Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

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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 2.16: 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

scandal-season-2-the-jasmine-brandOlivia 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.

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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?

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