Such a simple title this week. We find out its significance at episode’s end.
In this episode, we get to ponder the mystery that is Olivia Pope. Just when you think you’ve got her figured out, she goes and does something totally wacky. She’s a mystery stuffed in an enigma wrapped in fine designer fashions. And she has a lot to handle this week, like placating her BF, who happens to be the president, and setting the course for the remainder of Fitz’s second term. Yes, she’s in charge of the direction of the presidency. Did you think that stuff was up to the president? How silly.
Mayhem unleashed. The plot picks up where it left off last week, with ex-VP Sally Langston ranting on her TV show about Fitz and Liv’s affair. She shows photos taken of Liv wandering around the White House hallways, photos that were obviously leaked by someone on the inside. Fitz turns off the TV and tells Liv everything will be ok. Then he calls for a meeting with his chief of staff and press secretary.
Fitz confronts Abby and Liz, who agree that the leak must be internal. Abby says they need a game plan, as the press is already getting rowdy and impatient. Fitz says he’ll get Liv, so they can make a statement to the press together. Liz doesn’t think that’s a good idea, but Fitz doesn’t care and goes to get Liv.
When they’re alone, Liz starts wringing her hands to Abby about how to handle the situation, but Abby isn’t worried. This is in Liv’s hands now, and she always knows what to do. It doesn’t matter what Fitz wants, because according to Abby, he’s about to get ‘Poped.’ And we all know how painful that can be.
Commence Poping. Sure enough, as soon as Fitz left her, Liv swung into action. When he returns to talk to her about making a joint statement to the press, she’s gone.
Liv shows up at Quinn’s door, much to Quinn’s surprise. Where else would she go? Quinn is her sole remaining Gladiator, so when she wants to distract herself with work, she goes to the only colleague she has left. Quinn, for her part, seems totally thrown off her game by Liv’s sudden appearance and plays the dorky hostess, even though Liv’s too distracted to notice niceties. Though she does gulp from an offered bottle of wine. Liv asks what cases they have. She needs to work.
The law according to Mellie. Fitz has his first private meeting with Mellie, post-Liv revelations. She has it all figured out. She just wants an apology. Liv is the bad guy right now. She’s America’s mistress, and no one will listen to her. Mel is prepared to deny everything. She’ll stand by him and save his presidency, but first he has to apologize for serving her with divorce papers. That was just mean, and she wants him to grovel for it a little.
Instead, Fitz accuses her of leaking the photos. She’s unshaken and denies it. They’re a team, she says, and they need each other. All he has to do is say the magic words. I don’t think “Get out” were the words Mel had in mind, but those are the ones Fitz uses.
Fun in the Oval. The president is with Abby, who’s trying to get him to talk strategy. He’s still holding fast to the idea that any statement he makes to the press must be made with Liv by his side. He’s still saying this, even though she basically blew him off when he called her and pretty much told him she’ll be back whenever.
David Rosen has been summoned to look into Photogate. He’s barely begun to talk when VP Susan Ross bursts in. She raves to Fitz about what a load of guano Sally’s charges are and about how fake those photos look. Her daughter could doctor up photos to look just as good in five minutes, she says. Fitz basically ignores her and turns to David to tell him of his suspicions that Mellie leaked the photos, and David has to get proof. It dawns on Susan that Fitz just pretty much confirmed all of the allegations are true, and she just looked like a bit of a naive ninny defending him as she did. She awkwardly stammers “Oh.” She has a way with words, that Susie. That’s why she’s second in line for the presidency.
Fitz complains about not being able to find Liv. Abby says no one can find her. Even the press hasn’t been able to track her down.
Case of the Week. Liv has been busy keeping herself busy with work. She’s with a wealthy young woman whose stepson is accused of killing her husband Walter, a rich old man. The dead man’s son, Gavin, denied the charges. She put up his bail, but he promptly skipped town. Liv has twenty-eight hours to track him down before the law knows he’s missing.
