Well, damn, Scandal! Two weeks off and you come back swinging as if you in the running of being the President of the United States himself! Last night’s episode was filled with so many twists and turns that I felt as if I was driving on a mountain side road, threatening to go off the cliff at any moment or ill-advised wrong turn.
While the episode did have a Scandal of the Week, the case affected not only Olivia and gang, but also the White House, Olivia and Fitz’s relationship, Olivia’s past relationship with a Senator, and the First Lady herself. Screw ‘The Beltway,” we should start calling Washington, D.C. ‘The Web’ when it pertains to anything Scandal related from here on out.
One ‘Thorngate’ to Rule Them All…
The episode really begins with Olivia watching Kimberly Mitchell’s political talk show with the panelists discussing President Grant almost going to war with Libya over the photo-shopped picture of the dead Sudanese children. Democratic Senator Edison Davis (Norm Lewis), one of the panelists, was going in on President Grant’s recent mistakes, while Olivia watched knowingly. As soon as the live show goes to commercial break, Olivia called Sen. Davis to jokingly berate him about his attire and his choice of words, both of which she found unconvincing and in poor taste to the American viewer. Davis, who hadn’t heard from Olivia in three years, welcomed the critique and it’s clear that these two have some history with each other.
Later when Olivia got into her car, she immediately senses someone else in the vehicle. Sure enough, there is a creepy, weasel of a guy who instead of trying to rob or hurt her, pleads to be a client, because he’s in danger from a big government agency. After Olivia ordered the man out of her car and began to sped off, the man screams the words that set the tone for the night, “They know all about the late night calls from the West Wing!”
Stop the presses, because sh*t just got real.
The guy, whose name is Artie Hornbacher, was a former NSA data entry employee for 16 years and had stumbled across a program called “Thorngate,” which was used to spy on American citizens and even White House employees. Artie’s story was that while doing basic data entry on intel coming in from around the world, he started to notice domestic batches coming into his peripheral. Olivia asked Artie if he told his superiors about his findings, which he said he did many times to no avail. So he stole the program as proof and now he’s being followed, and if he’s caught the NSA will make
Abby, Quinn, and Harrison checked out Artie’s past, which consisted of being allergic to almost everything, he was a type-1 diabetic, and was somewhat certifiable since he spent spare time blogging about how decaf in coffee was related to governmental nonsense. Yea, he sounded certifiable, indeed.
Olivia decided to go to the head NSA person to talk to them about Thorngate and Artie, both of which the department head had no clue about. Allegedly. After the NSA director played dumb with her, Olivia put two and two together and called her crew to find and hide Artie now, because his life was in danger. The group took Artie to Huck’s place where they managed to get the Thorngate program to work. The group watched live footage of a conversation Cyrus was having inside the White House. After Olivia asked Huck to shut it down, the program self-destructed before their eyes. To get it back and running, it would take 22 days according to Huck’s calculations. Olivia then asked Artie if anyone else knew about the program and Artie gives a name: Monica Ocampo. Olivia sent Abby and Harrison to find the woman, while Olivia went to visit an old friend.
Senator Davis was waiting for Olivia to ask him out, but Ms. Pope dashed those plans by asking the Senator – who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee – about Thorngate and if she could go public with it. Davis didn’t budge on the intel, but after some banter of the exes, he did warn Olivia that she might want to tread lightly (or not at all) with the NSA. Heed his warning, Liv!
Back at the White House, Cyrus broke the news to President Grant about the Thorngate situation and how Olivia had taken Artie on as a client. While President Grant was a bit furious about the situation at hand, he got even more irate once he saw a picture of Olivia and Senator Davis having their conversation on the street. Cyrus noticed this and informed Grant how he’s noticed just how ‘happy’ Grant has been as of late, which he didn’t buy, calling the President a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. Cyrus then went to state that Grant’s happiness is false and he’s putting on a show since Olivia won’t return his calls. He doesn’t want Grant’s bomb to go off. Wow, Cy, great analysis, albeit a little bold…
Meanwhile, Abby and Harrison discovered a grisly surprise waiting for them at Monica Ocampa’s apartment as they find the woman dead by ‘suicide.’ Outside, Harrison noticed a black, tinted Sedan parked outside the apartment building, meaning that Big Brother is totally watching them.
The next morning, Olivia got a surprise of her own at her doorstep as two of President Grant’s Secret Service, Hal and Tom, were waiting to take Olivia to President Grant, who was on a duck hunting trip with Cyrus and oil tycoon Hollis Doyle. This is where the epic scene of the night begins, so hold tight as we dissect “Treegate.”
