As events are set to extend past the place of no return tonight in “Thwack!”, let’s recap the latest, darkest and most twisted moments of recent Scandal episodes, to figure out who we should fear more: Eli, Olivia or Hollis?
We’re welcomed back to the Sally Langston show in episode 5×15 “Pencils down” as preparations for the Republican Debate begin. As Elizabeth, Olivia and; self-representing; Hollis make their demands for the debate stage; Mellie plays hard to get, as Hollis wins Sally’s bias.
It’s interesting; being a political nerd, to see how a show such as Scandal utilises the opportunity to address current events and political issues like immigration, climate change, and reproductive rights – and for once be thankful for Donald Trump. Okay perhaps, that’s a bit dramatic, but, with Hollis Doyle seemingly a mirror image of Trump, he allows these discussions to really be ground within our reality, and hopefully, the show’s audience takes the opportunity to really listen to the other candidates’ i.e. less non-sensical viewpoints.
Elsewhere, in the democratic race, Liv’s ex Edison reemerges as Frankie Vargas’ opposition. Though Liv’s past could potentially come back to haunt her, she is seemingly protected; as Edison’s involvement with Eli is ultimately revealed. Although, nothing good can come from Eli’s grooming of both, the head of the NSA and, a potential President. On his opposition’s team, Cyrus struggles to take control of the campaign, as Frankie’s brother; Alex fights to retake his mantle as campaign manager.
On the topic of love interests, Susan has to face her own love life in both this episode and the next; as the nation puts a spotlight on her personal life in the lead up to the debate. All for polygamy; Elizabeth encourages David and Susan to come out to the nation as a couple. Before Susan can bask in her fortune, Abby lets slip about David’s polyamorous love-life; unbeknownst to her, that Susan is one third of it. As a result, we see Susan flounder in her debate prep until the end of episode 16.
Struggling perhaps, with her fixer notoriety, Liv tries to mentor Mellie on fixing the nation’s own opinion of her. Coming off as aloof, and a know it all; Mellie’s campaign truly becomes an OPA task in the episodes to come. Concerned with how to reign in a stubborn-headed Mellie Grant, Olivia’s hunger for power and plight against her father ramps up as she exchanges dirt on Edison, for dirt on Susan with Alex Vargas; whose brother remains the naive player in it all.
Meanwhile, the OPA task force against Jake remains ongoing as Quinn gets close to Vanessa; as she discovers Vanessa is being used to launder money through to use B613 blood money to fund Edison’s campaign. When Olivia warns Edison against any involvement with Eli, he is the first to call out her hunger for power; calling her a monster.
The games continue as we enter episode 16; the Miseducation of Susan Ross ; though it is her love life that takes centre stage. Opening to the Republican debate, Hollis continues his role as a stand-in Donald Trump, as Mellie points out the hypocrisy of Americans like him, when their ancestry is rarely native to America. Susan however, is frozen; having learnt of David’s infidelity.
Hollis however, is confident in his spiel; trying to use Fitz’ reputation against Mellie’s credibility – calling out Mellie for hiring her ex-husband’s ex-mistress to run her campaign.
Again, its’ incredible to have this continuing platform of a debate, in which we can deter Americans against Trump.
As Sally cuts to commercial, our own opening credits roll in.
As the candidates take a moment to refresh, Fitz calls Susan, encouraging her with the advice that she only needs one good moment. Elsewhere, Elizabeth takes her aggression out on David for breaking Susan.
Making sure to highlight the significance of feminism against typically male driven politics, Mellie calls Hollis out, with the statement that you can’t look at a woman’s husband and assume they have the same beliefs and values; making sure to note that Fitz is her ex, and that she is not his keeper.
Pitting the candidates against one another, Susan is asked whether Mellie should be held accountable for Fitz’ actions. Susan thinks not, but is led to talk about her husband John; an army lieutenant, who was tasked with patrolling a highway in Afghanistan that was covering a pipeline to protect American Businesses such as Doyle’s. Enraged that it didn’t serve the people of Afghanistan, or the fight against the Taliban, she bit her tongue, only to learn that her husband was killed by a Taliban sniper 14 hours later.
Susan confesses that she only blamed herself; not for not being his keeper, but for remaining silent on the matter; and so, she swore to never be silent again – hence her political career.
With her one good moment, she emphasises that the American people should be America’s keepers.
The debate ends with Susan as the clear winner – even winning Sally’s favour. Though Olivia tries to reassure Mellie, she tells her “America hates me”, despite Olivia’s promises to get her the Oval.
Focusing on Susan; as promised, Olivia has dirt that proves John was never her husband.