Quinn is waiting at the OPA office for Liv to call in with the details of the case. Jake drops in, and she’s happy to see him, until she sees he’s brought Huck along. He’s been staying with Jake and claims Jake has ‘fixed’ him. That’s a mighty tall order for one person, and it seems to have been done in record time, Jake must be more talented than anyone knows. Huck wants to come back to work, but Quinn is doubtful he’s changed. She asks if Jake is his ‘slaughter sponsor’. Hee! I like the sardonic mess Quinn has become. I know she’s twisted, but I like her. She knows she’s a mess, too. More on that to come.
Liv tracks Gavin to a casino, with the help of Gladiator Quinn, returned Gladiator Huck, and (future Gladiator?) Jake. When she sits down next to him at a blackjack table and starts acting friendly, Gavin assumes Liv’s a working girl. She dispels that notion by cuffing his leg to his chair and telling him he’s going to answer her questions. He says he’s just an annoyance to his stepmom now that his dad is gone.
As Gavin talks, who walks into the casino but Jake. With their target tracked down, he thought he’d come to see if he could lend Liv a hand. Jake is such a nice guy. A former spy and head of a super-secret organization who has tortured and killed countless people, but a nice guy nonetheless.
Gavin insists that his stepmom is a gold digger who was cheating on his dad, but was kept in the marriage by an unbreakable prenup. If she didn’t kill dad, she stands to inherit his entire fortune.
Meanwhile, David shows up at Mellie’s office, wanting to look at her computers in his investigation of Photogate. She tells him to go ahead, as she has nothing to hide.
What ‘fixing’ looks like. As the Gladiators work, a reporter who has somehow unwisely managed to get into the OPA offices steps in the room. He ignores them when they ask how he got in and to get out immediately. He starts asking questions about Liv and taking pictures. Huck is clearly getting agitated about the guy’s lack of cooperation and approaches him menacingly. Quinn grabs reporter guy, twists his arm, takes his camera, and tells him to get lost, or she’ll set Huck loose on him. Huck is looking pretty scary, so the guy gets the message and makes a hasty retreat.
With the guy gone, Quinn checks Huck’s hand. He’s gripping a pencil, which he obviously intended to use as a weapon had Quinn not stepped in. She shakes her head, because she’s just had her suspicions that Huck isn’t ‘fixed’ confirmed.
Back at Cy’s. At his home, Cyrus watches TV in amusement as Abby dodges questions from the press. He gives her a call, and she asks for advice. He tells her someone close to Fitz has to be the adult, because he’s always the child. It’s the Oval Office way. It might not make Abby very popular, she might even be fired, but that will be brief. It’ll turn out that she was right, everyone will know it, and she’ll be back soon enough.
Later when facing the press, Abby says she won’t talk about Olivia. But she does go out on a limb and bust out a little fib that rumors of Mellie’s departure are untrue. The first couple is still together, and the first lady is indeed still living in the White House. The press goes with it, which certainly doesn’t make Lizzie happy.
Abby pays Cy a visit, and he tells her she’s playing it perfectly. But now she has to find Liv, so she can tell Fitz what Liv wants him to do.
That disguise always works. Liv and Jake are in a diner on the road with Gavin. Liv is wearing her best disguise: a baseball cap pulled low, so no one will recognize her. Gavin wants to go to the men’s room, which on these shows always means guys like him who try to make a run for it. Jake must have read my mind, because he says he’ll go, too.
Quinn calls. She’s found that Walter was going to change his will to cut Gavin out entirely. Gavin had been forging checks on his dad’s account to buy a house in Virginia, and Walter found out. They’d been fighting about it. Looks like Gavin’s guilty, after all. As Liv talks, someone in the diner recognizes her, despite the clever disguise, and wants a picture taken. Before long, Liv is getting mobbed, and Jake must come to the rescue.
Of course, in the ensuing confusion, Gavin slips out. He steals the car keys, and he’s gone. There’s also the matter that these photos of Liv with Jake are going to be up on the Web in no time.
More Ross wrath. The idealistic Veep stops by the Oval and gives Fitz some grief. She can’t believe he would have an affair right in the White House. He tries to be sincere and says one can’t be expected to always behave appropriately when one is in love. Susan is unmoved. She says Fitz can’t be like everyone else, because he’s not like everyone else. He’s the president and should act like it.
