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Scandal - The Miseducation of Susan Ross - Review: "Over the Cliff"

If you follow me on Twitter, you got to see my live and unfiltered reaction to Olivia Pope in this episode. I swear to Oprah, the woman had me wanting to take a baseball bat to her head with the tap dancing she was doing on my sciatic nerve. Mini Rowan extraordinaire, Olivia was not just over the cliff. She was hurling face forward into a ravine full of upright wooden spikes.

I am having a hard time buying this version of Olivia, the one who is on some naked quest for power; the one who has no qualms with throwing innocent people under the bus in order to further her own goals. Where did she come from and why are we seeing her? She runs counter to the woman that we have come to know and love in spite of her contradictions, and frankly, watching her descend into this darkness has been frustrating.

I suppose that all of this is intentional. Pushing a character to the farthest, most opposite end of who they had always strived to be can either cause them to realize that that end of the scale isn’t where they wish to be or they may decide that it’s where they want to stay. Whatever it is that they have mapped out for Olivia, I hope that this phase of it will be wrapping up soon because I don’t like this Olivia Pope at all.

That said, “The Miseducation of Susan Ross” was a solid episode, and it was directed by Scott Foley. (Good job there, Scott.) It really is amazing how much story Scandal manages to squeeze into 43 minutes. I may have wanted to crown Olivia the Head Bitch of B613, but her actions in this episode compelled revelations of other characters, revelations which may later serve as the key(s) to setting her to rights.

This is me being ever hopeful.

The Debate

The show picks up right where it left off last week with all of the candidates engaged in the debate. For the most part, it is primarily Mellie Grant and Hollis Doyle who are locking horns while Susan Ross stands there in a frozen state, unable to mount more than mumbling responses whenever the spotlight shifts to her.

Members of each candidate’s team are watching their performances from afar. Olivia and her team are watching from a television from some designated area within the arena, and Elizabeth and David are watching from another. Fitzgerald and Abby are watching from the Residence. Both are concerned by Susan’s state of paralysis.

It’s clear that Mellie’s debate prep has worked out well for her, but there is one thing that Mellie had not been prepared for (surprisingly) and that was Hollis calling into question her having Olivia as her campaign manager. The same Olivia who is the ex-mistress of Mellie’s ex-husband. The messiness of it all.Hollis says, “That ain’t presidential. That’s downright weird.”

Tell me about it, Hollis. Unfortunately, Mellie does not get to respond to that because Sally doesn’t allow her the opportunity. Olivia is less than pleased by this as Sally cuts to commercial. What she knew would happen with Sally moderating was transpiring right before her eyes. Hollis has gotten in a hit and her candidate wasn’t being allowed to fire back a response. Welp.

During the break, members of each team flood the stage to tend to their candidates. While Olivia tells Mellie that she has to address Hollis bringing up their working relationship, Elizabeth is rushing over to Susan with a phone call from Fitz. He gives her a pep talk and tells her that all she needs is one good moment to win the debate.

Back from the break, the issue on hand is gun control. Mellie offers that she is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, and Hollis in his usual sexist manner uses Fitz’s pivot on guns as a way to attack Mellie, asking the audience how it is that they can be sure that Mellie won’t be the same as Fitz. Mellie hits back with some common sense, stating that a woman should not be held accountable for the actions of her husband, that woman have their own beliefs. Then she offers that if anyone has any doubts about her position on the President, they should consider the fact that he is now her ex-husband.

Heh. Girl, he’s the one who filed for divorce, but I’ma let you finish.

Mellie’s answer on this also worked in countering the question of the absurdity of her working with Olivia. Just because Olivia was engaged in a relationship with Mellie’s husband doesn’t mean that the two women can’t work together towards a common goal, right? How modern of them. Pfft.

Sally then turns to Susan and asks her if she agrees with Mellie about how women are not their husband’s keepers or if she believes that Mellie should be held accountable for Fitz’s decisions. In her dazed state, Susan says that women are not their husband’s keepers. When she does not immediately follow that up with more, Elizabeth is freaking out in the watch room and Sally gives Susan this look that questions why Susan is even on stage. She goes to turn to Hollis for an answer on the question, but then Susan speaks up again.

Sally is caught off guard by this and turns back towards her. Elizabeth is perplexed as to what Susan is up to, but Fitz and Abby sit up in their seats, for they know something major is about to go down.

No, women should not be their husband’s keepers, but Susan says that maybe they should be. She goes on to relay a story about her husband John who had served in the Army. There was this one time that he had called her to tell her about some mission that they were on, to discuss some 20-mile stretch of desert that they were protecting. Susan asked him what it was about this stretch that was so important to America’s interests, posing a number of questions to him as to the why. She says that John told her that it was some pipeline that the Afghani government was allowing American companies to build on its land in exchange for billions of dollars. One of those companies, she relays, was Doyle Energy. When Hollis attempts to interrupt, Susan tells him, “I’m talking now.”

Sheeeit. She ain’t even look at him and Hollis shut his trap.

Susan goes on to say that this information upset her because John was out there putting his life at risk just so that American businessmen could make money. She wanted to voice her opinion and tell him to get out of there, but she bit her tongue because after all “we are not our husband’s keepers.” Fourteen hours after that call, a Taliban sniper killed her husband with a bullet to the neck.

Susan says that she didn’t blame the shooter for what happened or the government or the energy companies for what happened. She blamed herself. She had an opinion and didn’t voice it, and as a result, her husband is now dead. From that day forth, she pledged that she would no longer remain silent, so she became a United States Senator, then the Vice President and now she intends to become President. Women should not be their husband’s keepers, but maybe they ought to be America’s.

SUSAN!!!!!!! Whoo!!

