Sally Langston goes off the deep end as Olivia discovers the truth about her parents

By Katie Atkinson
Updated December 06, 2013 at 04:30 AM EST
Richard Cartwright/ABC

Scandal

S3 E9
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When did Scandal become part of the Saw franchise? When we last saw the Gladiators, Mama Pope was gnawing on her wrist as a pre-Thanksgiving snack. And on Thursday, we kicked off the episode with Huck gleefully torturing Quinn and then wrapped things up with a bloody finish (more on that later!). Meanwhile, any potentially soapy moments — erotic photos (James and Daniel Douglas), a post-bondage makeout session (Quinn and Charlie), and a face-lick (shudder, Huck and Baby Huck) — were just super creepy.

But let’s lead you through this carnival ride step by step, just like Jigsaw would: Huck has Quinn wrapped up in duct tape after he discovers she’s teamed up with B613. He’s just about to tear her teeth out one by one when Quinn is saved by the bell: Olivia calls Huck to tell him her mother is alive and in her apartment. He tells her to get to the safe house, and Quinn is breathing a sigh of relief just as Huck decides he has time for at least one tooth. “What’s that stupid thing the kids are saying? YOLO?” Huck asks, taking way too much joy in this. “YOLO, Quinn.”

Meanwhile, in a different type of torture chamber, Sally Langston is meeting with campaign manager Leo Bergen and being told she has to pretend to be pro-choice in order to win as an Independent candidate. You’d think this would be difficult for the die-hard conservative, but within a minute of hearing Leo’s speech, she is abandoning her belief system. I liked Sally better when she was a ride-or-die Republican. And speaking of dishonesty, Cyrus and James are trucking along pretending like nothing happened with the VP’s husband. How long can that continue? Well, maybe for as long as Fitz and Mellie’s sham of a marriage.

Back in the Pope & Associates safe house, the gang is wondering just how Maya Pope is alive after 22 years. “You can’t show up with Dead Mama Pope and expect us to fall in line,” Abby says, before hollering at Maya: “Where’ve you been all this time?” Fair question. When they realize she escaped Command, Huck and Jake make quick work of slicing a tracking chip out of Maya’s neck. By the time Charlie shows up at the safe house, the chip is lying in a pool of blood. I’m beginning to not even flinch at the red corn syrup all over this show.

Harrison alert! Shonda has been sprinkling backstory details throughout the season, and we got another lead tonight: A woman who referred to Harrison as “H” and seemed very familiar with him dropped by OPA to help the Gladiators. She also delivered a message: “Adnan Salif says hi.” It’s definitely not good news for Harrison that his former boss is back in the country.

When Olivia brings her mother some breakfast later, Huck is bandaging up Mama Pope’s wrists — you know, the ones she ate through. “Just cleaning up a little,” she says in the understatement of the year. Maya asks Olivia to sit and eat with her, but Liv is hesitant to catch up. Her mom lays out the imaginary life she invented for her daughter, but it’s far from the fixer Olivia has become. “There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of laughter in your life,” Maya says, in yet another gross understatement.

Jake and Huck realize they’re going to need a lot more than Pope & Associates to get Maya out of the country, so Jake turns — in full uniform, no less — to his old buddy Fitz. Of course, everything becomes a battle over Olivia. “You don’t want to be the hero. You want to be her hero,” Fitz says. “Word to the wise: She doesn’t need one.” OK, point to President Fitzgerald Grant on that line.

It’s dysfunctional couple day on Scandal (oh, who am I kidding, it’s dysfunctional couple decade on Scandal). First, we find Sally informing hubby Daniel Douglas that all their “patience” has paid off and they’re on the road to the White House. Then we have James, who regrets that Cy can’t come home for his final meeting with Daniel Douglas because it “could’ve been a threesome.” (James is having way too much fun dragging Cy across the coals for this one.) And then Double-D himself finds James at the White House to threaten him about his upcoming article. “You people think we’re all gay,” Daniel Douglas says, with James shooting back, “No, we think gay people are gay.”

