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, 3x02, 3x03, and 3x04. And now, let's dive into Nicole's recap of Season 3, episode 5, “More Cattle, Less Bull.”
NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal.
Hey there, Gladiators, so we’re back after the frightful night with Liv, Fitz and the Gang spent munching on leftover candy and gasping together in shock when it was revealed that no, it was not the Grim Reaper behind the door in the hall, but a just as scary Mellie decked out in satin and pearls. Could this be a Halloween prank? But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning.
When we last left the gang, Huck was back on the assassination sauce and taking on Jake as his sidebar sponsor to try and get back on the straight and narrow. Meanwhile, Mellie was on the hooch. Quinn was on the outs. Liv was shaking like a scared baby bird and Fitz was playing Mr. Big Stuff and walking in on Big Daddy Rowan in his own B613 lair. Alrighty then, let’s see what’s doing this week.
We open with Liv living up to her commitment of Sunday dinner with dear old daddy Rowan and it’s like she’s back to being a kid again—sulky and noncommittal and when Rowan calls her on it, she says it’s because when she gets confrontational and speaks her mind it leads to him making her friends kill people. She does have a point, though perhaps not the most polite conversation to have during dessert. Liv makes reference to not being the “brave outspoken girl her mother taught her to be,” which brings up my hackles along with the rest of the at home Gladiators. Where are you, Mama Pope? They say you’re dead but still, I’m not buying it. Rowan reminds Liv that everything she is and has is because of him. Hmm? Power struggle between Mama and Papa Pope and will we see it on screen?
Cut to Rowan’s apartment where Jake is snooping around and trying to copy files from his computer while Huck is running surveillance. Too bad Rowan is home early and there are a few tense moments where Jake is thisclose to getting caught. Still, with this show I trust nothing. I’m feeling like Rowan has eyes everywhere. Maybe he knew Jake was in the house and make he didn’t. You don’t get to be the leader of B613 and just have folks slipping past your ADT system like the cat burglar.
Now it’s a new day and we are in the oval office with the happy go lucky team of Mellie and Cy and they are trying to woo a new guy, Leo Bergen, over to their team to run Fitz’s campaign. Leo is a bit of a handful and doesn’t want any parts of Fitz’s sorry campaign. He says it had too many problems and a not so small one is Fitz's frigid wife (ouch). And the fact that Fitz looks like he hasn’t had a good screw in a long time (double ouch and let’s put a pin in that one for later). Poor Mellie takes the insults in stride and doesn’t even clutch her double strand pearls or punch Leo in the nose. Nope, she just lets the dude walk out and she heads to Congresswoman Josie Marcus’s office. Here is where I’ll say I don’t think we’ve seen the last of old Leo.
Now over to Congresswoman Josie Marcus’s office where she is interviewing Liv for the job of running her campaign. Liv tells her she doesn’t need branding, that she needs gravitas. Josie instantly hires Liv and sends the other candidates, including Leo, packing. This shocks Josie’s sister and assistant as well as Liv, but she goes with it. Josie then tells Liv that she’s hiring her to fix the problem and cover up that she had a baby and gave her up 30 years before. This Liv can do. Liv gets on the phone and sends the Gladiators off to Red Springs, Montana. To say they are thrilled is a huge overstatement.
Once there The Gladiators are holed up in a lovely Bates like motel and get to finding their folks to start the baby clean up job. Quinn tries to get in a word with Huck after their argument the week before, but Huck is not hearing it. Poor Quinn is getting iced out and it’s making her batty. Huck is deep into his laptop and looking at the files that Jake stole. On them he sees video of the meeting with Fitz and Rowan from the week before and we finally get in on that convo. Fitz says that Rowan is where he left him “standing in the shadows, pulling his strings.” And what strings were that, Fitz? Do tell.
Huck's calling Jake while he’s walking down the street to tell him that they know that someone is digging, but not who it is. Suddenly a black SUV pulls up and Jake is picked up by three guys. Poor Jake can’t stay free a minute. I’m starting to think he’s being profiled. Turns out Jake was pulled to play some one-on-one basketball with Fitz who is feeling all big time. Too bad Jake’s got the skills and Fitz end up on his butt before the game ends.
We now have Liv back in her office watching her phone, but another phone rings and it’s Cy calling offering her a job to dig on Josie Marcus. She says thanks but no thanks and warns the team that Cyrus knows there was a baby and to hush up the people quick.
It gets a little dicey in Montana for a moment, but it works out with the Gladiators and poor Cy and his boy Ethan are outwitted by Liv and her team again. Grrr! “We got Poped sir!” Funniest line of the night.
Cut to Fitz calling up Rowan to tell him to lay ogf Jake (don’t you wonder why everybody wants to protect Jake? Is he a secret baby? Yeesh?). Also Fitz id taking quite the stern tone towards a man whose daughter he’s been intimate with on more than one or ten occasions. Either way, Rowan was smooth when he hung up on Fitz and his too big britches. Stay in your lane, Fitz.
We're back and Cy is ranting and Mellie is thinking, so hard you can practically see the wheels turning in her head. She looks shaken. Cut to Jake coming back from his game and striping down to take a cool drink (thankyouverymuch) while he talks with Huck about what he knows and doesn’t know. They need more info to get the full Remington story so Huck sends him to the better computer in his office. Once there, Jake gets some info and on the way out runs into Liv coming in. She says she forgot her phone but wait, she’s holding her phone. Jake calls her on it and says oh, “You forgot the secret Fitz phone.” (Sidebar: Now I want to know where I can get one of those. But knowing me I’d mess it up and end up in a hole like Jake.) Back to the story. Liv feels bad. Talks about how she writes all Fitz’s jokes and how it’s the White House Correspondents Dinner and yada yada. She knows she’s a mess and throws the secret phone in the trash. Come on. Really? Who would throw a booty call phone that you’ve been talking to the president on every night without taking the SIM card out? Just please. They leave with Jake, the big spender, promising burgers. Liv girl, you’d better go and get your phone back.
