Scandal 2.22: White Hat’s Back On

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsWith the knowledge that Billy Chambers, the Vice President’s former chief of staff, is the mole, Huck admits that he “hired out” the killing of Chambers to Charlie.

Huck: If you want someone killed right, you have to do it yourself

In flashbacks, we learn that Chambers made a deal with Charlie, and Charlie has been Chambers’ guy too.

Olivia, Mellie, Cyrus, and Hollis get together in the kitchen of the White House to discuss Defiance and Billy Chambers. Chambers is the new problem. Olivia puts the focus on Defiance as the problem, not Chambers. If they get the Cytron card back, they neuter Billy, case closed. The twist in this scene is that Fitz shows up, taking Verna’s place at the table. Mellie can’t handle being in the same room as Fitz and Olivia. She storms off with Cyrus who attempts to convince her that Fitz will come back. At the same time Fitz is working on convincing Olivia to use her skills as a “fixer” to fix the American public into hating Mellie and loving her. Fixing, after all, is her superpower.

Mystery Man, whom we now know is in charge of B613, meets with Ballard and wants a meeting with Olivia. Ballard asks questions, which apparently is frowned upon, and Mystery Man basically tells him that if Ballard doesn’t produce, he knows where they stand – which I’m guessing isn’t a good place. As Mystery Man leaves, a woman leaves behind him, she was part of the “Take Down Charlie” operation that failed. She is also the person who tries to break into Olivia’s apartment before breaking it down, gun drawn. But, Ballard happens to be in the apartment and kills the woman. After getting Olivia to her office, telling her she should stay there for a while, he tells her about B613. It takes a few moments for Olivia to process that. She knows about B613, mostly from Huck. The next time we see Ballard is at the end of the episode, when he is being shoved into the same dark hole in the ground that Huck was in. And we know what well that turned out for Huck.

James is mad at Cyrus for keeping him in the dark about Mellie and Fitz. Cyrus finally leaks to him that the President is seeing a pastor for counseling and prayer. James goes on television and reports that. Mellie is watching, and hears James report that the President’s approval ratings are up, but the First Lady’s are not.

The Gladiators in Suits figure out that Chambers is going to need someone credible to unleash Defiance on the American public. They soon realize that it is going to be Governor Reston, who lost the election because of Defiance. They have a lot in common, as they both are murderers. Reston goes to the President to demand to be put on his re-election ticket as the “Unity Ticket” or he will reveal Defiance. The President acts like he doesn’t know what Reston is talking about. Olivia, later, in Cyrus’ hospital room (oh yeah, Cyrus has a heart attack) tells Fitz to play along with Reston to see if Reston really has the Cytron card. She meets with Reston and plants the bug. Huck traces Reston’s phone in order to track down Chambers.

White Hat's Back OnSo, when Olivia calls to tell Cyrus about Reston being involved, Cyrus finally has the heart attack we all saw coming. After Mellie watches the news report about her approval ratings, she makes a visit to Cyrus’ hospital room. She hopes to leave hand-in-hand with Fitz, making the 6pm news cycle. Fitz, however, rattles off in Olivia style Olivia’s plan for getting America to love her and hate Mellie. Mellie still cannot believe that Fitz is going through with this. Cyrus, on the other hand, is impressed, but with his visions of Mystery Man he knows he has to do something.

Cyrus and Mystery Man keep meeting (Cyrus has a dream of Mystery Man in his room while at the hospital, or was Mystery Man really there?). Mystery Man wants Cyrus to release the Olivia/Ballard sex tape, but Cyrus doesn’t want to hurt his friend – Olivia.

David Rosen is the one with the Cytron card. During a meeting Chambers tries to convince David to hand it over. David tells him it stays with him until it is needed – maybe he picked up a few things while he was hanging out with Olivia Pope and Associates. Chambers, trying to convince David, tells David that Olivia is not his friend and that he murdered the CIA director Osbourne, Wendy (framing David) and Molly. David goes ahead and slides the card across the table.

Huck and Quinn go to Chambers’ residence. They don’t find the card anywhere. When Chambers comes home, he sees them and runs. Huck catches him, ties him up in duct tape and is preparing to torture to get answers. But he can’t do it. He freezes up. Quinn lives into her nickname of Baby Huck when she takes his drill and uses it on Chambers. She gets the location, calls Abby, Abby gets it and they go to use it only to find out it’s not the card. It’s blank.

It is then that they realize that David is in control of this game. David played them. He used his time in their office to try out every possible combination to Olivia’s safe, until he found the right one. Abby goes through David’s stuff in the office looking for the real deal and finds a box marked, “For Olivia.” When Huck and Quinn return, she is super excited about what happened. Huck, on the other hand, goes to his space, into the corner, and sits as he has done before.

Cyrus gets himself out of the hospital to take care of the Olivia-Fitz problem. He got worried when Olivia didn’t answer her phone, and sent Secret Service to check on her, who found the door broken in and blood on the ground. He is not happy that someone tried to kill Olivia, but knows that B613 won’t stop until they get what they want. He gets more angry when she won’t see that. She still thinks that she and Fitz getting back together is the best thing. In a fit of anger (calm down, Cy, you JUST had a heart attack) he tells her that Fitz killed Verna Thornton. Olivia is in shock.

Cyrus goes to the White House and does the same thing. He does what Mystery Man wanted, kind of, he shows the President the sex tape of Olivia and Jake Ballard. Fitz is in shock.

Now that they know that David Rosen has been pulling all the strings, Hollis, Olivia, Mellie, Cyrus, and now the President meet again in the White House kitchen. David Rosen is now the problem (sound familiar?) Cyrus gets a text that David is in his office. David hands over the real Cytron card in exchange for something else. The something else is fulfilled when the President makes a public announcement thanking David for his work of justice and names him the US Attorney for District of Columbia. Cyrus destroys the card with his little Abe Lincoln bust.

Olivia goes to the White House, tells the President she knows about Verna, and he tells her he knows about Jake. She tells him that he is the one who can start fresh. The rest of them are too damaged. They’ve gone to a dark place, and she’s not sure if they can go back. But Fitz can. And he should start his new beginning with Mellie at his side. She can’t leave her team. “They need me. I’m their Gladiator.” Fitz goes back to Mellie, like a dog with his tail between his legs.

And just when you think you can take a sigh of relief in this season finale, there’s more! Olivia wakes up the next morning, gets ready to go for a jog listening to Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” Everything about this is slow – slow for Scandal – which means they really, really want us to catch what is about to happen. Olivia gets into the elevator. She walks through her lobby, smiling at people. She opens the door to go outside, and there is a mob of reporters and cameras asking if it is true that she is having an affair with the president! Shocked, she tries to get back inside the building, but some guys guide her to a limo where Mystery Man is sitting. And Olivia says, “Dad!?!?”

