Scandal Recap 2.20: “A Woman Scorned”

Olivia Pope and Jake Ballard on Scandal 2.20

Previously on Scandal: Marriage is hard!

Olivia’s swimming in a fabulous suit and cap again when we see the shadow and Jake Ballard fall over her as she goes for a turn against the wall. He tells her he’s there to protect her on the president’s orders, and she tells him there are laws against stalking. All of this starts a back-and-forth (“Go away!” “No!” “Go away!!” “NO!!”) that seems to go on forever, even segueing into a different conversation when she calls Fitz to demand that he tell Ballard to leave. The conversation hits Sorkin levels of speed, but it’s all for nothing because Fitz isn’t budging, threatens to break God knows how many laws to have Olivia locked up and detained for her own safety, and Ballard stays where he is.

Worst Pickup Line of the Night: “[My wife] She moved out!”

Back at the White House, Mellie has indeed moved across the street to Blair House (because the president hasn’t been exposed to the chicken pox!), following through with what she threatened last week. She’s given Fitz a countdown–a ticking clock to the end of their marriage unless he does something about his “Olivia problem.” Mellie, being the only one on this show who actually tries to assert some control over their own lives, threatens to schedule a nationally televised interview where she’ll out Fitz as a philanderer once and for all. Cyrus is desperately attempting to run damage control on the situation from his office when James comes in proclaiming that he’s been anointed to be the next Anderson Cooper. It’s here we learn that James isn’t actually a real journalist, given his excitement at being compared to someone who works for CNN.

Worst White House Ruse: Expecting the American public to believe that the child of the POTUS didn’t get the first dose of his chickenpox vaccine.

We come to a brief interlude and watch Gladiators, Inc., go through video footage as they try to figure out who took Huck. Using superpowers gifted via Mike Tyson, Huck identifies Charlie as the man in the baseball cap. Because even through grainy security camera footage, he knows one of Charlie’s ears when he sees one.

While the Gladiators work their magic (literally, magic, because most of their investigative “skills” utilized during this episode just Would. Not. Work.), we have to go back to Fitz, which has quickly become my least favorite part of each episode. My problem with Fitz (granted it’s not mine per se, as I’m hardly alone in this sentiment) is summed up when he sums up how he plans on dealing with Mellie’s threats: “When a child has a tantrum, you don’t indulge them.” And that’s great, except Mellie isn’t a child. She’s a grown woman who deserves the courtesy of a face-to-face discussion about, well…everything. Despite the “happy” and “romantic” ending we’re heading to for Olivia and Fitz, it’s important to remember that his treatment of both Mellie and Olivia is equally horrible. And to some extent Olivia knows that because, when Fitz calls her and insists that either he’s coming to her or she’s coming to him, she refuses… before she actually does go to him in the Oval Office. She yells and tells him they’re through–but we have a season finale, too, so of course she has to leave him with a sliver of hope.

Worst Sliver Of Hope of the Night: “I am not a fantasy. You want me? Earn me!” (At this point the man could cure world hunger, and he still wouldn’t have earned her back in my eyes.)

Mellie meets with Cyrus in Scandal 2×20.

Despite Olivia dashing off to see the president, the Gladiators still have work to do. They manage to get a bead on Charlie by staking out his favorite pastry place, finding out he’s in a book club, and having Huck do more fancy computer things. This all leads to the revelation that not only did Charlie kill Amanda Tanner way back in Season One, he’s under Cyrus’ control. We really hammer that point home a few moments later when Cyrus calls up Mellie and says, “What if I could get rid of Olivia Pope?” And in case you really didn’t get it, he proceeds to call up Jake to try and lure him away from his post at Olivia’s home so that he can send Charlie in to do that getting rid of. But because Jake only takes orders from Fitz, and not that poor woman who’s about to lose her job, he stays put leading to a tense conversation between the two at the door of Olivia’s apartment. Even though she hears it all, Olivia still can’t believe it.

Worst Case of Denial Ever: “Cyrus is my friend.” We all have an certain unquestioning devotion when it comes to our loved ones, but yikes.

