Scandal Recap 2.17: “Snake In The Garden”

By Kendra James


Fatherhood was the theme of the night on this week’s episode. Fitz is horrible at it; Hollis wouldn’t know his own daughter’s ear from a clay prop; Quinn’s dad is having a birthday; Cyrus is most definitely not being cheated on by the co-father of his child, no matter how poorly he’s phrasing it. It’s just another week on Scandal.

The episode opens with Cyrus pulling information on Olivia’s Creepy Army Beau (Jake) who is, in Cy’s eyes, just Fitz’s Creepy Army Beau. He’s vocal in his protests that Fitz is obviously cheating on him in the information-sharing and confidant reports. Despite understanding that Cyrus is a jealous and cunning lover I have to wonder, with Fitz in the condition he’s in, why they all continue to care. This would have been the chance to gracefully unhitch your star from this drunken wagon, Cy. Fitz is, by the way, still drinking when we meet up with him and Creepy Army Beau in the next scene. If the writers attempt to drive this drinking thing home any harder, we’re going to end the season with a whiskey-fueled nuclear launch.

While Fitz drinks, David Rosen’s home is being burglarized as he walks through the front door. Instead of turning around and walking the other way while calling the cops, David chooses to throw himself to the floor with gusto where… I guess no one’s going to see him? It didn’t seem like most logical idea, but he does get to Liv’s eventually where he somehow falls asleep to the dulcet tones of the entire group of Gladiators yelling above him. (No, really–I don’t know how he slept through that.) This coincides with the further development of Quinn’s career as some deranged version of a Sober Companion to Huck. They get back to business only after some midday stalking, as one does, and Quinn’s offer to help Huck find a new family to watch/get murdered.

“Business’ for HuckleberryQuinn also includes noticing that the CIA director (remember, he may or may not be a mole) is headed straight for Olivia’s apartment. As usual, Huck wastes a few minutes allowing Quinn to figure out what he knew five minutes before. The visit by the director is quick, but leaves Olivia shaken in Huck’s protective presence. Of course, she recovers quickly enough to don her whites for work the next day.

Work brings the return of Foghorn Leghorn (Hollis) and his ex-wife, with whom he has eight children–one of whom has supposedly been kidnapped. Proving just how lightly he’s taking the situation, Hollis calls Olivia instead of Liam Neeson and, thus, we have our Case of the Week–Taken Pt. 3. It’s all fun and games and made up words (I swear I heard “Conjitate” come out of his mouth) until the kidnapped girl’s ear is delivered to the office.

But there came a point between the kidnapped girl and David Rosen’s disheveled track suit that really got Twitter buzzing last night: Mellie, Fitz, and their mysterious teenage children who are forever off at boarding school. Bellamy Young provides the performance of the season as Mellie spends the entire episode attempting to block up Fitz’s time so that he won’t be around when the children come back to visit that weekend. Seen through Fitz’s eyes (and likely some of the audience’s as well), it seems like a selfish attempt to keep him from their children. But, when Mellie schools him later on–honestly, she reads this man ’till she’s practically out of breath–it turns out their kids don’t want to come home because not only does Fitz stink like a corner liquor store, he’s ,changed. He’s not their father anymore. He’s not a good person. He’s selfish. He’s mean. It’s not like this is news to anyone who’s been watching the show with at least half an eye open but, oh, is it good to hear it come out of someone’s mouth. And to hear it from Mellie, knowing that she’s spent the entire episode attempting to spare him from that truth, makes it all the better.

Personally, I don’t think Olivia needs to be in a committed relationship for this show to work, especially given that the main focus of the show should be on the Olivia/Fitz/Mellie/Cyrus dynamic. That said, I wouldn’t hate if the next man who crossed her path is not only someone who she can trust–and isn’t, you know, married–but someone who’s as dynamic, successful, and strong-willed as she is. Edison wasn’t a bad guy, but everyone could see that wasn’t a compatible relationship. It’s a two-way street, of course; for all the flaws in the men she’s found, Liv also has a habit of using people to get what she wants and becoming affronted when they question her judgment. That doesn’t always make for the best relationships. But, romantic entanglements aren’t what’s keeping this show going and thank God for that, because I can’t back ‘Olitz” until a certain member of that equation takes a long, hard look at himself. The tentative wavering of a hand over a glass of whiskey doesn’t fix almost a year of alcoholism.

The episode seems to wrap up neatly (Mellie gets her soliloquy; they find Foghorn’s daughter; Liv and Cyrus rather endearingly rain-check and wine date) until it pulls a Shonda in those last thirty seconds and we find out that the CIA Director’s committed suicide.

Yikes! Was he the mole? Is this all a huge cover up? Is Fitz involved? How does Creepy Army Beau play into this? Was his old Black friend Olivia’s father? You know someone out there was thinking it. I guess I’m tuning back in for the next episode to find out.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

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  • LB

    I think Jake is Navy not Army…and you are right on with the recap, love me some Hollis though, he and his accent cracks me up.

  • Felise

    Thanks for this post. I found the fatherhood theme this week… interesting. I am curious as to what message Shonda Rhimes is trying to get across with this one. I could have done without whole brining Hollis back for more ruthless shenanigans. I am much more interested in how this episode pushed Fitz’s story line forward. I’ve never liked Milly (of course) but there was something refreshing about seeing her being right for once, no? I was a little thrown by this episode. The theme was clearly fatherhood, but is there an underling message about motherhood? Who is really playing out the mother role on the show? Anyone? I can’t think of anyone. Is that saying something women in politics, business, or with careers in general? I could be reading too much into it. As always, I am excited for next week!

  • Simon S

    Who’s the actor in the white blouse on the right?

    • Jai Henry

      Kerry Washington

  • lyricalkismet

    Agree with you about Jeff Perry. He is an awesome actor!

  • Shazza

    In the first episode we saw Jake meet with Fitz, he said ‘we’ve moved from photos to video surveillance’ and it was under Fitz’s orders.

    • Ruthie O

      Ah yes, thank you. I forgot that season. I’m relieved: I can go back to hating Fitz and all he stands for!

  • Foxessa

    With you on that: no romance for Olivia, at least with men, since her taste / judgment in men for that position is, as she herself is the first to say, really bad. Really, REALLY bad.