Things to Do

WashingTelevision: Scandal Recap, Episode Two, "Dirty Little Secrets"

The Dream Team represents a madam, Olivia and the President make up, sort of, and the Amanda Tanner situation gets worse.

Olivia is breaking it to this man and his wife that he’s on the client list of DC’s finest madam. Abby is just there to judge. Photograph by Colleen Hayes.

Previously on
Scandal: The President was a lothario. Olivia was a badass. Quinn was clueless. Amanda Tanner got caught in the shuffle.

This ep opens with a news story about El Prez appointing his first Supreme Court justice. Olivia’s watching on TV in her office as an older
woman in a drab suit (Mimi Kennedy) congratulates her on getting El
Prez elected, saying he was a “diamond in the rough” before Olivia
started working for him.
She asks why Olivia left her job at the White House. Harrison
interrupts to tell Olivia she has a phone call. It’s Stephen,
who’s on the lookout outside an apartment as inside Huck hacks
and Abby grabs various things, all the while hissing at Stephen
over the phone that she’s disappointed in him. Stephen seems
unconcerned. His accent is weird.

Abby is making her way out of the apartment with a box under
one arm, and Drab Suit Woman asks if she got the photo albums.
Abby and Huck go back and grab an armful of albums as Stephen
sees Jerk Jeremy from the US Attorney’s Office (his character’s
name is David Rosen, by the way) eyeballing him from a cop car
driving past, and gets an “Oh, shit” face. “He spotted me,
so you’ve got ten minutes,” he tells Olivia. Man, I do not
remember how three-way calling works. Olivia yells to Harrison
that they’ve got incoming. Cut to Olivia, Harrison, and Quinn
standing in the hallway expectantly. Quinn stammers that it
would be sooo helpful if someone could tell her what’s going

Then JJ comes in, spouting off a very Sorkin-esque monologue
about how the law is on his side, he IS the law, he wears the
white hat, he is a knight for the people (seriously?). We learn
that Olivia’s middle name is Carolyn. Or Carol Lynn. Anyway, JJ
thinks her middle name should be “pain in the ass.” He had
a search warrant for the house Huck and Abby just plundered,
and is mad because they took all the evidence. Jeremy wants to
know where “the list” is, the one that details the illegal
activities of DSW, who is currently sipping tea innocently in the
back of the office. JJ says he has enough to arrest her, but
Olivia says he can’t arrest her without a warrant. “Can you at
least pretend you aren’t enjoying this?” JJ says, defeated.

In those parallel elevator sequences this show seems
to love, JJ heads down as Huck, Stephen, and Abby come up with their
contraband. Weirdly, it appears their building still has
elevator operators. Quinn, tired of waiting for someone to tell her
what the frack is going on, introduces herself to DSW, who says
her name is Sharon Marquette. She apparently knows Stephen,
which Abby seems pissed about. Quinn asks how they know each
other. “Quinn,” Olivia says warningly, but Abby’s ready with
the assist: “She provides whores for him,” she says. Emphasis
on the whores. DSW looks mildly amused. “I’m DC’s finest madam,
dear,” she says. Quinn looks horrified. I’m going to have to
start a drinking game for this.

White House. Cyrus is meeting the President, who’s
attempting to tie his tie as he walks and explains how awesome his
Court nominee, Patrick Keating, is. He pauses to let Cyrus fix
his tie. Cyrus would rather talk about Olivia. Grant says Cyrus
misunderstood what he saw, with the making out and whatnot, but
Cyrus tells him, “Don’t Clinton me with words.” He knows an
angry lover when he sees one, and therefore he knows something
happened with Amanda Tanner. Grant switches from endearing-man-boy
mode to scary-faced authoritarian mode. “This is not a
discussion we’re going to have,” he says. He starts to walk away, and
Cyrus drops the bomb that Olivia is representing Amanda. “I’m
on your side,” he tells El Prez. Instead of thanking him, El
Prez tells Cyrus it’s a great day for the American people.
“Don’t ruin it.” Yeah, Cyrus.

