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WashingTelevision: Scandal Recap, Season Three, Episode Eight, “Vermont Is For Lovers Too”

“I wanted you to see the dream.”

I would not enjoy Olivia’s life—but I would enjoy that coat in my wardrobe. Photograph by Michael Ansell for ABC.

I am starting to seriously worry about Olivia Pope. Between the stress of her job, the constant emotional whiplash she must be suffering, and the fear of spilling red wine on her endless supply of white clothing, I don’t even understand how she functions. This episode, while falling short of last week’s gut-punch revelations, still packed in plenty of highs and lows, plus some sexytime—and one nearly vomit-inducing scene. To the recap.

We begin where last week left off, with Papa Pope telling his long-jailed wife that their daughter has been asking about her. He says he’s going to take her out of the country, to somewhere farther away and harder to find, and Maya tells him first she wants to see Olivia. She’s been sitting in a cell for 20-odd years and figures he owes her one. But Papa Pope tells her no, and gets up to leave. “Eli, please,” she says, but he walks away, and she screams his name at his back. Later, sitting in her cell and lacking, I suppose, a selection of sharp instruments, Maya begins methodically—get ready to gag— chewing through her wrists. This gets her moved to a hospital, where the doctor tells Papa, “Most people would have passed out in a few minutes. She just kept chewing until she found an artery.” So Maya’s probably not all there mentally, and Papa takes a little bit of pity on her by showing her some newspaper clippings of Olivia he’s saved from over the years. Maya exclaims over Olivia’s skinny legs and cheeks—“you just wanna eat her!” she says, which, too soon, lady—and then asks where the photographs are. He says he doesn’t have any, and she asks, “What did you do to her?” She says being a parent means more than paying for stuff, and tells him she used to make Olivia popcorn when she was sad as a little girl, and he snaps that it’s her fault she wasn’t there for Olivia. He then goes to the doctor and tells him “the patient” will be moved the next night.

Olivia, meanwhile, is ignoring her phone calls from El Prez and directing the Dream Team With Bonus Ballard™* in trying to figure out who killed their only link to Omar Dresden as Quinn runs around dressing up like utility workers and stealing security footage to cover up that it was her. Except she runs into Ballard in the act, and he takes the footage back to HQ, to her consternation. Charlie has officially made Quinn his spy at Pope & Associates, and Papa Pope tells him if Quinn gets caught he needs to “do as he was ordered,” which I guess means kill her. Huck finds footage with a possible reflection of the killer’s face and says he’s going to do that thing only people on TV shows do and enhance the reflection to make it a clear photo. Which he does—and shows up at Quinn’s house with his kit of torture tools. “We need to talk about who you’re working for,” he says. Uh-oh.

Olivia is called to Josie Marcus’s house to investigate a break-in. Someone has stolen sister-daughter Candy’s laptop, and Candy insists it’s Governor Reston’s campaign trying to find out their strategies. The laptop turns up at Reston’s campaign headquarters, so David Rosen gets involved in the investigation, but he tells Abby while they’re in bed together that there was nothing of importance on the laptop, so they figure out Candy made up the whole thing. Olivia tells Josie to fire Candy, but instead Josie falls on the sword and announces to the press she planned the break-in, and then withdraws from the race to go back to Montana. Bye, Phoebe—not forever, I hope. Also Harrison sleeps with Candy, which has zero to do with the rest of the plot but gave Columbus Short the chance to make “work” sound like the dirtiest word in the English language.

Olivia won’t talk to El Prez, going as far as to smash her special phone, though Ballard points out if the President wants to talk to someone, he finds a way. And he does: El Prez sends a helicopter to her house and flies her to Vermont, where he shows her a beautiful house with all the furniture covered in dust cloths. He calls her a “bundle of dirty little secrets” and says she should have shared that her father is the head of a super-secret operation, and she says he would have run in the other direction if he had known. “I ruined you,” she tells him. Then he drops the bomb that the house they’re standing in is for them—he bought it when they had decided to be together, and it has lots of bedrooms for children. “I wanted you to see the dream,” he says. So she runs over and makes out with him, and they have sex on the floor to “Ain’t No Sunshine,” so for those of you who thought Kerry Washington’s pregnancy meant the end of lengthy firelit Fitz-Olivia love scenes set to slow jamz, Shonda has gleefully proved you wrong. In the early morning Olivia gets up to leave, and El Prez tells her he loves her and also is going to take her father down. “Do what you need to do,” she tells him. Before she leaves, she turns back and says, “Don’t sell the house. Not yet.” FLOTUS, back at the White House, has been gloating about the interview in which El Prez defended her honor. But then she figures out he ran off to be with Olivia—so when he gets back to DC she is scarily quiet and sweet and tells him since Josie dropped out they should try to hire Olivia again, which confuses El Prez to no end. How long until Mellie snaps too?

The other major plot this week is Cyrus and FLOTUS’s plan to expose VP Sally’s husband as gay. Cyrus gets Ira Glass Lite, who is not loving being a house husband, an interview with Daniel and gets FLOTUS to tell Daniel that he and IGL are in an open marriage. Cyrus goes as far as to hire a photographer to hide in a tree and take pictures of the two of them together—and even FLOTUS is like, Uh, are you sure you want to do that to your marriage? But Cyrus tells IGL to go to Daniel’s house with a bottle of bourbon to get him to “open up,” and sweet IGL thinks he’s just feeling guilty for being mean about him getting fired. Then, of course, Daniel tells IGL about the open marriage rumor, and all of Cyrus’s manipulation finally dawns on him. Looks like he’s finally had enough of it, too: After he (finally) gets home he heads straight for the shower; as he closes the door Cyrus gets a message from his photographer with snaps of IGL and Daniel hooking up, and lets out a little sob of shock.

Finally, Maya is getting ready to be moved from her hospital to Siberia or wherever, but manages to stab her doctor in the neck with the needle of drugs intended to sedate her (not sure how that killed him, but okay) and escapes. Where does she head? Straight for Olivia, of course. “Hi, Livvy,” she says as Olivia walks by her on the street—and Olivia turns around looking like she might pass out right there.

Some thoughts:

What did Maya do, and how is she involved in B613? Could she be the real power behind the operation when all is said and done? Was she trying to commit suicide in the beginning of the episode, or (my guess) was she working the long con toward an eventual escape?

Now we know where Olivia’s popcorn habit comes from. I guess she’s sad a lot.

Is Huck going to torture Quinn? Is Quinn ever going to forgive Abby for describing her outfit as a “cheap skirt suit and dumpy heels”?

Sexytime count: Olivia and El Prez. Harrison and Candy. Abby and Jeremy. Poor Ballard is never going to get any again.

Baby Teddy learned the word balloon, you guys!

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

*Not really trademarked.