This week on ABC’s Scandal… well, a stupendous amount of things happened, many secrets revealed. It all felt very much “Season 2,” especially as it served up at least two false endings — moments that other shows would have contentedly closed a season with. So, where do we start…?
Held accountable, in part, for tainting the president’s reputation — hell, a third of America believes she’s clinically insane — Mellie spends much of the current timeline hosting a televised tour of the White House’s East Wing, to win points with the public. But as she plows through the treacly task, we flash back to 15 years ago, when Cyrus… was hairier.
Invited to Santa Barbara by Jerry to scout out his son for a gubernatorial run — if not a higher office — Professor Beene likes what he sees, at least as far as Fitz’s height, good hair and perfect wife. But when Cyrus maps out a plan to win over the Golden State by playing up Fitz’s “war hero” cred, the prospective candidate balks. That leads to a quarrel between father (who never felt Fitz should have upped with the Navy) and son (who insisted on serving his country) — including allusions to the sordid “incident” Fitz was involved in and which Jerry worked the favor bank to make go away. “You owe me,” Jerry growls. “I made you, I could destroy you.”
Mellie, meanwhile, has her own tete-a-tete with Cyrus, who is set to throw in the towel and is on his way home to his wife. When he tells Mellie it needs to be her full-time job to support Fitz’s political goals, she promises to make things right, and invites him back tomorrow. That night, a drinky Jerry confides in Mellie the sticky wicket that Fitz got roped into, shooting down a passenger airplane — Global World flight 522 — that was rigged with a dirty bomb that could have taken out half of London. Following that reveal, Jerry makes a pass at Mellie… and then rapes her.
Jumping back to the present, Mellie — frustrated that Fitz was a no-show during a critical part of her TV tour — rails at her husband. “If you knew the pieces of myself that I have given away for you…. We are in Hell together and the flames are burning us with equal intensity. At least be my friend. Show up. Instead of treating me like a stranger.” And later, when Mel is poised to again disappoint Nurse Rose, Fitz does show up, to epically swat away an aggressive line of questioning aimed at Mellie’s approval rating. He accepts all the blame for the affair and declares that they are trying to move on. Later, Mellie thanks Fitz for his performance, for making that smart choice — but he says he meant every word.
Back in flashback, though shell-shocked by Jerry’s assault, Mellie doesn’t immediately tell Fitz when she returns to the bedroom. Instead, after hearing him say how a proper mea culpa from his old man would ignite his political fire, she uses the secret to leverage Jerry to do her bidding and deliver just that. Many weeks later, at an event announcing Fitz’s gubernatorial run, Mellie tells her husband that she’s pregnant. With a nod to his dad, an ebullient Fitz jokes to Mel, “If it’s a boy, he’ll make us name it Jerry.” Oof.
And that’s just the flashback part of the hour. Meanwhile, in the here and now….
* Olivia introduces the Gladiators to their new client: her mother, Maya, who was among the passengers killed on Global World 522. Oh, and one other thing: the man who shot down the plane is the President of the United States. (Remember, everyone — over a cliff!) Was Maya a target, or mere collateral damage of a B613 op? OPA quickly learns two things: that flight had been delayed, and that while overbooked there was an empty seat. Turns out, a marshal held the plane at the tarmac, and then escorted passenger Omar Dresden off the plane. When the closest they can find to a witness is the guy who drove the stairs on the tarmac, Jake sets up a meeting….
* Quinn, upon getting wind of Charlie’s next gig, spies on him as he does some spying. When he catches her in the act, he pulls her into a kiss — then invites her to hang with him more. Toward the episode’s end, Quinn uses more smooching to “convince” Charlie to let her handle the “drug the guard” portion of some file theft job. But what Quinn ends up injecting the watchman with kills him, pronto. And just as Jake arrives on the scene to meet with the former airport worker — aka the dead guard — Charlie interrupts Quinn’s frantic call to Huck to reveal he’s got the kill on video. “You belong to B613 now. Welcome to Wonderland!” Concurrent with that reveal, as Fitz realizes who Liv’s father is, we see Rowan enter a secure facility to visit “inmate” Omar Dresden. Pulling up to the person’s bunk, he announces, “Our daughter’s been asking about you” — you in this case being Olivia’s very much alive mother! (Hello again, Khandi Alexander.)
* Mellie and Cyrus conspired to lead Sally Langston’s husband Daniel astray with a planted hooker, only to realize they were using the wrong kind of bait — as we see Daniel instead being awfully friendly with James.
And… whew. There you have it. Is this the breathless, wackadoodle Scandal you remember?