Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Scandal - Pressing the Flesh - Review: "Catching the Fly with Honey Not Vinegar"

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

Scandal - Pressing the Flesh - Review: "Catching the Fly with Honey Not Vinegar"

Share on Reddit

Scandal made a return to one of the chief things that long endeared it to its fans, and that is its humor. For seasons, it had been quite difficult to find anything to chuckle at when it came to the machinations of the characters of this show, but, boy, have they given that back! Though “Pressing the Flesh” was a tad slower than the premiere episode, it was a fun ride that set up a few things that will likely get fleshed out at the season progresses. Let’s get into those things.

A quick summary of where we left off: A U.S. spy was taken captive by the Bashrani government, and Olivia and Jake were in conflict as to how to handle the situation. Olivia wanted to bring the man home alive while Jake believed it was in the country’s best interest to neutralize the asset. With President Mellie Grant opting to side with Jake, Olivia resorted to strong-arming the Bashrani ambassador into releasing the spy by threatening his son. The entire incident caused enough of a stink to potentially upset nuclear talks between the United States and Bashran. The White House (a.k.a Olivia) now had to move into clean-up mode.

Oh, and Olivia found herself a new boy toy. This is where this latest episode picks up, with Olivia looking about for her purse while Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” plays. She has just concluded her latest sexcapade with Curtis Pryce, who is still in bed, and she is about to take her leave. From what Curtis says as she goes about the room, they have rustled the sheets at just about every 5-Star hotel there is in Washington and he wants to know if they’ll ever take their rendezvous outside like normal people.
Olivia is amused by Curtis’s boyish charm, but she doesn’t answer his question. Instead, she tells him that she will keep in touch as she heads for the door. Curtis corrects her by saying that it is her assistant who will keep in touch. Olivia turns to him then to say that it is her assistant who takes care of her very busy schedule, and she adds that Curtis’s “5-star service” comes in handy on days when any number of things has gone wrong for her at work.

This woman just called Curtis her Dr. Feelgood, and I’m tickled. He clearly knows that he’s her stress relief, and yet here he is asking her for a bit more. Curtis is completely unphased by her how she classifies their relationship, he wondering if her words mean that she won’t be needing a date to the state dinner that is taking place the next evening. Olivia simply bids him goodbye and departs.

Next we see a group of people on a White House tour. As their guide is regaling them with various facts, they come down a hall where there is an entryway draped with a tarp. One guest asks about it, and the guide explains that the tarp covers the location of the old pool which had been installed by President Franklin Roosevelt. She tells them that the pool is presently under construction. (Keep this moment in mind for later.)

The guide is going into related Roosevelt facts regarding the pool when Olivia comes strutting down the hallway from the opposite end, her eyes down on her phone. When the guide points out to her group that they are in the midst of the White House Chief of Staff, Olivia is forced to look up and give them a quick welcome before she continues hurriedly past them to her office. She is wearing this gorgeous white jacket and is armed with her white Prada Saffiano. I can’t recall the last time we’ve seen Olivia draped in this much white.

Drifting into her office, she greets a waiting Cyrus by referring to him as “Mr. Vice President.” Cyrus wishes she would quit being so formal and return to the informality that they once shared as friends, but Olivia is all business as she asks if he came into her office to complain. She reminds him that they are hosting a state dinner with a president who just caught them spying on his country, a bad place to start from when the whole point of the dinner is to get the Bashrani president to agree to give up his country’s nuclear capability.

Olivia goes on to add that because there is no First Lady, she has been forced to answer questions about china patterns and centerpieces. So in answer to Cyrus’s question (which was with regards to who he is to her now if they aren’t friends), Olivia states that he is someone in her office who is about to bother her about tonight’s dinner. She says that she would love it if he was actually there to talk to her about something else. (Olivia really has a way of reducing Cyrus’s gripes down to the size of a pea, doesn’t she?)

Cyrus is hesitant to speak after that recitation, but he is directed to spit out what it is that he came there to say. When he finally states that he has come to speak with her about the dinner’s seating arrangements, Olivia instructs him to leave her office. Cyrus has been slated to sit next to a guest by the name of Fenton Glackland, who, given Cyrus’s reaction, must be the worst of the worst.

Cyrus wonders at what he must have done to merit the punishment of sitting next to Glackland for two hours, asking if it’s because the man is gay and Olivia figured that they’d share some “secret gay language.” It is immediately apparent that Olivia is offended by his reasoning, and she sets him straight (no pun intended) by explaining that he is sitting next to Mr. Glackland because (1) he is their biggest campaign contributor and (2) he made a special request to be seated near Cyrus.

