Scandal's writers were on fire during this week's episode, which included some of the best one-liners and monologues of the whole series.
Here are nine highlights from last night's episode:
1. High stakes. The Senate Judiciary Committee has decided to open a formal investigation into the relationship between Fitz Grant and Olivia Pope to determine whether Fitz committed impeachable offenses. These hearings may determine not only whether Fitz will have to step down as president but also if he'll spend time in prison.
2. Fix-her. Recognizing her limitations, Olivia hires Leo Bergen, another one of D.C.'s top fixers, to fix her situation. Extremely loud and incredibly crass, Leo jumps right in by rattling off several of the names that Olivia has been called in the headlines, e.g., Olivia Poke. (My favorite headline was "Here We Hoe Again.") And after tossing around a number of potential strategies, the team decides to paint Olivia as an "everywoman" who shops at Ross and buys her milk from Costco. Good luck.
3. Senator Shady. Part of Leo's strategy involves Olivia asking her ex-boyfriend, Senate Majority Leader Edison Davis, to speak publicly about her good character, but this request comes at a high price. Still understandably peeved that Olivia lied to him and strung him along when her heart actually belonged to Fitz, Edison calls Olivia "a criminal, a whore, an idiot and a liar," not once, not twice, but three times before he agrees to testify positively to her character.
4. Who's the boss? At David Rosen's recommendation, Fitz retains the legal services of Patty Snell, who barges into the Oval Office giving orders and not even bothering to take names. She tells Abby Whelan to inform the press corps that the president and the administration are cooperating fully with the committee and the investigation, and she lets Chief of Staff Elizabeth North know that Fitz will be testifying before the committee. Period. End of discussion.
5. Sister-wives. Mellie Grant tells her Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues about the heirloom ring that Fitz gave Olivia so many moons ago, which immediately shatters Olivia's "everywoman" facade and kicks off a new round of media speculation. The media want to know if Fitz was married to Mellie and engaged to Olivia at the same time. Cyrus Beene tells Mellie, "She's actually managed to go from being a slut to an everywoman to your sister-wife in under 48 hours."
6. Olivia's type. Olivia turns to her best friend with benefits, Jake, for guidance about what to do next, and when she shows up unannounced at Jake Ballard's door, he introduces her to Elise, his new-old wife who came back with him from Paris. Jake initially introduces Elise as his friend but later reveals to Olivia that she is his wife. That means that Olivia has been sleeping with not one, but two married men. Olivia has a type!
7. The Carl Thomas of political moments. Olivia heeds Jake's advice to tell her truth, and as a result, she delivers perhaps her best monologue to date, full of compelling pearls like, "I wish I had never laid eyes on him. I wish we never met." And "If it were a choice, who would choose this kind of love?" And "Don't ask me to fall out of love with Fitzgerald Grant because if I could, I would." Kerry Washington gave an Emmy-worthy performance.
8. Remember West Angola. Remember when former Vice President Andrew Nichols orchestrated Olivia's kidnapping to compel Fitz to wage war with West Angola last season? Well, Olivia finds out that the Senate Judiciary Committee has access to her ransom tape, and if anyone can testify that Fitz has ever seen the tape—thereby confirming that Fitz was aware that Olivia had been kidnapped—then he could definitely go to prison for going to war (and causing the deaths of American soldiers) over his mistress. In fact, everyone involved, including David, could go down for his or her involvement.
9. Bromance. Cyrus is the only one who can confirm that Fitz saw the ransom tape, so Fitz offers to bring Cyrus back on board in exchange for his silence, but Cyrus quickly sees through Fitz's proposition and promptly turns into Rain Man. In one of his best monologues to date, Cyrus rattles off facts about Fitz, from his blood type to his food preferences spanning all the way back to the '90s: "I dream your dreams. I sweat your nightmares."
Meanwhile, Cyrus suggests that Fitz doesn't even know Cyrus' mother's name, and therefore the band is never, ever, ever getting back together. Then Fitz is like, but wait! Your mother's name is Helen! And, finally, he offers Cyrus a long-overdue apology: "We both made some mistakes along the way. But your mistakes were for me. My biggest mistake was forgetting that you were family. … You are my guy." Aww, Cyrus and Fitz might have the second-most-compelling love story of Scandal.
Cyrus agrees to come back to the White House, but only if a list of demands is met—starting with terminating Elizabeth immediately and not transitioning her to any other position in the administration. He wants Elizabeth to report directly to the unemployment office. Fitz agrees, and with that, Cyrus is officially back in the band.
Will Fitz nail those hearings like Hillary Clinton just nailed that Benghazi, Libya, hearing?
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.