We Need To Talk About Last Night’s Episode Of ‘Scandal’: ‘Mrs. Smith Goes To Washington’

10.18.13 20 Comments

Previously on Scandal: Everyone is terrible. Olivia used to have bangs.

Last night on Scandal, Huck — Olivia’s most trusted employee — set out to kill Olivia’s father because he is the top banana of the top secret murderspy agency that ruined his life and turned him into a robotic killing monster, and when Huck tracked him down and pulled a gun on him, he instead convinced Huck to enter a weird trailer and kill a man who had previously tried to break into the Oval Office to talk to the president to discuss the highly classified military operation the president took part in many years ago that may or may not be shady and criminal, and when Olivia and Huck talked about it later he cried and cried because her dad is an awful manipulative hell beast who uses his power to exert control over people in a non-stop, never-ending cycle of terror. And that was the second craziest thing that happened.


Specifically, Olivia’s new client has a bomb. Strapped to her abdomen. And she is in her congressman’s office demanding answers about why the FBI killed her son. And Olivia showed up in the office and WHOOPS now she’s the negotiator. At the same time Huck is trying to kill her father, and her spy-ex-kissyface-guy is rehabilitating at her apartment after her father released him from a torture hole, and her OTHER boyfriend — the president — is calling the shots on the response to the incident because OH YEAH the bomb lady’s son’s death is ALSO highly classified for reasons involving national security. Jesus. No wonder she drinks wine literally every second she is not at work.

So. Anyway. The bomb. Holy hell, does this get dark. Olivia’s client hands her a check for an oddly specific amount of money, so Quinn looks into it and discovers that it was everything that was in her bank account two days ago. This makes Olivia suspicious — MY GUT IS NEVER WRONG — so she storms off to find the client at her “meeting,” and discovers that said “meeting” is actually a more of a “Surprise! I have homemade explosives wrapped around my upper body and they are wired to a handheld detonator with a big red button that looks like something Wile E. Coyote would have used” drop-in. (Also, the congressman is Duck Phillips from Mad Men, which kinda makes a lot of sense in a way. Duck would fit in really well in Washington.) See, this client has been trying to find out more about the circumstances of her son’s death, but has been stonewalled by everyone because the file on the incident was immediately classified, and it made it look like her son was some sort of terrorist.

Then things happen. Lots of things. Olivia buys time by jumping in front of a window that the snipers were looking through, Harrison runs around the crime scene peppering the FBI with questions like the agents are supposed to stop investigating and/or negotiating during a hostage situation so they can give some well-dressed yahoo on the street information about a top secret government operation, and David eventually blackmails (ish) Cyrus to get access to the file. Which brings us to the twist.

It turns out the client’s son was actually an undercover CIA operative who had infiltrated al Qaeda, and was using his position inside the organization to make “recruitment videos” that would bring in other members of the CIA. The problem was that the FBI didn’t know that he was working for the government, so when they kicked in the doors and found him doing “terrorist” things, they filled his torso with bullets.

The president lays all of this out to Olivia over the telephone, but explains that — because there are still 57 CIA agents still embedded with al Qaeda — she can’t tell the client that, and has to lie and tell her that her son was a terrorist. End result: After Olivia and Congressman Duck Phillips are safely out of the room, the client slams the door and detonates the bomb. Like I said, dark. But I guess it’s like my man Chekhov said, if you strap a bomb to someone before the first commercial break, you best make with the damn boom boom by the credits.


Something dawned on me last night: From a storytelling perspective, (the way it burns through plots, the way it springs outlandish twists and surprises on the audience, the way every single thing that happens is related to either sex or violence), isn’t Scandal really just the wealthy, slightly more sophisticated cousin of “Trapped in the Closet”? Discuss.


I will now spend the rest of this recap talking about Drunk Mellie.

You know, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times: there are not nearly enough shows on television where the First Lady responds to a hostage situation involving her husband’s mistress by getting sauced on hooch in the White House, offering to screw her husband on one of the fancy dinner tables, going on a half-crazed rant about martyrdom and vanquishing one’s enemies, then stumbling out of the room with a big ol’ grin on her face. God, that was the greatest, wasn’t it? Especially the part where she was all, “If your whore had died today, brave and strong … honey, the nails, the wood, the cross you would build and hammer her on, and the worship you would feel the rest of your days down on your knees praying to Saint Olivia Pope…” That’s a special kind of drunk, people. I mean, giggly, mean, honest, and invoking the Crucifixion to explain that she’s happy her husband’s lover survived because she needs her alive so she can crush them both, that’s just … that’s …

Man. Bless her evil little black heart.

Next week on Scandal:: SEXTING. AND MURDER.

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