Mystery Man who runs B613 is Daddy Pope?? So many questions, not enough words.

Scandal 2.21: Any Questions?

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsUsing the backdrop of Cyrus giving a press conference on Mellie’s unveiling of Fitz’ private life, this episode takes us on another wild ride with Fitz and Olivia and learning who the mole is.

The President stayed the night at Olivia’s. Cyrus has to bark his way into Olivia’s apartment, walks in on the two of them, and yells, “Get up!” Cyrus is in fix-it mode. As Olivia and Fitz get dressed, Olivia offers to help fix it. Fitz tells her no, “stand down.” If the relationship is going to work, they have to take out the business part of it.

Olivia comes into the office learning that the good news is that Cyrus is not the mole, but whoever the mole is knows about Defiance. Olivia quickly goes to the safe to make sure the Cytron memory card is still in there. David is present, he claims to be a Gladiator.

Mellie is interviewing a new fixer. He’s not quite Olivia Pope, but he knows how to find things in the trash. He manages to get a copy of the President’s speech for Mellie to look at. Mellie refuses to give up Olivia’s name, even to the fixer. She knows Fitz, and she knows he’ll do the right thing.

Fitz’ solution, which is what his speech will be about, is to not run for reelection. Cyrus sees him throwing away his legacy. “I’m in love with a woman,” Fitz says, “who is not my wife.”

Jake Ballard meets Mystery Man in the park again. Mystery Man is not happy with Ballard. They met the night before and Ballard did not share with Mystery Man that the President was with Olivia Pope. The job is simple, keep an eye on Olivia. Ballard shows Mystery Man a picture of Charlie. We know from the Huck flash backs that Mystery Man knows Charlie. But here, he doesn’t let Ballard know that he knows. Mystery Man tells Ballard to bring him the tape of he and Olivia having sex and to find Charlie and bring him in.

When Ballard asks Mystery Man about Cyrus, Mystery Man replies, “I’ll take care of Cyrus.”

Sally Langston makes an appearance, mostly to make us consider that she might be the mole. She and Cyrus are walking down the hall of the White House together:

Sally: You know what the Bible says, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

Cyrus: That’s not in the Bible. Not everything is from the Bible.

teach_5986cCyrus is right. The line actually comes from a play written by a guy named William Congreve. Go figure. But the quick dialogue does show how quickly tradition regarding what the Bible says overpowers what the Bible actually says. There is no better way to know what the Bible says than to read it. . . . .for yourself. I know a preacher to teaches preachers not to say, “The Bible says,” without citing where it says it in the Bible. I think that is a good practice.

Harrison thinks Olivia should be his client, because he knows that it won’t be long before her name is associated with the President’s affair. Olivia reminds him that she can take care of herself and that he needs to focus on the task at hand. Cyrus and James have a fight over James’ interview with the First Lady. Finally, Cyrus realizes what happened. James was naive and was used by Mellie. Mellie made it happen for James to get that job at BNC, and requested him to do the interview to get back at Cyrus as much as getting back at the President.

Cyrus and Olivia meet in a park outside the White House. Cyrus tries to convince her to talk sense into Fitz, to make this thing go away. But Olivia is standing down, as she said she would. As Olivia walks away, Mystery Man shows up – more and more all of a sudden. He tells Cyrus that he should have shut down the Fitz-Olivia thing a long time ago. It is clear that these two not only know each other, but have an understanding about not messing with each other’s turf. Mystery Man tells him that his boy Charlie was one of his, and that Cyrus will have nothing to do with anymore.

Ballard, following orders from Mystery Man, tries to take down Charlie. But Charlie is too quick and dodges him. He ends up at Olivia’s office. Everyone has taken an hour to clear their ends, but David Rosen who stayed behind. When everyone returns, Charlie has a gun to David’s head. Charlie wants to be a client. He knows that once he is caught they will kill him. He wants what Huck has. Huck asks Olivia to take care of it, “My world. My rules.”

Ballard failed to get Charlie, but he did give Mystery Man a copy of the tape of him and Olivia. When asked how it was going to be used, Mystery Man basically told Ballard it was non of his business. Cyrus reluctantly accepts that the President is not going to seek a second term. When he goes to ask a staff person to retrieve the candidacy papers, the staff person says she cannot because they were never filed. Turns out they are still on Fitz’ desk.

Cyrus goes to Olivia. Olivia goes to the White House. She talks to him, telling him that he doesn’t want to run because of their relationship, then she will support him. But if decided months ago not to quick because of Defiance, that he shouldn’t give up.

The actions of others affected Fitz and how he understands himself. This pep talk from Olivia is giving him the empowerment and encouragement he needs. At the press conference, he announces he will be seeking a second term.

Huck has Charlie duck taped to a chair, gets a name from him as to who the mole is, and prepares to kill him. Then Quinn comes in, and convinces him that he shouldn’t kill. They let Charlie go. When they get back to the office, Harrison discovers that the Cytron card is gone. Everyone knows at that moment that the Charlie thing was a set-up. He has the card. And who is the mole? Billy Chambers!

But the one giving him the Cytron card is not Charlie, it is David Rosen!

Scandal 2.20: A Woman Scorned

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsThis week’s episode was crafted perfectly for Olivia and Mellie to show off. Or, rather Kerry Washington as Olivia and Bellamy Young as Mellie show off some acting chops. The two are adversaries in this episode like never before. Together they got Fitz in the White House, but against one another, they are bringing Washington to her knees.

Fitz, who cannot seem to make up his mind, wants Olivia back now. After seeing in her the hospital bed, it seemed to wake him up to his true feelings for Olivia. Mellie has moved to Blair House giving Fitz a limited amount of time to figure out what he is going to do, choose Olivia or choose his family.

Jake Ballard, in plain clothes, is babysitting Olivia for the President. Olivia calls the President and tells him to call off his puppy, but Fitz won’t budge. And Jake won’t either.

Cyrus and James are still fighting, but when James gets a job at BNC (“I could be the next Anderson Cooper”), all is forgiven.

The Gladiators are trying to figure out who Baseball Cap guy is. Huck offers to help, and right away he identifies Baseball Cap as Charlie. When asked how he can tell, he answers, “That’s Charlie’s ear.” Huck is the one who tells Olivia it is “Cyrus’ Charlie.” Which makes Cyrus appear to be Albatros, which is what all of us were already thinking, right? Charlie in the meantime is at Jake Ballard’s place digging up dirt on him and Olivia. Charlie finds video of the two having sex, which is saved in case Cyrus needs to use it.