The audience loved that response as much as I did. They broke into thunderous standing ovation while I got up and did a praise dance. Sally tried to calm people down, but they weren’t paying her any mind. Susan just hit it out of the park. She’s snatched the air right out of that debate, delivering on the one moment that Fitz told her she needed.

Olivia knew that  #TeamMellie had lost that round. How does one win against that kind of story?

We catch a snippet of Sally on “The Liberty Report” gushing about Susan being the clear winner of the debate, calling her “strong moral woman” that America needs and urges Mellie Grant to drop out to allow Susan to gobble up all of the lady votes. Heh.

Living for Chaos

Back at OPA, Mellie is despondent in Olivia’s office. Olivia is telling her that it was only one debate. The loss was a hard one, but Mellie should try not to take what happened personally. Mellie’s fixation, however, is on the fact that America hates her. (How she had somehow forgotten that America hasn’t been in love with her since she blabbed about her husband’s affair in episode 220 is beyond me, but I digress.) Mellie says that everything about her is hated, who she is, who she has the audacity to become. This, contrary to what Olivia says, is personal. America hates her and loves Susan. (Well, I mean…)

Olivia snaps into action then and says to Mellie that they are going to win the nomination. Initially, it seemed like Olivia meant this as a way to encourage Mellie, but then we see her crouch down before Mellie and say to her that she will get Mellie the Oval office “come hell or high water.”

Wayment. What? Come hell or high water? Olivia can’t make a promise like this unless she’s intending to do some dastardly deeds in order to see it come to fruition. This ain’t good.

Remember how I said that I didn’t think that Olivia would use the information that she got on Susan? After all, Susan hadn’t do anything to warrant an attack from Olivia, right? Well, I was wrong. Olivia opting to not use what she collected from Alejandro got shot to hell the moment Susan beat Mellie in that debate and used a lie to do it. You don’t get to be propped up as the moral choice for America when you’ve got skeletons in your closet.

Once again faced with the necessity to shore up her candidate and deflect attention towards someone else, Olivia drops the bomb on her team that Susan wasn’t actually married to John. (We already knew this bit of information, thanks to Leo spilling the beans on that in 407.) OPA is to find out why it is that Susan lied and use this as a means to take her down.

The next morning, Olivia tasks Marcus with accompanying Mellie to Jimmy Kimmel (I see your cross promotion, ABC) and Marcus is none too happy about it. Olivia tells him that he was chosen because he’s smart, balanced, good with people. She adds that he would be on the road with the presidential candidate, an opportunity that is considered to be “brass ring”, but Marcus still isn’t down. He describes Mellie as not being “people” that he is good with, calling her privileged and mean.

When Marcus turns to Huck, Huck is like nope. LMAO! Olivia says to Marcus that Huck stays and that she needs Quinn for her assistance on Susan Ross, and Marcus then sums it up as Olivia needing everyone but him. At that point, Olivia loses patience and pulls rank and tells him that she needs him to fly to L.A. with Mellie so that she can make herself more likable to America. To that Marcus says, “Whatever” and then goes off to do as he was told.

Approaching Mellie, he’s got team spirit all up in his voice as he asks her if she’s ready to go. Mellie is less than enthused about going anywhere as she directs him towards her bag and rolls her eyes at him as she proceeds for the exit. I’m guessing that she overheard his protestations?

Marcus, you go’n need the patience of Job to deal with this woman. I feel ya, bruh.

Flash back over to the conference room and Quinn has dug up some additional detail about Susan’s not so husband. Huck adds that Susan has been on record as having said that she and John got married on a whim before his deployment in 2006, however, there are no records indicating that any such marriage occurred. Quinn says that they should go to the press with what they have learned, but Olivia tells her that this isn’t enough. Susan can find some way to spin this as her trying to protect her child. They need to get more, such as finding out that Susan collected on veteran’s benefits that she wasn’t entitled to. This would paint her as not only a liar, but as a thief.

Looking into Susan’s bank accounts, Huck is unable to find any deposits from the Army that would prove that Susan had collected on any veteran’s benefits. Olivia instructs him to look again, but Huck says to her that it could just be that Susan is a good person who lied to protect her child. Just as he says this, Quinn comes in with information about a DNA test that Susan had conducted on her daughter Casey. It turns out that Casey isn’t John’s child at all. Now the question is, who is Casey’s father and why is Susan hiding him.

Olivia later meets up with Alejandro at the Jefferson Memorial and says that she wants to know what it is that he’s holding out on her with regards to Susan. Alejandro tells her that he didn’t reveal all that he knew, including that John Latner wasn’t Casey’s father because he needed to hold on to something come general election time. Olivia counters by telling him that he won’t make it to the general election if he doesn’t use the information that she gave to him about Edison. Alejandro responds by saying to her that what she gave to him was nothing but rumors that he cannot substantiate with a second source. Alejandro is set to walk away when Olivia gives him the second source of Edison’s time at Meridian Terrace and Alejandro gives up the goods on who is the true father of Casey.

Off Olivia and her team goes to meet up with this guy. Turns out that he’s in prison. The man, Ronnie Miller, shares that he and Susan have known each other since they were kids, they both being children of coalminers. He said that they were sweethearts in high school and that she was always really smart. Ronnie speaks fondly of Susan.

Olivia asks him if Susan told him that Casey was his daughter and Ronnie is surprised by this information and says that Susan did not. After all, why would she had? Olivia says that she believes that Ronnie had an affair with Susan while Susan had been with John. Now Ronnie looks uncomfortable. Olivia tells him that she knows highly placed individuals who can get him out of prison, but that he’ll have to subject himself to a paternity test and come forth with the truth about him being Casey’s father.

