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Scandal 3×12 “We Do Not Touch The First Ladies” Recap

 

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Feelings of jealousy emerge in Fitz, who must confront a hard truth at a presidential event. Elsewhere, Quinn tries to impress B613; and Leo arranges for Sally to meet with an old friend.

Here are the top ten recap moments of tonight’s Scandal, readysetgo:

1. Fitz continues to be the worst, this time over Olivia/Jake

I’m not all that into Olivia and Jake, either, Fitzy, but you could at least try not to be such a chest-thumping neanderthal about it. He’s all “I thought I could trust my bro Jake, but now he has a reason to fuck me over and that reason is YOU, so this is all YOUR FAULT” and Olivia is all “You’re married and I’m not a trophy you hypocritical ass” and then surprisingly enough, they don’t make out this time. Olivia tells Fitz this is the last time, and that she’s going to have Jake by her side for the good of her future whether he likes it or not.

2. Mellie/Andrew backstory

A flashback to 14 years ago explains to us how the affair between Mellie and potential Vice President Andrew came to be. After Mellie was raped by her father-in-law, she started pulling away from Fitz, who was confused and angered by her actions.

Later, Mellie tries to kill herself by overdosing on painkillers, but Andrew walks in just in time to help her throw them up and save her life. He confronts her later, asking her why she did it, and Mellie tells him what her father-in-law did, and how she doesn’t even know if her baby is his.

When Fitz spends a night out of town, Andrew and Mellie are left alone in the mansion. Andrew tells her he misses her, a feeling that Mellie reciprocates but doesn’t act on. Oh my god, so he’s been nursing this Epic Love for years based solely on one night where they stayed up talking for hours? I don’t know whether that’s romantic or sad. Probably both.

3. Harrison’s backstory continues to be slow like molasses

It’s the morning after Harrison and Adnan Salif’s hookup. Adnan has a metric fuckton of money in a briefcase and wants Harrison to “do something for her”, which obviously means she’s up to no good – especially when she resorts to threatening Harrison with telling Olivia about something called Clear Water to get him to do it for her.

Harrison does as she asks, and calls up the Grant Campaign to make a donation with the briefcase money.

4. “Publius” still makes me snicker

James’s short stint as Publius is most definitely going to land him in hot water. Vanessa Chandler, the reporter James had chosen to ask the tough questions about Daniel Douglas for him, is being courted by Cyrus so he can weasel Vanessa’s source out of her. James tries to do damage control, and eventually he and David Rosen decide to leak the tape incriminating Sally for murdering her husband and Cyrus for covering it up.

When Vanessa wants to meet with her source in person, Rosen volunteers to pretend to be Publius. James texts a place and time to Vanessa’s phone, and a quick cut to Charlie and Cyrus reveals this was all a part of the plan – Charlie cloned Vanessa’s phone so Cyrus could suss out Publius’ true identity at the meeting. David Rosen is so screwed. Insert preemptive R.I.P. for his soul here.

5. Drugs in the California Governor’s mansion?

Oh me oh my. A reporter calls the White House asking for a comment on claims that there was drug use in the Governor’s mansion during Fitz’s first term – claims that Andrew tells the group are true. But instead of pointing the finger at Mellie, Andrew says he threw his back out during midterms and needed painkillers, but didn’t want a doctor’s prescription for Oxy getting out, so he decided to “call a guy and get a packaged delivered” instead. Privately, he tells Mellie that someone needs to look out for her, and if it’s not gonna be her husband, why shouldn’t it be him?

Elsewhere, Olivia suspects her father is the source of these claims. She gets Jake to look into it, as Harrison and Abby track down the doctor who gave “Andrew” the drugs. The doctor accidentally reveals the gender of the person who was on drugs – a “her” not a “he,” so Andrew couldn’t have been the package recipient – and Olivia’s team works to discredit him before the interview.

6. Jake’s life kinda sucks

As the official Command of B613, Jake is delivered a briefcase containing tons of top secret operations and information. He reads them all and is presumably shocked by their contents, especially by the file that says he has a secret White House informant that will be making themselves known to him very soon.

Jake heads back to Olivia’s apartment at the end of the day, where they fight about his job, what it entails, and the nature of the word “classified.” In case anyone was still under the impression that the Olivia/Jake pairing of late was the beginnings of an actual relationship, Jake is quick to dispel such thoughts; he expresses frustration at being Olivia’s “beard” and being ordered to solve her problems. According to him, being Olivia’s fake boyfriend means he deserves certain perks, like beer, and real people food. And I thought this show was never going to address the fact that Olivia survives on popcorn and copious amounts of wine.

7. Hollis Doyle makes his triumphant return

Aw, I missed this guy! He’s so ridiculous and yet so fantastic at the same time. Hollis is in a meeting with Sally and Leo to support Sally’s upcoming bid for the Presidency, but Sally’s mind is elsewhere – namely, thinking about how she murdered her husband in ice cold blood. She’s totally losing it.

Later on, Hollis meets with Cyrus, where it’s revealed that he’s going to betray Leo and Sally (or perhaps playing both sides to see who wins in the end).

8. Crazy killer couple strikes again

Charlie continues to dig up info on Rowan Pope solo, telling Quinn that his boss doesn’t want her in on this just yet. Of course, telling her that just makes Quinn want it more, so she takes to following him around on his jobs. When Charlie is called away by Cyrus to deal with the Publius dilemma, Quinn secretly continues tailing Rowan, who’s in the middle of a Sunday dinner with his daughter Olivia. On the way out, Olivia spots Quinn immediately (since she wants to be a super spy so badly, she reeeally needs to work on her stealthiness). They have a hurried conversation in the car, where Olivia asks Quinn to come home, and Quinn tells her she can’t because Huck’s addicted to torture and enjoyed hurting her and she’s not okay with that.

