When the preview for this week’s episode first aired, many viewers realized that they had completely forgotten that Mellie and Fitz actually had kids. Sure we’ve seen baby Teddy bouncing around the White House when plotlines have necessitated he get used to either a) show Fitz has a soul or b) be a tool in an epic power struggle … but where on earth have Karen and Jerry been hiding for the last three seasons? Oooh yes, conveniently hidden away at “boarding school.” So this week the kids were herded in to get screen time (and maybe one-on-one time with their parents) for an expected reason: a live TV interview with a hot shot journalist to help the campaign. Because what’s the point of family if you can’t exclusively use them for political capital?
Meet the Spawn
Karen does theater in school and gets straight A’s. Jerry works on the school paper and plays lacrosse, “because that’s what rich people do.” No these factoids don’t come out of Fitz’ mouth — the guy could barely remember their names let alone school activities — but Abby’s dossier on the First Family. Liv is afraid that what “might be the most important interview of the campaign” is in jeopardy because the kids seem distant. (The West Wing can be intimidating your first time around!)
Beyond awkward dinner table conversations in which the kids looked sad whenever their dad tried to sound interested, the Fitz family reunion is in jeopardy for other reasons, too. Liv finds out that Jerry has an anti-Fitz Twitter handle and a Reston for President tee-shirt — maybe he was going to protest during the interview? And when Karen storms away from her dad and brother’s fight, she runs into her mom’s room to find her “on [her] knees with Uncle Andrew… this whole time I blamed Dad when you were the liar and cheater.” Harsh but, come on Mellie, maybe when your angsty daughter is in town you should lock the door.
“I’m Talking to my Wife”
Fitz and Mellie try to fake loving each other to con the kids, but after the children tell the prez about the latest sex scandal, Fitz punches “Uncle Andrew” in the face and releases all of his anger on Mellie. We learn that after Jerry’s birth, Mellie said that she lost her sexual appetite. (Really, she was traumatized from the rape, but Fitz thinks she was rebuffing him for 10 years because she was doing it with Andrew.) Mellie says he can’t blame her for cheating now, but Fitz says whereas before he was understanding over the fact that “Poor Mellie has dried up” — oh yes, very understanding husband — he’s now “saying that you ruined our marriage.. all you’ve done is deny me love and scheme to have power.” If not for her, he never would have cheated and furthermore, “Those kids never had a chance to grow up with two loving parents.” Oh yes, Fitz, blame Mellie for your inability to relate to your kids. It looks like Mellie is close to admitting that she was raped by his father when Olivia, who heard it all, tells them it’s almost time for the interview she keeps trying to postpone due to the turmoil. “I’m talking to my wife,” Fitz snaps. In the end, per Olivia’s suggestion, he makes nice so that they can be presentable. This man totally deserves the vote.
Is Olivia… the Help?
Olivia, unfortunately, might be the Alice in this Brady Bunch. But with better trench coats and bone structure. During an unwanted call from her mother, Mama Pope tells her she’d rather be a terrorist that what Olivia is — a maid, the help, “and you don’t even know it.” Even though Olivia clearly isn’t a new wave The Butler, she fears her mom is right. And when she asks Cyrus — to whom Fitz said Jake killed James, still expecting them to work together with that knowledge — whether this is true, he says yes. But it’s for the good of the country. (Why is Fitz good for the country again?)
The Oddest Couple
As much as I hate to give Quinn space, her role was actually pretty juicy this episode. She and creepy Charlie have a series of inane conversations pouring over the details of Huck’s break-in to Quinn’s apartment last week to make out with her. (But Quinn isn’t telling that.) I have to hand it to them, it was pretty funny to see them calmly spat as they removed a Ukrainian potential terrorist from the trunk and later drilled holes into his body for torture’s sake. Quinn later takes a meeting with Huck to show him he isn’t the boss — and there’s a bunch of talk about tongues licking cheeks, tongues in mouths, and then there are tongues on cheeks and mouths… ew. When she comes home from whatever the hell that was (again, ew) she finds Charlie has moved in to “protect” her / control her life—because he’s a creep.
Terrorists on the Loose
Ukranian terrorists are missing (one was captured and tortured by Quinn), and the U.S. government wants to find them. The only thing is that when Fitz asks Jake to give them up, he refuses. Fitz might be the Commander-in-Chief but according to Jake, “I am command, which means you don’t tell me to do anything because I am not your bitch… You comfort people, and you look pretty…and you talk tough.”
One of the Ukranian terrorists is with B613, though. Quinn is currently torturing him (discussion question: which hurts more, the drill or the speaking?) Mama Pope and Adnan, kind of scared, are also in search of them for their plot. Adnan makes it look like she’s going to leave and betray her to Olivia’s firm, but she just ends up sleeping with Harrison, stabbing him in the back with a shot, and then stealing Liv’s computer chip with information about all of Fitz’ campaign stops.
The Gladiators appear to have no real clients anymore, which is kind of convenient since they’re dedicating their time to taking down B613. At first Olivia’s dad calls to get her to stop hunting for the organization. But after Ronan has a contest with Jake over power, and Jake promises to kill him, he changes his tune. At the end of the episode, Ronan calls Olivia to give her B613 destruction advice. What a powerhouse they’d be.