Olivia does not want to bounce on Cyrus as Albatros until they are certain.

This is one of my best friends. . . . We have to be sure.

The Gladiators are given the task to investigate Charlie and see what other clients he has. They find out that he goes to the same bakery shop every Thursday, and he attends a book club on Thursdays where he started dating a girl named Tammy. Olivia also gives the green light to have them look into Cyrus’ phone records.

In the middle of all of this, the President wants to see Olivia, which throws her into an intense moment of yelling at the President: “You do not summon me!” and “Stop getting my hopes up.” and the best line, “You want me? Earn me!”

Cyrus is going back and forth between Mellie and Fitz. Neither are giving in. Mellie has made arrangements with BNC to do a prime-time interview, where she will spill the beans about his affair with Olivia if he does not choose family. He takes a deal to Mellie that offers her a bright, political future. Mellie rejects it. Finally, Cyrus gets an idea. “What if,” he says to Mellie, “I could get rid of Olivia Pope.”

In the meantime, Huck has come clean with Olivia about Charlie. Charlie was one who killed Amanda Tanner. “I didn’t say anything because there is a code.” Charlie has been Cyrus’ guy for at least two years. Cyrus isn’t looking good right now.

Now, with the whole Albatros thing, this makes us wander what Cyrus has up his sleeve. He has the President’s secretary call Jake Ballard to the White House. Cyrus goes to Olivia’s, but Jake is still there, guarding the door. He is a good puppy, only leaves with the President tells him to. Afterwards, Jake tells Olivia he thinks Cyrus is the mole (red flag, people.) Olivia still cannot wrap her head around it. Cyrus would never be disloyal to Fitz.

The Gladiators interview Tammy and find out, eventually, that she was the court reporter for David’s grand jury on Defiance. Her laptop, where she transcribed everything, was stolen. Guess by who? Charlie! All the pieces fall into place, which means that Cyrus is not the mole. Someone else is using the gifts and talents of Charlie, but who?

Perhaps it is Mystery Man that Jake keeps meeting in DC parks. Jake tells Mystery Man that Cyrus is getting too close. Mystery Man does not give him permission to look into it, just to take care of it. Which leaves us wandering, who is going to die next?

Mellie hand picks James, Cyrus’ husband, to do the interview, surely to piss off Cyrus. Mellie tells James and the rest of America that the President had an affair. And where is the President?

Scandal gold.

Scandal 2.19: Seven Fifty-two

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsThere is one sure way to pull at the emotional strings of the Scandal audience: Make us feel Huck’s pain. This episode is about Huck and how be became who he is. After getting out that storage container, he has been in a state, in the corner of his office. Nobody has been able to help him, and Olivia has been in the hospital. Huck starts chatting, “7 52.”

But first, let’s take a few moments to deal with Fitz and Olivia. The Secret Service will not allow Harrison to go visit Olivia because the President is back there somewhere. Interestingly Harrison only tells the other Gladiators that there was a high profile person on the same hall. Cyrus, who is underused in this episode, especially if we are to believe that is Albratros, shows up to explain to the President that this is not good for him to sit at the hostipal in the middle of the night with his mistress for a “late night booty call.”

Cyrus: Markets panic, reporters swarm, Defcon levels change. . . .

Fitz: Cats and dogs will finally get along?

Hmm, that sounds like:

Fitz is a little too late when it comes to winning Olivia over. Remember that he had asked her to wait for him because he was going to divorce Mellie, but after he found out about Defiance, he changed his mind. Olivia has vowed to give up the President. But then the President makes this little speech in her hospital room:

This past year I have learned only one thing — that I cannot exist without you, that I cannot breathe without you, that the man I am without you … I’m nothing, and you are everything and I need you to give me another chance. I demand another chance. We’re worth another chance.

Olivia falls into his embrace, only to push herself out of it. “I can’t. I can’t,” she says as she slams the door to the bathroom.

The same Secret Service guy that would not let Harrison see Olivia, told Mellie where the President was all night. When Fitz returns to the White House, Mellie has bags packed. She is moving into Blair House for awhile, giving Fitz time to think through everything. She has given him a choice: Olivia or family. If he chooses Olivia, she will go public and start talking to the press.

The episode is filled with flashbacks to Huck’s life, which start 14 years ago when he is a returning Marine. He surprises his girlfriend Kim as she reads a story to her class. He has an interview for some government job. It is CIA related, and Huck doesn’t want anything to do with it. He is told that it is either this job, that pays very well, or another tour as a Marine. Huck doesn’t want to go back overseas, so he takes the job. Charlie becomes his teacher, teaching him how to deal with enemies of the state.

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Kim ends up pregnant, Huck and her make plans to get married. Huck is beyond happy. Even his attitude at “work” changes. Everything is great, except when he comes home one day and finds Charlie there. Huck has a family. That is breaking one of the rules. He is told by Charlie to take care of it or he will. Before Huck can move his family out of DC, he is taken in and placed in a small, dark, hole. He stays there until he says that he does not have a wife and child.

When put back on the job, Huck freezes and is unable to torture. Charlie tells him that his orders were to kill him if he couldn’t handle it. But instead, Charlie tells Huck to run, and never contact anyone again. Charlie and his boss report to the Big Boss that Huck has been terminated. The Big Boss is the mystery man from the park.

Throughout the episode, the Gladiators take turns talking to Huck. In a way, they open up and share how they truly feel about being a Gladiator. It is very revealing. Abby, for example, tells Huck that after years of abuse made her unable to trust and question if she was ever right about anything, she says, “David might love me but I owe Olivia my life.” There is a strong sense that Olivia saved each of them from their own lives and their own mistakes. The best moment of the episode is Olivia telling Huck that he saved her.

Seven fifty-two refers to the time when the subway train carrying Huck’s wife and son arrived. AT 7:52am every morning, Huck is there to watch them.

7:52 - Scandal Season 2

Scandal 2.18: Molly, You in Danger, Girl

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsEvery episode is another “wow” episode. It keeps us on our toes, wondering what will happen next and trying to figure out who is who in this crazy, scandalous, web that is Washington D. C.

The President makes an official statement that CIA Director Osbourne was the mole. But things start to change when Osbourne’s wife shows up at Pope and Associates. She claims that it was not suicide, but murder. Her clue? The note he left was written to “Susan,” he hasn’t called her that in 30 years. Olivia takes the case.

While the President is making that statement, Jake Ballard breaks into Olivia’s place. He removes all of his spy equipment. Minutes later, Huck and Quinn walk in to make sure the place is clean. Every third Wednesday is sweep day. After they leave, Jake comes back in and places it all back.

