Scandal Season 4 Ep. 18 Recap: “Honor Thy Father”

Photo Credit: ABC
It's on. Like Donkey Kong. After focusing on Cyrus Bean's dysfunctional nuptial history in last week's delightful distraction “Put A Ring On It,” this week's episode “Honor Thy Father” focuses most of its attention on the gladiators' quest to expose B6:13.

At first it looks as if Jake, who started this ball rolling by giving the infamous files to David Rosen, has gone AWOL. Or to use the popular slang of the day, cray cray. After literally being strong-armed and threatened by Jake, David Rosen enlists Quinn and Huck to rally the troops—the troops being ex-B6:13 agents Max Butler, Margo and Simon—to testify and use their confessions to put pressure on Jake. But Jake's two steps ahead, hearing their whole plan via wiretap, and presumably using his intel to murderous ends. Charlie bounds into the secret agent hideout only to find his comrades in torture dead, and a wiry, unhinged Jake lunging for him.

Convinced he's gone off the deep end, Charlie says Jake's gotta go, and after Huck whisper-confirms via a short soliloquy about Jake being in survival mode Quinn reluctantly agrees. They track Jake to Olivia's place, when he's actually moved across the hall; he tells Huck and Quinn Olivia is safe, before insinuating bodily harm will come her way if they don't leave well enough alone.

The big reveal is Jake hasn't gone cray cray after all, but that Holly, David Rosen's assistant, was secretly a B6:13 operative and responsible for all the murdering and mayhem (Now that I think about it, you never did see Holly and Jake or Huck in a room together. Smart Shonda. Very smart). Jake pops a cap in her dome, and informs Rosen that he always on the good side, but in this fight, knowing who's the good guy won't always be easy to tell.

It's a clever ruse, setting up Jake as a potential big bad to obscure the real monster lurking in the shadows. An even better slight of hand is the camera pulling from Jake eavesdropping on David to reveal Liv also listening to his scheming. After which she reads Huck for filth over trying to keep their Jake under wraps, reminding him of the number one rule when dealing with Olivia Pope: don't lie.

After imparting that lesson in being a boss biznatch, Olivia gets a knock at the door, smiles and opens the door for Franklin. But—surprise!--Papa Pope, the aforementioned monster, also come for a visit!Dayum, Olivia can't even get some on the side without Eli destroying her bliss. He appears behind Olivia Franklin when she answers the door in the episode's final scene. He might as well be Jason Voorhies wearing a hockey mask and carrying a machete, given her reaction.

But I digress. Up until that point, Olivia was continuing her journey back from the brink and returning to something a resembling a normal—well, as normal an existence as one can hope to have when they operate in this world. She's taken on a new client, Congressman Nick Reed (whom Entourage fans may know as Adam Davies), whose father George Reed is on death row for confessing to murdering his late daughter's teacher Dan Hoffman after the girl committed suicide over their illicit (and might I add illegal) affair. George dismisses Olivia and his son's belief he didn't do it, but Liv lets George know she's proving his innocence whether he likes it or not.

OPA digs and finds other victims, and suspects his wife Lisa may have pulled the trigger, but when Liv goes to her home, her sister says she died a few weeks ago. Olivia asks Quinn and Huck to go search Lisa's home for any clues that she may have killed Dan. They find a gun, and decide to call in an anonymous tip so the cops can put it into evidence and possibly prove George's innocence. Though ballistics points the finger at Lisa, Olivia puts the pieces together—the gun has no rust on it, even though it supposedly sat in a basement for 15 years (Liv knows her firearms)—and knows the congressman pulled the trigger, not his father.

George points to his son's status as proof taking the fall for him an making him lie about was worth it. However, Olivia counters his son's life is empty, despite his professional success. She could also be talking about herself and the way her existence has been molded by her own father's desire to protect her. Recent booty calls aside, Liv has no real friends (aside from Abby), no significant other and her life revolves around her job, one she is preternaturally good at. The dilemma Olivia faces now is will she rid herself of Eli, or continue to “honor” him despite the havoc he wreaks? It's a question the show has asked before, but one Shonda and Co. now seem ready to answer.

Mellie's run for Virginia senator continues to plow ahead, though this week it encountered a major roadblock in the form of Harmony (Holly from True Blood! Hey girl!), Mellie's half-sister. From the time we first met her, being vetted by Elizabeth, it's clear Harmony is not here for her big sis, repeatedly telling Elizabeth to pass word to Mellie that she's “got her back,” passive aggressiveness dripping on every word. As you might have guessed, Mellie's not a big fan of Harmony either, but Elizabeth talks sense into her by reminding her Harmony's discontent could be a political disaster if she's doesn't nip it in the bud. Cyrus practically creams at the thought of watching Mellie squirm as she welcomes Holly into the White House—Abby compares his glee to a tornado chaser pressing his face up against a window watching a twister in action.

As Cyrus predicted, Fitz is none too pleased with the effect Holly's presence is having on Mellie, and reasonably wonders how she'll weather a presidential campaign if she can't make it through a contentious family visit and dinner. I guess after you've had to suffered under the craw of borderline sociopath like Big Jerry, dealing with a half sister whose mother you blame for breaking up your family is a cake walk.

One the episode's more interesting exchanges take place after the dinner. In a delicious role reversal, Fitz and Mellie try to hip the other to what their responsibilities are. Fitz brings up the fact that being Commander in Chief often involves deciding between a bad choice and horrible, with everyone hating you as the end result, while Mellie criticizes his lack of First Lady tact in working to deflate any tension or uncomfortable moments between her and Harmony,

Fitz take the advice to heart, and the next day tells Harmony the reason why Mellie treats her like crap is because she's still hurting over her father leaving her mother, and cites it as the reason for Mellie's bottomless drive and ambition. He might be saying this primarily to get Harmony off the warpath, but dammit if that's not true.

Eli's back. Fitz and Mellie are united. And David Rosen's feeling so righteous you'll have to pry the white hat from his cold dead hands. Like I said, it's on.

Other Thoughts:

---Cyrus on Holly's wardrobe: “You look....festive.”

--Love that Abby and Liv dish the dirt over the phone, while Liv also mentions she's about to make the administration look hella bad to exonerate George Reed.

--Drunk Mellie made a cameo appearance, telling Fitz after her disastrous Holly dinner to“Go, let me enjoy my hooch.” Even in brief scenes, Drunk Mellie rules.

--Turns out Franklin (Brian White), the handsome stranger Liv picked up at the bar back in “It's Good To Be Kink,” appears to be sticking around, though Liv politely but assertively says their one night stand is the extent of their relationship. Then again, Huck and Quinn did find Franklin laid up in Liv's place, and there was that whole business with Papa Pope, so you put it together.

--Holly's hobbies include making soap out of dead animal fat. Just thought that should be documented.

--LOL Moment: the look of confusion and disappointment on Cyrus' face as Fitz and Mellie commit to making her president. I swear I was waiting for Cy to mumble “Curses!” under his breath.