Cyrus tries again to get Olivia to reconsider, but she won’t budge. She reiterates what Mellie is trying to accomplish with the dinner, and she tells him that the least he can do is entertain a billionaire tech mogul whose support they rely on. When it is apparent that Cyrus is still not sold, Olivia modulates her tone as she comes from behind her desk and she points out that Glackland is someone who gives money to both parties, so he would be a good person to know when Cyrus mounts his own campaign. Olivia tells Cyrus that this is her being his friend, and then pushes him towards the door as she once again directs him to leave her office. (Haha!)

Sulking Vice President handled. Crisis averted.

Over at the DOJ, Abby is having lunch with David. She is trying to get four tickets to the state dinner and is hoping that he could help her. Abby stresses that QPA needs high profile clients and as such, they need to get into that state dinner. Unlike OPA where everyone knew Olivia by reputation, new clients won’t come to QPA unless they know who QPA is. Abby goes on to say that they don’t want to ask Olivia for invitations because Liv has a lot on her plate, and that while it is true that she used to work at the White House, it would look pathetic if she goes begging the Social Secretary for invites. So here she is, asking her friend David for assistance and sweetening the deal with Chinese food...that David bought. (Ha!! I love Dabby.)

Later at QPA, Abby has returned with four invites for the dinner! Go David! Charlie and Huck had to be given aliases for the White House wasn’t going to issue invitations to people with singular names. Charlie’s alias is Kevin Dunwoody, a name isn’t particularly fond of. Huck does not want to go to the dinner at all. Quinn tells them all that this is a huge opportunity for QPA, so all of them will be in attendance.

Back over at the White House, Olivia is walking down the hall with Mellie and coaching her on what to do upon her meeting with President Rashad; how to address him, what topic to start off with, what to anticipate he will try to do. Olivia reminds her that they only have this brief meeting and the state dinner to get the president on board.

Next we cut to Mellie shaking hands with President Rashad in front of some photographers. Olivia is standing out of the way towards the back. The greeting between the presidents starts off cordial enough, but things shift the moment the photographers are excused from the room. Mellie remarks on how historic this meeting is and how important it is that they are moving towards making Bashran nuclear-free. President Rashad smoothly implicates the United States of blatant hypocrisy by pointing out that it is the United States who (1) started the nuclear arms race, (2) provides nukes to Bashran’s enemies, and (3) holds the largest cache of nukes in the world. He states that it is hard for a leader such as himself to feel secure when the CIA provides ammunition to rebel factions in his country who wish to remove him from power.

Before Mellie has a chance to respond, President Rashad tells her to not bother giving him the standard American refrain of wanting to spread democracy when what America is really spreading is “lax moral values and a godless obsession with sex.” (Ouch!) He says that he would be open to discussing the ways to remove all nuclear weapons from the entire planet, starting with the countries who have the most. That, he tells her, would be truly historic.

Well. That started off on a good foot. President Rashad did not come here to mince words. Olivia looks less than pleased by this flip of the script, especially since Mellie has no response to anything that he says. Mellie instead looks like she has been forced to swallow a live frog.

Upon being reminded of the tour that he is supposed to receive of the White House, Mellie turns away from President Rashad and gives Olivia a look of annoyance before continuing towards the door with the Bashrani president following close behind. This was going to be one hard sell.

Prepping for the Next Step

That evening at QPA, Abby and Charlie are putting the finishing touches on their formal duds for the state dinner when Quinn comes into the conference room to hand to them a list of guests they are to target as potential clients. Abby notices then that Huck is missing and she goes in search for him. Finding him in his office, she asks if he is okay, and Huck again states that he doesn’t want to go to the dinner. He’s not good at small talk, he tells her; that the best way he knows how to get people to talk is to hurt them. (Awww, Huck. You damaged soul, you.)

Abby proceeds to try to coach him through his anxiety, telling him that he usually hurts people who don’t want to talk. At this dinner, the people they will meet love talking about themselves, so he shouldn’t have a problem getting them to open up. After a moment, Huck asks Abby if she misses the White House, and as she considers her answer, we hear a classic Scandal instrumental play that hasn’t been featured on the show in quite some time. (I love that they did this!) Abby replies that she does sometimes miss affecting change on a large scale, but that she prefers being a gladiator. Huck was pleased with that answer.

Back over at the White House residence, Mellie is being assisted with her gown and Olivia is there to again coach her through how to deal with President Rashad. Mellie is complaining about how unreasonable the president is, and Olivia counters by reminding her that regardless of his unreasonableness, they still need to get him to sign the nuclear treaty.