The more they dig into things and re-dig, they realize that Osbourne was not the mole. Which means Molly and David are still in danger. Abby rushes over to David’s apartment and tells him he has to return to the office. This leads David to see that Abby still has feelings for him, but he is still feeling the burning of her taking the flash drive (which she still tells him she didn’t, but we know she did.)

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They learn that Molly was a set up. The real mole set Molly in to lie to Olivia about Osbourne being the guy. They believed her. David uses contacts he has with Homeland security to put her on the no fly list. They find it at an airport and question her. She clearly has had the fear of God placed in her. She didn’t do it for the money, she says, but for her life.

From her apartment, Olivia calls Cyrus, who is in a hotel room to tell him that Osbourne was not the mole. Cyrus doesn’t want anything to do with it because the President has made it official that Osbourne was. Olivia tells him that she can’t let it go. If Olivia is making the call from her apartment, that means that Jake Ballard is on the other side watching. Sure enough, he is. And he meets with the mystery man in the park again. Olivia knows, he tells the man. The mystery man tells Jake, “I trust you’ll take care of it.”

What?!? Who is this guy?

As a side note, this episode really showed the unique friendship that Olivia and Cyrus have. They call each other often, sometimes just a quick sentence or two. But they care deeply for one another.

Cyrus pleads with Fitz and Mellie to play nice and do an interview together. Fitz says they have had lots of practice at pretending they love each other. The story they tell in the interview of how they met gets a lot of replay. Fitz recalls with Mellie how they really met. His dad happened to come to Boston for business and an old friend happen to bring his young, clerk with him. It wasn’t a blind date, Fitz realizes, it was a merger. Fitz is caught up in this life of lies, doesn’t want to be, but can’t see to figure out how to get out of it.

While Mellie thinks that Cyrus and James have the perfect relationship, Fitz knows (we don’t know how) that Cyrus has been staying at a hotel. He offers Cyrus advice, “Don’t give up on him, if you love him.” Cyrus will move back in, despite James’ protests. Cyrus tells James that he has done some pretty crappy stuff too, and despite the horrible stuff we do, we love each other.

Jake keeps trying to take Olivia out for dinner, but Olivia keeps telling him she has to work. While watching the interview with the President and the First Lady, Olivia can’t handle it. She shows up at Jake’s place with burgers. While she’s not looking, he slips her phone out of her purse and turns it off. He distracts her from her phone by kissing her, and they eventually end up in bed together.

The next morning, Olivia gets up to get a glass of water. She picks up a remote and attempts to turn the television in the kitchen on. We know what a news junkie Olivia is. Instead, the remote reveals the hidden tv screens that are leaked to the cameras in Olivia’s apartment. She freaks out, and while Jake tries to calm her down, she falls, and there is bleeding.

GladiatorsinHelmets_zpsf9827eedHarrison gets a phone call, and we think it is someone calling to tell him about Olivia, but it the ME’s office calling about Molly. The number called most often in her cell phone was Harrison’s. She was killed by a hit and run. The Gladiators don’t believe it. The mole is kicking butt and not worrying about names.

Huck and Quinn tracked the mole making a purchase of a storage unit. They go to look into it. Huck makes Quinn wait in the car and keep watch. While Huck checks the storage out, which just has an empty box in it, someone comes up behind him, knocks him in the head, and shoves him into the box. An hour later, Quinn knows something is wrong. It takes a while, but Quinn finally figures out that someone moved one of the security cameras. She goes through each locker on the floor that Huck was on, until she finds Huck. Huck ends up sitting in the corner of his office shaking. David observes that this is worse than when he was water-boarded.

The President seems to randomly call Cyrus one evening. Randomly because Cyrus isn’t expecting it. “I killed Verna Thornton,” the President says. Cyrus is speechless. The President’s confession shows that he is as dirty as Cyrus. The President then asks if she – Olivia – would forgive him.

Quinn reviews the security footage from the storage locker with the other Gladiators. They find a guy in a baseball cap. Quinn is certain that is the guy who stuffed Huck in the box. Baseball cap, Harrison reasons, works for Albatros, the mole.

We next see Baseball cap as Charlie, the B16 spy, making a phone call to . . . Cyrus. Is Cyrus Albatros? Is he the mole? But why??

Olivia is in the hospital. When she wakes up, Jake is there telling her what the story is, and to please stick to it. Seriously, who is this guy? Then the President comes in, thanking Jake for calling him, and sits next to Olivia. As Fitz leans to give Olivia a hug, Jake is outside looking through the glass in the door. As he put it together why Fitz was having him watch Olivia?

Olivia looks lost and uncertain. She is clearly uncomfortable, and not strong. Olivia Pope is always strong. But here, in the hospital bed, with two men she has slept with in arm’s length, she is uncertain, scared, and weak.

Scandal 2.17: Snake in the Garden

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsThe Biblical allusions are running amuck in this week’s episode. Theological themes of sin, grace, and forgiveness have always found a place in Scandal. This week, though, the writers did not hold back.

The title line belongs to Mellie, as she and Cyrus discuss Fitz’ new person whom he is taking advice from. This “snake” is messing up everything that Mellie and Cyrus planted. Cyrus is handling it, as he quotes Olivia Pope. And he is. He has asked Charlie, the B16 spy to look into Jake Ballard. The President, in the meantime, asks Jake to look more into the source that provided information regarding the hostages. The President wants to know who the mole is.

Jake watches and rewatches and the video from when CIA director Osbourne paid a visit to Olivia. He calls her later to confirm that she is at work, before he breaks into her apartment. He takes the flash drive she hid when Osbourne knocked on the door, as well as took photos of notes she had taken on the case. He turned those things in to the President.

David is the office, sleeping on the couch. Someone had broken into his place and trashed it. They think it was someone looking for the flash drive. David hangs out with the Gladiators and pitches in every once in awhile like he knows how to play their game.

The client of the week is Hollis Doyle and one of his ex-wives. Their daughter has been kidnapped and there is a ransom. Hollis is determined not to pay anything until he has proof that it is for real, he thinks she is just acting out trying to bleed him dry of money. We all know that Hollis can be someone what heartless, but wow. Even with this own daughter? Even after an ear shows up in the mail?

Well, the joke is on us, because as Huck examines the ear, we learn that the daughter kidnapped herself. The boyfriend she said did it, was in prison in another country for drug possession. In a very intense family moment, Hollis gives his daughter a choice – the money or family. She chooses the money.

The case of the week was not without controversy. The Gladiators don’t understand why Olivia wants to help Hollis Doyle. One answer: love.

