Scandal recap: The Mellie Missile Crisis

Olivia confronts Fitz; Mellie threatens to go public with the separation; The Gladiators investigate Charlie
Ep. 20 | Aired May 2, 2013

THE GLOVES COME OFF Olivia storms into the Oval Office to throw down with the President. She removes her white gloves with the anger of a Victorian duchess who hasn't been served her tea. Sadly she doesn't use one to slap Fitz across the face. 

Eric McCandless/ABC

The Gladiators go to work on Charlie with the help of David Rosen, who seems to be fitting in nicely! They take a small lead that he likes sweets and it opens up a number of doors, which eventually lead to the fact that he's in a book club. Quinn really is turning into quite the confident sleuth. Throughout this process Olivia is extremely protective of Cyrus, but makes concessions pretty easily. She doesn't want to believe that her friend is capable of hurting her, betraying Fitz, or leaking state secrets. I don't blame her. She knows he's ruthless, but they are friends. She stops short of telling the Gladiators where their friendship started, though, so I wonder if we're in for a big reveal in the coming episodes.

Olivia storms into the Oval Office to have it out with Fitz, awesomely explaining that she's "not the girl the guy gets at the end of the movie" and how she's "not a fantasy." Those lines feel both trite and meaningful. Trite because they can easily be dismissed as rom-com-isms, but they do actually mean something in the context of the show. It also is hopefully a hint to viewers that Shonda Rhimes understands that we're not going to be satisfied to see them just get back together. Olivia tells him, rightly, that he has to earn her. Good girl. Fitz seemed appropriately shaken up by this encounter. There are lots of intense fights on Scandal that don't ever get heard through the walls, which has always seemed kind of silly. Because these characters, boy can they yell. All of them. So, I was pleasantly surprised that they let Jake acknowledge that he heard something. Do you think he was being coy here or do you think he just heard the tones and no specific words?

Cyrus goes back to negotiate with Mellie and offers her a deal. She gets a big-ticket issue like gun control, and Fitz gets to do what he wants. When she refuses, Cyrus lobbies the threat of a counterattack like only he can: a whisper campaign that she was complicit in the affair, that she was frigid, a lesbian, anything really. But Mellie is continuing to transform into a Cersei Lannister disciple. She's got her own Spiders in the White House and isn't backing down.

Finally Olivia gets a dose of reality and things get pretty tense for a while. Huck tells her that Charlie killed Amanda Tanner (he couldn't before because of "the code") and that Cyrus ordered it, right before we cut to Cyrus asking Mellie if "getting rid of Olivia Pope" would make a difference. And then we see Cyrus creepily ordering the President's assistant to call Jake off his post. Like a good puppy, Jake doesn't go. He only takes orders from the President, much to the disappointment of Cyrus who is rebuffed when he shows up to Olivia's apartment to find Jake still standing tall.

NEXT: Fixing the Olivia problem...

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