Mar 22 2013 9:25am

Scandal Season 2, Episode 16 Recap: Normal is Over

Mellie Grant and baby in Scandal Season 2 episode 16Was that hiatus cruel or what? But Scandal's back with new episodes!

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Scandal, including last night's Season 2, episode 16, “Top of the Hour.”

(Need a refresher? Check out Kwana's recaps of episode 2.10episode 2.11episode 2.12episode 2.13episode 2.14, and episode 2.15.)

Okay, Scandal fans, after a lovely 3—or was it 4?—week break that started to feel like a court-appointed prison sentence, Scandal was finally back with new episodes. The show started pretty much where it left off: all fast talking, and honestly it took me a minute to get my Gladiator sea legs straight and get back in the groove, but after about four minutes of speedy verbiage, I steadied myself and was a-OK.

The show opened on a sweet little scene in anywhere suburbia, probably somewhere just outside of DC with a nice little family getting ready for a dinner of takeout pizza. It’s mom, dad, little brother and we’ll call her mid-sized tween sister. The doorbell rings, letting us know it’s pizza time and sis goes to get it. Only she opens the door to an onslaught of paparazzi and screams. Looks like it’s on now.

The press have a story on the lady of the house, Sarah Stanner, mom, wife and CEO. It’s alleged that when she was a college student, she had an affair with the now Supreme Court nominee, Murray Randall, that Fitz is bringing forward. Uh oh. Guess the pizza guy won’t be delivering tonight.

Cut to Olivia, and she’s with Jake in his office looking over some of his sweet, my-life-all-staged photos. She gets a call and cancels on dinner with him. But wait! Before she goes, she pulls out an envelope and asks what he knows about the hostage situation. Jake goes all pokerfaced, but takes the info from Liv. She leaves, and when Jake opens it he is clearly shocked.

We then see the team of Olivia, Harrison, and Abby in a car, but they can’t get out as the press have the Stanners’ house surrounded. Cyrus calls Liv and asks her to cover for his nominee. Liv says that the White House is not her client and she’s not playing in for their team. Oh to the well. Guess Liv is still mad from last time. Meanwhile, they are still waiting to get in the house. Liv says to wait until the top of the hour, which is genius, since at the top of the hour all the press do news breaks and they can’t chase them for quotes.

The Gladiators sail in the back door to meet the family, Liv looks stunning in a white jacket and very leader like, but in a subtle and brilliant scene Sarah, the accused, puts her hand out and goes right for Abby assuming that she, not Liv, is the woman in charge. Abby makes a great face to Harrison as if this is not the first time this mistake has been made. Liv does not comment besides saying that she is Olivia Pope. End of story and then she starts giving Pope-type orders where she tells the couple that “Normal is over. Normal ended hours ago.” By the time it’s done schooling them she has Sarah confessing that she did indeed have an affair with Murray Randall. It’s all true. All of it. Cut to Sarah’s husband, Phil looking like What?!

Next we have our favorite new dynamic duo HuckaberryQuinn and though it seems to be a rainy night and they are sitting in a car Huck looks to be over his little anti-shower problem as Quinn is fresh faced and not giving him the stink eye at all. They are observing CIA director Osborne and Huck is schooling Quinn on the finer arts of tailing. When Quinn brings up the obvious dilemma of how is the director going to get away to make a drop when he always has a shadow, Huck tells her he won’t, the best drops are done in plain sight. Then Quinn has a great line when she says, “You’re good at this. Staking people.” Cut to Huck, “You’ll get there.” What a charmer he is.

Mellie Grant in Scandal Season 2, episode 16In another bit of oddness we are back at the White House with a woman who looks like Mellie, but she is cooing over a baby, so I’m confused. This Mellie is outside the Oval office along with Cy trying to get in but the secretary won’t let either of them. Finally, the secretary peeks in and we see Fitz shaking hands goodbye with Jake who slips out the back door. Super smart secretary lets Fitz choose and tells him that Cy and Mellie are both there for him. Fitz yells for Cy. He gives Cy two minutes on the Randall Supreme Court problem, dismisses him, and then goes for Mellie only to diss her quickly by snatching the baby and then slamming the door in her face, leaving Mellie sucking on breeze. Ouch.