Ronnie is hesitant to go along with this plan, saying that if he did this, people would believe that Susan was hiding something and him stepping forward would not be good for Susan since she is currently trying to run for president. Again, Olivia tells him that if he assists her with this, she will free him. Within a week, Ronnie would be out of prison. With that inducement on the table, Ronnie tells her that he has to think about it. He looks very troubled as Olivia leaves him to ponder her offer.

Once out of the room, Huck asks Olivia if she is sure that she wants to do this. With Ronnie being a felon, the chances of anyone believing him are slim. When Olivia says to him that people would believe a paternity test, Huck tells her that he’s looked into Ronnie’s file and discovered that he turned down a chance to rat out his dealer friends in exchange for a reduced sentence. Ronnie, Huck informs her, isn’t a snitch. Olivia counters by saying that maybe ten years in prison has softened his resolve.

Tsk. When Olivia leaves, Quinn turns to Huck to ask him what that moment was all about. Huck tells her that Susan lied and then decided to run for the presidency, so she is asking for an attack, but Casey is innocent. What Olivia is doing is crossing the line. She isn’t merely going after Susan. She’s going after a child who is the innocent party in all of this. Huck says to Quinn that, “This isn’t politics. This is ripping a family apart for no reason.”

I agree with you, Huck. Olivia is on some bullshit.

Quinn sums up Olivia’s actions as this being a presidential campaign and points out that they are currently losing and that Huck knows how much Olivia hates to lose. Then she adds that things could be worst, that they could be making stuff up. Heh. Just you wait, Lindsey.

The following day, Olivia is in her office when Alejandro pops in to accuse her of having given him false information about Edison in order to get her hands on what he had on Susan Ross. (See below in the Vargas section). After Alejandro departs, Olivia sits in thought for a while and then we see her go off to the prison. Time to shake up Ronnie. After all, she wouldn’t want what happened with Alejandro and the intel she gave to him about Edison to happen to her.

Olivia charges into the room with Huck and Quinn close behind, and she says to him that he needs to submit his blood for the DNA test right now. Ronnie, however, says to her that he has prayed about the matter and has decided that he doesn’t want to go through with it. He tells her that he can’t ruin the lives of the people he cares about.

Needless to say, Olivia does not find this answer to be a favorable one. Next thing you know, Olivia is going all Bruce Banner on us and is slamming on the table as she had with Huck when he was telling her some truths that he did not want to hear. Remember how her eyes flashed and she bared her teeth like a rabid animal? Yep. That was Olivia in this moment and I seriously wanted to sedate her.

Even Ronnie had to pull back from her rage because it made absolutely no sense to anybody but herself. Olivia can’t understand how it is that he isn’t biting on an opportunity that could set him free. Ronnie says to her that once Susan becomes president, he’ll be out of that jail in no time, but Olivia scoffs at his naivete and tells him that Susan won’t be coming for him. She says that Ronnie is protecting somebody who doesn’t even remember who he is, that Susan doesn’t care about him. When Ronnie counters that Susan does in fact care about him, Olivia cuts him off to ask if he wants to remain in jail for another ten years and he tells her that he should be out in three with good behavior. Olivia then says to him that he won’t be getting out in three years if contraband is found in Ronnie’s bunk, and asks Quinn (as a way to further threaten Ronnie) about how easy it is to plant these things.

When the camera turns to Quinn, she looks visually stunned by what she has just watched transpire. Olivia was threatening to plant drugs on Ronnie if he doesn’t cooperate? There goes the whole “at least we aren’t making things up” bit, huh, Quinn? Your girl is crossing the line!!

This isn’t merely politics. It never has been. Olivia has stooped to some incredible lows in the past, but this one would set a new precedent.

Quinn isn’t quick to answer when Olivia calls for her to back her up and Huck flashes her a look at said “I told you so”, but she snaps to respond to her boss, saying to Ronnie that they have done it before and could easily do it again. When she looks at Huck again, he gives her the narrowed eyes and shakes his head.

Ronnie, meanwhile, is distressed and can’t believe that Olivia would actually follow through on her threat. To that, Olivia tells him that he hasn’t a clue as to what she is capable of. Faced with what looked to him to be an insurmountable obstacle, Ronnie eventually capitulates to the pressure and agrees to Olivia’s terms.

And I’m here staring at Olivia as if she’s been invaded by aliens and asking, Girl, whatchu doing!? Why this desperation to see Mellie win and to win no matter the cost? What exactly is driving her right now? I’m not at all convinced that this is about Olivia wanting back into the White House. Is she trying to prove something to herself? Is this her trying to one up her father, the “hell and the high water”? Is this her playing at being the power hungry monster that her father believes her to be? Whatever is going on with Olivia right now, I really need her to snap out of it because it ain’t cute.

Back at OPA, Huck has gotten the results on the paternity test and it proves that Ronnie is indeed Casey’s father. Olivia is excited by this confirmation and instructs Huck and Quinn to leak their discovery to the media. She wants to see Ronnie’s face and name everywhere. She tells them that they have done a great job right before she departs from the office.

Huck stands there, clearly not on board with what Olivia is instructing them to do. He doesn’t have his hands held behind his back as he normally does when he’s in Olivia’s presence. Instead, his arms are folded across his chest and his person appears defiant. As soon as Olivia leaves for parts unknown, he turns back to Quinn who is asking him to cover the BNC, but he tells her that neither of them will be calling anybody about Ronnie. He doesn’t care about what Olivia told them to do. What she is doing is wrong. She’s about to cross a line that she can’t come back from all because Mellie lost one debate and is now down in a few polls.

Seems like a rather exaggerated response to me. They are only in the first quarter of this thing and Olivia is going this far to destroy the competition. WTF is she going to do when they hit the fourth quarter? Start killing people?

