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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Scandal “Inside the Bubble” 

Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless
Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

Olivia’s relationship with her father is complicated and a little twisted. At the beginning of this episode, Olivia visits Eli but doesn’t want to go inside. She brings him coffee and they chat about Jake. And in the most normal of moments, Eli asks Olivia to bring Jake over for dinner, saying, “I’ll learn to like Jake because you like Jake.” This could be any father talking to his daughter about her boyfriend. It seems so nice, so simple. But let’s not forget that Eli trapped Jake in a hole not long ago. That could make for some interesting dinner conversation, couldn’t it?

But when Olivia calls Jake to ask him to dinner, he refuses.

Jake: You are not my girlfriend.
Olivia: I know that.
Jake: If you were my girlfriend I would come and meet your dad. Even your dad who threw me in a hole and tortured me. But you are not my girlfriend. So no.

As he has this conversation with Olivia, Jake is watching Charlie struggle with a vending machine. He hangs up with Olivia and then we see a side of Jake that we might often forget exists. He approaches Charlie and says, “Come on Charlie. Use your head.” Then he slams Charlie’s head into the vending machine, breaking the glass. The scene ends with Jake swiping the candy bar that so conveniently dropped down when Charlie’s head hits the glass. He opens it up and takes a bite, with his eyes cold. Jake is up to something. Something big.

We see later just what that is. Jake wants information from Charlie, and he gets it at Quinn’s expense. He’s been looking into to the death of little Jerry, and into Eli Pope. And once he gets the information he wants, he calls Olivia and says he’ll have dinner with her and her father after all.

The dinner, of course, is pretty darn awkward. They sit silently around the table eating their roast pork and wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. But when Olivia leaves the room to take a call from Huck, Jake and Eli have their moment. And it isn’t the conversation we’d see if this was a normal father and daughter’s boyfriend conversation. In fact, it’s the “boyfriend” in this scenario that acts as the protector:

Jake: Why’d you do it? Kill Harrison? Did you figure out that you murdered the president’s kid? Let me guess, you delivered the culprit’s head on a silver platter and Fitz didn’t have a clue. And now you’re back ruling the underworld with a president in your pocket. Nicely done.
Eli: That’s enough. You’re in my home.
Jake: Shut up. Shut your stubborn old man mouth up. You’re done giving orders. You’re leaving. You’re done in Washington. For good. You’re no longer the head of B613. I’ll leave you however long it takes to pack up this sad old house. And then you disappear. Quietly. You never contact Olivia again.

And from the looks of things, Jake wins this battle for now. Because at the end of the episode, we see Eli stepping into a car that might just be headed out of town.

This is Jake’s way of protecting Olivia. But I also think Jake likes the idea of being in charge. And if Jake can’t have Olivia (he knows that she’s in love with Fitz and not him), then he might as well get to have B613.

But a lot more happens in this episode that what we see with Olivia, Jake, and Eli. For starters, Fitz is pushing for a new gun control law, and David Rosen is willing to resort to blackmail to make it happen. This is an issue that is really important to Fitz – and that is extremely relevant to the viewers.

Fitz: I need this all to mean something. That seal. This office. It has to mean something. I’ve lost too much. I’ve given up too much. I’m not even a person any more. I am a statue. A monument. If I don’t get to be some soccer dad in Vermont, then I need this all to have a point. I need some jerk to not be able to by an AK47 and shoot up a school. That is not too much to ask.

There’s also a really nice moment between Fitz and Abby. Fitz finally realizes how useful Abby has been, and he calls her in to thank her. And more than that, to apologize. But what Abby really wants, is for him to call her by her actual name (he’s been calling her Gabby). He finally hears her and says, “Nice to meet you Abby Whelan.” They share scotch, a good one apparently, and Fitz invites Abby to sit.

Then he asks the real question. He wants to know how Olivia is doing. It’s too bad Abby doesn’t have much to offer here, since her relationship with Olivia is broken right now. What’s nice about this moment is that we can see it on both of their faces—just how much they miss Olivia. I imagine they are going to bond over this shared loss. I just hope they don’t bond too much….

Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless
Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

The case that Olivia, Quinn, and Huck (that’s all that’s left of OPA) have been working on is also interesting. The client is Katherine (Sonya Walger – Lost, Parenthood, Flash Forward) and her daughter is missing. It seems simply enough with they find her at a hotel and the mother insists she’ll go get her daughter alone.

But here’s the unexpected part. Huck learns why the daughter ran away in the first place, and it’s because Katherine was sleeping with her daughter’s boyfriend. For an even bigger twist, the daughter is murdered that night, and now Katherine is in custody.

Since Katherine is an old friend of Olivia and Abby’s, the stakes are even higher. Olivia immediately assumes that Katherine killed her own daughter, but Katherine begs Olivia to have faith in her. This case isn’t resolved in just one episode. We’ll have to wait until next week, or maybe longer, to find out what happens.

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.

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