Back at HQ, Abby is explaining Madam Sharon’s case
while being SUPER judgy. She explains that one of Madam Sharon’s newest
girls, “Ginger Bell,” got arrested in the Hay-Adams lobby, and
“sang like a little bird who has sex for money,” which would
be a weird kind of bird, so now Madam Sharon is in hot water.
JJ wants to find her client list, so the Dream Team has to find
it first. Turns out the record is hidden in one of those photo
albums Abby and Huck rescued. From the list, the team is able
to fill up the wall o’ crime not with photos of bloody corpses,
but with driver’s license photos of johns. Meanwhile Olivia
tells Quinn to go check on Amanda in the hospital, to which
Quinn protests that she can do more than get coffee and baby sit.
Olivia doesn’t care. The rest of the team is examining the wall
o’ johns, which is a “who’s who of Washington.” Olivia, noticing
one photo, mutters “Dammit” and grabs her jacket to leave.
Turns out the illustrious Patrick Keating is one of Madam Sharon’s

Olivia’s at the White House gate, and the guard tells her she isn’t cleared to enter, which shocks the hell out of her. A
friendly looking guy (Matt Letscher) steps to her rescue, and when the security guard protests, he calls the guard’s kiosk from his cell phone, introducing himself
as Billy Chambers, the VP’s chief of staff, while securing walk-on clearance for Olivia.

Quinn is at the hospital, looking in on Amanda. A scruffily cute guy (Brendan Hines) strikes up a conversation with her and introduces himself as Gideon, then immediately outs himself as a reporter by asking
17,000 nosy questions. Turns out he works for the “DC Sun.” Quinn is having none of it and tells him to leave.

At the White House, Olivia has apprised Billy and
Cyrus of the Keating situation, and Cyrus is furious. Olivia and Billy
about whether they can still appoint Keating to the court, and
Olivia snaps that 23 years ago he hired a high-priced hooker–more
than once. “It’s a dirty little secret, and dirty little
secrets always come out. Don’t they, Cyrus?” she says. She tells
them to find another nominee, and leaves. Billy is confused as
to why Olivia and Cyrus are at odds, but Cyrus growls at him
to “fix the Keating thing.” On her way out, Olivia and El Prez
exchange A Look.

At the office, the Dream Team is going over Madam
Sharon’s records. Abby is confused by the terminology of the hooker
(no, the girls aren’t all fluent in Greek). As Harrison
explains what “sunny day” and “hardwood floors” mean, she gets wildly
uncomfortable and Harrison and Stephen laugh like frat boys
during a wet T-shirt contest. I feel sorry for Stephen’s imaginary

JJ shows up with a warrant and a weak insult about
Olivia being the patron saint of hookers. Olivia demands a private,
cleaned cell for Madam Sharon while simultaneously telling
Quinn via phone not to let Amanda leave her sight at any cost.
Of course, as soon as Quinn gets back to the hospital room,
Amanda is gone.

Next crisis: Chambers is on his way up with Keating
and his wife. Chambers wants Olivia to fix the Keating situation. “This
is an FOF favor,” he says, meaning “Friend of Fitz,” meaning El
Prez, Fitzgerald Grant. She’s unmoved. “How about a Friend
of Billy favor?” he tries desperately. He looks sort of like
Bill Paxton, but less squinty. And less awesome. Still, he manages
to charm Olivia into agreeing to help.

Ooh, awkward: Keating, sitting with his wife, demands
that Olivia explain what the problem is with his nomination. Abby tries
to get his wife out of the room, but Keating waves her off. So
Olivia, to her credit, comes right out with it. Keating protests
that it’s a lie, while his wife looks on inscrutably. Olivia
tells him he needs to withdraw his nomination, but he refuses,
saying he won’t turn his back on his country. He leaves the
room, and the wife speaks up that he’s blameless and losing the
nomination will kill him.

The team is studying the wall o’ johns. Abby asks what
Olivia’s Mythical Gut says. Mythical Gut opines that Keating isn’t
a hooker guy. Olivia tells the team to track down “Stacy,” the
hooker Keating supposedly visited, to figure out the truth.

Stephen is visiting Madam Sharon in jail. He tells her
to give up her client list, which she refuses. “I didn’t stay out of
trouble for 30 years by kissing and telling,” she says, and
admonishes that he of all people should understand that. He counters
that he’s a grown man and made a choice to do something
illegal. Madam Sharon is unmoved.

