New Show Recap

New Show Recap: Scandal, 3×03, “Ms. Smith Goes to Washington”

We open with Olivia huddled in a corner, watching a sleeping Jake, who is covered with bruises and possibly some blood, but who is artfully draped in one of Olivia’s Pratesi sheets and otherwise shown to his best advantage. She cuts Fitz short when he calls about Jake, but calls Huck to see what is going on. He’s OK, but has something to take care of.

There Are Three People in This Marriage (Oh, Wait, Four if You Count Cyrus Beene)

Cyrus and Mellie are strategizing about how to improve the couple’s image. That includes a retreat to Camp David. Both of them balk and otherwise act like a real couple for once, in the sense that the two  squabble about feeding the baby and about Fitz’s ability to father the baby. Cyrus is not having any of their nonsense. He yells, ” YOU WILL SHOW THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THAT YOUR LOVE IS REAL AND SPE-CIAL. YOU WILL MAKE THE MAGIC HAPPEN.” Cy’s face is getting a bit flushed in this scene, which makes me hope he isn’t going to have another cardiac incident.

Meanwhile, some guy whose name will be revealed to be Foster rushes into the White House and is tackled by Secret Service agent. He yells that he is a member of Operation Remington and needs to talk to Fitz. Fitz and Mellie are rushed off to a safe room. Cyrus eventually tells the agents to let him go.

Back to Work

A drab week for Olivia Pope fashion is followed by an outfit that drew an admiring sigh from me. For most of the episode, Liv is dressed in shades of soft blue and is wearing a capital-C Coat of such intoxicating beauty that it probably previously made a living luring sailors to their death with its unearthly beauty and haunting song.

Photo of MaxMara coat
I couldn’t find a good picture of Liv wearing this coat, but it is worth showing. Attention must be paid. (Photo of MaxMara coat courtesy of

At her office, she is introduced to her new client: a somewhat jittery Mary Nesbitt, who is played by well-known character actress Cynthia Stevenson. She wants answers about the death of her son, an alleged traitor who was killed by the FBI, but first she darts out to a previous appointment; Olivia, on instinct, follows her. Sure enough, Mary has done something that seems more reasonable after the government shutdown: she has gone to her Congressman’s office, strapped herself with explosives and wants someone to do something NOW. (Stevenson is chewing some scenery, but it works — she really conveys how desperate she was to find out the truth and how no one has helped her. Liv is one of nine hostages.) Olivia takes over the negotiation and manages to get six of the nine hostages released. She has to throw herself in front of a sniper’s scope to do so, but Fitz is watching, so she is pretty safe.

While being held hostage, Liv tries to talk to Fitz about this, but Cyrus says Hell to the No. He’s not going to deal with a third straight week of Olivia Pope headlines. Fitz acquiesces, even though he could very well override Cyrus — why doesn’t he? Is it because Olivia has Jake as a houseguest? Liv tries to get to Fitz via Jake, but Fitz somewhat snarkily tells Jake that Jake won’t be able to save the day this time.

Team Olivia tries to help her get to the truth. Harrison gets a planted lead from a fake FBI agent. Abby has more luck; she is able to get David Rosen to step up and help Liv. (BTW, Abby and David are definitely still negotiating an ongoing relationship. It looks like that new hair has made her irresistible.)

Olivia tries to get answers for her client, but that’s not happening. Fitz finally tells Olivia the truth, because he’s got to be the answer guy. Jake can’t do that for her, can he? Her client’s son was a hero, but if he discloses that to her, 57 people — operatives around the world — will die. Olivia lies to her client, who breaks down. They prepare to leave, but at the last moment, Liv’s client shoves her out of the way, closes and locks the door and BOOM! blows herself up. Olivia is injured, but not majorly.

So Liv is safe, which must be a disappointment to Mellie, right? Our First Lady is much cannier than that. She is having a drinky poo in the dark when Fitz arrives to taunt her about Olivia not being blown to bits. Mellie, whose Southern accent comes out when she’s in her cups, sneers at that. Why would she want Olivia to become a martyr? Saint Olivia Pope, who saved the day. Instead, “As long as she’s still alive, well she’s your flaw, your Achille’s heel, which makes her my weapon. She’s the strings that, if need be, I will pull to make my puppet husband dance.” She staggers off, with the parting note, “So cheers, baby. Drink up. I live to fight another day.” Drunk Mellie is more fun and more menacing than regular Mellie.

Because I Said So

Huck is doing the world’s worst tail of Eli, but either Papa Pope doesn’t care, or he doesn’t notice. No one seems to notice that Huck has pulled out a sizable gun on a crowded sidewalk and has clearly quickened his pace to get closer to his prey, either. Eli’s a bit distracted by a phone call from Cyrus, warning him about the Remington problem (AKA, Foster). He heads off to up the bribe/menace Foster into shutting his yap. He is confronted by Huck outside of Foster’s hideout cabin and instead of killing Eli, Huck ends up killing Foster on Eli’s order. Eli saw the tail coming and graciously offers Huck the chopportunity of a lifetime: go bananas on Foster. He’s even handcuffed Foster and given Huck a straight razor and duct tape so he can put his own stamp on the work.

Later, Huck has a tete a tete with Liv. Liv is concerned that Huck has killed Eli, but it turns out Eli gets Huck to kill Foster for him. A weeping Huck tells Olivia that he knows he’ll never be free from Eli, and from his desire to kill. He is what he is. He’s not alone: Olivia can’t escape her father, either. Or Fitz.

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Huck (Guillermo Díaz) face off in his office in ABC's "Scandal" episode 3.03
Poor Huck — he’ll never escape his past or his tendencies. (Photo courtesy of ABC.)

Honey, I’m Home

Liv gets home to be greeted by Jake, who has already ordered from Gettysburger. He kisses her on the cheek like they are a long-term couple. Ignoring the constant phone calls from Fitz and Eli, Liv asks Jake why he was released — what’s Jake’s end game? She knows Eli doesn’t do things like this for no reason. “Nobody walks away from him. He controls everyone.” He tells her that the thought of her face kept him sane in the hole. None of this points to the idea that Jake is going to become obsessed with Liv, none of this. She ignores his non-answer and tells him he’s alive because Eli still has a use for him, but not to feel bad, he owns Olivia, too.

Olive Pope (Kerry Washington) & Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) face off in ABC's Scandal episode 3.03
Jake, don’t mess with Olivia. Do you see the smudges on her clothing? She’s not in the mood for evasion. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

Other Notes

  • If clothes are any indication, and they are in this show, Mellie is definitely out of sorts, and therefore dangerous. She is wearing a dark red jacket with black accents, which is a contrast from her typical jewel-tone Michael Kors sheath dress.
  • Jake definitely looks better scruffy.
  • Quinn is being a little smug about her sneaky skills. She’s a little flippant, too, saying that she hacked into the client’s bank account because she could. Someone’s pride cometh before a fall, I suspect.



By Moretta

Moretta will take that applause. Her Twitter is

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