When Mellie asks about how soon Olivia thinks Bashran can realistically get their hands on nukes, Olivia uses her eyes to silently point out that they aren’t alone. Mellie takes that as her cue to dismiss the woman who was brushing her dress free of lint. Once they are alone, Olivia answers that estimates are five months to a year. It is because of this near future possibility that the Bashrani president’s cooperation with the treaty is imperative. (No pressure.)

Mellie sighs over the seriousness of it all and proposes that she and Olivia skip the dinner, and instead go out for a night on the town. They could prowl the streets for hot, single guys! (LOL!)

Olivia asks Madam President to focus, and Mellie states that being President is exactly the problem. She is quick to say that she isn’t complaining (she’s totally complaining) and that she knows that she fought to be the first woman occupying the office, but that being President never gets turned off. All day, every day she is to be thinking about the safety and security of the nation.

Olivia chimes in to add to Mellie’s spiel by saying that as President, you feel like you’re losing who you really are, that you feel trapped under the weight of the responsibility of it; if only the world would allow you to do the job and still be you. Mellie merely lets out a deep breath in response, and Olivia says to her that being a woman in the presidency doesn’t make her original. She tells Mellie that she is sounding just like Fitz who sounded just like every other President before him.

Mellie counters by saying that she isn’t like every other President. She’s a single woman POTUS, and what that means is that she’s a “human chastity belt”! (Lordt…) She laments that men already have a difficult time being turned on by a powerful woman, so when that powerful woman also happens to be leader of the free world, there basically will be no takers.

Mellie then goes on to utter the quotes of the night, which is:

“Olivia, there is a famine in mah lady bits! My vagina is beautiful, she is welcoming, but she is getting treated like a murder house, and I can’t get anything in there!” -- Mellie Grant

Whooo wee!! Who wrote this line?!

But it is not over, folks. Despite Olivia interrupting to say that “that was a colorful visual that [she] did not need”, Mellie continues by saying that what she needs is a vibrator, but it isn’t something that she can just go out and get nor something that she would task her military valet to get for her. She can’t ask a staffer either because just imagine the headlines should the Democrats learn that the President asked a staffer to get her some sex toys.

“You want to talk about the Crown Jewel of the American Prison System? I can’t even smuggle an orgasm into this place!” -- Mellie Grant

Hot hell in Atlanta. I’m done.

At this point, Olivia starts to laugh hysterically. Mellie looks a bit confused as to why her Chief of Staff finds her predicament so amusing, but when Olivia explains that she was trying to envision how famed documentarian Ken Burns would immortalize the conversation, both women get to laughing together.

It’s a cute moment, one that temporarily alleviates both women of the immense pressure that they are under to get this thing right. I don’t recall Olivia having ever laughed this much and this freely before. (Okay, maybe I can think of one time.)

I swear, Kerry Washington has the kind of laugh that’ll get you to laughing just from the unmitigated joy that rings from it. It’s a boisterous, infectious kind of thing that just sweeps you up in its melodious wave.

Once the moment passes, Olivia acknowledges that she knows that the job can be lonely, and she assures Mellie that she does understand how she is feeling. That said, she tells Mellie that it is all part of the job and that Mellie must focus on carrying it out.

I truly feel for Mellie. I feel for them both, but these are the insane rules that they imposed upon themselves in order to stand where they are now. It’s an unfair demand, especially when you consider that the men before Mellie did not go without companionship. (Hi there, current Chief of Staff!) Olivia herself even has a human vibrator on her assistant’s speed dial, so why should Mellie be denied the same?

All I know is that Mellie better get acquainted with her body and send her flanges on a trip to the great southern beyond for some exploration because good D could be a ways away. Handle business, boo.

Calmer now and with her priorities back in order, Mellie remarks that if she can’t get laid, she can at least do something about nuclear proliferation.

Sexually frustrated President handled. The ship is once again righted. Olivia is 2 for 2.

Later Olivia is walking down the hall when she walks past Cyrus who seconds before had learned from his assistant that Fenton Glackland is developing “insect-based meal replacement shakes.” (Come again?) Cyrus wants to know if Olivia is aware that their guest literally eats bugs, and the only response he gets from her is an over the shoulder death stare before she continues on her way. LOL! There’s no getting out of this one, Cyrus.

