Scandal Recap: 'To New Beginnings'

Scandal Recap

A lot happened on Thursday’s Scandal, and we’re going to discuss everything in depth, but first thing’s first: Jake Ballard is a garbage person.

The world of Scandal has always been a veritable treasure trove of monsters — unlikable, selfish characters who abuse their power with reckless abandon — but Jake, particularly in recent weeks, has evolved into a very special type of bastard.

What kind of guy breaks into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and enters her bedroom in the middle of the night? What kind of guy assumes it’s OK to force himself onto a woman just because she doesn’t immediately say no? Wasn’t Olivia’s (very obvious) fear and discomfort — not to mention the fact that Jake is in a committed relationship — enough to tell him he shouldn’t have been there in the first place?

The logical answers to those questions would be “a stalker,” “a potential rapist” and “yes.” But logic hasn’t exactly been Jake’s strong suit of late, which presents a whole new set of problems. When Liv asked him what he’s up to, I was genuinely curious to hear his response, yet was not surprised that he didn’t have one.

But more than anything, I hate that Jake continues to have a hold on Liv. I hate that she felt compelled to spy on his dates with Vanessa — the “perfect” woman, save for the fact that she’s not Liv — and I hate that she seems genuinely upset by the news of Jake’s engagement. Olivia Pope deserves better.

Oh, and yes, that was indeed Justified‘s Joelle Carter playing Vanessa. (That was some nifty stealth casting, Scandal.)

‘OLITZ’ GETS REAL | Fitz’s new frat-boy lifestyle is becoming a real problem, and not just for Abby, whose involvement in his dalliances stops short at actually dressing Little Fitz for battle. Even Mellie took a swing at her ex-husband this week, telling him, “Screw as many whores as you want, I’d expect nothing less. But you sure as hell better keep them away from my children.”

But it wasn’t until Liv read him the riot act — as part of OPA’s investigation into a dead hooker at a party for his Secret Security detail — that Fitz began to see the error of his ways. In fact, let’s all take a minute to appreciate Liv’s flawless takedown in full:

The fish rots from the head. Your buys in the Secret Service, they’re taking their cues from you, because you’re the head of the fish — reckless, negligent, selfish. You’re letting things get out of hand and your boys are following. What kind of example are you setting for the people who work for you? For the country? For your son? He looked up and saw his dad with some woman he didn’t know, some woman in a bathrobe. What is that, a Grant family tradition? You basically saw your father do the same thing, right? Is that who you are now? Are you your father now? Are you Big Jerry now? I don’t care what you do in your spare time, I really don’t. But you … you better think, and you better ask yourself: Is this really who you want to be? … Good to see you, Fitz.

(I don’t know if you could tell from Liv’s tone, but it was not — in fact — good to see Fitz. Not good at all.)

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS | Liv doesn’t realize this yet, but her little pep talk could sink Mellie’s campaign — which Liv is totally not running, by the way. Her words made Fitz want to be a better person, the type of President whose endorsement Susan Ross would gladly accept, which is exactly what Liv doesn’t want to happen. She knows that, as his ex-wife, Mellie will never get his endorsement, but to have him publicly backing her opponent is a whole other matter. I never thought I’d say this, but the Fitz/Liv/Mellie dynamic is somehow more complicated now that he isn’t with either of them. (Also, how long do we have to wait for the inevitable Susan/David/Elizabeth threesome?)

MIS-BEENE-HAVING | And then there’s Cyrus “Puppet Master” Beene, who was finally able to convince Governor Vargas to throw his hat into the Presidential ring — and all it took was one little white lie about a brother who doesn’t actually exist. (Question for the group: We’re all predicting that Vargas will discover Cyrus’ transgression sooner than later, yes? Also, to whom should I send my strongly worded e-mail about making Ricardo Chavira a series regular?)

Odds and Ends:

* I completely forgot about the existence of Cyrus’ prostitute husband, but I’m glad to see his hairdressing skills are improving.

* How amazing would a Scandal after show be, assuming it was hosted by Kate Burton as Sally Langston? (Also, remember when Sally killed her husband with a paperweight?)

* Does anyone else feel like Scandal is missing… something? Despite the weight of the show’s current events, I’m just not feeling that same rush I did in the first half of the season. (Perhaps a little confession from Olivia to Fitz might give this show the boost it so desperately needs.)

Your thoughts on this week’s Scandal, as well as this season’s general direction? Drop ’em in a comment below.

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