PUBLIUS AND THEM | The primary narrative thrust, if there was one this week, revolved around James’ fear that he will be outed as “Publius,” the informant who put a bug in reporter Vanessa Chandler’s ear that Daniel Douglas was murdered. Hearing that Cyrus aims to butter up Vanessa with a Fitz-clusive before pumping her for her source, James offers to work his colleague himself. When James turns up no results, Cyrus enlists Charlie to “burn the stumps to the ground.” To that end, Charlie intercepts a message from Publius to meet up with Vanessa, with the plan to ambush him — but David has agreed to go in James’ place. And just as David is about to approach Vanessa, two figures bag his head and throw him into a trunk. There, David calls Abby, gets her voicemail, and professes his love for her (belatedly returning her own ILY which was met with silence earlier). “You’d better, because I just saved your life,” Abby responds as she and Huck open the trunk, revealing how they had thwarted Charlie’s plan.
KISS AND MEL | Mellie asks if Andrew accepted the veep nod just to get with her — and he says no, mostly. A series of flashbacks then reveal how in the wake of Big Jerry raping her, Mellie grew distant with Fitz and even attempted to kill herself with an overdose of pills. But Andrew found her and saved her — a gesture which despondent Mellie didn’t entirely appreciate. When Andrew asks why she sought to end her life, Mellie plainly tells him of the rape, the resulting paternity question looming over her son and how it all “makes me not want to be alive.” Later, Andrew confides in Mellie how good he feels around her, just to see her — but, she notes, she is the governor’s aka his best friend’s wife. Back in the present, Andrew finds a glammed-up Mellie in the Vermeil Room, and asks what would happen if he went to kiss her. Mel at first shrugs off the suggestion, but reflecting on her umpteenth talk with Fitz about his unbridled ardor for Olivia, reconsiders and pulls Andrew into a kiss.
‘HE LICKED MY FACE’ | When Rowan is suspected of leaking a story about (what was actually Mellie’s) pill-popping during Fitz’s gubernatorial days, Olivia urges Jake to sic B613 on her dad, in the name of “protecting the Republic” and all that. When Charlie gets pulled away from that job, Quinn attempts to take over — only to get immediately made by Olivia, who was dining with her dad. “You are not cut out for this life… Come home,” Olivia invites her former gladiator. But Quinn is determined to help herself and orders Liv out of her car — at gunpoint. “I’m violent now, or hadn’t you heard?”
OH, MOTHER! | In the afterglow of apparently another round of “reuniting,” Adnan Salif presents Harrison with a briefcase bursting with greenbacks, and a seeming assignment. She then asks him if Olivia knows about Clearwater or “just the insider trading.” After Harrison phones the Grant campaign to make a donation, we next see Adnan introduce herself to Cyrus at the Grant Campaign donor dinner, saying that he helped get her back into the States. Cyrus bristles at her offer to throw unlimited cash his way, but Adnan says, “Isn’t it time someone scratched your back? Let me help you.” And as the hour closes, it is revealed that Adnan is in cahoots with Maya aka Momma Pope.
ELSEWHERE…. | Leo courts Hollis Doyle (wow, remember him?) as a big bucks backer of Sally’s campaign (in trade for naming the energy secretary), but Hollis keeps a flag planted in Fitz’s yard as well…. After running “errands” for Olivia, Jake shows up at her place (using his “Official Boyfriend of Olivia Pope” key), carps about his “beard” status as well as her pantry offerings (“Wine is not beer, popcorn is not food”) and then showers before “pretend sex.” Later, Secret Service agent Tom revealed himself to Jake as B613’s man inside the White House, as he delivered that days flash drive — from which Jake observed Olivia telling Fitz, “I don’t know” if she has feelings for Jake…. Huck hand-delivers to Olivia, like, 12 coffees, for a while there having me think he was gradually dosing her with something as part of some loopy Season 4 storyline, but instead he was endeavoring to secure her forgiveness for what he did to Quinn. “You should have never given me someone to love. Monsters eat people. That’s what we do.”
What did you think of “We Don’t Touch the First Ladies”? Is there a Season 3B storyline youre particularly latched onto yet? Or do you sense a slight lack of focus, at least as compared to Season 2?