Choices: He loves me; she loves me not.
And cue the Adagio. Jake Ballard at Olivia’s door. “Let me in Dammit!” Said with rage. Then, whispered in quiet defeat: “I asked you to save me…and you said no.” Walks away in even quieter defeat. What happens to someone who walks away wounded under these circumstances?
Do they become too hard to protect themselves or too soft because they are still vulnerable? I believe both. They become hardened to protect that tiny spot of vulnerability buried deep inside. Is it Olivia’s fault that Jake fell deeper into B613? I can’t say yes. For Jake is a grown man. He is able to make his own choices. As an army guy, he knows how to lick his wounds and keep pushing forward to do the deed that needs to be done. But in this case, I don’t mean by continuing to massacre people for B613 because one woman failed to declare her love for him. I mean by licking them and still making the choice that feels right for him - that makes him feel whole inside. In the real world, it would probably take someone who loved so deeply a few decades (or less) to emerge from such heartache with a wound fully healed. However, for the sake of this tv series, Jake could have easily, (or perhaps more truthfully [or actually more wishfully for me]), done what he needed to do to properly care for his wound in the way that would allow himself to heal rather than harden.
This is different for different people. Some people read, write, or cry. Some people disappear completely from the lives of their non-reciprocating love interest. He has choices. And I wish that this part of the episode were real life so that he would exercise those choices rather than fall deeper into an organization that slowly siphons off every ounce of human compassion he still has left in him.
Be strong soldier, you can do it. And if saying no to B613 would mean him losing his life, well that’s a situation I’m just not prepared to write about because I wouldn’t have an easy answer. But if all he has to face is a note saying “dishonorable discharge,” well then I’d say dishonorable discharge me all you want if it means I could lead my life in a way that honors my integrity.
Choices. We all have them. Even if the circumstances aren’t what we want them to be. Which brings me to talk about the choice of Olivia waiting for Fitz. Because while Jake still has a choice in how he responds to the reality that Olivia can’t choose him, Olivia still has a choice in how she responds to the fact that the President can’t choose her, really. She should do the healthy thing and move on. Or stay single. But just not wait for a man and be angry that he can’t be with her when she is actually helping the reason why he can’t be with her by working on his campaign. Unbeknownst to me, maybe she is executing her plan, which is to wait for him for the entire 8 years he stays in office (if he wins again). But I’d have to say that’s a long time to be alone and to let Fitz have the power that he has over her. If I were her, I’d refuse his every beck and call. Find a new line of work that doesn’t involve fixing his presidential mishaps. Walk away and make myself stronger. But if I were her, or if she did what I proposed, I wouldn’t look nearly as gorgeous in all her clothes and we wouldn’t have this self-indulging storyline that we love to watch every week.
But let me move on from talking about Liv and Jake for a minute. Fitz has choices too. He, too, can refuse to suffer - if that’s what it really feels like for him not to be with the woman he loves. He can wreck things for all the historians and be that president who divorced his wife for his mistress. But if tainting America’s image would be too much of a burden for him to bear, he could also make the equally hard choice of not running again for a second term so that he could be with his mistress/lover (I have mixed feelings about her) sooner. But then, we wouldn’t have any material for what is only the major plot of this show. And if Fitz did make that choice now, he would never know what it would mean for him to win on his own merit, and Olivia would never be able to atone for meddling with the first election results, and they probably wouldn’t enjoy their happily ever after if they are ever to have one. So in the end, the major characters are still left in a conundrum. It’s their failure to make what would be the healthiest choice in real life that gives us such great drama to watch week after week.
Even if everything on the show is just over-the-top scandal fueled by unsound decisions, the love triangles that Fitz, Jake, and Olivia find themselves in still give us the ability to think about what we would do if we were in their shoes in this world. We can’t be afraid of making the choice(s) that will make us truly happy. All the excuses we make are just fear. I can’t leave my job because I’ll be broke. I can’t break up with him or her because they’re so great. I won’t find anyone else as good, yadda yadda yadda. What I do know is that getting to know the feeling of happiness and freedom after you have made that difficult choice is only the beginning of your journey. But, because we’re watching Scandal – a world where politicians and the people behind them choose to fight, cheat, and kill for the sake of staying in power, and others choose to endure an inordinate amount of suffering for a love that can’t be realized – continue the Adagio.