‘Scandal’ recap: A dubious dinner date

Warning: This recap contains spoilers.

For a minute there I thought the most jaw-dropping moment of Thursday’s “Scandal” episode would be that Olivia Pope didn’t always like wine.

Despite her amazing wardrobe, Liv and her predicaments, both personal and professional (but what’s the difference, really), seem increasingly less glamorous. The “hi”-“hi” game between her and Fitz is getting stale and as the lies unravel, it seems it’s our fixer who needs fixing.

Fret not, dear Olivia, we’ve got your back. Because as Rowan put it: “We’re family, sweetie. We’re never done.”

The episode starts five years ago, when Olivia endured a series of dinners with her father to get her law school loans paid off. It’s the era of Homeless Huck and his Union Station-dwelling beard.

The opening credits haven’t even stopped rolling before we move back to present day and there’s Olivia on the phone with Fitz, giggling like a little school girl. She informs Fitz that she’s coming after the White House to save Jeannine, the innocent staffer who was wrongly outed as the president’s mistress.

Fitz offers his encouragement and the the fairy tale equivalent of a consolation prize: “Somewhere, in another life, in another reality, we are married and we have four kids and we live in Vermont and I’m the mayor...”

Sigh.

Mellie and Cyrus, two people with a lot more resolve, make their case for a spin-off show have differing opinions about the Jeannine strategy, but similar levels of ruthlessness. Mellie delivers the first great line of the episode when she discovers that Cyrus has no idea where Jeannine is. “Now we’ve got a bimbo on the loose!”

The bimbo, is, of course, with Olivia Pope, who is going for the jugular (as instructed by Fitz) and conveniently forgetting that she, is, in fact, the president’s mistress. Hey, it’s not a lie if you believe it yourself, right?

Flashback Olivia asks Daddy Pope to look into her friend Huck. Not because Daddy’s the head of a covert group of CIA-trained assassins, but because he’s got a friend in the FBI (the same way I’ve got a friend who keeps listening to Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” using my electronic devices.)

Rowan, still playing the whole “my name is Eli and I work at the Smithsonian” card, is determined to keep the truth away from Liv, even if it means that innocents like Huck and her boyfriend (hi, Edison!) have to suffer. That she pieces it together is about as realistic as the way Union Station looks in flashbacks.

You’re telling me that his daughter can engage in a stealth affair with The Leader Of The Free World, but his black ops situation is so flimsy that Olivia can figure it out with the help of a ballpoint pen, a prominently placed street sign and a bearded David Rosen?

But we’ve got more immediate things to worry about, like...where is our (noble?) friend, Jake Ballard. Liv will go to any length to find out, appealing both to Daddy Pope and her erstwhile lover, the president. Rowan, who makes worlds collide when he shows up at gladiator HQ, is so deliciously evil when Olivia presses him about Jake’s whereabouts that I already want to see Joe Morton win an Emmy.

Fitz, aided by Cyrus’s helpful orders to “grow some presidential-sized balls,” allows Jeannine to take the fall, derailing Liv’s plans, but allowing a weary Jake to go free. Jeannine will be just fine once she gets her book deal. And Scott Foley is back in our lives.

If Jeannine were the only loser in tonight’s episode, we wouldn’t have had the amazing hashtag that emerged Thursday night. As Quinn delves deeper into her Baby Huck persona, her mentor realizes that he’s just crossed paths with B613’s “command,” the man that essentially took everything from him. My jaw nearly hit the floor when Huck confronted Olivia. Is it just me or is the best part of “Scandal” almost always the last five minutes?

Be still, my heart. You know, Shonda and Co., (and I’m quoting Cyrus here, but you knew that), some people just say goodbye.

Lingering questions: Is Daddy Pope’s real name Eli or Rowan? Are we going to have a seat at Sunday dinner? Is Jake okay? Is Huck? Can David Rosen grow a beard again? And most importantly, what’s the name of the wine that got Olivia to start liking wine?

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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