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Scandal Recap: On the Rocks

SCANDAL - "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" - After discovering the truth behind defiance, Fitz is still struggling to figure out whom he can actually trust. Meanwhile Olivia is trying to move on with her life, and she meets a handsome stranger, Jake Weston (Scott Foley), who sparks her interest. But when Fitz and Olivia are forced to be in the same room again, real sparks fly and things get heated. Back at Pope & Associates, the team handles a new case, and for the first time they're working with David Rosen instead of against him, on ABC's "Scandal," THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET)

Are you still hyperventilating from last week’s “everyone on this show is borderline deplorable and oh yeah the president is a stone-cold, with-his-bare-hands murderer” reveal? This week gave us a little breather from abject shock, but was heavy on cringe-inducing Oval Office conversations and watching Fitz spin into an alcoholic spiral. David Rosen is the prime suspect in a murder, Olivia meets a handsome new stranger and becomes a godmother, and Fitz almost breaks his back throwing his nutsack around trying to prove that he deserves to be the president, voting machine rigging or not.

We rejoin the crew ten months after the death/murder of Judge Thornton — Olivia is swimming laps, trying to purge Fitz from her brain, while he has Mellie bringing him glasses of whiskey in the shower at 7 a.m. as he tries to cope with the fact that everyone close to him is a lying liar who lies. Fitz briefly considers letting Mellie fellate him with all the enthusiasm of someone who just got an e-mail from the boss about mandatory overtime, but is interrupted by Cyrus with news that four Americans were kidnapped abroad. As it turns out, they’re not just civilians delivering medical supplies, but U.S. spies. Once they pinpoint the building where the hostages are being held, Fitz is eager to take action; Cyrus confronts him about being shut out of decisions lately, and after some bickering, he gets Fitz to agree that they will not make any moves for now. This all changes when Cyrus tells Mellie the president is super fragile right now, and without someone to lean on, he’s likely to make some major mistakes. Naturally, Mellie throws Cyrus under a succession of city buses by telling Fitz over and over again that it was Cyrus’s idea to rig the election on their way to baby Ella’s christening. She convinces him to trust her, so Fitz marches into the christening and tells Cyrus, “Thank you for making me the godfather of your kid. I am going to ignore all of your advice and send in an extraction team for the hostages, peace out.” When the extraction team arrives, the building is empty, and Fitz is informed that he has a mole; he’s alienating his oldest friend and definitely not winning any points in the Awesome Presidenting column either.

Elsewhere, David Rosen wakes up in bed holding a knife next to a freshly dead mystery woman named Wendy. Happy Valentine’s Day! After holding back some cops looking for the source of a noise disturbance with the old “it was just my TV” line, he panics and calls Abby, bringing Olivia onto the case. Pope & Associates do their trademarked stand-over-the-body-and-tell-the-prime-suspect-what-their-options-are routine, and after Huck explains that he’s been roofied and set up, David allows Huck and Quinn to move Wendy’s body back to her house. We learn that over the past ten months, David has been blackballed from D.C., has taken a somber job as a high-school teacher, and his grandmother is paying his rent. Ouch. Huck discovers that Wendy has tons of photos of naked man torsos on her phone, and the team digs just enough to find out that Wendy sleeps with these high-profile guys and sells their stories to a tabloid. David starts to think that Olivia had a hand in this in an attempt to clean up the final “loose end” in the Defiance debacle, but when he’s picked up by the cops, Harrison comes to his defense. After deftly ripping the new assistant U.S. attorney a new one, David tells Olivia that they are over and he doesn’t need her services after all. 

A potential new love interest for Olivia is introduced now that she’s bounced Fitz and Edison out of her life. She meets Felicity’s Noel in a coffee shop, where he tries to woo her with a rhetorical analysis of doughnuts (“the unsung hero of the pastry case”), but this guy has bad news written all over him. Huck discovers that someone making calls to Wendy’s phone works for the joint chiefs of staff, and when Liv goes to follow up, she discovers that the guy in question is Doughnut Shop Man, Captain Jack Ballard. They playfully flirt a little without exchanging much information. She calls him one evening, trying to set up a date — Ballard says he doesn’t like quiet, intimate places but loves people watching, just as the camera pulls back enough for us to see that he is watching Olivia as they speak and has her entire apartment wired like Billy Baldwin in Sliver. I guess we’re due for a new creep now that Defiance is mostly behind us, but I do not like where this is going one bit.