We’re now back in Montana and the Gladiators find out the Congresswoman didn’t put her baby up for adoption, but her mother changed the name on the birth certificate and they raised the baby as her sister, and that's the girl who is now her assistant. Good twist! Congresswoman Josie doesn’t want the sister/daughter/assistant to find out and she says she never wanted this spotlight. That she had a career in the military and was thrown into it when her husband died in the war and there she was surprised that she was in the spotlight and they people had voted for her. Hmm? (There feels like a lot of pins to place here and possibly pick up later. I’m looking at you, operation Remington.)
We’re back in Montana and Quinn is returning some things to the General Store before they leave and all she can get is a store credit. So of course instead of buying feed-n-seed good old Quinny goes for a gun. I smell trouble.
Back in DC it’s the democratic debate and all are gathered around to watch.
Congresswoman Josie is up and gets outed by another candidate. She comes clean (but not fully) and it’s clear that she’s a tough candidate who has just won America’s hearts. Cy is so mad. We then see that her sister/daughter/assistant can do math and has put 2 and 2 together and gets that she is the baby. Oops! Liv tells Josie she did great and Josie gets mad at this and fires Liv. Oh well. Let’s hope she got paid up front.
Liv is back in her office looking like a sad fired girl swigging wine from the really big glass when her phone rings and she dives for the trash like rehab is in order. It’s him! He called! Cut to breathless, “Hi.” And cue the Toni Brixton. It’s like Liv is finally breathing for the first time since the start of the show and it seems the same way for Fitz. He’s calling from the bathroom and he’s lighter and more open and they talk about jokes for the correspondent’s dinner. She tells him to dive in and own his shame and to laugh at himself and then Fitz just blurts out, “I love you.” Sending us all into a gooey puddle of sticky caramel on the floor. Pan out from the bathroom and the door isn’t fully closed and there is Mellie listening to every word. Heartbreaking.
Back in the office, Abby’s phone rings. She was supposed to go to the correspondent’s dinner with David but lied to him and told him she was still in Montana. It’s David calling. She tells him she’s still there but sadly she’s busted when he’s right outside her door. Hey, that’s no Gladiator way to cover your tracks.
We have Huck and Jake still doing their digging and now they have tracked Fitz to Iceland when things went down. It’s all getting confusing, then Jake’s phone rings and its Liv demanding that Jake be her date to the correspondent’s dinner. Jake says okay, and I say the woman has pull.
At the dinner, Liv has eyes for Fitz and Fitz for Liv and Mellie for them both. While Sally Langston is making eyes at Ted and follows him into the men’s room where she asks him to run her independent campaign. Seems everyone wants to be president but the president.
Cut to Liv getting a head nod from the cute tall blond secret service dude and Jake tells her to go on and see about her man. Liv struts down the hall in her cool black and white dress as if she owning the runway, only to have the door opens and there is Mellie Mel. Yikes! It’s a Halloween trick. But Mellie is surprisingly bearing her soul but not before getting in one zinger when she says to Liv, “I like your new boyfriend. Is he married?” Bazinga!
She then begs Liv to stay and asks her to run Fitz's re-election campaign. She tells her that Fitz needs her. “That she’s everything to him” and “He needs you so I need you to come back to us.” Wow. What it must have taken for Mellie to swallow her pride and say that to Liv. She tells Liv that they both always wanted the same thing, for Fitz to be the man they both know he can be and after what they did to him with the last election they owe him this. Ouch it hurts, but Mellie has Liv wrapped. Also can we go back to the top when Ted says Fitz looks like he needs a good screw? Mellie, did you just hire Liv for that? Side-eye.
Cut to David coming home and he finds a dressed up Abby who says she didn’t go to the dinner because her ex was there and she couldn’t face him. Back at the end of the dinner Jake says goodbye to Liv and it seems like for good. He’s over playing second fiddle. We’ll see how long that lasts. Then Liv gets a call from Harrison who’s in the office with the congresswoman (what is she doing going to their office at 10PM; this couldn’t wait until morning? I’m looking side eyed here. Who sent you Josie?) Liv goes to the office and Josie says she wants her back on the campaign. Liv says thanks but no thanks. Too bad Josie is not ready to take that no for an answer and tells her to sleep on it.
Ms. Quinn is still in the office. It seems the delivery man delivers late too and her gun has arrived. She is way too excited about this for anybody’s good. I see mischief and wild in those eyes. Huck, go and get your girl.
Cut to Huck and Jake the not quite dynamic duo and Huck has figured out some things. Fitz was in Iceland where there was a plane crash back in the day. Jake chalks it up to coincidence but in a great line Huck says, “Two things make a coincidence, three things make a conspiracy.” Cut to Liv back home and changing and now pulling out a box of old photos. Uh oh. I now know what Huck’s going to say. Put the box away, Liv! Over 300 people died in that plane crash, but the plane was ordered shot down by the president and Fitz was the one who shot the plane down. There was a woman on the plane by the name of Maya Lewis aka Pope. Liv’s mom. Help me pick my jaw off the floor.
Knock. Knock. Batman and Robin are at Liv’s door with the news. Gulp. Liv you’re going to need a really big glass for this.
So what do you all think? Did Fitz do it and why? And is Liv’s mother really dead at all (I still say no)? And if Fitz did it is he the ultimate B613 sleeper agent or is baby Quinn it and just waiting for her orders? So many questions? Good thing it’s still early in the season to get them all answered.
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.