If you haven’t seen this week’s episode of SCANDAL, avert your eyes. Otherwise, you might find out prematurely who got a new job, what got exposed, whose name was (kinda) cleared. Ready, Gladiators? Then let’s go! 

Stand By Me: Jake makes it clear he’s not leaving Liv’s side. Not only because he wants to be near her (which he does), but because he’s in the military and the president is his boss and when the boss says “spy on Olivia”, he says, “through which telescopic lense?” She calls Fitz in an attempt to get rid of her guardian angel, but all he wants to talk about is the fact that Mellie has moved out. Liz says she doesn’t care and tries to pretend she doesn’t care, but she totally cares.

99 Problems: As if keeping everyone from finding out about the fractured first couple isn’t difficult enough, Cyrus has to deal with hubby James wanting to take a job that’d make him “the next Anderson Cooper.” Quicker than you can say “bet that’s not a coincidence”, Mellie is threatening to hit the airwaves of the same network pursuing James so she can reveal to the American people that their leader is, and I quote, “a whore-loving bastard.” She gives Cyrus 36 hours to convince Fitz to make nice with her or have his world blown up.

Holy Mole-y!: Now that Huck’s back from, as Abby so delicately put it, “shaking off the crazy”, he wants to help figure out who baseball cap guy is. And sure enough, he immediately realizes it’s his old pal Charlie. After a brief confab, the Gladiators tell Liv they have a new mole suspect: Cyrus! Liv wisely points out that the last dude they wrongly accused ended up dead, so she charges her employees with proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that her wine-and-whine buddy is the devil incarnate. At the White House, Cyrus makes his best case to Fitz, warning of “the incoming nuclear winter that is your wife.” Fitz suggests Cyrus warn Mellie about the danger of mutual total annihilation, then summons Liv, who storms into the oval office, slamming the door in Jake’s face as she whips off her white gloves and demands… “What?”

No Pain, No Gain: “You do not summon me!” Liv tells Fitz. She tries getting through to him that they’re over. Done. Finito. “I am not a toy you can play with when you’re bored or lonely or horny,” she shouts.  “I am not the girl they’re going to kiss at the end of the movie. I am not a fantasy. If you want me, earn me! Until then, we are done!” Cyrus, meanwhile, presents Mellie with two options: a brilliant political future… or the victim of a whisper campaign that will paint her as a frigid, closeted lesbian who “won’t have so much as a frenemy left within the beltway.” Mellie, however, ain’t buying what Cyrus and Fitz are trying to sell her on. The countdown continues…

In Wine, Truth: Flashing back to season one’s biggest story, Huck reveals to Liv that Charlie killed Amanda Tanner on Cyrus’ orders. Why does he choose now to reveal this info? “Because,” he says, “the last woman that was sleeping with the president wound up dead in the Potomac, and I want you to stay alive.” And at that very moment, an inspired Cyrus is suggesting to Mellie a very permanent solution to the Olivia Pope problem!  With that in mind, he lures Jake to the White House… or at least tries to. When Cyrus shows up at Liv’s place, he winds up face to face with Captain Sexypants. The resulting stand-off between the men leaves Cyrus exiting in a quiet huff and Jake earning the right to join Liv for some wine sippage and truth telling. Liv confesses to fearing that Cyrus might be the mole, and Jake admits he slept with her because “I didn’t know you were the president’s girl.” Although Liv insists she’s going to bed and locking her bedroom door, Jake asking how involved she is with Fitz earns him a passionate kiss, if not a return pass to the promised land that lies on the other side of said door.   

Connecting The Dots: Cyrus may be having a crappy week at work, but James is so excited by his new job that he invites his hubby back into their bed. Cy is thrilled to find out that their marriage is okay. “Why wouldn’t it be?” asks James. “You gave me what I wanted.” James then gives Cyrus… um… what every guy in the history of ever wants. Meanwhile, the Gladiators figure out that Charlie is into both a book club and a book club member. (It should go without saying that the group is reading 50 Shades Of Grey, the only tome referenced on any TV show in the past year.) But the Gladiators deduce that Charlie is only into the woman because she was the stenographer during the grand jury hearings surrounding Defiance. Of course, since Charlie is assumed to be working for the mole, and Cyrus already knew about Defiance, even those of us suck at puzzles are able to piece together that Cyrus isn’t the mole! He is, however, about to have the worst night ever…

With two hours left in Mellie’s countdown, Cyrus begs Fitz to give her whatever she wants. Instead, Fitz goes to see Liv because he wants to know what the woman he loves wants… and that’s her, not Mellie. “I love you more than I love being president.” To prove it, he suggests they sit together and count down the final 21 minutes remaining on Mellie’s Armageddon Clock. At first, Liv wants nothing to do with it, but Fitz implores her to “sit with me and watch me choose you.” Sure enough, when the countdown ends and Fitz is still sitting there, he’s rewarded by a steamy romp… which is witnessed by Jake via his creepy cameras. As for Mellie? She makes good on her threat and grants an interview to – in the least surprising surprise in the history of surprises – James. Cyrus races to try and cut the live interview short, but he’s too late. While Mellie stops just short of saying with whom her hubby has been sleeping, she does tell the viewing public that Fitz has been unfaithful! Watching the broadcast, David muses, “Wonder who he banged?” as the Gladiators exchange comically awkward looks before slinking out of the room. We close on Fitz and Olivia taking a steamy shower… completely unaware of the hell that has been unleashed in the world beyond her apartment doors!

So what did you think of A Woman Scorned? Did you, like me, wind up feeling kinda sorry for Mellie? Are you as excited as me to see what should be the best political press conference since Senator Mark Sanford turned hiking on the Appalachian trail into something dirty? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

Richard Simms is the Executive Editor of  Soaps In Depth magazine and the author of Crimes Against Civility, which is available on Amazon.com.

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