Scandal recap: 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?'
Olivia's daddy issues run deep, Fitz lies about his affair to save Jake, and Huck freaks everyone out
WHAT THE HUCK. I have not in any way recovered after seeing Huck choke-slam Olivia against a car at the end of this flashback-heavy episode 2, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” Their relationship was so special. In Grey’s Anatomy parlance, Huck was Olivia’s “person.” And now what? Is Huck about to go kill Daddy Pope, the “Command” of B613?
I’ll back up in a minute, but the episode ended with another surprise: Capt. Jake Ballard is alive, bloody, and collapsing at Olivia’s doorstep. And horror of horrors: get this. He says “Hi.” HI. What! That’s supposed to be Fitz’s simple greeting to Liv after he survives a near-death situation. Not Jake’s. What’s next — Noel tossing Felicity a simple “Hey”? That’s Ben’s line. Scott Foley can’t win. #BadJake.
Jake looks like he’s been plucked straight from the hole and deposited at the door by — I don’t know, a magical zip-line attached to Daddy Pope’s cell phone? He needs to be dipped in an epsom salt bath, stat. But all Liv has in the house is wine!
I’m calling him Daddy Pope because the Rowan/Eli switch is confusing me. And because “Daddy Pope” is trending on Twitter. Twitter is my puppeteer; I apparently have the same relationship with it as Olivia does with her father. (Also, I’m sorry I’m not Katie Atkinson, who did a killer job on last week’s premiere recap. Katie’s out of town. I miss her almost as much as you do.)
First, the flashbacks. Five years ago: Olivia and her dad have a standing date for Sunday dinner. He wears some really sharp sweaters (sartorial pride clearly runs in the family) and speaks serenely about his boring Smithsonian job. These dinners are paying off her student loans…and feeding her buddy Homeless Huck back at Union Station.
After Huck saves Olivia from a mugging in his typical ruthless-killer fashion, Olivia gently asks for the scoop. He tells her all about B613, veering off into a somewhat incoherent ramble involving “Acme Limited,” “Command” and “Wonderland.” So Liv asks her dad to look into it, and I can’t say enough about Joe Morton’s acting here. Throughout the episode, he’s able to convey both “extremely terrifying” and “fiercely kind,” with a sort of baseline “steely-eyed, tremendously composed monster” running in between. He barely flinched when she brought up the CIA offshoot…that he runs. This guy controls everything. His daughter, the President, the country, possibly the world. Four things, at least.
He’s also responsible for Liv’s love of fine wine.
“I don’t like wine. I’ve never had the taste for it.” A truly haunting Olivia Pope flashback.
NEXT: ‘We’re family, sweetie. We’re never done.’ Daddy Pope lies to Olivia that Huck was a seasoned criminal, but she doesn’t believe him and scuttles off to one David Rosen — with facial hair and black hipster glasses! — for a more thorough check. David can’t find anything on Huck; his prints from her purse were clean. Just then Olivia notices that the pen she’d lifted from her dad’s house says “Acme”. Wait, why are there branded pens for this fake company fronting a secret organization? It doesn’t matter. Stay focused.
Olivia connects the dots and snoops around near the Acme Limited building on Wonderland Ave. — hey, that was easy — in one of her billion pristine coats of the episode. (You never know when you might be whisked away into a chilly fairytale when it comes to Wonderland.) When Olivia confronts her dad — “What do you do for a living? Don’t tell me it’s fossils.” — he pauses for a long time, then calmly yet intensely insists, “You do not want to know me that way. But if you push, you will… and that will break my heart, because I’m enjoying these Sunday dinners.”
We also learn Daddy Pope set up Edison in an “accident” at the Washington Monument and is the reason Olivia didn’t marry the senator. The same night her dad reinstates Huck as a resident of Union Station (you know Wonderland must be really bad when the fake D.C. Metro feels like a luxury hotel), he calls to inform her he “just had a strong feeling Mr. Davis isn’t the right man for the job.”
“THIS IS OVER. WE ARE DONE,” she screams.
“We’re family, sweetie. We’re never done.”
Back to present day: Quinn a.k.a. Baby Huck has taken it upon herself to read through Olivia’s lifelong email records as if it ain’t no thang. What, is she bored? Quit yer hackin’, lady! Focus on Jeanine’s hemline! Quinn’s discovery that Liv and Daddy stopped meeting for dinner five years ago, just after discussing Huck, makes Huck realize Olivia had made a deal for him. She’d lied. So he nearly strangles her in the parking garage. I can’t even deal with that.
