Interesting title this week. From watching this show, I think there’s a decided lack of those in DC. Everyone has an agenda, after all.
Olivia seems convinced of the innocence of at least one of the men whose attentions she’s juggling this week. But since things are virtually never as they seem in Scandalverse, she’ll probably have to rethink matters, maybe more than once.
Here’s what’s going on with three episodes to go before the mid-season break.
Case of the Week. We go back in time, to when President Cooper was in the White House. He’s a fictitious POTUS, a kind of mash-up of Reagan and LBJ. Cooper survived an assassination attempt many years ago and has just passed away of a stroke. But that stroke was related to an attempt on his life a quarter-century ago, and the lingering health problems it caused. He also still has a bullet in his head, which was deemed too risky to remove.
Now that he’s dead, Cooper’s would-be assassin wants to set the record straight. Leonard Carnahan was convicted of acting alone in the attempt on the president and is still in prison, but he’s always maintained his innocence. He calls Olivia and asks her to take on his case. He says he was set up. If that bullet can be removed before Cooper is buried, it will clear him, he says, but he needs for an autopsy to take place. In order for that to happen, the case will have to be reopened, and he be charged with murder. Liv warns him that if the bid to clear him fails, he could get the death penalty. He’s also up for parole in three years. Carnahan says he doesn’t care, he wants the truth to finally come out.
Liv gets to work trying for a murder charge. She makes a few calls to the press, who start sniffing around and asking Abby questions. David then gets wind of things, and both he and Cyrus urge Fitz to reopen the case. The POTUS is persuaded, murder charges are filed, the defense asks for an autopsy, and the bullet is removed.
But things don’t turn out as Liv expected. Instead of clearing him, the bullet proves Carnahan is guilty. Which, he then reveals, is what he wanted all along. It was so unsatisfying all these years, being regarded as a failed assassin. Now the world will finally recognize him as the president-killer he is, and he’ll go down in history as such. He gloats as Liv tries to figure out how she could have been so successfully duped.
David, of course, is gloating as well. Liv goes to see him, and he can’t help but talk about how weird it feels, winning against her. She takes the opportunity to ask him for help with Jake, but he says that’s out of the Department of Justice’s jurisdiction.
Cooper’s death has other ripples, as well.
The rebirth of Mellie. When we last saw Mellie, she was taking a long-overdue shower and seemed to be shedding the smelly Mellie mantle at last. That transformation continued this week, as the first time we see her, she’s all cleaned and dressed up. Fitz notices, and she says it’s because she has a state funeral to plan. Fitz doesn’t know what she’s talking about, because he never read the briefing that Cooper was dead. Way to let you wife fill you in on current events, prez.
Planning for the funeral brings Cooper’s widow, Bitsy, to the White House. A salty woman of the old South, she’s frank, sharp-tongued and highly intelligent. Mellie likes her immediately, and the feeling is mutual.
Bitsy is all folksy in public. But in private, she tells Mellie about her sleazy, cheating husband and how, due to that and his ADD, she was the real power in Washington during his presidency. She’s obviously still bitter that her husband got credit for all her hard work, while as far as history is concerned, she was tending to “First Lady duties.” He’s remembered as an accomplished man, while she’ll be “remembered for telling idiots not to litter.”
Mellie and Bitsy do a lot of shooting the breeze and drinking while making funeral plans. Mellie starts bemoaning being a useless FLOTUS, but Bitsy will have none of that. She says she didn’t just acquire power out of nowhere, she had to take it, and that’s what Mellie should do. She says she was grateful for her husband’s mistresses, they gave her time to run the country. Mellie is highly amused by this kind of talk, but she’s also listening very closely.
Mellie doesn’t wait long to take her new resolve for a test run. Coming from court after Carnahan’s indictment, Mellie is surrounded by press. After making her scripted statement, she goes off-book and addresses the military base-closing rumors (more on that later). She says that Fitz is strongly pro-military, and no bases will be closed on his watch. She knows she’s stepping on some toes, mostly Lizzie’s, but she’s also rather pleased with herself.
As is Bitsy, who gives her a sweet smile after the press disperses. Then she requests Mellie’s company on the Truman Balcony, because the joint in her purse “isn’t going to smoke itself.” Make sure all prying eyes are kept clear of the south lawn!
Rent boy gets greedy. I’ve had a hard time believing Cyrus could be so stupid as to fall for some high-priced low-rent call boy, but it’s sure looking that way. Michael, the serious-business-student/I’ll-do-whatever-for-the-right-price sex worker, has been keeping Cy happy enough that Cy is not only setting him up in his own apartment but is also getting him a special phone line and bank account. Michael offers a tepid, weak objection to Cy’s generosity, then accepts everything. He’s a prince.
