Here’s the deal: I watched the first two seasons of Scandal in about 48 hours this summer and I have been struggling to talk about literally anything else in the world since then. (“Hey, we’re thinking about grabbing a drink after the movie. You wanna come?” “JUST WHO THE HELL DOES CYRUS THINK HE IS, ANYWAY?”) I can’t help it. The show is like a freight train loaded with nitroglycerine that’s barreling down the track and the wheels are lifting off the rails at every turn, and you’re standing there next to it screaming “OH GOD SLOW DOWN AND ALSO WHY WOULD ANYONE FILL AN ENTIRE TRAIN WITH NITROGLYCERINE THAT SEEMS IMPRACTICAL,” but just as it looks like the train is going to smash into a hospital it throws on the brakes and screeches to a halt at the station and unloads the cargo like it was all no big deal. Then it loads up with even more volatile cargo and screams off again into the night. Every week. It’s insane. I wish there were a way to put the whole show straight into my veins.
So. That’s why I am recapping it this season. I don’t even care if you read these. I just need to get this stuff off my chest or I will explode. That’s what’s going on here. There will be lots of capital letters.
To the recap.
Previously on Scandal: Jesus. There’s no time for this. Everything happened. EVERYTHING. There, now you are caught up.
Last night’s episode opened with Olivia in the limo with her dad (who is also the head of a top-secret shady-ass government murderspy program) moments after the world has found out about her affair with the president. He spirits her off to a hangar where a private plane is waiting for them, and explains that he’s shipping her to an island for eight months with a new identity to protect her from the fallout from the affair. In the process, he delivers a speech that was so far over the top that I think it actually went into space and started orbiting the Earth. (Sample line: “I know more than you can POSSIBLY IMAGINE about things of which YOU CANNOT DREAM!”) Between that and the second speech he pummeled Olivia with later, which was basically an updated version of Jack Nicholson’s rant at the end of A Few Good Men, he was the MVP of the episode by a mile. Also, he is the scariest person in the world.
Anyway, Olivia boards the plane, but decides not to go through with it after a phone call from Cyrus. She’s staying to fight. Which, I mean, yeah. The show’s called Scandal, not Olivia Changes Her Name To Wendy Bikini And Drinks Rum Drinks On A Secret Private Island, you know? (NOTE: I would still watch.)
But back to last night. The majority of the episode was devoted to two issues: 1) Olivia and her team trying to find out who leaked her name to the press, and 2) Olivia, Fitz (the president), and Mellie (the First Lady) trying to figure out how to handle the situation. The first one featured everyone scrambling around looking for intel while also dealing with the fact that all their clients were leaving them. It was definitely the B plot of the episode, for a number of reasons we’ll get to in a minute, but I wanted to mention it first because it featured the most Scandal sentence ever when it finally reached it’s climax and tied back into the A story.
The second thing took up most of the episode, thanks mainly to a long, extended scene in an NSA military bunker in which the three attractive corners of the powerful love triangle (a real acute triangle, if you will oh god I’m so sorry) meet to lay out their plan of action. They end up agreeing to tell the press that Olivia and Fitz only slept together twice, to try to avoid lots of investigations about misappropriation of funds and preferential treatment, which is a hilarious and blatant lie because Fitz, the President of the United States, said this phrase to Olivia, his mistress, at one point last season: “I may not be able to control my erections around you.” Mellie goes full-on roid-rage-Lady-Macbeth while this is all happening and does that thing where she’s so furious that she talks without moving her mouth. She’s an awful, conniving, mean-spirited person, but I really can’t blame her for being fired up here. Even awful people have a right to be pissed sometimes.
Hey! Speaking of awful people! Cyrus! I’m going to skip over most of what he — and the Vice President — were up to last night because I need to get to the last 15 minutes of the episode, but I would just like to point out that the show giving Olivia a backstory two full seasons in via a dossier that was secretly assembled by a high-ranking government official is like one step removed from the thing the Fast & Furious movies do where The Rock introduces a new character by walking up to him or her and saying “Officer Davis. I read your file. Gradated from the top of your class. Eight years on the force. Always get your man. Impressive.” This is not a complaint. Comparing something to the Fast & Furious movies is the highest compliment I know how to give.
Which brings us to the last 15 minutes. Which were insane. Cyrus, Mellie, and Olivia’s team — unbeknownst to Olivia and Fitz — work together to release a tape of a drunk presidential aide babbling about how “hot” Fitz is at a party and pin the affair on her. WHICH IS TERRIBLE. THEY RUINED HER LIFE. HEY LOOK! IT’S PERD HAPLEY!
Cut to: the Oval Office. Mellie confronts Fitz and reveals that she figured out it was HIM who leaked Olivia’s name to the press, which is why she sold out the innocent aide. THE PRESIDENT LEAKED HIS OWN MISTRESS’S NAME TO THE PRESS. AND IT TURNS OUT HIS REASON FOR DOING IT WAS SO THAT THE FIRST LADY COULDN’T USE IT AS AMMUNITION ANYMORE. AND THEY ARE “AT WAR” NOW. THE PRESIDENT AND THE FIRST LADY ARE AT WAR. THUNDERDOME.
Oh, and the whole thing ended with Olivia’s dad sending a disgraced hitman to drug Cyrus’s husband, kidnap Cyrus, and bring him to a secret location so the murderspy organization could reveal to him the hyper-classified things that the president once did during a hyper-classified military operation, none of which we got to see or hear because CLIFFHANGER.
All of those things happened in the first episode of the season. I love this show.