Even a man as heartless as Hollis Doyle has love for his children. And with great pain he tells his daughter to “GIT” after she chooses the money over family. We see a different side to Hollis Doyle. Is this to humanize him for us? Or is it simply making everything more grey? Olivia Pope seems to live in the grey, things are neither black nor white; right nor wrong; good nor evil. Could this side of Hollis be showing us that we need to show compassion to even our enemies?

Family is important. Throughout the whole episode, Quinn is trying to find Huck a family. Huck overhears Quinn making a phone call to her father, and leaving another message wishing him a Happy Birthday. At the end of the episode (see clip below) Huck takes Quinn to a family, which is for her. His gift to her. Fitz is looking forward to his children coming in for the weekend from boarding school. Mellie makes changes to his calendar without telling him, making it impossible for him to see his children. He is not happy about it. But then Mellie roars back that the children did not want to come because of Fitz. Because of his drinking, he has become mean and overbearing. She tells him that he has turned into Big Jerry, his own alcoholic father, and that he should know how his children feel because he felt that way about his father. When she is done, Fitz looks like he has seen a ghost. And perhaps in his subconscious he has, the ghost of Christmas Future or the ghost of Christmas Past. Either way, Fitz’s hand comes away from the glass of Scotch he had been drinking. Is this the beginning of a new leaf for President Grant?

The information that Charlie discovers about Jake Ballard, is that he and the President have a past. They served together on Operation Remington, which I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more of. Cyrus goes to the President and tells him that he must have done some awful things in Iran during that Operation. He goes on to equate that to what he did in Defiance. They both have done things to get to where they are. They both have made mistakes. They both have fallen from glory. They are alike. And finally, Fitz lets Cyrus in. He tells Cyrus that he has someone looking into CIA Director Osbourne.

Osbourne comes to Cyrus at the end of the episode pleading with Cyrus to believe him that he didn’t have anything to do with the leaking of information. Cyrus says that he works on behalf of the President, and the President is removing Osbourne as CIA Director. Then this happens:

Okay, seriously, who is this Jake Ballard guy? I’ve been asking this question since episode 14. And who is this other random guy who just showed up?

Scandal 2.16: Top of the Hour

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsThe Stanner family is preparing for dinner. When the doorbell rings, Dad gives Daughter a $20 for the pizza. But when Daughter opens the door, there is no pizza, just a lawn full of reporters and cameras.

Sarah Stanner is RYO Corp CEO and has been outed as having an affair with a Supreme Court justice nominee when she was in law school and he was her teacher. Which means, it’s not a great week for President Grant. The hostages are still being held in Kashfar. Olivia pays Jake Ballard a visit and gives him the information regarding the hostages that she has. She tells him that he tell anyone it came from her and he can’t go to the CIA with it.

Sarah calls her lawyer, who sends Olivia Pope. When she arrives with Abby and Harrison, she is on the phone with Cyrus, who is trying to get Olivia to take care of the situation in his favor. Olivia tells him that Sarah is her client, not the judge. Harrison and Abby think that Olivia should pull the car around the back. The press will eat them alive. Olivia keeps telling them to wait for the top of the hour. They don’t understand. But once the top of the hour arrives, the cameras turn back on and the reporters go live. Olivia, Abby, and Harrison are able to slip into the house without any notice.

Scandal 2.16 - Top of the Hour

Olivia along with Abby and Harrison deal with the Sarah Stanner case from various angles. Sarah holds a press conference where she admits to the affair and gets it out in public. The pressure is put on the Supreme Court justice nominee. The Board wants to fire Sarah based on their morality clause, but Harrison and Abby call the Board’s bluff on that. Cyrus is not happy that Olivia is working the case. It becomes Olivia vs. Cyrus, and their friendship does not change the intensity with which they go at it.

Olivia stays with Sarah and her husband 24/7 during the ordeal, in turn helping them keep their marriage together. Perhaps because Olivia can relate to Sarah. Olivia has been the other woman. As she watches this family get torn apart, I imagine that she feels guilty for her actions. Olivia is searching for grace. While drinking bottles of wine with Sarah, Olivia gives the following advice, again from her own experiences:

Olivia: You did what you thought was best at the time, even if it was wrong, you can’t change the choice you mad;, all you can do is not let it ruin you.

Sarah: What if he never forgives?

Olivia: You’re going to have to learn to forgive yourself.

Sarah: That sounds lonely.

Olivia: It is.

Olivia is on to something. Forgiveness and reconciliation go hand in hand. We too often want to jump right to reconciliation, without putting the energy or the focus on forgiveness. Olivia’s advice to Sarah to forgive herself, is Yoda gold. It is also something that Olivia must do herself. A preacher once said that the best sermons were the ones he preached to himself. Olivia, keep preaching.

President & Jake BallardJake Ballard shares the information with the President that Olivia had given him. He does not tell the President where the information comes from. A rescue effort is put into action. As Jake leaves the Oval Office, Mellie happens to catch a glimpse. Mellie has suspected that Fitz and Olivia were back together. But seeing Jake she knows that Fitz is not cheating on her, but on Cyrus. Jake’s intel pays off, and the American hostages are rescued.

And Mellie has reason to be worried. Fitz has continued to keep her and Cyrus at arm’s length. When Fitz takes Teddy for his feeding time, he slams the door of the Oval Office in Mellie’s face. Well, then.

While the President gives a prime time address about the rescue, a masked man is trashing an apartment. He is looking for something. When a photographer from the Stanner’s home walks in, the masked man beats him up, and takes the camera. When he sees that the picture of Olivia and Jake is indeed on the memory card, he takes the card and leaves. As he does so, he removes the mask. It is Jake Ballard. Who is this guy?

Throughout the whole episode, Huck is teaching Quinn, which is quite something to watch.

Quinn: You’re good at this. Stalking people.

Huck: You’ll get there.

They are watching the CIA director. They know that he is making drops somewhere in the city and in public. It turns out that he is doing it at a local dry cleaners. Quinn tries to play it cool and pretend is picking up her husband’s dry cleaning, affirms that the dry cleaners is the drop off site, and awkwardly tries to return the suits.

As the episode ends, the CIA director (who is the mole) receives pictures of Quinn from the dry cleaner guy.

Scandal 2.15: Boom Goes the Dynamite

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsOlivia is late meeting Jake Ballard. She tells him she’s never late for a meeting. He corrects her that this is a date. And their relationship misunderstanding begins. Jake isn’t fond of the restaurant Olivia chose, so he grabs the two wine glasses and the bottle of wine off the table. They end up at the Jefferson Memorial instead.