Adding to the night’s bloodbath is Quinn, who has gotten hold of a glass and tries to saw her way out of the tape with the shards. But Huck gets back before she finishes, and he’s ready to pull more teeth. The rest of Pope & Associates have no clue this is going on, but they have bigger issues: Rowan put Maya on the FBI’s most-wanted list under a different name, Marie Wallace. Abby asks David to take Maya off the no-fly list in typical Abby fashion: “Normal boyfriends do favors for their girlfriends.” Yes, but unless you’re Edward Snowden’s girlfriend, those favors involve a ride to the airport, not national security issues.

NEXT: ‘You have ruined us.’

Sally pays Fitz a visit to personally inform him that she’s resigning as VP and running against him as an Independent. “You may take me down with you, but you can’t win,” he tells her. “I’m done waiting for someone to open the door for me, to wait my turn,” she says. I have to say, Sally is a better political foe to Fitz than Josie Marcus ever would have been.

The Cyrus and James showdown finally happens, and it’s ugly. James lands the first blow, asking Cy why he chose to pimp out his husband instead of, say, hiring an actual hooker. “You have ruined us,” James says, informing Cy that he wants a divorce and he’s taking their daughter. Cyrus shoots back that he has photographic evidence of James’ dalliance with Daniel Douglas, which won’t look too good in a custody trial. “You’re not going anywhere,” Cy says, followed by his coldest line yet: “You never do.”

But there’s work to be done: Cy is called into the Oval Office to figure out the Sally problem. The president says Cyrus is always droning on about how he has Fitz’s back. “Well my back’s now got a Sally shiv in it that you may as well have handed her,” Fitz says (foreshadowing!). When Mellie is alone with him, Cyrus breaks down in tears — and she’s all too familiar with what he’s going through. “It hurts until it doesn’t,” she says. “You will be fine — numb, but numb and fine are the same.” Man, that statement says so much about Mellie. Of course, she tells Cy to go through with the Sally blackmail anyway.

When David can’t get Maya off the no-fly list, Olivia goes to the top: Fitz. But she’s not calling for help; she wants to chat about “jam, and Vermont, and kids.” It doesn’t matter what she wants; Fitz is already on it. He even throws a Pope-ism right back at her: “Consider it handled.” Fitz the Fixer has a ring to it.

Charlie finds a bloodied and taped-up Quinn and gives her just what a tortured lady needs: a shower and a glass of vodka, you know, to disinfect Huck’s dental work. The next logical step? Getting busy, because nothing says romance like a hit man jamming his face against Quinn’s bloodied gums.

NEXT: MURDER!

Since he’s already lost James, Cyrus goes ahead and delivers the photos of Daniel Douglas’ tryst to Sally. But instead of freaking out, she turns it back on Cy, listing all the ways the photos hurt him and his job more than they hurt her. “You’ve lost,” she says. He calls James to give it another shot, lying even more by telling him, “I’m not going to use the photos, Sally will never see them”…after he just showed them to her. Way to get things started on an honest foot.

Fitz comes through, arranging a military plane for Maya to Hong Kong. Olivia shares a heartfelt goodbye with her mom — before one last memory comes to her of the final time she saw her mom as a child. A man called the house that day asking for Marie, which happens to be the same name Rowan put on the no-fly list. So all those “trumped-up charges” Olivia thought her dad had invented? In fact, her mom was a wanted terrorist. “He’s not the monster,” Liv realizes. “She is.”

But we’re far from over: We learn that Huck let Quinn go so she could do something for him. Something big. Quinn asks Rowan to give her all the videos of her killing the security guard, but she’s secretly holding a syringe in her hand that will take out Papa Pope — just when we learned that he might not be the bad guy after all.

AND THEN, Cyrus’ phone rings. It’s Sally Langston. She’s “committed a sin.” A wide shot shows Daniel Douglas lying on the ground, bleeding from his back. Honestly, if you had given me all the options on a Clue board, I never would have picked Sally with a knife in the VP residence for a murder this week. Never in a million years. RIP to Daniel Douglas and to Sally’s presidential hopes.

Wow, I have barely processed this ending. Will this be an open-and-shut murder case, or will someone help Sally bury the truth? Will Quinn kill Rowan before Olivia has a chance to talk to him about who her mom really is? Will Maya be stopped on her way to Hong Kong? And will David ever dump Abby over these endless favors? Share all your thoughts in the comments!

Follow Katie on Twitter: @ktatkinson.

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