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 3x06, 3x07, 3x08, 3x09, 3x10, and 3x11. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 12, “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies.”
NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal. Enjoy!
As usual, this episode was a jaw dropper, so without further ado, let’s take a page from Fitz and Olivia and jump right into it!
When the episode opens, Fitz and Olivia are screaming at each other in a hotel room about Jake, who is standing sentry outside said room with Tom and some other secret service agents. Fitz apparently didn’t appreciate Olivia bringing Jake to their rendezvous. Olivia reminds him that being seen going into a hotel by herself with the President looks kind of bad. He ups the ante and the volume by spouting nonsense about having a “fox” in his “henhouse.” Olivia informs him that she is no one’s hen and that her house is her own. So there!
Meanwhile, Jake and Tom are making feeble attempts at discretion by quietly discussing protocol and secret service coverage outside a room where the loudest argument ever is taking place. Fitz is upset because he
thinks knows that Jake wants a shot with Olivia, and now he can’t trust him. Liv informs him that he is in a really bad spot since he promoted Jake to Director of B613 and made an enemy of her father. Maturely, Fitz tells Liv to shut up. He starts this line about how he knows she has Jake as a fake boyfriend to help him, but then Liv cuts him off and passionately reveals to Fitz that she has Jake around her for herself. She has him so that she can continue to be Fitz’s campaign manager, sure, but mostly it’s so she isn’t walking down the street with a scarlet “A” on her chest for being the President’s whore. Everything isn’t about you, Fitz!
He tries to sweet talk her after that when he realizes that maybe being his mistress comes with challenges, but she pushes him away and they leave. As Fitz walks past Jake, they share a look and Jake seems to put Fitz on notice, confirming all of Fitz’s fears. All of this, and before the title card even comes up.
Next, we see Mellie going into the conference room with Andrew, the new VP prospect and Fitz’s main man. We found out last week he was carrying a torch for Mellie, but how far does this go? Mellie makes Andrew promise that he didn’t accept the position just to be around her. He tells her no, then qualifies that it’s not the only reason. This takes us to a flashback when Fitz was Governor and Andrew was Lt. Governor. Fitz and Mellie were having a loud argument (sounds familiar) and Andrew was standing just outside the door waiting to talk to Fitz (sounds even more familiar.) Fitz is confused and angry that Mellie has frozen him out and won’t talk to him, let him touch her, anything. She refuses to attend a party for Fitz’s dad, and won’t tell him why. Andrew sees her storm off, and we are flown back to the present.
Harrison is enjoying his morning-after with the beautiful Adnan Salif. He was enjoying it, that is, until she pops open a briefcase full of money she wants him to handle. Harrison tells her he wants nothing to do with it; she asks him if Olivia knows about Clearwater (I want to know!) or if Liv thinks he was just guilty of insider trading. Now Harrison has a frowny face.
Abby and David are in bed, and Abby is gazing at a slumbering David. She drops the “I love you” bomb just as his eyes open, but instead of responding, he answers his phone that conveniently goes off at just that moment. It’s James, and he is freaking out because Cyrus is chatting with Vanessa Chandler, the reporter that James has been sending his unfortunately named “Plublius” texts to. David talks him down from the ledge, but James hops right back on when Cy summons him to his office. Cyrus wants James to arrange an exclusive interview between Fitz and Vanessa so that he can romance Vanessa into giving up her source regarding Daniel Douglas’s death. After some particularly funny quips between the gay men about how to romance a woman, James convinces Cyrus to let him get the info out of Vanessa.
Back in the conference room, Fitz and Liv have joined Mellie and Andrew as they strategize for the campaign. Cyrus barges in and informs them that Carla Steele has a source alleging prescription drug abuse in the California governor’s mansion back in the day. Initially everyone scoffs at the idea, since Andrew’s background check came up clean, but then he admits to it!
Jake Ballard is sitting in his new office with his new suit on when two agents walk into his office with a briefcase. It’s information about every B613 mission currently, and Jake has a lot of work to do to get up to speed. According to the paperwork and the B613 Siri, there is an agent working inside the White House who has extraordinary access and will reveal themselves shortly. Intriguing! B613 Siri reminds Jake that his job is to protect the republic.
Sally and the deliciously evil Leo Bergen are having a chat in her office. Leo is trying to explain to Sally that the person coming to see them is a whale, aka a big fish with moneybags. Sally can’t concentrate as she is staring at the floor in an almost catatonic state, reliving that moment when the devil made her murder her husband. Leo tries to get her to snap out of it, but she is in and out. Enter Hollis Doyle, our favorite deliciously evil moneybags. He walks in and cuts right to the chase-he will support Sally if he can name the energy secretary. Sounds good, right Sally? Uh, Sally? SALLY?
