I'll admit that "Scandal" often loses me when it becomes a love letter to screwing around with a married man (I know there are many impassioned supporters of Fitzlivia, but just because he's POTUS doesn't make it okay). When they are "on" in their on-again-off-again Olivia and Fitz share many tortured, passionate moments, and the dialogue, while earnestly delivered, starts to sound like it's been ripped from a bad romance novel. But sometimes, I don't mind so much.

This week, Fitz has forgiven all, he wants Olivia back, and it seems like we're in for another "Yes, yes, yes! No, no, no!" scene straight out of an old silent movie, complete with swooning. The difference is, of course, Mellie. Last week, she decided to play a game of chicken with the president, although it's chicken with a metaphorical nuclear bomb and not fast cars. If Fitz didn't forever break up with Olivia in 36 hours, she was going to blab about his affair to the press. Yeah, that's a pretty good threat. 

The catch, though, is that Fitz doesn't really care, so Cyrus has to run around frantically sweating and constantly appearing to be on the verge of stroking out. I really thought that might be how we capped the whole episode, with Cyrus busting into Mellie's interview with newly-appointed on-camera reporter (and Cyrus' hubby) James, gasping like a fish, and keeling over dead. Seriously, that looked like it was going to happen.

Because Fitz is too busy fight-flirting with Olivia, Cyrus is given the job of playing tough with Mellie. Go along with the cover-up, and you get a Senate seat or become the governor of California (if they had said New York Senator and Secretary of State, I think Hilary Clinton might have had grounds to sue). Don't go along with the cover-up, and burn all your bridges on the beltway. Mellie doesn't care! She is a woman scorned! Just read the title! Woman! Scorned! 

Anyway, Fitz lets those 36 hours tick by, and poor Cyrus runs around like a chicken with his fool head cut off. He goes to Olivia's apartment to, it seems, kill her (luckily Jake doesn't let him in, and I can't really think Cyrus would do such a thing anyway, so I'm guessing he would have given her a ticket to someplace nice and warm, like St. Lucia). He also gets some, um, pleasuring from James, who is so damn excited that his new job comes with suits, and that his husband is fine about him sticking their new kid with a nanny, that he is inspired to show his appreciation. Which might be why Cyrus ultimately didn't have a stroke. Anyway, he makes a lot of nuclear bomb references to Fitz, and Fitz responds in nuclear bomb references, and finally we end up at The Moment of Truth. 

And where does Fitz go? To Olivia's apartment, of course! Yeah, Mellie can go spin, but this is his chance to show Olivia all that he's willing to sacrifice Just For Her. He wants to find out what Olivia wants. "You can't fix the fact that I love you more than I love being President," he says, which sounds like something he'd usually say, but this time he can actually do something to prove the point. Like turn his administration into TMZ fodder. 

Finally, he delivers a great line. A sappy line, yes, but still, a great line. "Sit with me, and let's run out the clock. Sit with me, and watch me choose you. Watch me earn you."

So they sit, together, not speaking, and let the clock. Run. Out. It's a great scene, one that elevates the sometimes tawdry nature of their affair, and that is saying something. 

Mellie, as promised, admits on air that her husband, the POTUS, screwed around on her after she had a baby and she held his hand in the hospital following an assassination attempt. Still, she does spin it as "we're working to get through it," which isn't the case at all, because at that moment he's having hot sex with Olivia. 

Then, Jake sees himself having hot sex with Olivia, because he Likes to Watch and apparently has his apartment set with nannycams, too.  But then, a surprise! Charlie busts into Jake's apartment after the hot sex event and, yes, watches the tape on her TV. And Jake watches him watching the tape on her TV. It's all a little meta, but it really makes me think. What it makes me think is, my GOD, Charlie can walk right in? What? And knew the cameras were there? He's apparently letting Jake know he's under surveillance -- and, quite possibly, that his days are numbered. 

Back to the gladiators. Even if they completely suck at protecting Olivia's privacy, they're quite good at tracking down information on Charlie. Although at first it seems like Cyrus might be the mole (an idea that is not the least bit popular with Olivia), they realize he stole the laptop of a court stenographer who has all sorts of transcriptions on her laptop. Which she can take home, apparently. Because that makes absolutely no sense to me. But this exonerates Cyrus, and now it's just a question of finding out for whom Charlie is really working. 

Other things happen, but really, does it matter? Because next week, all hell is going to break loose -- and Olivia is surely going to be exposed as the mistress of the President. And damn, this is going to be interesting, isn't it? 

Do you think Olivia and Fitz will stay together? Do you think Mellie will try to win Fitz back? And what do you think is going on with Charlie?