Now remember that tarp-covered entryway that a tourist asked about earlier? We see Olivia slowing down when she gets to that entrance. She looks about to be sure that she is not seen before she dips behind the tarp. She makes her way to a solid steel door armed with a keypad. She places her thumb on its scanner and the door noisily slides open. When Olivia walks in, we see that the renovation that is taking place is actually Olivia (with Jake’s help) turning the old pool into B613’s base of operations!! Jake has outfitted space with desks, phones, and monitors. There is even a mini fridge that is full of what looked like beer and water, a commodity that Jake refers to as “tiny pleasures.”

His light quip is one that may have ordinarily elicited a small smile from Olivia, but it failed to produce one now. Olivia is all business as she tells Jake that she needs dirt on Rashad. Mellie will work on the president during dinner, but Olivia doesn’t expect that he will soften much from his earlier stance. She needs leverage to ensure that their treaty will be signed.

Jake shows some hesitation to this directive, which leads Olivia to sarcastically question his ability to handle the job. Jake forces a smile and gives her an “absolutely.” Olivia then makes to leave but is brought up short when Jake decides to wax philosophical about FDR’s use of the pool room. Olivia listens for a moment, and when he concludes, she responds not at all to what he had just said. Instead, she instructs him to tell her when he has found something and sashays out of the room.

Eek! That freeze was colder than a car in Buffalo blizzard. Jake outchea looking like Jon Snow the day that  winter showed up.

Go fetch you some tea, bruh. Hot chocolate is no longer in the cards for you.

The Big Moment

As the red carpet is carefully unfurled and members of the Armed Forces prepare for reception of the state dinner guests, Newcleus’ “Jam On It” starts to play over the scene, and I take a mini dance break.

We next see many guests have already arrived and Cyrus is mingling with a man and woman when a boarish individual rudely interrupts the conversation, and positions himself in a way that cuts off the other two from Cyrus. He introduces himself as Fenton Glackland. As Cyrus accepts his hand, he glances down at Fenton’s feet and notes that he’s wearing shiny silver sneakers to a formal affair. He then has to wipe down his hand because apparently, Fenton didn’t think it necessary to wipe his hand of sticky sugar before grasping Cyrus’s own hand. (Classy.)

Elsewhere in the room, QPA is trying to convince potentials clients to give them a shot. Quinn takes to pretending that she and “Kevin” have been married for some time while Huck’s first attempt goes expectedly awry. Abby comes into the room with David then and she immediately sees that Huck is in distress. She goes over to give him some encouragement, advising him to instead seek out someone that he has something in common with such as a person who has served in the military.

Olivia finally makes it to the party and she is surprised when Quinn calls out for her. She asks if all of QPA is present while looking about the crowd, and Quinn assures her that they will all be on their best behavior and will do nothing to embarrass her. Olivia soon tunes Quinn out and steps away to confront someone in the distance. This person is none other than her secret lover Curtis Pryce. (Oh boy…)

Olivia wants to know why he is there and she tells him that he ought to leave. Curtis replies that he came with his date Sarah Jacobi and that leaving would be rude. Olivia believes that he is there to try to make some “ridiculous point”, but Curtis tells her that he is actually there to “ridiculously impress” his date. He waffles on about how great Sarah is, stating that she is smart and doesn’t even have an assistant! (Well placed dig, Curtis.) Olivia says that she is happy for him, but Curtis notes that she doesn’t look happy. She actually looks like she could scratch out his eyeballs.

When Olivia tells him that she doesn’t have time for his shenanigans, Curtis hits back by saying that he knows this because she is “very busy.” Olivia didn’t appreciate yet another of his digs, and she turns away with annoyance as Mellie and Rashad’s entry is announced.

Flash forward to the dinner and Mellie is concluding a speech that wishes Bashran peace and prosperity as well an enduring friendship with the United States. When she finally takes her seat, Rashad remarks that her words were kind and Mellie tells him that they were kind words from someone who has his country’s best interests at heart. She says that she is trying to avert a large scale war in the Middle East, but Rashad believes that Mellie is actually hoping for a political win.

Ain’t it like an American to dictate from afar how good something they propose will be for a far away land that they hardly know anything about? But I digress.

President Rashad explains to Mellie the complication that he faces with this proposed treaty. If he supports it, he will be seen as weak back home. Support for the radicals who want him out of power will grow, and he will either be exiled from his country or assassinated. Should that happen, Mellie would be left to deal with anti-American goons who have access to radioactive materials.

Mellie interjects then to say that she can help him sell the idea of peace to his people, but Rashad scoffs at that. The “godless white lady” coming to save the Bashranis is going to be a hard sell. Mellie’s charm and intelligence may be powerful, he says, but they won’t be enough. He reiterates his predicament and adds that he would be putting his country in danger, especially since their neighbor Dakal is developing its own weapons. Mellie’s dream, he tells her, is thwarted by his reality.