As we come to the end of the hour we have three important things going down:

1. Mellie’s transformation from First Lady to Khaleesi.

2. Fitz self-destructing his marriage and presidency while getting it on in Olivia’s apartment during A.

3. Jake’s seemingly conscious decision to do nothing when Charlie walks into Olivia’s apartment –theoretically to kill her– during B. (And can we talk for a minute about how there are two shows on network television right now where the villains routinely spend their time watching the heroes get naked and have sex on hidden cameras in their apartments? Hi, my name is Kendra, and I’m a fan of The Following.)

Worst Sexual Desecration Of A Motown Classic: “You’re All I Need To Get By,” Marvin Gaye and Tammie Tarrell. We need to find this show a new music director. Or a Spotify account.

It’s that #2 that’s probably going to have everyone talking around the water cooler tomorrow. I’ve said it before, but for all intents and purposes Olivia and Fitz are the main romance on the show. We’re supposed to be rooting for them. I just still don’t understand how or why. I know our roundtable will hit this up for the next week, so for now all I’ll say is this: This is not romantic. It’s not sappy. It’s not something I can cheer for. Sitting in Olivia’s apartment and refusing to get out after she’d spend the entire episode telling him to leave her alone? That’s just abusive, controlling, and manipulative. He’s “earned” nothing with this action except for our disdain. He knows the position of power he has over her–what’s she going to do? Call the police on the president? I don’t think so. This relationship is just so oddly portrayed that I find myself constantly wondering what Shonda’s endgame with this could possibly be. Because these two people? They would never be happy together.

Team Mellie out.


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  • Elise Denham Probasco

    Someone clue me in to who Jake keeps meeting with on the sly, asking to be reassinged because he likes Olivia, saying his position is compromised by Charlie, and admitting that after the murder (fake suicide) of the first supposed mole, the media would now “think” he was the mole (implying Jake and mystery guy knew he wasn’t really).

    That’s what keeps me wondering what Jake’s role is. Is he the mole?

  • Pingback: Scandal Roundtable 2.20: “A Woman Scorned” | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture()

  • Alli

    So, I realized that Jake is now going to think that Cyrus is the mole, since he has video of Charlie both in Olivia’s apartment and then later in his apartment getting the video. And then Cyrus threatened to reveal that secret to the prez. So I think Jake will try and go after Cyrus, but he’ll have to tread carefully since he knows that Fitz would flip out if he knew about him & Olivia. I don’t think Cyrus was coming to Olivia’s to hurt her, just to talk to her.. but by doing that he made an enemy in Jake!

  • Mariqah

    P.s. I think David is the Mole..

  • Guest

    I’m really surprised by the black and white responses about this
    episode. Scandal was never meant to be “romantic” or “sappy”. Shonda has already
    stated that it’s not a fairytale. Her focus is on depicting real people,
    and real human complexities.

    It seriously seems as though people are taking out the reality of real Love in
    between Olivia and Fitz. Mellie showed in the previous episode that to
    her, the marriage was more so about strategy, power and maintaining a
    particular existence. Being President for Fitz was about doing good for
    his country, and also motivated by his relationship with his Dad; and
    his feelings of being somebody worthy. With Mellie, he’s
    compartmentalized, she accepts him to certain degrees, but chides him
    like a child. Whilst I don’t doubt that she has love for him, their
    relationship in terms of power dynamics, resembles a Mother and Child; a
    mother who does not trust in her child’s abilities, and is only willing
    to have things play out in a set way. Olivia, like Mellie, is strong,
    intelligent and capable. But unlike, Mellie, she has integrity, she has
    warmth, and she loves him, in his entirety. And granted she has a thing
    about fixing everything. But it’s not out of thinking he’s incapable.
    But she’s accustomed to Politics; she knows the importance of making
    sure everything falls in line.

