Can't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x01 and 3x02. And now, let's dive into Kwana's recap of Season 3, episode 3, “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington.”
NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal.
Hey there, Gladiators. I hope you all are in one piece after last night’s explosive episode. When we last left our D.C. Do-Gooders, Olivia had just dodged the mistress bullet; gotten out of a near-death experience from the surprising clutches of Huck, who had just found out that her daddy, Rowan, was the top dog at B613; only to get home and have a battered and beaten Jake knock on her door and pass out in her arms. Whew!
This week’s episode opens where last week’s left off. It’s the morning after and Liv looks like she’s spent the night on the floor while she (no, it’s not creepy at all) watched a half-naked Jake sleep in her bed while she her mind wander. When we see Liv, her mind is wandering to Huck, but when she calls him, he has no time for Liv because he’s busy tailing her father, Eli/Rowan, whom he now thinks of as Command, a.k.a. Public Enemy Number 1. Huck is taking a personal day.
Liv gets her act together and goes into the office only to be ambushed by a friendly lady by the name of Mary, who shakes Liv's hand and gives her an envelope with a check and thanks her for her services before rushing off to a meeting “on the Hill.“ Now I know you don’t go taking envelopes from strangers, as you could wind up in court like that, so you’d think Liv would know better too, but there goes that stellar gut of hers again. Right on point.
Next we’re in the White House and Cy is joining Fitz, Mellie, and baby Teddy for breakfast. In true Fitz/Mellie form, they argue just for the sake of it, causing Teddy to cry and Cy to have his own tantrum, ordering them both pretend to have a weekend of love for the press so help him!
Back at Gladiator Central, Quinn, the Super Sleuth, has found something interesting with Mary’s check. The numbers don’t add up—or they add up too well, leading them to Mary’s son, Chris Lawrence, who was killed in an FBI raid a year before. Uh-oh. Maybe they should have checked before taking that last client?
Liv heard this and decides to go and check on Mary where she said she had her meeting. There goes that gut of hers again. Leading her right into trouble.
Cut to the White House and there is a guy on a tour but now he’s wandering where he’s not supposed to be. Security tries to stop him, and when he’s tackled, he yells about seeing the president and Operation Remington. Wait, nobody was supposed to know about that, right?
Next we see Liv heading to Mary’s meeting on the Hill. She goes toward a congressional office but sees folks running away. Of course our Liv continues anyhow. Oh, Liv, have you never been to a horror film? Ever?! Liv opens the congressman’s closed office door to find a group of frightened people and a wild-eyed Mary with a bomb strapped to her chest. Never should have opened that door.
Mary is mad and hurt and she wants answers. She wants to know why her son was killed. She wants to see his file and feels this is the only way to do it. All her previous calls, emails, etc. have gone unanswered and she’s at her breaking point, with her finger hovering over the trigger. In her gut, though people say her son was a terrorist, Mary feels he was innocent, and now Liv is stuck in the middle of her battle.
To distract Mary and to get some answers, Liv puts her team on the case and they start digging. In the meantime, the FBI comes in, headed up by special agent and former Ghostbuster, Ernie Hudson, whose powers of negotiation are sorely lacking. Liv is forced to paraphrase most of what he says for fear of setting Mary off and going kaboom!
Back at the White House, Cyrus gets a report on the intruder. He takes one look at the man’s photo and name and orders that he be let go. The agent in charge is perplexed but does as he’s told and lets him go. We then see Rowan being tailed by Huck, and just when it looked as if Huck is going to make a move on Rowan, Rowan gets a call from Cy informing him that they have a Remington problem. Rowan looks like he does not feel like dealing with this today.
Back with Mary and her captives we have Liv working two phones, and on one she’s giving orders to the Gladiators. Cut to Harrison sporting a clean new haircut with a neatly trimmed shadow beard to match. I’m wondering, Is Shonda foreshadowing here or am I just reading too much into it? Probably the latter, but oh, well. It’s fun. She tells Harrison to get down to the command base and watch her back there. She gets Quinn on the cyber snooping and Abby has do what she does best: be Abby-ish. With Ernie the bad Ghostbuster negotiator, Liv throws his deal out and convinces Mary to send out some hostages in good faith, leaving just her and the congressman. Okay, Liv, if you think that’s wise. You go for it.
Fitz now has the all-clear and has been let out of his safe box. He’s just getting word on the full impact of the Mary case and what’s in the file she wants. He gives the order to shoot if they get the drop on Mary.
Mary, sensing danger, goes peeping out the window like she’s never seen any of the Bourne Identity Movies (not a one), giving the snipers a clear shot. Liv, seeing this risks her own safety, pulls Mary back, pulling up the blinds and putting herself right in the line of sight. Of course, this means Fitz can see her from where he’s looking onscreen in the White House. STAND THE FREAK DOWN, EVERYBODY!!! That’s my boo!!