Olivia comes out and asks him who is Albatross. Jake is taken aback a little bit. But, promises her one minute to talk business before getting back to the date. Jake tells her that there is a mole within the government. No one has seen the mole or knows him by name, they just refer to him as Albatross. Olivia’s ringing phone disturbs the meeting/date.

Olivia is needed at the office. David Rosen is convinced he is being followed. Huck mentions that if the owner of the data that Wendy stole on her flash drive knows that David has it, he is at danger of being killed. Olivia puts Huck on surveillance to watch over David.

While Olivia rushes to the office, Jake has been called somewhere as well. We next see him entering the Oval Office. It turns out that Jake and Fitz are old buddies. It also turns out that Fitz has ordered Jake to keep an eye on Olivia. Fitz warns Jake about Olivia: “Olivia Pope isn’t who she seems.”

Senator Peter Caldwell hires Pope and Associates to help his brother, Will, who is running for Governor in North Carolina. The problem is that Will is gay, at least according to his brother. Olivia agrees that he either needs to come out or he needs a wife. “I can elect a gay governor,” Olivia tells him. Will says he is not gay, and so chooses to have Olivia find him a wife.

The Gladiators look over the country to find a woman who could be a political wife. They find someone, however, as she leaves the office, Abby runs out to talk to her. Abby was once a political wife, and it did not fair well for her. She cautions the woman to make sure she knows what she is getting herself into. By morning, the woman bails. They need to find a new wife.

They find her in a first-grade school teacher. She attends the gala that evening with Will, where the President is the keynote speaker. As the President is moving across the room after his speech, he is keeping an eye on Olivia, who happens to be on the phone with Jake Ballard. Fitz notices the smile on her face. She looks happy.

But the conversation with Jake is cut short as Harrison calls in. They believe that the first woman leaked what they were doing to DC Dish, a simple newspaper. Harrison makes a deal with them that he will provide pictures, etc from Will Caldwell’s wedding if they do not run the story. The source, it turns out, came from within the family.

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It doesn’t take Olivia long to figure out who it is. She puts the pieces together and leaves the gala to find Will outside in the gardens with Peter’s wife. They are kissing. They have been having for a number of years. It turns out that Peter knew the whole time. But chose not to say anything or let anyone know that he knew, in order to help his brother win the Governorship. This is what she tells Will:

You have nothing. You have a pile of secrets and lies and you’re calling it love. And in the meantime you’re letting your whole life pass you by while they raise children and celebrate anniversaries and grow old together. You’re frozen in time, you’re holding your breath, and you’re a statue, waiting for something that’s never going to happen. Living for stolen moments in hotel hallways and coat closets. You keep telling yourself they all add up to something real, because in your mind, they have to; but they don’t. They won’t. They never will because stolen moments aren’t a life. So you, have nothing. You have no one. End it now.

Olivia is really talking about her and Fitz. She is talking from her own experiences. Perhaps because she knows how painful it is, she tries to teach others not to make the mistakes she has made.

David and Abby get back together, sneaking off to have sex.

A hostage video is released, where they kill one of the hostages. The need to find the mole is increasing. Cyrus has been shut out completely by the President. Mellie is taking his ideas to the President as if they were her own. Cyrus soon figures it out. Olivia tells him to let Mellie be, because when it comes to Fitz, she will hang herself.

But Cyrus sees an opportunity and goes with it. Mellie makes a suggestion that she talk with the hostage’s families and let them know what the Administration is doing. Cyrus affirms the idea (“What would the White House be without you.”) and goes to the Press room to tell a reporter that Mellie is making a conference call at 8am, and she should be on that call. The story goes out the next evening, and Fitz is not happy with Mellie for doing such a thing. She knows, however, that Cyrus had something to do with it.

Does this mean Cyrus is back in?

In the meantime, Huck has not been showering. As he sits out in the car watching David Rosen, it begins to rain and he starts to have flashbacks to water boarding. The flash backs include fear of the shower. But it doesn’t keep Huck from working. He is able to decrypt the files on Wendy’s flash drive. There is a file with the names of the American citizens who are being held hostage. It is the file that was leaked to the terrorists. The file belonged to the mole. Huck has also found surveillance video from Wendy’s neighbor. They found footage of a man who might be the mole. They ask Wendy’s friend, who was following David, if she can identify the man.

Instead, she points to the man on the television as the mole. It is CIA Director Osbourne.

Scandal 2.14: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsThis episode takes place ten months since the last episode. Olivia and Fitz are trying to move on and forget one another. Olivia takes to swimming, while Fitz takes to drinking in the shower. They are both using water to wash away the memories of the mistakes they have made.

Mellie joins him in the shower and tries to help him forget, but Cyrus comes into the bathroom to tell the President that there are 4 Americans who have been taken hostage. As the situation unfolds, the hostages are CIA spies.

David Rosen’s morning is going much better. He wakes up in a pool of blood in his own bed. Lying next to him in a dead woman. The police are pounding on his door, David, not sure what has happened, lies to the police that everything is okay. After they leave, he calls Olivia Pope and Associates. Huck and Quinn clean up the scene at David’s and return the body to her own place. Huck teaches Quinn the art of cleaning up, and Quinn seems to enjoy it.

The woman’s name is Wendy, and on her cell phone are pictures of different men. Hands, arms, torso, etc. Huck is able to track the men down based on location stamps. The Gladiators learn that she has been sleeping around with men in scandal-worthy situations. She learns from them the secrets they hold, and then sells them to a newspaper. She had plans to sell David’s story as well. She had asked David about Defiance.

David is arrested by the police before the Gladiators can put this case to rest. David is torn about using Olivia Pope and Associates, though. He begins to get cold feet. He accuses Olivia of having something to do with framing him. How else, he reasons, would Defiance be put to rest? Olivia didn’t frame David, but she wonders if Cyrus did. Cyrus says he did not, that Defiance died with Verna Thornton.

While talking with Cyrus, she tells him, “I think he [the President] knows what we did.” Prior to this, the thought never crossed Cyrus’ mind. The President has been keeping to himself in the last ten months. Upset by the truth that Verna told him on her death-bed, that she, Cyrus, Mellie, and Olivia protected the truth of Hollis Doyle’s election rigging. It is starting to get to Cyrus that he is being left out. Cyrus had assumed that the President was because he was bitter about Olivia. But now, he is rethinking that.

Cyrus goes to Mellie:

Cyrus: He can bathe in Scotch for all I care, that’s not the problem — the problem is that he’s not using me like he’s supposed to. I’m the guard dog, I’m the bad cop, I’m the dragon that gets released to run the meetings and make the calls.

