By Lauren McEwen
For The Baltimore Sun
9:17 AM EST, March 7, 2014
My revised list of people who have to die: Quinn, Fitz — and though it hurts my heart to say this — James. There is a whole lot of whininess and poor decision-making happening in “Scandal’s” Washington, D.C. and the majority of it is coming from that little trio.
For Fitz, it is understanding that the world does not completely revolve around him.
At the top of the episode, he and Olivia are busy having this incredibly loud argument about Olivia using Jake as her beard (Jake’s words, not mine).
Fitz assumes that Olivia is doing this for him, and she quickly shoots that down. She is doing this for herself: her career and goals and dreams. Her wish to no longer be a laughingstock in Washington and to have the scarlet “A” removed from her chest.
Olivia has realized the obvious: Mellie is right. She cannot help Fitz win an election while she is his “public whore.” IRL, Fitz would have already been impeached for several things, not least of which was his “affair” with Jeannine Locke. He definitely wouldn’t be able to get reelected with his assumed mistress in his camp.
The real question is: where is this room in the White House with no cameras, and apparently, soundproofing where Olitz can just openly fool around and why weren’t they using this room all along? And Jake’s face as Liv and Fitz exit, still adjusting their clothes? So awkward.
Mellie’s meeting with Andrew Nichols, and she is uncomfortable. He promises that she isn’t the only reason he joined Fitz’s ticket, and she shoots down his hopes.
Flashback to California (including an unnecessary montage of Mellie’s rape): Fitz and Mellie are arguing while Andrew eavesdrops. Fitz doesn’t understand why Mellie and Big Jerry are suddenly so distant, or why Mellie doesn’t want to be touched. Honestly, the fact that Fitz didn’t put two and two together proves that he has been the worst forever. And is this “Mellie didn’t want to be touched because of the rape” storyline supposed to make it OK that Fitz cheated?
Harrison and Adnan Salif (the mysterious woman from last week) are still busy catching up (read: having all of the sex). She opens a suitcase of money and Harrison’s face instantly reads “NOPE!” Then she mentions something about “Clearwater” and asks if Olivia only thinks Harrison is guilty of insider trading. So, sex then blackmail? Cool.
Abby tells David she loves him, and of course, he doesn’t answer. Instead, he answers a phone call from a frantic James, who is worried that “Publius” is busted. (And kudos to the episode’s writers for acknowledging that “Publius” was a really stupid name to pick, regardless of historical significance.) See what I mean about James needing to die? He didn’t think it through when he decided to leak info to the press, and now David is supposed to risk himself to help?
James is, however, able to get Cyrus to trust him to talk to Vanessa Chandler about her source, so at least he’s not totally helpless.
Oh, look! Olivia actually doing her job! She wants Fitz and Andrew to sell their “bromance,” as Andrew puts it. But there’s a small problem. Word of drug use (specifically, oxycontin) in the California Governor’s mansion has just been leaked to a reporter. Andrew immediately cops to it, which seems suspect.
Andrew claims that he used the Oxycotin for back pain, but did not want a prescription because he would soon be calling for stricter drug laws. Olivia meets with Carla, the reporter who plans to break the Oxy story (she is played by Lauren Stamile, who played a nurse named Rose, who Derek dated during Season 4 of “Grey’s Anatomy”) and threatens to take away all of her access to the White House and any Republican politician she should hope to cover, landing her back in Tulsa, covering beauty pageants.
Carla claims to have hard proof, which leads Liv to believe that the source is Rowan. She calls Jake to enlist his help, and he’s annoyed because he’s tired of helping Liv with her family/man drama, but she reminds him that her father is out to get all of them, and that his actions will affect the Republic, making it Jake’s job.
Mellie confronts Andrew about taking the fall for that oxy, and we get another California flashback. After the rape, Mellie tried to commit suicide using the pills. Andrew was the one who found her and saved her life.
James is still freaking because Cyrus hasn’t stopped his search for Publius. David suggests that James send Vanessa Chandler the tape from Cyrus’s office that proves he covered up D.D.’s murder. It would be inadmissible in court, but if Vanessa writes a story on it, it will make it harder for Cyrus to have James killed without setting off red flags.