Fitz wants to talk with Liv, but Cy won’t give him the phone. It’s all very “you’re grounded and not seeing that boy anymore! And no TV either!” But in comes the tall blond secret service agent with his own Bat Phone and he hands it to Fitz. But no, it’s not Liv—it’s Jake, surprisingly coherent after being in a ditch for I don’t know how long, talking for Liv (she really ain’t got no shame in her game), saying she wants to know what’s in the file. Fitz turns him down and politely hangs up.
Next we see that Huck has followed Rowan out of town to a remote area and a lone trailer. Rowan is inside with the guy who tried to storm in and see the president talking about Remington. Rowan offers him money to be quiet and then we seeing him leaving, only to meet Huck holding a gun. But Rowan is not surprised, saying he knew Huck was there all along.
Back at the Scooby Shack (okay, Pope and Associates) Abby and Quinn and spinning their wheels and wishing they had Huck to hold onto. Abby decides to go and hold onto David instead. Over at the command, Harrison gets a nudge from a cute agent who shows him a video incriminating Mary’s son, Chris. He tells Liv about it saying Chris is guilty, but when he's watching the agent get in her car, he notices the plates don’t match up with agent’s plates. That Harry is so smart. He sends Abby digging with David again and they find out that that agent is really no agent at all. Liv gets on the phone and gives David a speech about justice and now David smells a rat. Uh-oh, trouble ahead.
David tips into Cy's office and demands to see the Lawrence file. Cy’s just about laughs at him and throws him out, saying he’s done him a favor by getting him a job. But the problem is that Cy didn’t notice that David was wearing his invisible white hat, making him invincible even to political monsters like Cy, and he came prepared to fight. He pulls names out of his butt like Kryptonite, causing Cy to flinch in pain and the president and the file to be called in.
Back with Mary, the phone rings and Liv picks up. It’s Fitz, along with Cy and David and the head of Counter Intelligence. He’s got Liv on speakerphone, so no making kissy noises. Fitz tells Liv that what he’s about to say is classified and he wants her not show any emotion for her own safety. He tells her Mary was right all along. That her son was innocent and a not a terrorist. That he was a CIA operative and the FBI made a mistake in killing him. But if they let it be known, all the other operatives he brought in will be vulnerable. He tells Liv the truth and then asks her not to tell Mary to save the lives of the other operatives.
Liv hangs up and in a heartbreaking scene, lies to Mary and says her son was a terrorist. Mary falls to her knees and into Liv’s arms. We then hear the hostages are coming out. The door opens and the congressman comes out, then Liv, and Mary is behind her. Suddenly Mary pushes Liv out the door and slams it shut. There is an explosion as Mary blows herself up. She dies believing her son was a terrorist when really he was a hero.
Back at the White House we see Mellie Mel drinking alone in the dark. Fitz turns on the light. She’s feeling celebratory and frisky over Liv living to see another day. She feels with Olivia alive she can continue to play the puppet master a little longer and pull on Fitz’s strings. That Liv is his flaw, his Achilles heal, and her weapon. Gotta love Mellie—sober or drunk, the woman makes sense.
When next we see Liv, she’s going back to her office (funny how she does this instead of going home to wash the soot off) and finds a scary Huck there in the dark. And boy is he ever scary. Going on about being “all killed out” for the day. This prompts Liv to ask, “Did you kill my father?” And we wait... “Did you kill my father?” More waiting... “Did you kill my father?” ... More waiting before finally, an answer: “No.”
But poor Huck killed the dude Rowan told him to back in the trailer talking about Remington. Huck’s back off the wagon and there’s not enough meetings in town the clean him back up.
Liv finally makes it home to Jake, who seems to want to act like they are back to dating and talks of take-out menus and not the fact that he was in a B613 hole and tortured. Liv is not in the mood for the dating game and wants answers as to why and how he’s there while every electronic device she has pings and rings like crazy. The why is clear to me. It’s probaly because Liv had that fit last week, demanding that Jake be released and Rowan will use it to get under Liv’s skin and show her that Daddy’s home and home to stay. It’s probably him calling to remind her of their standing dinner engagement. She needs to chill on the wine and answer the phone.
Like she said, this is not a fairy tale and yes, Jake will be used against you, Liv— better get on switching up that game.
I can’t wait until next week, when we get the ripped-from-the-headlines sexting politicking case. That should be loads of fun. Pun intended of course.
Kwana Jackson—aka K.M. Jackson—is a writer of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her most recent book is Seduction's Canvas, on sale now. She can be found on most days at her blog kwana.com and at any moment on Twitter talking about everything and nothing at all under the handle @kwanawrites.