Olivia helps Fitz makes a big decision regarding his bid for re-election; the mole's identity is revealed
Finally an answer! Or, maybe not a full answer, but it’s a fact. A solid fact. That mole that we’ve been stressing about? Well finally we have a face and a name. And it’s someone we’ve met before.
For an episode that has been teased as the big reveal (which, don’t get me wrong, it was!), “Any Questions?” was certainly not very mole-centric, was it? With all the talk of re-election campaigns and relationships and Mellie’s strategy, the mole started to feel a little less urgent than everything else. But with the developments in the penultimate season 2 episode, you can see all the pieces lining up perfectly for an explosive finale.
So! Billy former Chief of Staff to the VP Chambers is the mole (or, one of them). The guy who had an affair with Amanda Tanner. The guy who killed Quinn’s reporter boyfriend. The guy who has had it out for Fitz since the campaign. The guy some of us probably thought was dead, because we haven’t seen him for at least 20 episodes, and the last time we saw him, he was stepping into an elevator with Charlie. And not only is Billy Chambers the mole — he’s in cahoots with David Rosen! Suddenly, it all starts to make sense. The two guys who had their lives ruined at the hands of the Grant administration are working together. It’s revenge, plain and simple.
Did you see that coming? I certainly did not — sure he was on my list, but so was baby Teddy. I also categorized him as a long shot. ‘Til now the threat of the mole has been diffuse. We knew Albatross had access to a lot of information. We knew that this person had sabotaged a hostage rescue and killed a woman, but the threat never felt terribly imminent. Still, that’s the terror of a having an unknown with a lot of classified information…anything could happen at any moment.
But, before we get too far into the why and the what, let’s talk about this episode because (as usual) there’s a lot here.
If you’ll recall, last week ended with Mellie announcing Fitz’s affair on live television while Fitz and Olivia…made up. This week, we pick up in the aftermath, which all falls on Cyrus’ shoulders. He gives press conference after press conference to appease the media’s ravenous appetite for more information. A Presidential affair? Things haven’t been so good since ’98. Unfortunately, the always eloquent Cyrus Beene has very little that he can actually say to the press, besides, basically “back off, it’s none of your business, and besides, this is all one big ‘alleged’ transgression anyway.” The stress of the separation had been wearing on Cyrus for a while now, and, frankly, he looks like he’s about to break. Of course he decides to take it out on James — the poor bastard who was assigned to the FLOTUS interview. Cyrus is clearly in the wrong when he chastises James for betraying him (dude, it was live TV, what was he supposed to do), but he gets just plain mean when he realizes that James thinks he got that interview because it was his big break. This is quite naive, even for sweet baby James, but Cy takes things too far. Sometimes it’s hard to see why these two were ever married in the first place.
NEXT: There’s another fixer in town…
One question that I’ve always had about Scandal is whether or not Olivia Pope has a monopoly on the fixing business. It turns out she does not. There are other fixers in town, and Mellie finds one for herself. Right now, he’s just a lot of talk. And don’t get me wrong, it’s good talk. He cuts right to the core of Mellie and gains her trust by seeing through her act and praising her best performances — especially her public tears for her miscarriage. (Did anyone else get the sense that he could just as easily have been talking about a Hollywood celebrity?) They banter as though setting up some sexual tension. But, this guy’s probably sticking around regardless. FLOTUS needs someone she can trust, someone she doesn’t have to pretend around, like I imagine she does with her own staff. Anyway, Mellie didn’t reveal the name of Fitz’s mistress to the public and she remains similarly tight-lipped to her fixer. So, there’s not really a lot for him to fix at the moment, but FLOTUS was in need of a good therapy session and that’s kind of what this felt like.
Meanwhile, Cyrus has to go retrieve Fitz from Olivia’s. He’s a man on a mission and starts to make some biblical threats against the Secret Service agents guarding the door, and they cave! Is it because they know Fitz is just having fun and it’s probably not that big a deal? Regardless, this seems like pretty careless Security detail. I don’t care how scary the Chief of Staff is. I love it when Cyrus gets all flustered and monologuing, but in no world would these two guys give up that easily.
