Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Scandal Season 3, Ep. 2 – “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”.
There is not a show currently on television that uses flashbacks as effectively as Scandal. This week while the present day Scandal-world was hurtling towards disaster at break neck speed, the comparably quieter flashbacks served as moments to catch our breaths while also serving up some much needed backstory about Liv and her father.
Five years ago Olivia and her father were on better terms than we see them today. But not much better. They shared a weekly Sunday dinner in exchange for Rowan paying off Olivia’s law school loans, but Olivia made it clear she despised every moment spent with her father. If those weekly meals had been our first introduction to Rowan he would have been my new favorite character. He really was trying to connect with Olivia and make up for past wrongs. Olivia for her part came off a little stubborn (shocking) and petulant. Of course this wasn’t our first introduction and we already knew Rowan was an evil, twisted man, but this was about Olivia finding that out.
The highlight of these Sunday dinner for Liv was dropping a doggy bag off with her homeless friend Huck on her way home. One night some baddies attempted to mug Olivia and Huck went full ninja assassin on them, raising more than a few question from Olivia in the process. She brought up the encounter with her father and asked him to look into this B613 business. The next week Huck was gone and Rowan informed her his inquiry had found him a crackpot with a long rap sheet and another recent arrest. But Olivia is clearly her father’s daughter and dug a bit deeper. She checked with David Rosen and his creepy goatee and they confirmed Huck’s fingerprints were nowhere on record.
So clearly all his rambling about secret spies and holes and wonderland were right and clearly Olivia’s father was at the head of it. She accused him as such and the maniacal, threatening father we met last week was back. But his attempts at coercion were in vain. Olivia countered by accepting Eddison’s proposal and threatening to have her new senator fiancé make an official inquiry into spies “disappearing citizens”. Suddenly Huck was back, but Eddison had “an accident” and stood the chance to have more if Olivia didn’t break up with him.
Back in the present day, Rowan’s tactics haven’t changed much. He was adamant that Olivia let Jeannine take the fall for the presidency. So he threatened to kill Jake Ballard if she deviated from that path. Mellie also wasn’t interested in letting an innocent woman off the hook (thus painting her as a jealous petty woman and ruining her political career) so she got to Jeannine and offered her two million to change her story. Surprisingly Jeannine went for it. I suppose if you’re name is forever going to be linked to a presidential sex scandal you might as well make some money for the trouble.
Olivia wasn’t about to let her go through with the plan even if it would save Jake and protect her actual affair with the president. But Fitz was the one who actually made the decision. He made his own deal with the devil (the devil in this case, and most cases, being Cyrus) to go along with the Jeannine lie in order to save Jake as a favor for Liv. So romantic.
So Jeannine was thrown under the bus, Jake was returned, in decidedly worse shape, at Olivia’s door and all the gladiators were safe to fight for justice at a later date.
In the process of turning into a super spy, Quinn hacked into Olivia’s email and discovered her former dinner dates with her father. She also saw the dinners abruptly stopped around the time Olivia told him about the mugging. She took this information to Huck who immediately realized Olivia had made a deal to keep B613 off his back. So he attacked her in the parking lot to make her admit her father was Command.
Huck was understandably upset that Olivia lied about the deal and about her father, but I have to hope the attack was a moment of regression and he’ll be back in the OPA fold next week.
This was an exciting episode and we got plenty of backstory, but the central mysteries of the season are still murky. What exactly was in the file Rowan showed Cyrus? If B613’s only objective is to protect the republic, how is an affair with Olivia a threat to the public? After seeing how Rowan deals with the men in Olivia’s life, I’m thinking whatever is in that file is more a threat to his daughter than the country.
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