Back in the Felicity days, did anyone ever imagine Scott Foley would have ANY career success threatening to snap people’s necks, and wantonly murdering, and walking casually away from a car he just blew up? Did anyone even imagine that until about halfway through his Scandal tenure?

And yet here we are. Jake noticed a blinking red light underneath his car, so he turned tail and walked away and then unlocked it, which triggered the blast. Here is my question: B-Nefarious can do pretty much anything in the world and knows every secret there is, but no one there has figured out how to build a bomb without a crimson beacon of warning? Rethink yourselves, B-Cavalier.

Jake shows up at Olivia’s place to tell her that Rowan just tried to incinerate him, but Olivia has arranged for a truly enormous amount of takeout — there is no way these two consume this much food in a given sitting — so that they can sit down and have a casual dinner and discuss how their days went. It’s very awkward because Olivia presumably hasn’t had a relationship that normal since Edison, and he bored her straight into Fitz’s clutches. Olivia mentions that the case from last week is inching along yada yada yada they’re totally going to shelve it for a bit. So that makes two cases in limbo. I was just joking in the last recap about a single episode in which Olivia does nothing but bat cleanup for herself, but at this rate, that’s what they’ll need. Anyway, her phone rings and she has to deal with a big ol’ mess, so Jake decides that maybe he’ll wait and tell her another time about how he just made S’mores on the smoking remains of his car.

Olivia has been called to a college party by Fitz’s high-school-age daughter, Karen. We know this is Fitz’s daughter Karen because we’re told that this is Fitz’s daughter Karen, MUSIC STING, so that we’re not confused about the fact that The Role of Karen Will Now Be Played By Mary Mouser From NCIS and Stuff. Karen is deliriously wasted and barfing into a trash can and can’t really walk. So Quinn and Olivia drag her out of there Weekend at Bernie’s style, but with less robust facial hair, and into a waiting helicopter. The whole idea was to be subtle to partygoers that this human being is Fitz’s daughter Karen, but one would think the whir of a chopper blade would have tipped them off, assuming their eyes weren’t confused by Karen’s new face.

Which looks like this, by the way. Karen doesn’t appreciate that Olivia is taking her back to Fitz, because she’s a teenager. Olivia doesn’t appreciate that Karen called her for a rescue and then complained about it, because Olivia has forgotten that sometimes being a fixer also means being an extremely expensive nanny.

Scandal recap, season 4, episode 4

And while they bicker, someone texts Karen a sex tape of her with two guys, doing a move they call the Eiffel Tower. I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary, where it is sensitively described thusly: “When a woman is on her knees performing sweet fellatio to a man standing, and another man is railing her from behind, thus the two men join hands above the woman to form what looks the Eiffel Tower.” It’s the extra step of the men joining hands that makes it feel PARTICULARLY like something invented in a cult full of really horny art majors.

Speaking of horny: Cyrus has the hots for the male hooker, and I am wondering if Jeff Perry’s new hair is because he waxed his chest and glued the debris to his scalp.

Fitz is deeply appalled that his daughter snuck out to a debauched party and then Kardashian’d herself. He immediately assumes she must have been raped, and tries to give her this very sensitive talk about it…

… and Karen and her bracelets inform him rather angrily that, in fact, she got wasted (and if I heard right helped a friend commandeer her family’s private jet; where the hell was THAT parked, and is the pilot still asleep at the controls waiting for them to make their curfew?) and smoked weed and then shot up something, and banged two guys, because why not. This, among other things, leads to the show explaining that Karen was sent back to boarding school right after her brother died because they thought it might bring normalcy. Did they also send Baby Whatsit to sleepaway nursery school?

I admit I find Kerry Washington’s performance to be a bit one-note sometimes, but she can turn on the longing glances like nobody’s business. Whether or not you root for Olivia and Fitz, it’s hard not to be affected by what she lets rush into her eyes when Olivia is alone with him.

