‘Scandal’ recap: The answer to ‘Any Questions?’ is definitely yes

I don’t know about you, but I’m kicking myself a bit after last night’s episode of “Scandal.” If you haven’t watched it, I’ll say it here. Spoilers. Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. I can’t address the most important part of the show without spoilers. And what a doozy of a spoiler there was.

I didn’t want to believe that David Rosen (the always wonderful Josh Malina) could be a fox in the henhouse, but of course it makes sense. Why would he ever align himself with the gladiators? Abby screwed him over (literally and figuratively), and his career became collateral damage as Olivia and her people trampled over him in pursuit of bigger game.

When he played dumb about the identity of the “whore” who was sleeping with the President, the gladiators should have known he was never as clueless as he seemed. Watching some of those scenes again, I finally see that Malina delivered some of David’s most “unwittingly” caustic lines with just the hint of a smirk. David knew he was talking about Olivia, and he loved that he was about to mess with her game. There’s a reason why Malina became an Aaron Sorkin favorite — and it’s not just his ability to deliver tongue-trippingly fast dialogue. 

Still, I understand why the gladiators got used to the idea that David was always a step behind. He’d been outmaneuvered in the past, so it made sense. Finally, it was their devotion to Olivia Pope that blinded them to what might have otherwise been obvious — not everyone owes her as much or feels such intense loyalty. When he finally retrieved his Cytron card (which, really, was his to take), they still blamed an outsider — Charlie — without ever considering they’d been played. 

I’m now wondering what’s going to happen to Charlie, who knows B613 won’t stop looking for him anytime soon. After tonight’s episode, I feel a sliver of sympathy for the guy. Just a sliver, mind you. I know he’s a cold-blooded killer and he did off Amanda Tanner, but I can’t help but remember that he’s also the guy who let Huck escape once before. That favor has been returned, obviously, though not before Charlie could bring up another question I’m sure all of us have asked ourselves — why is Huck alive and roaming free? Why hasn’t B613 come after him? Olivia told Huck there was no deal to save him, but if not a deal, what leverage does he have we don’t know about? 

That’s a question for another day, because I still have a lot of questions about the mole himself. What the heck does Billy Chambers want? Actually, I’m sure he wants a lot given the steep price he paid after the Fitz-Tanner mess, but what exactly does he hope to get? The satisfaction of destroying Fitz or Sally? Publicity? A scandal on which to somehow capitalize? As Sally Langston’s former Chief of Staff, he certainly has a bone to pick with Fitz, but I would think he’d have a bigger gripe with Sally. Fitz never had loyalty to him, but Sally threw him under the bus. 

A lot happened in this episode; some good, some bad. The good? Mellie’s new fixer is Captain Jack Harkness! Okay, that only resonates with “Torchwood” fans, but I’m thrilled to see John Barrowman on network television in the States. I also can’t wait to see another “fixer” in action. He probably won’t be quite as good as Olivia (no one is), but we’ll get a chance to compare methods.

On the bad side of the spectrum was the moment when Cyrus took his husband James down a notch or twenty. While all of it was surely true — Mellie did get James the job at BNC with the express purpose of hurting Cyrus — it was horrible to see Cyrus crap all over James’ hopes and dreams. “Are you saying I’m not good enough?” James bleats angrily. If Cyrus wanted to stay married, he might have said something like, “You are good enough, but that’s not the issue, dear.”

Instead, he tells James that he was stupid to think BNC would give a plum assignment to a guy “approaching 50” and who was a bit doughy on camera. Yes, Cyrus was stressed and upset and couldn’t really be expected to behave himself, but still, ouch, ouch, ouch. To see James fall apart as Cyrus left the room was heartbreaking, because we knew the poor guy had really believed he’d gotten his big break. To realize it was just a chess move that had everything to do with Cyrus and nothing to do with him clearly wounded him so deeply I’m wondering if he’ll even be able to get up the next morning.  

As for the return of Olitz (I still like Fitzlivia, but the collective has spoken), I’m always a little amazed at how easily Fitz’s opinion can be flipped. Even though he’s clearly been thinking about sticking to one term for months, one rallying speech from Olivia and he’s ready to run again. Yes, she’s the one that he needs and the one he can hear most clearly, but he might have grappled more. Not that there was time to grapple in this episode. And I bet there won’t be any time in next week’s finale, either.

Were you surprised by the identity of the mole? Do you like Melle’s new fixer? And what did you think of Cyrus’ confrontation with James?