Cut to Olivia talking to Sarah and Sarah tells her there are some emails between her and Murray, so Liv says then you have to come clean. Sarah gives a press conference and Cyrus calls her, ready to lose it, and to that Liv answers saying, “Take a breath” which is just the thing to send Cy over the edge. I mean it was like poking a bear and Liv should have known it. I’m thinking at this point she’s just looking for a fight.

Oh well, whether looking for a fight or not, Liv got one because Cy is not having it. He asks Liv is she doing this because he was anti-choice? And Liv says she’s apolitical and then to that Cy says, is your vagina apolitical? Gah! Oh Cy! Cy then says he’s going to hit Liv back hard and to that Liv says do your best. It’s on like popcorn now!

So now Cy starts a serious character assassination case against Sarah Stanner all because she came clean and ruined his nominee. He’s out to paint her a sex-crazed stalker out to get Judge Murray.

And the hits just keep coming. Cy doesn’t have to look far to dig up the dirt. It would seem that Sarah’s closet is overstuffed and with just a little nudge skeletons go tumbling, with all sorts of emails and booty shots. It’s almost too easy and now due to a morality clause at her job where she’s CEO she’s about to be fired.

Cut to Mellie who is feeling a little off and left out again so she goes to see Fitz’s secretary asking about his schedule only to find that she’s got a phony Fitz schedule and he’s doing a little chatting and meeting on the side. What the what? Now she’s seeing red, convinced that he’s seeing Olivia again.

Mellie comes in to question Cy about it and Cy doesn’t want to talk and doesn’t want to get involved. He’s feeling slightly smug and back in good graces with Fitz and rubs Mellie’s nose in it, which is never a good idea when it comes to Mellie.

Cut to Liv at the Stanner house and she gets a text from Jake. She runs out to see him in the Stanner’s yard and they talk about the envelope and what she gave him at the beginning of the show. They are dossiers on the operatives and Jake says he’ll check it out. But then a photographer comes in and takes their pic and now Jake is looking not too happy.

Next we see Harrison going in to see a woman from Sarah’s company to take the pressure off at her job. His charm does it for a bit and Sarah can stay. But wait, back at the Stanner house there is a breaking news alert. Turns out the affair between Sarah and Murray was rekindled a year after the emails stopped. Oh crap. Sarah, you got some 'splaining to do! Darn those skeletons!
Now Sarah’s husband is mad as all get out and questions the paternity of the mid-sized daughter. This is not good at all.

We then go back to Quinn and she’s on the phone, following Osborn and playing Eliza Doolittle to Huck’s Henry Higgins. It’s all so cute the way he’s trying to school her.

Now we have the White House team giving it up. Murray is out. He’ll never make the nomination being such a cheater and all (note to Fitz are you getting this?) and now Fitz is seriously mad. He is just finding out that Sarah was a client of Liv’s. He calls her.

Liv answers thinking it’s Cy but hears Fitz’s voice and pauses. Tingles and flutters happen. He says he tells her he wishes she would have been honest and she, clearly still really mad, says I already told you I made a mistake. He tells her he trusted her and she ruined him. Liv comes back with she’s ruined. And in a perfectly honest line Fitz says “I don’t care.” He is such a wreck in that moment. It’s like he can’t think of anything more eloquent to say. This scene was just everything. Bravo to Tony Goldwyn for it. I know there are some who see Fitz as whiny or broken in it, but I saw him as real and hurting and honest and Olivia as not wanting to see or own up to how she hurt him. It was all about the body language. Liv was all anger and defiance and Fitz was just pain and weariness.

President Fitz Grant and Jake in Scandal 2.16Now later we have Jake coming to Fitz with his intel from his anonymous source (Liv). But that smartie Mellie knows just the right time to hang around and sees Jake leaving the office and puts two and two together.

