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 any of our Season 3 recaps, including 3x10, 3x11, 3x12, 3x13, 3x14, 3x15, 3x16, and 3x17. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 18, “The Price of Fair and Free Elections.”
NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal. Enjoy!
Put on your gym shoes and track shorts because this episode felt like an epic workout and it had the blood, sweat, and tears to prove it!
When the episode opens, the bomb is ticking and Fitz is still practicing his speech in his office. Papa Pope is being wheeled into the emergency room with multiple stab wounds, and Adnan is getting nervous that things aren’t going to plan to which Mama Pope tells her to chill and be patient. Jake is trying to call everyone to get them to clear the church, and this is all in the first 45 seconds of the show! (Warmed up yet? Let’s start power walking.)
Just when Cy is having an attack of conscience and is about to fill Fitz in on the fact that there is a bomb at the funeral he is supposed to be attending, Jake bursts into the Oval Office and announces that they have a “situation”.
While Liv is in the hospital waiting room, footage of funeral goers being quickly evacuated from the church is being reported live on television. Fitz is in the Situation Room with plenty of advisors—including Jake giving a guilty looking Cyrus the side eye—when boom goes the dynamite and the front of the church explodes. (And now we have the beginning credits, so let’s start jogging.)
After a brief moment of uncertainty, we get confirmation that Sally is safe and is with a Secret Service agent. Leo Bergen gives Sally the pep talk of her life, roughs her up a little, and tells her that this is her Moment. She needs to take control of the situation, “Be Jesus” and use this as an opportunity to win the election.
Liv leaves her father’s bedside to run to the White House and basically advises Fitz of the same thing. He needs to be on the podium giving information to the American people and giving assurances that the perpetrators with be caught and dealt with. However, Sally’s Florence Nightingale performance is too compelling, and the news outlets start dropping Fitz’s speech in favor of Sally tending to the wounded at the blast site. Olivia promises retribution and destroyed careers as a result, but everyone in the room can see the desperation—this campaign is falling apart.
Sally addresses the first responders, victims, and cameras at the church with a knockout speech promising to “find whoever did this, and we will be swift, and we will be just and we will be ruthless. Now let us pray.”
Liv goes to Cy’s office, and they both admit the election is lost. When they take the bad news to Fitz, he tries to think of something to save himself, but there is nothing. In a drunken stupor, Mellie demands they get their money back. What did they hire Liv for if she couldn’t get the win?
Olivia gets back to the hospital and visits with her father. He senses something is wrong with her, and she shares that she failed—Fitz is going to lose the election. Eli and Liv have a tender moment as he shares that he wished he could help her-even if he doesn’t care for Fitz.
Adnan is about to take Harrison out, but he convinces her that she needs his help to get out from under Maya’s grasp before they both turn into loose ends. He returns to OPA at the same time as Abby when they hear some sexy times coming from the conference room...where Huck and Quinn are getting it on, down and dirty doggy style. Harrison, mostly unphased by their sexual antics wanted to know why there was blood on the floor and found out that Eli was stabbed by Maya. Abby tells Huckleberry Quinn to clean up the blood and themselves before leaving in a huff.
David stops by Jake’s place and tries to get him to turn on B613 and Cyrus, and that didn’t work out well. Speaking of not working out, Quinn comes home to find Charlie packing up his things and pissed. He leaves her with an envelope that he promises will a) be something Huck really wants and b) put an end to their budding romance.
The silver lining of losing the election is that Fitz and Olivia take the opportunity to dream their Vermont dream again. However, when Fitz starts bad mouthing Mellie, Olivia can’t take it and breaks Mellie’s trust by telling him the truth about Mellie. FINALLY. She told him that his father raped his wife and that their oldest son may not be his biological son. At first in disbelief, Fitz denied it, but quickly he looked back over their life with new eyes, and the realization came that Mellie was telling the truth. He went to Mellie, kissed her head, and held her as she let out the pain of almost 18 years. “I fought him. I fought.” She revealed that the true paternity test that came from Olivia confirmed that little Jerry was Fitz’s biological son-but Fitz did the right thing and told her it didn’t matter.
The polls are showing Sally ahead by a landslide. Leo goes to Cy to gloat, but stays for a drink and some advice. “Protect your soul if you have one. It’s futile, but try.” Cy also recommends not having a family in with this line of work.
Quinn decides to take Huck on a surprise field trip to his real family’s new house. Yep, that’s the info that was in Charlie’s parting envelope. Horrified, and I’ll admit Quinn’s delivery had something left to be desired, Huck could only ask her what was wrong with her? She drops the L bomb and tells him she loves him and didn’t want to have secrets...and he in turn tells her never to speak a word to him again. (Here’s where we move from a jog to a sprint.)
Fitz and Liv have one of those great old school Fitz/Liv phone convos that makes us ship them so hard. They admit to each other that even when he loses the election, he couldn’t leave Mellie now, not knowing what he just found out. He asks her to just be with him on the phone for a few minutes longer, and we watch as the world happens around them, but they are suspended in silence with each other. Liv ends the spell by hanging up first, and Fitz has to go make his last big speech.
When Olivia goes to her father’s room at the hospital, her mother is sitting by his bedside. Olivia threatens to call security, but of course Maya is unphased by that. Instead she divulges that she wanted to get rid of Fitz for Olivia’s sake. He will only use her and throw her away, and Maya wants more for her daughter. Olivia tells Maya that she can’t let her leave, and of course Maya leaves, but not before asking Olivia who is going to stop her? Meanwhile, little Jerry is at the big speech with Fitz, Mellie, and Karen and he starts coughing up blood. Then things take a turn for the worst as he starts bleeding from his nose and eyes and collapses. He soon dies from bacterial meningitis.
