(The Root) — Somebody's three-quarter-inch barrel curler was working overtime on last night's episode of Scandal, from the disintegration of Olivia's always epic side flip to Mellie's lightweight lion's mane. Hair — specifically its undoing — told the real story.
The show opened with a flashback to lil' Liv confronting her father, Darth Vader, er, Eli Pope, about the particulars of his chosen field. "Do you teach people how to kill?" she demands. The younger Ms. Pope is always portrayed wearing bangs. Her innocence intact. One can only guess that after finding out her dad is a professional psychopath, Liv went straight to her local salon, slammed a gloved fist on the table and said, "Weave! Stat!"
Meanwhile, back in the present day and rocking some uncharacteristic morning hair, Olivia is still trying to figure out how her ex-lover-spy-boo thing, Jake Ballard, got out of the hole and into her bed.
Liv having found her trusty barrel curler, her flip is in full effect by the time she marches into Pope & Associates. Waiting in the conference room is a new client, Mary Nesbitt, whose own short bob could've used a soft wave and some Luster's Pink lotion. Crazy-lady alert. Turns out Mary Nesbitt is packing a bomb under her Dress Barn suit and plans to blow up Capitol Hill unless she gets some answers about her alleged terrorist son's suspicious murder. Never trust a blunt cut and a smile.
At the White House, Cyrus is giving the first lady and her cheating husband a stern talking-to, as one does. Mellie and Fitz are being forced into a photo-op getaway at Camp David, and while her mind is telling Fitz, "Don't tell me what to do with the son you could barely get it up to conceive," Mellie's hair, her hair, is telling the world, "Yassssssss." She don't wanna hurt nobody, but Mellie clearly doesn't see anything wrong with a little bump and curl.
When it comes to everyone else's head, a lot is going on. Huck, OPA's resident former murderer who never goes without a fresh fade, is stalking Eli Pope, ruler of the spies. Meanwhile, Quinn and Abby, both with new power poufs this season, hold it down at the office. David Rosen and Cyrus have a Supercuts showdown at 1600 Penn. about Mary Nesbitt's son and the classified files regarding his murder by the FBI.
"I may not have the Cytron card anymore," David tells Cyrus, "but I do have my conscience, and there's a hell of a lot of noise I could make if I don't think you're worthy of the moral sacrifice I made." Whatever Rogaine-for-confidence David's been using works as advertised, because his mojo is back.
By the end of the episode, Olivia's locks have had it — or at least by Ms. Pope's standards. Liv was forced to lie to her client Mary Nesbitt about her son's murder, and it's unclear whether Olivia was going with or against that famous gut of hers. Later at the office, she finds Huck, who has relapsed back to his B613 addiction because of Eli Pope.
"I thought I was free," says Huck, "but I'm not. He controls me. He still controls me. He owns me, Liv. He owns me."
But Huck isn't the only one Eli Pope owns. Before the credits roll, Liv takes one last gulp of red wine once she realizes she isn't free, either. Daddy Pope is political puppeteer, and he will find a way to use Jake Ballard, Huck, the president of the free world and even Olivia's barrel curler against her.