- Title: Scandal – The Trail
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While Gideon (Brendan Hines) and US Attorney David Rosen (Joshua Malina) both separately investigate Amanda Tanner’s (Liza Weil) past and the events surrounding her apparent suicide, the episode gives us flashbacks to the contentious Presidential campaign between then Governor Grant (Tony Goldwyn) and the current Vice President (Kate Burton), including the first meeting between Olivia (Kerry Washington) and the man she fell for, and helped get elected President of the United States, on the campaign trail.
During the first big crisis on the campaign, news that Governor Grant’s wife (Bellamy Young) was having an affair with a literacy advisor and former porn star, we see Olivia reach out to various contacts and old friends and start to build the team that would eventually become Pope & Associates. We also see the beginnings of the Olivia/Fitz love affair.
Despite being led to uncover the President’s relationship with Amanda Tanner, Gideon digs a little deeper to discover it’s the Vice President’s Chief of Staff Billy Chambers (Matt Letscher) who was actually the father of Amanda’s unborn child, and it was he who sent her into the President’s bed as ammunition to use against him when the time came.
The President’s late night visit to Olivia’s also reveals it isn’t Amanda on the blackmail tape, but Olivia. Chambers had been holding on to the recording for two years, and the President’s recent indiscretion with Amanda gave him just what he needed to spring his trap. As for the reporter who stands in his way, well, given the final scene between them it looks like Quinn (Katie Lowes) is going to need a new boyfriend.
A strong episode that fills in a hell of a lot of backstory while answering several lingering questions about who is gunning for the President, and why. Brenda Song is awfully good as Rosen’s secretary, and we learn just how devious and manipulative the First Lady can be when she sets her sites on something. Billy’s dark turn is a little surprising, especially because I really liked his character and this severally limits where he can go from here. Next week’s season finale should be a doozy.