WashingTelevision: Scandal Recap, Season Two, Episode Ten, “One for the Dog”

Waterboarding, signature forging, and various other sins feature in the first episode after the winter break.

By: Tanya Pai

We open with a disclaimer about violent content. Hollis Doyle is chilling in the Oval Office with VP (or I guess now just P) Sally, advising her to announce that she has the man who shot El Prez, a.k.a. Huck, in custody. Sally counters that the “suspect” is still being interrogated and they need a confession from him before she announces it to the world. Doyle asks if they’re using “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which they are—but he is of the opinion they could be more enhanced. (Side note: I feel like Gregg Henry and Kate Burton spend the entirety of each scene they have together trying to out-drawl one another, and it’s possibly my favorite thing about the show.)

Cut to a dark room, where Huck, naked and strapped to a table, is being waterboarded. It’s not pretty. Jerk Jeremy is standing outside with two goons in suits. He says it looks like Huck “can’t take much more of the waterb--- interrogating,” and says they should consider his civil rights since he’s an American and they’re on American soil. Goon #1 counters that the Pentagon doesn’t count as American soil, and condescendingly calls him “son.” Oh, snap.

At HQ, Olivia is sitting on the couch. Verna comes in and to her credit, I guess, confesses immediately that she was the one who gave Huck’s name to Sally (although the episode never brings up the fact that she threw him under the bus to save her own political position). Title card.

Il Papa’s gotten FLOTUS and Cyrus to HQ, and Verna tells them her suspicions that Hollis is behind the shooting. Her reason? He has two phones “like the drug dealers use” (lolz). Harrison and Abby break into Doyle’s office and find the phone just sitting in his desk, with only one number in the outgoing calls, which Abby writes down. Verna mentions Doyle was talking to someone named Becky, and a flicker of recognition crosses Olivia’s face. They conclude the number belongs to would-be assassin Becky.

Later, Senator Davis goes to see Olivia, who immediately begins grilling him about whether he’s heard anything about where the suspect is. He hasn’t, and says if she shared a name it would be helpful. She tells him they need a “Chinese wall” of information like that to make their relationship work. They start making out, and then the doorbell rings. She gets up to answer it, and he passive-aggressives, “Saved by the bell.” Their relationship is exhausting. It’s an official-looking letter for him, to which she’s all, “You’re getting letters at my house now?” and he’s all, “Yeah, I AM,” before she even finishes her sentence. She asks him what he meant by his earlier comment, and he complains they haven’t had sex in a week. She says El Prez was shot; he doesn’t understand what that has to do with their boots-knocking schedule. But then he opens the letter, which is an official request for El Prez to be reinstated, with his signature. Olivia assumes that means he’s woken up, and immediately grabs her purse to leave. Davis tries to stop her, but she yells at him to get out of her way.

She shows up at the hospital at the same time as Cyrus, and the look of hope on her face is heartbreaking, but her opera gloves are fantastic. They go into El Prez’s room, where FLOTUS is, and El Prez is, of course, still not awake. Turns out Mellie, with Cyrus’s approval, forged El Prez’s signature, which is 60 different kinds of illegal and super dumb. Also you’d think Cyrus would have found a minute to mention that to Olivia before they got in the room. Il Papa goes on a rant about how this is America and there are laws and rules and hey, Olivia? The kettle called. FLOTUS says it’s not okay for Doyle to have an open invitation to the Oval Office, and Cyrus says he and Mellie can run the country together until El Prez wakes up.

Sally is meeting with military personnel about East Sudan and is basically like “Let’s bomb everything, woohoo!”, earning some hilarious approving nods from a couple of generals. Then she gets the news about El Prez’s letter of reinstatement and immediately calls the hospital. Olivia, Cyrus, and Mellie play the nose-touch game of who has to answer the phone, and Mellie eventually picks up and gushes about how it’s a miracle but Sally can’t talk to El Prez because he’s “sleeping.” Sally knows something stinks.

As does Ira Glass Lite, who asks Cyrus why he’s not happier about El Prez’s miraculous awakening. He says since he quit his job to take care of a baby they don’t yet have, all he does all day is Google head wounds, and something doesn’t add up. Cyrus, continuing to campaign for worst husband of the year, threatens to screw up the adoption process if IGL doesn’t drop it.

Sally decides to leak the letter to the press, causing the Dream Team to have to scramble to construct an incredibly improbable cover-up. They find a doctor willing to make a statement about El Prez’s magical recovery, and Olivia gets FLOTUS an interview with Wendy Williams to say he doesn’t want to be seen in public until his scars are healed, because he’s so vain he probably thinks this song is about him. Harrison, however, explains to Abby and Quinn that “there’s a whole other level of DC” that’s all about the power plays, and that Huck being accused of the crime is “some grassy knoll stuff.”

Senator Davis goes to the hospital to see El Prez, but Olivia intercepts him. He tells her if the letter was forged and she knows it, he’ll prosecute the crap out of her, to which she’s like, “Bring it.” Kerry Washington is so good in this episode, all steely looks and fiery determination even as she sinks further into her web of lies and sludgy morality.

Meanwhile, Huck is still being tortured, poor guy. But when he hears El Prez is still alive he says immediately that he’ll talk—only to tell JJ that Becky will come back to finish the job. JJ goes to Olivia to tell her he knows where Huck is. Olivia explains to Sally that Huck can help find the actual person who shot El Prez, so they cook up a plan in which they pretend they’re going to move El Prez to Camp David. When Doyle hears of the efforts to reinstate El Prez, he tells Sally he’ll “take care of it,” and calls Becky. As Olivia snuggles with El Prez in his hospital bed (Tony Goldwyn must be so well rested these days), Becky heads to the roof with a sniper rifle, where Huck is waiting. “Are you gonna put four bullets in me?” she asks. “Five,” he replies. “One for the dog.” Hey, that’s the name of the episode! Becky, as she’s getting arrested, tells Huck her real name is Kate. “What’s yours?” she says. “It doesn’t matter,” he replies. Burn. The feds return Huck, limping, to HQ. “Welcome home,” says Quinn. Shut up, Quinn.

FLOTUS goes to see Sally, and they just murder each other with politeness. Sally says she’s been studying graphology, which is the pseudoscientific study of handwriting, and she can tell by the way the Ts were crossed that the signature was forged. Sally says FLOTUS needs to withdraw the letter or she’ll tell everyone.

Over at Casa de Bean, Cyrus confesses to IGL that there’s no miracle and that El Prez isn’t awake. IGL says he quit his job, and Cyrus says, “Let’s go get our baby.” Then he gets a call.

Back at HQ, Quinn asks Il Papa why she isn’t on the phone to the FBI telling them about Doyle, because she’s pretty sure he was responsible for blowing up Cytron, killing her boyfriend, and ruining her life. “I need to know why,” she says. “Okay,” Olivia says. “Let’s talk.” But then her phone rings. It’s Cyrus. “Someone wants to talk to you,” he says. El Prez is awake. “Hi,” he says. “Hi,” Olivia says, as she starts to cry.

A few thoughts:

What is Sally going to do about Doyle now that she most likely has suspicions he’s not the most benign of associates?

So are Olivia and Davis broken up now? Are they still going to prom together?

How cute is Cyrus and IGL’s baby? And why does IGL continue to put up with so much emotional manipulation?

El Prez is left-handed. It’s the best way to be.

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