Nothing can stop a Beene on a mission, though, and retrieve Fitz he does. It’s kind of funny to think that Fitz could have probably easily hibernated at Olivia’s for over a week if Cyrus hadn’t literally yanked him out of bed. Fitz and Liv are as lovey-dovey as ever and it’s refreshing to see them both with genuine smiles as opposed to the scowls and furrowed brows we’ve come to expect from these two this season. But as soon as Fitz leaves this fantasy, you get the sense that things are never going to be the same for them. Like when Romeo leaves Juliet’s.
Importantly, though, Fitz wants Olivia to stay out of the whole ordeal. If he’s learned one thing this season, it’s that he doesn’t want her to handle him (professionally). So, he makes sure she understands that he is not her client.
NEXT: Whose team are you on again, David Rosen?
Back at OPA, everyone is tied to the television hoping to get more information about the affair. David Rosen is still pretty giddy about the whole thing and excited to find out all the salacious details — did Fitz get his mistress a job to keep her quiet? Did she influence policy? There is no love lost between David and the President (“a cheat” according to Rosen), so it would make sense that he might delight in a public scandal that would bring him down. But, of course we don’t know yet how far his obsession has taken him. So, when he says “whoever she is, I hope she has Olivia Pope’s number,” is he just trolling the Gladiators to see if any of them will bite? Or does he not know yet? Ah! We’re getting ahead of ourselves again.
When Olivia gets back to the office, the Gladiators debrief her on their revelations from last week’s episode. Because, oh yeah! She still thought Cyrus might have been the mole. Harrison puts things into perspective quickly when he reminds Olivia that even though it’s not Cyrus, this unknown mole does know about the election rigging. Thankfully the Cytron card is still in Olivia’s safe (which she opens in front of everyone…). As with the grand jury investigation, the Cytron card is the smoking gun. Without that, it’s all rumor and speculation. Anyway, they start looking into Sally Langston as the possible mole, and decide to use her teen daughter as a trojan horse. (Haha, did anyone hear Abby when she called Quinn “baby Huck”?)
David and Abby have a brief “I knew it was you” moment about the Cytron card, but he’s glib about it, and it’s been so long that I’ve kind of stopped caring about their brief romance — it was mostly based on lies and (his) revenge anyway.
In the Oval Office a team is brainstorming ways to manage the affair crisis. They toss everything on the table — from the Clinton “deny, deny, deny, old news” strategy to owning up to it and blaming it on PTSD. Hilariously, one aide even suggests that he had an affair because he was distraught about the death of his close friend Verna. Awkward! But Fitz is over it. He doesn’t want to manage this crisis. He wants out. Not immediately…he just doesn’t want a second term. Because love.
Jake Ballard, in the meantime, is getting schooled by MPBM who is rightly disappointed that he wasn’t informed that Fitz had spent the night at Olivia’s. Jake apologizes and continues hunting for Charlie.
NEXT: Guess who knows MPBM?
Olivia and Cyrus meet up on a park bench. They’re pals again now that she knows he’s not out to kill her. But Cyrus is there on business. He tells her that the country needs Fitz to be President and that as long as she’s in the picture, he won’t do that. Yargh. This fatalistic inevitability is almost too much to take, right? Scandal’s going to let Olivia and Fitz be happy for only five minutes? Because he’s the President who can save the country? One failing of the show is that when it comes to Fitz and his grand potential to be the best President in the world, there’s a lot of telling and not a lot of showing. Besides, we know he’s a borderline alcoholic who KILLED A WOMAN. We’ll come back to this, though.
What is the point of meeting up on a park bench without MPBM? And just as Olivia leaves Cyrus, MPBM shows up to have a little chat with Cyrus. Because they know each other! Well, even! They both know that the way to keep Fitz in the White House is that tape that proves that Olivia and Jake hooked up (that tape is really making the rounds!) MPBM basically tells Cyrus to stop being a weakling and do what needs to be done. The republic, he says, is at stake.