After Cyrus informed President Grant that Olivia was in the area, Fitz went to go meet his lover (with the Secret Service, mind you), who was none too thrilled to be summoned out of her house. Fitz didn’t have time for the bullsh*t and barked for Olivia to get out of the damn car. OHHHHHHH!!!!! Has Fitz lost his damn mind?!?!? What followed was an intense scene of Fitz putting hunting boots on Olivia’s feet, each movement a grunt of lustful frustration and political/moral disappointment. Their conversation jumps back and forth between Olivia’s case with Artie and the NSA to their personal relationship and the fact that Fitz is perturbed about Olivia not answering his calls. While Fitz listed how Olivia was committing treason by harboring Artie, Olivia countered if Fitz felt it was treason to the country or himself? Declaring that what he’s upset does not pertain to their relationship, Fitz stopped dead in his tracks when Olivia mentioned how the late night phone calls were also discovered using Thorngate, the government’s ‘weapon’ against terrorism.
Olivia commented on how the Supreme Court will no doubt label The Grant Administration’s use of Thorngate as criminal behavior, which prompted Fitz to fire back by accusing Olivia of using Sen. Davis, who he dubbed Olivia’s ‘old boyfriend,’ as a means to dig up dirt on the program. When Olivia began to deny her involvement with the Senator, Fitz began to fact check Olivia’s past with Davis, who she dated for 5 years (2002-2006), lived with in Georgetown and New York, and they were engaged! He then drops the ultimate slap to Olivia’s face by asking if she and Davis were “screwing again” and if Davis was “everything she dreamed.” Forget hunting ducks, Fitz better be glad that Olivia wasn’t packing heat at the moment.
Now it was time for Olivia to bark and order to Fitz for him to stop walking. It takes one dramatic pause before Fitz goes in for a passionate kiss that Olivia fell into. But after they got that our their system, Olivia pushed Fitz away from her and delivered the line that lit Twitter up for about 30 minutes: “I Am Not Yours!” She then declared it was over between them. At least for this week.
Now tell me that line won’t be compared to Kelly Taylor’s famous declaration of “I Choose Me!” on Beverly Hills, 90210?
Meanwhile back at Huck’s place, Artie was freaking out about being s sitting duck since he’s next on the NSA’s hit list. Olivia ordered for him to chill and get ready for primetime, because they are about to go public with their intel. While whining about Huck’s attempts at decrypting the program, Artie noticed Huck’s old watch collection, which Huck yelled for him not to touch. Remember this for later.
Olivia chose Kimberly Mitchell’s (Wendy Martin) show for the exclusive and the journalist and her producer are all ears. While Olivia was filling Mitchell in on what could be the next biggest scandal to rock the Beltway, President Grant was building his own arsenal against the network who was planning on running Olivia and Artie’s story. After Olivia got word from Huck that the program was ready, she was hit with news of President Fitz Grant’s injunction against the network, which if they move forward would put everyone involved in jail for treason. Ouch…
On a whim, Olivia brilliantly countered the move with a plan to “stiffen the backbone” of the network to make them feel compelled to go through with the interview. She had a meeting with the network head, Kimberly Mitchell, and their lawyers where she showed them Thorngate in action by using the network head’s house as an example. Needless to say, that was all the news he needed.
As Olivia was walking on cloud nine, she was bombarded with one hell of a twist. Monica Ocampo’s autopsy report came back and instead of overdosing on sleeping pills, which was found on her night stand, the lady actually died of an overdose of insulin. Harrison then revealed that the black Sedan they saw outside Monica’s apartment wasn’t traced back to anyone at the NSA, or any government agency, but was under a fake name, Will B. Watching. Sound the alarm, because Olivia Pope has just been had, y’all!!!
Sure enough, Artie has escaped from Huck’s apartment after stealing the new decrypted Thorngate program, leaving Olivia and her team screwed… and pissed beyond measure.
Just when things couldn’t get any worse, the NSA visited the Pope and Associates office demanding for Artie be turned over to them. Olivia, like the NSA director did earlier, played dumb about the situation, but informed that same NSA director that Artie is really the NSA’s problem now and not Pope and Associates. Why? Because while Artie played Olivia and crew for two days, he’s played the NSA for 16 years, meaning that he could have stolen a smorgasbord of information on top of the Thorngate debacle. In other words, the NSA’s incompetency on not doing their job by red flagging the creep would lead to the scandal falling on their own laps, not Olivia’s. If Ms. Pope is not the baddest, I will pay you because now she has the NSA scared of her ass. Now that’s power.
