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WashingTelevision: Scandal Recap, Season Three, Episode Ten, “A Door Marked Exit”

Team Papa Pope, y’all.

Photograph by Michael Ansell for ABC.

Who killed Daniel Douglas Langston? Shrill Sally in the study with the letter opener, detective. Why does Daniel Douglas have two names? Who cares? In the immortal words of one Cyrus Beene, “There’s a dead closeted hillbilly on the floor and there I am.”

Scandalfans (I like the way that sounds), if you thought this episode might offer some holiday cheer and relief from the gore of the past few episodes, you were wrong. When Cyrus showed up at VP Sally’s house, Sally looked for all the world like Carrie at prom, with blood all over her face and a glassy-eyed expression (she was also muttering lots of good stuff about sin and sodomites and burning in hell). Later, Quinn dug around in her tooth (I can still feel my jaw wincing) to pull out the tracking chip Huck put there, spat out a bunch of blood, and then ran off to hook up with dead-eyed Charlie in a hotel WITHOUT BRUSHING. I can’t take this horror show, Shonda.

Cyrus getting Charlie and Quinn to clean up VP Sally’s crime scene had all kinds of ramifications for all kinds of people in this episode, the midseason finale (and hopefully the last time we’ll have to see Huck talk about skinning people in 2013). There was Mellie, now totally thrilled that she has an albatross to hang around Sally’s neck and use to blackmail her out of challenging Fitz for the presidency. There was Leo, totally pissed that Sally called Cyrus instead of him to fix it all. There was the doctor who’ll hopefully lose his medical license given that he diagnosed Daniel Douglas as being dead from a stopped heart without touching him or examining the body.

And there was David Rosen, about whom I had almost forgotten until some eager-eyed whippersnapper from the NSA showed up with a tape recording of VP Sally calling Cyrus and screaming stuff about having killed her husband. This is kind of a cliffhanger, I guess, but it’s hard to care about it given that David is so toothless. Also, way to creep everyone out by being so oddly clinical about your sex stuff with Abby, David. Although it did give Harrison his one line of the show, “I’m right here, y’all,” which is ironic given that we would have totally forgotten otherwise! Poor Harrison. Remember when Columbus Short used to dance with Britney?

The more important part of this episode was Papa Pope transforming from terrorizing torturer of innocents to one Big Badass, and stealing my heart in the process. Basically, Fitz kidnapped him and took him to the Pentagon to lock him in a room and ask him about Olivia’s mom, except the only thing PP would offer is that it was way above Fitz’s pay grade. Fitz tried to provoke PP by talking about having all the sex with Olivia, and PP sure did get riled up but not in the way Fitz wanted. Instead, he launched into the best tirade Fitz will ever get to hear in his pathetic life. I mean, it was poetic: At one point, Papa Pope even referenced Porgy and Bess. A highlight reel: “You’re a boy. You’ve been coddled and cared for, pampered and hugged. It’s always summertime . . . You cried yourself to sleep because Papa hurt your feelings . . . because it hurt to have so much money you spoiled, entitled, ungrateful little brat.”

Papa Pope for President.

Seriously, though. Plus, it transpired that Olivia’s mom, “Marie Wallace,” or whatever generic spy alias she’s using these days, is actually a gun for hire, who’s moved her way around the world stealing secrets for anyone who’ll pay her. She married PP to get access to B613 and then manipulated him into shooting down a plane with hundreds of people on it by telling him there was a bomb on board and if he didn’t do it, the bomb would go off over London and kill thousands more people.

Olivia deduced all this while interrogating her father after Huck and Jake (the new Dream Team) tracked him to the Pentagon. And Papa Pope cried, a very little bit, and Olivia figured out that he’d been protecting her from her horrible awful evil mother all along, but that he also couldn’t have her killed because he loves his family too much (I’m over-reading, I know, but oy was Papa Pope moving in this episode).

Anyway, this all culminated in Olivia learning that the plane Fitz sent her mom on was found in Mongolia and everyone had been shot except for Marie/Mia/Mama, who called Olivia at the very end of the episode and said she’d see her real soon. Also, Fitz, in a fit of petulance, removed Papa Pope from B613 and installed Jake as the new head of the snake, so I guess it wasn’t above his pay grade after all? And Jake, despite telling Olivia that he loved her, loved her, OK loves her, was mighty quick to jump ship and move into his new office.

Some thoughts:

I’m not really going to go into the Quinn stuff in too much detail, but basically she left Charlie and went back to Huck, wherein Huck told her he would peel off all her skin and she was no longer a gladiator, wherein she left and went back to Charlie but didn’t seem too thrilled about it. So, essentially nothing changed? Except Olivia’s mad at Huck for torturing Quinn, so maybe she’ll have a glass of wine or seven to numb the pain.

James blackmailed Cyrus into making him press secretary. So who’s going to take care of poor invisible baby Ella? And wouldn’t the press kind of resent the president’s chief of staff appointing his husband to such a high-profile position?

“I’m still the man you married. You just maybe never noticed the 666 on my forehead before.” Touche, Cyrus.

Anyway, thanks for letting me do this recap this week, and Tanya will be back in 2014! Happy holidays!