This marks our very first recap of ABC’s Scandal!
Last week on Scandal, Vice President Sally Langston was sworn in under the 25th Amendment. Huck was tortured under the Patriot Act and later released in order to bring the real assassin out of hiding. The election rigging co-conspirators have finally realized that Hollis is out of control. Mellie forged Fitz’s signature and committed treason. Fitz awoke from his coma!
In the present, Olivia arrives home to her apartment to find Edison. Seriously? This man is too at home. He’s getting mail delivered there and now he just shows and waits there until she gets back? Olivia promptly announces that she is changing the locks. Without wasting any time, Edison accuses Olivia of having had a relationship with the married President insisting that there is no possible reason that she would commit fraud and treason unless she were his mistress. An indignant Olivia replies, “In the last three minutes, you have called me a criminal, a whore, an idiot and a liar,” and lets him know that is the last time they will ever be speaking. It should be noted that while Olivia is absolutely guilty of everything Edison just said, her denial is something to behold. After Edison leaves, Olivia talks to Cyrus and discovers that Sally Langston is planning on presenting Mellie’s forged letter to the Cabinet.
In a flashback, Fitz is debating Governor Reston, who we met in “All Roads Lead to Fitz.” A pollster recites statistics that suggest Fitz won’t have the electoral votes to win the Presidency. With a month left in the election, Hollis wants to stack the deck in Fitz’s favor. At this point the audience is already well aware that Hollis is an amoral sociopath with way too much influence, power and money. Mellie asks Olivia to convince a reluctant Fitz to allow his father, a former Senator, to help because he listens to Olivia. Poor Mellie. At times, I feel that Mellie has gotten the short end of the stick. Then I remember that she is a co-conspirator in a criminal fucking conspiracy and has committed treason, so she isn’t without her faults.
In the present, Fitz hopes to make a full recovery but it’s possible that he could experience loss of executive function and perception. Just as Sally is about to blow the whistle on Mellie’s fraud perpetration, Fitz, handsome as ever, strides in and announces himself. He reminds Mellie and Cyrus that he can’t back down until Sally accepts his reinstatement, which will save Mellie from a prison sentence.
Back before the election, Fitz is deep in debate prep when Papa Fitz (Barry Bostwick) shows up. He thinks Fitz needs more charm and less wonk. Later at dinner with Papa Fitz, Lil Fitz pouts a lot and generally acts like a spoiled brat. Papa Fitz asks Olivia to dig up dirt on Reston. Fitz continues to throw shade at Papa Fitz highlighting his dad’s numerous prostitution scandals that kept him from pursuing the Presidency himself. There is some irony here. Later, Lil Fitz, drunk and angry after dinner with his father, tries to force himself on Olivia in a hotel elevator. Let me pause here and to do a breakdown of my feelings about Fitz for a second. First of all, this veers dangerously into the sexual assault and violence category. Does Fitz really need this characterization? I feel that I have seen this with male characters who would otherwise be seen as “good men.” Writers often treat these incidents as a one off. They’re not. It’s sexual violence and incredibly troubling. Back to the episode. The elevator door opens to Mellie staring aghast at the scene. In a very sad and awkward exchange, Mellie profusely apologizes to Olivia and begs her to stay with the campaign. It would seem that at some point in the past, Mellie had a great deal of respect for Olivia and may have even considered her a friend.
In present times, Fitz is weighing the options of a military strike on East Sudan in the Situation Room when his words drop off and his vision blurs. The meeting adjourns after Sally finishes his sentence for him.
Back in the day, Fitz agrees to throw dirt on Reston using opposition research. The Conspirators Hollis, Verna, Cyrus and Olivia further discuss election rigging. Hollis being the delusional psychopath that he is insists that they would be doing a patriotic thing. Mellie enters and asks what the hell is going. During his debate prep, Fitz is yelling at people. Olivia takes him aside and asks him if he really even wants to be President. “Why? Why are you wasting everyone’s time and hopes and dreams? Who are you? Why do you want to be President?” This piece of dialogue highlights something that many viewers have noticed since the premiere of Scandal last year. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like Fitz even wants to be President all that much.
In a jarring jump back to the present, Olivia visits with Fitz and tells him never to almost die again. At the press conference about East Sudan, a reporter asks Fitz if there are any problems that could affect his judgment as Commander-in-Chief to which Fitz eventually responds, “No.” At the final debate, an audience member asks Fitz why she should trust him as Commander-in-Chief. Fitz responds, “Weakness is what makes us human. You can’t have someone protect you if they don’t know what you’re afraid of. Why? Because I’m afraid of it too.” Papa Fitz is a little more than disappointed in Lil Fitz’s response, but Lil Fitz doesn’t care. He calls his father cruel, petty and slimy to which Papa hits back with, “I’m a winner and that’s something you’ll never be.”
Back to the present: Sally congratulates Fitz and gives him a letter of reinstatement. She tells him that his getting shot was the scariest thing that has ever happened to her and that it’s not easy being President. I hope this isn’t the last we will hear from her even though Cyrus called the vice presidency a “political black hole.”
In another flashback scene, the Conspirators, now including Mellie, meet again. Cyrus says that that the decision must be unanimous, but Olivia still objects. She gets up and walks over to Fitz where he tells her that his father had a heart attack and died 20 minutes ago. After the funeral, Olivia finds Fitz chopping wood. He tells her, “I want it Liv. I want to win this election. It’s mine. Do you think I’ll make a good President?” Olivia thinks so, but in my opinion, he spends most of his time being petty, mean to Mellie and stalking Olivia. But whatever. Go with what you feel.
In the present, Olivia arrives home at her apartment and Edison is there again. It seems like neither of the men in her life have any sense of boundaries. He proposes to her. He sure went from “You are having an affair with the President!” to “Marry me!” fast! In the White House, Mellie rambles about their good fortune. She asks him what he wants and he tells her that he wants a divorce. Cold.
Flashback: There are 4 days til the election, and the election could come down to a few counties in Ohio and a town named Defiance. In classic Shonda Rimes fashion, Cyrus gives one last rousing speech to convince Olivia that if they want to put the right man in office, they must commit a crime:
We take care of the President because we are believers. We do it because Fitz can’t. People like Fitz go down in history. People like us create the history. We run this world so he can lead it…Does he deserve to be President? And if he does can he win on his own? And if the answer is yes to both, then we will never discuss election rigging ever again.”
With one day until the election, Olivia finally breaks down and says that she’s in.
What did you all think?