After one of the best episodes of its entire series, Scandal returned Thursday night with another showstopper. There will be an unbearable two-week break before the next episode, and creator Shonda Rhimes has turned everything on its head. In “Vermont is for Lovers, Too” the dead are risen, friends are foes (foes with a penchant for torture), once-faithful husbands are running amuck, and former flames are being rekindled on hardwood floors in the Green Mountain State. It’s Scandal, and the drama just don’t quit.
Last week, viewers were introduced to Olivia Pope’s previously presumed dead mother; this week we learned more about her mom than we probably wanted to know. For example, she is the type who, in an attempt to avoid being moved to another prison outside of the country (as Papa Pope was planning to do), will use her teeth to tear open her wrists. This gut-churning Silence of the Lambs-esque scene took place after she begged to see Olivia and was denied by Eli Pope, who seems to be in charge of pretty much everything.
Quinn’s unfortunate storyline is picking up, as she now works for B6-13 and spent the episode trying desperately to keep this from the Gladiators. Still working to figure out what happened with Olivia’s mom, they put their efforts into trying to figure out who killed their last lead (the security guard). Quinn may not be the most compelling character on the show but this plot twist—in which she is playing both Gladiator and B6-13 lackey—changes everything.
For those of us who have been enjoying Lisa Kudrow’s character, Congresswoman Josie Marcus, there was some disappointment as her exit from the show became all but official. The woman who was raised as Marcus’s sister (but who is actually her daughter) sent the Gladiators on a wild goose chase when she tried to frame the competition for breaking into the campaign headquarters. Rather than fire her, Kudrow’s character makes what she thinks is the more maternal decision, and sacrifices herself by assuming the blame and dropping out of the race. We may see a woman take the presidential oath yet, but it doesn’t look like it’s happening on Scandal,
The end of the Marcus campaign was clearly written to make way for Olivia’s return to Fitz, which was one of the episode’s highlights. For the first time this season, the politically star-crossed lovers made sweet love down by the fire in a Vermont home Fitz confessed to having had built for them. The romantic tryst was especially significant as the two discussed the person who Olivia refuses to discuss—her father. Neither of them know why the plane her mother was on had to be shot down, and even though Fitz is technically responsible, he knows Olivia’s father was calling the shots. We can now expect him to go after Pope as Olivia herself also attempts to find answers.
As the episode came to an end, multiple bombs were dropped. Olivia’s mom, like the caged animal she resembled in the beginning of the episode, made an epic escape and confronted Olivia on the street: BOOM. Then, after thinking she’d literally gotten away with murder (and betrayal), Quinn comes home to a very scary Huck who knows the truth about her affair of sorts with B6-13: BOOM le deux. He is surrounded by his favorite instruments of torture, and it becomes clear that their relationship has taken a dark turn.
One other relationship that appears to be going dark is the marriage between White House Chief of Staff Cyrus and his journalist husband James. In a move straight out of a Shakespearean tragedy (or comedy) Cyrus dangles James as bait in front of Vice President Sally Langston’s husband, hoping to blackmail her before she can run against Fitz. It’s a great idea, if you trust your husband and aren’t concerned that an actual affair will occur. But once James realizes that he has been, once again, a mere pawn in his hubby’s political scheme he decides to go for the jugular. Cyrus soon receives photos of James and Mr. Sally Langston in some very compromising positions. Olivia and Fitz are still fairly interesting to watch, but their storyline is beginning to pale in comparison to some of these other issues, which is ultimately a good thing for Scandal. We’ll all just have to find something else to do over the next two weeks before we get answers to these important questions:
—Is Cyrus going to lose it and kill his husband (because he almost did that one other time last season)?
—Is Mama Pope’s escape a good thing, and, if so, why is the sight of her out on the loose so ridiculously scary?
—And finally, if Huck actually tortures Quinn, will they ever be able to hang out again? (Probably not, right?)
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “We need to talk about who you’re working for.” (Huck)