Quinn says to Huck that what Olivia is doing is what is best for her client (Really, Quinn? Company woman) and that Huck is making the situation personal, but Huck tells her that what they are being asked to do is in fact personal. They would be destroying a little girl’s life all for some political capital.

Huck is finally able to get through to Quinn, who then goes off to meet with Abby. Quinn had lied about having compromising photos of the Secretary of the Treasury in order to get Abby to meet up with her. When it is clear that no such photos exist, Quinn tells Abby that the reason for the meeting is Olivia. Abby is at first dismissive of Quinn’s concerns, saying that it’s an election and things get rough and tumble, but her opinion is soon changed when Quinn tells her that this is different and presents her with evidence of exactly what she means.

Later that evening, Olivia returns to OPA to find Abby and Quinn standing by a far wall. She looks pleasantly surprised to see Abby, but she soon notes the presence of the two Secret Service agents and realizes that Abby did not come alone. Turning towards her office, she finds Fitz standing on the other side. Intervention time!

When asked as to why he was present at her office, Fitz said that he came over to offer her some advice. After all, that’s what they do these days by dropping by each other’s offices, offering a few pleasantries and then giving unsolicited advice, right? He then adds that he hasn’t been able to come up with anything pithy enough to offer her such as when she said to him that the “fish rots from the head” but he figures that since they are “keeping it real” with each other now…

When he said “keeping it real”, I about died. Olivia looked back at him like, never say that mess again. Matter of fact, she told him that whoever taught him that phrase ought to be fired.

Once Olivia gives him permission to lay out whatever it is he came to share with her, he mentions Ronnie Miller’s DNA test. Olivia asks him how he got it and he’s taken aback by this being her first concern. He says to her that it doesn’t matter how he got it, that what does matter is that Olivia is back to her same ole dirty tricks. Fitz asks her, “How are you not sick of playing this game?”

BOOM. Olivia did not like this question at all. She tries to turn this back on Fitz, accusing him of having come to her with his “charming smile and cute little sayings” and pretending to give her advice and shame her into not using the dirt that she has that would sink his candidate, and Fitz responds by saying that should there be any manipulation on his part, that he supposes that she would be the first to recognize it.

Was that shade, Fitzgerald? LMAO! That girl can’t see manipulation if it was staring her in the face. Her father and Jake have played this game with her for how long and yet it is Fitz who she says is the manipulator? LOL...okay, girl.

Olivia goes on to say to him that the only reason he is in her office is because what she intends to do affects Susan Ross, and Fitz tells her that he’s there because he believes in his candidate and considers her to be brilliant, passionate and inspiring. Olivia adds that Susan is also a liar who lied to the public and lied to him. “And your candidate is so different?” Fitz asks her about Mellie, and Olivia responds by saying that she believes that Mellie would be a great president. Mellie, she says, is smart and hardworking and truly cares about the country. Olivia then turns this on him and says that he married and had kids with Mellie. He must have at some point thought the same things about her, and Fitz’s response? “What can I say? You think you know a person.” And Olivia’s response? “Funny how that works.”

I don’t think we are talking about Mellie anymore.

Once it is clear that they have now ventured into personal territory, Fitz says to Olivia that he’s working on being a better person, but she’s dubious. Fitz goes on to say that he doesn’t want what happened to him to happen to Susan. He says that he doesn’t want her to win by deceit or to be a “victim of another Defiance.”

In response to this, Olivia is in disbelief at him referring to himself as a victim of the election rigging that won him the Oval. She says that he knows that “receiving stolen property is a crime” and that he got exactly what he wanted.

Olivia, what? What in the mickey flick are you talking about?

Fitz knew that receiving stolen property was a crime? How exactly did he….you know what, nevermind because in the next few seconds, it is made clear that Olivia is talking about herself here. Her statement isn’t at all applicable to Fitz for he didn’t know about the rigging until years after the fact and that only came about because one of the participants tried to kill his behind.

When it dawns on Fitz that Olivia is trying to atone for the crime that was Defiance with Mellie as he is trying to do with Susan, he does not have an immediate response to her rant, but when she tries to dismiss him from her office, he finally speaks up. They are no longer the people that they were back when Defiance (and its subsequent cover up) happened, he tells her. They are different people now and they owe it not only to their candidates but to themselves to go about this election in a manner that would allow them to move forward. He says that this is their chance to run a campaign that is hard-fought and honorable. He ends by saying to her that they don’t have to be those people that they had been all those years ago.

Olivia stands staring at him with emotion all up in those doe eyes of hers. His appeal to her better nature is affecting her more than she probably likes at that moment. She doesn’t respond to his final words and so Fitz takes that as his cue to leave. He grabs his coat and walks out of her office, leaving the door open. Abby and Quinn come over to see how Olivia is faring, and it is right as she walks over and slams the door in their faces. She is not a happy camper.

Ah well. Deal with it, Olivia, because your ass is going too damn far with this shit.

The next day, it is made clear that what Fitz had to say to Olivia the evening before did nothing to stop Olivia from moving forward with her plan to use Ronnie to take down Susan. Olivia is saying to Huck that the suit that she has laid out is what she wants Ronnie to wear, and she asks him what time he will be going to the jail when Quinn barges in to share that Ronnie is dead. He hung himself in his cell.

Shit, man.

Olivia is shocked by the news, but what her ass ought to be shocked by is her own behavior that led to Ronnie having to take this out in the first place. Huck tried to warn her that this man was no snitch, but she didn’t want to listen. Instead, she chose to believe that anyone would be willing to sell their soul for a price, but as it turns out, Ronnie was not that kind of guy. He didn’t wish to harm anybody, so what does Ronnie do? He does the most honorable thing that he can think of and eliminates himself from the equation. If Olivia intended to take Susan down, she was going to have to do it without him.

