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New Show Recap, Scandal, 3×05, “More Cattle, Less Bull”

Ah, Scandal.

Olivia is back to her Sunday dinners with daddy, Eli. He originally seems pleased with the progress they are making, but she points out that she is just doing this so he doesn’t make her friends kill people. Eli retorts that if Huck and Jake mind their business, he’ll leave them alone. Huck and Jake have no intention of doing this, and have actually teamed up to get the goods on Eli by stealing files from his computer while he’s eating dinner with Liv.

It’s Campaign Manager Season

Hey, it’s that guy from Private Practice, pawing and gawking over Oval Office history and souvenirs. A potential presidential campaign manager, he speaks very candidly to Mellie and Cyrus Beene, saying that Fitz looks like a loser who hasn’t had a good lay in months. “It smells like Nixon in ’74.” To twist the knife,  he closes by pointing out that he knows that he is second choice because they blew it with Olivia Pope. OMG, this guy is a crass asshole, or, in the parlance of this article, a crasshole.

Olivia Does What She Does Best

Liv, on the other hand, is being asked to be a campaign manager by Congresswoman Josie Marcus (Lisa Kudrow, y’all). She is attempting to prepare Marcus for her presidential run, and that involves how to spin the now-grown child that Marcus gave up at 15. Liv isn’t cowed by the admission, and she presents a few alternative ways to handle the situation by getting out in public ahead of it. (Side note: I love these scenes where we see exactly why Olivia Pope is who she is — her assessment of Josie Marcus as a political candidate, and her proposed solutions about the baby, are spot-on.) Marcus doesn’t want to go public, she wants it hidden, and for the best of reasons — the child she gave up is a grownup now, and she doesn’t want her daughter’s life exposed. The Gladiators head off to scenic Red Springs, Montana, to see what they can dig up, and to silence everyone involved.

Road Trip!

There isn’t quite a team environment among the Glads, though, since Huck is slightly distracted by the research he is doing with Jake; Abby is bantering on the phone with David, and promising to attend the upcoming White House Correspondents Dinner with him; and Quinn is sulking about being shut down from the action because of her growing disconnect from appropriate behavior. (Huck has shared her recent activities with the team, which surprises me.) However, even distracted Glads are pretty darn efficient, and they find out that the baby’s father is about to make an announcement to the press, fueled and funded by Cyrus’s man-on-the-ground investigator, Baby Huey. (Well, he’s not Baby Huey, but he is clearly no match for any of the players he’s rubbing shoulders with.) Liv and team just barely dig up enough dirt to put the kibosh on this interview, but it’s clear that Congresswoman Phoebe is very vulnerable, and that this story will out.

Listen to Olivia, Y’All

Cy is seething at the way Olivia trumped him. He needs a campaign manager, and he needs a way to get the Marcus information out. He decides to leak it through Reston, one of the other presidential debate candidates. However, they are Poped again: Liv figures out that Marcus is about to be sandbagged, and Marcus is forced to explain on the spot, although she doesn’t mention the second part of the story, which is that the woman the world believes to be her sister is actually her child. Her sister, who is Marcus’s assistant, clearly does the math. Marcus is so mad that she fires Liv, who she thinks doesn’t get the true priority, which is that Marcus has profoundly damaged her relationship with the most important person in her life. (She’s right. Liv’s compassion chip has clearly fallen out.) Watching at the White House are Fitz, Mellie and Cy. Cy is apoplectic that Liv has handled the situation, while Mellie is depressed and withdrawn. Fitz, however, surprises me because the expression on his face is pride — he really does admire Olivia’s great brain, and he’s happy she won this point.

It’s Suppertime!

Everything leads to the White House Correspondents Dinner. Olivia reluctantly confides in Jake that every year she has vetted Fitz’s jokes, and she’s waiting to him to ask her. As they reach the drop-deadline, Fitz finally calls and Olivia feeds him the jokes. He also says Marcus is a fool for firing Liv. She is so cheered by this interaction that she invites Jake to be her date to the Dinner. Where she wears THIS:

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) in Scandal 3.05 "More Cattle, Less Bull"
I prefer Liv in softer lines, but wow, she looks super-chic here. (Photo Courtesy of ABC TV.)

