 8 Review: Rasputin

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Olivia pope just stepped all into some crazy mess on Scandal Season 5 Episode 8 and the scary part is that she may not even know the half of it. Unless her gut is telling her to run, in which case she'd be wise to listen.

Fitzgerald Grant has her number, and it's not the residential phone line at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Rasputin was a historical figure who had the ear of the Tsarina of Russia in the early 20th century. (I'm fuzzy on the dates. It's 12:30 at night.) According to the story, the Tsar was a weak ruler, so his wife pulled most of the strings that kept the country going. But who pulled her strings?


Rasputin earned the trust of the Tsarina  by preying on her beliefs in faith healing. In short, he helped her out, gave her something to believe in. He earned her trust, and in doing so, she listened to him, sought his counsel on matters personal and professional. He literally steered the course of a nation, mostly for ill according to history, but hey, he was manning the ship just the same.

Once the Tsar and Tsarina left power, Rasputin continued trying his hand at politics, but eventually he was murdered and his body was dumped unceremoniously into the river where it washed up on shore several days later. 

I say all that to say this: Scandal has quite a few Rasputins.

Olivia Pope was chief among them tonight, but instead of continuing on in her role, Fitz heard her words in that holding cell and then enacted a plan of his own. A plan full of deceit and keeping tabs on those whom he once trusted implicitly. And let's be clear, Fitz moving Olivia into the White House, largely against her wishes, and assigning her Secret Service detail? 

Yeah, see that's not really for Olivia's benefit so much as it's a way for Fitz to keep tabs on her whereabouts so she can't go behind his back again and do things like spring her father from prison to avoid testifying in an impeachment hearing when marrying Fitz would have afforded her the same protection. 

She had Fitz' ear and she was able to help him steer the nation and his Presidency, but what happens now that he no longer trusts her? He'll probably turn to Cyrus, another Rasputin.

It's really interesting to see this transformation of Olivia's character over the course of five seasons. She's gone from being someone we cheered on to success to a character many of us are excited to see not screw up so badly. Does that even make sense?

Don't misconstrue my reading of the character and Olivia's development as criticism because it's not necessarily intended to be that. She's flawed, and that's what makes her real. Part of why we watch is to see if she comes full circle back around to that woman who wears the white hat.

We're watching a period of Olivia Pope's life right now where she's making some incredibly stupid and terrible choices, some because she feels she has no other way and some because she just...well, who knows? There's this interesting dynamic happening with Olivia where she repeatedly counsels her clients not to lie, but she can't stop lying to herself and others about her life and who she is and where she's at.

Except she was honest tonight and while that freed her in some ways, it trapped her in others.

Telling Fitz the truth about Rowan was the absolute right way to go. It freed her from Mellie's grasp because it took Mellie's power away, but it forever damaged her relationship with Fitz.

The only way Fitz sees possible to repair that trust is to kill Rowan Pope while lying to Olivia about it. Two wrongs don't make a right, but he's not wrong in wanting the man who killed his son dead. It's his prerogative to want Jake to kill Rowan. It's his prerogative to send a dozen spies after Rowan. I don't often like Fitz because I think the writing for the character is sometimes weak, but if there's one thing I know it's that Fitz deserves to see his son's murderer pay. In that regard, prison was too good for Eli Pope.

Jake's read of the situation and Olivia's request that he not kill her father was pretty spectacular. The men in Olivia's life have been doormats for her for far too long, so now they're both taking back their power, Jake by refusing to spoon her anymore and Fitz by, essentially, making her his prisoner, but hey, she deserved to hear the things Jake had to say. (She doesn't really deserve to be Fitz' prisoner, just so we're clear.)

I can't even care that Olivia fears someone is after her father. Unless her fear is that the person planning to rise up in his place will be worse that Rowan, meh. Sorry, lady. Sure, he's your dad, but this is a man who has murdered countless people, many for his own personal gain. It doesn't matter what your gut says about the threats against him. He's going to (hopefully) die. 

That would be quite the Christmas present on next week's Scandal Season 5 Episode 9.

So would not having to see David and Liz North knocking boots or Susan's awkward shuffle as she can't decide whether or not to approach the nerdy Attorney General and profess her love for him and wine coolers, but hey, we can't get everything we want, can we?

What's your holiday request for next week's Scandal winter finale? How spot on was Jake's rant to Olivia about the ways she's used him? Is Huck's monster going to make a return? Get all caught up before next week and watch Scandal online!

And here's your first look at the upcoming winter finale, Scandal Season 5 Episode 9. What the Huck will happen?!?

Rasputin Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (57 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Scandal Season 5 Episode 8 Quotes

You should know...I hope you know...I did my best for you, Olivia. I take tremendous pride in who you have become.


We're living in a new world, Red. A world where Olivia Pope is judge, jury, and executioner.