Note to ABC: All of the E! True Hollywood Story: Olivia Pope footage that was interspersed throughout Thursday’s Scandal needs to be spliced together, expanded and slotted for this Sunday at 9/8c between Once Upon a Time and Quantico. I guarantee you it will pull in a better rating than Blood & Oil.
With that said, let’s get to the key moments of Episode 4, “Dog-Whistle Politics.”
BACK AT THE PRISON… | Rowan denies any involvement in the Louvre fire, but Jake isn’t buying what he’s selling. “You’re a desperate man,” Jake barks. “You can either tell me who you’re working with now. Or I can find them. And kill them.” Jake, clearly second-guessing Rowan’s involvement, recruits Charlie to join him in Paris in search of the person who launched Lazarus One. Charlie puts Jake in touch with a beautiful woman, Elise (The Strain‘s Mia Maestro), who knows a thing or two about stolen paintings. Twist Alert! Jake and Elise share a complicated history of love and betrayal and regret and love and… marriage. (Or “marriage,” as a cover?) Also, Jake thought she was dead. But that was then. This is now. “Elise” agrees to help “Jake,” but ends up getting shot instead. That leads Jake to invite his back-from-the-grave bride to return to the States with him.
GLADIATORS, EXPAND! | Quinn tricks Marcus Walker (new series regular Cornelius Smith Jr.) into meeting her for drinks for the sole purpose of offering him a position as OPA’s spokesperson. “You’re charming and attractive and you can drive the narrative,” she reasons. “You’ll be one of us. It’s the best job you’ll ever have. You’ll change lives. You’ll slay dragons.” Despite Quinn’s uncanny channeling of Season 1, Episode 1 Harrison (R.I.P.), Marcus shuts her down hard, insisting that OPA is “hemorrhaging clients” in the wake of Olivia’s POTUS-loving public downfall. Why would he want to jump on such a rickety bandwagon? Because he’s flat broke. Yep, less than 24 hours after turning the job down, Marcus does an about-face and accepts it. And just like that, a new Gladiator is born — a turn of events we tipped you off about six whole months ago (not that we’re tooting our own horns or anything). Marcus quickly reminds Quinn that she hired an activist not a puppet when, at his first impromptu press briefing, he calls the media out on their racist coverage of Olivia-gate.
AFFAIR AFTERSHOCKS | Fitz fires (G)Abby after she threw Liv under the slut bus, only to eventually rehire her after Liv knocked some sense into him. “Abby did exactly what I would have done,” Liv reminds him. “This is my choice to make. I do not need to be rescued. I find it offensive.” Also offensive: The sexist backlash she encounters online. “A lot of anonymous Internet people want to have me killed,” she laments to Fitz. “Also raped… I have at least a thousand threats of rape here… from guys who are mad that I had the audacity to be born female. And black.”
TO IMPEACH OR NOT TO IMPEACH | The women of the senate want to impeach philandering Fitz, putting newly-minted senator Mellie in a tough spot. “I do not want to impeach my husband,” she insists to Cyrus, who counters that that’s exactly what she needs to do if she hopes to ever set foot in the Oval Office. “You either go after your husband and claim the White House for your own,” Cyrus warns her, “or you do nothing and end up being a sad little well-meaning freshman senator… wanting to hang yourself.” Oh, how I’ve missed Cyrus’ pep talks! Mellie soon discovers that all of Cyrus’ sound and fury signifies nothing but his own hurt feelings about being cast aside by “son” Fitz, and promptly orders him to make like a tree and leave her the hell alone. He then quits.
DATE NIGHT | In the end, Fitz opts against doing the smart thing — selling his legislative soul to the Republicans in order to avoid impeachment — in favor of doing the
bats–t crazy right thing: taking his mistress out on a date, as the entire world looks on. That sets up the inevitable final scene: Mellie announcing to her fellow female senators that her previous nay on impeachment is now an unqualified yea.
Thoughts? Do you think Fitz and Liv’s first public outing as a couple is setting the stage for FLOTUS Olivia Pope (an idea Shonda Rhimes recently admitted being intrigued by)? What do you think of Gladiator Marcus? And the episode overall?