Fitz’s Liv-crafted jokes do well at the dinner. Later, she is asked to step away from the table by several Secret Service agents. She is ushered into a room where we expect to see Fitz, but it’s Mellie, who is begging him to become Fitz’s campaign manager. Mellie confesses: “You’re everything to him. He needs you.” She tearily begs Liv to come back. Oof, that must have hurt. Jake senses that his presence is merely ornamental at this dinner, and he tells Olivia he won’t play second fiddle to anyone, even POTUS.

Mellie’s dress is pretty awesome, too. She wears her hair differently than in this picture, and she wears more stately jewelry (see below), but I couldn’t get a full-body picture of the dress from the show, so here it is.

Bellamy Young wears a long, red gown at the 2013 NAACP Image Awards.
Mellie’s Dress is lovely, too. She wore her hair differently, though. Source: Scandal-Moments Tumblr
Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) points out his devoted wife, Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) in Scandal 3.05 "More Cattle, Less Bull"
Fitz points out his devoted wife, Mellie, at the dinner. (Source: ABC TV.)

Fitz Fights the Power and There is a Big Reveal

Fitz really wants to shut down Rowan, but he’s hitting dead ends. As Cyrus warns him, people who go after B316 end up dead. But why, exactly, does he want B316? BECAUSE it turns out that the big secret of Remington is that Fitz shot down a commercial airline over Iceland. On the passenger list? Olivia’s mother. DAMN. DAMN.DAMN. The episode ends with Huck and Jake at Olivia’s doorstep, prepared to tell her this game-changing news.

Other Notes:

  • Quinn is so annoying. Thwarted at finding out what Huck is doing, and grounded during the Marcus investigation, she gets sulky and ends up obtaining a GUN. I can’t even…I just…(insert eyeroll here)…UGH.
  • Abby wants to make it work with David, she does, but when she bails on the Correspondents Dinner, it looks like she has undone it. Fortunately, David is observant and realizes that the presence of her ex-husband is what kept her away. This is so sweet and sad, and I hate Abby’s abusive ex even more because he denied her the opportunity to wear that seafoam-green bias-cut satin dress that was made for a redhead.
  • VP Sally is considering a run as an independent. Her husband seems like a handsome gadabout, not unlike the way Fitz was depicted in his early career.

Quotent Quotables:

  • “I like your new boyfriend, Liv. Is he married?” — Mellie to Liv because she just can’t stop herself.
  • “I gave her a world-class education in the Dark Arts!” — Cyrus, shocked at Liv’s ingratitude/life’s ironies.

Mysteries of Scandal

We are introducing a section on Scandal’s unanswered questions. When we are finally tired of asking ourselves, we’ll get some opinions.

He’s really, really, ridiculously good-looking, charming and funny. His wardrobe is expensive and sartorially edgy, especially for Washington, DC. So why isn’t Harrison getting any?

There are a few possible theories about this, but mine is fairly simple: Harrison is destined for Liv and he needs to be worthy of her, and that means that like Sir Lancelot, he needs to be celibate.

Darby Stanchfield and Columbus short pose on the set of ABC's Scandal.
Wow, these two are stylin’. (Photo courtesy of DarbysOfficial Instagram)

By Moretta

Moretta will take that applause. Her Twitter is https://twitter.com/GobezMoretta.

One reply on “New Show Recap, Scandal, 3×05, “More Cattle, Less Bull””

Is it just me, or is the idea that Liv’s mother was on the plane that Fitz shot down a big “OH COME ON” moment?

Or is there backstory that makes his killing her intentional that I’m just not aware of, since I don’t follow as closely as I should?

AWESOME recap by the way!! Love it.

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