Dec 6 2013 12:39pm

Scandal Season 3, Episode 9 Recap: You Only Die Once

Huck, Jake, and Harrison in Scandal 3.09Can'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 3x013x02,3x033x043x053x06, 3x07, and 3x08. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 9, “YOLO.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal.

Mama Pope lives and we celebrated by having one of the most exciting episodes yet of Scandal. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

When the episode opens, Quinn finds herself in Huck’s spiderweb. She is naked and restrained by duct tape. Huck is describing in explicit detail everything he wants to do to her and how much he is going to like it. He hates how much he is going to enjoy torturing her, but can’t resist getting a taste of her fear by licking her face. Quinn is in hysterics, and we watch, wondering if Huck is just trying to teach her a lesson. He won’t really pull her teeth out, will he? Begging, Quinn repeats over and over again, “I’ll be good, I’ll be good!” Huck goes in to pull out the first tooth, and his cell phone rings. Saved by the bell! It’s Olivia and she is hiding behind a door, watching her mother pace in another room. She tells Huck that she is alive, and she is at her house. Huck tells her to get out immediately and get to the safe house—if Maya is there, then Command is coming. Huck laments having to leave Quinn before they really get down to business. He asks her to wait for him, then decides, “We have time for one. Let’s live a little. What’s that stupid thing the kids are saying? YOLO?” He reaches in with the extractor and you know it isn’t a test, you know it isn’t a joke, you know Huck is really pulling out Quinn’s teeth.

This was the first three minutes before the credits rolled. So it’s going to be THAT kind of episode? Okay, Shonda Rhimes.

Sally and Leo are excited. He has the official paperwork for Sally to sign to resign as Vice President so that she can move forward and enter the race as an independent. Just as Leo hands her the pen, he has one more thing for Sally—a pledge that she will drop her stance on abortion and become pro choice. Leo makes it plain that if she wants the presidency, she has to move to the center, and abortion is the way to do it, especially if she wants Leo’s representation. Backed in a corner, Sally relents.

Cyrus and James are in bed; Cy is laying down, tormented by the pictures he saw of James and Daniel, Sally’s husband, together. James is typing furiously on his laptop, and Cy asks him if he is going to sleep soon. James taunts him, talking about how “deep” he got Daniel to dig last night, knowing that Cy set him and Daniel up.

Olivia in 3.09Olivia recalls the morning her mother left for the last time. She is tucked away against a wall in the safe house and has zoned out. The Gladiators furiously discuss the best course of action. Abby, being Abby, isn’t taking any more spy answers from Huck and Jake. She goes right to the source—Mama Pope herself. “Where you been all this time?”

Maya is happy to answer, telling them that she found out about her husband’s activities and was working with a reporter in London to expose him. She says that Eli found out and that he had her locked away for the past 22 years until she escaped. The word “escape” spurs the B613 faction of the Gladiators to action, no one escapes Command. They find a tracking chip in her, and Jake tells her “This is going to hurt, Maya,” before he cuts it out. “Do it!” she proclaims, and solidifies her role as the most badass mom on network television.

Eli had Charlie on the hunt, and throws out commands (see what I did there?) to use every tool in the US to find Maya. Team Gladiator had to find a new safehouse, and started strategizing how to get Mama Pope somewhere safe, and where that should be. Liv wakes up out of her stupor and decides Hong Kong is the best bet. Harrison is in charge of getting the passport-he and Abby head back to a ransacked Pope and Associates office. Harrison’s contact for the passport shows up and they have some flirty eye-humping and witty banter. Then on her way out, she innocently lobs a bomb at the so called “H:” “Adnan Salif says hello!” The look on Harrison’s face makes you think he may need to change his underwear.

Mellie catches up to Cyrus and demands he plays his hand regarding Sally Langston. He tells her he is “holding”, and she tells him to stop holding and “play his hand!” Then she walks off in a huff.

Olivia has been trying to avoid being alone with Maya, but sensing that, Maya sends Huck outside so that she and Olivia can have breakfast together. Maya asks Olivia if she is happy, if she has laughter in her life, and bemoans that fact that Olivia was raised in Eli’s image. Liv rejects that, and tells Maya she is nothing like Eli Pope. Meanwhile, Huck and Jake chat outside, and hatch a plan to assassinate Eli-no matter where Maya goes, he can reach her, but not if he’s dead. Jake decides to go to Fitz for help.

