We open on Liv (Kerry Washington) kicking Ballard (Scott Foley) to the curb. The reason being that he wants to take down Daddy Command (Joe Morton) once and for all, whereas she prefers two of my own favorite coping mechanisms – binge drinking and willful ignorance.
Ballard reminds her that Daddy Command put him in The Hole, which is a TERRIBLE place. Like, the only coffee is decaf, the razors are all Mach 3 instead of Mach 4, and the only thing streaming on Netflix are science fiction movies based on Scientology. It will BREAK you!
Worse, though, is that Daddy Command pulled him out of The Hole every two days and brutalized him further, (ie. making him watch old episodes of Whitney), only to clean him up and throw him back in. So clearly he’s heartless.
Liv’s response to all this is basically sticking her fingers in her ears, all “La la la. I can’t hear you!” Then she kicks him out without a kiss goodbye, which is just harsh.
Fortunately, she has a nice new client to keep her busy. A Senator who was caught sexting a comely young lass, and gee I wonder which real-life person this could be based on? A lesser recapper than myself would use this opportunity to make crude Instagroin jokes here [WEINER! WEINER! WEINER!], but fortunately I’m more mature [WEINER!] than that.
For dramatic TV purposes, the Senator here is also accused of murdering the sextee. Oh, and he’s got a loyal wife — let’s call her “Mrs. The Wife Did It,” because that’s exactly what I said the second I laid eyes on her. She’s played by Jan from The Office (Melora Hardin), and she’s good here too, mostly because she’s got this amazing political-wife up-do that’s so perfectly and tightly wound up in defiance of gravity that it could only have been achieved through extensive special effects.
Liv hosts a press conference with the two of them at her side, saying it was a “one time” mistake in judgment, repeating the phrase “one time” about 30 times. Which naturally leads to a trial sequence of one tearful young woman after another recounting the pervy sexts they received from Senator Sleaze, throwing around words like “butterfly” and “puppy” and coded references to labia. Although if this show had balls, it would have also had a young male intern thrown in the mix, tearfully referencing “gingham” and “stallion.”
The gleeful prosecutor in this is of course David Rosen (Josh Malina), and throughout the episode he and Abby (Darby Stanchfield) have this flirting thing going on (she even sexts him!). But it’s also clear this relationship will be forever doomed by her office’s propensity to mess with his career. Which is probably just as well because if the two of them actually became a couple, I think all of our TVs would collectively commit suicide rather than cope with projecting so much adorableness.
Anyway, Liv’s new strategy is, to quote Abby, to “slut shame the dead girl.” Although I would have gone with the tried and true, “None of this would have happened if it weren’t for the Internet.” But then it comes out that Senator Sleaze was sexting DURING HIS OWN TRIAL, which is just genius. I think I kind of love Senator Sleaze? I bet the guy is sexting during this very recap!
Also, awesomely, a mole figures prominently in this revelation. After so much of last season was spent brooding about who the mole was in the White House, I find it hilarious that the smoking gun now is literally a mole on some senator’s buttock.
This is too much for Mrs. The Wife Did It who decides to ditch her husband. But Liv convinces her that the best revenge is to go on the witness stand and call her husband a lying, cheating, disgusting perv in public. Which she does, but emphasizes that it doesn’t make him a killer, and then provides him with an alibi by saying she was with him during the time of the murder.
The only problem, as Senator Sleaze privately reveals to Liv, is that his wife wasn’t in fact with him that night at all and was lying to help him out. So Liv goes up to her, all “Hey, you there! Mrs. The Wife Did It! You Did It!” And she’s all, “Yeah, and I got away with it too, thanks to your meddling office.”
Meanwhile, this episode introduces us to another Senator, a Democrat who is gunning for Fitz’s office in the next election. She’s played by Lisa Kudrow, which is wonderful news because who doesn’t love Lisa Kudrow? Unfortunately for this episode she’s reduced to a talking head on various talk shows, and it’s sort of like looking at her through the wrong end of a telescope, where she’s really tiny and far away and you just want her more front and center.
But in one of the talking head segments, she talks about Fitz “putting his cobra back in the basket,” which is just phenomenal. Any woman who could come up with such a colorful euphemism for what’s going on in her opponent’s pants would instantly get my vote.
Cut to The First Mellie (Bellamy Young), giving her own press conference, in a pink ensemble worthy of Dolores Umbridge. When asked about her feelings regarding Senator Kudrow, Mellie expresses her support, because “Sisterhood! Women! Womyn! Vagina Monologues!” But off camera, she says “Give any piece of trailer trash a push-up bra and a microphone, and the stupid flyovers will eat it up like fried Twinkies.”
The only problem is that her microphone is still on, which UNACCEPTABLE. This is an amateur mistake, and I refuse to believe The First Mellie would do something so stupid.
The slip goes on to cause a sort of Mellie-gate scandal, with the press calling her “The Worst Lady.” And here’s where I pause the TV, run outside, and find the nearest fountain so I can throw in a penny and make a wish that next week Mellie becomes Liv’s client, because that would obviously be the best episode ever.