Olivia meets Jake Ballard (Scott Folley) for the first time in a coffee shop. They exchange fake jobs. Olivia’s path crosses with Jake’s again, while working on David’s case. Someone keeps calling Wendy’s phone. The same number, multiple times. It is coming from the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, which takes Olivia to Captain Jake Ballard’s office. However, neither receives any useful information from the other.

Olivia Meets Jake Ballard

On the way to Ella, Cyrus and James’ baby girl, baptism, Mellie gives Fitz a mint because he smells like booze. But she gives him more than that. She throws Cyrus under the bus. It was Cyrus’ idea, she tells  him, to support Hollis. Cyrus convinced Mellie, Verna, and Olivia to be a part of it. It was all Cyrus, she keeps telling him. “You can’t trust him, but you can trust me.” And so the President asks his First Lady what she thinks about sending Navy SEALs in to rescue the hostages. Cyrus had thought they should wait. Mellie tells him to trust is gut. As they walk into the church, Fitz gives Cyrus the order:

President Grant: Take as many breaths as you like and recount them in your memoirs — call the SEAL team before the christening.

Baptism Shell - jasoncstanley.comFitz has been chosen as the godfather and Olivia as the godmother. Fitz holds the baby, and Olivia holds her head while the priest pours water over Ella’s head. The waters of baptism symbolizing the grace in one’s life before we know that we need such grace. The waters that tell us that we are forgiven and filled with grace before we make mistakes. Not unlike the waters that covered Olivia and Fitz at the beginning of the episode, as they tried on their own to wash away their sins.

At the reception, Fitz follows Olivia down a hall, pulls her into an electrical closet, and has sex with her. When they come out of the closet, Olivia says it was a mistake. Fitz, thinking she is talking about the sex, says that it won’t happen again. Olivia was talking about Defiance. Fitz says, “That was not a mistake, that was betrayal.”

The SEALs go in, however, the house they entered is empty. Fitz is not happy about it. He is told that there is a mole. The President tells Cyrus to stand down, he needs to think about it. “I need to figure out who I can trust.” The more sin there is, the harder it is to trust. Sin undermines our ability to trust.

David finds a flash drive in his laptop later that evening. Wendy was downloading his Defiance files to it. But on it are top-secret stuff, like the locations of the President’s emergency bunkers. Even though he “fired” Olivia Pope and Associates, he takes it to Olivia. She tells him that he is doing this because he values justice. She tells him that he is “dusting off the White Hat.”

Mellie tries to seduce Fitz in the shower again. But this time, with whiskey in hand, Fitz goes all green and Hulk-like on her. He grabs her wrists and pushes her away, but only to cry, sort of. Fitz is torn. He crossed over to the dark side when he killed Verna, and now she is like Mellie and Cyrus and Olivia. He has fallen and he can’t get up.

When Olivia gets home, she calls Jake Ballard, and they make arrangements for dinner later that week. Perhaps after having sex with the President and him telling her that it won’t happen again, she is ready to move on. However, the more troubling part was that while Olivia is talking to Jake, he is watching her on his television. Who is this guy?

Scandal 2.13: Nobody Likes Babies

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsIn the last episode, “Truth of Consequences,” Cyrus called Charlie to take care of Hollis Doyle. As Hollis’ elevator is about to close and rise, Charlie gets on it. But, as this episode opens, Huck gets on the elevator too. Hollis recognizes Huck but he can’t place him. Finally Charlie and Huck draw their guns on each other. Huck tells Hollis that Charlie is there to kill him. Huck is going to let Charlie go, and if he tries to kill Hollis again, Huck will be there to protect him. But if Hollis decides to go against Olivia, Huck will not be there to stop Charlie.

After Fitz and Mellie have pictures taken with the new baby, Fitz is still talking about divorce. “Do. Not. Push. Me.” he tells Mellie. Fitz knows that Mellie had herself induced as a manipulation tool to keep Fitz around. And he ain’t happy about it.

Olivia calls Cyrus out on trying to have Hollis killed. Cyrus swears there won’t be a next time.

The Gladiators are trying to figure out if Hollis didn’t have Becky paid to kill the President, than who did? As the Gladiators bounce ideas off of one another and start to make pieces of this puzzle connect, Olivia figures it out.

It was Verna Thornton! The Supreme Court justice is the one who hired Becky to kill the President, mostly to protect herself and to hold on to the power she held. After Olivia leaves, Verna makes a phone call to David Rossen. When David shows up at the hospital to see her, the guards won’t let him through. Why? The President comes around the corner.

It turns out that she called the President too. Here is where things getting really good, and why this is one of the better episodes so far. The President comes out of the room calling for help because Verna is crashing. And she dies.

It is not until the end of the episode, after, James has to testify before a grand jury about Defiance; Cyrus may or may not have sent Charlie to kill James; the Gladiators listen to hours worth of Bobblehead recordings to find out what David knows; Abby finds out that David loves her and that Olivia had broken them up; Abby steals the Cytron memory card from David’s safe; Mellie doesn’t really like babies; Cyrus wanted to be President but knows he can only be the guy behind the President; Quinn tries to hire Huck to kill Hollis Doyle; James does testify but does not tell the truth, making David look like he has made the whole thing up.

It is only then, after all this happens, as Fitz is giving the eulogy at Verna’s funeral, that we learn that Verna had called the President. She confessed to him that she hired Becky to kill him and she comes clean about Defiance. When Fitz finds out that Olivia had something to do with it, he is visibly upset. Mellie and Cyrus being involved did not surprise him, but Olivia, I guess he thought more of her.

Prior to the funeral, Edison comes over to Olivia’s to see if she needs a ride to the funeral. Olivia gives him the ring back – again. She tells him she wishes she could be normal. While the normal life sounds nice and seems promising, its not what she wants. Edison’s reply is simple: “Love is not supposed to be painful.”

In the hospital, Fitz holds down Verna’s hands, and removes her oxygen mask, which results in her dying. The President killed the Supreme Court justice.

Fitz, whom to this point has been a naive, and innocent bystander, has now gotten his hands dirty. He has fallen as well. The roots of sin run deep. More importantly, sin distorts our image of love.

Scandal 2.12: Truth or Consequences

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsOlivia is struggling with how to deal with her own fallenness as connected to Defiance. In this episode she tells Cyrus that she made a mistake when she said “Yes.” Olivia is filled with guilt over that decision. It is not like her. She is supposed to fix things. And she knows if it was not for her secret relationship with Fitz, her head would have been more in the game.

But Olivia is not the only one who has fallen from glory in this show. Mellie is losing control over Fitz. He announced to her in the last episode that he wants a divorce. Mellie tells Cyrus that she is one who found him and made him who he is. She wants Cyrus to fix it!

