Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Scandal Season 5, Ep. 18 – “Till Death Do Us Part.”
“A wedding… or a funeral? The choice is yours.” — Rowan
I am willing to admit when I’m wrong and in this instance I was very wrong. Last week I bemoaned Olivia returning to her father’s house as yet another step backward in her relationship with him and Jake. But this week we learned that her recovery was merely a ruse to keep her at the heart of Jake and Rowan’s scheming. So, ok Scandal, I’ll give you this one.
And I’ll keep on giving it to you because this was an extremely interesting stand-alone episode. I would call it a bottle episode except it still had a fair share of locations and characters, but in the grand scheme of the show, this was a major side step. There was no forward movement in the overall plot of the upcoming election. Instead we had a full hour to focus on the tragic life of Jake Hamilton Ballard.
Of course that’s not even his real name. Jake began his life as Pete Harris, the son of a complete monster who wound up in the army and in the eyesight of Papa Pope. And so he was recruited (read: blackmailed) into B6-13 and trained (read: tortured) into the super soldier we know today. He overcame the shadow of his father and traded him in for an even worse father.
I have to imagine that when Rowan was looking for men to train for B6-13 the files that listed abusive fathers rose straight to the top of the pile. These men would already have a warped sense of paternal love and, with the right mixture of kindness and neglect, they could easily be molded into loyal followers. That equation certainly worked for Jake. He didn’t even see that he was trading one abusive father for the abusive fathers to end all abusive fathers.
Once Olivia coaxed the truth out of Jake (Rowan plans to make him Edison’s running mate) she used the only leverage she had to free Jake from her father’s grip: herself. Jake and Olivia concocted a plan to run away together to live a normal life. And while this plan may have began as a way to thwart her father, it seemed like Olivia was equally as excited by the prospect of allowing herself some happiness.
Of course if there’s anything a terrible father hates its when his kids are happy.
Rowan figured out Olivia’s plan, because he literally knows everything, and threatened to kill Jake if Olivia didn’t break his heart and force him to marry Vanessa. So Olivia did as she was told, thoroughly and utterly breaking Jake’s heart with words so close to the truth they couldn’t help but be devastating.
So, Jake married Vanessa and reaffirmed his commitment to Rowan and Olivia is back to being alone and unhappy. But maybe the cake was good?
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