After a romantic getaway with Fitz, Olivia Pope is in for the surprise of her life

By Katie Atkinson
Updated November 22, 2013 at 04:30 AM EST
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S3 E8
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Following a tragic detour into Mellie’s past, Scandal brought us right back to Olivia Pope’s D.C. this week, and I have to say: It was comforting to reunite with Olitz and the B613 mystery. What was overshadowed by Mellie’s backstory last week was (possibly) the worst-kept secret in Shondaland: Maya Pope is alive and…not well, exactly, but alive.

We begin tonight’s episode where we left off, with Eli visiting his dearly un-departed wife in prison. And while Maya is desperate to see her little girl, Eli has a much different plan: to whisk her away to an even more secluded corner of the world.

The morning after Quinn’s first brush with B613, she’s probably wishing all she needed was a Plan B pill to forget her night out with Charlie. But she really did kill that security guard, and there’s no way her Pope & Associates colleagues won’t figure it out. She puts on a happy face and heads to the office, where they’re working to solve the murder she committed.

Cyrus, meanwhile, starts putting his plan into motion to bury VP Sally Langston by, you know, pimping out his own husband. He of course makes James think he’s doing him some big favor by landing him a puff piece for D.C. Times on Daniel Douglas, but we all know the seedy truth. Hadn’t Cy finally won James’ trust back after that whole rigging-the-presidential-election thing?

As if the Gladiators didn’t already have their hands full, OPA heads over to Josie Marcus’ place, where there’s been a break-in. A laptop with campaign info has been stolen, but the jewelry was left behind. Sister/daughter Candace is convinced it’s the Reston campaign, but Liv tells her not to make any accusations she can’t back up.

NEXT: Maya Pope’s prison food must be terrible

Back at the White House, Mellie is in her own version of marital bliss, reviewing her interview with Fitz, in which he jumps to his wife’s defense and appears to, you know, actually like her. But the president is thinking about someone else: The infamous Fitz-phone is ringing, and Olivia isn’t answering. Liv’s mom, meanwhile, is just as determined as her daughter is — determined to GNAW THROUGH HER OWN WRIST. (There’s a reason I watch Scandal and not Grey’s, Shonda: I cannot handle that much blood. Yikes.) But this stunt will buy Maya some more time.

Quinn is out collecting security footage, but this isn’t an OPA errand; she’s looking out for herself. Jake catches her in the act, so she has to admit that she has the footage and share it with the group. As always, Baby Huck does something to earn her infantile nickname.

Somehow, David Rosen still allows Abby to come into his office, and she’s asking her on-again, off-again man to raid Reston’s campaign headquarters in search of Josie’s stolen laptop. (Worth noting, David reveals his own personal nickname for the Gladiators in this scene: “Pope-heads.” It has a ring to it!) And apparently they’re on again: Abby suggests David start using his snore clips or she’ll kick him out of bed. Why do I even bother keeping up?

Operation Honey Trap is a go (is this our new Remington?), and Cy asks Mellie to butter up Daniel Douglas to make a pass at James. Even the first lady considers this a “new low,” but she goes ahead with the plan, telling DD that Cyrus and James have an open marriage and setting the scene for a come-on.

Quinn is moved off the investigation of the murder she committed, but she has to pass her ill-gotten security footage to Huck. Girl, you’re screwed. And speaking of screwed: Against Liv’s orders, Candace holds a press conference accusing the Reston campaign of the burglary. Olivia is already at her wit’s end when the Fitz-phone is ringing yet again. Instead of merely throwing the phone away and digging it out of the garbage, she goes for broke, smashing it into tiny pieces. Jake witnesses this completely well-adjusted display and says what everyone’s thinking: “If the president wants to talk to you, he’ll find a way to do it.” Jake must see his chances with Olivia slipping further away every day. He could rent out D.C.’s best winery and fill it to the ceiling with Gettysburgers, all for her, and he’d still get nothing from Liv. You Olitz fans must love this tipping of the scales!

Huck has a breakthrough on the security footage, spotting a reflection of a woman in a window. It’s only a matter of time until Quinn’s face is on Huck’s monitor. Quinn, meanwhile, gets a break on the Marcus break-in: The laptop was found at Reston campaign HQ. David rallies the FBI troops to raid Reston’s offices, and Candace congratulates herself for her press-conference stunt.

