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WashingTelevision: Scandal Recap, Season Two, Episode Seven, “Defiance”

El Prez returns, Olivia and the senator go public, and someone gets shot.

Harrison’s first solo case involves Huck removing buckshot from a client’s arm. Photograph by Danny Feld/ABC.

I give this episode props for pulling off a legitimately surprising (albeit incredibly
unrealistic) ending. In a show where I often find the twists painfully predictable,
the final seconds made me gasp at my TV. To the recap!

The case of the week is basically only notable because Olivia has almost nothing to
do with it. As payback for Harrison doing her dirty work in breaking up Abby and Jerk
Jeremy by paying JJ’s ex to say he beat her, Olivia is letting him be “lead” for certain
clients, starting with the ex-wife and oldest son (played by Jeremy London’s twin
brother, Jason) of a multibillionaire mogul (Harold Pierce Sr.) who seems to have
gone off his rocker a week before the company’s IPO. (I don’t remember the family’s
name, so I’m just going to call them the Riches.) Papa Rich’s family just wants to
keep him quiet until the IPO is done, so Harrison and Abby decide to have him committed.
Except when they try to get him evaluated, Papa Rich chases the shrink out of the
mansion at shotgun point, then barricades himself inside with his 20-year-old girlfriend.
H and A are on baby-sitting duty outside of the house, where they have some time to
bond. “Thank you,” Abby tells Harrison. “For telling me to check up on David.” Harrison
looks like he’s regretting that whole “I’ll do anything for you” speech he gave Il

Eventually Papa Rich’s girlfriend comes out to tell them he’s sick and to call a certain
doctor—who turns out to be a doctor of theology and is actually there to marry the
two, making the girlfriend the only person who can have him committed. Harrison calls
Olivia for help, but she tells him to be a big boy and figure it out. And after Papa
Rich shoots Junior in the arm, he does, sitting them down for a come-to-Jesus talk.
As it turns out, Papa Rich isn’t crazy—he’s just sick of working so hard and wants
to have some fun, and is trying to help his son avoid the same workaholic life he
had. But Junior loves the company and just wants to run it—so they cancel the IPO
and Junior takes over as CEO. Harrison looks pleased with himself.

Over in A-plot city, Olivia and Senator McFlirty are dating, but on the DL. As they
get dressed, he spouts off the list of ladies he was with before Il Papa (but presumably
after they were together the first time). He wants her to reciprocate, but instead
she just tells him that a big announcement will be made in the Senate later that day
and he should be one of the first to support it. What’s the announcement? Another
of Olivia’s clients just happens to be the Senate majority leader, who had a lot of
sex with the 21-year-old daughter of his wife’s best friend and now needs to resign
his position, leaving a convenient opening. Senator McFlirty publicly expresses his
support for the decision to step down, instantly making him a frontrunner for the
position. It pays to sleep with Olivia, it seems.

Meanwhile, JJ is meeting Cyrus’s husband, Ira Glass Lite, at the Lincoln Memorial.
He’s got a huge file folder of documents that he says proves Hollis Doyle used rigged
voting machines to push through initiatives regarding a pipeline he wants to build
across the US. IGL isn’t buying it, but JJ convinces him to at least take the folder.

Hey, El Prez is back from Japan! He’s pretending to watch the majority leader resign
on TV, but is really staring moonily at Olivia, who’s visible in the corner of the
frame. Enter the (STILL pregnant) FLOTUS. “You’re back,” she says. She fills in that
he hasn’t called her in three weeks. “I was beginning to think you were dead. I mean,
I knew you weren’t, because I could see you on TV, but still—a girl can dream.” Unbeknownst
to El Prez, she’s planned a huge gala for his birthday—500 people, a performance by
Stevie Wonder, etc. El Prez is pissed, because he wanted a small party. “We can’t
always get what we want,” she snipes. Cyrus tries to smooth things over by saying
there’s a private get-together at the White House that evening.

Vera, our favorite Supreme Court justice, is in attendance at said dinner, along with
Cyrus and IGL. El Prez says the main thing he’s learned from politics is to never
trust pollsters, and proceeds to tell the story of how his presidential election came
down to one spot in Ohio: Defiance County. The numbers guys told him he was going
to lose, but then the results came in and he was ahead. Vera, Cyrus, and FLOTUS get
“Uhh, awkward” looks on their faces, and a tiny lightbulb pops up above IGL’s head.

Enter Hollis Doyle, who has his own candidate in mind for Senate majority leader.
He visits Cyrus at the White House and tells him to make it happen. Cyrus reminds
him that even his influence has limits. “Exceed them,” Doyle growls. He threatens,
as he always does, to expose the vote-fixing secret, but it seems like those threats
are starting to ring hollow for Cyrus.

Also hassling Cyrus about the job is Il Papa, who’s gunning for her boyfriend. If
El Prez endorses Senator McFlirty, he’ll lose for sure—but Cyrus says he hopes El
Prez backs the other candidate so McFlirty wins, because it’ll mean he’s over Olivia.
She looks upset. In the Oval Office, a Secret Service guy hands El Prez an envelope
of photos of Olivia and the senator canoodling. He flips through every single one,
and looks like he might cry-vomit.

Ira Glass Lite has decided to investigate JJ’s claims, so he first meets with two
college kids who wrote their dissertations on how easy it is to rig voting machines
(uhh, sure), then books it to Defiance County to check out the machines for himself.
After examining all the ones in the voting center, none of which has the memory card
that would provide the evidence he needs, he realizes one machine is missing. Turns
out it’s at the high school, so he of course heads there, lying through his teeth
to Cyrus about where he is. (Confession: I cringed throughout all these scenes, expecting
that at any minute some guy in a black hood would come up behind IGL and snap his
neck.) He finds the memory card in the voting machine (still with El Prez and VP Sally’s
names on the ballot), and when he tests it he finally has hard evidence that the presidential
election was rigged. He lets out a deep breath.

Olivia, finally willing to go out in public with her hunky senator boyfriend, heads
to El Prez’s birthday gala on his arm. El Prez and FLOTUS arrive by limo, but as they
pull up in front of the throngs of reporters and attendees, FLOTUS starts to wig.
“What if we just . . . didn’t go?” she asks him. He asks if it’s because she’s afraid
his mistress will be there. “News flash: She’s not my mistress anymore,” he says.
She keeps insisting she doesn’t want to go, to which he says, “Well, we can’t always
get what we want,” and steps out of the limo. They start walking into the party, smiling
and waving. Then THERE’S A SHOT, El Prez staggers, and the episode ends.

A couple of thoughts:

Did FLOTUS know El Prez was going to get shot? We’re obviously meant to think so,
but my money’s on no.

How many episodes does IGL have left to live? I was surprised he made it out of this
one alive.

I didn’t mention the Quinn storyline because I find her very tiresome, but the gist
is that she’s started investigating her own disappearance and figures out the plane
she was on when she was kidnapped from California belonged to Vera, so she now strongly
suspects Olivia and Huck were involved. My question is: Where is this going? And why
should we care?

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