At the hospital, Olivia and Cyrus have a pivotal scene together. Olivia realizes with the first family losing a child, Fitz is going to win the election. She immediately feels terrible for the thought being the first thing that occurred to her. Cyrus admits that he knew about the bomb in the church and wasn’t going to say anything. “How did we get like this?” Olivia asks him. “When did we stop being people?” Cy wonders if they were ever people, or if their jobs just allowed them to shed their human skins and reveal the monsters underneath.
Tom walks up to Fitz and has Jerry’s autopsy. He died from a particular strain of meningitis that was under military lock and key until someone stole a vial of it last week. Fitz is devastated as he realizes his son was murdered. Eli rolls himself out of bed to give Fitz his condolences and his promise for retribution, but not under normal channels. It seems obvious that Maya went after Jerry when she couldn’t get to Fitz and he wants her taken out. Olivia interrupts their deal making and Fitz has to give Olivia the news that her mother killed Jerry. He doesn’t blame Liv for anything her mother has done, but the realization still gives Liv what amounts to a panic attack.
Huck is standing at Olivia’s door, still in shock that he has his family’s location. Olivia tries to convince him to talk to them, but Huck is more convinced that they are better off without him, better off without someone chasing them or trying to kill them, and he is better off “dead” to them. If he’s dead, he can be a different person, a new person. We see some wheels start to turn in Olivia’s head.
Eli checked himself out of the hospital, and he is looking sharp in his suit. Olivia calls him and asks him if his plane and offer of a new life is still on the table. He says yes, and Olivia starts to pack away her old life—first stop, OPA and Abby is furious that Liv is throwing in the towel. “Go, run to daddy,” she snarks at Liv. Huck doesn’t say much of anything, but neither reaction keeps Liv from walking out the door.
Eli catches up with Harrison and demands all the info he has on Adnan and Maya. He shows Harrison pics of Adnan dead, taken out presumably by Maya. Harrison reveals he knows where Maya is picking up her cash, and that makes Papa Pope happy. (Somebody put hurdles on this track, so you better jump them and keep up!)
Jake barges into Liv’s apartment armed with the knowledge that Olivia is leaving thanks to Huck, of all people. Jake initially accuses Olivia of being melodramatic, but Olivia explains that she is the problem, the eye of the storm, the scandal that needs to be fixed. The best thing for her to do is leave. “Take me with you.” Jake asks her. She reminds him that she is very much in love with someone else, and he reminds her that she is leaving him behind. “I want us to stand in the sun together.” Jake says.
Maya Pope was apprehended picking up her cash, and Eli made a call to the President advising him of her death. Harrison was all in a tizzy when he returned to OPA to tell them the good news about Maya, but then he heard the bad news about Liv. Harrison goes back to Eli to try to convince him to bring Olivia back, but Eli tells him to relax, all is right with the republic, and Olivia is better off. Harrison starts to leave, but then he starts thinking out loud. What a mistake. Harrison put together that Eli had more to gain from Jerry’s death than Maya-there was no money in that death. But Eli had the motive, means, and opportunity.
We start to see flashbacks of promises Eli made to Olivia—he promised her a few things—like the fact that she was getting on that plane out of town, that he wouldn’t harm Fitz, and that Fitz would be President for a second term. However, as Papa Pope said, it came at a price. Fitz took his child, so he took Fitz’s. Cue The Temptations, baby. That intro bass line to “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” breathed new life into me, and plot points started rolling out like this was The Usual Suspects and Eli Pope was Keyser Soze.
Harrison started freaking out as he realized Eli killed Adnan just to get him to spill the beans on Maya. Meanwhile, Fitz starts freaking out after getting word that the election was in the bag. All of his problems started to hit him at the same time, and he collapses to his knees in the Oval Office. As Jake and Liv board the plane, David gets a large delivery of boxes from Jake, who leaves him with the note “Go get the bad guys.” The boxes are full of B613 confidential information. Huck musters the strength to ring his wife’s doorbell, who is suitably shocked.
Eli dresses down Harrison one last time while Tom is screwing a silencer on his gun. “Oh to be young, gifted, and black,” Eli laments as Tom points the gun at Harrison’s head. Later, Eli swaggers into the room containing The Hole, and instructs it to be opened. We see Maya sitting in there, legs crossed and taking only a moment to give Eli an annoyed glance before visually dismissing him.
Fitz is still on the floor, and now Mellie is with him, trying to coax him up to give a victory speech. It’s not working. “Where’s Olivia?” he asks. Mellie calls Olivia, but as the plane starts to taxi, she ignores the phone call. “Are you sure?” Jake asks. “Yes.” Olivia answers definitively. However, when the plane takes off, we see a shadow of doubt cross her face.
Let’s do a cooldown walk and think about some things. Were Maya and Eli in this for some/all/bits of this takedown? Is she a secret weapon he keeps on a short leash, or does he really want her to suffer for the rest of her life? Is Harrison dead? I’m betting not, because the last person to get nosy was Quinn, and she ended up working for B613. Something tells me Harrison is on the same path. I hope. Fitz is a mess. He’s going to be out of control without Liv. We all remember what a drunken mess he was last time, and he was having her followed then! What is he going to do when he doesn’t know where she or Jake are?! And what about Huck and his family? Will he make up with his wife and/or Quinn? I’m sure Shonda and company will keep us guessing next year. I’ll be there with a bottle of wine and an inhaler!
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.