Olivia is watching the entire exchange from a distance, and while she doesn’t know what was said, she can tell that Mellie has failed in convincing the Rashad on the merits of the treaty. It is then that she spies Jake by the door of the dining hall. He has unearthed recent photographs of the president at the embassy with what looks to be a 16-year-old girl. Jake insinuates that she is a prostitute, and Olivia wants to know if there is any proof to support his suspicion. When Jake says that he has nothing that was caught on camera, Olivia orders him to keep looking. Bashran is a place where sexual deviants are subject to imprisonment or execution, and Olivia believes that Rashad would rather sign the treaty than face such consequences.

Back at the dinner, the gladiators are still trying to impress potential clients. Quinn is weaving an entire fictional life out of thin air for her husband “Kevin”, while Huck is chatting it up with some military guy. The conversation is going well with Huck until his eyes land on the medals on the man’s lapel. The expression on his face shifts and the man notices. It prompts him to ask Huck if he ever served, and Huck’s response is “I don’t know.” (LOL! What?) Huck is quick to use a passing tray to extricate himself from the conversation.

Elsewhere in the room, Cyrus is enduring the eccentric Fenton who is licking icing from his cake with his fingers. The man recognizes that he is embarrassing Cyrus, but Cy is quick to dismiss this actuality. Fenton goes on to randomly reveal that he spent $105 million on a Cézanne, and when Cyrus asks him which one he purchased, Fenton has no idea. He partially recalls the name of it, and Cyrus immediately knows which it is. He is utterly dumbstruck by the fact that Fenton is clueless as to the artistic value of the item that he had just purchased. Matter of fact, Fenton is downright nonchalant.

Fenton then shifts to say that he wants to know why it is that Cyrus has not bothered to ask him why it is that he is at that state dinner. When Cyrus does ask, Fenton tells him that he is looking for an expert in politics and Cyrus is that guy. Cyrus halfheartedly tries to brush his expertise aside, but he is quick to up the pretense. Fenton wants to run for governor and he is looking for Cyrus’s advice as how to go about that. At a loss for words, Cyrus doesn’t immediately know how to respond. It is right about now that it is announced that the musical performance is set to begin, and Cyrus sees that as his chance to extricate himself from Fenton, but he is immediately roped into instead giving Fenton a private White House tour.

At another side of the room, Olivia is brought a note that she quickly reads and then instructs the woman who brought it to stall the musical performance. Olivia is next seen meeting up with Jake in the old pool room, where he informs her that the girl with Rashad was not a prostitute, but whatever it was that Jake found appears to be good enough in getting Rashad to bend.

The Ship Tips Sideways...

Armed with her folder, Olivia ambushes President Rashad in the bathroom. She reveals to him what she has learned about him having a niece who is attending school under an assumed name in the United States, and she says that she doesn’t believe that this kind of information is something that would go over well the Bashrani people.

Olivia continues by saying that “actions speak louder than words”, that despite the nationalism that Rashad preaches and the speeches where he rails against the corrosiveness of Western influence upon his values, his sending of his niece to get educated at a prestigious American institution shows his true character. It shows that he is aware that the education that she would get in America would otherwise be denied to her in Bashran. Olivia then urges Rashad sign the nuclear treaty and to not allow those who wish to drag the world backwards to succeed.

So let me get this straight: Olivia is simultaneously threatening to expose President Rashad’s hypocritical positioning about the West by revealing that he is educating his niece at a Western institution, while also praising him for recognizing that his niece is deserving of the opportunity of education? In addition to that, she states that Rashad should wish to see this opportunity to extended to all others in Bashran.

How does one manages this kind of balancing act while blackmailing someone is beyond me.

When President Rashad finally speaks, he says to Olivia that she is right about actions speaking louder than words, and that he latest attempt at blackmail tells him that America is still sticking its nose into things that are not their business. As he starts away from her, he mentions that Ambassador Marashi had warned him about Olivia Pope, “the devil” who had threatened the man’s child. The president says that that act alone tells him everything that he needs to know about her character. Rashad concludes by saying that the nuclear treaty is off, and that he and his staff will be leaving upon the conclusion of the musical performance.

What did I say last week about Olivia’s tact potentially having unforeseen downstream consequences? Looks like threatening the lives of children isn’t exactly the best way to go when it comes to negotiating complex matters with a foreign leader. You would think that the “boss” would know this better than anyone. Womp womp.

Elsewhere in the White House, Cyrus is concluding the private tour with Fenton in the Oval Office. Fenton isn’t altogether impressed by the size of the room, and before Cyrus can stop him from what he’s about to do, Fenton plops himself right down into Mellie’s chair! He swivels around a bit in it before he announces that he’s no longer interested in running for governor and thinks that he’ll instead make a bid for the presidency.

At this point, Cyrus has had enough. He orders Fenton out of Mellie’s chair and then he gives the man a piece of his mind. He tells Fenton that the chance to sit at the Resolute Desk is an honor and a privilege, not some prize that just gets handed out to some rich guy when they get bored. He then goes on to explain why the Cézanne that Fenton acquired is worth all of that money, but Cyrus can see that Fenton doesn’t care about the details. Fenton, Cyrus says, will never win an election!

I wasn’t the only one who thought that Cyrus was having one of those famed hallucinations of his, right? Those words this time were actually coming out of his mouth! Eeks! Fenton has a sadz and decides to leave.

Back at the musical performance, Olivia is keeping a close eye on Mellie and President Rashad, both of whom are focused on the singer in front of them. David finds Abby and remarks about how he thought she had left, but she tells him that she has been busy networking. Abby then wistfully says to David that she loves the song being performed, and she looks away when David turns to her with stars in his eyes. So moved, David grabs Abby by the hand, which leads to an awkward moment. Abby gives him a questioning look that says WTF before putting some distance between them.

Quinn and Charlie come over to Abby where she is at the bar, and Quinn remarks about how great things went for QPA that she now feels like celebrating! She turns to Charlie then to ask if he thinks that there is any cake left, and Charlie sarcastically replies that her request is something that Quinn’s husband Kevin could handle. He then walks away, leaving both women confused. Abby remarks that everyone is suddenly acting weird.

A moment later, Abby out in the hallway where she has come in search for Huck. She finds him sitting with his legs crossed under himself on the floor and he is doing something on his phone. She tells him that they need him back in the room to help with their recruitment efforts. She tries to coax him back into the room by pointing out that he was doing really well with that one military guy, and Huck agrees that he had been. That is, until he caught a peek of the man’s service medals. They had been in the wrong order.

Huck was able to sneak a picture of the man is running it through the military database. (How Huck even has a phone is a mystery since, as Abby points out, all of their phones were confiscated at the door.) Huck’s search yields zero matches, so that tells him that Army guy isn’t military at all. He isn’t who he is presenting himself to be. Abby points out that neither is he or Charlie, and Huck says that that’s because he and Charlie are killers.

Dun, dun, duuuuuuun!

Upon the conclusion of the performance, President Rashad and his delegation stand to take their leave. Mellie turns to Olivia with concern over this development, but there isn’t anything that can be done. The “boss” done f’d up the smallest chance that they had in getting an agreement with the Bashranis.

Meanwhile, Curtis smells a story. He switches to journalist mode as he approaches Olivia to find out why the Bashranis have made a quick exit. He wants to know if their leave will have any impact on the pending treaty negotiations. Olivia redirects the conversation by asking Curtis about his date, but he immediately catches on to her ploy. Olivia threatens to have him kicked out, and Curtis asks her to imagine what the headlines will look like when word spreads that a journalist was kicked out of a state dinner for doing his job. Sharp as a tack, Curtis tells Olivia that he knows that something has happened to have made President Rashad depart early, and he is giving Olivia a chance to comment on a story that he will be running in eight hours.

Olivia is quick to dismiss that there is any story to tell, that the state dinner is over and guests typically take their leave. When Curtis doesn’t immediately say anything and instead just stares her, Olivia questions why he is looking at her as he is. Curtis remarks that she has an incredible knack for spin, and Olivia comes back with: “It’s not spin. It’s the truth.”

Uh huh. I know it’s not the truth, she knows it’s not the truth, and Curtis knows it isn’t the truth.

Curtis asks her if she even knows the difference between spin and truth anymore. He says whether it’s her acting as if she doesn’t know what’s happening at the dinner or pretending like she’s cool with her assistant scheduling their hotel rendezvous, everything is all about spin with her. He then proceeds to ask Olivia to be real with him if she can even manage to do that.

You know Curtis has struck at the heart of the matter when Olivia goes from scoffing at what he’s saying to being outright offended. She tells him that he doesn’t know the first thing about her, and Curtis concedes that he probably doesn’t, but that he would like to. (Oh. Okay now.)

Olivia appears to be unsure of how to react to this pronouncement when Abby and Huck save her from having to respond at all. They have come with what Huck  has figured out about that fake Army guy.

