[SPOILER ALERT: If you care about spoilers, don't read if you're not caught up with Scandal. We're going as far as last week's "A Woman Scorned." Deal? Deal.]
It’s been almost three months since we saw David Rosen wake up next to a butchered blonde and we realized that something (else) was amiss in the Scandalverse. These kids can’t catch a break, can they? Since that moment and the President’s sabotaged hostage rescue attempt, the pieces of the White House Mole problem have been unravelling slowly, with promising leads, frustrating closed doors, and the death of an innocent man.
Scandal isn’t concerned with answering every question, but at least we know for sure that in tonight’s episode of ABC’s soapy, impossible-to-resist melodrama, we will find out who that pesky mole actually is. Let’s take a look at some of our lead suspects and make wild speculations about motives.
THE WEST WINGERS
Fitzgerald Grant, President of the United States
• Pro: Fitz has been an island (a depressed, moody, scotch-soaked island) since he found out about Defiance, and he solidified that choice when he murdered Verna. It is possible that Fitz, one of the only people to have legitimate access to the files the mole has, is the mole. But why would Fitz want to be the mole? Perhaps having the threat of a mole around would afford him more executive authority. Or it could give him an excuse to shut out everyone else.
• Con: He suffered a number of public embarrassments as a result of the mole. Also, now that he’s “chosen” Olivia, any legitimate motives for engaging in treasonous activities kind of go right out the window.
Mellie Grant, First Lady of the United States
• Pro: Mellie is ambitious. She likes power. She likes having some control over Fitz, who has only gotten colder towards her as the season progressed. A brilliant law school grad, Mellie wants to be seen as an equal to her husband. Showing that she is smart enough and calculating enough to obtain and then leak state secrets might prove that — at least to herself. Even if she was discovered, it would be political suicide for Fitz to out her as the mole.
• Con: Mellie values public approval. There are no popular political benefits to being a mole.
Sally Langston, Vice President of the United States
• Pro: Sally Langston is a popular choice with the recap commenters, and for good reason: If there ever was a woman professionally scorned, it’s the Grant administration’s VP. This woman has had everything taken away from her, including her promised power to choose the next Supreme Court nominee. Langston has also never fit in with this administration and was only brought on to secure the Christian conservative vote.
• Con: She’s been largely absent from the show since Fitz returned to power after the attempted assassination, when Langston of course attempted a coup. It would be kind of wild to have her almost completely disappear and then just reemerge suddenly as the mole — the source of every problem of the second half of season 2.
Cyrus Beene, Chief of Staff to the President
• Pro: Cyrus is power hungry and ruthless. Why wouldn’t he want the opportunity to have ultimate, unquestioned control over the White House?
• Con: They told us last week that it wasn’t him. It would make too much sense.
Teddy Grant, BOTUS (Baby of the United States)
• Pro: It would be the perfect crime. No one would ever suspect a baby.
• Con: Fine, he’s still a baby. (Plus, The Simpsons already did it.)
• Pro: It’s easy to forget that Scandal’s main character is basically a mystery to us. What do we really know about Olivia Pope? Why is she so good at fixing situations? What did she do before she started working on Fitz’s campaign? Why did she tell Huck last week that they understood each other because they’ve both seen dark things? It would be kind of brilliant if Olivia was the mole and somehow orchestrating everything.
• Con: I mean, it’s probably not Olivia Pope. That would be bananas. But now I kind of want it to be.
• Pro: She hates Republicans. Maybe this is her revenge.
• Con: Abby, despite her snark, is probably too ethical to do something like this.
• Pro: We don’t know a ton about Harrison, either. He’s loyal to Olivia and his suits, but what is his angle? Maybe he’s been conning OPA the whole time, pretending to be the most devoted and passionate of the Gladiators while singlehandedly taking down the government.
• Con: Harrison doesn’t have a dog in this fight. It would be a big stretch if he was the mole, unless he’s just in cahoots with the mole, which would only work if it were Olivia.