Liv and the Gladiators are on the job to fix this Carla Steele problem. Andrew admits to getting under the table oxy for a slipped disc in his back so that a prescription wouldn’t be on record during his anti-drug election campaign. Andrew agrees to take the fall publicly if necessary, but Fitz begs Liv to fix it. In a tense moment, Olivia goes toe to toe with Carla Steele and puts her on notice—if she goes on television with this doctor and this story, her access to the White House and her career in general are probably over. Good luck reporting from anywhere but Small Town, USA, Carla! Unfortunately for Liv, Carla has a paper trail, the doctor, and surveillance of the doctor visiting the mansion. Carla is feeling pretty strongly about her position and tells Liv she might want to check herself.
The Gladiators decide to come at this a different way. Who gave up the doctor to Carla Steele? Who would have that info? Ah. Daddy Pope! Liv calls Jake, who is up to his eyeballs in new paperwork. She demands he look into her father’s activities. Jake pulls a “Sweet Brown” and tells her he ain’t got time for that. After she rips him a new one, he sighs and agrees to look into it, but you know it’s just to shut her up. Enter Huck, bearing a gift of coffee for Liv. Latte count: 1.
Charlie and Quinn are having a relaxing morning in bed. Charlie gets the call to look into Rowan from Jake, and Quinn wants to help. Charlie “loves it when she goes all Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” but tells Killer Robin that Killer Batman has to do this one solo-orders from the boss. (Really orders from Liv, but whatever.)
Mellie stops Andrew in the hallway and begs him not to put his career in jeopardy. He makes a statement about taking care of Mellie, since God knows Fitz won’t. Things become a little clearer when we flashback to the governor mansion and Andrew discovers Mellie on the floor. She has downed what looks like a whole bottle of some prescription drug (oxy). He runs her to the bathroom and makes her vomit, saving her life.
Back to the future, David and James are strategizing on the phone. James is feeling the broadsword of Cyrus on his neck as he thinks Cyrus is close to establishing that he is Plublius. He and David come up with a scheme to send Vanessa Chandler the tape of Sally confessing to murder since it’s inadmissible in court.
Liv is having dinner with Rowan. While she tries to plead with him and bat her Liv Lashes at him, Rowan dresses her down for her lame attempt at coercion. Charlie is supposed to be staying on Rowan, but gets a call from Cyrus for some extra cash and takes off. However, Quinn was watching Charlie watch Rowan, and gets busted by Olivia, whose dinner with her dad went bust. Olivia gets in the car with Quinn and begs her to come home to Gladiator Central. Quinn boohoos that Huck licked her face and pulled her teeth. (Yeah, Rudolph, that’s what happens when you play reindeer games.) Liv pleads with Quinn to leave B613, but she refuses and throws Liv out of the car. When Liv refuses to leave, Quinn proceeds to pull a gun on Liv and tells her point blank that she will shoot her if she didn’t get out of the car. So Liv gets out.
Fake Boyfriend Jake rushes into Liv’s apartment. She had apparently summoned him saying it was important, so Jake came running. She confronts him about Quinn staking out Rowan, and of course, Jake knew nothing about that. He then makes it clear that while she is welcome to ask for little favors (like she does all the damn time) she can keep her opinion about the who, what, when, where, why, and hows of his job to herself. And another thing—”stock the damn fridge!” Jake starts to strip (yay!) and informs Olivia that her Fake Boyfriend is going to take a real shower before they have pretend sex.
Leo Bergen is checking in with Hollis about a campaign donation Hollis had promised that hasn’t come in yet. Hollis assures him that he is just moving funds around and will be contributing soon. As soon as he hangs up the phone, he walks into Cy’s office, and we see the whole thing has been a set-up. Cy just might be getting his evil groove back!
Suspicious of all of David’s covert phone calls, Abby asks Huck to hack his email. Meanwhile, Huck has located the doctor that Carla Steele has on ice, and Harrison and Abby catch up with him at a hotel bar. They confront him and he basically just wants to get paid; he lets it slip that Andrew should have thought about it before “she” called him. Say what?
James is freaking out (again) because Vanessa wants to meet Plublius. David agrees to go in his place, but because Charlie is on the job with Cyrus, they know about the meeting, too.
Mellie goes to Fitz and as soon as she walks in, he “Sweet Brown”s her. A lot of that happening this episode. Mellie just wants to make sure that he isn’t considering taking Andrew off the ticket; Fitz maintains that if Liv can’t fix it, he might have to. When Mellie pushes and tells him she will take it up with Liv, Fitz tells her to stay away from Olivia. In a moment of raw honesty, Mellie asks Fitz what it feels like to feel the way he does about Olivia. Just when you think Fitz is going to have a true moment with Mellie, he caps it off with, “I don’t have time.” That was cold.