Ain’t it something that a felon has more scruples than Olivia does right now? One would think that after the guilt that plagued her about Defiance that she’d not be on this destructive path, but Rowan done gotten into her head. He was driving this ship and I don’t think she even realizes it, which is the saddest part. Yet it’s Fitz who has and was trying to manipulate her. Riiiiiight.

Will this be what finally gets through to Olivia to let her know that she is going too far? She has succeeded in this situation where she had failed with Amanda Tanner. Her dogged determination can cost lives, and in this case, Ronnie didn’t deserve to have his cut short because Olivia needed to score pathetic political points. His death is on her head. (That is, unless we find out next week that someone else orchestrated his death. This isn’t at all beyond the possibilities of this show. Y’all know this.)

Later that evening, Olivia comes into Quinn’s office and tells her that she needs her help. We soon come to realize that Olivia tasked Quinn with calling Fitz and Abby back to OPA. It would seem that Ronnie’s death and the hours since they had learned of it has led Olivia to realizing that maybe her family (i.e. Huck, Quinn, Abby, Fitz) was on to something.

After a short time, Quinn announces their arrival and upon Olivia’s acknowledgement to this, Fitz comes into her office and Quinn closes the door. At Fitz’s prompting, Olivia says to him that she desperately wants to win but she wants to do so cleanly. She wants to win because she won the best campaign with the best candidate, and she wants to walk away in November with pride and dignity. Then she tosses the ball in Fitz’s court and asks if he is game.

While this is going on, you can see Abby and Quinn watching them from a distance. LOL! They look like I would be if I was in their position, grinning like a loon as I watched my faves talking from across the room.

Instead of immediately replying to Olivia’s question, Fitz turn towards her side table and asks if the amber liquid in her decanter is scotch. When she tells him that it is bourbon, he gives her this look that says, you could do better. LMAO!

Can I just say how freaking amazing Kerry/Olivia looks in this gatdamn dress?! I’d say that she had intentionally kept it on to show off how sexy her body is, but she’s been wearing it all day so that theory doesn’t hold. Not that it matters what Olivia wears because Fitzgerald would find her sexy in a KKK hood if she was so inclined to wear one.

When Fitz heads over to pour them each some of the liquor, Olivia smiles and then shifts her attention to her two friends who are smiling back at her from the other side of the door. Seeing that all is proceeding well, the two decide to abandon post.

Bringing the liquor over, Fitz hands one to Olivia and finally gives her his answer, which is that he’s going to kick her ass. Hahaha!

OLITZ IN SOME FRIENDLY COMPETITION!! YES GAWD! I am so totally here for it. Anything to put these two back on my screen, Mother Oprah! It’s been like the California drought up in this bitch. Give me ma water!

Olivia, girl, please don’t revert to the crazy next week. I beg of you. I don’t want to have to exorcise you from my life. I love you and I want you to do good, oh fictional character you. Please love me back.

The Susan Ross Show

The morning following the debate, Elizabeth comes to Susan with a copy of the front page of a newspaper that prominently features her and David Rosen. Susan wonders at why it is that that was the photo that they chose to run with when she is the won who had won the debate. Elizabeth tells her that people are interested in their relationship and her phone has been ringing off the hook with people clamouring to know more. No one cares about her winning the debate when she’s won David. Typical.

Elizabeth goes on to rattle off the number of publications looking for an exclusive when David makes an appearance. Susan demands to know what he’s doing there and Elizabeth tells her that she has a round of interviews lined up that is for both Susan and David to give together as a couple. Selling this love story is critical, Elizabeth says, and David adds that he’d be willing to do whatever necessary to see that Susan is elected because he want her to be president. Susan can barely bring herself to look at his shady behind, but at the same time, you can see that the woman is fighting extra hard to keep her wall up against David.

Elizabeth one hell of a determined woman, what with her setting aside her broken heart to keep her eye on the prize. David may have tossed her as an old rag, but he’s going to keep to this charade until her goal is met.

David returns another day to speak with Susan, but she is not open to entertaining him. When he makes to sit down, she orders him not to, and so David is left to stand. He says to her that despite what Elizabeth says, he doesn’t think that they should do these interviews. Susan’s response to him is, “Tell me something I don’t know, stupid face.” I’m weak!

David says that they can put out a statement which tells the public that they are no longer together and that they tried, but that they should really be focusing on the country; that they remain close friends and wish each other well. David believes people would understand, but Susan believes that what people will decipher is that she was the victim of David cheating on her. She is like, hell to the nah. No version of them breaking up is going to make her look good.

David tells her that he’ll be willing to say whatever it is that she wants him to to keep them from having to lie to people , but that what he really wants to say to her is that he loves her and that he hopes that she will consider forgiving him and that she would allow him to earn her trust back. Then they wouldn’t have to break up or even have to fake it because then they would just be their authentic selves.

Susan’s hard shell doesn’t last for long, but she’s able to keep it up until David exits the room. She so wants to give in and forgive him. You can see it in her eyes. SMH.

When we next see Susan, it is much later in the day. She is in the Oval with Fitz and he is breaking it to her that Olivia is planning to use what she learned about Ronnie against her. Susan considers this to be an absolute nightmare. Fitz says to her that he can make the situation go away by commuting his sentence, striking some deal. From what Fitz has learned (I’m guessing from Abby via Quinn), Ronnie doesn’t intend to talk and so he can ensure that Ronnie does not.

Fitz once again reiterates that he can make all of this go away for her and Susan is all for it, quick to thank him in advance for the offer, but Fitz wants to be sure that this is indeed what she wants. Susan doesn’t see that she has any other choice, but Fitz tells her that she does. She could choose instead to come clean. Susan isn’t keen on that option for it would involve her having to state that the man who really fathered her child is a felon in prison and not the one that she has pretended to be married to. Fitz agrees that the manner in which she has framed her story would definitely fail to go over well with the public, but he tells her that she can instead offer them the truth.

