Scandal recap: 'The Fluffer'
Abby takes charge, Olivia takes advantage of Jake, and Fitz's life is in danger
Abby is in charge! And in case her stating that fact to Cyrus isn’t enough of a tell, her flowing white Olivia Pope-approved coat (above) should say it all. But she’s got a big task ahead of her. The White House isn’t exactly interested in poll numbers and campaign events; Andrew’s black eye hasn’t even healed from Fitz socking him after learning of his tryst with Mellie. Abby is going to need more than a white coat to work Olivia’s magic.
So where is Miss Pope? She’s teamed up with evil incarnate, also known as her dad. The takedown of B613 will be a family affair. And after promising his daughter that he won’t touch a hair on Fitz’s head, Rowan proceeds to spill all of B613’s financial secrets. One person not too happy about teaming up with the former Command? Huck. He’s convinced that Rowan wants something from Olivia and that’s the only reason he’s helping. Huck must have trust issues because of that time Rowan put him in a hole and tortured him. Way to hold a grudge.
Back in the White House, Mellie asks Andrew not to call her anymore, but he’s not listening. He says the first lady deserves to be with someone who doesn’t just pretend to love her but actually loves her. No matter if you love or hate Mellie, I think we can agree that’s totally true. Too bad presidents can’t get divorces. But it isn’t all relationship melodrama in D.C.: Governor Reston is earning some points in the presidential race by visiting his wife in prison. What a mensch!
Another Fitz problem? Jeannine Locke — yes, the woman who had a fabricated affair with the president. But she’s capitalizing on that life-ruining rumor by writing a book all about their fake fling. Smart girl! And the intrepid Capitol Hill reporters are asking the tough questions: Is the president a breadstick or a baguette? “Definitely a baguette.” My favorite part of this whole story is the title of her memoir: Taken for Granted. Puns get me every time.
But Fitz isn’t focusing on this Jeannine problem; he just wants to get Andrew off his ticket. And Liv isn’t having it, calling kicking Andrew to the curb “an amateur move.” She then runs through a list of other services she could provide, from being Fitz’s nanny to his dealer. “Am I your fluffer?” she asks the flipping president of the United States. “I’m not the bad guy,” Fitz barks at her. The real issue: Fitz needs Andrew and Mellie to win this race, so he needs to get over their affair and make nice. I have to say, we get the best speeches when Olitz are at odds, so I’ll take a hostile back-and-forth any day over a make-out session by the Oval Office curtains. What about you, Gladiators?
NEXT: What are Maya and Adnan up to now?
Over at B613, Jake is giving orders to Charlie and Quinn to keep tabs on Maya Pope. Good luck with that. Maya is a currently busy getting reacquainted with an old friend — and giving him piles of money. For what? We don’t know yet. Harrison is also trying to track down Maya (and Adnan), dropping in on old friend Claire to see if she’ll help out. But she wants Maya to be her mentor (good role model, lady), so she declines.
Jake pops by Liv’s place, but she doesn’t want his romantic burger-and-beer visits anymore. She won’t let him in and says they can’t be together, because “you kill my friends.” He bangs on her door, but she still won’t let him in. “I asked you to save me and you said no,” he whispers through the door. Oh man, is Jake beyond saving now? Meanwhile, the old Command is trying to help Liv take down B613, but he no longer has access to the system. That needs to be done from the inside. Looks like Liv shouldn’t have been so hasty in turning down that late-night house call.
While Olivia is focusing all her energy on this B613 takedown, things are spinning out of control at the White House. Cyrus leaked a story about Sally’s daughter getting an abortion, and the VP’s new pro-choice stance is only winning her points with female voters. And Fitz is vetting a new VP candidate behind Liv’s back. Olivia pushes him to say what he really needs, aside from a new running mate: “I need Andrew to stop screwing my wife.” So Sally is cool with her daughter’s abortion and Fitz isn’t cool with his wife’s infidelity. The Hypocrite Express has officially arrived at the White House station. “Consider it handled,” she tells her boyfriend of helping his get his wife back.
So Olivia presents Andrew with a choice: Do you want to be vice president or do you want to screw Mellie? And that’s not the end of the choice. Olivia promises to bury Andrew’s political career if he chooses Mellie, and she’s pretty sure the first lady won’t stick around for long if he’s teaching political science instead of running the country.
Back at campaign HQ, Olivia brings Cyrus and Leo together and proposes a truce: Fitz and Sally team up to take down Governor Reston, making it a two-man race. So Abby and Leo head to the prison to talk to Reston’s wife and inform her that her husband should be behind bars, not her.
NEXT: Quinn’s fatal love life
Charlie and Quinn are keeping an eye on Maya and Adnan, and in the meantime, they’re reviewing each other’s romantic histories. Quinn reveals that her last two boyfriends are now dead, and Charlie says he’s only dated the very “special” Quinn. Nothing weird about that. Claire pays Maya and Adnan a visit to supply them with fake passports, and then she’ll have to leave town forever. Is she sure about choosing this femme-fatale duo over Harrison?
Huck figures out a way for Olivia to access the B613 files, but she’ll need to get some personal time with Jake’s phone to make it happen. Hmm, looks like she’ll need some personal time with Jake too then. Not complaining … even though dude gets more and more evil by the second. But then she rolls to his house, and there he is in just his pajama pants. And I forget all the evil stuff. (Sorry, James.) Olivia gives him one look, and it’s on. Man, she really wants to get into those B613 files! Actually, this is pretty mutually beneficial for all parties involved. The one step she might not have considered is how she was going to go creeping around a superspy’s house for a phone. But she makes it happen and delivers the goods to Huck and Harrison. This woman really needs to find a normal boyfriend…
In another dysfunctional relationship news, Mellie is trying to get back into Fitz’s good graces by laying out neckties that match her dress — ties that he proceeds to throw on the ground. And when Governor Reston visits his wife in prison, she threatens to call the police and file for divorce now that she knows the truth about her husband. But he says no one will believe her and she’ll just get committed. Real stand-up dudes fighting to run the country.
As Olivia and her dad enjoy dinner, they’re joined by an unexpected guest: Maya. She sits down and takes a sip from Liv’s wine glass. Um, anyone want to dial 911? Instead, the ex-couple just brandish steak knives. When Harrison calls, he tells Liv that Maya and Adnan got to Claire first and left her for dead. And then Maya floats out just as breezily as she floated in. This woman is truly hiding in plain sight.
Back in the White House, Abby is settling quite nicely into Olivia’s role — and her wardrobe! That raspberry-colored cinched coat was truly Pope-ian. While Leo is worried that their team-up isn’t working against Reston, Abby shows him the visiting-room video she captured of the governor threatening his imprisoned wife. It’s already on YouTube, so it’s RIP Reston campaign.
NEXT: Mellie’s odd turn-on
Mellie, meanwhile, gives an impassioned speech to veteran women — and apparently talking to servicewomen gets her all hot and bothered (sigh), because she rushes right to Andrew and reconsiders her moratorium on their affair. But Olivia’s either-or worked on Andrew, and he turns Mellie down. Her totally measured response? She walks into a crowded room of presidential staffers and smacks her husband across the face, yelling, “You take everything from me!” Well, so much for secrets.
Abby and Olivia are regrouping after a full day — even for this show — and Liv talks about the time her father tried to put her on a plane and help her disappear. (Remember the innocent times? You know, the beginning of season 3?) Abby — clearly worked up after living in Liv’s shoes for a few days — asks, “You want to know what Olivia Pope would say? You don’t get to run. Gladiators don’t run.” Well, well, well, maybe Abby is becoming more than just David’s favor-hungry girlfriend!
Maya’s boyfriend returns to the hotel room with a lot more than flowers — he’s hand-delivered a bomb, which Charlie calls “the Mona Lisa of boom.” And over at OPA, they’ve managed to gain access to all of B613’s servers. They immediately shut the agency down — just as Quinn and Charlie have eyes on Liv’s mom and her bomb. But just as quickly as they’re popping champagne, Jake bursts in on their office and wrings Olivia’s neck and points a gun at Huck. What has Olivia done? “You’ve just killed the president,” Jake says. Oh damn.
We have two more episodes left in this season, Gladiators. How is Olivia going to save Fitz from her mom? Did we just officially see her last hookup with Jake? Seems like he’s not going to feel too cuddly after this betrayal. And how do feel about Abby as the new Olivia? Her jackets alone are making me enjoy the move. Share all your thoughts on that and more below!
Follow Katie on Twitter: @ktatkinson.