Raina Deerwater ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Writer
Have you ever seen someone really cool and wondered who their parents are? If the person you were wondering about is Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), it would be better if you didn’t.
Maya (Khandi Alexander) and Eli Pope (Joe Morton) are two of the most terrifying people in the universe of Scandal. We, along with most of team Pope discover this when the whole episode sets us up to root for her. Olivia, on discovering that her mom was alive, doesn’t really have time to process this as the dreaded B613 is on their way to capture her. Olivia has to do her Pope thing to get her mother on a plane to Hong Kong ASAP. It ends up working out for her because Olivia happened to get back with President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) in last week’s episode. He sets up a way to get Mama Pope off the no-fly list because he is the best skeezy married boyfriend Olivia could ask for.
However, Fitz doesn’t really save the day as is revealed in the end of this episode. In fact, Maya Pope was on the no-fly list for a reason. She was involved in the death of the civilians that had happened 22 years prior! Papa Pope had been imprisoning her for valid reasons.
This scene is a strong display of Kerry Washington’s acting skills. When Olivia finds out about her mother, she is devastated. Her father was just trying to protect her and and her mom was the bad guy this whole time. I don’t think this one incident excuses the assassins that Eli controls.
The B plot of this episode makes Olivia’s mommy issues look like a walk in the park. Huck (Guillermo Diaz) has discovered that Quinn (Katie Lowes) is working for B613 so Huck proceeds to do what Huck does best: torture her. He literally and figuratively pulls some teeth from Quinn whilst the viewers of Scandal cover their faces in disgust.
When Huck has to go assist Olivia, poor naked tied up Quinn is visited by her kind-of-evil spy boyfriend Charlie (George Newbern). He unties her and says she will take her to Command (aka Papa Pope) and then they have really awkward sex. But it’s totally worth it because in the final minutes of the episode, it turns out that Quinn has been duping Charlie just to get to Command with a syringe of poison. Is she gonna murder him? Has the mini Huck become the master Huck?
In other murder related news: RIP Daniel Douglas (Jack Coleman). If you all remember two weeks ago, Daniel Douglas slept with Cyrus’s (Jeff Perry) husband James (Dan Bucatinsky). James found out about all of Cyrus’s manipulations and had revenge sex with the Vice President’s husband. Now Cyrus has the pictures, but more than that, he has the heartbreak. Cyrus and James argue into the night, resulting in James demanding a divorce.
The next day, emotionally vulnerable Cyrus tells VP Sally Langston (Kate Burton) that he has the pictures and he will leak them to ruin her political career. She is taking none of it however, and she tells Cyrus that he won’t leak the pictures because it will sign the death sentence on his marriage. It turns out she is right, because Cyrus pleads with James on the phone later, begging for him back. He tells him he won’t leak the pictures to the press.
At least this plot didn’t have any creepy death stuff in it: just Cyrus coming to terms with his emotions (props to Jeff Perry). In the final seconds of “YOLO,” Cyrus get a call from Sally Langston herself where she says she has made a huge mistake. Pan down to her stabbed husband on the floor.
“A Door Marked Exit”:
We left off last episode with murder! And here again, on the mid-season finale, we pick up with the same murder. Vice President Sally Langston gets into a passioned argument with her “gay hillbilly” of a husband, Daniel Douglas. He had been caught sleeping with a man and she in her fiercely religious views combined with her marriage vows make her very angry. She does the only logical thing and stabs him repeatedly, leading to his death. She then calls Cyrus Bean, because she has “committed a sin.”
Meanwhile, at the B613 headquarters, Quinn is ready to strike down Papa Pope, when he gets the information he needs. He walks out on her, and she is left with the poison and a tracking device inside of her. She quickly (and very painfully) removes both of these when Charlie tells her they have a client. They have mess to clean up.
The mess is the bloody body of Daniel Douglas himself. Charlie is Cyrus’s #1 assassin. They quickly change the rug and his clothes and remove the blood from everything in sight. Cyrus tells Sally that she has to say that Daniel died of a heart attack. Sally insists that she has to repent, but Cyrus is having none of that. He makes Sally play the part to perfection.
Cyrus is going through something himself, because he was the catalyst of the series of unfortunate events that lead to Douglas’s demise. He is drinking himself into a stupor at 7am, when Mellie (Bellamy Young) comes into his office with the good news of Douglas’s death. Mellie is super pumped about his death, because it timed very well for Sally not running for office. Cyrus is drunkenly spilling his guilt all over Mellie, but she is having none of it. She means business. She has no time for Cyrus’ weak feelings: she has flowers to send. The combination of Mellie’s “sympathy” and Sally’s impending guilt might be enough to make her not run for office.
Cyrus goes home to James, who is just hearing of Douglas’ death, and definitely suspects Cyrus. Cyrus insists he didn’t do it and Douglas’ death was a coincidence. He just seems to be tired of Cyrus’ whole thing. Then he goes to good ol’ attorney David Rosen (Joshua Malina) and tells him that this was probably a murder by either Cyrus or Sally. James knows whats up.
Meanwhile at Camp Pope, Olivia is desperate to get her mom back on the no-fly list. She gets Abby to use her “connection” to David to get all the facts on Mama Pope. It turns out she has had many identities and put a bomb on a plane once. There is someone she should really talk to about this and that is her father.
Papa Pope, however, has been captured by President Fitz and is being held captive. However, Rowan/Eli definitely has all the power between these two men. He lays an utterly beautiful smack down on Fitz, saying everything that is true about Fitz being a sad little rich boy. It’s pretty fantastic, because Fitz being called out on everything is long over due. Eli may have killed a lot of people, but yelling at Fitz makes his character 10 times better.
Olivia then comes in and talks with her father and former lover about her mother. It’s a tense conversation that ends with no one really trusting each other, which is how it all started.
The final few minutes of the episode are a captivating montage that includes plot twists for both of the Pope parents. When Rowan/Eli comes back to B613, it turns out he is no longer Command. That title belongs to one puppy-eyed Jake Ballard (Scott Foley). He kicks Papa Pope out and phones the president about their impending collaboration. Is it gonna be weird for Jake and Fitz to work together because they both have sexual histories with Olivia? Also, how is Jake going to deal with having to torture and kill a bunch of people?
Meanwhile, Olivia gets a surprising phone call from Mama Pope saying “hey I love you, sorry you found out about my crazy past.” Olivia is having none of it, but she probably will be soon, because Mama Pope is calling from right outside the White House. This has set us up for some great plot, including mommy issues, lawsuits, and hopefully more SCANDALS, for when Scandal returns, February 27th.