Shocked as he is that Maya is alive, Fitz doesn’t go along with Jake’s plan to kill Eli because it’s not the right time. He still wants to find answers about Remington, and he can’t do that if Command is dead, but he doesn’t share this with Jake. Instead they have a male pissing contest about who wants to help Liv more, and Fitz makes it clear she “doesn’t need another hero.” Jake accuses Fitz of letting other people fight his battles, and walks out like he just left the stage with a standing ovation.

Quinn is still taped up, but in her alone time, she has found a drinking glass that may come in handy. Meanwhile, Sally has a private moment with her husband to let him know her presidential plans are moving along swiftly, and it’s happening. Daniel has a moment of terror as he knows that he has been a naughty boy, but tries to hide his fear from Sally. Speaking of James, he decides to drop by Cy’s office and pour a little more salt in the wound. He tells Cy that he is inviting Daniel back to their place tonight, and what a shame that Cy has that dinner to go to, it could have been a threesome.” Cy looks physically ill. There is a lot of that going around this episode. Daniel catches James in the hallway and warns him not to write anything about him being gay in his article. Just because he enjoys, then feels guilty, having sex with men doesn’t make him gay! James never got a word in, but when Daniel accuses gay men of thinking everybody is gay, James quips, “No, we think gay people are gay.”

Olivia is having another moment, recalling the morning Maya left. She remembers Maya talking on the phone to someone, which goes to corroborate her story. Liv starts thinking that if they find the reporter, Maya can stop running, but Maya knows there is no chance Eli will let that happen. Jake has a hired team and they think they have ambushed Eli, but turns out they were the ones to get ambushed.

Quinn was trying to escape by cutting the taped restraints with broken pieces of glass, and Huck arrives in time to tisk at her for not waiting for him, and then he resumes torturing her. Liv shows off her language chops as she speaks to her Hong Kong contact in a Chinese dialect (closed caption said Cantonese, I say I’m just impressed.) Harrison has the passport, but Eli put Maya on the no-fly list under a different name with a list of charges. How are the Gladiators going to work around this one?

Sally drops off her Vice Presidential resignation on Fitz’s desk, and Fitz warns her she can’t win. He tells her that he will work tirelessly to remind her she should have never crossed him, and finally, ominously, he tells her she will regret this decision “forever.” Damn, Fitz.

Cy and James finally have it out about his affair with Daniel. “You had sex with him!” Cy accuses over and over again. James flippantly spats that he thought Cy wanted him to have sex with Daniel. They have a terrible row, and James tells Cy he is taking the baby and getting a divorce. Cy snaps at James that he hopes he goes for full custody, the judge should like the photos that he has of him and Daniel. “You’re not going anywhere. You never do.” No one can win an argument with Cy. Fitz calls and interrupts the argument, so Cy takes his leave.

Fitz and Mellie are waiting for Cy like disappointed parents waiting for a teen who has broken curfew. Cy was supposed to take care of the Sally Langston problem, yet Sally has just waltzed in and dropped her resignation. After a few harsh words about loyalty, Fitz storms out. Mellie, arms crossed, demands answers from Cy, who uncharacteristically breaks down in tears. Mellie, as shocked as America, gives Cy some space as he composes himself, and gives him some advice. “It hurts until it doesn’ will be fine...numb...but numb and fine are the same, aren’t they?” In any case, Mellie also reminds him that Sally is a weed in their garden. Take. Her. Out.

Charlie finally catches up with Quinn, and finds her taped up and tortured by Huck, which he feels is an acceptable excuse for not answering her phone. David, under pressure by Abby, looks into getting Maya taken off the no fly list, but even checking into her caused an alarm, so that’s a no go. Liv calls Fitz and fills him in on the events of the last 24 hours. She wants to figure this out, but Fitz wants to help. They take a few moments to dream about Vermont and jam and babies, then Fitz tells Liv he will take care of getting her mother out of the country. Despite her protests, he uses her famous line, “It’s handled.” Visibly relieved, Liv lets out a weary sigh. Fitz declares his love, then orders Liv off the phone. His next call is to a general at the Pentagon.

