Warning: Spoilers ahead. (Because, uh, it’s a recap).
A couple of concerning things happened on this week’s episode of Scandal. One: A major character was shot in the face, and we don’t know who it was. Two: Why was Olivia drinking so much when she was so clearly pregnant? No, we don’t have Shonda Rhimes’ secret dailies exposing a Folitz spawn. Sorry producers, but the well-tailored yet excessively baggy overcoats and strategic camera shots were no match for Kerry Washington’s real-life baby bump. (Washington’s anticipated delivery is actually cutting the season down from 22 to 18 episodes.) So when Olivia goes over to Jake’s house with chili fries and says things like, “I also brought wine, but this is for me. I’m drinking the whole bottle — you’re on your own,” it really made us hope that she was pounding grape juice.
Because separating real life from Scandal life is borderline impossible. But I digress.
Jake has gotten pretty moody
I guess leading B613 can do that to a guy. The episode opens with a Jake soliloquy that has a lot of Huck-like cadences, in which he tells no one in particular about the lonely path of a super secret agent. No connections — “not having a family makes you ripe, ready” — and that’s good because he’s “done things and there’s so much blood.” Well, this doesn’t look good.
Now here’s a presidential debate I’d like to play a drinking game to
But there’s more going on than Jake’s emotional issues. It’s debate season for the Republican nominees, and one candidate is clearly doing better than the other. Leo Bergen ordered in a preacher on a private jet — “Apparently God’s servant won’t fly” — to help Sally go over her tactics. Why? Because her practice rounds include telling her opponent that it’s “time for the slaughter piggy, piggy, time for the slaughter, you cloven beast.” Hope he brought his exorcism kit.
Fitz, on the other hand, is completely crushing every attack Mellie (playing the part of Sally) throws his way. His answers are so smooth that we actually start believing that he might be a competent president.
They’re all murderers
Olivia is conspicuously absent from debate prep because at that moment, David Rosen is exposing the boatloads of evidence, “Watergate had less to go on,” proving that Sally killed her husband and the Cyrus/Mellie dream team covered it up. At first Olivia doesn’t believe it — how could Cyrus do a coverup and not call her? She’s Olivia-freaking-Pope — but when she confronts Cyrus, it takes him zero seconds to spill. (He also, strangely, doesn’t seem to care how she got the info. Hmm.) But then anger gives way to hysterical, uncontrollable laughter. “They’re all murderers,” Olivia says, keeling over. “It’s literally murderers’ row. No matter who gets elected, they’re all murderers.” We’re talking House of Cards shades of morality. “Nobody’s perfect,” Cyrus responds. You can say that again.
Well, not everyone…
Darby Stanchfield, the actress who plays Abby, notes:
And that wasn’t the only Abby win of the night. After reprimanding David for making light of the fact that he probably has a big target on his back (foreshadowing!) she then gets up to get some food because:
Quinn whines and whines and whines
“Where’s my mission? Where’s my gun?” Quinn whines to Jake, who is making her pay her dues by being the receptionist at B613’s cover paper-selling operation. Imagine Pam from The Office, except you always want to punch her in the face.
Later scenes include Quinn snarling, “Yeah, well your phone manner sucks, too,” to a client on the phone, and then yelling at Jake for making her pay dues that she’s sure Charlie and Huck never had to pay. (We can’t even imagine Huck’s telephone demeanor.) She accuses Jake of holding her back out of respect for Olivia, who she says doesn’t even like him that much anyway.
Just let Olivia drink too much wine with her fake boyfriend
When Olivia needs some comfort after hearing about Sally-scissors-gate, she decides to go to Jake with bags of food (and wine, obvi) to get distracted from the real world. “I want to eat too many fries and drink way too much wine and have a relaxing evening with my fake boyfriend,” she cries. “Can you just be with me and pretend?”
And Jake does. He talks about his real fake day at the paper company — “normal can be a bit boring,” he says — and then asks for something that only a very secure and well developed male character would say: “Run away with me Liv, save me.” She gives him an alternative: “Take advantage of me, Jake.” Olivia’s fatal flaw is that she only wants to save her silly married president boyfriend. Jake realizes this when he later brings Chinese food to her apartment — we’ll never know if she stocked her kitchen with more than wine and popcorn! — and wants to talk about them. Then there are a bunch of metaphors about standing in the sunlight, and Jake realizes she “won’t stand in the sun with me… you’re going to stand with him.”
These are my confessions
Much to Leo’s dismay, the preacher ended up convincing Sally that her only option moving forward was to confess her crime to the public, and by default God. “Because [God] stopped speaking to me,” Sally explains. On the bright side, right after she starts performing baptisms in the reflecting pool, she’ll probably have a good “not guilty by reason of insanity defense” at her trial?
And so Leo goes to Cyrus to call off the debates so that Sally doesn’t use it as a confession opportunity — which would send Mellie and Cyrus to jail. Cyrus first goes to Jake to ask him to take out Sally. Jake says his job isn’t to protect the president’s reputation, but to protect the people. Cyrus points out that the people need to not think that their leaders are murderers, which we’ve already established they all are. Still a no go. Then Cyrus tries to get Olivia to talk Sally out of confessing — no dice. Much like a guy she met on Tinder, God still isn’t returning Sally’s calls. The only other option is for Olivia to convince Fitz to throw the debate he’s been practicing so hard for.
No more Mr. Nice Jake
After getting scorned by Olivia, Jake decides to welcome Quinn into the fold. He also gives a secret service/B613 double agent a sniper rifle to take out Sally if she starts confessing to murder during the debate. At first, the debate is a complete mess. Sally is about to hand the mic over to JC and admit her crime when Fitz jumps in to interrupt her impending confession: “What’s the matter, Sally — Bible verse slipped your mind?” He then sets himself up by saying that he’s proud of his personal failings, and just like that, Sally snaps out of her trance and does what she does best: publicly shaming people for their sins. No one gets shot… yet.
Fitz is “the only adult within ten miles of this place”
Ha. But really, that’s what he tells Olivia while sulking about throwing the debate. Then they make out.
The network promised an OMG moment at the end of the episode, and it delivered. In the lead-up, Cyrus finds out that his family portrait in his office has been bugged. Deducing that James is Publius, Cyrus confronts his husband and… apologizes. Profusely. “You shouldn’t have to pay for my mistakes James. Do whatever you want with me with us, I’m in your hands, just know I am so very sorry. And I love you. I love you, James. More than anything. I love you.”
Apparently, that’s all James needed. After getting a text to meet David, James goes to call it quits. “David, I’m bailing. I thought I wanted justice when really all I wanted was an apology and a good cry from a man I have no business forgiving.”
But we have bigger fish to fry than abandonment. David and James two soon realize that they both think that the other one set up the meeting. As soon as they discover that they’ve been set up, David’s two assistants get shot in the head by none other than Jake. The episode ends with one final gunshot — target unknown. Who do you think was shot? And has Jake joined the dark side? Yikes, Olivia. If you just stood in the sun with him, this never would have happened.