Last night, Scandal gave us the next installment in the “what just happened?!” game and revealed more double agents, and more angst for everyone at OPA and the White House. In “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies,” Andrew Nichols shows he’s a good guy (so far), Jake now knows the secrets to the universe, and Huck gives Olivia a long overdue wake-up call regarding Quinn.
Of course, there were about 238372 things that happened, including Quinn pulling a gun on Olivia (What? No.), Mellie revealing to Andrew that Big Gerry raped in flashbacks, and Harrison quietly stabbing Olivia in the back because of Adnan. All of these people need Xanax and a hug, but before that let’s get to some of the top moments of the episode.
Mellie continues to run Olivia
Don’t misunderstand, Mellie is the person everyone loves to hate, and 98% of the credit goes to Bellamy Young for her honest layered portrayal of the first lady. What’s confusing is why she has consistently been one step of Olivia Pope, the fixer of Washington DC, this season. It’s not just planning chess moves, it’s verbal. Mellie literally out speaks Olivia and crowds her personal space whenever she makes a point. For example, she makes the point of saying to Olivia that she had the opportunity to cheat and “kept her knees together and I said no.” Ok, someone has short term memory loss. Mellie allowed Fitz and Liv to get together from the beginning even when she saw the slow build of them falling for each other, and then BEGGED Olivia to come back for Fitz’s reelection campaign. Also, let’s remember she lied about a miscarriage to get a bump in campaign polls, and risked her newborn’s life by inducing him weeks before his due date. She’s not squeaky clean by any stretch of the imagination.
That said, she was raped by Fitz’s father, and it was horrific, and she had no one to help work through it. (See the recap for “Everything’s Coming up Mellie.”) Except it turns out Andrew saved her from overdosing on painkillers and he’s the only one she let’s see her vulnerability after the rape. They have a connection and it’s one that scares Mellie because it’s real, and sweet, and has the potential to make her happy. Andrew is willing to take the heat for the drug rumor now to protect Mellie. It’s basically new and shiny Olivia and Fitz in season one.
Olivia and Fitz are Stuck in the Twilight Zone Vortex of Suck
On the flip side, Olivia and Fitz are miserable and it’s just exhausting. Their opening fight is ugly and brutal. Olivia finally verbalizes to Fitz everything she’s held in for months as she’s battled the press and Mellie dubbing her a “whore.” Jake is her beard and way for her to start getting back to taking care of herself. Fitz seems to forget how hard this entire situation is on Olivia until she brings it up, which is a selfish boyfriend thing to do. What’s interesting is he knows Jake has feelings for Olivia and even knows Olivia has growing feelings for Jake. They love each other, deep down, but it seems everything in the real world is clouding that. This love triangle is just beginning and it’s already tiring. Honestly, Jake shouldn’t win Olivia’s heart just because he sucks less than Fitz right now. Olivia needs to get her gut back, and it need not involve either Fitz OR Jake for her to get her swag back.
Huck is #SorryNotSorry About Quinn
Huck tries to apologize to Olivia for torturing and banning Quinn, not because he actually is but because he knows Olivia is angry with him and normal people would make a peace offering like coffee. He goes on to tell Olivia some things that were long overdue. She gave Huck too much slack on his leash and this is what happened. The connection they had seems to have shifted and it’s no longer Huck being Olivia’s loyal broken protector, he’s just a loyal monster who happens to belong to Olivia Pope & Associations and that’s sad. Quinn, on the other hand, is still blowing in the wind and after pulling a gun on Olivia needs a trip to the hole to reevaluate her life choices. It was nice to see Olivia finally try to reach out to Quinn, but it appears to be too little too late.
Jake Takes Over B613, Still Hasn’t Grasped the Art of Spying
Jake has learned all the secrets of world as the head of B613 and now has an unlimited supply of spies at his disposal, and yet had to be informed by Quinn that Rowan is working with Leo Bergen. What? Also, he had no idea that TOM was the inside guy at the White House, so he literally gets incriminating evidence of Olivia and Fitz dropped into his lap every single night to use as he sees fit. Side note: this means Rowan saw E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G that happened in the Oval Office, including desk gate. So, that’s disgusting. AND IT WAS RIDE OR DIE SELLING FITZ AND OLIVIA OUT THE WHOLE TIME.
The Pope Family is going to have a really fun Easter Dinner
Olivia’s parents are quite possibly the worst in this history of TV parents. Both are out for blood AND they hate each other on top of that. Mama Pope’s intended target isn’t clear just yet, but her alliance with (and banging of?) Adnan to get them in the door to Fitz’s donor campaign means T-R-O-U-B-L-E. More importantly, Adnan is blackmailing Harrison to set it all in motion. Meanwhile, Rowan is probably plotting another murder attempt on Fitz’s life. So, it’s going to end well for all parties involved, especially Fitz and Olivia, because Rowan really loves seeing them together.
Overall, this episode remained a solid follow up to last week’s opening. The set up for the longer arc stories that should have pretty big consequences for everyone is falling into place for a blow up next week. James continues to play with fire by going after Cyrus and it’s going to backfire in a big way. Tom is dead to me, and David is lucky Abby saved his hide yet again, and last but not least a big welcome back to Hollis and his shady business deals.
While an improvement from last week’s return, the show is far from the quality sustained in Season 2. The triangle between Jake/Olivia/Fitz is too tepid to hold interest, however the addition of Mellie’s complication with Andrew is a welcome new addition. He brings out a softness in her that’s a nice change. My loyalty will always reside with #TeamOlitz but I need them to pull their collective mess together and face life like adults.
I thought viewers would get to see more of the “real” Olivia Pope this week after glimpses of her appeared in the previous episode, but alas, no. At some point, the show needs to bring back her real swagger. Olivia Pope is the fixer who doesn’t need fixing herself, at least that’s what we were led to believe when Scandal began. I don’t think it’s too much to hope it happens next week.
What were your thoughts on the episode? Hit the comments below and tweet us at @TVSource.