Pope & Associates is hired by Democratic Congresswoman Josie Marcus (Lisa Kudrow) to not only run her presidential campaign, but also to dispose of a damaging secret she’s hiding: she was a teen mother who gave her baby up for adoption. That kind of a problem is a cake walk for Olivia, of course, but after about five minutes in Josie’s hometown the Gladiators discover that that baby she had? She didn’t give it up for adoption; her family did one of those Chinatown things where they pretended the baby was Josie’s little sister. That never works out! That little sister is now working for Josie and has no idea. Oh boy.
Cyrus and Mellie spend the episode having a hell of a time finding someone to run Fitz’s reelection campaign. They try to get wunderkind Leo Borgen (Paul Adelstein), but he turns them down because he doesn’t work for losers. Zing! But then when Veep Langston approaches him in a men’s bathroom (an old trope, but a good power move nonetheless) about running her campaign as an independent (!), he seems into it for some reason. So, looks like we’ll have a female independent challenging Fitz, as well as Lisa Kudrow on the Democrat side. This is going to be fun!
At Olivia’s urging, Josie Marcus takes the bait from one of her opponents in the Democratic primary debate and comes clean about the baby she had. She claims she gave it up for adoption, but her little "sister" does some simple math and instantly figures out the truth. They fight, Josie irrationally blames Olivia for this, and fires her. She comes to her senses a day later and tries to hire her back, but…
At the White House Correspondents Dinner Mellie summons Olivia to a hotel room and privately begs her to come back to Fitz’s campaign -- he needs her. Guys, I know the internet hates Mellie and I’m not saying they don’t have good reason to, but man, she breaks my heart in scenes like this. Bellamy Young is vulnerable and desperate and contrite and the scene is perfect even though something awful has happened to her hair. Olivia doesn’t answer either Josie or Mellie, but, c’mon -- barring some unforgiveable new betrayal coming out about him she’s picking Fitz. But what are the odds of that happening!
And now for the kicker: Jake and Huck have been investigating why Fitz would lie about flying the Remington mission, and after stealing some files from Rowan’s home (which is insane, because wouldn’t Rowan have every inch of his home on surveillance?) and some classic Huck hacking, they discover that Fitz didn’t fly the mission because he was in Iceland… shooting down a 747 that was carrying Olivia’s mother. So. That’s the weirdness between Fitz and Rowan. Boom. The episode ends with Huck and Jake paying a late night visit to Olivia’s apartment, which will make for some delicious Olivia freak-outs next week. Girl, there’s not enough red wine in the world for drama this big.
Mindy Monez loves Mellie even when she has terrible First Lady helmet hair. She can be reached on Twitter for discussions of all things Scandal @garnisheater.
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Olivia and Rowan are back on their Sunday dinner schedule, and while Olivia is giving off fierce bitchface waves in his general direction, Rowan remarks that they are already on their dessert course and Olivia hasn't even accused him of any crimes against humanity or anything yet! He considers this progress. Olivia, as always, considers this entire charade to be bullshit. Which of course it is, but Olivia goes into a mini-rant about how awful he is and how much she hates Sunday dinners and how she's going to go to her room and slam the door and never come out because he's ruined her life-uh. It's not as trivial as all that, but I just feel like we've seen this exact scene play out so many times at this point that it's starting to feel a little rote.
Aside about Rowan: How hot would it be if someone on this show would just pull him aside and ask him point blank what his problem is? Just a straight up "Why are you so weird and awful? Please lay out the step-by-step process that made you this way." And then he just did so in a very straightforward manner. It would revolutionize storytelling!
While Olivia and Rowan are at dinner, Huck and Jack are burgling Rowan's home. Jake is downloading some files onto a flash drive, because what is a show about secrets and spies without flash drives? Huck is monitoring Rowan's position via the restaurant's security cameras (he hacked into them, natch), and trouble's a-brewin' because Rowan's leaving the restaurant and heading home, and Jake has only copied 80% of the files. The race is on.
Somehow, Rowan makes it home in under 30 seconds. I think there may have been an editing mistake there. Huck has to re-arm the home security system so that Rowan doesn't get alarmed (haha, alarmed! Ahh, puns) that it was disabled in the first place. Rowan enters, disables the alarm again, and Jake's files download in the nick of time. Jake hides in the shadows of Rowan's office and just barely escapes detection on his way out. What a good spy! What an adorable, perfectly-dimpled, wonderful little spy. I wanna dress Jake Ballard up in a sailor suit!
The next day, Mellie and Cyrus meet with a one Leo Bergen (played by Shondaland alum Paul Adelstein), a campaign manager extraordinaire, in the Oval Office. He's squeeing superfandoms about how cool it is to be in the Oval Office like it's his first time there, though, so it sounds like he's never won a Presidential campaign before. This is worth noting because Mellie and Cyrus really want him to run Fitz's reelection campaign, which I still can't believe they think he can win, and simply can't wait to see what insanity the show comes up with to make that win happen.