In a flashback we see Andrew trying to catch up with Mellie to check in on her after her attempted suicide. She snaps a “thank you” at him, but Andrew wants to know why she did it. The truth comes pouring out in an angry rush—her father-in-law forced himself on her and now she doubts the paternity of her child. “Sometimes I don’t want to be alive.” Mellie says before storming away.
Harrison reports back to Liv about the doctor letting a pronoun slip. He also reminds her that if they make it look like the doctor was paid off, it would discredit him. Liv doesn’t like it, but it has to be done. Enter Huck, with another coffee. Latte Count: 2.
Liv heads back to the White House to update Mellie that the doctor problem isn’t a problem anymore. Liv also confronts Mellie about the pills and tells Mellie that she knows Andrew was covering for her. With no moral ground to stand on, Liv tells Mellie to shut whatever it is down with Andrew. Mellie informs her that no matter what, when she was faced with the choice to cheat, she “kept her knees shut.” A flashback shows Andrew ready to take his crush to the next level, but just as she said, Mellie shuts it down (despite the fact that she admitted to having feelings for him.)
At the donor dinner, Fitz is not happy to see Hollis, and tells Cy to keep him and his money away. This drives Cyrus to get a few stiff drinks, and he lets it slip to James that he is finding out Vanessa’s source tonight. In a panic, James calls David and leaves a message that the meeting is a set-up, but David doesn’t get that message before he is kidnapped and put in the trunk of a car. David calls Abby and tells her what he should have told her the other morning—he loves her. The trunk pops open and Abby and Huck are standing there. “You better, cuz I just saved your life,” Abby snarks.
Cyrus is having a crappy night. Fitz doesn’t want Hollis Doyle’s money, and now Charlie informs him that Vanessa’s source is a no-show. Creeping around the corner is the creepy but gorgeous Adnan Salif. Cyrus loves money and Adnan is offering it. Sure, she is a criminal, but she is a rich one!
Quinn is in Jake’s office getting yelled at because Liv yelled at him. Quinn shoots him an email with footage of Rowan meeting with Leo Bergen and quips, “That one was free.” Then she literally flounces out the door.
Huck is in Liv’s office with another coffee. Latte Count: 3. He tells her that he needs her to stop being mad at him. He doesn’t like it. Olivia tells him he went too far with Quinn; Huck tells her she actually went too far. She took in a monster and made him her pet, but he can only go as far as his leash, and she is the one who holds the leash. He rolled out her sins regarding Quinn from top to bottom; how they ruined her life, then made a new one, then made Huck take her under his wing. “You should have never given me someone to love.” says Huck. “ Monsters eat people, Liv. It’s what we do.”
Mellie finds Andrew in the First Ladies’ portrait room. After some jokes about not touching the First Ladies, Andrew asks Mellie for a kiss. At first she rejects him, but then decides to squirt some WD40 on her knees and gives Andrew the kiss of his life—and apparently hers, too, since she runs out of the room, shocked at herself.
Liv and Fitz are going over some final items for the evening, but Fitz wants to talk to Liv about personal issues, not business. She informs him that she has to take care of herself and her people. He assures her he understands that. Then he asks if she has feelings for Jake. After she admonishes him that it’s none of his business, and he agrees, he asks her again.
We find out that Tom, our favorite secret service guy, is the B613 inside man in the White House. He drops off a jump drive and informs Jake that these deliveries will be done nightly. (Cue “Backstabbers” by The O’Jays.) As soon as Jake fires up the drive, we see it’s the Oval Office, and we pick up the rest of the conversation between Liv and Fitz. “Do you have feelings for Jake?” After a pause, Liv answers, “Honestly...I don’t know.” We see Jake look to the heavens and lean back in his chair, where he seems to be thinking, “It’s not a no!”
Adnan returns to her swanky hotel room, and who is there waiting for her? Mama Pope, looking fly from the beauty salon like it’s “Summertime” with Will Smith in Philly. She and Adnan are “in,” whatever that means. I guess we will find out next week!
Is Mellie going to go all in with Andrew? What does Mama Pope have planned? How long is Sally going to last before she goes completely bonkers? And what happens next week in the last 30 seconds of the episode that is probably going to break the internet? I don’t know, but I’ll be there with my glass of wine!
Nicole Leapheart's alter ego is Miss Boxy Frown, and she posts book reviews and TV recaps at missboxyfrown.blogspot.com. She reads and watches everything from romance to sci-fi, but enjoys it even more if some smut is involved. And tattoos.