Scandal Recap: No Valor, No Virtue

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope

Grab your sunglasses and Advil. Because last night’s episode was mad real. After a two-and-a-half-month hiatus, “Ride, Sally, Ride” was a reminder of why we’re all still cliff-jumping, die-hard gladiators.

At the very top of the episode, Vice President Sally Langston announces her plan to run against Fitz in the upcoming election. Olivia, Cyrus and Mellie gear up to tear her down after she resigns, only to be blindsided by her decision to remain vice president until the end of her term! Naturally, they all lose their minds and promptly ask Sally to get a life.


Cue Fitz’s temper tantrum. If you’ve never seen a grown man cry, this is pretty close to it. Fitz then announces that he wants a new vice president ASAP, and he wants it to be his old lieutenant governor bestie Andrew Nichols. We later learn in a shocking twist that Andrew never got married because he let the love of his life—Mellie!—get away. Real talk, though: Mellie has had a rough couple of years, and I’m all for her getting some of that good-good.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Harrison tries to keep Adnan Salif out of the country, but it’s too late! Adnan is already here! And instead of being a scary terrorist man, she’s a hot lady woman he pulls a gun on and then immediately starts making out with! They have scary, steamy gun sex! And not to be outdone, Quinn “the Most Basic” Perkins seems to have found a boyfriend of sorts in Charlie, who framed her for murder but is now promising to get her a job at B613, since she’s obviously no longer welcome at OPA. She and her murderer boo do normal couple stuff like getting hired by Cyrus to kidnap the son of the coroner who destroyed Daniel Douglas Langston’s autopsy report.

The most memorable moment of last night’s episode came when Olivia meets Papa Pope in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial to, I guess, comfort him in a nonhugging, quasi-loving way about losing his job as command. They reminisce about how much they like the quote on the monument—“Uncommon valor was a common virtue”—a wonderfully ironic quote, since both of them (and everyone else, for that matter) have been pretty shady lately.

There seems to be a common thread that runs through the OPA and White House crew, and that is one of intended good. Everyone seems to want to be good and do good, but they continue to use the most selfish, deceitful and destructive ways to go about doing so. But I’ve watched enough Oprah and Iyanla to know that I should trust people’s actions more than their words.


Last night’s episode had some of the best dialogue in prime time. Here’s a list of the quotes that demonstrated just how little valor and virtue there is to go around.  

“Who’s to say that President Grant had just one mistress?” —Campaign manager Leo during on-camera roundtable with Abby


Sally’s campaign manager is not holding back. He surprises Abby by bringing back the possibility that Olivia is the president’s mistress in an attempt to cement Sally’s position as a solid opponent in the upcoming election.

“I’m making a respectable woman out of you, Olivia.” —Mellie to Olivia

Mellie stays checking Olivia, and she manages to look stunning while being a total psycho. It’s clear that Mellie traded her sanity for the White House a long time ago.


After rumors start swirling again that Olivia is Fitz’s secret boo, Mellie takes it upon herself to take control of the narrative in the press. She invites Olivia to a very public lunch, where they’re all fake smiles, since if they appear to like each other, it’ll be harder to believe that Olivia is betraying her. Right? Right.

“I did not murder my husband, Leo. The devil murdered my husband when he snuck inside me.” —Sally to campaign manager Leo


I laughed so hard at this that I nearly spilled some of my riesling. Sally has totally lost it. Leo takes it in stride, though, and basically shushes her and tells her to go sit in a corner somewhere.

“It seems like Vermont is getting farther and farther away.” —Olivia to Jake

Olivia more whispers this to herself than actually says it to Jake. It’s a rare moment when we remember that beneath her all business exterior, she’s a woman who wants love. And no matter how smart she is, she, too, can let herself be deluded with the near-impossible promise of a big house and a lifetime of butterfly kisses from her tall, white boo.


“That’s right; she told me what she did, but more importantly what you did.” —Leo to Cyrus

Cyrus was already freaking out when the press started asking questions about the autopsy, but when Leo confronts him with the news that he knows Cyrus helped Sally cover up Daniel’s murder, he looks like he’s just seen a ghost. Perhaps Cyrus will finally have to face the devil he’s become.


“Do you honestly think I would do anything to jeopardize her? I’m on your side here.” —James to Cyrus in a reference to their baby as he tries to get more info about the autopsy

James records his conversation with Cyrus and later gives it to David Rosen. It seems that James is finally starting to come to terms with the kind of man he married.


“You’re skipping around in a field full of bombs and mistaking them for daisies … President Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III has made an enemy, the worst kind of enemy, because I know all his secrets. I know where every body is buried, and the greatest weapon I can use against him calls me Dad. Uncommon valor was a common virtue … If I were you, Olivia, I would be terrified … Start grieving now, Olivia. But first, run.” —Papa Pope to Olivia

[A single Glory tear falls down cheek. Stands up. Begins slow clap.]

Best. Monologue. Ever. Somebody please give Papa Pope all the awards.

But yeah, Fitz gonna die. And Papa Pope is itching to pull the trigger.  

Charla Lauriston is a standup comedian and the creator of Clench & Releasea Web series about the frustrations of everyday life in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.


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