Fitz begs Liv to find out what vile bastards made this video, which leads to an extremely uncomfortable editorial choice: This week’s Car Wash montage — for the uninitiated, that’s what I call the Kicky ’70s Music Plays While They Lay Out The Case of the Week — takes place in the White House, with Karen, as they put up headshots of all the guys at the party and ask her to eliminate the ones she’s pretty sure didn’t set foot in the Eiffel Tower. It’s… really tasteless. This girl got super wasted and doesn’t remember what she did, or with whom, and they recorded it. So even if the sex was consensual, the video wasn’t, and yet the show fires up its favorite groovy tunes for a peppy little time lapse of them narrowing down the sightseers to four. It bothered me, like this girl’s loss of agency is just a fun day at the office.

Abby is hella annoyed that Huck and Quinn are roaming the halls of the White House without her knowledge, and she has a point I suppose.   She gets snappy with Cyrus about how they all kiss Olivia’s ass, which Cyrus responds to by announcing that Abby can never, and will never, be Olivia Pope, so she should stop getting so testy about it and just be herself. He then pauses and correctly notes that, in case Abby hasn’t noticed, being Olivia Pope doesn’t seem like a very fun way to spend an evening. He clearly doesn’t know about the wine cardigans. There is no better way to spend an evening.

Just in case you were wondering, yeah, Mental Mellie is still happening. I have important questions. Why is the TV located BEHIND the couch? That seems incredibly silly. Who laid out this room? Did she turn it around during a Feng Shui binge? Did it turn around, Bright Eyes, because every now and then she falls apart? Is this a total eclipse of the smart?

Next time you visit our nation’s capital, go sit outside all the major government buildings and monuments and see if you can figure out which people are having deadly conversations about covert assassinations and operations, in plain sight, at totally obvious locales. What happened to diners and coffee shops and fake paper companies with undercover agents milling around within its bowels? Wouldn’t people be less likely to wander past and see Fitz’s Secret Service agent talking to Rowan Pope…

… OR Jake Ballard, if said meeting took place in a cobbler’s office in Colonial Williamsburg?

That said: Rowan threatens our boy Tom, by pointing out that if Tom doesn’t SUCCESSFULLY kill Jake Ballard very soon, Rowan might forget that Tom is his golden boy and then kill him as soullessly as if he were just some president’s rando offspring. Tom is struggling with this because Jake was ALSO Command for a while, and as he sits alone and wrestles with the dilemma, Jake shows up — because this covert meeting was seriously so easy to find that even Noel could do it — and encourages Tom to double-cross Rowan. He points out that Tom is a loose end, and like a stray shoelace, Rowan never leaves those untied.

Fitz gets himself alone with Olivia again and, moist-eyed, asks her where she disappeared to for two whole months. Liv stumbles over herself and tells him she went by herself, suggesting that her love affair with Fitz is not over. Regrettably, neither is her love affair with atrocious pants. I HATE how baggy those are at her ankles. This whole outfit, in fact, read like it was one of the discount Limited knockoffs of what Olivia usually wears.

Mellie is seriously displeased to see Olivia in the White House without the warning she’d requested from Fitz. She just gapes at Olivia, and then storms into Fitz’s office to excoriate him about it. Cyrus hilariously greets her with this HUGELY warm compliment about her Uggs and whether she is wearing a new color under her robe. But he is dispatched, and Fitz and Mellie face off: Fitz underlines his reputation as a total selfish assbag by throwing up his hands and using them to pat himself on the back for coping with Crazy Mellie, Smelly Mellie, and every other post-Jerry incarnation of his wife, and blames her for Karen’s sex tape and for the fact that Baby Grant barely knows his own mother anymore (and yet, did that child EVER know who Fitz was?) He then decorates his pity party with American flags, crowing about how HE is excused for overlooking his children because he’s running a COUNTRY — never mind that Fitz spends less time running the country than I spend running marathons — but the Little Woman has nothing so important in her life and ergo she has no excuse. Mellie somehow avoids stabbing him in the neck with a letter opener and coldly murmurs, “A sex tape? She takes after her daddy, then.” That’s almost BETTER than a letter-opener to the jugular. (She’s referring, I think, to season one– I THINK it’s audio that someone got of Fitz and Olivia having sex on the campaign trail, but it could have been one with Amanda Tanner, the dead intern; I’m not sure. Either way, a tape did exist.) Fitz is THE WORST.