Olivia and Fitz have a short conversation about her discussion with Cyrus and he assures her that she’s not going to ruin the country. When the call is over, she picks up another call too quickly to see who it is, assumes it’s Fitz, and answers with “I’m not telling you what I’m wearing.” First, I don’t think Olivia would be that unprofessional, and second, it’s hard to make that kind of mistake with caller ID (unless all these government numbers are blocked). It’s Jake, of course, who says something cryptic about Fitz: “I want a lot of things that he gets to have…first.” This statement doesn’t seem like a throwaway. Maybe he’s just talking about Olivia, but it could reveal something about their past. Do you think they’ve fought over the same girl before? Maybe Ballard had Presidential ambitions that Fitz thwarted somehow.
Jake has other things to worry about, though, and stages a particularly clumsy plan to capture Charlie involving high-tech tracking powder and a fake pastry store employee. Anyway, Charlie realizes what’s going on quickly, loses his tail, and shows up at Olivia Pope’s asking to be her client. He wants a life, like Huck. He assumes Olivia made some deal with B6-13 on Huck’s behalf. But Huck has other plans for Charlie. He tells Olivia he’s going to get the mole’s name, and handle Charlie in his way.
NEXT: So, Fitz, what are you going to throw away? Olivia or the Presidency?
Huck wants to kill Charlie. I understand why, but does he not remember that Charlie spared his life? Or have things changed since the respective tortures? Quinn walks in just in time to talk Huck down and remind him that they’re there to fix problems. He’s either a Gladiator or he gets revenge and he can’t have it both ways — gee that sounds mighty similar to a talk Huck gave Quinn when she was plotting to take down Hollis Doyle. And Huck lets him go. He has the “name” of the mole, his mission is over.
Scandal does a good job at making DC seem sexy, but, at a certain level, everything is administrative. Even deciding to run for office again. And it turns out, Fitz never signed the papers announcing his intent to run for a second term. When Cyrus tells Olivia this, with tears in his eyes, we know it means that it’s more than an oversight. Fitz was never going to run, so his big talk of doing this for Olivia is not entirely true.
Olivia tells Fitz that she believes that he wants to be with her, but that he’s not running because he’s too scared that he’ll fail. And she blames herself and Defiance and worries that he’ll blame her for taking his chance away from him. So, Fitz decides to run. And that means he’ll be leaving Olivia behind. It’s one step forward and 10 steps back for these two, always.
Back at OPA they realize the Cytron card is gone, and immediately suspect Charlie. But of course they’re wrong. We see a hand giving the smoking gun to Billy Chambers, and for a moment I really thought they were going to tease us and not reveal who the hand belonged to. But Scandal was feeling particularly generous this week. Et tu, David Rosen?
Oh, and Jake gives over his (sex) tape to MPBM and is instructed to stay close to the President and to Olivia. To “continue the mission.” MPBM also warns Jake to not screw it up again, or they’ll be meeting under different circumstances.
So, now Olivia and the Gladiators know who it is, but they’re in a race against the clock to get that card back before it goes public. If Mellie thought the affair was going to be a “nuclear” revelation, just wait till the public finds out about a rigged election. I smell an impeachment hearing, which is exactly what David Rosen and Billy Chambers want. They want Fitz out. They want his named dragged through the mud. They want revenge, and boy are they close to succeeding.
Billy Chambers, guys!! Did anyone forget who he was? Did you all see it coming? And what do you think of Harrison stepping up to help out Olivia? Was anyone surprised that Huck was so ready to murder Charlie without a second thought? Especially after Charlie asked for a clean slate? Now that we know that Cyrus and MPBM are “friends” and MPBM is interested in protecting the identity of the mole, are you more confused than ever? Any theories out there? Talk to us!