Motel no-tell. Liv and Jake are holed up in a motel, waiting to hear from Quinn, who’s trying to track Gavin. Liv seems to suggest they might want to use their down time more constructively, but Jake takes a pass. I’m wondering if he’s starting to suspect that maybe she let herself be photographed at the diner, so that Fitz will know she’s on the road with Jake. He may have just been ‘Poped’ and is only now realizing it, so they just lie on the bed together. Liv confesses that she’s scared of what’s ahead, but he says she’s at her best when she’s scared.
Quinn traces Liv’s car to Virginia, near where Gavin wanted to buy a house. Liv and Jake go there and find him. He confesses. His father was threatening to cut him off, they argued, and Gavin pushed him. But it was Walter’s own fault, Gavin says. The old guy didn’t have to fall down, hurt himself, and die. Especially after calling Gavin weak. The cops arrive to take the little loser into custody.
Not the strongest CotW ever, but it got Liv out of town and helped in her plan to manipulate Fitz. And a whiny-ass entitled little brat is behind bars. So, mission accomplished.
Back at the House… Abby goes to see Fitz, who has seen those Liv/Jake photos by now. Abby says Liv is under scrutiny and doesn’t like it. She won’t ever want that life, no matter how many times Fitz asks her. Later when David stops by to tell Fitz that the breach in security has been traced to a computer on the first lady’s network, Fitz doesn’t even care anymore. He basically tells the AG to forget the whole thing. Unbeknownst to him, Fitz has been successfully Poped.
After dismissing David, Fitz picks up the phone and calls Mellie. He apologizes and asks her to come home.
David swings over to Abby’s office and tells her the news. There’s no official link of the leak to Mellie, but the breach was traced to her office computer network. He hands the report to Abby and tells her Fitz didn’t even want to see it.
Liz walks into the Oval Office and is shocked to find Mellie there, who smiles pleasantly. Fitz says they’re going to do a TV interview, presumably to talk about how their partnership is stronger than ever. Liz is livid that Mel is back and that she’s been played for a fool again. She storms into Abby’s office and fires her.
But Abby is unfazed. She accuses Liz of leaking the photos and after some questioning, Liz admits it. That would seem to give Abby free rein to punish Liz in whatever way she sees fit, but Red has something else in mind. She wants to be a team with Liz, everything equal. That’s putting more trust in someone who’s already proven herself rather morally fluid than I’d be comfortable with, but it’s the deal Abby proposes. When Liz hesitates, Abby smugly delivers the quote of the episode: “I thought we could both be the adults around here, but if you have a problem with that, I can certainly try making you my bitch.” Liz decides to go for the adults thing.
Sames attract, too. Huck is sitting at a bar when Quinn walks in. He tells her to leave but of course, she doesn’t. She’s one of the few people he doesn’t scare. I guess when someone tortures you and yanks out a couple of your teeth, you figure you’re not in for any more surprises from that person. Or something like that. She tells him he’s not normal, but that’s ok, because she’s not normal, either. There’s something not right with both of them. Ah, it’s so cute. The dynamic these two severely damaged nutjobs have going. Huck says he missed her. Someone get them a set of his and hers soldering irons and a pair of industrial pliers.
“Yes.” On her way home, Liv listens to a phone message from Fitz. He tells her he gets it that she doesn’t want this. He says he doesn’t want her to throw away her life for him. Mellie is coming back home, and everything is going back to normal.
This would seem to play right into Liv’s hands and be everything she wants. So who can explain what happens next? As Liv gets home and gets out of her car, she’s mobbed by the press. A reporter asks if she’s the president’s mistress and sticks a microphone in her face. She smiles and says, “Yes.”
End of episode.
WTF, Liv?? Who can figure out this woman ? She schemed to get her life back on her own terms all episode, then when it looks like she’s getting what she schemed for, she does a 180 and aligns herself with Fitz again. Maybe we’ll get some answers in next week’s 05.03, “Paris is Burning”. A preview –
Olivia and Fitz face some very big consequences, and Mellie brings in an old friend to make sure she gets her way. Meanwhile, Abby shows Olivia she is fully capable of handling working at the White House.
Very big consequences? Who would’ve thought? I was expecting a nice, tranquil season…