Hmm. Well that all came to a head much quicker than I would have expected, and that’s saying a lot considering we’re talking about Scandal here, and Scandal is constantly moving at a faster-than-normal-television pace. Despite that, I figured it would at least be three or so more episodes before we discovered who Jake was working for and why he was working for them and perhaps not even until the end of the season before we found out who the mole in the White House is. I could not have been more wrong – we got an answer to the former before the first commercial break, and an answer to the latter before the episode came to an end. It was a big night for the stories of Scandal. So then why did it feel so small?
Therein lies my biggest issue with this episode: it just didn’t feel big enough, important enough, or intense enough. I still spent all 42 minutes glued to my screen, but as the episode moved on and on, I started to feel like what I was watching didn’t really matter, like the reveal regarding Jake had happened perhaps even too prematurely, because suddenly the mystery of it all was taken out. Because, like I said, before the first commercial break even aired, we found out that Jake was, not too surprisingly, working under Fitz’s command, as they had both been buddies in the Navy back in the day. Jake has been watching Olivia at Fitz’s behest, and it becomes clear very quickly that Jake doesn’t know all of the details, seeing as he tries to convince Fitz to let him drop his “project” because Olivia appears to pose no threat to him, or anyone else for that matter. Fitz is adamant about having Jake continue to track Olivia, saying that she isn’t what she seems. There’s been a lot of that going around lately.
For example, as Scandal settles into its new conspiracy to finish out the second season, it has briefly returned to showcasing client-of-the-week cases, and this week Olivia Pope and her associates are dealing with a powerful political family, a member of which is running for governor of North Carolina but has seemingly been celibate – and in the closet – for at least a decade, and it is hurting his chances at winning the election. Olivia and her team of Gladiators, after the client passionately denies that he is gay, hold auditions for women to play the role of his wife, in order to help him win the election. The twist in this story became all too obvious all too quickly, as the candidate was having an affair and was in love with his brother’s wife, but I find myself willing to overlook it because the case did provide us with some valuable insight into both Olivia and Abby, as Abby convinces the first wife candidate to back out, fearing that she will get trapped into an abusive marriage, much like Abby did – because Abby was in the same situation with her husband before he beat her and Olivia rescued her. Olivia, upon realizing the true situation with her client and the brother’s wife, makes an impassioned speech about how he needs to end the relationship, because what they have together is not love: it is stolen moments, and nothing can ever come of it. She’s clearly still not over Fitz all this time later, but he clearly isn’t either, if he’s having Jake watch over her…
Huck hasn’t showered, and it’s got everyone in the office avoiding being in close range of him. I’ll admit when the episode first started, I thought this would turn into a running gag for the episode and I couldn’t figure out what the reasoning was behind him stinking. Then it clicked in my head: it’s raining outside and he had been waterboarded by the government as a result of being framed for Fitz’s assassination attempt by Becky. He’s having panic attacks and can’t bring himself to actually get in the shower, but when Quinn finally speaks up, he assures her that when the rain stops, the attacks will stop, and he will shower. Somehow I get the feeling that this is not the last we’ll be seeing of Huck’s post-waterboard troubles.
Mellie and Cyrus are in some sort of backstabbing circus show, and it’s fascinating to watch as they navigate around each other. After framing Cyrus for the entire election rigging scheme, Fitz has completely shut Cyrus out – to the point where Cyrus doesn’t have a single clue what is going on in the government or in the Oval Office. But Mellie is still playing nice with Cyrus, and when she fills him in on the details of the hostage crisis, he bounces some ideas off of her… which Mellie then takes to Fitz and credits as her own. When Cyrus discovers this, as a result of his idea’s great success, Cyrus devises a plan of his own to sabotage Mellie at Olivia’s counsel, because Olivia is spot-on in how to take on Mellie: leave her be. Let Mellie make the mess for her self, and simply be there to clean it up when she does, because she always eventually goes too far. Mellie sets up a conference call of the families of the hostages in order to calm them on Fitz’s behalf – a call that Cyrus tips the press off to, allowing them to dial in and hear everything Mellie has to say, including making promises that Fitz and the United States can’t keep. Fitz is dismayed and outraged, and Mellie quickly realizes that it was Cyrus that set her up. I’m willing to bet the games have just begun and World War III is about to be on our screens as Mellie and Cyrus duke it out for Fitz’s trust and affection.
