Welcome, Gladiators! This season, we’ll be shock ranking the insanity of “Scandal,” ABC’s delightfully guilty pleasure starring Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn. There will be gifs. And fawning over Scott Foley. Deal with it.
Shock Ranking “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” S3E2:
5. Eli is Command!
We already knew this, so the flashbacks filling in the gaps of how Liv found out weren’t exactly revelatory. Mainly, it was interesting to learn that the Popes had an eat-dinner-with-me-and-I’ll-pay-for-school deal in the vein of Gilmore Girls. And boy, Eli was full of mastodon banter to keep his Smithsonian-by-day cover alive. Liv sure put the pieces together quickly to figure out her dad is a part of B613.
4. How does $2 million sound?
Not sure where Mellie (and whoever else she’s working with) is getting her Romney-level money and connections to accounts in the Caymans, but it sure was easy for her to buy off Jeanine to the tune of $2 million. Liv’s pleas with her client to not admit to a fake affair went unheard, although her declaration that a life of lies would lead Jeanine to not be able to recognize herself obviously came from experience. With her “white hat” talk, it’s easy to forget that Olivia has been complicit in some not great things, and seeing her lose a battle for once — outside of the fact that she ultimately won by getting the public to believe she isn’t Fitz’s mistress after all — is a good thing.
3. Papa Pope don’t play.
Olivia threw down with Eli to rescue Huck, going so far as to agreeing to marry Ellison and bringing him over to meet Papa Pope at Sunday night dinner. She kicked off the evening by bragging about Ellison’s new role on the Senate Intel committee, “the one that makes sure spies don’t break any laws like disappearing innocent civilians, that kind of thing. It’s a great move for his career — gives him a lot of influence in this town.” Too bad Eli quickly had Ellison nearly taken out in a car crash to get the message across to his daughter that she can’t beat him, so she may as well stop asking questions about how many people he’s ordered to be killed and start enjoying his taste in wine.
2. Fitz will play his part, though.
I’m liking this “out of f*cks to give” Fitz we’re seeing. He wanted to tell the truth, but admitting to an affair but with the wrong woman was close enough, given that it meant helping Olivia out and saving Jake. Threats from Cyrus and Mellie don’t seem to have much of an effect on him now. But a phone call from Liv? That’s all it takes.
1.5 Huck attack.
We’ve seen various sides of Huck, but he’s never gone after Liv in any way until now. His feeling of betrayal is understandable, but his loyalty to her is still apparent. Even if she didn’t tell him all the facts about how she got him out of the Hole, she got him out. He still owes her his life.
1. Jake Ballard Watch is over!
OK, we knew he’d be back soon — Scott Foley was bumped to a series regular this season. This being Scandal, no plot is stretched out too far, so Eli gave him up. Liv endured the viewing of a lot of corpses in her quest to get Jake freed from the Hole, but Jake is going to have a longer road of recovery. ABC urged viewers to tweet their opinions about Mr. Ballad using the hashtags #GoodJake or #BadJake, but thankfully, Jake so far has been a much more complex character than those categories allow. (Additionally: Some fans started a #NoJake hashtag because they think the character is ruining “their” show? Oh, kids.) Now would be a good time to learn more about his background and motivations, not to mention what he really thinks of his job at B613.
Quinn Psycho Watch:
Hacking into Liv’s email? That’s more dangerous than torturing someone or joking about killing an intern. This girl is a ticking time bomb.
Eli to Liv: “I’m your father. So I’m going to explain to you how you are to behave in my presence. You do not ask questions that you cannot handle the answer to. You do not make judgments about things you cannot imagine. You don’t know me that way. You don’t ever want to know me that way. But if you push, you will know me well. And that would break my heart. Because I’m enjoying these Sunday dinners you make me pay for. Now, you are on my dime. Pick up your menu. Order your meal. And tell me about your day.”
Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.