‘Scandal’ recap: Season 3, Episode 2, ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’

Olivia Pope stares into the face of a stone-cold…White House aide. Credit: ABC
Olivia Pope stares into the face of a stone-cold…White House aide.
Credit: ABC

Ever feel like everyone on a cell phone is calling an assassin? Oh, you’re watching “Scandal”!

In last week’s season premiere, we discovered that the man in charge of the secret CIA hitmen is also Olivia’s father. So presumably she didn’t get that white hat from his closet.

In this episode, full of flashbacks, we learn more about their relationship. For example, he’s an a-hole. They used to have these weekly lunches — he bribed her into them by paying off her student loans — during which she sullenly ignores his questions about her life, and he makes up stuff about his fake job at the Smithsonian where he’s trying to get a new “mastodon, a solitary creature with sharper teeth than the mammoth”, making it “a far more dangerous beast.” But at this point, Olivia hasn’t figured out he works with assassins so she doesn’t know that when he talks about his fake job he uses thinly veiled metaphors for his real job.

But, oh boy, does she find out: She’s already befriended subway-urchin-era Huck by now, back when he looked like a lifesize muppet. She pressures him to tell her his history — because he almost beat a mugger to death, don’t worry about it. And he actually tells the truth. Well, first he jokes that he might have taken karate in high school, which is funny, because he seriously almost killed that mugger. Anyway, he says he was part of a CIA program called B613 that pretends to be a business called Acme Ltd and is colloquially known as Wonderland. It doesn’t take Liv long to put together that her father uses a pen from Acme Ltd, a location she finds on a street called Wonderland.

Later, she makes a phone call — you probably think it’s to an assassin, but no she’s just calling her dad…who I guess is technically an assassin. Wow. The stereotype. Is true.

Okay, meanwhile, Fitz shot hoops with the Dalai Lama. I mean, not in the actual episode. Although I wouldn’t put it past series creator Shonda Rhimes and Co. to pull enough strings to literally get the Dalai Lama to play basketball on camera. In fact, now I’m disappointed they didn’t. You know who could have gotten the Dalai Lama? Olivia Pope.

She’s also the one listening to Fitz talk about the b-ball game over the telephone. The phone, hmm, that means one of them must be an assassin, which isn’t totally untrue, considering Fitz did kill that old woman in a coma. (I will never let you forget.)

Where was I? Oh: the Dalai Lama has a great jump shot.

Fitz and Liv also have to decide what to do about Jeannine Locke, the White House aide accused of being the president’s mistress, who in fact is Olivia, which is why Olivia took on Jeannine as a client. Wait, did that make sense? Nevermind, look at Fitz’s hair.

Everyone wants Jeannine to take the fall, including, eventually, Jeannine, once Mellie offers her 2 million dollars. Before that, though, Mellie tries to frame Jeannine by getting Cyrus to highlight those times when Mellie was out of town, and Jeannine and the President were alone. This results in the episode’s best exchange.

Cyrus: ”You’re evil.”
Mellie: “You’re welcome.”

Okay, we’ve got some loose ends to tie up. Back in lifesize-muppet time, Liv confronts her Dad about the assassins. He threatens her. She threatens him back by getting engaged to someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Then she demands he return Huck, whom he’d had captured after Liv mentioned there was a lifesize muppet chattering about assassins in the subway.

In present day again, Dad makes more demands: If Liv ensures Jeannine takes the fall, he’ll let Captain Jake Ballard out of the B613-wayward-assassin hole. (In case you missed previous episodes: Captain Jake Ballard is in a hole.) Then Huck guesses who Liv’s dad is and strangles a confirmation out of her in a dark parking lot, which is a pretty rough thing to do to a friend who saved your life, but then again a light strangle, for Huck, is kind of like when other people say, “Please?”

Jeannine’s the patsy; Daddy Pope delivers Captain Jake Ballard to Olivia’s door; and even after being in the hole, he’s smokin’ hot. Oh, and five years ago, David Rosen had one of those facial-hair loops around his mouth and chin.

Next week: Someone strapped bombs to her chest! See you here after.

Did I leave out any of your favorite parts? Let me know in a comment below.


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