Scandal Recap: Someone Got a Free Pass to the Eiffel Tower?

Everyone is still dealing with the death of the First Family's son.

We opened up last night’s episode of Scandal with Jake walking towards his car. His B613 sense tells him something’s fishy and when he takes a look at the wet ground under his car, he sees what it is: a flashing red light. He presses the security button for his car and BOOM! Of course, cool guys don’t look at explosions, so when we catch up with Jake, he’s arriving late to Olivia’s house for date. The excuse: “car trouble.”

Because this is Scandal we’re talking about, she doesn’t actually stay for the date. Her phone rings and off she goes.

Ultimately, everything that happens this episode goes back to the fact that everyone is still dealing with the death of the President’s son at the end of last season. Well, maybe not Cyrus, but everyone else.

When next we see Olivia, she’s with Quinn at a party where shots are being served and multi-colored flashing lights are beaming around the room. They find the president’s daughter sprawled on a bed in her underwear.

They make a quick encrypted call to Cyrus and he’s in bed with Michael the sex worker. They’re yammering on about work or something, but he jumps into action when he hears of the situation.

The next phone call from Liv is to Huck who gets instructions to shut down all the cell phones at the party so First Daughter Karen can make a getaway without any incriminating photos. With that, Liv, Quinn and Karen escape via helicopter. How many times did you wish for that when you were 17?

Karen is looking for even more help getting into the White House, but Liv is done.

“This isn’t a job. This is a favor… Favor complete,” says Olivia, leaving Karen to explain how she got away from Secret Service. Karen says Secret Service is useless (which has been proven kind of true in the past few months as well) because they were around when her brother was killed and couldn’t stop it.

Just when we thought this couldn’t get any worse, turns out Karen made a sex tape starring her and two guys and someone sent it to her phone. “You get the President’s ass out of bed, now!” says Liv on another phone call. Favor not complete.

Confronted with the info, Fitz jumped to one conclusion. “Were you raped?” To which his daughter lets him know that she cut class, got on some girl’s private jet and took “a shot of something.” So basically, she was searching for trouble and found it.

“An angry teenage girl with daddy issues,” remarks Olivia. “I can relate.”

“I need these boys found. Liv,” says Fitz. “Please… this is my child. I need you on this. ” So a favor turned into a job.

This does not sit well with Mellie, who’s back in her pjs eating cereal.

The First Lady sees Olivia at the White House and stops her. Literally grabs her and stops her. “What are you doing in my house? You tell me! You tell me now!” Liv just walks away.

Mellie storms to Oval Office to confront Fitz which looked like the tweet above and sounded a little like this:

Mellie: “… You made one of your masturbating late night calls and she came running over here?”

He says she should be glad Liv is there.

Mellie: “I should be glad? I’m her mother… I want her out of here.”

To which Fitz delivered this gem:

“I will not put up with [your] righteous rewriting of history Mellie… You hold nothing together,” he continued, because clearly all that other stuff wasn’t enough. “Olivia Pope is fixing this mess that you made. That we made.” And then he tells Mellie about the sex tape and says that Karen was doing something called an “Eiffel Tower” in the video. What the hell are these kids into these days?

“She takes after her daddy then,” was Mellie’s only retort alluding to… a Fitz sex tape?… And more “Eiffel Tower”ing? #Scandalous

Finally we find the kid with the tape. His parents ultimately want $3 million to keep the tape under wraps. And we get to some Olivia Pope fixer-style, PR realness.

Everyone! Memorize that and insert the appropriate names to use when necessary. Thanks Shonda!

So that effectively killed the sex tape. And actually, Mellie and Karen had a nice mother-daughter moment. Mellie actually wants to know if she enjoyed it. Then she might be  OK with it. “I am your mother so inside I’m having a little seizure,” she says. But ultimately she knows that’s not it.

Mellie: “I think you thought feeling something was better than feeling nothing. I think your brother died right in front of you. So you get one free pass. This was it.”

Karen: “I really miss him.”

Mellie: “You are the famous child of the most famous man on earth. And it’s sexist but if you were a boy, they would be giving you a high five. But you’re not. So your knees will have to stay together.”

Then they hugged. Touching.

Speaking of touching, we skipped past what will be an important bit going forward. This episode marked the first time Liv and Fitz were in a room together having a conversation this season. At first, Fitz asked Liv where she went all that time she was on the island and she says she was alone. When she returns with the blackmail demand, the subject comes up again. One minute Fitz is talking about the Karen situation, the next he’s got Olivia in a hug and he’s unbuttoning her jacket. She admits she missed him and they’re making out.

“I can’t! Stop!” she shouts. Now she admits she didn’t go away alone. “You went with Jake.” She says yes. “Say it.”

“I went with Jake.” Deep exhalation.

“So I am failing as a father, a husband and a man. Good to know. Heavy is the head that wears the crown,” he says. It just turned into a pity party. She gets close. He grabs her arm. She says a whispered “ow” and now he’s angry.

That anger carries over when Papa Pope and Tom Larsen, a Secret Service agent who’s been found to have left his post at the time that the presidential son fell ill, point the finger at Jake. That explosion we talked about earlier was Rowan’s attempt to get rid of Jake. Failing that, he’s got something more sinister up his sleeve.

Jake knows this and tries to get Tom on his side. But the mighty force called Papa Pope is not easily defeated.

So now Larsen is being questioned and in walks Rowan who seems to have been summoned by the President. Larsen asks for a lawyer or for Fitz; both requests are ignored. And Rowan has pics showing Tom pulling a special strain of meningitis that killed the president’s son from a lab.

Larsen: “I was under orders.”

Rowan: “Who gave you the order to kill the pres’s son?!”

Larsen: “Jake Ballard.”

On the other side of one-way glass, Cyrus mutters a “sir?” to Fitz.

“Do it, is the only response. Then Jake is being hauled off to jail. Hauled off with all our hearts. Oh goodness, don’t hurt Jake. Sexy sexy Jake. And even with the admission, you get the sinking feeling that Papa Pope isn’t leaving any loose ends and Larsen’s days are numbered.

A final bit of observation: Unlike last season where every episode was a juggernaut, blasting forward quickly and without looking back, this season is moving a little more slowly, as though we’re being set up for a brand new ongoing tension. After all, Mellie knows about Olivia and can’t do anything about it. Cyrus isn’t fighting with his hubby anymore. Jake is kind of out of the picture now that he’s arrested and was resigned to the fact that Liv and Fitz are a thing even when he was free. Even the Huck/Quinn/Charlie triangle has cooled off.

So we should brace ourselves for more romantic drama and, hopefully, more cases. Because they seem to bring out the best in everyone.