There’s so much more happening! Agh, this show. This is the SECOND EPISODE. And I haven’t even mentioned Fitz’s presidential-sized balls.
NEXT: Secret cell phone, activate! Olivia gives a press conference for her client, Jeanine Locke, saying she did NOT have sex with that man. Fitzgerald Grant. Over in the White House, Cyrus urges Fitz to “grow some presidential-sized balls,” go out on TV, and say they DID have an affair. But Mellie and Cy can’t push those massive balls around. Only the president’s girlfriend can do that.
Daddy Pope shows up at OPA (talk about balls) and has a heated behind-glass-windows conversation with his daughter. And all roads lead back to Jake: “If you ever want to see Jake Ballard again, America will believe it was Jeanine Locke who had an affair with the president,” father threatens daughter while grabbing her cheeks (thereby foreshadowing the final scene with Olivia and Huck). I love Olivia’s controlled “pleasant face” — her coworkers were watching! — as she seethes “What. Did you do to him.” in a similar cadence to last week’s “What. Did. You. Do.”
“Ask your friend, Huck,” her evil dad replies. So without making the connection between B613 and her dad for Huck, she begs Huck for details on what exactly the CIA offshoot does with its…investments. “They use the hole,” he shudders. “That’s when they make you wish you were dead.” No! Not her Jakey!
So Liv calls the White House, a casual acquaintance to which she need only announce “I need him” — not even her name! — and someone knows what to do. Jam-Master Pope on Phone Line One, sir. Liv reminds Fitz that Jake Ballard saved her life, he reminds her that Jake is not exactly his favorite person, and she goes for the romantic jugular. “Get him away from them, please. For me.”
But it’s not that easy. After hilariously pretending for a few seconds that he didn’t know what B613 was, Cyrus informed Fitz that he can’t just request things from that organization. They don’t answer to Fitz. They’re not like the Dalai Lama; his presidential balls have no way of entering their basketball court. Fitz is screwed…unless he admits to the affair with Jeanine.
NEXT: ‘You’re evil.’ ‘You’re welcome.’ –Cyrus and Mellie Meanwhile, Mellie gets busy after fuming at some annoying talking heads on the news who suggest she set Jeanine and Olivia up out of jealousy, a move which may have ruined her political career. Oh hell no. Mellie speeds off in a town car to the place of nightmares — Olivia Pope’s apartment, where Jeanine’s staying — and convinces the former White House staffer to confirm the fake affair for a cool, tax-free $2 million.
Jeanine, flush with heavy makeup and the promise of wealth, seems eager to confess that she’d indeed spent those late nights at the White House juggling presidential-sized balls. Olivia verbally throttles her with a wakeup call: If she lies, she’ll hate herself forever and ever, especially when she looks in the mirror. I still feel like Jeanine will go for the money. All she’d have to do is throw out her mirrors? That’s easy!
The decision isn’t Jeanine’s to make, in the end: Fitz calls a press conference to confirm the affair. (Does Jeanine still get the money? Or will she have to settle for a book deal, one Abby insists will set her up for life?) As Fitz explains to Cy on one hell of a sexy power trip, he had one of two options: Reveal Cy as the orchestrator of the Jeanine lie and get them both kicked out of office, or lie himself and get Jake released.
“How presidential are my balls now, Cy?” A rhetorical question, as both Cyrus and the president’s balls were about to explode.
Sally Langston is not buying all this, so expect some big blowback from her next week along with a woman (possibly Jeanine’s mother? is that nuts?) who’s about to set off a bomb. BOOM. Click click click click click. Scandal.
What are your thoughts, Gladiators? #GoodJake or #BadJake? How much red wine did episode 2 compel you to drink? Would Olivia approve of its quality? Would anyone else not mind an entire episode of the Vermont-based alternate reality Fitz and Olivia still desperately want to jam in? Is Huck off to kill Olivia’s dad? WHAT WAS IN THE FOLDER?
Fun fact: EW’s Sandra Gonzalez was a reporter at Fitz’s press conference! Read all about her experience as a ‘Scandal’ extra over on PopWatch.