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WashingTelevision: Scandal Recap, Episode Four, "Enemy of the State"

A fake kidnapping, a real kidnapping, an actual dictator, and a metaphorical war feature in this week’s episode.

Fake smiles for everyone as Abby realizes she just helped a dictator find his runaway wife. Photograph by Richard Cartwright.

Maybe it’s just me being sleep-deprived, but I thought this
episode was a bit better than the first three–or at least slightly
less melodramatic. There are some nasty barbs, we FINALLY get
some backstory on the impossibly glossy Dream Team, and El Prez
stops acting like he was dosed with Love Potion No. 9 and nuts
up. To the recap!

Quinn is sleeping on the HQ couch (why, I’m not
sure–please don’t tell me there’s going to be a subplot about her being
homeless), when she’s awakened with a start by very loud
pounding on the door. As she opens it, we cut to Il Papa opening
the door of her apartment to Stephen, who’s bearing Shiraz. In
the kitchen, Olivia sobs as she attempts to open the wine.
Her pjs are silk and awesome. Stephen grabs the bottle and
pours some into a Big Carl-size glass, which she chugs, then goes
over to the counter and grabs approximately 17 pregnancy tests,
which she plunks down in front of him, one by one. (Hope she’s
planning to wash her hands.) “You should have seen me forcing
water down her throat to make her pee,” Olivia says of Amanda,
who’s sleeping in the other room. “It was like something out of
Abu Ghraib.” Stephen cottons on to the state of Amanda’s womb
and asks, quite reasonably, if Olivia’s sure it’s El Prez’s
spawn. She’s sure. Just then Olivia gets a call from Quinn, who
tells her she’s needed at the office because there is an
“actual army” occupying it. The office is, indeed, being occupied
by a bunch of army guys. We learn three things: The
Organization of American States is happening soon, so a bunch of foreign
dignitaries are in town; Olivia speaks perfect Spanish; and
waiting in her office is “ruthless, repressive,
police-brutality-loving South American leftist dictator” and
sworn enemy of the US Benicio Flores, as Abby helpfully fills
in. Leftist Dictator Flores tells Olivia his wife and two
youngest children were kidnapped from a Dupont restaurant that
and he thinks the US government is behind it. He wants the
Dream Team to help. After he leaves, Abby is upset that they’re
going to take him on as a client without even discussing it.
Olivia just stares at her blankly, then walks away without saying
anything. Stephen tells them to cut her some serious slack,
because Amanda is pregnant. Jaws hit the floor.

Olivia shows up at a very pretty house in a fabulous
coat, and a clean-cut man answers the door. Apparently he’s Cyrus’s
Cyrus is gardening out back, and Olivia goes out to drop the
baby bomb on him. She asks if El Prez “took precautions” with
Amanda. Cyrus is all, Hmm, did he wear condoms when he was
banging his aide? I don’t know. “Did he wear one with you?” ZING!
Harsh. They discuss giving Amanda $10 million, and Cyrus says
he’ll see what he can do. Then he tells her they’re not friends
anymore. “Don’t come here again.” Looking deeply hurt, she

Back at Il Papa’s apartment, Olivia explains how El Prez
wants to make Amanda the world’s highest-paid prostitute. Amanda
doesn’t want the money, so Olivia gets in her face about what
she does want. The fairy tale is over, and she has a kid to
consider. So does she want an abortion? Adoption? Amanda says
she wants to birth the Presidential Fetus, and to tell the world
what a lying, lecherous scumbag El Prez is.

White House. El Prez complains to Cyrus that his OAS
speech has been done a million times, then asks if there’s anything new
on the Olivia front. Cyrus says he’ll handle it, then heads to a
meeting with Billy and a team of pros, including “Sanders
Black,” played by someone who either is or looks just like the
freaky frog guy from
X-Men. He’s very short. Cyrus swears them all to
secrecy about what they’re going to discuss, then Thumbelina begins his
They’ve been digging up dirt on the Dream Team. According to
Thumbelina, Huck is ex-CIA–“If you meet this guy in an alley,
you’re done.” Abby was married to the son of the Virginia
governor for four years, but left him when he beat her. We see a
bunch of pictures of her bruised-up face. Her perspective on
relationships makes a lot more sense now. There’s nothing on
Quinn, because “Quinn Perkins didn’t exist until 2008.”
Secretly homeless, I’m telling you. Harrison went from car salesman
(totally believable) to working for some financial bigwig, who
was busted for insider trading, but Harrison only served six
months in prison thanks to Olivia. Stephen was a high-powered
lawyer until he suffered a nervous breakdown and had to quit
his job. And Olivia? She’s practically Mother Teresa–except
that Thumbelina somehow knows she had an affair with someone on
the campaign, but they don’t know who. Cyrus, always trying to
cover El Prez’s ass, shoos them away from that line of questioning.
This is actually a pretty smart way to fill in the characters’
histories without having the Dream Team resort to terrible
expository dialogue. Good job, show.

