Before last night’s Scandal never in the history of television (probably) had a single episode made viewers feel like there was a seventy-five percent chance that they themselves were pregnant, or had gotten someone pregnant by proxy. So. Much. Sex. So much of it that there was no way to get through “Mama Said Knock You Out” without feeling like you were somehow explicitly, intimately involved.
First, Olivia and the President got it on in their favorite place to get it on—the Oval Office. Liv was a little concerned about an upcoming First Family appearance because, after three seasons of non-existence, Mellie and Fitz’s kids have finally decided to leave boarding school and make an appearance. Anyway, all the stress led to some hot and steamy Olitz stuff in the corner, away from those pesky cameras. Since last week’s episode was all about death and carnage and loss, this was a nice little intro. And very Freudian of Shonda Rhimes, too.
When we meet the first kids, they’re as sketchy as we thought they might be. In a family dinner scene reminiscent of that hilarious throwback sketch from Saturday Night Live (the one with Sarah Michelle Gellar as the daughter and Will Ferrell as the angry, Dodge Stratus-driving dad), we learn that little Jerry and Karen can’t stand their parents. So, they’re just like most teens, but a little more resentful over their family’s public humiliations. Karen can’t believe her mom is staying with a cheating husband, but that’s partly because she doesn’t know about Mellie and Andrew … yet.
Last week marked Mellie and Andrew’s first tryst, but this week they couldn’t use wine as an excuse. Like Olivia and Fitz, they’ve found a couple of surveillance-free spots in the White House to get it on. Affairs all around! Literally, all around the White House.
In addition to getting the First Family prepared, Olivia embarks on what will surely be the long, arduous, life-threatening journey of taking down B6-13. Her plan is to locate the source of their capital and starve them out, though Huck is against any plan that involves B6-13 and, probably, getting killed. His fears are confirmed when Liv’s father lets her know that her every move is being watched. Surprisingly enough, by the end of the episode he’s helping her. As we suspected, B6-13 is getting money from everywhere, so there’s no one place that Liv can target. But her mission will be a lot easier if Rowan is truly on her side.
Speaking of B6-13, they (Quinn and Charlie) have a pretty cool storyline that connects in an interesting way with Olivia’s mom, Maya. They were both (along with the President) chasing after this Russian crew, though all for seemingly different reasons. Dmitri is the bad guy that Quinn and Charlie capture, but Fitz and crew (including a very bleary-eyed Cyrus) have been on the prowl for him. As it turns out, he works for Ivan—the same guy Maya’s doing bad things with, along with Adnan.
Our poor, widowed Cyrus! He finds out—as we expected he might—that Command killed his husband and attacks Jake in the Oval Office. But after Fitz pulls him off (and Jake creepily—but probably sincerely—offers his condolences), he sits down and through his grief is able to admit that Jake was just doing his job. In fact, Jake only did what Cyrus almost did last season when he took out that hit on James. The only thing that stopped him was the whole “husband” “love of my life” thing. Jake didn’t have that, so Jake succeeded in the kill.
For those of us who wanted more Maya Pope, this episode was a total gem. Khandi Alexander was brilliant. She continues to scare the bejeezus out of Adnan (who’s pretty scary in her own right), and she gives a speech that tears Olivia down worse than a Rowan Pope monologue. Although, this was a moment similar to the season three opener, when Papa Pope laid into his daughter about the ridiculousness of being the President’s mistress when she could have chosen a man with real power. Maya tells her daughter that she may be treated like family by her fancy-schmancy clients (including the President), but she is The Help. And we’re all like, “What?! The D.C. fixer with the nicest winter coats we’ve ever seen?” It makes no sense, until Maya explains that Olivia’s job is to clean up the messes of rich folks in powerful positions. And, well, that’s completely true. There’s also this added layer of unspoken racial dialogue as well, watching a black mother say this to her daughter.
This week, the Gladiators found themselves investigating children when Olivia gets the feeling that little Jerry and Karen are up to something. In typical privileged kid fashion, Jerry can’t stand his father. So much so, he’s started this hilarious anti-Grant Twitter account, and even ordered pro-Reston T-shirts. Nothing says “I hate you, Dad” like campaigning for the other guy in a Presidential election. And Karen stumbles upon the very thing that nightmares are made of. It almost pains me to write it out, so here’s a direct quote from the poor, emotionally scarred girl: “You were on your knees with Uncle Andrew!” From Karen, to Mellie. The. Worst.
In the end, the First Family (with The Help … ahem … of Olivia) pull it together for the appearance. Mellie and Fitz also hash out some stuff after he finds out about Andrew (and punches him in the face, which seemed unfair, only because Cyrus didn’t get a single hit in on Jake). But Mellie still refuses to tell him the truth about what really happened after Jerry was born, and why she was unable to be intimate. Hearing Fitz rail into her about how she broke the marriage when she stopped sleeping with him was pretty awful, partly because he basically made all of his affairs her fault. But the main issue is that we know his father raped her, and that this is what really marked the end for the two of them.
Stray observations/other people who got laid on Scandal this week:
—Adnan used her magical, bewitching, sexy powers on Harrison again and stole some very important information about the President, his campaign and his security detail.
—Huck and Quinn didn’t technically have sex but that hook-up outside was so intense, it still felt like someone was in danger of getting pregnant. And now that crazy Charlie has moved in with Quinn (to “protect” her from Huck), it looks like we have yet another love triangle on the show.
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “The last thing this campaign needs is another sex scandal.” (Olivia)
“Glass houses, Olivia.” (Andrew)
Shannon M. Houston is a New York-based freelance writer, regular contributor to Paste, and occasional contributor to the human race via little squishy babies. You can follow her on Twitter.