David thinks someone is stalking him, but that’s not quite the case. Yes, someone has been following him, but not because they want to kill him… because they want his help. A woman has been following David, trying to confront him with the knowledge that he did not kill Wendy, the woman found dead in his apartment, but that she knows who did because she saw him. I’m still a little bit fuzzy on the details as to where she came from and why she was choosing to follow David, but I suppose the point is she’s here, and she has vital information. Oh, and David and Abby are hooking up again. First in her office, followed by a romp in the car. There’s more to this story, I just can’t figure out what it is yet, especially considering these two bounce back and forth between being “done” and having sex so quickly I’m starting to get whiplash.
Either way, Huck decrypts one of the files found on Wendy’s flashdrive where she had been harboring all of her classified information, and it must hold something really shocking because everybody at OPA gasps when they read it. They also come across an image of who might just be the guy behind Wendy’s murder, but it doesn’t matter, because the girl recognizes him the moment he pops up on the screen at Olivia Pope & Associates…
Fitz is still trying to nail down who the mole is. And things are getting worse in the Middle East with the hostage crisis – much worse. After eight days of no progress, one of the hostages has been killed – beheaded on television. The investigation into the government is running at full speed, and the head of the CIA is able to report that none of his men were found to be the mole and they are all clean. The CIA isn’t the culprit here. Except that, actually, they are. Because the girl? The one who recognized the guy on the TV at Olivia Pope & Associates? She was recognizing him. The head of the freaking CIA. According to this girl, he is the one who killed Wendy. Meaning that, as far as we know, he’s also the mole. Which is kind of shocking, and yet, at the same time, it’s not, if only because we haven’t gotten deep enough into this story for it to be shocking yet. Because, remember, we just reset last week. This guy who’s head of the CIA? We’d never met him and he’d never been part of the story before last week. So why exactly should we care so much if he happens to be the mole at this point? Because we don’t know him. But we do now know about his, ahem, extracurricular activities.
Meanwhile, Jake is trying to convince Olivia to date him. She doesn’t want to, and even calls their first date a “meeting,” which she really only goes on so that she can try to get some information out of him, which he actually does give her, to his credit. Jake’s actually almost kind of charming and wonderful, except for the fact that, you know, he is watching her on television screens in his living room at the behest of the President of the United States, who just so happens to be her ex-boyfriend. Still, Jake won’t give up on convincing Olivia to date him, and Olivia kind of admires that. Fitz happens to get a glance at Olivia while she’s on the phone with Jake from afar and can just tell, in his gut, that this isn’t work-related. She’s smiling, she looks happy, and almost hopeful. So Fitz calls Jake back to the Oval Office as a result of this phone call, in which Olivia has agreed to go on a date with Jake. He wants to know who the guy is. Jake denies that there is any new guy in Olivia’s life at all.
And bam. There it is. This isn’t part of the plan. Jake isn’t actually supposed to be dating Olivia. He’s probably not even supposed to be in contact with her at all. So why is he? What exactly is his agenda here? It can’t just be as simple as he actually likes her after all this time of watching her and wants to be with her, could it? I suppose crazier things have happened, but I just don’t see that being the case here.
All in all, this wasn’t my favorite episode of Scandal, and it breaks my heart to say that. But the episode kind of left me feeling empty at the end, because while there were a ton of great character moments, the story took a turn in a direction that I think came too quickly, and that took a lot of the tension out of the episode on the whole. I noticed it came back for me in the last few minutes of the episode, as the killer mole was revealed and then Fitz had his second meeting with Jake, but it still was not the series’ strongest episode. Despite that, I will say the ending was strong as it has laid an interesting path for when the show returns and we delve further into just what is going on with Jake…