SOMETHING HAPPENED! Something ACTUALLY happened. There was a showdown of wits between Mellie and Fitz over who would cave and who would launch the attack. And Melody “Mellie” Grant, First Lady of the United States, Lady Macbeth of the West Wing, didn’t blink.
It’s a game changer.
Listen, I know things happen on Scandal regularly. Crazy things. But when it comes to Fitz, Olivia, and Mellie, they’ve been dancing around half-decisions and declarations in secret for so long, I was beginning to worry that this was just the new reality of the show. And right up till Mellie’s Krushchev moment, I have to admit I was actively annoyed because we’ve seen it all before! We’ve seen Fitz try to get Olivia back, we’ve seen him get shamed into staying with Mellie, we’ve been surprised when he tries to throw everything away just to be with Olivia. And “A Woman Scorned” felt like the same old score. But Shonda Rhimes and company are too clever for that and they threw us something big. It could be the Amanda Tanner moment of season 2, but we still have two episodes yet, and I’m not ruling out an actual Amanda Tanner moment while Charlie is still in the picture.
So, let’s get to it Scandalites. A scorned woman waits for no recapper.
Last week’s slow burn into Huck’s backstory and Olivia’s hospital stay was a bit divisive. For all those lucky fools who are waiting to binge-watch season 2 on their DVR, “Seven-Fifty Two” will probably come as a necessary break from the sometimes relentless place of the show, but for we weekly watchers it was a bit too slow after such a long break. This week, things picked up. Huck was back in action. The Gladiators got back on the hunt for Albatross. And Olivia, Fitz, and Mellie finally started standing up for themselves and admitting what they wanted.
“A Woman Scorned” opens with Olivia swimming. A scored woman in her own right — we all know that when things get tough, Liv goes swimming. Not like, fun swimming. This is intense, deep, flashback-inducing competitive swimming (in a pretty fabulous suit). But she’s not alone this time. She’s never alone anymore. Captain Jake Ballard is there. His surface reason is that the President asked him to. The secret reason is that Joe Morton’s Mysterious Park Bench Man needs him to stay close. Though Jake is clearly conflicted (he even asked MPBM last week if he could be reassigned), it’s still not completely obvious where his allegiances lie. Is it with B6-13? Is it with Fitz, his old Navy buddy? Or is it with Olivia? For the purposes of this episode, it doesn’t really matter yet. He has a hand and we’re not supposed to see all his cards yet. So even though we’re teased with a few hints of who he ultimately feels beholden to, they’re all conflicting. Captain Ballard might have the best poker face in the Scandalverse. But that just makes me even more suspicious of him.
NEXT: Cyrus’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day