Later, we see Mikey is with Lizzie, and she’s flipping through photos of him with Cyrus and paying Mikey for his services. Does Cy pay him as well, I wonder? Exactly how much is stud boy making off this deal? Then Mikey says he has some information that might interest Lizzie. Info he got snooping through Cy’s emails. Seems Fitz has made a decision to close some military bases but hasn’t told anyone outside his inner circle yet. It’s info that could come in handy to an evil person like Liz. Seems like Mikey is more than just a pretty face, a hot body, and loose morals. Then he tells Lizzie he wants to “renegotiate” their agreement. Since he’s coming up with some valuable dirt, she seems amenable to keeping him on.
Lizzie may have gotten more than she bargained for, but she’ll worry about that after using Mikey’s intel she bought. While being interviewed on TV, she lets it slip about the base closings. When Cy hears it, he knows there’s a leak and tells Abby to find it. She says that’s not her job, but Cy says the President is pretty ticked at her for crossing the line with the whole Olivia/Jake thing and wants her gone.
Abusing Abby is a White House pastime. Abby is used to being kicked around by Cy and gets to work. When he comes back later and bitches about the leak, she’s ready. She’s found out about boy toy and all the trysts, as well as the apartment and bank account. She gleefully fills him in. Did he forget that she’s an ex-OPA gladiator? I doubt he’ll make that mistake again. Imagine his humiliation on being found to be the leak, and by Abby, no less, for whom he’s never hidden his total lack of respect.
Handling Cyrus wasn’t difficult, but other matters are more complicated. Fresh from babysitting Liv after she found out Jake was arrested for murder, Abby is apparently feeling particularly vulnerable. The next day, she goes to the Oval Office to straighten the whole thing out with Fitz. She says she wants to talk about Jake, and he says Jake will get his day in court. Fitz says she has a lot of nerve, asking the Commander In Chief about such things, but she just says “I’m not asking the Commander In Chief. I’m asking the married man who used to sleep with my friend what exactly he’s done with the man she is currently sleeping with.”
Gotta hand it to Abby, the woman has…ovaries. But Fitz is annoyed and refers to her as “Gabby” again. Really Fitz, is that all you’ve got? ‘Cause that’s playground stuff. Then Abby tells him how Liv was waking up with nightmares and that if he loves her, he’ll tell her what happened to Jake.
Abby told Fitz things he needed to hear, but that doesn’t mean he took it well. Later, Abby calls Liv and vents to her about how Fitz is looking for an excuse to fire her. As she’s talking, there’s a knock at Liv’s door. She tells Abby she’ll have to call her back and hangs up as she opens the door. It’s been a long time since Fitz last paid Liv a late-night visit at home.
What’s up with Fitz? Fitz lets Liv know he didn’t appreciate Abby’s meddling and calls her a bitch. Again, really creative. First, purposely getting her name wrong, now name-calling. Nice. When Fitz gets mad, sometimes he regresses to a second-grade level, and it’s not a pleasant thing to witness. Liv calls him on it and says if Abby were a man, he’d be calling her something more like decisive or strong. Of course she’s right, but in Fitz’s current pissed-off condition, I doubt he’s really listening or learning anything.
Liv says she wants to see Jake and insists he couldn’t have killed Jerry or Harrison. Fitz shows her surveillance photos of Jake with Tom. She doesn’t care. She still believes he couldn’t have done it. But Fitz says, “You don’t know him the way you know me.” Liv doesn’t want to hear that kind of talk and repeats that she wants to see Jake.
So who does Fitz see to try to help him make up his mind? Papa Pope, of course. Pa is just as ruthless about Jake as ever and says it’s not Fitz’s job to handle him: “I trained him. He’s my responsibility. He’s my dog.” He mentions Olivia’s visit and how she wants to see Jake, and Pa says to go ahead and let her.
Am I the only one who totally doesn’t get why Fitz trusts Pa so much? Who can forget the You Are A Boy speech Pa gave to Fitz? (For those who need a refresher, you can find it here. It’s hard to believe the two could ever see eye-to-eye after that, and it was a mere year ago, midway through last season. Now Fitz trusts Pa implicitly and values his advice above all else? That’s a mighty big leap of faith.
But take his advice to heart Fitz does and lets Liv see Jake.
More trials of Liv. The Carnahan case was a metaphor for all the men in Liv’s life. On many occasions, they, much like the assassin whose cause she championed, have been lying to her. And her fabled gut, which she famously relies on, has been letting her down.