The NSA agreed to give Olivia and crew 12 hours to find Artie and to turn him in or they would be the ones called in to questioning. Um, yea right. Y’all still would be up sh*t’s creek for dropping the ball for 16 years.
Back at the White House, President Grant ordered for Cyrus to remove Senator Davis from the Senate Intelligence Committee, a move that Cyrus even thought was a blatant move of jealousy. Grant, however, wanted to know how did Cyrus know about Olivia not taking his calls anymore and when Cyrus doesn’t answer immediately, it became clear that Cyrus knew this through the Thorngate program. Well, you can count on Cyrus always being full of surprises… The Chief of Staff’s reasoning for tapping into the President’s secret affairs was to “protect the country from terrorists,” which Grant contended Olivia was not. But Cyrus wasn’t talking about Olivia, because she ‘wasn’t the one ticking…’ Snap…
At an abandoned building, Huck found Artie through the thief’s watch, which (if I am not mistaken) Artie stole from Huck’s collection. Plus, Huck brought his toolbox, which could only mean one thing. Artie was totally screwed…
Afterwards, Olivia was visited by Senator Davis, who deemed himself Olivia’s new client now that he’s been kicked off the Senate Committee by the President and will have his conduct looked at by the Ethics Committee. He asked Liv if she still had any ties at the White House, to which she stated “no.”
This time when walking to her car, Olivia found Huck guarding her vehicle, and her trusty friend vowed to never let her walk to her car alone again. Next, Olivia asked Huck if he was fine with finding Artie and if things got out of hand, but Huck proclaimed that he was fine and that ‘the doors are shut’ when it comes to his addiction.
Whew! And that’s only the ‘A’ story of the night!
Mellie’s Second Act
At the beginning of the episode, Mellie was on her own cloud nine by having baby clothes delivered to her by Queen Elizabeth herself. President Grant shared Mellie’s enthusiasm, making good on their clean slate speech in the limousine from the last episode. However, all that was about to change thanks to the Thorngate scandal.
After the meeting with Olivia in the woods, President Grant returned home with a real nasty attitude, which Mellie caught on to pretty quickly when Grant acted as if he didn’t want a private dinner with her. The next day, Mellie found Tom and Hal to ask them what exactly happened for the President to go to the woods with a smile and return home with a messed up attitude. The men play dumb, but Mellie, in one of the funniest scenes in the entire episode, told them that she was going to drop some names and that instead of talking, all the men had to do was blink when she drops the right one. When Mellie drops Olivia’s name, Tom flinched uncontrollably, giving Mellie her answer.
Later that night, Mellie confronted President Grant by telling him that she has to make plans since he’s not going to win a second term after taking Olivia hunting with him, especially with the Thorngate scandal on Ms. Pope’s shoulders. Mellie then went on a tirade about while Fitz’s political future is pretty much over, her’s is about to begin with her life story being one American could stand behind. You would have thought Mellie had channeled Hillary Clinton in that scene, because she pretty much recited Hillary’s rise to power once Bill Clinton left office. But I digress, because Mellie demanded for Fitz to get over Olivia and if he saw her again, then she would “blow him away.” Mellie has reached the “fed up” portion of your marriage, Fitz. Don’t make her pull the trigger.
David Rosen is On To Something… and Their Name Starts With An ‘A’
After being put on leave by the District Attorney’s office, David received a visit by his assistant Alissa (Brenda Song), who was shocked to see how obsessed David had become over losing the Lindsay Dwyer case. Alissa stayed and helped David crack how Olivia Pope was behind his loss, but it became immediately clear that instead of David trying to take Olivia down, he actually concluded that maybe there is something bigger at play besides Olivia and Quinn put together. To find out just what, he pretty much stated that he has to infiltrate the core group of Pope and Associates. His target? Abby!
After wooing Abby at a bar, the two end the episode in bed after having what looked like some “wham, bam, thank you, sir!” sex! Wow, I smell a new couple here!
Other Moments of the Night
– After enduring abuse from an irritated Abby throughout the episode, Quinn finally let the redhead have it at the end of the episode and it was awesome!
– Harrison calling Abby “Bad cop” for all the times she demeaned Quinn, and summing up Quinn’s outburst to Abby by saying, “I’m Quinn!”
That was another topsy-turvy episode of Scandal and thank God, we don’t have to wait two weeks for another dose. What did you think about tonight’s episode?
Photo Credit: ABC