This week’s episode of “Scandal,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” delved deeper into Olivia’s Daddy issues.
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The flashback-filled episode revealed how she met Huck, why she broke up with Edison for the first time, and, most importantly, how she became a wine connoisseur. By the end, Fitz had regained his manhood, Jeannine had lost her innocence, and Jake was no longer lost.
The flashbacks took place five years ago, when Huck (Guillermo Diaz) was a giant hairball who lived in Union Station.
Olivia (Kerry Washington) had agreed to a weekly dinner with her father, in exchange for him paying off her law school loans. It was like a twisted version of the premise of “The Gilmore Girls.” He sent her away when she was a teenager after her mother died (or “died” as the case will undoubtedly turn out to be) and wanted to reconnect.
She was wary and resentful, though she believed that he was a Smithsonian employee named Eli, not the leader of a secret division of the CIA.
Huck saved her from being mugged in a subway station. She wondered where he got his outstanding fighting skills. He rambled about B613 and Wonderland and being thrown in the hole. The next time she dined with her father, he gave her a lesson on wine appreciation, unaware of the high-class lush he was training her to become.
She asked him about Huck’s claims, hoping his “friend in the FBI” could check them out. He dismissed them as the ramblings of a mentally ill man, adding that Huck had a lengthy rap sheet and was recently arrested. But Olivia kept digging. Finally, she put all the pieces together when she noticed she was walking on Wonderland Avenue, and carrying an Acme pen that she found at Rowan’s house.
Daddy dearest went on the offensive, warning that she had no right to judge him, and that she was better off not knowing the details of his job. In retaliation, she accepted Edison’s (Norm Lewis) proposal and informed Rowan that her senator fiancee was just appointed to the Intelligence Committee.
Rowan arranged for Huck to be freed, then informed her that he just had Edison beaten and that he would be killed if Olivia did not dump him. Given how annoying Edison has always been, this counts as the second good thing that Rowan did for Olivia.
In the present, Olivia wore yet another of her seemingly infinite supply of black-and-white jogging outfits.
She informed Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) that she was going to clear Jeannine’s (Samantha Sloyan) name, which he fully supported, since he felt genuinely bad about wrecking the reputation of a woman he barely knew.
She held a press conference in which the young White House staffer proclaimed she did not have sex with the president. Cyrus (Jeff Perry) told Fitz to grow some presidential balls and confess to sleeping with Jeannine. Instead, the president wanted the White House’s official response to be an apology for the false accusations.
Mellie (Bellamy Young) gave Cyrus a list of all the dates she was traveling last year, so he could come up with a timeline for the affair that never happened, which the media bought hook, line and sinker. Given what Olivia does for a living, it was a tad unbelievable that reporters weren’t suspicious that Jeannine was the fall girl for Olivia.
Jeannine came up with a way to prove her innocence: Records of her IM conversations with a friend on all the nights she was allegedly hooking up with Fitz.
Rowan showed up at Olivia’s office to inform her that if she ever wanted to see Jake again, she had to sell the story that Jeannine was Fitz’s mistress.
Huck reeled from the realization that his savior’s father was responsible for his torture. Olivia pumped him for details about B613’s methods for punishing disobedient spies, then phoned Fitz and asked him to rescue Jake. Yes, she asked one of her lovers to save the other’s life. Given all the times she has put Mellie’s happiness ahead of her own, it’s only fair.
Fitz claimed he did not have authority over MS13, which on one hand may have been true, but on the other allowed him to let his rival suffer while absolving him of responsibility. Olivia told him that he prioritized being the leader of the free world over everything else, so he damn well better use his power.
Meanwhile, Mellie offered Jeannine $2 million to take the fall, which seemed like far too little money for an act that would render her unemployable and turn her into a tabloid fixture for the rest of her life. But Jeannine was ready to accept the offer.
Fitz beat her to the punch, preempting her news conference for his false confession that he and Jeannine got freaky in the Oval Office. “How presidential are my balls now?” he gloated to Cyrus.
Quinn hacked into Olivia’s emails because she has fully gone to the dark side now. He read 5-year-old messages between Olivia and Rowan. Huck realized that their correspondence ended at the exact same time he was released from the hole for a second time and deposited in Union Station.
He confronted Olivia about her making a deal for his freedom, becoming so agitated that he choked her while asking, “Is your father in command?” She admitted that he was, forever altering their relationship.
At the end of the episode, a battered Jake (Scott Foley) showed up at Olivia’s door. He said a single word to her, Hi,” proving that not only do he and Fitz have the same taste in women, they have the same pick-up lines.