One of the guiding conceits of ABC's hit Scandal is that, while she's not a politician, Olivia Pope is one of the most powerful women in Washington. It's been that way since episode one, and it still comes out to play in practically every episode — especially when Olivia has to grapple with, say, getting kidnapped and being put up for auction for billions of dollars. But there's no doubt that power — and Olivia's relationship to it — has changed shape since the series' first episode. There's also no doubt in my mind that it shouldn't be a power that goes unquestioned — specifically in relation to how Olivia wields it. So I'm kind of on board with the sneak peeks for Lena Dunham's Scandal episode, which seems to be setting up a back-and-forth between Dunham's "Kinky Sue" that features Sue calling for a reevaluation of how Olivia wields her particular badassery.
While none of us can really judge Kinky Sue's particular case and Olivia's place within it quite yet — we'll have to wait until the episode airs for that — it is already apparent that Kinky Sue's speech to Olivia after the fixer insinuates she's a whore is something that is periodically necessary on Scandal: Someone to force Olivia to take a good hard look at herself, and who she does her work for. There are layers upon layers of implication for every case Olivia decides to take on, after all: We saw that last week when she initially sided with the police in an episode highlighting race and police brutality. So Olivia's getting a number of wake-up calls these days, and it's absolutely needed — if this entire show was just people falling all over Olivia Pope in praise things would get a little stale, especially when her own personal brand of heroism doesn't always hold up to scrutiny. She's done a lot of slimy work for a lot of slimy people for a lot of slimy reasons, and I don't know if she's really accepted that about herself yet.
So I'm curious for this week's episode, as well as the ones after it. Olivia's still rebounding from a pretty traumatic experience and reorienting herself to life at home. So, it begs the questions: What's next? And what about her lifestyle is sustainable?
While we figure that out, Lena Dunham and Olivia Pope will be yelling at each other.
First, her first meeting with Kinky Sue:
Then, the confrontation:
So much yelling.