Turns out, Jake hired Charlie to look into Rowan, and of course, Quinn wants to help despite explicit directions to stay out of it, so she follows Charlie to stake out the Popes’ Sunday dinner. Charlie is called away by Cyrus, who wants him to focus on killing Publius instead, but instead of taking that as a cue to leave, Quinn sticks around.
In the restaurant, Liv is trying her best to warn Rowan that his actions against Fitz are going to get him killed, but he isn’t falling for any of her speeches. She leaves, and easily spots Quinn and her binoculars spying on them. Liv hops in and starts yelling at Quinn to come home, but Quinn’s still stuck on Huck licking her face back when he was trying to kill her. She finally kicks Olivia out of her car, threatening to shoot her if she doesn’t leave.
Olivia calls Jake to her apartment, upset because she believes that he put Quinn on Rowan. Of course, he didn’t. He doesn’t even want Quinn associated with B613, but he’s annoyed because honestly, he has an actual job to do that she can’t begin to understand. Then, he demands that she stock her fridge with something other than wine and popcorn, because if he’s going to play her fake boyfriend, he’s going to “drink real beer and eat real food.” He then takes off his shirt and heads to the shower before they have “pretend sex.” Honestly, Jake’s best scene since “More wine?”
Abby’s suspicious about David’s behavior and luckily so because he and James have come up with a supremely stupid plan to have David meet with Vanessa in James’s place. Of course, Charlie has hacked into Vanessa’s phone and will be waiting for him. Abby figures out that it is a set-up, and has David thrown into a trunk before he enters the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Fitz has stopped even pretending to be cordial to Mellie. When she tries to talk to him about Andrew being taken off the ticket, he brushes her off saying he will talk to Olivia. Mellie insists that she’s trying to be helpful, but Fitz is still upset about Mellie’s (smart) suggestion that Olivia get a fake boyfriend. When he demands that she stay away from Olivia, she asks him (in the saddest, best speech of this episode) what it feels like to be that in love with someone. His answer? “Mellie, I don’t have time.”
In another flashback, we discover that Andrew not only saved her life, but he is the only person that she told about Jerry raping her and possibly being Little Jerry’s father.
Then, hours after that talk with Fitz, Mellie has to deal with Olivia being awful. Her team figured out that Mellie was the one who took the oxy, and assumes that Andrew is taking the fall for Mellie because they had an affair. Mellie makes it very clear that she and Olivia are not the same. She had the opportunity to cheat, but refused to do so.
Well, up until this point. Later, in a room covered with paintings of former First Ladies, Mellie finally kisses Andrew. And no one can be mad at her for that.
We end the episode with the best scene, per usual. Adnan’s plan isn’t clear, yet, but she does seem to be interested in the Grant campaign. She had Harrison donate the briefcase of cash, and shows up at the donor dinner to talk to Cyrus. She then goes back to her hotel…where Mama Pope is waiting or her. Yes, international criminals Marie Wallace/Mama Pope and Adnan Salif have teamed up. And the pay off had better be brilliant.
•••• Hollis Doyle is back!! He didn’t do much besides make the occasional racist joke and double-cross Sally by agreeing to donate to the Grant campaign, but so glad to see Pure Evil once again.
•••• Sally is having flashbacks of murdering D.D., which is going to be a problem very soon, I’m assuming.
•••• Jake’s Command Orientation Packet (a creepy briefcase with a recorded message) tells him that he has a spy in the White House, who will be revealed to him soon. Of course, its Secret Service Agent Tom with a recording of Olivia admitting to Fitz that she may have feelings for Jake.
•••• Quinn shows off her hacking skills and gets Jake images of Leo Bergen meeting with Rowan from the National Park Service’s cameras.
•••• Huck tries to make amends with Liv by awkwardly bringing her coffee throughout the episode. When she finally calls him on it, he explains that coffee is how people apologize. He’s sorry for what he did to Quinn, but blames Liv for giving him something to love because he is a “monster.” Liv’s pet monster, but a monster, all the same. And “monsters eat people.”
Next week: The preview promises one of those OMG moments that “Scandal” is known for and honestly, we need it. There’s a quick shot of a gun, so hopefully, a member of my list is about to get offed.
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