‘Scandal’ recap: Show me the file

Warning: This recap contains spoilers.

Let’s all say it together and get it over with: There’s no way that woman could have gotten past security at the U.S. Capitol building with a bomb strapped to her chest.

Feel better? Good. Let’s talk about all that was right with this episode. First of all, how amazing was Drunk Mellie’s monologue? Our feisty first lady was in rare form as she served Fitz a hooch-induced rant, delivering several of the episode’s best lines. “I am spectacular, but I can’t compete with religious fervor.” Cheers! “She’s the puppet strings that, if need be, I will pull to make my puppet husband dance.”

Then there’s David Rosen, who technically can’t be my favorite gladiator because he’s not actually a gladiator. But he held his own against Cyrus, so I think he’s earned an honorary gladiator card (they should have cards, right?).

Also notable: Marion Barry resumed live-tweeting the show and has some pretty strong opinions about the Metro scenes. Jake, safe, sound and shirtless in Olivia’s apartment. Cyrus (because: Cyrus). Quinn, who is really taking the whole Baby Huck thing to the next level. And Papa Pope, manaical as always, and quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of this show

But let’s not altogether ignore Mary, a woman who owns craft glue, a sewing machine and a homemade bomb, which she wears to the Capitol to get answers about her son, Chris Lawrence, an alleged terrorist who was killed in an FBI raid. Olivia, wary of her latest client, follows Mary to the Capitol and finds herself in the middle of a hostage negotiation. Olivia’s gut, seemingly on hiatus for the last few episodes, tells her there’s more to the story as Mary presses to get the file on her son declassified.

Meanwhile Fitz and Mellie are temporarily whisked away to safety because someone who wants to talk to Fitz about Operation Remington just, you know, casually separated himself from a White House tour and headed for the Oval Office. Fitz was eager to head to the situation room, probably because nothing was scarier to him than the news Cyrus had delivered earlier: that he’d be spending a “weekend of love” with Mellie at Camp David. Forget Marta. Cyrus is the real White House nanny and he doesn’t take any stuff: “You will show the American people that your love is REAL and SPECIAL. You will make the magic happen.”

In reality, it’s David Rosen, who makes the magic happen, with major assists from Abby and Harrison. He confronts Cyrus for information about what really happened to Mary’s son. The truth eventually makes its way to Olivia, via Fitz, who is adamant that Mary cannot know the truth: that her son was a hero, who infiltrated al Qaeda cells for the CIA. Telling Mary would expose Chris’s 57 recruits, whose lives would be at imminent risk..

Left with no other choice, Olivia lets Mary believe her son was a terrorist. Mary forces Olivia out of the room and detonates the bomb, killing herself. A shaken Olivia heads back to the office (come on!) where a very distraught Huck awaits her with an update on what he’s been up to — don’t you hate it when your personal day plans go awry? Huck may be just one Papa Pope sighting away from 7:52, 7:52, 7:52...

And it seems that Olivia might need a personal day herself. Not even Jake, who always says the right thing (“Your face saved me. I’m here because you saved me.”) could cushion the blow as Olivia faces another hard truth: we’re all puppets and Papa Pope pulls the strings.

Sorry, Mellie.

Lingering questions: What is Operation Remington (show me the file!)? Do Jerry and Karen actually exist? Is Huck ever going to be okay? And what’s with the men of ‘Scandal’ negotiating for dinner dates?

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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