Scandal recap Season 3, Episode 14: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

This recap contains spoilers.

This week’s ‘Scandal’ started off with a bang — literally.

We picked up from last week’s cliffhanger to find that Jake had killed Shelby, the NSA contractor, “Style reporter,” Vanessa Chandler and … James. Poor, poor James. I will miss the way he softened Cyrus’s cold, black heart, his Middlebury references and his questionable journalistic practices (though, to be fair, no one on this show understands the phrase “conflict of interest.”)


Cyrus works through the pain. (Credit: Richard Cartwright/ABC)

This was an emotional episode — almost enough to make me forget that Cyrus once came thisclose to having James killed. In addition to Cy’s grieving, there were cameos from both Mama and Papa Pope, a passionate Huckleberry Quinn kiss and an even steamier encounter between Mellie and Fitz’s VP pick, Andrew Nichols.

Jake spared David Rosen, but only on the condition that he help cover up what truly happened. David showed up the next morning to investigate the scene of the “carjacking” that killed the White House press secretary. That put some tension between David and Abby, who once again, proved that she was all in: “I love you, you are my heart, what happens to you happenes to me.” David finally confessed that Jake let him go and set up a fall guy to go to jail for James’s murder. I won’t apologize for shipping Dabby, but clearly this full disclosure makes them a target for Jake.

Can we talk about Jake for a second? Jake, who a mere two episodes ago was Olivia’s dutiful (fake) boyfriend? It seems we’ve lost him too — he basically threatened to kill, Olivia, no? “Bad things happen to good people all the time.” Who are you and what have you done with Jake Ballard, lover of Olivia Pope and Lincoln Burger?

It didn’t take long for Olivia, with some help from Huck and Abby, to figure out that Jake was the one who killed James. The fact that Jake admitted to the killings showed some compassion for Liv — it’s hard to see Rowan doing that. The final scene showed Jake comforting — B613′s version of comfort, anyway — James as he slipped away, so he wouldn’t die alone (we’ll ignore the fact that surely someone would have seen or heard something going on in the middle of the street). I can’t imagine Papa Pope doing that either.

Papa Pope could barely summon the sensitivity required for a father-daughter chat. He relented after Oliiva confessed she just needed her Dad. And then he proved that maybe he should be chief White House speechwriter: “Everyone is worth saving. Even the monsters, even the demons!”

If you thought Papa Pope was cold, his estranged wife makes him look like Heathcliff Huxtable. Maya “I don’t make bombs, I make money” Pope shot someone simply because he wasn’t the terrorist she expected to be meeting with. She has Adnan Salif so scared she’s running to Harrison for help.

Adnan wasn’t the only one with a poorly executed cry for help. After Huck discovered that Quinn had stolen intel about the Daniel Douglas murder, he paid her a little visit, admitting that he had planned to kill her, but then realized she wanted him to catch her on the safe’s camera.

I don’t think anyone with even a cursory knowledge of “Scandal” is surprised that Huck and Quinn shared a kiss, but it’s a little late in the game, what with half of the show’s fanbase calling for her to be killed off. But props, or something, for jumping so quickly from Quinn spitting in Huck’s face to the two making out furiously.

Making out a bit less furiously were Mellie and Andrew, sent to Texas to schmooze with the NRA after Sally tried to take political advantage of the Grant administration’s mourning of James. This episode marked the return of Drunk Mellie, who didn’t seem too distraught over James’s death, by the way. Andrew used Fitz’s indifference to woo her: “It’s a shame. That he can’t see you the way I do.”

Sally seems a lot better, but I’m thinking (hoping) that we haven’t seen the last of her guilt-ridden insanity. In other insane news: Olivia struck an alliance with David, pledging to take down B613. Good luck with that.

I loved the flashbacks to the early days of Cyrus’s and James’s relationship, particularly the highlighting of Cy’s struggle to come out. My favorite scene of the episode was Cyrus’s breakdown — ugly cry, if we’re being honest — at the press conference as he remembered dancing with James at Fitz’s first state dinner.

If Cyrus was a monster before, I can only imagine what he’ll be like without James.

Lingering questions: What is Mama Pope’s next move? Are David and Abby safe? How long before Huck and Quinn see each other again? Wait, Jerry and Karen actually exist? And how long before the truth comes out about James?

Bethonie Butler is a producer and a reporter on The Post’s engagement team. She oversees online comments and has also contributed to The Style Blog and She The People.
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