Scandal recap: The Lesser Evil

Hollis Doyle is subjected to an investigation, Olivia begins to regret her ethical breaches, and Mellie goes to desperate measures to get Fitz back
Ep. 12 | Aired Jan 31, 2013

TWIST THE KNIFE Hollis chastises Olivia for not protecting him from federal investigators, but Olivia's allegiances have shifted.


Olivia is back at her office, and Harrison and Abby are spying on her twirling the insanely gorgeous engagement ring that Edison gave to her in the last episode. (Serious question: If someone proposes and you don't say yes, and don't say no, are you allowed to keep the engagement ring 'til you decide?) "The wife of a Senator, not too shabby," Harrison says. "Please," Abby replies. "Husband of Olivia Pope." Wonkette would be all over this DC power couple.

But things don't stay happy for long. Enter: Hollis Doyle. Awkwardly, the first people he sees are the two whose lives he nearly ruined: Quinn and Huck. But Olivia meets with him anyway. Hollis tells her that David is snooping around, and that she's failed him. Knowing that he was behind the assassination attempt on the President, Olivia is less than warm to Hollis. But he doesn't care. He just tells her to fix it.

Cyrus goes to confront Fitz about the Mellie situation. Jeff Perry is so good in this role. He's simultaneously affable, sinister, and professional. And when he starts to monologue with the intent of convincing someone to do something...well, you just kind of weep for the other party. In this case, he has to convince Fitz that divorcing his pregnant wife for his mistress would be a bad idea. This isn't just Cyrus being evil or overly protective of their power. It would be a bad idea. For Fitz, it would be political suicide. Cyrus even references Olivia's "hue." But Fitz won't budge. He's less malleable and he tells Cyrus that he's stopped being afraid, and that he's realized he has "nothing to lose and no time to waste." He tells Cyrus to work out the details and to make it happen. I might like this new Fitz better.

Olivia goes straight to Cyrus about the Hollis situation too. And she starts to break down. She realizes for the first time, out loud at least, that David is the good guy and that she and the rest of the collective are the bad guys. "I have been running and running to stay out of it, and I'm tired and I don't know what to do next," she says. Cyrus is not ready to give up, though, and tells Olivia that Hollis is now his problem. He does sometimes seem like the real fixer in the show, when other characters give him the agency and the go-ahead to get things done -- no matter how he does it.

And then, the weight of Olivia's choices and compromises and conspiracies all come back to haunt her at once, and she takes to her bed in a state of almost catatonic depression. Fitz calls and senses it immediately. He tells her he asked Mellie for a divorce. She tells him Edison proposed and that she thinks it might be nice to quit and move to the country and have babies and make jam. He tells her not to marry Edison and to wait for him. It's sweet and convincing in that sort of poisonous way that estranged couples talk and tell one another that everything will be OK, eventually.

NEXT: The associates start to investigate Olivia Pope...

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