By REED NELSON
9:00 — 3… 2… 1… not quite Scandal time? The countdown was like four seconds premature but I’ll let it slide because I don’t have much of a choice in the matter, now do I? But I’m back, and so is Olivia. Jake Ballard is shown alive, which was important enough to show at the very outset of the episode, so he probably was in limbo for the better part of a week. Olivia is mad at the guy she was having sex with in the last Scandal I watched. Given Huck “I Put Human Eye-Sockets Under Live Jackhammers” presence, I’m guessing he didn’t just forget to call her back.
9:03 — We’re on a boat with a lots of uniformed personnel. There’s a lady in a pantsuit who looks like she means business directly addressing a servicewoman. Oh, it’s the VP. It’s probably a good time to mention that I know characters on this show like my dad knows characters on Game of Thrones — he just likes the little guy, in case there was any doubt, which there wasn’t — and if the VP isn’t in her office then she’s basically wearing Clark Kent glasses, a Gallagher wig and a yarmulke. The VP commandeers a woman off the battleship. She says the woman was raped, a charge which POTUS and Cyrus don’t seem to disagree with, but they’re not into VP’s pirate-parlay-meets-Upton-Sinclair style of market correction, because, you know, laws and stuff. I kind of like VP. She seems like she probably is really good at shuffleboard and probably watches football on Sunday’s. This assumption is based off about four minutes of screentime, but I think that’s a safe sample size.
9:12 — The VP has retained Olivia’s services and Olivia goes to the battleship. She’s down. She’s in the office of Abby, who was the one who’s married to the Dustbuster. Googling could verify this, but I don’t like to remember I live in 2015 when it’s not convenient. And right now, while trying to keep up with this cocaine-addled hummingbird of a show, is not a convenient time.
9:13 — Olivia’s behind a podium. That podium has a microphone. Shit’s going down.
9:14 — Shit went down. Olivia said a woman was raped while serving our country on a hot mic very much intentionally (SHOUTOUT ROBERT DURST, SHOUTOUT BURPING). FLOTUS is pretty upset by it. She should be. It’s an atrocious thing that’s happening.
9:16 — Olivia’s ex-hook-up is bound and gagged, and he tries to take a “kill pill” but the only people that die around Huck are people that Huck kills. That’s science. Huck doesn’t let the Ex die. He needs info? Olivia and Jake are talking about the captive. He’s saying that they should torture him. “Him” is also “Ex” who’s name turns out to be Russell. Russell, it turns out, is a secret agent. Coincidence! Not really. Jake says it’s not. He says it was all set up by Olivia’s father. Olivia’s father is fucked up. I think we can safely say that. I don’t watch this show often, but he has never, for instance, shown up at her front door with Nationals’ tickets and a competent Uber driver and been all, “Let’s go to the game, Hun! After, we’ll get ice cream.” Anyways. Jake says that he knows about the chicanery because it was the same kind of chicanery that was used to link Olivia and Jake up in the first place. Scandal is like what would happen if the Brady Bunch took place in the basement of the Kremlin and all the kids had to compete in a gladiatorial ring to see which sole survivor would ever get to see the light. In this analogy, Huck is the nanny.
9:23 — Olivia and Jake are talking about a rachet bathroom. Olivia felt safe during her bathroom trips while she was captive. Or was her father behind her kidnapping? Did I miss something? I probably did. It’s not out of the question at least.
9:25 — Quinn and Olivia are in a regal office, lots of flags and such, and they meet a man named Virgil who, by his own admission, has issues traversing his home in the evening. His example supporting this claim included a story that ended with him on the tile floor and a knot on his forehead. It wasn’t interesting.
9:27 — A hearing begins in the same room, and an old bald white guy is acting super Old Bald White Guy-ish and is saying super chauvinistic and patronizing things. Scandal doesn’t get a ton right, but man do they nail the agonizing treatment doled out to others by the malignant bureaucratic tumor that is Old Patronizing White Guys in Power. Olivia travels to a boat, but she is quickly kicked off the boat. The victim of this terrible crime needs an abortion and Holy Fuck is this a heavy episode. I feel icky just writing it down.
9:32 — It feels even weirder when they intercut these anchor moments with scenes of Jake Ballard and Russ bro-ing out, drinking beers and discussing something called Foxtail. There’s this bar on Polk St. in San Francisco called Kozy Car. On the spare TV’s throughout the bar, they play a steady stream of vintage hardcore porn broken only by wholesome cereal commercials shot in the same time period. This is nothing like that, save the stark contrast of the two things bumping into each other on screen. I tuned out most of the conversation between these two, mostly to write about a presently weird bar on a formerly weird street in a formerly weird city, but hey. It ended with a compliment from Ballard and the words “Papa Pope,” which sounds like the name of George Clinton’s didgeridoo player.
9:39 — Olivia has a plan. The details are fairly specific, but somehow still vague. I’m sure it’ll work itself out. Olivia has some issues navigating the Narrow Straights of her personal life, but she crushes this controversy shit.
9:42 — FLOTUS is furious. She has no words. I wish I had more for you, but I was reading about didgeridoos. Turns out they came from Indigenous Australian people. If you’re pissed you’ve read this far, hey! At least you learned something.
9:46 — Olivia blows up POTUS’ phone. It’s pretty fucking impressive that she can low-key call the President from the back of a cab if she wants to. Like, I figured there’d be a switchboard or a secretary or at least some form of gatekeeping prior to POTUS’ direct line, but nah. Olivia’s like, “Sup, POTUS?” and POTUS is all, “NM. U?” and Olivia’s like, “NM.” Not really. She’s furious about America’s legal system in regards to servicewomen’s rights, but in reality she could be furious about nearly anything that has to do with America’s legal system. It’s a frustrating thing.
9:51 — BREAKING: POTUS and FLOTUS are hugging in bed for the first time ever on this show.
9:51 — BREAKING: I don’t actually know that. My sample size is admittedly small. But in the same way that watching a random selection of like 12 Anthony Davis games should give you a good idea about what kind of player he is, seeing these two interact like 12 times seems like enough. They emit a frigidity that can be measured only by Kelvins. They are the liquid nitrogen of humans.
9:53 — HARDCORE OLIVIA TAKEDOWN TIME. That Old Bald Rapist White Guy got his though. There was video. Victory, right? Anddddddd scene, right? Nope. Not on Scandal. On Scandal, something morally nihilistic must happen. So this whole empowerment thing gets spun into a high-water campaign moment for FLOTUS, who’s most def running for President (btw).
9:57 — Yo, Virgil the Gomer Lawyer isn’t Virgil the Gomer Lawyer. He’s a super spy, because of course he’s a super spy. He takes down Huck, but not kill-takedown. Just semi-lethal neck injection takedown. Olivia, Quinn and Jake make it into the apartment before the credits roll (a feat that probably was planned, if I had to guess, but only because this is a TV show), andddddddd scene.
9:59 — Until next time… Nelson, OUT.