Scandal Recap: 'The Mona Lisa of Boom'

TONY GOLDWYN, KERRY WASHINGTONThis Thursday on ABC’s Scandal, Fitz told Olivia what he needed (spoiler alert: Mellie did not like the answer!), the presidential race narrowed and the Gladiators’ best-laid plans went very, very awry.

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Is it me, or did Scandal just reclaim that heightened sense of narrative urgency that had been its hallmark card for two seasons but sorta fell by the way side for the first stretch of Season 3?

Part of it is due to the fact that A- and B-storylines strewn around the canvas began to coalesce this week, as the Maya/Adnan/Ivan plan took greater shape — in the form of “the Mona Lisa of bombs” — unfortunately, just as Olivia gave Huck the OK to shut down B613. That decision, which killed the lights, cell phones and all, came as Jake laid eyes on the bomb (via surveillance cam) but held off on moving in, instead waiting to hear the plan for the device. But all anyone heard was Maya mulling “campaign trail or White House?” before the video went black.

Quinn tried to save the day, by storming Maya’s hotel room, but everyone had cleared out. Meanwhile back at OPA, Olivia was toasting the idea being “back in the light,” when Jake barged in, pinned his very recent lover against a wall and told her that she had just (figuratively, for now) killed the president. (Does that mean the plan to “stand in the sun” together is off?) It was a great sequence, kinda left a pit in your stomach as you realized that Huck’s push of a button — powering down an eeevil organization he long wanted to snuff — came at the worst possible instant.

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Elsewhere in the hour, it was fun to see Gabby Abby stand in Olivia’s shoes, with little effect at first trying to get the Grant campaign back on its feet by wooing women, in the wake of (unbeknownst to their “amateur” fixer) the Mellie/Andrew sexcapade. (Better yet, Abby came through with the viral video goods/impressed Leo on the super-slithery Governor Reston, who subsequently got knocked out of the race.) But along the way, Olivia was moved to beseech Fitz to tell her what he needs — and his answer was for Andrew to stop screwing his wife. “Consider it handled,” indeed.

Liv went on to give Andrew a choice: Be the veep for the next four years, or screw Mellie for the next month, since that’s about how long their affair would last once Liv does her thing and destroys him “brick by brick.” After all, Mellie is used to “running with the big dogs,” she noted, and not some disgraced professor in a podunk town. The “talk” worked — later, when Mels came seeking some afternoon delight, Andrew brushed her off, sending FLOTUS into the Oval Office to wallop her hubby: “You take everything from me!”

Then there was the worst family dinner ever, when Maya crashed Liv and Rowan’s get-together. While Mom and Dad each pawed at the nearest cutlery, Oliver took a call from Harrison, who was reporting that Clare, the friend handling the passports for Maya, had been killed. “I hope you learned your lesson,” Mama Pope told her daughter, coolly.

What did you think of “The Fluffer”? Are you returning to Season 2 levels of anxiousness, awaiting the final two episodes?