But it winds up not mattering because Mellie hardly cares about the bad press, even though it’s giving Cyrus (Jeff Perry) a stroke that Senator Kudrow is now more popular than ever.
The most shocking thing in the episode is when Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) tells Cyrus to leave Mellie alone and grabs her hand in support. For half a second I thought maybe the two were going to declare a truce and maybe even start being civil to each other, but Mellie rolls her eyes and pushes him away.
Cyrus’ strategy is to dig up dirt on Senator Kudrow, and an underling discovers that as a teenager, she was preggers and then mysteriously unpreggers. More on that next week, I’m sure.
Meanwhile, we have to talk about Huck (Guillermo Diaz). Oy! Poor Huck! We see him going to a 12 step meeting again, where he’s all, “Hello, my name is Huck. And I’m a deranged sociopathic killer who gets off on blood and knives and torture … Oops, I mean, alcoholic! I’m an alcoholic! And I haven’t gutted anyone in two days.”
In the midst of this heartwarming speech, someone’s phone beeps, and it turns out it’s Quinn (Katie Lowes) who’s been following him. She spends the rest of the episode trying to get him to open up about his feelings. And he rightfully calls her on it, telling her that she just wants to hear tales of blood and guts. He orders her to quit it (and I hope she does because honestly I’m not into the whole Psycho Quinn storyline, are you?).
At one point, Huck goes into one of those dark, creepy parking garages where stuff on TV always goes down. And he gets a gun pointed in his face. It’s none other than Ballard! At first Huck points his gun right back, and the two of them stand there with guns in each other’s faces like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
But then Ballard explains his plan, all, “Hey, you’re a trained killer who hates SD6 and Command, and I’m a trained killer who hates SD6 and Command! Plus we both like chocolate milk! Let’s be friends!” So after some foot-dragging on Huck’s part, they team up to take down Daddy Command.
For Ballard’s part, this means spying on a park bench meeting between Cyrus and Command. Cyrus is there because he discovered that Fitz had secretly gone to a funeral for the trailer guy who got killed last episode, and he wants to find out what Command knows about this.
Cyrus, BTW, learns this key piece of information from his husband, James. And in case I haven’t been clear enough about this before, let me just say in no uncertain terms that I worship Dan Bucatinsky. In fact, I’d like to tell him personally that I think he should write a sequel to his hilarious book Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? And call it Does This Baby Mean I Can’t Be BFFs With Steven Frank? Of Course Not!
Anyway, it’s great to see him in this episode, even if it’s only briefly. But his introduction is fairly hilarious, as we see him straddling a pajama-clad Cyrus on their bed, with Cyrus crying, “Get that thing away from my mouth!” Ha! They want us to think it’s a sex thing, but it turns out it’s just a tape recorder! Is there any show on TV as obsessed with dick references as this one? Maybe The View?
Later on, James tells Cyrus he’s pissed that he didn’t know about Fitz going to the funeral of a fellow veteran because it would have made a great news story, but it turns out Cyrus didn’t know either. So Cyrus goes running to Command to ask about it, and Command basically says trailer guy died because he killed himself so stop asking questions.
Ballard is in the park too and has all this surveillance gear on, even though HE’S ABOUT THREE FEET AWAY FROM THEM! And he’s having all this trouble hearing their conversation because of annoying kiddie noises, and I’m screaming at the TV, “Just take off the headphones and you’ll hear everything given THEY’RE RIGHT BEHIND YOU.” Is this show trying to signal to us that Ballard is pretty but dumb? Because it sure looks that way.
Fortunately, Huck is a lot smarter. With some Plot Contrivance Paperwork in hand, he remembers that dead trailer guy had more tattoos than Guy Pearce in Memento. And just like in Memento, the tattoos are CLUES! One in particular references an Operation Remington Steele mission that’s undocumented (or something), and dead trailer guy is on record as the pilot (or something), but it was really Fitz (or something … honestly, I’m really confused). Apparently this is big news, so Huck and Ballard go running to tell Liv all about it.
Liv is so thrilled by this that, after Huck is gone, she and Ballard start making out on the couch like horny teenagers. Until they’re cock-blocked, once again, by Fitz, who just happens to call her right then.
He wants to make all sorts of lovey dovey chit chat, but then he hears Ballard in the background and is all, “You have company?” And she’s all, “Yeah. It’s only my meaningless rebound sex partner. He means nothing,” And Ballard’s all, “I’m right here!”
So Fitz hangs up on her, but clearly with some sort of bee in his presidential bonnet. Because we see him take this determined walk down this dramatically long ominous hallway (although it would have been hilarious if at the end of it was just the presidential potty). He opens the door and faces …
Daddy Command, who appears to be mid-Sudoku or something, which is probably why he looks so pissed.
End of episode.
I’m giving this one three Gettysburgers. For some reason, this season still isn’t hooking me the way last year did this early on. Maybe because the Operation Remington stuff so far doesn’t seem all that intriguing. However, I love the introduction of Lisa Kudrow’s character, which has me jazzed up for next week. Fellow Couch Gladiators, what did you think?