'Scandal' Returns to Its Roots, But Still Delivers Perfect, Feminist Intrigue

This week’s Scandal knocked the ball out of the park, if you’ll excuse the World Series-themed metaphor. And a huge part of what made it so fantastic was a return to its roots – the barely-there formula that allowed everyone to be their maximum level of awesome. Except for those silly people over at the White House. But let’s just jump right in, shall we?

This week opens with an epic fight-but-not-fight between Jake and Olivia over the bizarre and dangerous thing known as her personal life. It is perfectly written and perfectly acted, but as soon as it’s over and Jake goes off to find himself a new place to crash, Harrison calls with news from that other part of Liv’s life that isn’t going so hot: her business. But good news! They have a client. Harrison even has the most adorable, sexy dance to prove it. Oh Harrison, you sexy, sexy boy.

The gladiators are all called in, Abby from her date with David, Huck from his “AA” meeting where he uses whiskey as a metaphor for murdering someone, and Quinn spying on Huck in his meeting. Huck being a super spy, he notices her standing in the shadows when her phone goes off. Uh-oh.

But no time, there’s a client to deal with! Though, they’re not exactly thrilled; it’s a married senator accused of killing a girl he was sexting with. They all say how much they hate this case and are only taking it because they’re broke, but if my memory serves, they’ve taken both accused murderers and cheaters on a clients. But okay.

The case unfolds about the way you’d expect. He has just enough time to promise to Olivia, his lawyer and his wife that there was only the one girl before a string of pretty twenty-somethings parade across TV. He tries to deny it in a line that sounds exactly like an updated Bill Clinton (“I did not send that text”), but the wife is no longer buying it. And then everyone knows what they have to do next. “Are we going to slut shame a dead girl?” Abby asks grimly. “Yes, yes we are.” Ick.

This episode was perfect, though, for a lot of reasons. Even if I wasn’t crazy about the last-minute twist in the case, that wife’s testimony plus her break-down with Olivia about how she’s the partner at a law firm and how she looks like a total anti-feminist and that’s not the example she wanted to set for her daughter both make up for the final Law & Order-style move.

Best of all, this ep gave everyone a chance to shine. Team Pope is back doing what they do best, and Olivia is in control and not being emotionally bombarded at every term. Here’s hoping it let her catch her breath. She spent most of the episode saying she didn’t want to get involved in all the super spy stuff, and that was probably what she needed for a while. Let the girl relax and only deal with her high-stakes, stressful, demanding job that she works a bajillion hours a day, okay guys?

Meanwhile, over in White House land, there’s a woman (played by Lisa Kudrow) coming for the Democratic nomination (Phoebe for President!) that Mellie accidentally insults in range of a microphone, sending Cyrus into a fury. Mellie likes to act flippant as a defense mechanism, which drives Cyrus nuts. But Fitz tells him to stop yelling at her, which is so out of character she just stares at him with this shocked hope for 10 whole seconds before remembering she hates his guts. It give Cy the chance to stalk off and order his aide to go to this Democrat woman’s hometown to dig up some dirt. The kid returns with cowboy boots and news about a baby when Lisa Kudrow lady was 15. So this should be a rodeo.

And somehow in the midst of all this, Fitz managed to pull some strings to get the Operation Remmington guy that Huck killed an Arlington funeral. Which he then attended. Because the president surely has nothing else to do.

Operation Remmington itself is still mystery, but it won’t remain one for long because – drum roll please – Huck and Jake are on it. That’s right, Huck and Jake have joined forces! I have to admit, I did not see this alliance coming, but oh my God am I looking forward to it. The power of this awesome alliance has even drawn Liv back into the secrets game.

Oh, and David Rosen lost another court case. No one is surprised.

But then Fitz walks into Eli Pope’s office and says they’re in need of a reunion and everything else becomes unimportant.

And my mind is exploding in 3...2...1!

Image: ABC