Quinn then tells Olivia to get out, or she’ll shoot her, because she’s “violent now.” I still don’t know where I’m at with this character – on the one hand, she’s gone totally batshit insane and continually makes the worst life choices, but on the other hand, at least she’s not sweeping what Huck did to her under the rug and letting everything be hunky dory again. I don’t necessarily like this storyline, but I get its necessity in terms of what happened to Quinn… I just need it to actually go somewhere.

9. Everything comes to a head

Olivia finds out the true recipient of the illegal Oxycontin package – Mellie – and confronts her, telling her to stop the affair with Andrew for the good of Fitz’s Presidency. Mellie responds by snapping that whatever feelings or desires that may have existed all those years ago, she didn’t cheat on Fitz.

James finds out the Vanessa meeting is a set-up and tries to call David Rosen to warn him, but predictably enough Rosen doesn’t get the call. When Rosen goes to the diner to meet Vanessa, he’s kidnapped (right out in the open, really? I know it’s dark out but you’d think someone would have seen that). Rosen calls Abby in the trunk of the car to tell her he loves her, which made me think he’s TOTALLY GOING TO DIE – at least until the trunk opens to reveal his captors to be none other than Abby and Huck. Fake out! I totally bought it for a second there too.

10. More episode plot resolution

Charlie calls Cyrus to tell him Publius was a no show. Cyrus is disappointed for all of two seconds before Adnan Salif swans up to him, introduces herself, and then offers him unlimited donations to the campaign.

Jake calls Quinn in to yell at her about trying to join B613, at which point Quinn shows off her abilities adequately enough that he shuts up. Elsewhere, Huck tries to apologize to Olivia for hurting Quinn by shoving cups of coffee at her. When Olivia tells him he went too far with Quinn, Huck tells her that she’s the one who went too far – putting a monster on a leash, pretending it was trained and expecting it to behave accordingly. “You should have never given me someone to love. Monsters eat people, Liv, it’s what we do.” If that wasn’t such an awkwardly phrased speech, I’d probably be more emotional about this.

Mellie and Andrew end up consummating their feelings with a steamy makeout session in a scene that’s rendered absolutely, hilariously ridiculous due to the zoomed in shots of all the First Lady paintings in the room they’re in. Mellie runs away pretty quickly after that.

In the final scene of the episode, the identity of Jake’s informant is revealed: a Secret Service Agent named Thomas Larsen, who delivers to Jake everything he learned and heard in the White House that day. Jake plugs in the USB and the first file he opens just happens to be a conversation between Fitz and Olivia, where Fitz asks if she has feelings for Jake and she says “I don’t know.” Ouch. But at least it’s not a no.

Adnan retires to her room after talking to Cyrus, and the identity of her employer is also revealed. MAMA POPE. I was wondering when she’d be back.

Rating: B

Memorable Quotes

Fitz: I am not jealous. I am aware there is a fox in my henhouse.
Olivia: Did you just say “henhouse”?
Fitz: It’s a metaphor.
Olivia: I am not a hen, and my “house” is not yours.

Olivia: I didn’t do this for you! I did not do this for you. I did this for me. So I could work on the campaign, so I could walk down the street and not be whispered about, so I could stop being known as the woman who screwed the president, so the scarlet A on my chest could be invisible, so that I’m not a joke. I am a person, I am not a hen, I am not a prize, and I have a business to run, people to support, a life to lead, a desire to wake up and face myself in the mirror every day.

David: “Publius.” Why did you pick that name?
James: It has a historical significance! Also I never said it out loud.

Cyrus: Girls like to be kissed first, right? Romanced a little before you dive right into their pants.

Andrew: Selling the bromance!
Fitz: How is that even a word?

Jake: I have a job, you know. One that doesn’t involve your family drama.

Charlie: I love it when you go all Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Olivia: This work, this life, B613. You are not cut out for this?
Quinn:
Really? What are my options, because the world is just at my feet right now. I’m a freakin’ princess right now.
Olivia:
Come home.

Quinn: He licked my face. Did he tell you that? He licked my face like I was a piece of meat, like I wasn’t human to him.

Jake: What? You called me, you said it was important, you told me to come home early. I used my official “Boyfriend of Olivia Pope” key. And now I’m here, so what.

Jake: Guessing won’t make it any less classified.

Jake: And one more thing. Stock your damn fridge. If I’m gonna be your fake boyfriend all day I’m gonna come home at the end of it and drink real beer and eat real food. Wine is not beer, and popcorn is most definitely not food.
Olivia: What are you doing?
Jake: I’m gonna take a shower. It’s been a long day and I want to wash it off me before we have pretend sex.

Mellie: What does it feel like? To be so hot for someone, so turned on by them that you would put everything you ever worked for at risk? Does it feel good? Is it an amazing high? Or is it so intense that it actually hurts, like a fire in your belly?

Charlie: What kinda name is “Publius” anyway? Latin for “dweeb”? [who even uses “dweeb” anymore, Charlie, honestly]

Huck: It’s a gesture. It means I’m sorry about Quinn. People get people coffee when they’re sorry. I can get tea instead.

Huck: No, you went too far. You took in a wild monster and you groomed me and petted me and trained me to sit at your feet, but that doesn’t make me a puppy, Liv. That just makes me a very loyal monster.