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‘Scandal’ recap Season 3, Episode 13: They’re all murderers

Warning: This recap contains spoilers.

Well, that didn’t end well.

As promised, ‘Scandal’ delivered in the last 60 seconds. Of course, we’re not entirely sure what happened. It’s implied that either James or David Rosen met an untimely end, but we’ll have to wait a week to find out. Before we get to that, let’s talk about what we do know.

In an episode with heavy biblical themes, Fitz had a revelation. And by golly (channeling Sally here), I agreed with him: “I don’t believe this. I am surrounded by people who have completely lost their minds.”

Olivia and Cyrus look worried. And they should be. (Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC)

Amen. The one undeniable truth of this week’s episode is that it was full of crazy . Olivia laughed maniacally. Cyrus went all sing song-y while talking about mur-der-rers. And just when I thought Sally couldn’t get any more bizarre, she delivered a terrifying rant about (I think?) bacon. Not going to lie, I kept rewinding my DVR to hear Sally say: “Yum, yum, crispy piggy, yum yum.”

The episode started with Jake schooling someone (presumably Quinn) on what life is like in B613. “No family, that’s the first rule, no connections.” And then things get biographical with Jake detailing his rather sad back story: “I never really had a family anyway,” he says. “I’m more from this group of people related by blood.”

Over at the White House, Leo Bergen is forced to call in Sally’s pastor for reinforcement. The consensus? Sally’s gone off the deep end. In another wing, Mellie does a very fine impression of a sane Sally,  as she helps Fitz prep. As he watches Fitz run circles around stand-in Sally, Cyrus gets excited and calls Liv to tell her the good news.

Olivia’s too busy listening to Cyrus helping Sally cover up the fact that she murdered her husband. David Rosen, Huck and Abby confront Olivia with the recording from that fateful night. David brings Olivia up to speed and she’s incredulous: “This is ridiculous. If Cyrus Beene needed to cover up a murder, he’d come to me!”

Olivia goes to confront Cyrus and the realization of the evil around her is so all-consuming that she starts laughing uncontrollaby. She actually sounds a lot like Papa Pope! It’s a classic Liv/Cy moment. Olivia: “They’re all murderers.”  Cyrus: “Nobody’s perfect.” Olivia says she “wants to walk into the light and feel the sun on my face.” She tells Cyrus he’s on his own. Do. not. believe.

Things are a little more believable back at B613, er, I mean Acme Limited. Apparently, not a fan of the Smithsonian, Jake has created an alternate universe in which he sells paper for a living. The face of this fake business is a receptionist with bad phone etiquette. That receptionist is named Quinn, who feels her talents are being underutilized. “Where’s my mission. Where’s my gun? I need to become a B613 agent!”

Rowan, the one person who can probably most relate to Quinn’s undeniable urge to do B613’s dirty work, threatens to fire Leo Bergen if he can’t make the whole Sally-as-president thing work. The message: The only thing Papa Pope steadily employs is euphemisms. He will fire you even if you don’t work for him.

Olivia goes to visit one of Rowan’s erstwhile employees. Having apparently listened to Jake’s argument that popcorn and wine does not a meal make, Olivia cheerily heads over to his apartment with burgers and wine. Is it just me or is their dialogue becoming just as tortured as Olivia-Fitz discussions. Liv wants to pretend to be normal. Jake makes some clever small talk about being employee of the month for hawking industrial grade paper and then he asks Olivia to run away with him. She demures and drinks more wine. See, crazy? He literally asks her to save him and all she can do is make out with him… for which I’ve deducted one crazy point.

Later, she makes out with Fitz. In front of an open window, proving that Vermont or no Vermont, sun or no sun, she will always choose Fitz.

That’s not the only bad habit Olivia falls back into. Despite informing Dabby that she would have nothing to do with helping Cyrus cover up his shady dealings with Sally, she asks Fitz to throw the debate to stop Sally from confessing to murdering Daniel Douglas during the debate.

I realized that I don’t think I’ve heard Fitz say anything about being the leader of the free world since “Scandal” returned (to be fair, we’re only three episodes in). But he was probably thinking it when he opted not to follow Olivia’s suggestion and instead taunt Sally into confessing. Eventually, he thought better of it and it’s a good thing since Jake had ordered Tom to take her out if she veered too far off script. Sally lives to see another episode. 

Thanks to some post-debate gloating from Leo Bergen, Cyrus discovered the bug in his photo frame and figured out that James is Publius. Did we see a genuine moment of contrition from Cyrus? James heads to meet David, Vanessa Chandler and the NSA contractor who brought David the recording of Cyrus and Sally. Having received what he wanted from Cyrus — an apology — he wants out of their noble quest for justice.

Unfortunately for James, Jake is nursing a broken heart. After Jake realized Olivia was forever on Team Fitz, he summoned all his B613-ness and decided to go to work. He relieves Quinn of her receptionist duty and offers her a mission — to find out what Olivia Pope and her gladiators know about Daniel Douglas’s murder. It’s strongly implied that Jake killed Vanessa Chandler and the NSA contractor and makes either James or David his next Target.

But this is “Scandal” after all. Like Olivia said, “It’s literally murderers’ row”

Lingering questions: Obviously: Who got shot? Also, You’re telling me Harrison wasn’t in the office (with Adnan) when Quinn went looking for intel? Does Kate Burton (Sally) have a blooper reel? Can I stand in the sun with Jake? Because I’ll do it. 


Bethonie Butler writes about television for The Post.



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