We open on Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Olivia (Kerry Washington) doing what they do best … bitterly arguing in between bouts of boinking. The sheets aren’t even dry following some hotel room romp and they’re already making with the bickering. The gist … she’s still upset he made Jake Command, and he’s all jealous about her making Jake her beard.
And it doesn’t help matters that everything out of Fitz’s mouth is some offensively derogatory term, as he calls Liv a “Hen” and “Prize” (not to mention “Sweetie,” “Honey,” “Doll,” “Tootsie,” and “Toots”). Hey, Liv, don’t be so upset! He also uses those terms of endearment with waitresses, lap dancers, and the Israeli Prime Minister.
They exit the room and promptly wipe their feet all over the doormat outside — the doormat being Jake (Scott Foley) who is stationed there waiting to escort Liv home in fake boyfriend mode. Also with him is Secret Service Tom. Make sure you remember that guy! No reason in particular. (There is a reason.)
Over at the White House, Mellie (Bellamy Young) walks in to find a dreamy, charming VP Candidate Andrew Nicholls, making me fondly remember the time Jon Tenney played Anne Hathaway’s father on Get Real.
Mellie asks him out right if he’s running for VP in order to get close to her. He says, “No!” Then: “Maybe.” And finally: “Okay, yes! … But it’s only to watch over you, since your lame-ass husband clearly won’t.”
Which is enough to send Mellie flashbacking 14 years, to that horrible time after her loathsome father-in-law violated her. We’re inside the governor’s mansion, and Andrew can hear Mellie and Fitz in the other room, acting out scenes from the worst storyline in Downton Abbey history. Fitz angrily wants to know why Mellie suddenly shies away from his touch and won’t have sex with him. And also, coincidentally, why she suddenly can’t stand being around his father.
Sigh. Fitz, how did you get to be President when you can’t even put two and two together.
In a series of successive flashbacks doled out through this episode like doses of Oxycontin, we see Mellie swallowing a bunch of pills. Andrew is the one to find her, and he shoves his fingers down her throat to make her puke, a sight I didn’t really need to see firsthand while I was scarfing down my Scandal-viewing snack of
nachos and Oreos baby carrots.
Later on, Andrew asks Mellie why she tried to kill herself, and after being a bit defensive, she actually tells him everything that happened. I honestly found this really moving. I was glad that Mellie found someone sympathetic to confide in, because having to keep something so terrible to herself must have been horrible.
Speaking of Oxycontin … back in the present day, the Fitz campaign is derailed by a TV news reporter threatening to go public with a story about Nicholls getting illegal drugs delivered to the governor’s mansion back in the day. And to think that somehow the Gladiators’ meticulous Googling somehow missed this!
Liv is all ready to discredit the story, when Andrew pipes up all sheepish, saying the only problem is the story is true. But it was only because of his bad back and only that one time, pinky swear!
Fitz demands Liv handle it or else they might have to drop Andrew from the ticket. Liv has a theory that her father might be responsible for drumming up this old story and proceeds to follow up.
Later on, Mellie approaches Fitz in his office to plead Andrew’s case and ask they reward his loyalty by not dropping him from the ticket.
When Fitz pretty much ignores her, she says she’ll take it up with Liv personally, and he explodes and says she should stay away from Liv. And by the by, he’s really pissed at the whole fake boyfriend plan that Mellie came up with. Mellie responds by asking him what it’s like to be so hot for someone you’re willing to throw away everything for them – does it feel good or suck balls?
This scene doesn’t do much in terms of moving the plot forward, but it does confirm that Mellie is a genius with the cutting remark. In this world of political power plays, language equals power, and Mellie is a grandmaster at it. And here endeth the doctoral portion of the recap.
Meanwhile, Jake is sitting in his office worrying his pretty, vacant head about what he’s supposed to do all day long now that he’s the big cheese. He’s just about to commence making rainbow loom bracelets for his staff when two dudes come in with big news. It seems when a new Command takes over, they’re given an iPad they have to say their name into and then they get a magic box! Containing all the nation’s top secrets, including the fact that B52 has an inside man inside the White House! Cool beans!