Cyrus also has to deal with Hollis Doyle. David Rosen dragged Hollis and his army of lawyers into his office, announcing to them that he believes Hollis had something to do with the President’s assassination attempt. Hollis laughs it off, but not without threatening David. He then shows up at Olivia’s office where he threatens her to either fix it or sink.

Wait-for-me-2Olivia goes to Cyrus, who can tell that his friend is struggling. “The man you love almost died,” he says to her, “And you haven’t had time to process it.” He tells her he will handle Hollis. Olivia goes to her place and crawls into bed, where she stays for a few days. Edison is told to leave, and she hangs up on the President when he asks her to wait for him. Edison finally goes to the Gladiators and asks them to look in on her.

Quinn: I think we have our new client.

The Gladiators go into gladiator-mode to figure out what is going on with Olivia. When they put all the pieces together and realize that Hollis and Olivia worked together on the last election, the room falls silent. Olivia may be in deeper quicksand than they realized. Huck leaves the office and goes to Olivia’s place. He offers to take care of Hollis.

Olivia: Killing people is wrong.

She tells Huck that they don’t have to worry about Hollis, because Cyrus is handling it. At this, Huck knows what Cyrus’ plan is. Cyrus’ guy is Charlie, one of the former B16 spy, just like Huck. At this Olivia gets out of bed. Despite her questionable moral decisions in the past, killing is wrong, and Olivia draws the line.

She goes to see Verna, the cancer-stricken, Supreme Court justice. Verna no longer puts her wing on for Olivia. She is surprised to hear that Olivia wants to turn Hollis in. “I will try to protect you,” she tells Verna. Verna tells her that she is already paying the price (equaliting her disease with her moral decisions?).

Verna: You have a chance at redemption, take it!

Olivia goes to David Rosen and tells him about the phone Hollis has that only is used to call Becky. After flying to West Coast to get her dead boyfriend’s laptop she dropped off two years ago at a GeekSquad like place, Quinn and Huck find the financial transactions that Jesse (dead boyfriend) received. Unfortunately, they do not point to Hollis. Hollis is released, and as the episode closes, Charlie slips into the elevator with Hollis.

Like Adam and Eve in the garden, this little group of characters were tempted to sin and they did. And they did it well. They fell from their moral and ethical places. Olivia, for the most part, seems to be only one truly struggling with that reality. Perhaps because she wears a White Hat, a fighter for justice, and a doer of what is right. For her to do wrong has been sending her to this dark place. The White Hat is getting too heavy. And the Gladiators have noticed.Over the last couple of episodes, Harrison and Abby will make faces or comments that suggest that this is not how Olivia normally acts. But when we have fallen, we don’t act “normal.” But what is normal?

Worth Mentioning:

  • Fitz is determined he will divorce Mellie. Cyrus gives him a report of poll numbers that show if he divorces Mellie while in office and while she is pregnant, it would be politicial suicide.
  • Overwhelmed with the Hollis Doyle problem, Cyrus tells Mellie to use whatever cards she may have left. We see Mellie going to the doctor again.
  • The episode had flashbacks to two years ago, showing us how Quinn’s boyfriend Jesse was the election guy, who swamped out the memory card cases and Becky was the one who planted the bomb and framed Quinn.
  • Mellie goes into labor forcing the President to take her hand and stand by his wife.

Scandal 2.11: A Criminal, A Whore, An Idiot, and A Liar

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsOlivia comes home after a long few days. Edison, the Senate Majority Leader, is there . . again. The encounter leads Olivia to say the following and show Edison the door:

Five, that’s sexist and insulting. You’d never suggest Scooter Libby was screwing Dick Cheney. Four, the lengths you’re going to try to twist this into a conspiracy are cause for concern. You should speak to someone about that. Three, the President is awake and talking and the suggestion that he isn’t is partisan political crap that I thought you had enough integrity to rise above. Two, in the past three minutes, you have called me a criminal, a whore, an idiot, and a liar, so this is pretty much the last time we’ll be speaking, so one, who I am or am not screwing, what I am or am not doing, is no longer any of your damn business.

The truth is, Olivia is those things. The bulk of the episode is flashback to the campagin trail, leading up to the election. Olivia and Fitz were having an affair, and Hollis Doyle had a plan to win the election. Fitz starts off in the flashback ten points behind. After bringing his father in, a seasoned politician, they realize that it probably didn’t help Fitz. His father spews out negative thoughts about Fitz and doesn’t understand why they aren’t digging up dirty on the opponent. Olivia pulls together the Gladiators, for what we assume is the first time. We meet Harrison, Abby, and Huck. Olivia sends them out to find what they can about Fitz’ opponent.

Olivia gives Fitz advice to stop being who he thinks everyone wants him to be, and be himself. He does so during a Town Hall debate and his points rise, but not enough to carry the election. Hollis once again offers the fixed election option. Everyone is on board – Cyrus, Verna, and Mellie – but Olivia does not think they should. It is not a go until everyone is on board. The day before the election, Olivia says, “Yes.” Hollis calls his guy and puts it in motion.

The episode parrells with the present day. The doctor says that Fitz could have any number of side effects and recovery would be at least three weeks. Cyrus comes in and says they have a Sally Langston problem. She is positioning herself to win the Cabinet over to keep the Oval House. As Sally has a meeting with the Cabinet to not accept the President’s reinstatement, Fitz walks in, much to everyone’s surprise. Everyone is thrilled, except for Sally.

Fitz goes forward with his day. He attends a military debriefing about East Sudan. Sally was planning to send troops in, but Fitz’ plan involved the Navy Seals. During the debriefing, he forgets the name of the East Sudan leader. Sally has to finish his sentence. Sally goes to Hollis about this. Hollis tells her to wait and let Fitz crash and burn.

When Fitz wants to do a live press conference, Cyrus calls Olivia in because Fitz won’t listen to anyone else. Olivia comes in and asks Fitz about why he wants to do it. The answer is good enough for Olivia to support his decision. She preps him for the press conference in a similar way she preps him for the Town Hall debate.

After the press conference, Sally comes to Fitz with a letter accepting his reinstatement as President. “It’s not easy being President,” she tells him. Is it possible that Sally has accepted her fallenness? Or is she just playing the game?

Before what seems like the longest day for these characters ends, there are a few more surprises. Olivia comes home and finds Edison in her place again. (Is it time to take his key away?) He apologizes to Olivia for suggesting that she had an affair with the President or had anything to do with illegial activity. He concludes his apology with saying, “If you’ll have me, marry me.”

And in the White House, Mellie, excited that the day was successful, puts Fitz to bed. She is a bit of a chatterbox. She says that Fitz could ask for anything now, he is so popular. He tells her what he wants: “I want a divorce.”

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