• Pro: The newest Gladiator has certainly taken to Huck’s line of work pretty quickly for an innocent girl who just happened to date the wrong guy. Perhaps Quinn Perkins really is the Molotov Mistress. She’s been pretty bitter since discovering that Hollis Doyle ruined her life and that Olivia was at least passively complicit. Recently, though, Quinn has been hiding that side of herself as she racks up hours in training with Huck. Think about it: We don’t actually know who put Huck in that box. Maybe it was her. Is it possible that she wanted to break Huck so that she could continue on with her mole-ing?
• Con: Quinn just really wants to get Hollis Doyle, not take down the government. I don’t know that being the mole would really satisfy her urge for revenge — unless she’s planning to unravel the entirety of Defiance and the false government it created.
• Pro: Huck is literally capable of anything. Maybe he’s been working for someone else all along.
• Con: We NEED him to be a mostly good guy who sometimes murders and tortures people.
THE SHADOW PEOPLE
Mysterious Park Bench Man
• Pro: MPBM leads (or led) the shadowy B6-13 organization that previously employed, and then tried to murder, Huck, and may still employ Charlie. He’s also, at the very least, interested in protecting the identity of the mole. Remember? He was pleased that the CIA director had been framed so neatly and that Albatross could be pegged to him without question. Just because he seems to be working on behalf of the mole doesn’t mean that he can’t be the mole as well.
• Con: We know so little about MPBM, and he’s already so shady to begin with, this would be a somewhat lame reveal.
Captain Jake Ballard
• Pro: We have no idea who Jake is actually working for. He sort of reports to the President and MPBM, but it’s unclear who he defers to. Obviously he tells MPBM more than he tells Fitz, but that could all just be part of his larger game. He’s also rather comfortable lying to basically everyone and has an easy, relaxed creepiness to him that is hard to ignore.
• Con: It’s more likely that he, along with MPBM, is protecting the mole. That’s why he had to frame Osbourne. He’s just a foot soldier.
• Pro: Charlie basically doesn’t exist. He operates in the shadows the way a good mole is supposed to.
• Con: Charlie might be a heartless mercenary killer, but he doesn’t seem to have any sort of interest in taking down the government. He does his job, and that’s that. He’s not a power-hungry guy, and if he is, this clandestine murderer position is very, very wrong for him. He might be working for the mole — that wouldn’t be a surprise — but it wouldn’t make sense for him to be leading the operation.
• Pro: He rigged a national election, murdered a bunch of employees at a company, and exhibited the amorality of a super villain. He also had a lot of access to the West Wing while Fitz was recovering and Sally Langston had taken over… right before all this mole business started to become a problem.
• Con: Hollis is a business man and the mole doesn’t seem interested in money.
THE “INNOCENT” BYSTANDERS
• Pro: He’s an investigative journalist at heart, and perhaps he thinks he has stumbled on the story of a lifetime.
• Con: It’s James! He’s so sweet. Even my “pro” assumes that he would have done it accidentally.
• Pro: His life was ruined by the system. If anyone had cause to start taking matters into their own hands, it’s poor, jobless, Gladiator-in-training David Rosen. Also, he kind of started this whole thing when blondie ended up dead in his bed. Why have we been so willing to just pass that off as a coincidence? Wouldn’t him being the mole explain his debilitating paranoia too? Maybe David Rosen has just lost his mind completely.
• Con: He’s supposed to be the good guy! The moral compass! He’s affable for goodness sakes!
THE “I’M NOT DEAD YET” LONG SHOT
Billy Chambers, Former Chief of Staff to the Vice President
• Pro: Even though it was heavily implied that Charlie took care of Billy, perhaps not. He would definitely have it out for the government that betrayed him. And maybe Charlie was just bringing him back to meet MPBM.
• Con: It would be quite a shock for some audience members to see Billy reappear in such a key role. Also, I’m sure many would barely remember who is he, so narratively it might be a mistake.
So, PopWatchers, who do you think is the mole? Who did we overlook? Who are your top three picks? Are you excited to find out tonight, or are you just looking forward to closing this arc and moving on to some other scandal? Talk to us!
Follow Lindsey on Twitter: @ldbahr