Finally, after the christening, Fitz follows Olivia down the White House corridors, yanks her into what looks like a control room, and they have clothes-ripping, face-slappingly hot sex that threatens to wipe out the electricity and Internet for all of D.C. When they’re done, Fitz transforms back into an emotional robot and says, “I may not be able to control my erections around you, but we are done.” Power-tripping is such a bad look for you, Fitz.

Most Nonchalant Translator of the Year: “Speak, you godless American whore, tell them who you work for. Would you like fries with that?”

Cutest Transformation Into a Clean-Up Person: Did you see the look on Quinn’s face when she broke that lamp and stabbed Wendy to create the necessary blood spray on the walls? I have a feeling clean-up detail is going to help her channel a lot of her residual Cytron rage. That Huck thinks she’s “a natural” makes me want more Quinn/Huck adventures in all episodes.

Best Burn: When Fitz told Cyrus to “Take as many breaths as you like and recount them in your memoirs — call the SEAL team before the christening,” you could see the scorch marks rise up on Cyrus’s skin like ivy climbing a brick wall.

Weirdest Seduction Outfit: Mellie and her beige heels/Mrs. Roper flowered zebra bathrobe combination. The woman keeps trying to tell you she’s out of her mind, Fitz — how many clues do you need?

Emo-Teeniest Retort: When Cyrus tells Fitz that he’s been shutting him out, and Fitz says, “Are we done discussing your hurt feelings? I’d like to get back to saving lives.” Can we buy Fitz a Morrissey T-shirt and a vat of Manic Panic already?

Best Cyrus Rant of the Week: “He can bathe in Scotch for all I care, that’s not the problem — the problem is that he’s not using me like he’s supposed to. I’m the guard dog, I’m the bad cop, I’m the dragon that gets released to run the meetings and make the calls.”

Craziest Use of Facebook: Huck using the Cloud and location stamps to figure out the identities of the naked men in Wendy’s photos. Please tell me there is a way to block this app in real life.

Poor David Rosen of the Week: It was funny to think of him as a freewheeling single dude, but when David revealed that his life more closely resembles that of an underemployed barfly, I got the sads. I’m sort of hoping he ends up joining Pope & Associates — I mean, he has to, right?

Sloppiest Criminal of the Week: Wendy, girl, I am sorry you got murdered, but hiding your flash drive when someone comes into the room is Stealing Shit 101.

Stiffest Drink Award: Fitz slamming down whiskey in the Oval Office while looking at a portrait of George Washington and standing on the presidential seal. There’s a metaphor for America in there somewhere.

Best Throwaway Joke and Biggest Reminder of Why We Love Mellie: When Fitz is playing with baby Teddy, and Mellie says, “He can play with that baby for hours — I don’t know how he does it. I don’t have the patience.” Never taking the high road, always showing her true colors, Mellie primarily interacts with people when they are useful to her overall plan of world domination — including spending time with her own baby. Never change, Mellie, never change.

Worst Outfit Olivia Has Ever Worn: The crocodile shift dress she wore to the christening that made her look like a refrigerator box.

Great Moments in Fitz’s Alcoholic Spiral: Reeking of alcohol on the way to a christening at which he is going to become a godfather takes a certain level of panache.

Best Unsolicited Breakup Advice: When Olivia tells Abby (regarding David) that “Work helps. So does exercise. Stuff that numbs you keeps you from thinking too much. Dating also helps but … it also helps to remember that he HATES you, and it helps to try to hate him, too.” She could start a side business as a professional fixer of love lives.  

It’s the Worst Valentine’s Day Present, Charlie Brown: When Mellie tried Shower Seduction Two: Electric Bugaloo and Fitz hulked out on her by grabbing her wrists, I was so disappointed; when he then sort of cried while looking her in the eyes and holding their mouths close together without kissing, I was so skeeved out. I think it’s separate bedroom time, guys — this marriage is officially WEIRD.  

Next week, it looks like Olivia is going to figure Ballard out … or is she? See you then!

Photo: Danny Feld/ABC