After a few episodes of mega personal angst, "Scandal" returns to the problems of other people.
Of course, this is "Scandal," so everything still touches on what's going on in Olivia Pope's life. But it's felt like a while since we had a "Pope & Associates tackle a client's issue" episode. (No, we do not count Jeanine Locke, because let's face it — that was all about Liv.)
In previous seasons, Mary Nesbitt's quest to find out what really happened to her son, Christopher Lawrence, would've been enough to fill a whole episode. But the "Scandal" writers have learned that all roads must lead to Pope. So, Mary's bomb threat ties into Olivia's relationship with Fitz, her relationship with Jake, her relationship with Huck, her relationship with her father, etc.
That's how it should be, frankly, and we learned quite a lot about where everyone stands. Here's our tweet-cap of this week's episode:
It's Raining (Difficult) Men
In about the span of 30 seconds, we get an update on where Olivia is with the various men in her life. A bloody Jake is dead asleep in her bed. Fitz calls, but she doesn't want to talk to him. Then, she tries to call Huck, but he doesn't want to talk to her!
Our hearts hurt. Liv and Huck are like the Meredith and Cristina of "Grey's Anatomy" — they're each other's person!
At Pope & Associates, there's a new client — Midwestern, aw-shucks mom Mary Nesbitt. She's hired them to "manage a private family matter," whatever that means. When the Gladiators question Huck's absence, Liv informs them he's taking a personal day.
"We get personal days?!" Abby asks, incredulously.
Meanwhile, at the White House, Cyrus wants Fitz and Mellie to repair the bad PR that his (fake) affair with Jeanine did to his image. Go to Camp David, he exhorts, and take Baby Teddy and those other kids whose names nobody remembers!
"The optics will be spectacular. You will show the American people your love is real and special!" - Cyrus, being delusional #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
Yeah, Fitz and Mellie are like, hell to the no.
Back to Pope & Associates, Quinn finds out that Mary cleaned out her bank account. Olivia, being all WTF, follows her to Capitol Hill, where she discovers Mary is holding a congressman and his staff hostage ... with a C4 bomb strapped to her chest. Holy Gladiator!
Liv thought the "bomb" revealing her affair with Fitz was bad? This *real* bomb is 100x worse! #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
At the same time, some weird guy has managed to get into restricted areas of the White House. He's soon apprehended by the Secret Service, but the incident forces certain protocols:
Camp David is looking pretty good now, right?
The Son Also Rises
At Bomb Central, Olivia is trying to fix the situation. She's on the phone with Harrison to get Mary what she wants: access to son Christopher Lawrence's file. Seems Chris was gunned down by the FBI and nobody will tell her why. Her gut is telling her that something nefarious is going on.
If only she knew that Liv had engaged in a totally destructive affair with the President of the United States.
As Mary continues to get crazier, an FBI negotiator is trying to help Liv defuse the situation. He is kind of terrible, though, so while she's on the phone with him, Olivia totally makes up a compromise: If Mary lets the congressman's staff go, she'll get the file.
Talk about a White Knight — Liv lies to get hostages release. Best. Fixer. Ever. #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
Fitz and Mellie are released from the Chamber of Marital Doom, and the president is briefed on the hostage situation. He immediately orders a SWAT team to target Mary if they get her in sight, not knowing the woman he loves is in danger.
But just when Mary crosses a window, Liv throws herself in front of it. Fitz knows now! What will this woman not do for her clients!
Olivia makes one more call, and we totally think it's Fitz, but when the president answers his phone, it's ... Jake?! Fitz's face = WTF. Anyway, Jake passes on Liv's message that they need to open Christopher Lawrence's file, stat.
Liv is using JAKE as a middleman to Fitz? Oh, this is too good #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
What You See, What You Get
Meanwhile, apart from all of this, an unhinged Huck is tailing Daddy Pope and follows him to a trailer — which ends up being the home of the White House intruder. Color us confused.
So, Liv's dad hired the White House intruder? Whaaaaa #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
As Eli/Rowan steps out of the trailer, Huck puts a gun to his head. Uh oh.
In the hostage negotiation circus, Harrison is doing his best to talk some sense into the FBI, when a mysterious woman lets him know that Christopher Lawrence was a terrorist — and there's video proof. She seems really shady, and Quinn tries to look her up in the FBI database.
So, Quinn … you're not quite the New Huck yet, are ya?! #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
With Huck still MIA, Abby has to go to their only other source of FBI info: David Rosen. He doesn't want to play ball at first and calls Olivia "reckless." As he says, "It's called enabling."
Finally, Abby's feminine wiles work on David and he looks up that mystery FBI woman. Surprise, surprise — it turns out she doesn't work for the FBI!
So, David puts on that white hat and goes to Cyrus to get Christopher Lawrence's file. Cy is all snooty and, well, Cy-like, and lets David know that this is all above his pay grade. But David isn't one to back down and lays down some evidence about what really happened to the Chief of Staff. "I may not have the Cytron card anymore, but I do have a conscience," David says. Hell yes!
David vs. Cyrus - Cy doesn't know what to do with someone who's so NOT corrupt #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
Cyrus, you got SERVED.
In the next scene, David, Cyrus, and the president call Olivia. They tell her what really happened: Christopher Lawrence worked for the CIA. He infiltrated Al Queda and turned 57 people into sources. The FBI killed him without knowing who he really was. And if they expose his identity now, those 57 sources will die.
And none of this info can be relayed to his mother, Mary.
Oh snap, Chris Lawrence was a hero, but nobody can know? That's messed up #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
Olivia is indignant, of course. She wants to tell Mary, her client, very badly. But when she hangs up, she furthers the lie and informs Mary that Chris was a terrorist.
Mary breaks down, sobbing in Liv's arms. The congressman is able to leave. But just as the two women are about to follow, Mary pushes Liv out and shuts the door. As SWAT pulls a screaming Olivia away, Mary detonates herself.
What Mary did was very wrong, but still … we feel bad for her. She'll never know the truth #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
Playing the Hand You're Dealt
The bomb crisis is over, but nothing's been solved, really, for most of the characters. In the White House, Fitz finds a drunk Mellie throwing back shots of moonshine.
He, quite nastily, notes that she didn't get her heart's desire — Olivia blown up by a bomb. Quite the contrary, Mellie replies.
"If your whore had died today, brave and strong," she says, Fitz would've anointed her St. Olivia Pope. "I'd lose," she adds.
"As long as she's still alive, well, she's your flaw — your Achilles' heel — which makes her my weapon. She's the strings I'll pull if need be to make my puppet husband dance."
Mel doesn't want Olivia to die because she'd lose. OK, all our newfound like is gone. #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
As for Liv, she goes to her office to find a really scary-looking Huck there. Thanks to Quinn, she knows that he was following her father around all day.
Finally, Huck cracks. No, he didn't kill her dad. Because as much as he hates him, Huck still couldn't pull the trigger. And he even murdered the White House intruder for him. "He owns me, Liv. He owns me!" Huck cries. Sad Huck is terrifying.
And it gets worse. Olivia goes home to confront Jake. Why ... no, how is he there? Knowing what happened to Huck, she has realized that her father doesn't let go of his B-613 members that easily. So, is he there to spy on her?
Jake has no clue, and we believe him. But Olivia knows better than to think her father did any of this without reason. "This is not a fairy tale. This is not a happily ever after," she warns.
"He still owns me, too," she says sadly.
"Nobody walks away from him. He controls everything." Olivia could be talking about her dad or Fitz, really #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
This almost feels like a horror movie, where the phone keeps ringing and whoever answers is going to be the next one to die #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 18, 2013
"Scandal" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC.