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, 3x11, 3x12, and 3x13. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 14, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”
NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal. Enjoy!
Grab your wine bottle, your therapist’s number, and get out your tissues out—this one is a snot-fest.
When the episode opens, it starts where the cliffhanger ended last week. We see the distractingly handsome Jake take out three people; the big question was, who got shot, David or James? Turns out it was James. In a moment of sheer self-preservation, James bolts down the street, and Jake guns him down. Swinging his big gun to David’s face, Jake tells David that he always liked him, and asks him if he’s smart and if he can play ball—or does Jake need to stop liking him?
After the initial credits, we see David walking up to a circus of a crime scene. It turns out the victim of an apparent carjacking is James, so David must have gone to the Harlem Globetrotters Ball Playing Camp. David is lead on this case, so how is he going to play it?
Back at the White House, Cy is in shock. Olivia is there, handling everything and everyone. The mood is somber, and even Ethan the intern can’t look at Cy without bursting into tears. As Cy sits and stares into space, we get treated to the first of many sweet flashbacks that chronicle the love affair of James and Cyrus. They met on Fitz’s first campaign on the road, and James approached a bearded Cy hoping for a quote for his article. Cy basically told him to buzz off but not before accidentally revealing he enjoyed James’s work. He also suggested that James dress a little smarter, and in return James told Cy he doesn’t take fashion advice from someone with a neck beard. It was flirty banter, and it was adorable.
In the Oval office Mellie, Fitz, Andrew, and Olivia are discussing the re-election campaign. Olivia suggests suspending the campaign for a few days out of respect for James, and Fitz agrees. Mellie points out that they may be missing a huge opportunity to bring in the gun lobby support that would be critical to their campaign. Fitz isn’t hearing it, especially in the light of James’s death. He refuses to politicise the death, much to Mellie’s chagrin. Of course, Andrew agrees with Mellie, but we all know why and it ain’t because of politics. Sally calls Fitz to offer her condolences and reassure him that the Langston campaign will also suspend running for a few days in solidarity. Then she hangs up the phone and confirms with Leo Bergen that they are going after that gun lobby Mellie just tried to convince Fitz to cater to.
At a White House press conference, Liv notices that Vanessa Chandler is missing. Turns out Shelby Moss is missing, too. Back at Gladiator Central, Liv puts the team to work, since this is now looking like a hit instead of a random car jacking. In a panic, Abby takes off to go check on David; she knows that he was working with James on the Publius project and he is the last man standing. David tries to assure Abby that everything is fine, he isn’t in danger, but Abby is not buying it. Stop digging Abby, it’s making me nervous!
Liv calls Jake because she wants him to check out her theory that James was killed. Jake tells her he is busy, but that he will look into it when he has time. What’s he busy doing? Burying Vanessa and Shelby in a forest.
Adnan Salif just gave Mama Pope a designer duffle bag full of money, paying her for—something. What they are planning, we don’t know, but it can’t be good. Adnan asks what their next step is, and Mama aka Maya tells her they need to find a terrorist. Adnan isn’t sure about this, as she only anticipated working with one person. Maya gives her the eyebrow and lays it out. “I don’t make bombs, I make money.” Also, they need a fall guy and Maya Lewis isn’t going down for anybody.
Cyrus wants to work. We all cope in our own ways, and Cyrus wants to work. He has figured out that Sally is going to go for the gun lobby, and he wants to stop her. We flashback to more James and Cy history, this time on a plane during the campaign. James asks Cy why Fitz has not made a stand in the marriage equality debate when his campaign manager is gay. Cy, firmly in the closet, denies denies denies. James parts ways with Cy by complimenting his shave.
Liv checks in with Huck, and he tells her things are clean—he can’t trace James’s hit back to Leo Bergen. Olivia asks him to check the Publius file in the safe just to make sure they haven’t missed anything. Huck goes to check the safe, and remembers he installed a camera. Checking the feed, he catches up with us and finds out there has been a sneaky little mini-spy sneaking in their safe.
Quinn and Charlie find a patsy for the carjacking that supposedly killed James. The guy is a mechanic with a carjacking history and a bad liver that they convince him will be transplanted if he goes to jail. After an anonymous tip (cough B613) this guy gets arrested, and a search of his place reveals a beretta, which is the type of gun that killed James. All David has to do is formally arrest him...but David doesn’t do it.
Back in the past, we see Cy reciting Fitz’s campaign speech outside the venue, speaking lines just before we hear Fitz saying them over the PA system. James walks out and starts chatting Cy up. They have the cutest exchange ever, where James teaches Cy how to flirt. He tells Cy that since he is officially divorced, he wants to date him (and despite the fact that Cy is a Republican, he has a hot mouth.) Then James tells Cy it’s his move. Cy almost lets James walk away before he grabs James and plants a passionate kiss on him.
We see Cy in the White House now, pacing. Cy and Liv are waiting for Fitz to convince him to delay Air Force 2 while they send Andrew and Mellie to the gun lobby group ahead of Sally and Leo Bergen. Imagine Sally’s disappointment. Meanwhile, Andrew and Mellie are shooting clay pigeons in anticipation of meeting with said gun lobbyists, and Mellie is more than handy. Andrew definitely notices.
Adnan and Maya aka Marie are meeting with some dangerous men. Maya is confused. “I only meet with Ivan,” she says. Unfortunately, Ivan sent Pablo and Dimitri. They try to muscle cash out of Adnan and Maya. It didn’t end well for Pablo. Cool and quick, Maya pulls out her gun and shoots him, then turns the gun on Dimitri. She tells him to send her condolences to Ivan, and to set up a personal meet.
Huck reveals to Liv that Quinn was in their safe, which means B613 knows about Publius...which means James was killed by B613. When she goes to confront Jake about it, she gets a big dose of reality. She demands he tell her who put him up to this task, and he lets her have it. “I am Command!” he yells. “This was my call!” Olivia accused him of being just like her father, and Jake heatedly denied it. He explained that he didn’t make some poor agent, just pulled out of a hole, do the assignment, he took that assignment on himself. All Olivia heard at that moment was that Jake pulled the trigger.
Cy walks into his office and it is filled with flowers of condolence. It makes him think of Inauguration night, when he and James have a terrible fight. James wants to be his date, and Cy isn’t ready to come out to the President of the United States.
Harrison is walking to his car when Adnan calls out to him. She confirms that Liv has contacts in the Justice Department with Harrison as she may want out of the country. A car pulls out in the car garage, and spooks Adnan. She looks around nervously and tells Harrison never mind, she will find her own way. Either Adnan is setting up something for Mama/Maya/Marie, or M-cubed has her super spooked.
Jake goes to visit David Rosen. After getting reamed by Liv, Jake wants to know why David isn’t moving fast enough on shutting down the James Novack case. He leaves him with a warning. Meanwhile, Olivia meets her father in the park, and because Olivia always wants something, he wants her to get to the point. She begs him to be a father to her right now and tells him about Sally Langston and the resulting fallout. “Oh, that.” he quips. He lays down the facts to Liv like they have never been laid before (doesn’t the amazing Joe Morton do this every week?) He emphatically explains the huge responsibility Command has to the republic. “183 lives is what I am personally responsible for,” he rages. “You become the hand of God.” The point of it all? To save everyone. Even the monsters, even the terrible people-everyone has a chance to be pulled into the light.
Things aren’t going so well with the gun lobby. They have a long memory, and Fitz has been soft on gun control. Mellie suggests Fitz make a gesture, perhaps a speech supporting guns from the White House. Cy agrees with Fitz that the timing is terrible, considering James’s death. Cy even goes so far as to suggest that Fitz give up the gun lobby chase and take this opportunity to grab some votes from the left, and come out in support of gun control officially. Fitz is concerned about politicising James’s death, but Cy gives him permission to go for it and turn some purple states red.
We flashback to another moment in the Oval office where Cy and Fitz are meeting. It’s Cy’s time to come out to the President, but he stutters and stammers and sweats instead. He confesses that he is dating someone, a journalist, and plays the pronoun game. Fitz is happy for him, and asks him if he is in love. Cyrus tell him that he is in love and happy. Fitz tells him that’s all that matters, and you get the feeling that Fitz may be aware of Cy’s orientation.
Swinging forward, Fitz makes his pro-gun control speech, and Mellie looks on in disappointment. We see she and Andrew are drinking and heatedly debating gun control laws. Suddenly, that heated debate turns into heated passion, and they succumb to their hormones.
Abby has been stalking David all day. She knows something is up and David isn’t talking. He tries to get her to back off, but it’s Abby and we all know she is like a dog with a bone. Finally, David confesses to being a witness to the triple murder of James, Vanessa, and Shelby.
Quinn (booo!) walks into her apartment, and can instantly feel Huck there. He comes out when she calls, and she snidely asks him if he came for more teeth. He informs her that he actually came to put her down. After a quick scuffle, Huck throws her against the wall and explains some things that we may have missed. “I trained you,” he says. Knowing how gifted Quinn is, he tells her point blank that she was only seen on the camera in the safe because she wanted to be seen. Was she still a Gladiator in disguise? Did she let herself be seen so that the Gladiators knew what B613 was up to? She answers him by spitting in his face. He responds to that by passionately kissing her, and she gives back all she is worth. Huck stops himself, shocked by his actions and Quinn throws him out, but by the way she was touching her lips after he left, she felt that kiss all the way everywhere.
The sky is falling at Pope and Associates. Abby busts into Liv’s office, dropping the dime on B613 and Jake. Harrison busts into Liv’s office, informing her that Adnan Salif is back in the country and whatever she is up to is no good (including being in your BED, Harrison, but I’m not jealous. Yes, I am.) Finally, Huck busts into Liv’s office and tells her that they may need to get Quinn out of B613. They all look at her expectantly to solve the world’s problems.
Liv meets with David Rosen, and convinces him that going against Jake in a suicide mission is not the way to go. They need to take on B613, the root of the problem. She dedicates herself to stand with David to dismantle B613. David agrees and makes the arrest of the patsy. Liv takes the info of the arrest to Cy, who demands to address the press. Liv tries to convince him otherwise, but Cy ignores her. He starts off fine, detailing the arrest, and we are flashed back to the Inaugural Ball. Cy, alone, strides out of the ball, and grabs James from the press area just outside. Cy decides to come out to the world by dancing with his boyfriend at the Inaugural Ball, and Fitz and Mellie look on proudly.
Back at the press conference, it happens. Everything hits Cy at the same time and he breaks down in the most pitiful tears. Fitz rescues him from the podium as cameras snip and snap. Cy is one of the monsters, but in that moment you can’t deny his love for James Novack. Liv steps up to the podium, and continues the press conference, barely holding on herself.
The ugly crying isn’t over yet.
Jake, watching the press conference, flashes back to the night he killed James. He has just loaded the two women in his trunk, and he walks over to James, who is still clinging to life lying in the street. In this disturbing but tender moment, Jake apologizes for not making his death quick and clean like he did for Vanessa and Shelby. He had to make James’s death look like an amateur did it, and so it will be painful and long instead. Jake tells James that he won’t let him die alone, and promises to sit with him until it’s over. He promises that his daughter will be safe, and true to his word waits for James to take his last breath.
So, that was heavy. I have no idea what next week will bring, but some levity might be nice. This episode was probably the best of the season-what do you think?
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.