Meanwhile in the present, the press wants the dish on Susan’s love story with David, and she’s obligated to sell it for her campaign.
As Liv occupies herself with discrediting Susan, Marcus is assigned the task of escorting Mellie to an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. With an interesting twist, Olivia chooses to extort the lack of Susan’s marriage certificate as fraud; playing on the notion that she collected John’s veteran benefits. As they discover she’s never claimed any, politics truly gets dirty as Susan’s daughter becomes a potential victim to Liv’s new plan. Even earning Huck’s disapproval, the team discover evidence that prove Susan’s daughter isn’t John’s – and they need to know why she is hiding her biological father.
Meeting with Frankie Vargas’ brother once more, we learn that he is withholding information on Susan’s real baby daddy – who is in prison. Olivia goes to meet with him, as Vargas tries to gather evidence on Edison’s time in rehab – although his brother doesn’t want to play dirty, especially as Cyrus points out that Mental Health doesn’t garner as much of a stigma these days.
Elsewhere, at Jimmy Kimmel backstage, Mellie is asked to read mean tweets. Marcus concurs; the meaner the better.
Learning that Susan had an affair with Kacey’s real father, whilst she was with John, Olivia tries to cut a deal with Ronnie – aka the Baby Daddy – to earn his freedom; if he’ll go to the press and agree to a paternity test.
In her current love life crisis, David wants to publicly and ‘consciously uncouple’ from Susan, but she doesn’t think the press would buy it; as well as support her campaign. David argues that he loves Susan and wants to be forgiven – so there’d be no need to break-up – but she’s far from eager to forgive him. I wonder however, how Susan’s past will unravel to discuss the topic of infidelity. Though Kacey’s paternity is focused on in this episode, we never truly uncover why Susan and John were never married.
Back in the democratic race, Edison’s past makes the news, as Cyrus informs the Vargases that it wasn’t a smart move to make such an allegation against Edison; despite witness testimony. Elsewhere, Eli, Jake and Edison are angry, especially as Edison insists they reign Olivia in. Cueing a Joe Morton monologue; Edison is reminded who is truly in power; defending Olivia.
Back at the Vargas’ campaign office, the team are made aware that the witness’s statement was false, as the nurse speaks out against the allegations.
Whilst Vargas’ brother confronts Olivia, and she defends herself, their allegiance is short-lived as he promises to wipe the floor with Mellie should she become the presidential candidate.
Back at Jimmy Kimmel, Marcus calls Mellie out on her behaviour, informing her that it’ll prevent her from becoming President. Marcus encourages Mellie to partake in the show; to show the other and more loveable side, of Mellie Grant.
Elsewhere, Olivia visits Ronnie again, demanding his blood for the paternity test – but he doesn’t want to help. He has faith that Susan will help him once she becomes President. Olivia threatens to frame Ronnie should he not cooperate.
Fearing that her demise will be at her own hand and not Fitz’; as a lot of haters have insisted over the years, she certainly is power hungry, as Ronnie is forced into agreeing to her deal. Later, as Olivia wants to leak the results to the press, Huck refuses to obey; recognising the line she is about to cross into becoming a monster.
Sharing Huck’s concern, Quinn recruits Abby and Fitz into an intervention held at OPA. Knowing all, Fitz tries to counsel Olivia about her actions. Fitz doesn’t want Susan to fall victim to the political game he did i.e the rigged election, and urges Olivia to approach things differently; honourably, this time around.
Back at the Oval, Fitz informs Susan of Olivia’s plans. Though he offers to make things go away, Fitz encourages her to come clean about her past. Fitz tells her that he was not fairly elected to the Oval, as he confesses the story of how he became President; deterring her from playing dirty.
With the revelation that Ronnie has killed himself, the tragedy proves to be enough to tame Olivia for now and save Susan’s campaign. Elsewhere, Frankie promotes Cyrus, having learned of his brother’s actions. New to the world of dark and twisty Shondaland characters, he remains unaware that Cyrus had Tom silence the witness.
With no need to come clean and fight honourably, Susan instead steps up to the ring, as she sells her love story with David to the press. Meanwhile on Jimmy Kimmel, we see Mellie partake in mean tweets. As she gets Marcus’ nod of approval, and I can’t help but ship them.
Whilst Olitz has taken a backseat this season, I’m all too happy to welcome a new relationship; should the writers acknowledge Marcus and Mellie’s chemistry. However, tonight teases that Olivia can’t be tamed as she crosses the line into something that presents us with more shocking moments than a presidential assassination, or kidnapping.
Scandal continues tonight at 9|8c on ABC with Thwack!
[Featured Image Courtesy of Richard Cartwright/ABC, ‘Scandal’ 2016 ]