Shonda Rhimes is a quiet militant. In the season finale of “Scandal” entitled “A Door Marked Exit,” she sets up a showdown between the two men in Olivia Pope’s life, President Fitzgerald Grant and her father Rowan Pope, the head of B613, the hell and the high water.
While tied to a chair in the Pentagon Fitz attempts to taunt Rowan with the knowledge the he has been sleeping with Olivia, something that he is already well aware of.
“I’m screwing her you know, your daughter. Every chance I get,” he says dripping with Country Club, frat boy privilege. “The things I could tell you about the way she tastes. She’s quite a girl. Talented.”
In real life a statement like that is grounds for a visit from a couple of ‘Hard pipe hitting’ n*ggas’ to go to work on homes with a pair of pliers and a blow torch.
But Rowan delivers an epic soliloquy that echoes that sentiments of every Black person who has ever suffered the condescending platitudes of a pampered classmate who dared to charge them with being an “affirmative action baby” while conveniently ignoring the advantages they were born with.
“You’re funny. You’re a funny, funny man. Or should I say, boy. You’re a boy! You’ve been coddled, and cared for, pampered and hugged. For you it’s always summertime and the living is easy. Daddy’s rich, your momma’s good looking, you’re a Grant. You got money in your blood. You…are…a…boy. I’m a man.
I have worked for every single thing I have ever received. I have fought and scraped and bled for every inch of ground I walk on. I was the first in my family to go to college. My daughter went to boarding school with the children of kings! I made that happen. You cried yourself to sleep because daddy hurt your feelings. Because papa banged his secretary. Because it hurt to have so much money. You spoiled entitled, ungrateful little brat! You have everything handed to you on a silver platter and you squander it. You’re given the world and you can’t appreciate it because you haven’t had to work for anything!
So now you’ve decided that the one thing you want is my daughter. My child. Mine. What I made. What I created. You can talk about what a great lay she is to try to get a response from me all you want, but guess what? I am actually, quite literally above your pay grade. Which means that I know that you believe that you are in love with her, as wrong as you may be. You love that she is a door marked ‘exit.’ You love that she is your way out. Because if you are with Olivia Pope you don’t have to fulfill your father’s dream of being president. If you are with Olivia you no longer have to be your father’s son!
An apple never falls too far from the tree. You are always going to be Senator Grants disappointing boy Fitz. She is always going to be the formidable Olivia Pope. Don’t use the person that I made to make YOU into a man. You’re a boy…You disappoint me as a suitor for my daughter’s hand.”
The speech is everything anyone who has had it with Fitz and shenanigans has wanted to say and have played out on the show. Rowan’s repetitious used of the word ‘boy’ is a double-edged sword, cutting to both his feelings about Fitz, but also a reversal of a historic insult hurled at Black men by white men of all ages. No matter how senior you were, you were somebody’s ‘boy.’ Rowan relished putting Fitz in his place and every man-boy like him playing in his father’s closet.
Watch the clip below:
For a full “Scandal” recap CLICK HERE.
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