'Scandal' 3.16: Power Rankings For 'The Fluffer'


Thank you, Shonda, for giving us shirtless Jake week after week after week. Lots of stuff went down this week on Scandal, and yet that image is the one that lingers. But Jake’s pecs can’t win the power rankings, so who will?

1. Maya Pope: Maya is owning every interaction she participates in, including her dinner with Rowan and Liv and her whole “let’s kill Clare before she rats us out to Harrison” thing, but since we still don’t know her endgame (something involving a bomb), we don’t really care about her power plays. Though we must admit she is powerful, in an “I don’t give a flying f*ck about the scorched Earth I leave behind me” way. Which might just be the most powerful (yet terrifying and we never want to experience it) way.

2. Olivia: Cyrus tells Liv she can’t just bail on her job and send in Abby because her boyfriend was mean to her. I see his point in the larger sense, but I sort of feel like it’s a moot point with all the shenanigans that go on in this White House and he should know that. Liv’s having a rough week: she has to muddle in her bf’s wife’s affair even though it kills her to know that the affair is killing Fitz; she tracks down (via Rowan and Huck) B613’s money source only to find the account is empty; and she has to deal with Jake showing up in the middle of the night cooing about how he asked her to save him and she said no. We think that last thing’s kind of a plus, but Liv thinks otherwise and hangs up on Jake while refusing to open the door. Guess we see her point since he has to say things like, “I would never kill your friends.” Not. Normal.

Later, when she shows up at Jake’s (to secretly put a transmitter on his phone) she tells him “Go ahead, shoot me. It’d be the best thing that happened to me all day.” And she ain’t kidding. Through it all, though, Liv makes some power moves. She schools Nichols re: the affair, she beats Cy and Leo at their own game by telling them to go after Reston instead of each other, and she succeeds in planting the transmitter on Jake, which helps Huck break into the B613 system. Once he does, Liv gives the command: shut it down. And he does. And it’s beautiful.

3. Rowan: Rowan sends Liv on what seems to be a wild goose chase to find out where the B613 funds are coming from. He gives a lot of speeches, huh? Anyway, Liv eventually finds where B613 is, continuing on her “show the light” campaign, but not before Maya pops in on Rowan and Liv at one of their weekly dinners. Awk-ward. Both Rowan and Maya brandish their steak knives (but, you know, discreetly, since this is a fancy restaurant), and their showdown ends in a stalemate, with Maya sipping Liv’s wine (like mother, like daughter). Rowan notes that he is a patient and vengeful man, and you know what? We believe him.

4. Abby: Abby moves up to the big leagues this week, acting as Liv’s proxy on Fitz’s campaign team. Unfortunately, Fitz and Cyrus both calls her Gabby, Fitz is a whiny baby since Liv isn’t there, and Mellie and Nichols can only pout before leaving the room. Too bad, Ab. At least you got to tell Leo Bergen what to do for a while there and snap Liv back into shape with some very WWOPD? words of wisdom. (“You don’t get to run. You’re a Gladiator. Gladiators don’t run, they fight.”)

5. Fitz: Fitz is a petulant child again this episode (aka this whole season… this whole series). He’s throwing a fit because Mellie and Andrew are doing the hibbity dibbity, so he’s going to take his toy (Mellie) and run away from Andrew, aka take away the VP candidacy from him. But Fitz, haven’t you had a mistress, uh, this whole time? You’re a jerk. There. I said it. (Also, does anyone else hate the angsty music that plays during Olitz scenes? Blech.) Luckily for us, once Andrew dumps Mellie, Mellie comes in and slaps the bejesus out of Fitz, just like the rest of us playing at home wanted to do.

6. Mellie: Mellie clearly feels guilty for her Nichols-dabbling and is trying to overcompensate by chatting Fitz’s ear off and picking out his ties and our question is: WHY? Okay, she cheated. He’s been cheating for years. Luckily (for good TV), after Nicholls friend-zones Mellie, she hauls ass to the Oval and slaps Fitz right across the face, screaming, “YOU TAKE EVERYTHING FROM ME!” She then composes herself like a scary robot and leaves, but she’s still trapped in this “supportive First Lady” role, without even her side-love Nichols to comfort her.

7. Jake Ballard: Jake Ballard like, really misses Liv. So much so that he just shows up at her door (how did he get in the front, huh?) and demands to be let in. She doesn’t oblige, but she does show up at his apartment to get busy so she can plant some kind of transmitter on his phone. For all the power he has in the world, Jake still acts like any other man, falling asleep after sex. Later, once Quinn and Charlie realize Maya has “the Mona Lisa” of all bombs and then Liv and co. shut down B613’s systems, Jake runs into Liv’s office and holds her up against the door...by her neck. Um, not cool, bro. Not cool. You may be Command but there’s no power in choking out the lady you supposedly love.

8. Andrew Nichols: “What’s it like? Being you… cutting people’s throats and calling it politics.” - Andrew, to Olivia. In order to placate Fitz, Olivia tells Andrew that he has to choose: keep bonin’ Mellie or decide to keep his spot as VP on Fitz’s ticket. If he chooses Mellie, Liv will make sure that Andrew doesn’t see anything related to politics ever again. Also, Mellie will probably leave him, since she is a “run with the big dogs kind of woman.” Truth. Andrew, understandably, now hates Liv.

9. Cyrus: Whew, is Cyrus playing the “scorched earth” card this week or what? When he realizes that Sally set up this whole Jeannine Locke thing, he leaks the fact that Sally’s daughter, Cassidy, had an abortion. Since, you know, Sally is the “born again” candidate, this probably poses a problem for her constituents.

10. Sally and Reston: They’re both polling better with women voters than Fitz. Not like it’s hard...but then Cy leaks Sally’s daughter’s abortion story (which she spins as “personal experience = changing my view”) and Leo lets Mrs. Reston in on the secret of why her husband really killed her lover (hint: he knew about the affair). Since Abby tapes the couple’s prison visit confrontation and leaks it, Reston is done-zo in this race.

With only two episodes left, Scandal’s season is shaping up to be quite a doozy. Shame that Olivia couldn’t pull the plug on B613, oh, about a minute later? Can they find Maya/Marie/Adnan before everyone gets blown up? Will Mellie just wise up and leave Fitz already? Is Sally done speaking in tongues? All of that and more on next week’s Scandal. See you then!