...and Then It Is Righted Again

Elsewhere in the building, the fraud is waiting for the Bashrani contingent to make an appearance. When they do, he is able to coax Rashad into a room by claiming that President Grant wants to speak with him one-on-one. When Rashad says that he doesn’t recognize him, the fraud claims that Mellie wanted to leave her advisors out of the meeting and therefore sent him.

Rashad follows along, and when they are in the room alone, the fraud retrieves a gun that he had stashed there and points it at the president. Rasha initially believes the man to be an American, but he soon realizes that his assailant is Bashrani! The fraud is set to shoot Rashad when Secret Service agents come bursting into the room and take the man down.

Another crisis averted thanks to Huck’s keen eye for detail.

Later President Rashad is in the Oval with Mellie, Olivia, and a host of others. Jake is relaying to him that the NSA will be coordinating with his team to find out how the man got into the dinner and who he is working for. Mellie wants to be informed the moment Jake discovers anything. Jake agrees to this and then departs with members of Rashad’s security detail.

Rashad speaks then, stating that he knows who is behind the attempted assassination. He says that the radicals have been trying to get him to bend to their will for months, but that they have now shown that they truly want him dead. They may have failed in their attempt today, he says, but there is no telling what could happen tomorrow.

Upon hearing his words, Olivia pours some water in a glass for Rashad and hands it to him as she says that they are there to help.

Oh, so now you’re there to help? Really, Liv?

It is at this point that Mellie excuses Olivia from the room. Once she and Rashad are alone, she tells him that she understands the threat that he is constantly under given the number of threats that she herself receives on the daily. Rashad is quick to say that he isn’t afraid of death. What truly terrifies him is failing his people. He doesn’t wish to leave them worse off before he has the opportunity to make things better for them. Mellie uses this as an opening to again pitch for the the treaty, and Rashad replies that signing it isn’t that simple. She counters by saying that it could be, that it could end up being his greatest achievement.

President Rashad gives her words some consideration before he states that in order for him to agree with the treaty, he will need assurance that his country’s greatest enemy Dakal will also sign it. If they do not sign, the treaty will be a pointless endeavor. Mellie agrees to bring Dakal to the table if that is what it’ll take. Rashad nods in acknowledgement of statement, and then he asks if she has something stronger than water that he can drink. Of course, Mellie has something stronger than water to drink! Hello, North Carolina moonshine!

Mellie goes to the sideboard to pour them both some of her favorite liquor and they clink glasses together as she remarks on how it is no fun to drink alone. They both take a sip before Mellie takes a seat next to Rashad. He resumes their conversation by assuming that Olivia has told Mellie about his niece Yasmeen, sharing that Yasmeen has a picture of Mellie hanging in her dorm room and considers her an inspiration. (Aww…)

Rashad continues by saying that he wanted his niece to know that her future is not limited by the traditions and laws of Bashran, that she can be whatever she wants to be. When Mellie says that he doesn’t need to explain his reasons, Rashad looks her square in the eyes and says with such smoothness, “You….are extra-ordinary.” Just like that. Extra. Ordinary. He adds that he considers it an honor to be sitting next to her.

Wait a gosh darn minute! Is he--? Did he just--? Nah, he couldn’t be. But maybe he is?
Mellie and Daddy Mack Rashad suddenly find themselves caught in an intense stare down, and you can almost hear the flowers blooming in Mellie’s suddenly not so famished vagina.

Was that too much?

It was too much.

Rashad is the first to break the spell as he stands up to depart. Mellie comes to her feet as well. Before he leaves, Rashad looks back at Mellie and says that he looks forward to the two of them working together. (I just bet he does.)

And Mellie manages to do that which Olivia could not, and that is get a conditional agreement to their nuclear treaty. Good on you, Mels! This save is on you.

Back in the dining hall, Abby is sitting with Huck who says that he wishes he had made more of an effort in mingling with people. Abby is kind as she assures him that he did good today by saving a foreign head of state. David shows up then and Huck gives them privacy. Abby tells David that thought the whole earlier incident was weird, but David doesn’t think that is was. He challenges Abby to look him directly in the face and say that she doesn’t believe that they are good together. Abby can’t do it. Instead, she makes a hasty retreat. (Dabby on the horizon!)

Stevie Wonder’s “Joy Inside My Tears” starts to play as the scene switches to Quinn and Charlie arriving at the office. When Quinn notes that Charlie has been unusually quiet, Charlie finally spills what has been bothering him most of the night. They had been pretending like they were married when they aren’t, and that fact is no longer okay with him. Charlie also seems to think that the new boss Quinn Perkins needs the fancy Charlie that she raved about at the dinner and not plain old Charlie.