The truth as Fitz sees it is that Susan was in a loving, committed relationship with a man who served proudly in the United States military, and that shortly into that relationship, she made a “mistake” that gave her her beautiful daughter Casey who was subsequently raised in a loving family. (Damn, that’s one hell of a frame job, Fitzgerald.) Fitz adds that Susan is imperfect, she is human and is prone to mistakes. He tells her to own up to that mistake and ask for the forgiveness of the American people. He tells her that he doesn’t know if they will accept her apology and continue to support her, but he thinks that they just might, and adds that he certainly will.

Susan says that she can’t own up to this, that she can’t do this to her daughter. Fitz says that it isn’t his place to tell Susan how to parent, but that if Susan makes the decision not to come clean, she would just admit that her reasons aren’t because she is trying to protect her daughter. Her real reason would be because she is trying to protect her path to the Oval and it would be because she believes that acquiring the Office is worth whatever it takes to get there.

Well, shit. Go ‘head, Fitzgerald, and come on through with that good word. Look at you trying to pull everyone else into the light with you, channeling Olivia of yesteryear. You have always tried to live by the motto of “the time is always right to do what’s right”, but never before has it been so blatant as it is right now with you urging those around you to stand in their truth and do good. Are you turning into the white knight (all pun intended) right before my eyes?

Fitz tells her that the Office is not worth whatever it takes to occupy it. Susan says that he doesn’t understand, that if this secret of hers gets out, she will be ruined. Fitz then tells her that what would really destroy her is if she takes the Office and didn’t really earn it. He follows this up by confessing to her that he did not earn his position as president.

Whoa. Fitzgerald, what are you doing, sir?

Susan looks at him in confusion, clearly not understanding what he means. Now it was time to enlighten Susan to the biggest secret of all, the biggest reason for why Fitz is urging her to be straightforward and honest with the American people. Doing whatever it takes to become the President of the United States has serious consequences. He would know this better than anyone. Susan Ross was about to learn all about Defiance, Ohio.

Fitz says to Susan that after she hears what he has to tell her, he expects her to tell him who it is that she wants to be and that he hopes that she chooses to be better than him.

UGH! Stop being amazing, Fitzgerald. Just stop.

And can I just say how much I love this relationship between Fitz and Susan? Yes, I know I have said it before, but I’m saying it again!! I love them!

The next day, we see Susan sitting in her office in contemplation. Soon she comes to a decision and then heads over to the Residence to share this with the President, but she comes upon him discussing something with Abby who is the first to see her. This prompts Fitz to turn around, and just as Susan says to him that she has made a decision, he tells her that he has difficult news to share with her. It isn’t made clear in the episode as to what that difficult news may have been, but it is insinuated (by the OPA scene that followed) that the news had to do with Ronnie’s suicide.

So as it turns out, whatever decision it is that Susan had come to, it was now all null and void. It didn’t matter if she chose to be better than Fitz or if she opted to keep the secret to herself. The weapon that would have blown her secret out of the water is now dead.

Soon after hearing the news, Susan is sitting in front of cameras with David and faking happy with him. As soon as they are cleared with the station that they are interviewing with, David says to her that she is doing great and that he is glad that she has decided to forgiven him, but Susan sets him straight. Love don’t live here anymore. He is nothing but a prop.

The Senator and Her Keeper

Finally at Kimmel, Mellie is met by a producer who says to her that what she would love is to have Mellie read some “Mean Tweets.” Mellie has no idea what this is and Marcus had to let her know what it was about. She had to read aloud the evil things that people had to say about her on Twitter. Marcus says that it’s funny and that people love it. Ha! People may love it, but do the subjects of these attacks feel the same?

If you are unfamiliar with Jimmy Kimmel making celebrities read the mean tweets, do a search and you’ll find videos. The tweets can range from hilarious to downright cruel. I’d hate to see the kind of stuff that would be in Mellie’s mentions if she was a real life person.

The producer goes on to give an example of such a tweet and says, “Mellie Grant looks just like my old girlfriend’s dog. I hate that dog.” LMAOOOO!!! Mellie is horrified, but Marcus says to the producer that this tweet isn’t mean enough. He wants her to find ones that are harsher.

No better way to toughen up the skin of a public figure than to have them read the harshest things that people have to say about them, yeah? After they’ve been through that fire, anything that comes afterwards would roll right off of them.

We later see Mellie and Marcus walking down a hotel hallway where Mellie is ranting about having to read these tweets instead of talking about “real issues.” Her rambling eventually sets off Marcus who tells her that she is relentless with her whining and complaining. That this characteristic of hers is exactly why nobody (including himself) doesn’t like her and why she will never be president. Mellie tries the victim card, stating how it is that Marcus doesn’t know what she is going through, what people are saying about her, but he’s unsympathetic.

Stunned by what he said to her, Mellie walks off towards one of the suites.

Later, Marcus enters the room where Mellie is preparing for her appearance on Kimmel and Mellie asks him what it is that he wants. Sighing, Marcus launches into a reading of several tweets that had been directed at him when he was running for mayor of D.C. Mellie doesn’t understand the point of this tactic of his, but Marcus does not let up. He asks her to figure out what it is that trended 48 hours after he announced, and when Mellie comes up with nothing, he says that it was his “high booty.” LMAO!

He now has Mellie’s attention. She’s even amused by this. He is finally able to crack her veneer and says to her that this is the Mellie that America needs to see. The one who is relaxed and who can laugh at herself. He says that he understands her fear of losing, but she has to show America that there is another side to her, a side that the American people can fall in love with.  He tells her to use this to win.