As Liv is leaving the courthouse after some Carnahan business, she’s surrounded by secret service. They take her to Fitz, who takes her to see Jake. A bruised-up Jake gives her the number of a Cayman Islands bank account that contains money he wants to go to his mother. Then he tells her, “Not choosing me is okay.” Liv doesn’t answer, but she’s not the only one who heard Jake’s words: Fitz stayed and is watching from behind the glass. He hears the whole conversation but remains stoic.
After Liv leaves, Pa pays Jake a visit to get in a good gloating. Jake reminds him that he loves Olivia, but Pa just tells him again about how he’ll be happy to watch Jake die. Jake asks if Pa even cares if Liv is loved, and that just enrages Pa. He tells Jake that this arrogance has always been his downfall. Then Pa goes on at some length about how he played Fitz like a master and earned back his trust. Fitz bought the whole act, and now Pa is back on top and Jake will be executed.
Was Fitz still on the other side of the glass to hear Pa’s proclamations about how weak and stupid Fitz is, and how easy it is to fool him? We weren’t shown that he did, but on this show, it can’t just be assumed he didn’t.
Is there an Olitz in the future? The Olivia/Fitz dynamic that has been missing this season, was finally given its due.
Liv goes to see Fitz after talking with Jake. He says he’s handed Jake over to Pa to do with him what he wants. He says Jake led him and Liv to believe that Mama Pope killed Jerry, for which Fitz had Ma executed (which as far as we know isn’t true, as when we last saw Ma, she was being shut in the B613 hole). Fingering Ma was just one of Jake’s many crimes, according to Fitz. He says, “Jerry, your mother, Harrison. Look what he did to you…to us.” Yes, even after all the stuff that’s hit the fan between him and Liv, Fitz is still concerned about an us. That much is predictable.
Liv answers that she knows what will happen if Pa is allowed to determine Jake’s fate. She says that if that’s how Fitz is going to handle the situation, they have no hope of a future together. That gets Fitz’s attention, and he asks, “Are you saying there’s hope now?” Liv doesn’t answer, so Fitz asks a few more times, until she finally says, “There’s hope.” Then she quickly leaves.
After her hasty exit, Fitz takes her words to heart. He pays a visit to Jake to tell him he’ll be sending him to a supermax security prison for the rest of his life. He’s decided against execution “as a gift to the woman we love.”
The rage of Pa. Papa Pope is, of course, very unhappy about this. He apparently very much wanted to make good on his threat to Jake to watch him as he died. He drops by to talk to Liv while she swims her morning laps and tells her he’s not happy about the opportunity she’s taken from him. When he angrily says “You crossed me”, she answers “You may be Command, dad. But I have weapons at my disposal. Weapons you can’t possibly possess.
Where to start with that? Yikes.
The interesting thing about this scene is it’s hard to know if it’s actually happening or not. The episode opened with Liv swimming laps, but everything in that scene turned out to be a dream. Is this as well?
Huck: who cares? Whenever we saw Huck this week, his face was buried in his computer screen, playing a video game. It looked like he was slipping back into Randy mode, but we find out he’s been playing on-line with his son. It’s nice that he wants to reconnect, but I’m still confused by his insistence on hooking up with his family again. He broke contact years ago, because he was worried his presence might be a danger to them. That hasn’t changed, so why won’t he leave them alone now?
The key. Last week, Quinn went spelunking through the guts of a victim to retrieve a key. She spent much of this week trying to find the locker that key fits, and after much trial and error, was successful. At episode’s end she finds a file in a bus station locker, which is full of…photos of Olivia.
This ties in with the CotW of a few weeks ago, concerning Liv’s old law school friend. She’s been arrested for killing her daughter, who was seen on a security video wrestling someone for the file. This took place in the building where Liv’s friend’s husband’s law firm is located. The key was retrieved from a friend of the daughter. What does the husband of an old friend want with dozens of pictures of Liv? And why have two people already died as a result of them?
The mysteries just keep piling up.
So there’s still hope for Olake (Jiv?) fans. Jake won’t be executed, and as long as he’s alive, anything can happen and likely will. He’ll be a player, even locked up.
Not a bad episode, but truth be told, I wouldn’t have minded spending the entire hour with Mellie and Bitsy. I wonder what they discussed over that jay. Look out for some fireworks from Mellie in the weeks ahead. I think her little empowerment lessons, courtesy of the formidable Bitsy, will have long and lasting repercussions.
Per ABC, here’s next week’s preview: In Scandal Season 4 Episode 7, Baby Made a Mess, Olivia, still unable to believe Jake is guilty, sets her eyes on Tom for additional information, and when Leo Bergen’s newest client causes a gut-wrenching reaction, her associates spring into action. Meanwhile, Huck continues to play with fire, Mellie makes a power move, and Elizabeth’s shocking alliance is revealed.
Huck, stop playing with fire, you idiot! Don’t you care about the ex and kid?? Tool.