“Scandal” Recap 3.02: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

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Last week on Scandal: “WHAT! DID!! YOU!!! DO!!!!?” I still get chills thinking of that, and can’t imagine how Olivia’s staff, gladiators or no, managed to stand there without running to cower and pee in the corner, like newly adopted puppies reprimanded for, well, peeing in the corner.

So, where were we? Right, Cyrus (Jeff Perry) opening a folder Daddy Command (Joe Morton) gave him and being all “Oh My God … these are naked selfies of Chris Evans, how did you get these?” and Daddy Command’s all, “Um, wrong secret mission! Give those back to me and turn the page!”

But rather than picking up there, we pick up, as on-screen titles boldly announce, “5 years ago.” Actually, we hardly need the announcement, because as with all flashbacks, the bad hair tells all. I love flashback episodes because they give a chance for all those Hollywood wig interns to try to show their stuff and get “good try!” on their wig report cards, even though it amounts to Huck (Guillermo Diaz) looking like the Geico caveman and Liv (Kerry Washington) in bangs. And bangs, in any time period, are never, ever a good thing. Just ask our own First Lady for real, or Nate on Gossip Girl.

But I love Scandal’s flashback eps, because unlike the last 18 seasons of Lost, flashbacks on Scandal not only fill in crucial bits of back story but also change the way we view characters going forward. Like I loved those flashbacks of Liv and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) on the campaign trail because they rendered their present relationship slightly less preposterous. And the Huck episode, which I think divided even die-hard Scandal fans into “Love It!” or “Hate It!” camps, just wrecked me and made me care for the character and his devotion to Olivia all the more. So it’s interesting to me that this episode starts out as a sort of Homeless Huck: Part 2 flashback extravaganza.

We start with a quick meet cute on their favorite train platform where Bangs Liv is all, “Ugh, I hate my life! I have to have dinner again with my asshat Dad in a gorgeous 5 star restaurant,” and Caveman Huck is all, “Have fun! I haven’t slept indoors in a month!”

Then Liv sulks through dinner with Daddy Command at this posh restaurant, like she’s the weird vegan daughter forced to eat at a steak house, and it comes out that after tension in their past, Daddy Command basically bribed Sunday night dinners out of Liv in return for paying her law school bills. My mother does the exact same thing to get me to visit, only she does it through old fashioned guilt, which is much, much worse. So it seems to me like Liv’s got a pretty cushy deal going here, and she should just enjoy it and order dessert.

He admonishes her for being so petulant-teen about the whole thing and asks her to try to be civil. So she warms up just an iota, orders the second most expensive entrée, and asks him about his job at the Smithsonian. And he lights up all, “Guess what? We’re this close to getting an original Doctor Bunsen Honeydew to add to the Muppet wing, fingers crossed!”

On the way home, Liv is mugged, and Geico Caveman Huck comes to the rescue, kicking multiple mugger ass.

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