WashingTelevision: Scandal Recap, Season Two, Episode Six, “Spies Like Us”

This week, it’s all about lying to the ones you love.

By: Tanya Pai

The epsiode opens with a bang as a very florid man with white hair rushes up to the postwoman. “Am I too late?” he asks. “Made it just under the wire,” she replies. He hands her a manila envelope, watches the truck go around the corner, and then blows his brains out. Inside the truck we see that the envelope is addressed to Olivia. The address, in case you’re wondering, is 1970 K Street, 20006, which puts the Pope HQ right in our backyard.

Olivia is on a date with Senator McFlirty. They’re talking past presidents; Olivia is very pro-Nixon. Senator McFlirty walks her to her door and petitions to come inside. “It’s our second date,” she says, and he reminds her they used to live together and that he has already been there and, uh, done that. Still, she shuts him down, and he leaves, looking mighty disappointed. Inside her apartment, she listens to Abby and Jerk Jeremy, who are discussing the root of the conspiracy surrounding Doyle and Cytron. JJ asks if Abby wants a drawer at his place. Abby is delighted; Olivia, listening in, looks both concerned and jealous. Meanwhile, Huck is in bed with his ladyfriend from AA (his lAAdyfriend?). His bed is a pull-out couch, which seems about right. She goes to take a shower, and he uses the opportunity to photograph all her IDs and phone contacts with a tiny hidden camera.

House of Bean. Cyrus and Ira Glass Lite are having breakfast, when Cyrus sees that IGL has written an article about Hollis Doyle quoting a not-so-nice thing Cyrus said about him while in bed with IGL. Cyrus is furious; IGL is delighted that his article got on the front page above the fold, and that the paper has asked him to write more. “You can’t write articles about Hollis Doyle,” yells Cyrus. “Watch me,” snits IGL and storms off.

At HQ, Harrison and Abby fight over the office that Stephen (who?) has left vacant as Olivia tells Huck it’s not okay to run fingerprint and DNA scans on his new girlfriend. Then she finds the envelope from the opening scene, which contains a check for $100,000 and what looks like sheet music but which Huck immediately recognizes as code. Turns out a hacker with a penchant for staging public takedowns of government figures is threatening to release the names of spies involved in the top-secret “program B613,” including the guy who killed himself and Huck. Olivia looks horrified, even more so when Huck says he has to leave immediately because if “they” know about the alias he’s using and his life at Pope and Associates, it will be very bad. “Let me fix this for you,” she begs him. Her strategy? When the hacker’s lawyer sets up a teleconference she realizes he’s bluffing about having the names of the spies, so she gets Huck to call them all in so they can figure out which one of them is the leak. They’re moms, real estate agents, college professors—and Charlie from season one, who is . . . just as sketchy as ever, only now badly scarred from his last run-in with Huck. Quinn sits and observes their phone calls, and when one man who’s a doctor calls in a “‘prescription number” they realize it matches a routing number for a Swiss bank account and figure out he’s the spy. And though Huck makes an impassioned speech about how while they all like killing, they’ve all made progress in their lives and should stick to that, the doctor still gets a bullet in the brain. Huck sits silently at the conference table while his fellow spies expertly clean up the mess around him. When they’re gone, Olivia comes in to find Huck still sitting there. She tells him he’s important to her. He explains that his spy name was Spin, short for Spinster—“because they never thought I’d find somebody.” This is going to be so sad when his lAAdyfriend turns out to be some sort of plant.

Other things this week that need fixing are Abby’s relationship and IGL’s career. After the news breaks about Huck, Harrison goes to see Olivia. “Things are getting weird in this office,” he tells her. He wants to help her in whatever way she needs, because he owes her. “I’m your family, I’m your gladiator, and that is not a job to me.” After some hesitation, she tells him Abby and JJ can’t be together, although she can’t tell him why. “Consider it handled,” he says. She goes to leave, then pauses. Looking disgusted with herself, she says, “Her ex-husband used to beat her. You might want to use that.” And ever dutiful, he does, telling Abby he loves her “like a sister” and planting the idea in her head that she should at least do a background check on him, then giving JJ’s ex an envelope full of cash to say JJ beat her up. Abby of course takes the bait, and when she confronts JJ with pictures of his ex’s bruised face, he protests, “She fell down the stairs,” which doesn’t exactly convince her. “You are a bad guy,” she cries. “You look like a good guy, but you’re not.” She goes tearfully to Olivia and apologizes for being mean to her, and Olivia comforts her with a chilling sincerity and utter lack of guilt. Harrison, whose reward for doing Il Papa’s dirty work is Stephen’s office, looks like some of the bloom may finally be coming off the rose.

Also in the running for best actor is Cyrus. He gets a visit from Hollis Doyle, who saw IGL’s story and is none too pleased. Managing to be at once condescending, homophobic, and misogynistic, Hollis tells Cyrus to “put your wife on a leash,” because if IGL continues to write stories like that it will cause problems for El Prez. Hilariously, there is a gigantic portrait of El Prez in Cyrus’s office. Cyrus calls Il Papa, who says he has to do whatever it takes to make IGL stop, because otherwise he’ll end up dead. So rather than issue threats or edicts, Cyrus pulls out the ultimate weapon: man tears. He calls IGL into the Oval Office and tells him he loves him and his proud of his work, and that even though Cyrus is going to get fired because of it, he’s behind IGL 100 percent. He deploys the crocodile tears, and IGL, no doubt shocked that his coldly logical husband is actually showing human emotion, immediately agrees he’ll stop writing about Doyle. But it may be too late, because the now single JJ, alone in his apartment, restarts his Big Wall o’ Crazy with just one thing: Ira Glass Lite’s piece on Doyle.

The weirdly persistent Senator McFlirty shows up at Olivia’s apartment again, this time with her favorite dinner: popcorn and wine. “Invite me in or I’m walking away,” he says, which is not my idea of a charming seduction technique, but okay. Olivia starts to sob, then, as she continues to cry, grabs him and hugs him tightly. They start to make out as they walk backward into her apartment and shut the door, abandoning “dinner” in the hallways. See what happens when El Prez goes to Japan?

A couple of thoughts:

Seriously, what is the deal with Huck’s lAAdyfriend? There’s no way she’s just a nice, normal, previously cocaine-addicted girl with a penchant for broken, stalkerish men. Right?

Olivia’s whole plot to break up Abby and JJ was just . . . icky. Il Papa’s claim that she wears the white hat gets more threadbare with each episode.

How long is this G8 summit anyway? Is Tony Goldwyn off filming a movie or something?

What did you think of last night’s episode of Scandal? Let us know in the comments.