♫ Olivia, Olivia,
Say, have you met Olivia
Olivia, the lady who covertly brings up cunnilingus at her father’s dinner table …♩
All I want to do is talk about that inspired, hilarious seafood line, but there are also creepy pedophiles, garden-variety torture, and child murderers to discuss.
I marvel at the women on this show, and their complex relationships with each other. No one on the White House staff seems to know Abby’s name (Cyrus calls her Red; Fitz calls her Gabby), but Mellie knows her. Even in the throes of a very intense depression that has most of the White House writing her off as a medicated lunatic, Mellie knows Abby. It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s enough for Abby to sink her anchor into when she needs to steady herself for a confrontation with Fitz about the general disrespect he’s shown her. Fitz apologizes, but he doesn’t even get that right; he thinks he’s apologizing for yelling at Abby, but that’s just an extension of the way he patronizes her. She worked for Olivia Pope — you think she can’t handle a bit of screaming? Abby dresses him down for the real offense (his inability to remember her name) while also giving him a lesson in Scotch. It seems to be the one-two punch Fitz needs to realize that she’s on his level, and he might need her a little more than she needs him.
He’s also drunk, which, while not an excuse, explains his surliness. Fitz is a mean drunk, which he learned from his dad; the Grant family crest is just a wolf with swirls where his eyes should be, tongue hanging out of his mouth and spit flying everywhere while he shouts at a lady wolf standing nearby, and a jug spilling boozy liquid all over the floor at his feet. Maybe he’s drinking because Liz — convinced he’s not towing the Party line — is trying to sabotage him by teaming up with lobbyists to shut down his new gun bill. Maybe he’s just upset that Mellie is in such a dire place, and he can’t do anything about it.
What can Fitz really do about Mellie? He’s more attentive than I thought he would have been, but this grief is strangely all Mellie’s. Strange, mostly, because she doesn’t really hang out with her kids at all, and Gerry Jr.’s very conception was so tumultuous that I’m still not sure if she ever really bonded with him, but her sadness is still incredibly, overwhelmingly real. She had a project and was happy for a few minutes this week (a bit of her old spark came back), but it still felt desperate. It’s funny that Mellie imprinted on a case about a woman allegedly murdering her husband in such a shocking, gruesome way; she and Fitz have a long way to go, and if I were him, I’d be sleeping with a knife under the pillow. The look on her face when Jeff told her that they’d already solved the case, already figured out that the bride didn’t push her husband over the cliff, was devastating. Abby was sweet to rescue her from massive embarrassment with that bullshit last-minute meeting, because Fitz certainly wasn’t going to save her. He was in the midst of such all-encompassing pity that his brain didn’t even have time to catch up to his face — the looks he was pulling! He acted like he was listening to a fifth-grader practice their clarinet for the first time. Tony Goldwyn — YOUR FACE, SIR. I tip my hat to it. I still feel bad for Mellie; she had soil samples, guys.
It’s a very sly thing to have Abby and Olivia at odds but constantly finding ways to come together, even if it is just to snip at each other. One day, they’ll ditch Jake, David, and Fitz, realize they’re the only real OTP in town, and rule Washington with an iron fist, but right now, they’re stuck in this place where friendships sometimes go — too hurt to move forward, too wrapped up in each other to make a clean break. It was cool that the case of the week highlighted a bit more of the length of their friendship; client Catherine (Penny from Lost!) is an old college friend of both Olivia and Abby, and she just assumes that the two are still close. It was weird when Abby went to Olivia to find out what was going on when Catherine was seen on the news getting arrested for allegedly murdering her daughter (after she slept with her daughter’s boyfriend), but I think she was just looking for an excuse to be let back into the fold. Olivia not only failed to budge even a little, but made it explicitly clear that Abby isn’t a gladiator anymore. OUCH.
To be fair, Liv has a lot going on right now — she feels like something is missing now that she’s back from her private-island fuckfest, and her dad is acting really weird. I’m glad he eventually picked up a knife and came within millimeters of slicing Jake’s hand open at the dinner they all finally agreed to, because his “I’m just a dad” act is more menacing than anything he says or does as Command. Jake was right to stand his ground; he doesn’t owe Olivia a visit to the home of the man who threw him in a hole! But he had ulterior motives, and his willingness to go was mostly due to his wanting to confront Rowan with the truth — he knows Rowan killed Gerry Jr., and he also knows that Rowan hired Charlie to kill Harrison and Adnan. Charlie spilled the beans after Jake kidnapped him and held him hostage for a day or so, but only after he negotiated getting a visit from Quinn. Totally not cool to leave her there all night, Jake.