NEXT: It’s hard out here for a pimp

James’ first day of interviewing Daniel Douglas didn’t go so hot, so Cy keeps creeping lower by suggesting an at-home interview, a tight V-neck sweater, and a nice bottle of bourbon to “open him up.” Just call him Heidi Fleiss.

Just as Jake guessed, Fitz found a way to talk to Olivia: by letting her know that he knows who her father is. She hops a helicopter to Vermont, and while Fitz is in a romantic mood — wearing his best cable-knit sweater next to a crackling fire and talking about the local artisans who built his Vermont bungalow — she bristles at the subject of her dad. But this isn’t just any house: Fitz built it for Olivia. “This was going to be you and me raising a family and growing old together in this house…and I just wanted you to see it at least once before I sell,” he says. Yup, that does the trick: They’re making out like old times.

Back in the secret hospital of the secret prison (what kind of compound is B613 running?), Eli brings Maya photos of Olivia. Well, not photos so much as press clippings. When Maya gets on his case about not being there for their daughter, Eli seethes, “Don’t forget for a second whose fault that is.” So the faked death was because of Maya, not because of Eli? Start sharing your theories in the comments, Gladiators!

*Gratuitous Olitz sex scene alert!* (Well, I’m sure the couple’s fans don’t think any moment of this is gratuitous.) I couldn’t help but think that Olivia and Fitz were going to start sculpting on a clay wheel at any moment, as if they were in an alternate universe where Tony Goldwyn actually played the Patrick Swayze role in Ghost instead of being the bad guy. Get the fanfic going now! But they can’t stay in Vermont forever: A helicopter arrives to swoop Liv back to D.C. — after Liv gives Fitz permission to go after her father all he wants. Will Eli win like always, or can Olitz take him down? “Don’t sell the house — not yet,” she says on her way out the door.

When we join another Scandal couple in bed — yup, Abby and David — they’re, of course talking business. Josie’s laptop was wiped clean before it was stolen, so Abby knows that “her sister, or daughter, or sister/daughter” is to blame. And it just so happens Harrison is in bed with Candace at that very moment. Wow, the beginning of a backstory AND some action? Season 3 really is shaping up to be the Year of Harrison.

NEXT: Mellie knows of what she speaks

Cyrus is back to evilly tapping his fingers together and planning Sally Langston’s demise, but Mellie is the voice of reason, arguing that a marriage is at stake. “Sally must suspect that her husband is a big gay slut,” Cy says in the way only Cy could. But Mellie’s not talking about Sally’s marriage; she’s talking about Cyrus’. Has he honestly not considered the fact that his pimping could work too well?

Jake sees through Liv’s “super busy” excuse the next morning, telling her, “I told you he’d find a way, didn’t I?” He then manages to make sipping coffee look super hot. Even if he’s not meant to be with Olivia, Scott Foley is never allowed to leave Scandal, OK?

Now James is entrapped in Daniel Douglas’ man cave, soon to be entrapped in the vice-presidential husband’s embrace. James puts all the pieces together and grasps just what Cy has done. When James gets home much later than expected, Cyrus realizes that Mellie might have been right. And just when we think James might be playing Cy and making him think something happened when it didn’t, the photographic evidence comes through on Cy’s phone. Eww, really, James? Daniel Douglas? We know you’re mad at Cy, but gross.

The secret’s out about Josie’s staged break-in, but instead of laying the blame on her sister/daughter and moving on, she takes full responsibility and withdraws from the primary. It’s been real, Lisa Kudrow, but we all know which campaign Olivia is meant to work for. And Mellie knows too: Even though she’s all too aware of who was keeping Fitz warm in New England, she suggests they rehire Liv.

The jig is up for Quinn’s new career path: Huck’s story about not being able to tell who was in the footage was all an act. “We need to talk about who you’re working for,” he says from Quinn’s living room, with his trusty toolkit of torture supplies next to him. Good luck, Baby Huck.

The jig is also up for Eli. He returns to the secret prison hospital only to find that Maya has sedated her doctor, instead of the other way around. And Olivia is in for the surprise of her life when she hears her mother’s voice from the shadows outside her apartment. “Hi, Livy,” Maya says, and Olivia’s face says it all: She’s seen a ghost.

So, Gladiators, are you sad to see Josie Marcus go? Why do you think Olivia’s mom had to disappear in the first place? And are you worshiping at the Altar of Shonda for that Vermont scene? Let us know in the comments!

Follow Katie on Twitter: @ktatkinson

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