Scandal Recap: Big-Girl Pants


The State of the Union
Season 4 Episode 2
Editor’s Rating 4 stars


The State of the Union
Season 4 Episode 2
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

Whenever Olivia and Jake talk about how they’re not standing in the sun anymore, I’m like, Have you BEEN to Washington, D.C.? It’s full of gnats the size of your face and your shoes melt the minute they touch concrete. It’s so muggy in D.C., the sides of your lungs touch when you try to take a deep breath. It’s basically the surface of the sun, which is why most of our politicians are functionally brain-dead and completely out of touch, and might explain why Jake even thought to ask Olivia for a booty call.

The best part of Operation: Get Some was that in the end, Liv not only did it, but was the valedictorian of booty calls. And you know that was her first time! She basically aced the SATs on the first try, with those heeled boots and that naked-under-the-coat move. Maybe she’ll get sick of wrangling weirdos and criminals, and in later seasons she’ll just be Olivia Pope, Jedi Master of Sex, Esq. After fixing the State of the Union address, she walked out of the front door of the White House — I don’t even think Fitz has done that — and straight into my heart.

Sure, Cyrus blackmailed Liv into working for the White House again, but if you were forced into being a vegetarian, you’d be a son of a bitch, too. You think it’s going to be Linda McCartney recipes, glowing skin, and a subscription to Goop, but it’s really peanut-butter sandwiches over the sink, Morningstar Farms black-bean burger patties that shift from white-hot to ice-cold in the span of a second, and being jealous that your dog treats are meat-flavored. Cyrus has bigger problems than his doctor forcing health upon him — he’s being courted by the sex-workin’ son of Slender Man. Michael — how tall and creepy are you, with your hybrid Matthew McConaughey/Guy Smiley face? Wearing Hilary Duff’s original veneers? SIR. Liz (whose brand of menace remains elusive for now) hired Michael; I’m not sure what she’s trying to do, but she’s soon to find out that Cyrus’s anger has been on the injured list for the past season due to grief and heart attack, but it’s looking to get back in the game.

Listen — I’m here for Jake and David: Buddy Cops. Their partnership yields results — Jake looked at files for one night and found out that Charlie was hot on Adnan and Harrison’s trail across the country, and David retreated to his True Detective Carcosa storage unit to blackmail some senators into giving him a job. I’m even willing to forgive him for his Charlie Sheen–style “winning” comments because I’m glad that David is finally fighting fire with fire. The last straw was not being framed for domestic abuse, but having that file come back to haunt you during an interview for the biggest job of your life. You’re goddamn right he’s about to turn into a bastard when it helps him get what he wants — you, alright! He learned it by watching you! I mean, he sooooort of conned his way into the job in the first place, but the whole world turns on a favor, I guess. I’m still pulling for him to join Pope and Associates — I have wanted it since the first season, and I will until I die, much like the way I still root for the Mets, even though they make me so angry I wish it were possible to punch the dicks clean off of the starting lineup season after season.

David might have thought he had an ally with Abby, who tried to help him with the pre-interview, but homegirl is STRESSED. OUT. I love that her new role seems to be yelling sense at Olivia every week, including the fact that Huck and Quinn were “incesting all over the office” without Liv’s knowledge, but I wish she could relax and enjoy her new station in life. Cyrus could have been a little more even-keeled in delivering Liv’s advice, but Abby — look around at your freedom! No one is bleeding on your silk blouses, making you restage murder scenes, or messing with your love life by lying to you about your boyfriend’s past. You made it! Your life is better than everyone left at Pope and Associates combined. Take a knee, have a beer — you get to yell at the first lady for a living, so life isn’t all that bad.

Poor Mellie, hanging on by a string when she’s not lit up on a cocktail of I Don’t Give a Shits (10 mg) and Leave Me the Fuck Alones (50 mg). It’s unnecessarily gendered that everyone is telling her to buck up and play the part of first lady again — Fitz dove headfirst into the deep well of alcoholism for an entire season and no one batted an eye, but Mellie has to get out of her retirement gear three months after her baby boy died? Let me tell you two things: (1) I agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates that reparations should be in full effect; and (2) women should be allowed to grieve like dying animals for three years, minimum. And I’m not just talking about death — fall to the ground over the fact that your lip color has been discontinued! Wail like a wolf if HR forgot to add your bonus to the last check of the year for the third time in a row! Tip over a car if a man on Twitter responds to you with, “Well, actually …”! Grieve, I say! Grieve! America, you owe us decades of teeth-gnashing and unmitigated rampages. That picture of her eating potato chips on her son’s grave in her bathrobe is simply rude.

Mellie is in pretty bad shape, but she hides it well behind a platter of fried chicken. It wasn’t until after the State of the Union that she collapsed, in the style of Charlize Theron’s Dior commercials. Women of the world, the one thing I will not allow in my New Republic of Grieving is snatching your own pearls.

Fitz was super sweet to comfort her after using her sorrow to fuel his speech, and clearing out a room to get a once-over from Olivia. He had the nerve to ask her, “Don’t you think you owe me this much?” Excuse you, Mr. President? You shot her mother out of the sky and she owes you something? You both owe each other the gift of Tinder, and then your accounts are settled. I had the pleasure of talking to Tony Goldwyn a few weeks ago, and in his role as the Most Charming Man Who Ever Charmed, he did convince me that Fitz seems to be way more into Olivia than she is into Fitz, but I still think they should both OkCupid their way out of this.

Who do I thank for helping us avoid the reunion of Huck and Quinn’s genitals — the person who created corkscrews? I don’t think the Elliotts were a good mirror for their relationship, but I do appreciate that they provided a chance for Huck and Quinn to briefly clear the air. Are all of the men on this show taking crazy pills? Huck had the very nerve to say, “I tore your teeth out because you couldn’t mind your own business,” like he was teaching her a time-honored lesson. I must have missed that day of school:

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffett
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
So she tore his teeth out because he wouldn’t mind his business. 


–700 points to Cyrus for saying, “Sorry to be such a bastard, but craving meat really brings out the worst in me.” He cut Liv right to the quick when he threatened to tell the president she called every day.

+4,600 points: Don’t sleep on Lisa Elliott; she WILL use a fire extinguisher to win a fight, wheelchair be damned.

+300 points: Mellie got a standing O for wearing power red and getting her hand out of the potato-chip bag for an evening. Four for you, Glen Coco!

–900 points to David for calling Jake a prolific assassin. Have you heard of rehabilitation? Let him live, David.

+100 points to Huck and Quinn’s matching plaid.

+7,600 points: Can we just have Mellie and Cyrus eating fried chicken and talking about who is more sad every week? From the “we are not the same” comment to “I am now broken, I am changed, I am forever undone,” nothing is more real than when these two get together to discuss affairs of the heart.

–3,000 points: “Is this a booty call?” If you have to ask, Jake …

+5,899 points: “The president likes you, but it’s over.” Cyrus will drop a bag of hammers on you like he’s flicking off a speck of lint from his coat.

+10,433 points to Abby for unleashing white-lady Kryptonite — Jackie Kennedy — on Mellie to convince her to show up at the State of the Union

+15,644 points to Fitz for saying slavery was in the Constitution, too, as a way to point out the historical fallacy of maintaining archaic gun laws in this country.

But –4,008 points for pantomiming a child dying in his arms; that was a bit much.

+8,677 points to Cyrus for stopping the one-night stand and, unknowingly, saving his political career for now. When Michael asked him, “What’s stopping you?” Um, America’s historical mistreatment of gay people and the fact that his weave is still so tight he can’t blink? No means no, Michael!

Scandal Recap: Big-Girl Pants