Then Liv calls Jake and asks him to use his Command powers to stop whatever her father is up to. So Jake calls Charlie the Lollipop Assassin, a.k.a. B52’s single employee, and has him spy on Daddy ex-Command (Joe Morton) on one of his dinners with Liv. Charlie doesn’t realize that Quinn (Katie Lowes), driven even more psychotic by days stuck at home with nothing but The View for company, has followed behind him to do her own spying.
Inside the restaurant, Liv asks Daddy outright if he’s conspiring against Fitz’s campaign. He’s all, “Wha’ choo talkin’ bout?” but he says it with his typically enraged yet eloquent Shakespearean cadences that I’m too tired to transcribe. So Liv storms out and immediately spots Quinn spying on her because Quinn is the worst.
Liv gets in Quinn’s car and implores her to come back “home.” Quinn responds that she can’t, because Huck will be there and he licked her face. Oh Quinn! If I refused to work every place where someone had licked my face, I’d never write another recap again! Quinn tells Liv to get out of her car or she’ll shoot her.
Speaking of the Face Licker (Guillermo Diaz), he spends the whole episode acting even weirder than usual, bringing Liv these cups presumably of coffee, although the way he handles them and the way she reacts you’d think it was urine samples.
Liv finally asks why he’s doing this, and Huck says he’s trying to show her he’s sorry because he knows she’s mad about what happened with Quinn. Liv says he went way too far with Quinn, but he turns it back on her, saying that she hired him to be her Rottweiler in the first place and has always been the one holding the wee-wee pads.
Later on, Liv has Jake come over, and it’s a great scene because like all of Jake’s best scenes it involves him taking off his shirt.
Still hot, so bears repeating.
Liv accuses Jake of having sent Quinn to spy on her. He denies it, but then gets in some pretty good digs, saying that it’s none of Liv’s business how he runs Command. AND if he’s going to be the pretend boyfriend, he wants real food in the house, beyond just wine and popcorn (that one had to hurt). He says he’s off to shower so they can have pretend sex.
Back at Command, Jake calls in Quinn and tells her she has to stop with the snooping. But she points out he just might want to keep her around for her hacking skills, producing a surveillance photo she found that documents Liv’s father meeting with Leo, Sally’s sleazy campaign manager.
Speaking of Leo (that guy from Private Practice), he’s engineered a meeting between Sally (Kate Burton) and Hollis (Gregg Henry), that slimy oil guy from last season. It’s a tough scene to follow because Sally keeps flashbacking to her husband’s murder and making stabby motions with her hand, and everything Hollis says sounds like Yosemite Sam after oral surgery.
Meanwhile, the other Gladiators get some nice bedroom action! Good for them! We see Abby (Darby Stanchfeld) lounging around in bed with David (Joshua Malina) and she says she loves him! And he responds by hurling himself over her body as fast as he can to answer the phone and avoid having to talk to her.
The phone calls are coming from James (Dan Bucatinsky) who is freaking out that Cyrus (Jeff Perry) is determined to suss out who Pubics (tee hee – still funny) really is and put a permanent stop to their leaks about the VP’s husband’s murder. So the two numbnuts come up with this dumbass plan to release the recording of Sally conspiring with Cyrus about the murder to the press, figuring if it’s all out in the open, Cyrus wouldn’t dare kill the person responsible.
The only trouble is that their press source is demanding to meet Pubics in person before going public with the tape. James refuses to go the meeting, thinking it would look bad for him as the White House press chief. So David is all, “Heck, why don’t I go in your place? If I get brutally murdered, I won’t have to tell Abby I love her, so win win.”
The only trouble is that Cyrus has hired Charlie to deal with this situation, and Charlie had no trouble on spying on the reporter and figuring out exactly when and where she’s going to meet Pubics. So Charlie’s ready and lying in wait, and sure enough, when David gets to the meeting, he’s jumped from behind and thrown in the trunk of a car. D’oh!
Figuring he’s a goner anyway, he calls Abby and tells her he loves her. And she responds by opening the car trunk and freeing him! Turns out she and Harrison were the ones who’d kidnapped him in order to keep him away from the meeting and save him. (Abby knew all about it because she loves David so much she had Huck hack his emails because she knew he was up to something.) It’s all a pretty well executed fake-out on us viewers, even if it makes no sense, like why did Abby have to throw David in a car instead of just walking up to him on the street and calmly asking him to follow her?
In other Gladiator news, Harrison (Columbus Short), now in the clutches of his arch-enemy Adnan Salif (Nazanin Boniadi), is suffering more torments at her malevolent hands in the form of mind-blowing sex. Poor Harrison!
Afterwards, Adnan says she needs him to do her a little favor, and she opens this suitcase of money. Harrison is all, “No way,” and she says, “Clearwater,” and he craps himself in terror and immediately does her bidding. Which is basically to make a big donation to Fitz’s campaign on her behalf.
The whole episode leads up to this fancy Major Donor Dinner on behalf of Fitz’s campaign. Just before the dinner, Liv finds Mellie prepping her speech. Mellie is wearing a knock-out formal dress in this neon peach color that can be seen from space, a shade all the designers are calling “F*ck you Fitz, Mama’s getting some tonight.”
Liv tells Mellie good news! She managed to crush the story about Andrew’s alleged drug use by telling the news network their source, the doctor who allegedly delivered the drugs, is getting paid off for his story. The bad news is that this same doctor revealed the druggie in question was a dame. Liv put it all together and realized Mellie was the one getting Oxy’s in the governors’ mansion – and for some reason Andrew is covering for her.
Figuring the two of them have a thing for each other, Liv cautions Mellie to cut it off with Andrew, saying it can’t happen because it will damage the campaign. That sound you now hear is me pounding my head into the wall at Liv’s hypocrisy. Yeah, right, the problem with the campaign is Mellie’s harmless fliration with the VP candidate, and NOT the campaign manager and the President enthusiastically screwing in every bed, closet, and breakfast nook in the White House. If this show is actively trying to make me hate both Fitz and Liv, they’re doing a fine job of it.
Mellie tells Liv that she’s mistaken to think the two of them and their situations are any way alike, adding that when she, Mellie, had the chance to cheat, she actually kept her legs closed. And she’s got a flashback to prove it! Wherein we see Andrew making advances all those years ago and Mellie putting him off, reminding him of their respective political roles.
Back in the present, at the donor dinner, Hollis is in attendance, and Fitz tells Cyrus he doesn’t want a single dime from that no good, election-rigging sleazebag.
Also in attendance? Adnan! Who clearly used Harrison to get herself an invite. She curls up to Cyrus and offers her resources to the campaign. Hmmm.
After the dinner, Mellie and Andrew meet up in this room with portraits of all the First Ladies on the wall. He says, “Hey, I was just about to grope Jackie Kennedy. Instead can I grope you?” And she says, “No!” Then: “Maybe.” And finally: “Sure!”
They go at it, as the First Lady portraits all look on approvingly saying, “You go girl!”, all except for Eleanor Roosevelt who says, “Ew, gross,” and promptly vomits.
But after a minute, Mellie has a change of heart and runs from the room, because they have to string out this relationship for another six episodes.
Finally, Liv and Fitz resume their argument from the beginning of the episode. She says she’s got to keep the fake boyfriend thing going so that the rumors about her will subside and she can do her job and protect herself and her employees. He asks her point blank if she has any feelings for Jake.
At first we don’t hear her answer. But then we see Jake in his office. He’s just about to finishing icing the little cake he made in his Easybake oven when he gets a visitor. It’s Secret Service Tom! He’s Command’s inside man inside the White House! He gives Jake a flash drive of spy footage from INSIDE THE OVAL OFFICE! On it, Jake hears Fitz ask Liv if she has feelings for Jake, and she responds, “I honestly don’t know.” Jake smiles.
And finally finally … Adnan comes home from the donor dinner, to find a sexed up Mama Pope (Khandi Alexander) waiting for her, purring, “Are we in?”
Four out of Five Gettysburgers.
I would have given it Five burgers, except Liv and Fitz are pissing me off so much. But I’m loving Mellie and her potential lovah. And I’m also loving how Harrison’s storyline is FINALLY being connected to all the other plots. Am I wrong or was there something “L Wordy” about Adnan and Mama Pope? Could they be this show’s new power couple? How much fun would that be?
Plus, I have to save my Five Gettysburger rating for next week, which ABC’s promotional people have been jizzing all over themselves about, hyping some major shocker in the last minute. No major character has ever been killed off this show yet, and I’m worrying that’s what we’re headed for. And I’m doubly worried that it just might be James.
Any thoughts on your part on what the big scandal moment next week will be?