TV Recaps

‘Scandal’ Review: ‘Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington’

ABC/Ron Tom

Last night, Scandal pulled a page from its season one playbook and gave viewers a riveting case of the week while it moved the Operation Remington storyline forward with some surprising clues, all the while keeping the suspense level at defcon one.

When Olivia first arrived at the office in “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington,” she was greeted by a new client, Mary Nesbitt (Cynthia Stevenson), who had paid the firm in advance to retain their services, didn’t leave too much information and then headed out for a ‘meeting on the Hill.’ Naturally, Olivia was suspicious and the other associates were questioning Huck’s absence (Abby’s reaction to “personal day” was the best).

ABC/Ron Tom
ABC/Ron Tom

It didn’t take much digging for the team to find out that Mary’s son had been killed in an FBI raid for being a suspected terrorist. Olivia booked it to Capitol Hill, just as a mysterious man entered the White House and demanded to talk to the president about Operation Remington. He was dealt with (and released by Cyrus!), but Olivia was too late. Mary had already taken a senator and his aide hostage with a bomb strapped to her chest as she demanded her son’s file be declassified.

Were you still breathing at this point? We were already gasping for air and the rollercoaster ride had just begun. Let’s get into the highlights of the episode.

Harrison Was FINALLY Given Something to Do

Hallelujah! Harrison had more than one line!! Granted, it wasn’t a kickass monologue, but it wasn’t a one line response to Olivia. Instead, he took point and monitored the feds progress outside the Capitol and fed the info to Olivia (Now let’s see his backstory…literally and figuratively. Thank you).

Olivia Makes the Choice to Keep the Classified Story in Place

The case of the week was stressful and heart-pounding but not for the reasons you think. I can (maybe naively) assume that Olivia Pope is not going to die, at least not until the series finale is announced. What did kill me was watching Olivia learn the truth about Mary’s patriotic son (he was a CIA agent) and not being able to share it with her.

She keeps the party line of this woman’s son being a terrorist to protect national/international security, but at the cost of knowing Mary died (she blew herself up once the room was clear) thinking her son was a traitor to his country. I think this becomes one more incident to put file under “things for which Olivia blames herself.” She’s trying to keep that white hat on, but it’s at such a high personal cost.  Eventually, she has to crack.

The Latest in the Jake/Olivia/Fitz Soap Opera

Remember what I said last week about a triangle working when it moves the characters forward? I’m not going to lie, I’m struggling here. I may have given Olivia Carolyn Pope serious side eye when she called Jake to get him to call Fitz to declassify the folder in the case of the week. I love my girl, but just as I felt last week, it’s icky having her use one side of the triangle to manipulate the other side. Also, Fitz and Jake have are already tied up together with Operation Remington coming down the pike, so sharing Olivia is extra messy.

This stunt is when I really see Eli’s influence over Olivia’s life coming out. She’s an ‘ends justify a means’ kind of girl, no matter the cost, even to her personal life. In a related note, I don’t really think the only reason Eli let Jake go was Sunday dinner with Olivia.  There’s a reason Jake is still alive and it’s not just to ruin the lives of Olitz shippers (At least I’m hoping and giving Shonda Rhimes the benefit of the doubt here).

ABC/Ron Tom
ABC/Ron Tom

Huck Remains a Company Man – As Do Olivia and Jake

I’m still not over Shonda Rhimes breaking my heart last week when Huck choked Olivia, and the coolness between them at the beginning of the episode is just not okay. Huck is damaged goods, he always has been. The difference is now he has a face to put with his torture, Eli, and he has to reconcile this new information with what his life has become.

All of that rage and devastation has to go somewhere and it ends up going to the “suicide” of the man who somehow managed to get into the Oval Office (after he was released, he demanded a meeting with the president from Eli). Interesting that in the end, Eli still maintains his dominance over Huck, even if you did see a flicker of uncertainty when Huck pulled the gun on him.

My question is did Huck learn anything about Operation Remington before he helped this guy over the cliff?  More importantly, my heart busted into a millions pieces when Huck finally let it all out and starting sobbing in Olivia’s arms.  I’m hoping this is the beginning of rebuilding for them as ride or die friends. Meanwhile, Olivia has released that she will never be free and neither will Jake. But what this means long term is yet to be seen.

Mellie Gets Drunk and Spills Some Truth Tea

For me, this was hands down THE scene of the episode and the perfect cap for this battle in the War of the Roses. Not only was Mellie drunk, she sucking back hooch like it was water of life and she had been struggling through the Mojave Desert all day. Her drinking even beats “Brown Water Fitz” of last season, and he worked hard on earning that title. Bellamy Young’s delivery with the thick, Southern drunken drawl was perfect as she revealed Mellie’s true feelings for a just minute as she talked to Fitz.

Moonshine brought down the ever-present walls of her mind and heart, and she couldn’t hold back what she really thinks (It’s like when you suddenly develop verbal diarrhea after a couple of drinks and can’t find the filter between your head and mouth).  Mind you, this conversation between Mellie and Fitz occurs after the parenting fail of breakfast that ended with those two arguing like 5-years-olds saying, “Shut. Up” and “You shut up.” I was already laughing at them bickering and then Baby Teddy’s “Help. Me” face pushed me right over the edge. I wanted to say, “Use your grown up words”, but later in the episode, Mellie did just that.

What’s most interesting is Mellie’s idea that she has the upper hand yet again, and she does, sort of.  She’s correct in saying that Olivia is Fitz’s Achilles’ heel.  As long as Olivia is in Fitz’s orbit (and let’s be real, she will ALWAYS be in his orbit), he has a weak spot that can be manipulated by her, Cyrus, Rowan, or anyone else in Washington, D.C. for that matter. Does this negate Fitz leaking Olivia’s name to the press? I’m not sure yet.

His whole reasoning was to get Olivia out from under Mellie’s thumb. So far, Mellie still calls Olivia Pope a ‘whore’ every chance she gets and Fitz keeps trying and failing to talk to Olivia like an adult. I’d like to see some actual fallout from this instead of full steam ahead without addressing it. Actions have consequences in life, let’s see it on TV.  Also, Drunk Mellie can come back any time she wants. I personally think a State Dinner would be perfect forum for her next appearance.

Additional Musings

-David Rosen for OWNING Cyrus to get the real information about Mary’s son to Olivia. I can get behind having more Josh Malina and Jeff Perry scenes on this show.

-The clock in Olivia’s apartment reminded me of episode 220 and that super sexy “run out the clock” ‘Olitz’ moment.

-We need either the world’s greatest cell phone provider or duct tape for the Fitz Phone, since Olivia chucked it across the room. I feel like that lifeline to Fitz needs some medical attention (But the Jake/Olivia fans probably don’t mind so much).

-RIP Olivia’s bomb damaged clothes. You put up the good fight, but in the end you were no match for Mary’s bomb. I’d still let you live in my closet though. Just throwing that out there…

[info]Angela Romack is a writer for TVSource Magazine. She’s someone who probably writes what you’re thinking about your shows. You can get more insight into her thoughts (and there are many) by following Angela on Twitter at @angelamromack. Be sure to follow TVSource on Twitter as well @TVSource[/info]

About the author

Angela Romack

Angela Romack is writes what you’re thinking about when it comes to your favorite TV shows. If you don’t agree, that's fine. She's okay with being right. Follow her on Twitter at @AngelaMRomack.

  • Alexandria Eoghans

    I love this! It definitely made me laugh and it was so incredibly accurate! The Huck and Olivia scene at the end made me feel as if my gut had been punched! And then the rest of your article was literally my thoughts during the episode!