During Scandal's midseason premiere last week, we saw a number of strange realliances—Fitz and Jake, Jake and Papa Pope, and Olivia and Mellie—but this week, folks got into formation as they geared up for what looks to be a scandalous presidential race.
Olivia Pope and her new BFF: The episode kicks off with Olivia giving Mellie Grant notes on her new memoir, which Mellie hopes to use to launch her presidential campaign. But instead of a tell-all, it's more like a tell-some. A tell-a little bit. A tell-a selected and highly curated amount. Olivia points out that the book fails to answer the question that Americans want answered the most: "Why did you stay with Fitz Grant [when you knew he was sleeping with me]"? But when Olivia asks, "You don't know why you stayed, do you?" Mellie turns the table: "You don't know why you left, do you?" Boop.
Later, after Olivia and Jake Ballard have an icy sex session (it looked about as much fun as it sounds), Mellie stops by unannounced with some of her trademark moonshine, and she and Olivia get to the bottom of things. Mellie stayed with Fitz for the same reason Olivia left: Apparently, too much Fitz is too much. They time-shared Fitz because neither one of them wanted him full time, and with the other woman in the picture, each of them had free time to plot about how to take over the world. And, as Mellie puts it, "It was working."
Of course, they can't say that in the tell-all, so they drunkenly spin a narrative about Mellie having the power the whole time but taking a little longer to figure it out. Then they "leak" this chapter on the Internet (I mean "leaked" it in the Kim Kardashian/Mimi Faust sense of the word). And boom, a star is born.
I have to point out that Mellie and Olivia had the drunken girls' night that I'd been hoping Olivia and Abby Whelan would have for the past five seasons. Are Olivia and Mellie the new Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer? Or the new Amy Poehler and Tina Fey? Is Abby going to get jealous?
David Rosen and his new low: Meanwhile, Elizabeth North wants to continue to work in the White House, so she tries to convince Vice President Susan Ross, who has excellent poll numbers, to run for president, but Susan just isn't interested. Elizabeth knows that Susan is in love with David, so Susan tells David that if he wants to continue to sleep with her, he needs to use his manly charms to convince Susan to run. So David, being way more basic than we gave him credit for, takes Susan to Gettysburger, calls her a warrior or something, kisses her, and just like that, Susan decides to run for president. Booo. I hope that when David finally comes to his senses and falls for Susan, who appears to be the only decent and genuine person in their entire circle, it's too damn late. Who knew David was such a simp?
Fitz and his new bae: Journalist Lillian Forrester wants to interview Fitz, and Fitz is considering it because he's on his way out of the White House, and it's time for him to begin spinning his legacy. Cyrus Beene, however, thinks that there's no time for talking; there's still more work to be done. "Set the world on fire or die trying," as he says. Fitz vetoes Cyrus, and when he sits down for the interview, Lillian can't get two questions out before she confesses to having an enormous crush on Fitz. So, naturally, Fitz asks her on a date, right? That's cute (I guess), but I call bull on how this professional journalist wasted no time at all confessing her crush to the leader of the free world. Who sent JournalistBae??
Cyrus and his new Fitz: Fitz may be done with the White House, but Cyrus isn't. As it turns out, Cyrus has his eyes set on a potential presidential candidate, a charismatic governor from Pennsylvania played by Ricardo Chavira. Oooh …
No Cyrus? No Mellie? No Olivia? And a new bae? How long before Fitz implodes?
Akilah Green is a recovering Washington, D.C., lawyer-lobbyist-politico turned TV and film writer and producer living in Los Angeles. She currently works for Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea. She has also worked as a staff writer for Kevin Hart’s production company, HartBeat Productions, and as a consultant for Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. In addition, she co-wrote and is producing Scratch, an indie horror-comedy feature film, and is a regular contributor to The Root. Follow Green’s adventures in La La Land on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.