Alright, Marcus! Olivia was right in sending you along with Mellie. You can agree with that now, right? Mellie is eventually successful in reading the mean tweets in front of a live audience (and recording cameras) and Marcus is proud of her.

This tweet right here had me in stitches: @xziller8ed: Mellie Grant thinks she can run the country but she can’t even keep her man in check. Girl, bye.

I die.

Is High Booty Marcus about to thaw Mellie the Ice Queen by introducing some chocolate to her vanilla? Don’t act like y’all ain’t think about it. Ebony and Ivory, live together in perfect harmony...

The Brothers Vargas and the Snake Between Them

Armed with the information that he had acquired from Olivia, Alejandro finally presents his findings to his brother who considers it and then dismisses it. This is a personal matter for Edison and isn’t something that Francisco intends to use as a point of attack. Alejandro remarks that every time he brings forth dirt to sling, Francisco wants to play church boy until he eventually comes around to his way of thinking. He says that America deserves to know if the man they are set to elect is a pill popper. Alejandro turns to Cyrus for backup on his stance, referring to the older guy as “Old School.”

LOL! Alejandro, you’re doing all the right things if your intention was to offend Cyrus Beene.

Cyrus says that such a strategy is risky, especially given the fact that people with mental health problems are no longer stigmatized in this day and age as they once used to be. Francisco tells his brother that he does not comment on rumors, and then he leaves Cyrus and Alejandro to themselves as he goes off to work on a speech. Before departing himself, Cyrus tells Alejandro that he should watch out for his hand is dangerously close to the flame. If only Alejandro understood just how close he was…

Later we see that word of Edison’s stint at Meridian Terrace has hit the news thanks to Alejandro. Cyrus comes upon Francisco and Alejandro having a meeting, and once Alejandro leaves, Cyrus says to Francisco that the information should not have been leaked. Francisco is like, it’s cool. Alejandro spoke to the head nurse who was present when Edison checked himself into the clinic. (Alejandro isn’t a very good influence on you, Frankie.)  Cyrus warns him that if they make such an allegation and they get it wrong, the hit they could take in the polls could prove detrimental, but Francisco is all about loyalty. His brother hadn’t once sent him down the wrong path, so this one isn’t going to be the exception. (Heh. Famous last words.)

Out on the campaign trail, Vargas ends up responding to a question about the allegations from a reporter. He’s quite pragmatic about it, but he says enough to have people question Edison’s fitness for the presidency.

Now let’s make a small detour to what’s happening in Edison’s neck of the woods.

The Miseducation of Edison Davis

Over at the Pope residence, Edison is watching Vargas respond to a question about his stint at Meridian Terrace. Rowan and Jake are also present. Edison is upset that this information has gotten out. Rowan remarks that Edison had assured him that this matter was buried and Edison says that it was, but that Olivia turned against her word. Edison even went so far as to raise his voice while cutting off Rowan’s question. He tells Rowan that he needs to go to Olivia and pull back the reigns on her before she does anymore damage. When Rowan doesn’t immediately respond to him, Edison goes “do you hear me?”


If looks could kill, Edison would already be a rotting corpse. He really has no idea what he just did. Y’all peep Rowan’s face? He looked set to give Edison a read back the likes of the one that he gave Fitzgerald in 310. And Jake had the best reaction ever. LOL!
(I know. I just posted a Jake picture. I promise you that I am sane.)

Rowan goes off on Edison, letting him know in no uncertain terms that Edison is never again to speak to him in the manner than he just did nor is he to ever to make “distasteful” references to Olivia requiring reins.

Wait, is Rowan a feminist now? This is all so ironic given Rowan’s own history with his child and his penchant for exploiting her sexuality for his own purposes. Is he not the same man who has sent operatives in to sleep with Olivia in order to keep her distracted? Yet Edison’s reference to Olivia requiring reins pisses you off. Anyway…

When Rowan remarks that what it is that Edison wants is to be a boss, Edison offers a fumbling denial of this, having now realized that he has offended the man who he knows as Eli. He’s really drowning at this point when Rowan orders him to “Spit it out, son! Speak with some SPIRIT!”

Listen...LOLOL!! Joe Morton as Rowan be doing the absolute most. He essentially just told Edison to put his back into whatever it is that he has to say. If he’s gonna be a boss, he better be about that life. But Edison tells him that he doesn’t want to be a boss, which opens the door to Rowan asking if that then means that Edison doesn’t want to be president? Edison tells him that he does, so Rowan replies to that by saying that this then means that Edison in fact does want to be a boss. It’s either he wants to be one or he doesn’t. Whichever it is, Rowan wants to know.

Edison is left standing there in stupefication. He has no idea how to respond to the transformation that just occurred in front of him. I’m willing to bet that he was having a flashback to when Olivia said to him that her father isn’t who Edison believes him to be. He was probably wishing that he listened to her then.

Rowan looks at him with disgust before saying that should Edison ever again forget who the real boss is around that piece, he’ll be sure that Meridian Terrace is the last thing that Edison has to worry about. The not so veiled threat to Edison’s life is driven home as Rowan makes his way over to Jake and slaps his hands on his surrogate son’s shoulders. No way that Edison missed the meaning of that guarantee as Jake looked up at him in silent confirmation while still enjoying his chicken. Rowan says to him that he’ll handle the situation his way, and that Edison is to meanwhile keep out of his sight and to keep Olivia’s name out of his mouth.

LMAO! Lawd… My sides hurt from all the laughing I’m still doing from this moment. Edison thought that all he was doing was working with the monster’s father, but he has now been disabused of that notion. Edison just realized that he had been miseducated. Olivia is but a small chip off of the old block. Contrary to what he had thought, Edison is actually working with the monster himself. Welp.

