'Scandal' recap ('The Fluffer'): season 3, episode 16

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Shonda Rimes decided to use a phrase in the title of this episode ("The Fluffer") that can be described more tamely as a way to stroke a man's, um, ego, in preparation for battle.

Olivia actually says this to the prez 12 minutes in: "Am I your fluffer? What service am I doing today?"

Yes, Liv's misery continues unabated.

Later, to Jake, she says ruefully: "Go ahead and shoot me. It'd be the best thing to happen to me all day."

She wonders to Abby if she should have taken her dad's offer months ago to just disappear and start over. Abby's defense, in classic Liv mode: "You're a gladiator. Gladiators don't run. They fight. They slay dragons. They wipe off the blood, stitch their wounds and live on to fight another day."

Ultimately, this speech shakes her out of her ennui. She almost drinks a glass of wine happily, for a change. Why?

She shuts down B613!

Here are the eight other notable plot points from tonight's episode:

1) Jake is a mad one. He isn't pleased that Liv shut down B613. Can you blame him? On top of that, the timing wasn't so hot. Of course, he enters Gladiator land at the end of the hour, grabs Liz by the throat and growls: "You just killed the president!" Why? Read on.

2) Proxy moxie: With the White House in disarray, Abby (Gabby?) plays proxy for Olivia and nobody there much cares for her work. As Abby soon learns, Liv is irreplaceable.

3) Power or love? You can't have both! Fitz is still peeved that Andrew has been working over his wife. "I'm not running with that son of a b****," Fitz says. He wants Andrew out and to "stop him screwing my wife." Liv's advice: "Make nice with Andrew and Mellie." He ignores her advice, vets another candidate. She tells him she'll fix things with Andrew.  She gives him a choice: stay as VP and drop Mellie or stick with Mellie and watch his political career die. She says men like him always  choose power over love. (See Fitz.). And he does. So he dismisses Mellie, who reacts using that classic soap opera trope: the face slap to Fitz - in front of his staff! (Fitz punched Andrew in front of the staff so why not?).

4) Taking down a candidate oh so easily. Democrat presidential candidate Reston's wife is in prison. In season two, Reston was the 2008 presidential candidate who lost to Fitz because of Liv's manipulations. He also happened to kill his wife's lover but she took the fall. When she finds out he planned it (courtesy of info from Abby and Langston's advisor Leo Bergen), he threatens to send her to a psych ward if she tries to reveal the truth. Then in the most ridiculous plot line, the Gladiators leak the prison video to the press and Reston's chances of beating Fitz fall on the wayside. This all happens in a matter of five minutes on the show, the type of plotline that might take up an entire hour on other shows.

5) Handing over the key but why? Daddy Rowan gives Olivia the secret code to figure out how B613 is funded (through an algorithm that enables B613 to swipe money from every agency.) Liv demands Huck find it against his wishes. Of course, the fund is empty. Were they played? Daddy claims he just wants to put B613 down like a dying dog because Jake is mishandling the agency. He tells Liv Jake probably moved it and the only way to find the new algorithm is to look within the private B613 system, not easily accessible. Huck says the only way she can get into B613 is to attach a transmitter onto Jake's phone for 30 seconds. She had just rejected Jake's come ons because she was appalled that he killed James. Now she has to go back to Jake if she wants to take down B613. So she arrives at his place, gets some and gets the B613 info from his phone. So simple! This leads to the shutdown of B613.

6) Charlie's suspicions continue. He grills Quinn about her past loves. He correctly suspects she and Huck have something going but she won't admit it.

7) Mommy has a bomb! Working with her lover Ivan, Adnan and Claire, some friend of Harrison's whose hair style looks very 1988, Maya tracks down some high-tech explosive device straight out of an episode of "24." Jake, tracking her moves, says to hold off from attacking until they find out who the target is. Then Liv shuts B613 down at the most inopportune time. So the bomb is now out there - somewhere. Earlier, Maya pops in to Rowan and Liv's weekly dinner to tell them to back off her business or there will be consequences. She drinks a bit of Liv's wine, too, that evil troll.

8) Impressive? The fake mistress Jeannine Locke comes out with a book with all sorts of details about her "relationship" with Fitz, including a revelation about his "baguette." Impressive, indeed!

Random quotes:

"I am not the bad guy... I didn't happen to you." - Fitz to Liv.

"You take everything from me!" Mellie to Fitz.

"I've chosen to euthanize it not because I hate it but because I love it." -Rowan to Liv about B613

"The Mona Lisa of boom!" - Charlie, describing Maya's bomb

Trailer for the penultimate season episode: Da bomb! Da bomb! It's ticking at a big Fitz event. Will anybody be able to stop it?