Having taken a shower, Quinn is looking better, and Charlie gives her some vodka to disinfect her mouth and numb the pain. After a few moments, to Charlie’s utter dismay, Quinn starts crying. Charlie shakes her and tells her to suck it back in, but Quinn is devastated that the only person she had, Huck, hurt her. Charlie lets her know that she has him now, and apparently all of that adrenaline channels into bow-chicka-wow-wow.

Cyrus goes to confront Sally about her presidential aspirations, and drops the photos on her desk. Angry, but unwavering, Sally tells Cy he has overplayed his hand. The pictures mean nothing because he will never release them—as the President’s Chief of Staff, he can’t risk the blowback to Fitz. Visibly shaken, Cy leaves her office and calls James. He apologizes and assures James that no one will ever see those pictures...except he just showed them to Sally. James is packing, despite Cy’s assertion that he would stay put. What is Cy playing at? It could be anything, as he did almost have James killed last season.

Abby in Scandal 3.09Quinn and Charlie have decided to come up for air, and are heading in to see Command. Meanwhile, we see how Fitz has solved the problem for Liv; he has acquired a US military plane to transport her to Hong Kong. After Liv lets Maya walk away with barely a goodbye, Abby admonishe sher that she owes her mother a hug after 22 years.

As the plane taxis off the runway, Liv remembers more about the day her mother left. Her contact in London called, and asked for Marie, but a young Liv had just dismissed that. An older, wiser Liv immediately puts a call in to Huck and gets him to tell her the name her father identified Maya as on the no-fly list. It was Marie.

Liv’s world comes crashing down as she realizes that Maya, as Marie, was the monster she thought her father was. Maya was Marie and did all of the things that she was charged with, and that her father was trying to protect her all this time.

Huck realizes that this problem has been magnified. During his torture session with Quinn, she promised to take action for Huck, but we don’t know exactly what that means. She walks into Command’s office, and demands every copy of the video of her killing that guard in exchange for information she has to share. Eli smirks at her and says, “My daughter taught you well.” Quinn freezes for a heartbeat, then takes a steadying breath. We see her pull a needle similar to the one she used to kill the guard out of her pocket and into her hand.

Cy is awakened by his cell phone ringing. He is still in his office, having fallen asleep on his couch. It’s Sally Langston, and in a hushed tone she says, “Cyrus, I have committed a sin.” The camera pans out, and we see a bloody, presumably dead Daniel Douglas laying on the floor in Sally’s office, with pictures of Daniel and James all over the desk.


Do you think Shonda Rhimes is just laughing in delight at how shocked we are, every single week?

There is so much to address in this episode. Will James really walk out on Cy this time? What was Cy’s plan in the first place? Sally just made things a lot easier for Fitz and crew.

What’s Liv’s play now? She realizes that Maya is actually Marie and a terrible, terrible person. We actually don’t know what’s on that list of charges. What is next week’s winter finale going to be, if this is the pre-finale? We can only wait and see.


Nicole Leapheart's alter ego is Miss Boxy Frown, and she posts book reviews and TV recaps at She reads and watches everything from romance to sci-fi, but enjoys it even more if some smut is involved. And tattoos.

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K.M. Jackson
1. kwanawrites
Great recap Nicole. All I can say is wow! Who knows where this will all lead. One thing is for sure, the Popes sure had a messed up marriage. Liv was bound to be a drinker with those two. For soem reason I now have a feeling that Huck was watching Quinn with Charlie the whole time to get a mole in B613. We'll see if I'm off my rocker of not. Till next week!
Miranda Neville
2. Miranda Neville
I'm late to the Scandal party but I'm all caught up and ready for some OMG WTF TV discussion. I thought Mama Pope was so obviously being set up as a bad guy in the previous episode than I have to suspect a double fake here. We think she's bad now, until it turns out she's good.
Nicole Leapheart
3. BoxyFrown
Oooh Kwana that's a diabilical mind you have there! Huck would be that clever, too...
4. pellington
How annoying was it that Quinn got her teeth yanked out but was able to make out with Charlie? Her face would have been swollen and she'd have been a wreck. There would've been no tonsil hockey.
Nicole Leapheart
5. BoxyFrown
I know, right! That kissing scene was very book erotica.
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