    I think for Fitz, being President,
    on a grander scale, meant having a purpose, and being loved for “being a
    good person”. I think that sense of “being” was exacerbated through the
    contentious relationship with his Dad, and the social/class based
    environment he grew up in. In meeting Olivia, all those feelings are
    acknowledged and met. Olivia indulges in his vulnerability, and meets
    him halfway, always. No matter how angry or hurt she is, she connects
    with him, instinctively, authentically. The drama, the games, the lies,
    of his marriage and his presidency, in the previous episode, he made it
    clear, it wasn’t for him. That wasn’t what he wanted his presidency to
    be about. He chose Love, in its purest sense. And that’s not to say it’s
    going to be easy, or clear cut in the next few episodes. They both have
    lots of growing and healing to do. But he showed Olivia he was willing
    to give up the largest and most important thing that he had, in order to
    show his love for her. He’ll no longer be able to have her followed, or
    monitored. All that power that he had in being president, he will no
    longer have. He’ll be a simpleton, in fact, from this point forward, she
    will have all the power. Because her position, is solid and resides on
    her existence as her authentic self. She has built her world up from
    scratch. Which was not the case for him. He was given title and power
    and privilege, through the American people, he was put in place through
    the rigging. He gave up all the things he had planned for his life, his
    dad planned for his life.

    He gave up his power for her, for his
    love for her. And if that isn’t a huge thing to do to show your love for
    someone, I truly don’t know what is.

  • Medusa

    Lol, I am not with any of you, I love the music on this show.

    I found myself wanting to reach through the fourth wall and wanting to slap EVERYBODY. I HATE Fitz. I hate Olivia for telling him to “earn her,” as in she is STILL INTERESTED after being forceful and abusive, for telling her he would leave his wife and then getting so angry with HER and not EVERYONE ELSE after finding out about Defiance, for suddenly thinking she’s obligated to take him back, for taking a wrecking ball to every one of her boundaries. I hate Olivia for still considering taking him back, and then TAKING HIM BACK. Like everyone else has pointed out, what is the relationship based on? Is it just sex? Because I don’t think I’ve ever seen the two of them have a conversation that wasn’t about…. the relationship. I hate Mellie for calling Olivia a whole (um, hello? Your HUSBAND is the one who took a vow, and Olivia’s not forcing him to stalk her). And your marriage was completely sexless anyway! You clearly didn’t even like your husband, he didn’t like you, and that was before Olivia even came along. Captain Donuts is SO CREEPY (why does he keep watching the footage of him having sex?????? No, I mean, seriously!!)

    And I was laughing hysterically watching Cyrus running and throwing a fit of histrionics into the phone to try to stop the interview that was ALREADY ON THE AIR.

    As far as, you know, the actual political side of the show, I’m extremely confused. And I also don’t get why Cyrus showed up at Olivia’s house instead of sending Charlie.

  • Keisha

    I just have some outer thoughts on a minor detail that doesn’t make sense. First, does anyone live on Olivia’s floor? I feel like I might have seen another door or two (I’ll have to rewatch the episode). If so, doesn’t ANYONE get suspicious whenever the President makes these unannounced visits. Someone on her floor would have to wonder why their are random men outside her door for brief periods. Also, the fact that she left her curtains open while she was having her showdown (argument/sex) with Fitz is a bit unrealistic to me. He’s the POTUS and the media knows who she is so I’m sure there could be someone taking random photographs of them as they were going at it in her house. I know Shonda plays loose with realistic situations but come on, this is too much. I’m probably reading waaaayyyy to much into this.

    Also, I agree with Joseph Lamour, I think the First Lady might be the mole. For instance, she states to Cyrus that she “knows” people in high places as well (case in point how she knew that Olivia was at the White House). I am just waiting for her to reveal her big plan because honestly, I have never really seen any true affection towards Fitz other than having it for political clout. I feel that all of the times she tried to show some type of romantic emotion to Fitz, the underlying theme (whether Fitz is aware of it or not) is for her political gain. This is somewhat proven when it is revealed that they were really married for political gain. I’m sorry but nothing Mellie has done has made me sit and think: “Oh yes, she TRULY loves him unconditionally.” I think her motive was always for political gain and that if she is indeed the mole, she has a backup hand to play once the slander towards her begins.

    Also, for my own personal enjoyment, I want Fitz’s secretary to be the mole. This poor girl is constantly pressured into doing things that is undercover and she probably knows more than we are led on to believe. I really want her to snap one day and exclaim: “THIS IS NOT IN MY JOB DESCRIPTION!” and storm out with the fierceness.

  • mennabop

    So, as far as Jake and No. 3 … I don’t think he was watching Olivia’s apartment. I think he was watching a recording of the time he and Olivia spent at his apartment and seeing that Charlie had been in his apartment and knew about the video feed to Olivia’s place (did that make any sense?).

