Scandal is creeping closer to something; we just hope it’s worth the wait. “We Don’t Touch the First Ladies” was not without its moments. There was enough drama and intrigue to keep us on the edge of our seats. It’s the nature of the animal this show has created: All we want is more.
- Director: Oliver Bokelberg
- Writer: Heather Mitchell
- Cast: Kerry Washington, Guillermo Diaz, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina, Scott Foley,
Episode Title: “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies”
Jealousies arise as the truth becomes obvious to the President. Elsewhere, Leo Bergen sets up a meeting for Sally while Quinn tries to prove herself to B6-13.
- Clearwater: So now Harrison has a girlfriend. Adnan Salif hasn’t done much to talk about yet. Using the Grant campaign to clean her money is a move ripe with benefits and laced with consequences. Discovering that Olivia’s mother engineered it was so reassuring. There’s no way they’ll be able to bury Maya next week; one sentence and a few frames at the tail end of the episode isn’t enough. We’re salivating at the thought of what these two criminals could have in store for Olivia, Pope & Associates and The White House. The sad thing is in light of the union of Adnan and Maya, Harrison’s role seems diminished to a peon. Hopefully, his role in this clear violation of company rules can be fleshed out next week. Of course, there’s also Adnan’s threat of revealing Harrison’s hand in the mysterious “Clearwater” drama. Could he have done something terrorist adjacent?
- Touching First Ladies: 12 years is a long time to let feelings brew. How our hearts soared with pride when Mellie tossed her knee clasping in Olivia’s face. Obviously, Mellie was bound to succumb to the urges she has been fighting for the man who rescued her from her suicide attempt. Andrew Nichols has a history of looking good next to strong women—The Closer anyone—but being the only person to know about Mellie’s rape elevates his importance. After keeping her alive and keeping her secret, Andrew’s first move in the White House was to save Mellie’s reputation. Poor Mellie. What it must have been like to be sad and ignored for so long knowing that happiness was waiting. It’s doubtful anyone could deny the inevitability of their makeout session, but it’s not going to keep Mellie clear of blame.
- No Chance: Can we have a moment of silence for the marriage that never had a chance? A flashback to 14 years ago shows a very broken Mellie at war with her secret. The scars of her trauma ruined her marriage by driving Fitz away. Even though Mellie couldn’t bring herself to share her completely valid reasons for despair, she wanted to. Swallowing a bottle of pills in her husband’s home office was a clear help sign to Fitz, he just didn’t find her. The real sadness was her clipped and hushed explanation to Andrew years ago: “Because my father-in-law forced himself on me and I don’t know if my son is his and sometimes that makes me not want to be alive.” That she is living, standing, surviving and still married to her rapist’s son is a testament to her strength.
- Hurt So Good: What a difference a week makes. To be clear, there’s no way Quinn should have allowed Olivia to catch her tailing Rowan. The real horror though was watching Quinn pull a gun on Olivia and order her out of the car. We got what we wanted: Olivia tried to solve the problem and bring Quinn home. And while we weren’t on board with her joining B6-13 before, her harsh demand for independence is one to be admired. We demanded Pope & Associates fix Quinn because they broke her; it will be much more rewarding to watch Quinn fix herself. For now we’ll pretend like B6-13 won’t destroy her soul in other more terrible ways because her little meeting with Jake was such a joy. Watching Quinn flaunt her prodigious sleuthing skills was a sight to behold. It won’t be long before Jake either takes her on or she finds work from a seedier source.
- Monsters Eat People: Huck wasn’t the only one hurting over the obvious divide between him and Olivia. It’s no secret we’re hopelessly devoted to the broken shell of a man that is Huck. His heartfelt plea for forgiveness might have stung, but every word was true. Huck is damaged and in need of help, Olivia is the guide. Trusting that he was ready for such a close relationship like the one he had with Quinn was a mistake, Olivia’s mistake. We all know she’s going to forgive him, but might it be time to try and help Huck’s psyche? He’s never going to be any less screwed up without some real help. Of course it won’t be easy, but with Harrison’s actions edging closer and closer to betrayal, one must wonder how many associates’s faces he has to lick before we start patching up the broken butterfly.
- The Agent in the Office: Jake gained more ground in winning Olivia’s heart in one episode, than he has in two seasons. Setting Olivia straight about interfering at B6-13 and the contents of her fridge was a very attractive moment; few can contend with Olivia and walk away unscathed. The full weight of his office pushed that along, though we can probably all agree that those classified documents briefing him on B6-13’s global operations are several weeks late. The revelation that the President’s most trusted Secret Service agent Tom is B6-13’s inside man wasn’t a total shock. The tape he brought Jake showing Olivia admitting she doesn’t know if she has feelings for Jake was interesting. The opening scene screaming match between Olivia and Fitz had to bolster Jake’s confidence—this might edge him on.
- Gone Girl: Leo Bergen is better than this. We’ve only known the man a short time, but we’re holding out hope that he’s working back channels and leveraging Rowan’s intel for more than just the Vice President. Sally is obviously wallowing in guilt and allowing it to deteriorate her once sharp mind. It would be foolish for a character as valuable as Leo to hitch his wagon to a rapidly fledging campaign. At this point, all we can do is blame or thank Leo for bringing Hollis Doyle back into the fray. It’s too soon to tell if we’re happy to see him.
- Publis Publicity: Let’s pass over the part where James calls David to talk about being Publis in full earshot of the White House Press Core and around the corner from his killer, kingmaker husband. If Cyrus wasn’t suspicious when James gave him the terrible advice to just wait on finding the source, he is now. It’s possible Cyrus didn’t tell James that he was going to find out the identity of the source during the fundraising dinner to test him. Still, someone as shrewd as Cyrus is sure to put together James’ sneaky behavior with the fact that the source was a no show after he told his husband. Watching David and James meet was like watching kids play dress up, pretending they can handle the subterfuge necessary to take down the White House. Good thing for David that Mom Abby is always watching his back; otherwise Charlie would have a new toy to torture.
“We Do Not Touch the First Ladies” had a kiss and two shocking revelations. The prospect of more Jake and Olivia drama is especially titillating. All of a sudden Fitz isn’t the only man on fire.
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.
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