At first I was worried, because hello, she just got tossed into a hole with a psycho ex, but then she did some sweep-the-leg Johnny move and almost broke Charlie’s arm. Quinn’s good! She can take care of this. Quinn has changed so much from the timid, awkward girl she was in the first season, so this weird Tour of Ex-Boyfriends she’s been on for the past couple of weeks isn’t going to break her, but I’m glad she got so pissed off when she realized that neither Huck nor Olivia realized she was missing for an entire 24 hours. They’re still able to live in their selfishness somehow, and Quinn is the living embodiment of a phone book upside the head, begging them to stop being so shortsighted. Pope and Associates is lightly staffed right now, but surely that’s even more reason to realize when one of three people isn’t there. When she was with Charlie, she convinced herself that she wasn’t like him because “she has people,” only to come back to the stark realization that maybe she’s alone after all.
Cyrus has to know something is up with Michael, right? He’s masterminded and manipulated so many people that I can’t believe he hasn’t done a background check on him or at least had him followed. But hope could be an extension of his grief; being open to the possibility of love could be a new side of himself that he’s taking for a spin. He looked so happy after they had sex, and if he doesn’t already know something is up the downfall from this is going to be ugly.
Do you think Catherine killed her daughter? At the end of the episode, she’s been arrested, but she insisted to Olivia that she didn’t do it. Her speech to Liv about her being “bored, so I screwed a kid, and it felt great” was creeepyyyyyyyyy, but it doesn’t mean she murdered her own daughter. Who was the man in the elevator?
LEADERBOARD OF ARBITRARY POINTS, WEEK 3
–8,699 points: No one calls it “B School,” Michael — we barely tolerate “J School.”
+758 points to Liz for whatever she’s putting in motion, particularly that she seems to be handling all of her business at her kid’s school drop-off in the morning. That’s multitasking!
+9200 points: “Call me later if you want me to do that thing do you.” Jake is pretty good at holding his ground on this booty-call setup.
+540 points to Mellie for eating an apple. Scurvy is real, girl — glad to see you taking a break from the chips and fried chicken.
–3,000 points to how old I felt when Huck was reading off Caitlin’s Instagram hashtags (“Hashtag bad bitch contest” and “Hashtag major lady wood”).
–200 points to Fitz for how happy he looked when Mellie wanted to skip the cemetery for one day. I understand that it was a sort of progress, but it’s a little ghoulish to be happy that your wife isn’t visiting your newly dead son.
+10,000 points to David for turning into the Fucked-Up Batman of Washington, D.C. That file cave is going to bring down the whole city!
–1,078 points for the way they sort of glossed over the fact that the judge committed suicide after David blackmailed him, though.
+955 points to Liv for slamming Catherine into a wall.
–3,400 points to Charlie for his “being a spy is lonely” speech. It might have been more effective if he wasn’t saying it to a woman he just used as a pawn in order to force her to spend time with him.
–11,000 points to Liv for being jealous for even one second, thinking that Jake might have had a woman in his apartment. You’re Olivia Pope – he should be jealous of YOU.
But +11,000 points to Liv for the whole “You don’t fake sell fake paper” speech. I howled.
+6,299 points to Michael for saying Cyrus wasn’t paying for sex, he was paying for privacy and discretion. That’s a lie, but a good way to frame it.
+500 points: “I’m Scottish, by the way.” Abbyyyyyyy!
–14,000 points: That dinner was interminable.
But +14,001 points for Liv’s quip, “Jake, you must be happy having meat after all that seafood on the island.” Did you see the look on Papa Pope’s face? Y’all are not getting anything past him.
+877 points: “Shut your stubborn old-man mouth.” Jake is really reaching for this, really looking for a way to end his life.
It makes sense that Jake and Papa Pope are going to have to duke it out at some point, literally or figuratively. Jake clearly isn’t happy that Rowan is holding his ground, but if Washington, D.C., belongs to anyone, it’s Rowan Pope. I gave this episode three stars; I didn’t throw my wine glass or drop my popcorn bowl even once, but I’m happy that the rhythm of the season seems to be geared more towards building these plots over time.
See you next week!