Our Dream Team, meanwhile, is investigating the
kidnapping. LDF’s oldest son told them he saw his mother and siblings
into a van behind the restaurant, and though Stephen and Abby
find a broken window, the alley behind the restaurant is barely
wide enough to accommodate the two of them, let alone a Van of
Nefarious Purpose. Harrison and Huck learn from one of the
waitresses that LDF’s son was playing a handheld video game at
the time, and Huck uses its built-in wi-fi to track them down.
Turns out Mrs. LDF fled to a women’s shelter at a church. She
tells Stephen and Abby that she just wanted to leave her husband,
but seeing as he’s a scary dictator, “You don’t ask a man like
that for a divorce.” Over Stephen’s protests, Abby books them
a hotel room and then lies to Olivia that the women’s shelter
wouldn’t let them see MLDF until the morning. She thinks that’ll
give them enough time to get asylum for MLDF and the kids.

Quinn meets Gideon the Intrepid Reporter at a bar and
tells him, “This is not a date.” He tells her not to worry, that he
won’t use her for his story because he doesn’t need to since he
has another source. She looks worried. Harrison, at the same
bar, catches a glimpse of Quinn. Ruh roh. Later at the office,
Harrison tells Quinn in no uncertain terms to break things
off with Boy Wonder. Eventually she will have to lie to him to
protect a client, he tells her, and the minute she lies to
a reporter it destroys her credibility and, by proxy, the
credibility of the entire Dream Team.

Abby shows up at the hotel but realizes MLDF has
checked out. She’s back at HQ with her husband and Olivia, who told LDF
kidnappers “lost their nerve” and dropped off MLDF at the
shelter, where they found her. Once the happy couple leave, Abby
and Olivia get in a huge fight. Olivia says MLDF wasn’t their
client, so her problems are not their problems. Abby says Olivia
took away a scared woman’s one shot at escape. They’re arguing
over each other the whole time, until Abby says, “That woman
needs us.” She fills in that the night her own ex beat her,
Olivia broke his kneecap with a tire iron and then got her the
best divorce lawyer around. No matter what personal stuff
Olivia is going through, she still has to be that same Olivia. “I
would gladly follow you over a cliff, but you gotta show up.
You gotta be the gladiator.”

MLDF is watching footage of the OAS in a hotel room as
Olivia bursts in and says she can still get them asylum if they still
want it. They get ready to leave, but LDF comes in before they
make it. Olivia tries to BS, but MLDF says she’s leaving him
because she doesn’t love him anymore. He tells her it’s
fine–but he’s taking the kids.

Amanda, in Olivia’s apartment, picks up the phone and calls someone. “It’s me,” she says. I’m done. “I can’t do this anymore,
I can’t lie anymore. I’m going to tell them the truth.” So someone is framing El Prez? Curiouser and curiouser.

El Prez’s speech. “Democracy is your destiny,” blah
blah blah. People applaud wildly. High on idealism, El Prez goes to see
Cyrus. He’s figured out that their problem is Amanda Tanner.
Without her, there’s no proof, the sex tape becomes just the
sounds of some skeezy guy, and she’s not really a problem
anyway, because she’s a kid. Their real problem is Olivia Pope.
El Prez says it’s time he acted like a president. Cyrus thanks
him as he leaves, and literally sighs in satisfaction.

Olivia catches up with LDF outside the White House and
tells him to reconsider taking his kids. He refuses, but she tells
him MLDF won’t just curl up and go away; she’ll strike back,
she’ll go on the media circuit and become a hero for women’s
rights here and in his own country. There’s ridiculous
patriotic music playing through her whole monologue. “What you do today
may determine your political survival,” she says. “This woman
can either be the mother of your children or the face of your
opposition.” In Amanda’s case, she’s both. Cut to LDF saying
goodbye to his oldest son in front of the hotel. His son salutes
him. It’s all more touching than it should be.

Cyrus shows up at HQ with the dream team’s dossiers,
which are now inches thick. Olivia tells him it’s a “nice show,” and
that if he wants to go nuclear, they can, because the shitstorm
from El Prez’s paternity suit will dwarf anything Cyrus could
possibly dig up. Instead, Cyrus says he’s just an errand boy,
and that El Prez sent him to Olivia’s office with all those
documents, because he’s declared war on Olivia. He leaves Il
Papa looking small in her office.

Time for a pep talk! Olivia addresses the Dream Team.
She says she’s been asking a lot of them, and sometimes she gets things
wrong. But they’re going forward with Amanda’s case. It will be
big, and mean, and personal. But they don’t have to do it
for her; they have to decide for themselves. So she actually
puts it to a vote. They all agree. “All right then,” Olivia says.
“We go to war.”

Amanda is watching El Prez’s speech on Olivia’s couch.
Suddenly someone grabs her from behind the couch, hands over her mouth.
Ooh, now there’s duct tape, and she’s lifted over the back of
the couch and injected with a sedative. The unseen assailant
fireman carries Amanda out of Olivia’s apartment.