    And yeah, I wasn’t ok with them bringing Marvin and Tammie into this foolishness, nor with their generally wack usage of Motown.

    • Wong Chia Chi

      Yes WTF was with that? I know Marvin and Tammie had this affair when they sang that song together so that’s supposed to be the parallel between them and Olivia and Fits but the delivery was so off. I just couldn’t. I threw the pillow I was holding at my laptop screen in utter disgust.

  • Ashley Simmons

    I love ‘The Following’ too. Wondered what next season will be….probably about what’s-her-face family cult…anyway. Fritz is defintely the mole and I’m going to go as far to say he knew abotu Pollard(Pope and Ballard) all along. Something sinister is up Fritz sleeve but I bet this next storyline will be intertwined with Harrison’s.

  • Ruthie O

    I have two theories: one, we actually are not supposed to root for Fitz and Olivia. We are supposed to cringe. At least, that’s what I tell myself each week because Fitz gets meaner, more abusive, and uglier each episode. We have not been shown a single redeeming quality of Fitz, and I think that means something.

    And here’s my crackpot second theory: What is Fitz is the mole? Furthermore, what if Fitz is the one who hired Charlie? Remember, it was Cyrus who showed up at Olivia’s door– not Charlie. Why would Cyrus show up to the scene of a murder when he hired his evil henchman to do the dirty work for him? Isn’t that why powerful people hire evil henchmen? So they don’t have to show up? I think that Cyrus really was just going to talk to Olivia. Even if Cyrus isn’t the mole who is trying to kill Olivia, he still is one of the main villains of the show; I just don’t think he’s the one behind Charlie’s most recent attacks.

    Ok, back to Fitz. Fitz and Olivia could never work out. This isn’t that show. Their relationship, without all the power struggles and abuse, would lose all its narrative steam. Something has to happen to tear them apart, right? Also, we have seen just how possessive Fitz is over Olivia; what if he already knew about Olivia and Scott Foley? What if he just couldn’t handle the idea of her not being his? And we know the mole stole documents about Defiance; Fitz is OBSESSED over Defiance. He only knows what he’s been told, and he could be hungry to learn more. Fitz being the central villain of the show could confirm that he’s the evil jackass we’ve known the whole time, plus it provides one hell of a shocking conclusion to the Fitz/Olivia conflict.

    Of course, I can’t explain why Fitz would be so keen on keeping Scott Foley at Olivia’s protection, but we all know that there is something else behind Scott Foley’s story.

    Also, I’m disappointed that, although Mellie was bad ass this episode, she wasn’t the one to ultimately leave Fitz. She still gave them a chance, and he stood her up. I wish so very badly that Mellie could have been the one to truly end the relationship. (Also, how fucked up is it that Fitz had Cyrus try to convince Mellie to stay all while he was still pursuing Olivia?! UGH. He’s the damn child, trying to get EVERYTHING he wants without any regard to how it will affect those he claims he loves.)

    Um, sorry for the novel. I guess I had a lot to say about this episode! Can’t wait for the roundtable.

    • Ruthie O

      One more piece of evidence for my theory: Fitz killed Verna. I don’t care that she was dying; what’s important to note is that Fitz is clearly capable of killing people he loves of personal gain.

    • JosephLamour

      We love it when people comment and discuss! Novel away, Ruthie O! Plus, your theories made me say “iiiinteresting” and “oooh!” several times, I like the duplicitousness of the bait and switch this show sometimes gives, and someone else being the mole other than Cyrus is interesting. I personally think the mole is Sally Langston or The First Lady herself.

      • Ruthie O

        Whoa! I completely forgot that Sally Langston is still a player in this. Good call! And thank you for creating such a great space for folks to discuss the show!

    • Gillian Rosh

      Have you watched other Shonda Rhimes shows? I’m pretty sure we are supposed to root for Fitz & Olivia. I find them trite and boring, but they’re following the script of other Shonda couples (lookin’ at you GA’s Meredith & Derek).

    • Lizzy

      I’m totally with you on the idea that we are not supposed to root for Olivia and Fitz. Fitz is a total jerk! This is totally different from Meredith and Derek because Fitz has always been a jerk and we’ve never seen anything that showed that Fitz really cares for Olivia. All I’ve seen is lust and control in that relationship.