Scandal Review: “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies” (Episode 3.12)

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<i>Scandal</i> Review: &#8220;We Do Not Touch the First Ladies&#8221; (Episode 3.12)

Yet another dramatic, Olitz lover’s quarrel launched us into last night’s episode of Scandal. We watch as Fitzgerald and Olivia get dressed in one of their fancy “meeting” rooms and simultaneously argue about Olivia’s choice to faux-date Jake. If all of this drama between the two keeps up, much of the Scandal fan base will surely wind up on Team Jake. (Some of us are already firmly there.) There’s also this issue of redundancy. As far as plot, some folks are tired of waiting for Olivia and Fitz to get it together! But this dance of theirs is, sadly, kind of natural. They’re star-crossed! So they’re probably never going to get it together, and we all might have to just accept that, even as we watch them struggle against the inevitable.

One welcome break from Olitz came with the flashback to the time after Mellie’s sexual assault at the hands of Fitz’s father. (We first learned of this in the powerful episode, “Everything’s Coming Up Mellie”.) But now we see the aftermath of the assault—the effect this secret is having on Fitz and Mellie’s relationship. We also see how far back Mellie and Andrew Nichols go, since he was lieutenant governor when Fitz was governor of California. Another scandalous story begins to unfold when a rumor begins to fly about Nichols’s past drug use. Now that he’s been picked as Fitz’s running mate, all of the skeletons are sure to come out, but Mellie seems especially defensive of Nichols on this issue. We come to find out that this is because the oxycontin found in his possession was actually hers, as she attempted suicide shortly after being raped. In between these flashbacks, we watch her get closer to Nichols, who remains firm in his decision to protect her; naturally, they end up making out in the White House room of First Ladies portraits. Because, apparently, we do touch the First Ladies. Sometimes.

So Fitz’s campaign for re-election is running into a series of complications. In this episode, the administration has to find a way to kill the drug story (they go with the good ol’ fashioned bit where they accuse someone of being paid off); Olivia has to figure out if her father is the one trying to leak the drug story (since he has threatened to take down the whole republic); and Hollis Doyle is back in the picture, playing nice with Vice President Sally Langston while making new deals with Cyrus for the Grant administration. Another interesting player here is Adnan Salif, who’s using Harrison to get involved in the presidential race. (She’s blackmailing him with some Clearwater scandal he doesn’t even want Olivia to know about.) And then there’s the whole Daniel Douglass murder cover-up, which is still an issue, with Plubius (AKA James) and David working together. Charlie and Cyrus did not succeed in whatever they were planning this week (since the Gladiators swooped in and faux-kidnapped David), but they’re definitely not going to sit back and let this story leak to the public.

A few other characters are on the verge of, well, exploding. Quinn pulled a gun out on Olivia, who begged her would-be prodigal daughter to return home. Huck and Olivia are also in an awkward place, since Huck is partly responsible for Quinn’s unwillingness to return to the Gladiators. Jake is the head of B6-13 now, and there were some hints in this episode that the power might very well go to his head, might change him as it once did Olivia’s father. When he discovers that one of the president’s bodyguards is a member of B6-13, he gleefully listens in on a conversation between Fitz and Olivia, in which she professes that she may totally still have feelings for him. (Score one for Team Jake.)

These scenes between Huck and Olivia and Jake and Olivia prove that Scandal is often at its best when people are going off on Olivia! It’s strange, but it’s almost like watching Olivia handle everyone, all of the time, creates this desire in us to see her get checked every once in a while. Huck tells her that she, in fact, has gone too far—in loving him, in taking him in and expecting him to behave like something other than the killer (the “monster”) that he is. And Jake informs her, in another great scene, that if he has to play up this ridiculous fake boyfriend charade, she better damn well have some beers for him when he comes home to make fake love to her. That seems fair.

And then we have Olivia’s mom, who’s back and working with … Adnan Salif? Oh, Scandal. If we didn’t love you, we’d be tempted to roll our eyes at yet another plot twist. But we do love you, so let’s see where this goes!

Favorite Quote of the Episode: “You should’ve never given me someone to love. Monsters eat people, Liv. It’s what we do.” (Huck)

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.