Scandal 2.01 Recap: “White Hats Off”

Mark O. Estes September 27, 2012 4

Scandal Season 2Gladiators, we are back in action as Scandal came back tonight and snatched the breath out of fans everywhere with its rapid dialogue, whiplash inducing plot twists, and the answer to the question of the summer: Who the hell is Quinn Perkins?!

Who is Quinn Perkins?

Our girl Quinn Perkins is actually Lindsay Dwyer, a young woman accused of killing her boyfriend and six of his coworkers with a homemade bomb after catching him cheating with another woman. Say what?!

Quinn claims innocence and doesn’t even know how to build a homemade bomb of all things. Freaked about the incident and that people were already blaming her for the bombing, Quinn tells Olivia and crew that she ran out of fear and checked into the first hotel she could find, where she was knocked out and woke to find a whole new life laid out for her in a new hotel in Washington, D.C., including a new passport, driver’s license, money, and a new name: Quinn Perkins.

The evidence against Quinn, albeit mountainous and damning, is mostly circumstantial, which Olivia points out since there are no records of Quinn sending the package nor of her fingerprints on the remnants of the bomb. One of Quinn’s lawyers asks for an injunction based on those particular facts and is bluntly denied. But Quinn did threaten to kill her boyfriend for his transgressions, which is all the juicy motive U.S. Attorney David Rosen (the newly minted series regular Joshua Molina) needs for his case. He does come to Olivia in secret to see if he could help in any way before taking the case to trial. When he asks for info on Quinn, Olivia only sticks with her gut on Quinn’s innocence, which leaves David no other choice but to do his job and “eviscerate” Quinn on the stand. Olivia tells him to “wear his hat,” and she’ll wear hers. Get ‘em, Liv.

In the courtroom, David Rosen doesn’t hold back on his claims as he pokes holes through the defenses’ arsenal, sealing the his argument by asking for the death penalty for Quinn. Ouch… Plus, Abby isn’t making the case any better, since she doesn’t buy any ounce of Quinn’s story at all, while Harrison figures that the key to the case lies with the guy who gave Quinn her new life.

Olivia sends Huck to try to find any surveillance tapes of the hotel Quinn stayed at the night of her abduction and he discovers security cameras from across the street of the hotel. Scandal Season 2Later, Olivia is rocked to the core when she finds out that not only has Quinn prepared herself to take a plea deal from David, but that Quinn has fired her from the case, which is like firing Oprah Winfrey from her own show. You just. Don’t. Do. It.

When Olivia asks why is Quinn being so damn stupid, her client shoots back that Olivia hasn’t been upfront with her for the past sixth months over why Olivia took the case, how Olivia knew from the start that she wasn’t Quinn Perkins, and that her life is on the line. Olivia verbally knocks some sense into Quinn’s dumba ass by explaining that all Quinn has to do is trust her to do her job. Why? Because she’s Olivia Pope, dammit. Well she didn’t say it like that, but its the gist of the conversation. Olivia then tells David, who is waiting outside that she will see him in court after he advises that she steps down and take the deal.

Huck reports back to Olivia that the surveillance footage proved to be moot after someone erased a lot of the images from the files, leaving them without a prayer to win the case. Olivia, feeling dejected, goes into her office and secretly dials someone who she hasn’t spoken to in a while. She then sadly states that they were going to lose the case.

Harrison visits Quinn, who knows that her life is over after every avenue Olivia and crew took turned into a dead-end. He gives her the “Gladiators in a Suit” speech, signifying that he’s always had faith in her the entire way. The next day in court (or some time later) after the testimonies were given, one of Quinn’s lawyers asks again for an injunction and surprisingly the judge grants it. Huh?!?!

The courtroom, Harrison, and Quinn are all stunned, but David is furious. He knows Olivia had something to do with the mistrial and vows to find out exactly how. Back at the office, Harrison and Abby are also a bit perplexed about what the hell went down and are more upset about Olivia keeping things from them than Quinn’s acquittal. Abby asks Huck what does he think, since he’s been quiet the entire time and he answers, “If Olivia says we trust Quinn, we trust her.” This leads us into one hell of a flashback…

Scandal Season 2We are then transported to two years ago, while present day Quinn is recounting the events that got her to where she was at the beginning of the episode and Huck is doing his hacking. Quinn was sitting in her motel room looking at coverage of the bombing when someone appeared in her room and injected her with a sleeping serum. Quinn woke up to find herself in an extravagant hotel room Washington, D.C. with a new life laid out in front of her. The college degrees, passports, new driver’s license, money, etc. After Quinn leaves the hotel, she doesn’t see that it’s HUCK standing behind her! Present Day Huck watches himself on the computer screen and deletes the image from the drive! Is Huck working for someone else?

