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Scandal 2×17 “Snake in the Garden” Recap


Hollis Doyle returns!

On this week’s episode of Scandal, Hollis Doyle’s daughter is kidnapped, Fitz’s behavior comes to a head with Mellie, and we learn more about Jake Ballard.

Olivia Pope & Associates

Olivia tries to get Quinn to go home because her client-of-the-week is none other than Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry). His daughter (Julie from Desperate Housewives??) has been kidnapped, and a videotape made with her crying, saying the hostages want him to wire ransom money to a bank account. If Hollis doesn’t do what the hostages want, then he’ll never see his daughter again.

Hollis is convinced that the video is fake and his daughter is simply acting, based on years of film school and acting classes. His ‘favorite’ ex-wife, who believes the videotape to be real, is horrified by Hollis’ nonchalant attitude.

25-year-old Mayibel Doyle (Andrea Bowen) is the youngest of Hollis’ eight children and only daughter with his fourth ex-wife, Manhattan powerplayer Debora Clarkson. Mayibel has a history of drug abuse, and Hollis had cut her off financially after her fifth stint in rehab. She and her boyfriend Justin – another ‘useless’ rich kid – had resorted to dealing, stealing cars, and forging checks. “Think Bonnie and Clyde on pills and coke and speed.”

Hollis believes she’s simply trying to get money from him through a fake kidnapping in order to continue her drug habit and party lifestyle. While he wants Olivia to get his daughter back, he refuses to pay the ransom.

Quinn is upset that the firm is helping Hollis, but Harrison (Columbus Short) reminds her that she needs to put on her gladiator suit. Ugh. Shut up, Harrison.

The gladiators are trying to figure out where the kidnappers are holding Mayibel, when Hollis’ current wife/girlfriend/assistant brings a package… containing a severed ear. They talk to Mayibel over the phone. She pleads with her father to give the kidnapper the money, but Hollis denies that it’s even Mayibel’s ear.

Harrison asks Olivia why they’re helping Hollis at all. He even refers to Hollis as ‘the devil’, just as Quinn had before. Olivia tells him that “even the devil loves his kids.”

The kidnapper sends pictures of Mayibel with her ear cut off. Hollis becomes visibly distraught and tells Olivia to pay the kidnappers whatever sum they want. He just wants his daughter back.

Olivia tells Hollis and Debora that the best way to handle the situation is to wire only half of the money, otherwise they’ll never see their daughter again. Once they can assure Mayibel’s safety and return, they’ll wire the rest.

Quinn is getting refreshments from the mini-fridge when she sees Hollis crying. She offers him a drink, when Hollis tearfully says that he let his daughter down. Poor Hollis.

The kidnapper finally calls back. Olivia and the others have twenty minutes to get to the drop-off location. They quickly wire the rest of the money, and Mayibel is freed. The family reunites at the hospital, where Hollis thanks Olivia.

Huck closely examines Mayibel’s severed ear in the conference room, when he suddenly makes an epiphany.

Turns out Mayibel cut her own ear. Hollis was right. She had staged her own kidnapping, after all.

Huck is able to intercept Mayibel before she gets away. Olivia tells Mayibel that they re-wired the money back to Hollis and also that they’ve called the police. Mayibel is irritated that she wasn’t able to get away with it. Her mother is shocked and upset that Mayibel would do something like this.

She wants Mayibel to come home so they can make it right and fix whatever damage they’ve done to her. Mayibel tells her that it’s too late.

Olivia advises Mayibel to take her family up on their offer. No one would get a second chance after what Mayibel has done, but she’s being offered one and she’d be stupid not to take it. Hollis offers Mayibel two options: she could either take the $20 million or she could choose to be with her family. If she takes the money, she can never see her family again.

Mayibel chooses to take the money. Hollis tells her to ‘go awn! git!’, like she’s a bad dog.

Huck and Quinn

Quinn (Katie Lowes) and Huck (Guillermo Diaz) are tailing CIA director Osborne (Kurt Fuller), while Quinn proposes that they find a new ‘family’ for Huck.

It was revealed in an earlier episode that Huck, the creepy former contract killer, kept tabs on a random family in the suburbs. He liked to ‘watch’ them. But that was before they were brutally murdered by Becky/‘Cocaine’.

Anyways, Huck avoids the topic by pointing out that the CIA director is onto them.

Later in the episode, Huck accidentally walks in on Quinn leaving a message on her father’s answering machine, wishing him a happy birthday.

After they’ve solved the case-of-the-week, Huck drives Quinn over to a family’s house. The family consists of a single father and a young daughter. The mother died of cancer a few years back. Quinn is initially confused, because it’s not the ‘perfect’ family Huck wanted, until Huck tells her that the family is for her – not for him.

Quinn is touched.

David Rosen

Someone has completely ransacked David Rosen’s (Joshua Malina) apartment. He ends up sleeping on the couch at the headquarters of Olivia Pope & Associates, and staying there for the time being – given the fact that his life is in danger.

Mostly, David spends the episode eating cereal and observing Olivia and the others deal with the case-of-the-week. Every once in a while, he’ll chime in with some advice.

He tells Olivia and the team several times that they need to call the FBI. Huck explains that the survival chances of the hostage are 50% lower if the FBI get involved. Olivia Pope & Associates is the best chance this girl has to being rescued.


David fits in nicely with the other gladiators. Maybe Olivia will end up recruiting him?

The White House

Cyrus (Jeff Perry) tasks his contract-killer-on-speed-dial Charlie (George Newbern) with keeping track of Jake Ballard (Scott Foley).

Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) wants Jake’s help with the Kashfari situation. He needs people he can trust, and if things go well, there might even be a permanent post available for Jake at The White House.

Mellie wants to know what Cyrus has found out about Jake. An annoyed Cyrus tells her that he hasn’t found out anything – yet. Later, he revels in the fact that Hollis’ daughter has been kidnapped.

Fitz is planning for his children, Jerry and Karen who are both away at boarding school, to come visit for the weekend and play tennis. Mellie doesn’t seem to think that’s a good idea.

Cyrus tries to justify election rigging to Fitz. It seems to work because Mellie watches from the other room as Fitz sits Cyrus down and tells him that the mole is Osborne.

Fitz is furious that Mellie canceled Jerry and Karen’s weekend visit. He accuses her of not loving their children, but Mellie reveals that they didn’t want to come. Fitz refuses to believe her. But Mellie tells him that the kids – teenagers, in fact – have noticed how Fitz has been acting differently. He always reeks of scotch, he’s mean, and he didn’t make the kids’ last visit very enjoyable for them.

Fitz is devastated (as he should be).

Jake Ballard and Albatross

Jake is still spying on Olivia, and he watches as Olivia gets a text from Quinn telling her that Osborne is headed directly to her apartment. Jake’s cameras cut out just as Osborne confronts Olivia about the fact that she’s having someone follow him.

Olivia threatens Osborne and gets him to leave the apartment, but she’s visibly shaken up by the incident. Thankfully, Huck arrives.

Olivia tells the gladiators that they need to lie low and back off of Osborne until they have solid proof that he’s the mole leaking information to the Kashfari terrorist organization.

Jake breaks into Olivia’s apartment and fixes whatever was causing the surveillance videos to not work. He also tells Fitz that the mole is Osborne, and that he knows because he saw Osborne threatening his source. Of course, Fitz doesn’t know that the source is Olivia and Jake refuses to reveal her identity.

Olivia prepares for her date with Jake, when Cyrus mentions Fitz over the phone. Olivia ends up canceling the date and when Jake arrives, she confesses to him that she’s still trying to get over someone.

Jake lists all the reasons why he likes Olivia and proposes that he could be Olivia’s do-over. Then they kiss. And Jake leaves with a ‘goodnight’, letting Olivia think he’s some suave motherfucker when really he’s been creepily spying on her with surveillance cameras.

Osborne confronts Cyrus over the fact that The White House is investigating him. He tries to get Cyrus to believe that he’s not the mole, but Cyrus basically tells Osborne that there’s nothing he can do. He serves the President, and that’s that.

Osborne ends up committing suicide in his car, but wait!

In the last scene of the episode, Jake meets with some shady guy on a bench and tells him that ‘it’s done’ – everyone thinks Osborne committed suicide and that he was the mole. Turns out Jake killed Osborne to make it look like a suicide. Is Jake our mole?

Dun dun dun.


Awesome episode! The case-of-the-week was interwoven very nicely with the overarching plot.

I loved seeing Hollis Doyle again, and his give-no-fucks attitude for the first half of the episode. Of course, I haven’t forgotten the fact that he blew up an office, killing seven people. (Wonder if that’s ever going to be addressed again…)

Mellie’s confrontation with Fitz, along with the scene of Olivia setting Hollis Doyle’s daughter straight (or attempting to, anyways, because anyone who cuts off their own ear cannot be reasoned with), were my favorite this episode. Mellie pretty much snatched Fitz’s weave at the end of this episode.

Jake is seriously creeping me out and his sociopathic face needs to go. Why can’t Olivia find a nice man for a change? Crossing my fingers this happens next season. Hopefully.

Rating: A

Memorable Quotes

Cyrus: Put him under the microscope, see what you find. The more dirt, the better.
Charlie: It would help to know why I’m doing this. Is he sleeping with your husband?
Cyrus: In a manner of speaking… yes.

Hollis: Even if it wasn’t a hoax, I got me eight kids with five wives. If I paid up, they’d just come take the rest. I’d be stuck working the drive-thru at Gettys Burger just to pay ransom.

Harrison: Signs point to a struggle.
Abby: Could be she’s just messy. Rich people take things for granted.
Harrison: Not shoes. Not these shoes.
Abby: Didn’t know you kept up with fashion.
Harrison: I keep up with girls who keep up with fashion.

Jake: I might be the worst guy in the world, or I might be the best. Whoever I am, I like you. I like you a lot. I like how you say ‘what’ when you answer the phone. How you always seem to be wearing white. How wine seems to be a food group for you. I like that you know who you are, and that you fix everyone around you.

Olivia: Poor little rich girl.
Mayibel: Excuse me?
Olivia: What was it? He worked late? She missed your dance recitals? They threw you in reform school, rehab, they tried to buy your love instead of earning it? Whatever they told you in therapy, whatever sad cliche you’re still holding onto after all these years, it doesn’t matter. No one feels sorry for you – not anymore. You’re being offered a fresh start, a clean slate, a do-over. That doesn’t happen. No one gets that – ever. And if you don’t take it, you’re not just spoiled and selfish, you’re stupid.

Mellie: It’s you. You’re different. And, maybe I’m cold and maybe I don’t have the mother gene, and maybe a thousand other things that make me such a horrible, villainous bitch in your book. But in Jerry and Karen’s book, I’m still their mom. I haven’t changed. It’s you.

Scandal airs Thursdays on ABC at 10/9 central.