Scandal Recap: Who’s the Bad Guy, Again?

Huck turns into the world’s worst dentist. Mama Pope may be shadier than we thought. And Sally Langston is going to need a fixer. 

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Yes, Olivia, we know how you feel.

ABC

Have you ever played that game where you try to one-up Scandal’s writers’ room and come up with the craziest thing that could happen next? No? Good, because you’ll lose. Every. Single. Time.

In last night’s episode, “YOLO,” our favorite Washington wunderkinds put on their white hats to ride in and save Olivia’s mom, the mysterious Maya Lewis. Everyone, that is, except for Huck, who fell off the wagon in a major way. The one-time professional hit man, who went to AA meetings for his “addiction” because “Killers Anonymous” doesn’t exist, greased his rusty torture skills on our duct-taped damsel in distress, Quinn. Meanwhile back at Ranch Beene, Cyrus is still reeling from his husband James’ seedy rendezvous with Daniel Douglas Langston. Forget that it was Cyrus who rented out James to begin with.

The entire hour was like The Twilight Zone—things were topsy-turvy. People we thought were baddies might be goodies, and the heroes might be villains. Folks we thought were sorta on the right side of the fight—Huck, Mama Pope, Veep Sally Langston—all ended up much shadier by the final credits. Here “YOLO” stands for “you only live once, so why not do something super-illegal while you can.” These are the top quotes from folks whose moral compass has suddenly gone haywire.

1. “I’m disappointed in you, Quinn, you’ve been a bad girl.” —Huck, just before he decides to go all cray-cray on his former protégée

Be honest: Did you really think Huck was going to go through with this whole “bind-torture-kill” thing? Or did you think he just wanted to scare Quinn so badly that a little bit of pee and a whole lot of honesty came out? I’m sure both happened right after he yanked out Quinn’s molars with a pair of pliers.

2. “Drop your allegiance to Jesus and pledge it to politics.” —Leo Bergen to Sally Langston, right before she resigns as veep to run against Fitz in the next election

Leo Bergen is basically the opposite of Olivia. Where her soul is white and shining, Leo’s is black and slimy. The fact that he gets the angelic and evangelical Sally Langston to eschew her beliefs for stuffed ballot boxes proves just how persuasive the devil can be.

3. “That Daniel Douglas. I got him to go deep.” —James, in his episode-long attempt to torture his husband, Cyrus, with puns

Wow. Whatever J school gave James his degree, it was worth the tuition in witticisms alone.

4. “Where have you been all this time?” —Abby to Olivia’s mom

According to Maya Lewis, aka Mama Pope, she discovered her husband’s third-shift job as the scariest man on Earth, planned to expose him, got caught in the process and spent the last two decades paying for her good deed.

5. “I work, I have a life. There’s not much to tell.” —Olivia to her mom, who wants details about her daughter

In the understatement of the century, Olivia reverts back to her 12-year-old self and hits her long-suffering mother with the proverbial tween default: “I’m fine.” Liv is most definitely not fine. Her mother’s alive, her dad’s trying to catch her and her gut is off.

6. “I am a man. I am not a gay.” —Daniel Douglas to James, about their illicit one-night-only affair

So, it’s pretty clear to everyone with eyes that Daniel Douglas is, in fact, both a man and “a gay.” Those two states of being aren’t mutually exclusive. But with his wife, Sally, running for president, Daniel Douglas will do anything to right his wrong.

7. “I get no enjoyment out of ending a life.” —Rowan Pope, after booby-trapping Jake’s murder team

Well, that’s a surprise, isn’t it? The man we all thought relished in the “redrum” aftermath of his gig actually doesn’t particularly like killing. Who knew? Perhaps there’s more to Papa Pope than meets the eye. 

8. “I’m done waiting for someone to open the door for me to tell me it’s my turn.” —Sally Langston to Fitz, after handing in her resignation as veep

By now we all know that Sally’s husband is not only a cheater but also maybe not exactly heterosexual. This might hurt her chances of running on the “holier than thou” ticket. But let’s still give Sally her feminist moment in the spotlight. That’s right, girl, open the door for yourself! Too bad you’re husband’s in the closet, though.

9. “It hurts until it doesn’t. You might not sleep as well at night but you will be fine. Numb. But numb and fine are the same.” —Mellie giving Cyrus advice on his destroyed marriage

I swear Mellie’s auditioning to be on OWN as the white Iyanla. She’s been super-sensitive to other people’s needs lately. Mellie is hardly the Lady Macbeth people make her out to be. OK, fine, she is. But she has yet to kill for her cause. How many other Scandal folks can say that?

10. “Huck was the only person I had, and he hurt me. He hurt me, and now I don’t have anybody.” —Quinn to creepy B613 agent Charlie, after he rescues her

Talk about being in over your head. If anyone should take a “break” from dating, it’s Quinn. All the guys she “like likes” either end up as corpses, crazy or creepy.

11. “He’s not the monster. She is.” —Olivia to the OPA crew, after she finally puts the pieces together about her mom

Turns out Mama Pope isn’t a saint. In fact, homegirl might be a cold-blooded, lying, wrist-eating, plane-bombing terrorist. So there’s that.

12. “Cyrus, I’ve committed a sin.” —Sally, who’s going to need some serious fixing

Did you see this coming? When Cyrus showed Sally the pictures of his husband and her husband doing the forbidden dance, she seemed so cool, calm and collected. Not so. Apparently still waters run deep, so deep that you can drown in them.

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

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