Once Rowan leaves the room, Jake says to Edison that if he’s hungry, there is more chicken in the fridge. Edison looked at Jake like…

Hahahahaha!! I can’t deal.

The Tables Get Turned on New School

Back at campaign headquarters, a staffer comes by to alert Francisco, Cyrus and Alejandro to something that is on television. The woman who had been the head nurse at the time that Edison was admitted is publicly denying that the Senator has ever been at the facility. Oh noes! Hadn’t Alejandro just said to his brother that the woman had indeed confirmed this to him?

The woman says that the rumor is an outright lie, and she calls into question Francisco’s character for commenting on unsubstantiated rumors and offers an apology to Senator Davis and his family. Cyrus turns to walk away from the others gathered in front of the TV as Francisco stares at his brother in disbelief. Alejandro’s move has just backfired and in a big way.

Pissed off, Alejandro goes to see Olivia who has no idea what he’s talking about. He fills her in on the situation and Olivia says that someone clearly got to the woman, but Alejandro thinks that she lied to him so that she could get her hands on the information that he had on Susan Ross. Upset, Olivia hops out of her seat and says to him that he can’t blame her if he didn’t move quick enough to keep someone else from bribing the nurse and getting her change her story.

All truth, Alejandro. That’s on you, not Olivia.

Back at the Vargas campaign office, Alejandro comes into the room with a list of field directors that Francisco had requested. He asks if he wants to take a look at them, but Frankie tells him to hand the list over to Cyrus for him to check out. Cyrus chimes in that he thought that it was Alejandro who was handling this, but Francisco cuts him off to say that his brother had been but now he is not.

Damn, Alex. You don’t gotten the cold freeze. Now it is you who is on the outside looking in. Oop.

Alex looks set to say something to Cyrus, but just then, Tom shows up. Cyrus refers to him as his ride (haha, in more ways than one) and he uses this as his opportunity to depart. As we soon learn, it was Cyrus who was responsible for that nursing denying Edison’s admittance to Meridian Terrace. He put Tom on the job and Tom handled it.

Oh, Cyrus. He waited for the right opportunity and pounced. Now he’s the one who Francisco turns to and not Alejandro. Slick ass move there, chess master.

I do wonder if Rowan had a hand in this at all. Cyrus was willing to ding his candidate in order to reclaim his position as Francisco’s right hand man, but Rowan was more invested in this Meridian Terrace thing going away. Hmm.

GAH! I really loved this episode. Did you see what I meant about how her actions revealed things about those around her? She was going off the rails and her people came together to pull her back. Not only that, they (Huck via Quinn via Abby) reached out to the one person that they knew could get through to her. Unfortunately, Olivia remained stubborn in her wrongness, having convinced herself that Fitz was somehow manipulating her. It was so odd to hear her voice this opinion of him, her having found some way to place him into a box that he had never before occupied. It’s a rather disingenuous act, given that she, if anyone, was the Head Manipulator in Charge in their relationship. Far be it from me to point out the obvious.

Only when the very real consequences of her unrelenting pursuit rear its head did Olivia realize that her peeps were right. It’s too bad that a man had to die before she finally saw the light.

Also, what I’d like to know is if all that was driving Olivia here is her need to redeem herself over Defiance. I understand her desire to do so, but she was doing far more than was necessary for a candidate who had merely lost her first debate and was down in the polls. It wasn’t like it was crunch time for crying out loud. Was part of her drive subconsciously about Rowan and wanting to beat him at his own game? I was left wondering if Olivia is in this for Mellie at all.

I'm trying hard not to read much into the use of Stevie Wonder's version of "Sunny" in the final scenes (the Bobby Hebb version had been heard before in 401 when Olivia was on the island with Jake and again in 410 when Olivia dreamed of being in Vermont with Fitz), but its use was likely an indication that a bit of the sun has managed to break through the dark cloud that has been hanging over Olivia for a while now. (There's a segment of y'alls who is mad salty that the light was brought forth by Fitzgerald, but y'all go'n stay maaaaad. I'm petty, I know.)

Since the song began playing over Cyrus's scene with Tom, it would also signify the break that Cyrus has finally gotten in his situation between the Vargas brothers. It played ironically over Susan and David sitting for their interviews, but the sun had certainly come out for Mellie as she stood in front of that audience and read off those tweets. The applause she received certainly made her feel like the sun had finally come out for her.

Y'all know I ain't reaching.

Something else that was revealed in this episode was Susan’s long standing hypocrisy. Since the moment we have met her, she has held quite the unbending stance against cheaters and those who cheat. Come to find out that, this may have all been her projecting onto others her self-loathing of her own actions. Isn’t it something that she now finds herself in the position of having been cheated on? How long does she intend to keep David out in the cold? It’s a rather hypocritical stance, if you ask me.

I’m willing to bet that Edison is wishing he had listened to Olivia when she warned him against her father, but that’s his bag to carry now. Ah well. And Alejandro got had. Cyrus may be old school, but that man knows his way around the block. Welcome to the Major leagues, Alex.

So what did you all think of the episode? Were you as frustrated with Olivia as I had been? What do you think of how Fitz is now the banner carrier for standing in one's truth? Do you think Susan will eventually cave and forgive David? What is your opinion on Fitz sharing with her the circumstances of his election? What was your take away from the Olivia and Fitz scenes? Do you think that he and the others succeeded in pulling Olivia back? Offer your thoughts in the Comments section below or tweet me your thoughts.

I thank you for reading this recap/review of Scandal episode 516. See you all next week!

About the Author - Spectacles in Script (Specs)
Specs is a fiction writer who has a love for compelling stories and ankara dresses. Currently obsessed with SCANDAL, she serves as reviewer of the show for SpoilerTV.
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