In summation, Charlie is having a serious crisis of self-doubt, which upsets Quinn so much that she gives him a detty slap and lays out her own frustrations with him. (Y’all gonna need to stop hitting people, ladies.) How dare he attempt to break up with her while she’s pregnant with his child, she yells! Charlie says that he’s not breaking up with her, that it is she who is breaking up with him!

Oh, Charlie Quinn. You crazy kids. No one is breaking up with anyone. Quinn assures Charlie that she loves him and not the fake Kevin person that he had to play for the night. She then says that they aren’t going to wait any longer to get married, and launches herself at him for a kiss. (Oh, this should be fun.)

Back at the White House, Cyrus has just returned to his office and his assistant informs him that he has package that arrived for him. When Cyrus sees what it is, he comes to a halt just inside of his office door. It’s the Cézanne painting that Fenton saw no value in! (Yep, something is definitely off with that dude.)

Cyrus can’t believe his eyes as he stumbles forward into his office and to the painting. Like Fenton, his assistant has no appreciation of the art that she is looking it. It a painting like all the others. Cyrus starts to explain its significance and then decides that it isn’t worth it.

Cyrus is going to have to send that painting back, right? I mean, we’re talking $105 million in a frame for Chrissake!

Flashing to where the musical performance had taken place, Olivia is seen approaching Curtis and his date Sarah. She makes quick work of “borrowing” Curtis away from her, and when she and Curtis step out into the hallway, Olivia tells him that she is now ready to give him her statement. The story that he’s now going to go with is totally different from the one that he was originally had, she tells him. The new story is that President Grant is going to bring Bashran and Dakal together in one room for a nuclear summit. Curtis looks like he is on the verge of a mindgasm when she says this, and he calls the move HUGE. Olivia gives him the alternative adjective of “unprecedented”.

With that business out of the way, Olivia shifts to more personal matters and deems the latest development to be one that is worthy of celebration. Curtis immediately gets her meaning and he wonder which hotel they will be christening this time around. Olivia tells him none.

Flash over to Olivia’s apartment building and we see her making out with Curtis in the elevator as it is taking them up to the very top floor. Curtis remarks about the fact that Olivia is taking him to her place and she orders him to do a lot less talking and a lot more kissing.

I can’t help but to think that the only reason why Curtis is even finally being brought home is because he essentially called her a fake, encasing herself in figurative walls (her spin) that serve to deflect anything that attempts to breach it like Wonder Woman’s bracelets.

But I could be wrong. Nevertheless, she is bringing Curtis home. Because she wants to celebrate. And probably also because she is tired of pretending like she isn’t lonely.

When the cab finally makes it to her floor, the two are so busy kissing their way out of the elevator that they don’t initially realize that they aren’t alone. It is Curtis who comes to first and pulls away from Olivia, who in turn spins around to find….


Mary, Jesus and Joseph, just kill me now.

Y’all should see Olivia’s face. A freeze frame is insufficient. Find the clip on YouTube because OMG! It’s one of those awkward moments that has you involuntarily peeing on yourself.

Fitz is dressed in a casual sweater and leather jacket, and he looks rather unbothered as he stares Olivia dead in the eye. For her part, Olivia is rendered incapable of speech. She looks like she wants to respond to him greeting her in their classic “Hi”, but nothing comes out. She probably would have been incoherent anyway, so it was probably for the best. If Curtis was still there, I don’t know if either Olivia or Fitz registered him.

Talk about getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar. And I can’t stop laughing!

Olivia was all set to welcome her jump off into her apartment, only to be met by a 6’2” roadblock. Lord have mercy, what in the world is about to pop off in the next episode? Why is Fitz back? Is Olivia going to chew him out as she had in her AU (610) when he showed up at her place unannounced? What’s about to happen to Curtis? I doubt that this is the last that we have seen of him. I kinda feel bad for him.

Pssh! I lie. Don’t nobody feel sorry for him. He can go chill with Lillian and Angela somewhere.

What do y’all think is the deal with Mellie and Rashad? Will they or won’t they? Could her deprivation cause an international incident? That would be hilarious! But, but, BUT...with Fitz being back, that means that Marcus is, too. Any chance for a Marlie rekindling?

Questions, questions. Share your thoughts about this episode in the section below or direct them at me on Twitter.

I thank you for reading this recap/review of Scandal episode 702, and I will see you next week!!

Sign Up for the SpoilerTV Newsletter where we talk all things TV!


SpoilerTV Available Ad-Free!

Support SpoilerTV is now available ad-free to for all subscribers. Thank you for considering becoming a SpoilerTV premmium member!
Latest News