We then cut to Liv who is sitting with Sarah sipping wine talking about “the mistake” (talk about an understatement) that Sarah made by having an ongoing affair. Sarah agrees to do a paternity test on her daughter. Liv tell Sarah that she did what she thought was best at the time and I’m side-eyeing that as I’m sure she’s taking to herself here. Way to justify, Liv.

We are now back to team Huck & Quinn and they are checking the CIA guy’s dry cleaning. In it they find a bunch of money only to put it all back which is slightly confusing. But I guess it gives them the proof of the drops they need. Cool.

Liv comes back to the Stanners’ house the next day with the daughter’s hairbrush and sees the girl waiting for her with questions. Then in an awkward scene she comforts the girl telling her that her father will always be her father. Mmmm’ok. Liv. If you say so.

Cut to Fitz and Cy and Fitz tells Cy that the hostage operation is about to go down. Cy is like what? You were going to tell me when? Next we see a masked burglar breaking into a loft of some sort looking for something. Then we see Fitz on TV doing a press conference on how they finally got the three hostages out of Kashfar all the while we see the masked guy still ransacking the place. A man comes in and confronts him and he knocks him out taking his camera with the photo of Jake and Olivia. In the end the hostages are freed and the masked man is uncovered when he gets a call from the President. It is Jake.

Next we see Harrison and Abby and they are talking about partnerships and betrayal. Abby is still mad about what Harrison did to her with David. She says she now gets that he is a Gladiator first and a person second. Then the two of them go into Sarah’s office armed with an empty box and a threat of spilling secrets to get her job back. It works.

Liv brings the paternity test results to the Stanners’. She gives them a speech about being through a war and wounds and healing and time before handing the husband the results. He then takes the results and rips it up before opening it. He’s a better man than me. I’d so have to know.

Back at the White House, Mellie walks in on Cy and tells him that she had it all wrong that Fitz wasn’t cheating on her, he was cheating on him. She hands Cy a file with Jake’s picture. In a near final scene Jake turns up at Liv’s place with a big bruise on his cheek and tales of being mugged. Liv invites him in and Jake takes a seat on the couch and smiles. Totally creepy like and mugging for his own perfectly placed cameras.

Lastly, we see the CIA Director Osborne as he get as a call from the cleaner guy who has sent him a pic someone. He looks down at his phone and it’s Quinn. Uh oh Eliza Doolittle! Scary.

So what did you all think? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments, you know I love to chat!


Kwana Jackson—aka K.M. Jackson—is a writer of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her debut novel Through the Lens is on sale now. She can be found on most days at her blog and at any moment on Twitter talking about everything and nothing at all under the handle @kwanawrites.

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Nicole Leapheart
1. BoxyFrown
Awesome recap as usual!
I just keep waiting for Fitz to find out about Jake. Then pretty much every person he ever met is going to be in on screwing him over.
It's called KARMA Fitz!! I'm going to need him to get his shit together so he and Olivia can get back with the program. Their chemistry is too ridiculous to waste. I'm going to need Olivia to figure out a way to make it up to Fitz, because, hell they are both "ruined" and Jake is creepy. But intriguing! But still creepy.
K.M. Jackson
2. kwanawrites
@BoxyFrown thanks for the comment. I too can't wait for the Fitz/Jack blow up. Jake is so creepy.
candace brown
3. candace brown
Hey! who is the masked man who broke into Liv's apartment? Is he working for Cy and is there a connection to who hurt Huck? What is Cy's role in the whole matter? what is jake's part?
candace brown
4. James J Parker
A better man than you? Pfffft! He's a cuckolded beta male chump. I laughed so hard at that seen. Completely unrealistic in my opinion. No self-respecting man on Earth would let his cheating, lying wife get away such a fraud. And what were they still doing in the house after the nomination was going to be withdrawn anyway? Their interest in the case was over.
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