Nope. As the flashback continues, Huck reports back to Olivia, who he informs that Quinn took everything. Without a word, Olivia cranks their car and drives off. Holy freaking God! Shut the front door!!!! 

President Grant, Sudan, and America’s Baby

While Olivia was trying to ‘solve a problem like Quinn Perkins,’ President Grant had to deal with a pending situation on East Sudan and an upcoming interview with news anchor Kimberly Mitchell, who is Scandal’s answer to Diane Sawyer or Katie Couric and the Grant Administration’s headache of the moment. Or at least one of their headaches.

President Grant is being pressured from not only his western allies, but his own Chief of Staff, Cyrus, and very pregnant wife Millie to invade East Sudan, which the U.S. is currently facing a conflict with, so that Grant can secure a re-election. President Grant is reluctant to go to war, but he’s even more reluctant to spend his time catering to an interview with Kimberly Mitchell about “America’s Baby,” a name Millie coined, but President Grant think is absurd. Millie and Cyrus both think that the baby and invading Sudan will be beneficial to President Grant’s re-election campaign, so during the interview after the baby’s sex was revealed (it’s a boy) Millie slyly implies that President Grant would do whatever it takes to save the mothers and children of Sudan, which perturbs President Grant, because his hand is being “forced” by the blind-side. Millie and Cyrus share a look that shows that they either conspired to use that one-two punch or that Cyrus commended Millie for being ballsy enough to do it.

In the bedroom, President Grant verbally shuts down a boastful Millie, telling her that she’s not the President of the United States, just an ornament in the entire operation. Ouchies…

After the baby fiasco, Fitz gives Olivia a call after all this time. Beforehand, the two asked about each other through Cyrus, and that was as far as their communication had been. Scandal Season 2Olivia asks Fitz if he’s going to war and when he doesn’t give a straight answer, she warns him that Millie’s quote about the war will be everywhere. She then advises that Fitz should spin the quote and make it seem as if he was the one who egged her into saying it. She also advises that he use it to not only put the fear of God into Sudan and Kenya, but to let everyone know that this is his Presidency and that he will make the decision when he sees fit. Fitz’s only reply is that he hates her, which she affectionately throws back at him, knowing that her job is done. For now.

Later in the week, President Grant orders Cyrus to do exactly what Olivia advised him to do, reinforcing to Cyrus exactly who is really in charge in the White House, and it’s not the Chief of Staff nor the First Lady. However, Cyrus knows that Olivia was the one who gave President Grant the solution to his problem and reminds Fitz that it is also not his job to keep Mellie on a leash.

Scandal of the Week

Congressman Jacob Shaw comes to Olivia to help him with a little faux pas he’s gotten himself into. Seems that he had “relations” on his desk in his office, and someone recorded the entire thing. Anthony Weiner, anyone? Someone broke into his office and placed a camera whose feed can be accessed from the viewers computer. Uh oh…

After conversing with Shaw on the merits of his reputation and that of his lover on the video feed, the crew finds out that a controversial political blog had bought a big portion of bandwidth for a huge video release, meaning they have Shaw’s sex tape. Olivia sends Harrison to file for an injunction, but he loses the plea. Meanwhile, Huck hacks a copy of the video, but not before Olivia and Abby find out that Shaw has had a multitude of women in the last few months, meaning it will be a media field day once the tape hits the web.

Seeing that her hand has been pushed and realizing the solution to this particular problem after talking to Fitz, Olivia releases the tape to friendly sites, advising Shaw to spin the tape in his favor by admitting to his mistake and using the “scandal” as a platform for his current issues instead of letting it ‘control’ him. I bet Weiner and Bill Clinton wished Olivia Pope was real and available during their damn terms.

Well, Gladiators, that was the season premiere of Scandal! What did you tink about it? What questions do you have now that you have the answers you’ve waited for all summer? See you guys next week!

  • Margie

    In the flashback scene with huck and liv when they gave Quinn her new identity, was it while she was working for gov grant or before that ??? It can’t be after that time period because last year in one of the eps it was said she mysteriously became Quinn in 2008 hmmmmm

    • http://www.twitter.com/theanticritic Mark O. Estes

      It is confusing, given that Huck was homeless while Olivia was with Governor Grant. Or was that a disguise… Hmmmmm….

  • teeks

    Great summary! So in-depth!

  • Lizz Brown

    Olivia Pope is real and she lives in Washington DC and her name is Judy Smith. She was around during Clinton and Weiner…looks like they chose not to hire her