Scandal Recap: Pretty Hurts

Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry), Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Fitz Grant (Tony Goldwyn) in Scandal

Everyone on Scandal looks like they could be in a Macy’s catalog (never mind that everything is in shambles and they’re desperately in need of Iyanla Vanzant to fix their lives). In last night’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” episode, Jake, Mama Pope, OPA and the White House crew fall even deeper into a wormhole of tragedy but still manage to look as if they’re heading to Sunday service while doing it. It seems that lint brushes, flatirons, shoe polish and lip gloss are the real heroes of this topsy-turvy world. (Cue preview of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts.”)

The episode is an exceptionally sad one with the revelation that James is the one who got shot and Jake “Abercrombie Model” Ballard is the one who did it. This leaves baby Ella (who really needs some screen time, by the way) in the hands of her bad-cop father, Cyrus, and confirms once and for all that Olivia only gets into relationships with murderers of high rank in finely tailored suits.


In the meantime, Huck discovers just how deep Quinn is in with B613 and goes to kill her but ends up making out with her instead. It seems that Quinn should’ve died by now, but since she’s alive, this weird, Chex Mix-flavor of a couple might make for an interesting storyline later. The two of them have the worst fashion sense, so in that regard, they’re perfect for each other. Also, David Rosen is freaking out because he has to aid in covering up James’ murder, and Abby is running around in her kitten heels trying to comfort him.

Over at terrorist headquarters, Mama Pope rocks a striped dress suit that fits her like a glove, and Adnan rocks a black-and-turquoise body-con midi dress. Oh yeah, they also kill a guy while they’re searching for another terrorist. Fabulous!

Guys, this whole episode is sad and traumatic. So let’s distract ourselves from the possibility that more of our favorite characters could die by looking at the pretty clothes. Ohhhhh, Prada!

Here are six times an awful thing happened while everyone looked really good doing it.


When Jake shoots James and his peacoat glistens in the night. Jake probably had his whole suit steam pressed before he went out to kill these poor people.  

When Jake tells Olivia, “Bad things happen to good people.” Looking good is about more than just the clothes. It’s also about the swag. Jake is literally swimming in swag. He drinks it in. He eats, sleeps and breathes it. His name is in the dictionary next to “swag” (well, the urban dictionary). I could keep going, but you get it. And let’s not forget about Olivia, all brave and sitting on benches in her snow-white coat.


When Mama Pope kills Pablo because he’s not Ivan. Mama Pope says, “Where’s Ivan?” Pablo says, “We don’t know you.” Mama Pope says, “Bap! Bap! Bap!” (gunshot noises)—all without a wrinkle in her two-piece. 

When Papa Pope tells Olivia, “Everyone is worth saving.” Papa Pope is really frustrated right now, most likely because his unemployment is running out. He was only willing to be a real dad for, like, three minutes, but he told Olivia what she needed to hear, all while looking fabulous in his black, easy-breezy overcoat with the popped collars. 


When Cyrus ugly-cries. This was so sad. The flashbacks of their love story show James as a feisty free spirit whose energy will certainly be missed. But for real, Cyrus didn’t spill a single tear on his blazer.

When Jake talks to James as he lies dying. Remember that part in the movie Avatar where the fake avatar also named Jake says a blessing to the deer he kills and it goes something like, “Your spirit belongs to Eywa, but your body remains so that I may take it to nourish the Na'vi people”? Jake Ballard staying with James until he dies is exactly the same thing, except the deer is James, the Na’vi people are the Republic, and no one’s hair and eyelashes could ever sparkle in the night like Jake’s.


Charla Lauriston is a standup comedian and the creator of Clench & Release, a Web series about the frustrations of everyday life in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.

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