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.

DANNY FELD/ABC

Whoa, baby. What an episode.

I've been tough on Scandal this season. It's dwelled a little too much on feelings and back stories that were informative but not urgent -- we seemed to be getting the same information over and over again. And most importantly, it hadn't hit the conspiracy heights of the first. But with "Truth or Consequences," things started fitting together in a compelling way. It began to feel like something was truly at stake, attributable to the fact that in this episode the unflappable Olivia, the fixer of everything, stalled.

So, let's get to the recap.

The episode opens in a school auditorium where a man is explaining to a number of elderly voters that they'll be the first county in Ohio to use touchscreen voting. "No paper ballots to be collected this year. Now that's progress," he tells them, before leading them elsewhere. But a young guy hangs back and switches out the black box with the election software in it with his own. It's Lindsey/Quinn's boyfriend Jesse. In "Truth or Consequences" we finally get a play-by-play of what exactly happened with Lindsey Dwyer and Cytron. It was great to see the tension building before Hollis resorted to mass murder. We get confirmation that Jesse had sold software to Hollis to rig the election. We got to watch Jesse make the epic mistake of threatening Hollis Doyle and blackmailing him for a bigger payout. And we got to see how deeply involved Becky has been all along.

Back in the present, David has called on Hollis Doyle and his army of lawyers to inform him that they're investigating the connection between Cytron and the election rigging. He's looking to make a deal. Information for immunity, essentially. But, "there's only one seat in the lifeboat," David says. And Hollis responds with one of his folksy metaphors: "I s'pect you know how we turn bulls into steers? Don’t make me haul out the clippers."

Meanwhile, a very pregnant Mellie storms into Cyrus' office and tells him to fix Fitz. To get him under control. At the end of the last episode Fitz asked her for a divorce, and our Mellie, only four weeks out from giving birth, is not one to give up that easily. Cyrus says he'll take care of it, ushers her out the door, and mumbles "breeders" under his breath.

NEXT: Cyrus confronts Fitz about wanting a divorce, and we see a whole new Fitz...

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