Then Fitz takes on Olivia. He draws her roughly to him and breathes all 0ver her about how her disappearance almost killed him — ergo apparently it’s her fault that Fitz contemplated suicide — all the while insistently pawing at her and touching her and running his hand inside her shirt, as her body tenses and she tries to resist. His whole “You know you want it” act remains thoroughly disturbing to me, because the show acts like it’s the most romantic dance. He muscles in and takes her and she eventually gives in and admits she missed him and they make out, hotly, and yes, the two of them have GREAT chemistry. Until you flip to Chapter Two of that chem textbook and it is called FITZ IS THE WORST. Olivia basically lets him take and take and take. And once you’ve kicked open that door, it’s hard to slam it.

However, she does. She slams that sucker right on his crotch when she pulls away and confesses that she went away with Jake.

And when she reaches up to stroke his face, Fitz roughly grabs her wrist and gets nasty with her, and the drops of spittle that fly out of his mouth align on her face to spell the words FITZ IS THE WORST.

Olivia does take all her frustrations and unleash them on the dirtbags trying to blackmail the President in exchange for the tape. They are thoroughly awful, and the writers give Olivia a very Rowanesque diatribe in which she vows to ruin them and their haughty grossitude for the rest of their lives by taking their blackmail public. And yet the only reason I’m bothering to share this with you is because that table is seriously the love of my life.

Mellie has a very nice scene with Karen in which she tells her that it’s sexist and it SUCKS, but the fact is, being the president’s daughter means she can’t make the same dumb mistakes as other people because everyone will leap at the chance to call her a whore and worse. * Commenters reminded me she ALSO said that even if it gave her “tiny seizures” inside, she would support Karen doing all the sex stuff if that’s what fulfills her as a person, but not if she’s just doing it to fill a void. Then Mellie says that Karen gets one free pass after their tragedy and this is it, and the two of them hug and cry. It’s… maybe a LITTLE dismissive of the depth of Karen’s bender, but it’s also kind of nice to hear Mellie be so calm and maternal. No histrionics required.

This feels like a very ESPN treatment of government.

David is wracked with guilt about that one dude killing himself because of B-lackmail’s files. He hates what he’s become and wants to destroy them because information like that is never meant to be seen, ever, by anyone. This was the fastest disillusionment in history. It does lead to Jake Ballard nearly wringing out David’s throat like a washcloth, until David gives him the key to his B-uffoonery files when Jake Ballard comes and threatens to kill him. How many times has Jake threatened to kill David? At what point does David call Jake’s bluff because Jake can ill-afford to leave a trail of bodies?

Scandal recap, season 4, episode 4

Tom, though, is busted. During an assessment of Secret Service agents pursuant to how Karen managed to lose hers so easily, they figure out that Tom was not where he was supposed to be on the night Jerry died. A commenter reminded me that they also had video of Tom doing Shenanigans, and that’s the dumbest thing ever — this show is EXTREMELY selective about when it decides B-Powerful is all-achieving and all-stealth, and when it is Keystone Cops.

Jake gets to Tom by phone and tells him to flip on Rowan, and that Jake will be at the Oval momentarily with information for Fitz that supports it. But he hasn’t counted on Fitz’s jealous wang. Fitz blows right past Jake, won’t even hear him, and heads down to an interrogation room…

… where he has empowered Rowan Pope to question Tom, just as Tom was about to tell his old boss that Rowan ordered him to kill Jerry Grant. The breath of Rowan’s righteous faux-fury fogs up the one-way mirror, and as he lays into Tom as only he can, he writes the words FITZ IS THE WORST over their misty reflection.

As this moment passes between them, Tom realizes what Rowan is asking him to do, and can’t refuse. He says Jake Ballard gave the Jerry Grant kill order.

Scandal recap, season 4, episode 4

So as the men swarm Jake to arrest him for this crime against a guest star…

… Liv is at home alone with their Gettysburgers, guzzling expensive hooch, unaware that her favorite wine cardigan is about to become a WTF Sweater.

Tags: Scandal