Cyrus visits the El Prez in the Oval Office. El Prez says Cyrus shouldn’t have blocked Olivia from the White House, but Cyrus
begs to differ and then lays down a printout from the
DC Sun‘s blog with an article about Amanda’s suicide attempt. “We’re not going down because you failed to keep your fly zipped,”
he snarks.
Burn! El Prez blows off the “two sentence” article,
which Cyrus compares to the start of Watergate. Enter FLOTUS, in–it must
said–a SKINTIGHT white dress. Not even the blazer, pearls, and
classy chignon can disguise how MTV Movie Awards this dress
is. POTUS tells her she looks fantastic and they kiss while
Cyrus averts his eyes. FLOTUS tells Cyrus if the Keating problem
is serious, he needs to get Olivia on it. I hope she gets some
character development soon, outside of being the Nice Cuckolded

Back at the office, Harrison and Abby are leaving to
search for Stacy, and on their way out pass Quinn, who makes a beeline
for Huck. He tells her she looks vomit-adjacent, and she says
she needs his help to find a missing person. “Did you try their
house?” he asks. Olivia spies her on her way out and says she’s
coming along. They then run into Stephen, who’s upset Madam
Sharon won’t reveal her clients because she’ll go to jail,
while Olivia says she’d rather not ruin Keating’s reputation over
something that isn’t true. As they reach the elevator, Jerk
Jeremy steps out and says, “You got served, yo!” Actually he says,
“You’ve been served for Sharon Marquette’s client list, and you
have two hours to produce it.” Quinn looks horrified again.

Abby and Harrison find and speak to a potential Stacy
in the park, but not before Abby asks Harrison if he’s ever paid for
sex and he responds that all dating is basically paying for
sex, since he doesn’t buy a woman dinner or drinks out of the
goodness of his heart. Charming.

Olivia and Quinn have arrived at Amanda’s apartment.
Amanda opens the door and lays into Olivia. “Do you know what you did
to me the other day?” she demands. “You made me want to die.
Literally, actually die.” But Olivia being there means she knows
Amanda was telling the truth. Quinn’s eyes get HUGE. Amanda
forces Olivia to admit it, which she does, and then says Amanda
needs her in order to avoid the onslaught of publicity that
will snowball from those two sentences on the
DC Sun‘s blog. Amanda tearfully tells her to leave her alone and shuts the door in her face. Olivia tells Quinn to convince Amanda
to let the Dream Team help her.

Back at the office, Harrison tells Olivia they weren’t
able to find Stacy, then heads to a hearing with Stephen, leaving
and Abby time for some girl talk about Abby’s extreme problem
with Stephen’s hooker-frequenting ways. Abby says she knows
she shouldn’t care, because she’s not his wife. “Exactly,” says
Olivia, then gets Lightbulb Face.

Next she’s back at the White House, attempting to
bribe the security guard with red velvet cupcakes. He quasi-threatens to
shoot her, but then admits he got a call from the Prez’s
secretary and she’s back on the list. “I don’t know what kind of
cupcakes you gave him,” he says. I think usually they call it a
muffin. (Get it?)

Mrs. Keating is sitting outside a White House meeting
room. Olivia comes up behind her and says, “Stacy?” Mrs. Keating
turns around. Scandalous!

Stacy’s walking Olivia through her relationship with
Patrick. Apparently they met her first night on the job; he wasn’t her
john but was instead just trying to cheer up a girl he thought
had been stood up by a date. Stacy liked him, so she didn’t
tell him who she was, and they started dating. She told Madam
Sharon he was a client but paid for all of their dates, and
her hooker money put him through Georgetown Law. She says she
loves him and can’t bear to tell him his whole life was based
on a lie. Olivia tells Stacy why she needs to tell her husband
the truth, as she catches El Prez staring at her from inside
the meeting room like a moonstruck calf. Keeping her eyes
locked on his, she tells Stacy that if Keating finds out the truth
from someone else, it’ll break his heart.

In court, JJ and Stephen are arguing in front of a
lady judge about the validity of JJ’s subpoena. The judge orders our
team to turn over the list, and tells JJ to lower Sharon’s bail
to “something that wouldn’t make Donald Trump feel extravagant.”
Stephen tells Harrison they better find a damn good defense

Olivia looks in on the room El Prez was in earlier as
Keating chews out his wife for her wanton ways. El Prez comes up behind
her, again saying Keating is basically a saint on earth. Olivia
says he would have been a great justice, but she can’t stop
the story, and El Prez asks her for another nominee. “I don’t
work for you anymore,” Olivia reminds him. El Prez gets even
closer (where are the cameras now, anyway?), and asks if she
thinks Keating and the Missus will make it. Olivia’s doubtful,
but El Prez says if two people love each other and want to be
together, that’s stronger than any one mistake. He reaches for
her hand and she doesn’t pull away. They stand that way for a
second, and she looks like she might cry, then scurries out
of there. From inside the room, we hear Keating tell his wife
she’s a liar who cost them everything that matters.

Olivia sits, downcast, in front of the wall o’ johns.
Stephen says he’s heading down to JJ’s office with the list, and
tries to cheer her up by saying that if the list is released,
every single john is a potential client. “There’s a lot of power
up on this wall,” Olivia says. Then it dawns on her.
“Harrison!” she yells.

Harrison goes around the city tracking down all the
politicos on the john list and greeting them with their various escort
preferences– “Do you speak Greek?”, etc. It’s gross. Turns out
Olivia’s summoned them all to a meeting at the office. She
says she doesn’t care how they spend their free time, but their
constituents might, and that they should ensure “small business
owner” Madam Sharon is not unduly harassed by the law. One man
protests his innocence and gets up to leave, but Sharon shuts
him down with a choice euphemism for his favorite sexual acts.
He sits back down, fish-mouthed. Olivia says she’s glad they
all agree, and that she needs just one more thing.

Next we see Fish Mouth on TV giving his full support
to the Keating nomination as a ticker below proclaims the nom is
to “sail through.” JJ and Olivia are watching from a bar, and
he says he can guess who was on Madam Sharon’s client list by
all the people who called his boss telling him to drop the
case. Olivia tells JJ everybody wins, as Sharon has closed up
of course, what he was really after was the fame and fortune
that would come with winning a high-profile case. JJ pouts.

El Prez is drinking in the Oval Office and rejoicing
to Cyrus that Olivia helped them, which means she’s on their side. Cyrus
is giving him the silent treatment. El Prez says the leader of
the free world is standing in the Oval Office, on the presidential
seal, slightly inebriated, which should at least warrant a
lecture. Cyrus sulks that El Prez won’t tell him anything and thus
obviously doesn’t trust him. El Prez says he knows he doesn’t
just get to do whatever he wants. “I’m not John Edwards,” he
says. Heh. “But Liv,” he says, voice quivering with emotion,
“is the love of my life. And she won’t even talk to me.” Maybe
you should try passing her a note in study hall. El Prez says
that’s the only time they’re going to talk about Olivia and
him. Cyrus pours himself some Scotch, which El Prez notes Cyrus
hates. “I do, but not tonight,” Cyrus says. “You’re on my
side,” says El Prez, pleased. They clink glasses. Poor FLOTUS.

Amanda is sitting on the steps of the Lincoln
Memorial, crying, as Quinn walks up. She says a reporter called her
at home. “It’s happening already, isn’t it?” Quinn tells her,
sans specifics, that she was once in a similar situation and
would have given anything to have someone tell her what to do
and say, and Olivia can do that for Amanda.

Cut to the office, where Amanda has agreed to let
Olivia help her, as long as they do things on Amanda’s terms. Olivia
Amanda she won’t be sorry. Then there’s a knock on the door,
and the scruffy hospital hottie enters, and recognizes both Quinn
and Amanda. He says he’s there to get a quote for his story.
“You don’t have a story,” Olivia says, “so leave.” He refuses.
He hadn’t put the pieces together before, but now that he sees
the president’s suicidal former aide and the girl who lied
about who she worked for both in Olivia’s office, he sure as
hell does now. Ruh roh.