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Scandal Recap: Fox in the Henhouse

SCANDAL - "We Do Not Touch the First Ladies" - Old feelings and jealousies arise at a Presidential event causing Fitz to face a harsh reality. Meanwhile, Quinn tries to prove herself to B613 and Leo Bergen sets up a meeting between Sally and an old friend, on ABC's "Scandal," THURSDAY, MARCH 6 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.(ABC/Eric McCandless)KERRY WASHINGTON, TONY GOLDWYN

Oooooooh, boy. Mama Pope is back, and she’s working with Adnan Salif. Or is Adnan Salif working for her? And if she’s pulling the strings with Salif, does this mean that she had something to do with the mysterious Clearwater, or that Harrison once worked for her? Goddammit, Mama Pope, you always raise more questions than you answer! I’m glad she’s back, but if I see her mouth near anything that isn’t food, I’m OUT.

The pace of the show was back to normal this week, which helped even out some of the rough spots from last week. I’m tired of Liv and Fitz yelling at each other and trying to make it work under the constraints of her being a stubborn, emotionally stunted know-it-all and his being an overbearing, manipulative codependent. If that sounded like too much therapy talk, it’s because they make me feel positively psychotic. I daydream about Fitz getting shot in the head again, which is absolutely not normal! I say this at least once per season, but it’s increasingly damaging to promote an image of love that is fraught with misery, and it pulls me right out of the show every time they are in a room together. Real love is using the bathroom after your partner takes a dump in the morning and still wanting to bone them later, not gnashing your teeth about whether they like your fake boyfriend while still having to work with their wife. They are both too smart and too hot for this! I would rather see Liv and Fitz head up a crime syndicate together than ever think about their genitals touching again. I know you beautiful readers love them together, but my Liv and Fitz Break-up Campaign 2014 rolls on.

I did appreciate that Olivia stood up for herself, reasserting her own goals and dreams (or at least the fact that she has them). It was weird that she insisted that she was not a prize while simultaneously saying “Jake is for me!” like he was a prize, but then Puppy Eyes Ballard took his shirt off and demanded real food and I was like, “Jake is for all of us, girl.”

Abby told David she loved him, and he avoided responding in kind until she literally kidnapped him, jammed him in the trunk of a car, and scared the shit out of him. Abby never lets you forget she is a thug at heart! It was cool that she and Huck kept him from meeting with Vanessa Chandler and falling into Cyrus’s trap, but after the stress of the past two seasons, David Rosen is entirely too delicate for her brand of affection.

Everyone noticed that James and David said Pooooo-blee-us about 3,000 times last night, so I genuinely laughed when David asked, “Why did you pick that name?” and Charlie asked if it was Latin for “dweeb.” It was sort of like this summer when everyone was saying Smaaau-guh for that Hobbit movie dragon, which made me want to stay far away from it even though I would do filthy, filthy things to Benedict Cumberbatch. I can’t hear Pooooo-blee-us again without twitching, much like James, who spent the entire episode freaked out that Cyrus was going to discover he was the one feeding information to Vanessa Chandler. He met David in front of an obvious green screen, David agreed to go in his place to meet with Vanessa, and they almost got found out after Charlie cloned her SIM card at a bar and figured out that a meeting was about to go down. Vanessa — who is leaving their phone on a bar and turning away from it for long enough to have someone duplicate all of your information? Tuck your phone in your bra, and leave the house with $40 and a bus pass. That’s like Drunk 101.

I was so pleased to see Hollis is back to be the most southerny southerner to ever southern and the biggest double-crossing douchebag in the room. I cringed when he offered Sally his “deepest condolences on double-d’s passing,” like he was mourning the loss of his favorite exotic dancer, but he’s totally on to Sally, who is too busy having waking nightmares about murder to even know he’s around, so this could get good. If Hollis finds out the truth about Daniel Douglas’s death, you know he’ll leverage it into something massive, and take everyone out on the way. He said he’d donate enough money to be energy secretary, but I think he’s angling to be Sally’s VP.

It turns out that Mellie had a problem with Oxycodone (which she had delivered to the house) after she was raped by her father-in-law and unsure about the paternity of her son, and Nichols saved her from a suicide attempt. When a reporter finds out about the drugs in the governor’s house with the help of Papa Pope, Nichols takes the fall for Mellie, and she legitimately cannot handle the fact that he loves her so much. Neither can I — he seems too gullible or something? Like, I cannot imagine him murdering anyone with his bare hands, which comes standard when you get with a Grant. But they did make out in that room full of judgmental First Lady portraits, so Mellie might get some after all. I’m fine with it — Fitz has positively flaunted his affair in her face for years, so let her bang all the dudes she wants to bang! It could get messy since he’s running with Fitz, but messy is what this show does well.

Huck walked around like a puppy with rheumy cataracts and brought Olivia coffee as a way to apologize for torturing Quinn. When she said he went too far, Huck was like, “Oh, REALLY?” and then did a wheezy, wild-eyed rant about how he is a monster who goes as far as his leash allows, and since she holds the leash, it’s her fault that he went too far. He’s crazy and he might have untreated asthma, but he’s right. Olivia didn’t treat Huck any better than B613 did — she utilized his skills in a more gentle way, but still set him up to feel useful only for his capacity to kill. It’s too bad that the tables turned and he ended up torturing one of their own, but it’s not exactly like Huck has an off switch.

Speaking of Quinn, she’s still trying her hand at freelance spying. She has no idea how to be conspicuous (Liv saw her in her car as soon as she left the restaurant), but she does know how to hack into most computer systems. After handing Jake the photos of Papa Pope meeting with Bergen, she might have written her own ticket into B613, even after Olivia asked her to come home.

Finally, Secret Service agent Tom Larsen, Fitz’s right-hand protective man, is part of B613! Tom, you sneaky bastard! Do you remember back when the Secret Service told Fitz where to stand in The Oval to avoid the cameras, and that they erase the tapes at the end of the day if nothing happens? Do you think Tom has been handing those tapes over to B613 the entire time?

Leaderboard of Arbitrary Points, Week 12

– 3,000 points to the next person who says "Publius"

+ 8,500 points to Carla Steel’s show, Steel Trap. I’ll also give her points for being a formidable opponent for Olivia, refusing to back down in the face of Liv’s “you’ll never work in this town again” threats.

–  1,500 points to Sally’s impending psychotic break. I wish she could murder without a conscience like everyone else on the show, but I think she’s going to end up confessing, dropping out of the race, and then we’re going to have four more years of Fitz.

+ 500 points to Jake for his Mary Tyler Moore moment when he realized he now has more power than the president, the prime minister, and basically everyone alive. Extra points awarded for “I used my official Boyfriend of Olivia Pope Key.” Snark on, brother.

+ 150 points to Nichols for touching that painting. You’ve waited a decade for a kiss — you’ve earned a little bit of delinquency, Nichols!

– 2000 points to Quinn “I’m violent now” Perkins.

+ 100 points to Cyrus, who asked Charlie to help “burn the stumps of the Hydra that keeps popping up” without having a heart attack.

– 8,000 points to Liv for not knowing if she has feelings for Jake.

+ 545 points to Papa Pope for asking Liv if her manipulative rhetoric actually works on people. Your parents will always put you on blast, okay?

– 4,000 points for Fitz complaining about running for president while being the president.

+ 7,500 points for Nichols enthusiastically saying, “Selling the BROMANCE!” and Fitz deadpanning back, “That’s not even a word.”

+ 10,000 points to Liv for staying away from coffee. Can you imagine? She would dry out like a corn husk and explode.

I’m glad it’s back to its former glory. See you in the comments, and next week!

Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC