In tonight's episode of "Scandal," titled "The Fluffer," Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, had her authority challenged as the Grant campaign manager/Queen of Fixing ... and she fought back with guns blazing.
Previously, in the episode titled "Mama Said Knock You Out," Fitz and Mellie Grant, played by Tony Goldwyn and Bellamy Young, welcomed the return of their older children Jerry and Karen ... although it wasn't very welcoming. It is learned that Jerry has been running an anti-Grant Twitter account and Karen walks in on Mellie and Andrew, played by Jon Tenney, getting hot and heavy, thus creating an immense amount of drama right before their scheduled family television interview.
Olivia also gets a direct call from her mother Maya, played by Khandi Alexander, who is searching for her partner-in-crime Adnan after she fleas to Pope & Associates for help. The only thing is, Adnan didn't really come to Olivia for help. She instead seduces Harrison (again) and steals information about the Grant security detail and gives it to Maya.
Check out 5 highlights from the episode "The Fluffer," which aired on Thursday, April 3. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
1. The dissolution of love.
Olivia and Fitz. Mellie and Andrew. Olivia and Jake. Fitz and Mellie. Four pairings, five people ... and a whole lot of infighting. Signs of trouble in paradise for all parties is evident in the beginning of the episode, when Abby, played by Darby Stanchfield, takes Olivia's place, referring to herself as a proxy, during a meeting. Fitz, Mellie and Andrew do not take to Abby's approach to campaign management and ultimately ignore her presence and leave.
When the news of a salacious tell-all surfaces by Jeannine Locke, the woman the Grant campaign used as the fall gal when Fitz's affair was exposed, Olivia is forced to return to the White House to deal with this monster of a story. She attempts to keep the conversation focused solely on what can be done to squash the "baguette"-boasting memoir, however, Fitz is only interested in airing his personal grievances and displeasure for sending Abby to the White House instead.
Still not over the Mellie and Andrew affair, Fitz wants Andrew off the campaign ticket and wants nothing to do with Mellie, two things Olivia warns him will destroy the campaign. Olivia proceeds to ask Fitz if there's anything else he needs, feeling as though she's only kept around to service a need. Fitz calls her behavior disgusting and calls her out on her jealousy, to which she replies, "What else am I supposed to be?"
To summarize Fitz's logic: it's okay to have an affair with Olivia, but it is not okay for Mellie to have an affair with Andrew, and it is not okay for Olivia to be jealous about Fitz's anger regarding his wife's affair, nor was it okay for Olivia to be seen with Jake ever. That Fitz man, what a guy.
2. The case of the leaking stories.
News of Jeannine Locke's juicy book came out of the blue, and immediately the Grant campaign called foul on Sally Langston, played by Kate Burton. Cyrus, played by Jeff Perry, saw the move as yet another dirty political tactic in order for Sally to gain the upper hand with women in the votes. Cyrus wanted to fight fire with fire, by exposing Sally's teenage daughter's abortion, but Olivia wanted to be "above the fray" and find a better way to deal with the Jeannine situation.
Cyrus initially agrees, but when he overhears Leo, played by Paul Adelstein, talking about Fitz and the Grant campaign unfavorably to others in the White House, Cyrus orders the news be leaked. Olivia berates Cyrus, telling him that the women voters that Fitz was lacking will now feel for Sally because the situation involved her teenage daughter.
Not only did the Grant campaign have to worry about Sally, but they had to worry about the dark horse in it all, Sam Reston. They had one chip to play against him, by exposing that it was Sam who actually killed the man that his wife Joan is in prison for. Abby exposes the truth via viral video, after secretly recording Sam threatening Joan if she came forward with the news. Dirty politics and all, Sam Reston's numbers tanked right before his eyes and the Grant campaign found its way back to a relatively good place. That is, if you completely forget about all the behind-the-scenes drama but, who would do that?
3. Indecent proposal.
Jake Ballard, played by Scott Foley, shows up outside Olivia's door in the middle of the night, drunk and looking for an escape. Olivia can barely bring herself to speak to Jake and she certainly does not want to let him in her apartment. With desperation in his voice, he tells her, "I asked you to save me, and you said no," before leaving her alone. Olivia appears torn by Jake, knowing she cannot trust him after all he has done, but also cannot help but feel some form of empathy toward him.
Following this, the Pope & Associates team hit a wall in tracking down how B-613 is financed, until Rowan Pope, played by Joe Morton, tells Olivia that the only hands that information would be in is Jake's. The only way to get the information she wants is to get to his phone, and considering she won't give Jake the time of day, getting to his phone long enough to retrieve the information is easier said than done. Unless of course your plan is to implement an adult slumber party ...
Olivia had to tap into her romantic feelings for Jake in order to get very, very close to him to get to his phone, and it worked. Although Olivia was initially repulsed by the idea, Huck, played by Guillermo Diaz, reminded her that she has asked him to do things he didn't want to do, but he did them because she asked him to. He certainly has a point, but even Gladiators who enjoy seeing Jake and Olivia together have to admit that the whole exchange was, for lack of a better word, icky.
4. An awkward family dinner.
Olivia and Rowan's dinners are always a very interesting arrangement. The restaurant is all five-star, there is always wine and you can almost bet there will be a white table cloth and mood lighting. Despite all the horrible things Rowan has said and done to Olivia this season, the two seem relatively normal at dinner together, discussing her feelings about the B-613 take-down and whether or not she should walk away from it all.
The conversation quickly came to a screeching halt, when in walks Mama Pope herself, Maya. The Wicked Witch of Washington D.C. makes herself comfortable at the dinner table, declaring that in her 22 years in prison, she really missed good wine. Rowan doesn't take to her presence, and when she insults him, he reaches for a steak knife, as does she. Maya says, "Oh please do baby, please take a stab at me. I wonder which one of us is faster." OMG THE TENSION!!!
When Olivia questions why Maya is there, she tells her that she's her mother and she loves her. Okay. She also tells her she needs to find a new line of work and to stop meddling in her affairs, because it's dangerous. Olivia immediately gets a call from Harrison, who informs her that a woman who was trying to help expose Maya's plan was shot, with Olivia knowing it was her mother who made the call. Maya warns her once more to stay out of the way and leaves the table, but not before thanking her for the wine. She may be a monster, as Olivia puts it, but hey, at least she said thank you (?).
5. The war is over (for about six seconds).
After Olivia successfully retrieves the information off of Jake's phone, she is able to bring it back to the office and find out all of B-613's secrets. On the phone, they find just about everything under the sun they would need to wipe B-613 clean, everything from finances, to close-circuit surveillance cameras and cell phones. Olivia orders Huck to shut it down, and they do.
What they didn't see was Maya receiving a faux delivery of roses that was actually a bomb, and when they cut off B-613's life source, they cut off Jake, Quinn and Charlie's eye on Maya. B-613 is in the dark and no one can get ahold of each other. Olivia and her Gladiators proceed to cheers to their victory, but their excitement is short lived after Jake barges into the office and pins Olivia against the wall, grabbing her by the neck. Jake tells her, "You just killed the president."
Things are definitely starting to look grim for Olivia and Co. with just two more episodes left until the season finale. Gladiators, brace yourselves.