Scandal (S05E15): “Pencils Down”

Review: So where do we stand? There are now four candidates for the upcoming presidential elections. Mellie Grand, Susan Ross, Governor Frankie Vargas and Hollis Doyle. Abby became Chief of Staff. Cyrus is free to do whatever including running governor Vargas’ campaign. Huck finally stopped spying on his family. Jake is still getting married. Despite her efforts Olivia can’t figure out what Jake and her father may or may not be up too, but we know Jake and Vanessa didn’t met by coincidence so Jake and papa Pope are up to something.

The episodes starts with Sally Langston’s liberty report, announcing the first and (most important) republican debate. Olivia, Elizabeth and Hollis (because only Hollis Doyle can speak for Hollis Doyle) are negotiating the ground rules that should apply during the debate. And we then get to see all the (Republican) candidates preparing and practicing for the upcoming debate. It is serious business. Except maybe for Hollis Doyle. He just takes his camera crew to a shooting range and shows the American people what the embodiment of the second amendment looks like, while eating smoked bacon. Kind of hilarious.

Mellie Grand has other problems after watching focus groups discuss what they think of her. She has to lose her – kind of – resting bitch face and stop being a know it all, if she wants to win votes. So in order for Olivia and her team to make Mellie more of a ‘woman of the people’, Mellie will need to dress down and dumb it down. Yes, Mellie, we know it’s not easy to dumb it down. And to make this whole people-person thing official, Mellie is going to do “The Gettysburger Test”. But Mellie being Mellie (and not being a real people person at all) doesn’t know that Gettys burgers is a nationally treasured place to eat a hamburger. She lies about always going there on Sunday after church (Mellie goes to church?) and gets trapped in her own lie on live television, because Gettysburger is always closed on a Sunday. Olivia is trying to do damage control on this burgerproblem, but the Burgergate is on. Question is how far will Olivia go to fix it?

Because Alex Vargas, the younger brother of Frankie Vargas, presents Olivia with dirt on Susan Ross and he is willing to share if Olivia gives him dirt on the other Democratic candidate. Other democratic candidate? Yes, in the meantime senator Edison Davis (as in former fiancée of Olivia Pope) announced he is going to run for President too. Interesting, interesting. Olivia doesn’t know what to do, because Burgergate is really getting out of hand and she really needs dirt on Susan, but she promised Edison to keep her mouth shut about something called “Meridian Terrace”(?!). And so she gives papa Pope a call. Papa pope tells Olivia she shouldn’t turn herself into someone she is not (read: not give up dirt on Davis, because he has been nothing but nice to her). If it wouldn’t come from Rowan, it would be good advice. What does papa Pope care about senator Davis anyway? Well as we will see, a lot.

And this brings us back to Jake and Vanessa. Quinn has taken over Olivia’s task to spy on Jake, but the newest strategy is to focus on Vanessa instead of Jake. Quinn introduced herself to Vanessa as one of her former classmates in college and pretends she just got married so that they can bond over Quinn’s wedding books. Sharing this bridal knowledge pays off,  because Quinn finds out Jake’s (real) link to Vanessa. He is using Vanessa’s money to fund a super PAC. For which candidate you’d ask? It’s no one more than senator Edison Davis. There we are. The circle is almost round. And Edison isn’t the innocent one, because he already knows. So Olivia fixes Burgergate and gets her dirt on Susan.

Last but not least Susan Ross. Susan, the real people-person. I think it’s going to be hard for Mellie to beat her, for anyone actually. But where Susan was kicking ass prepping for the debate, she loses  focus as soon she suspects Davis is cheating on her. How did she find out? Well… David went to Abby for some good advice on his love triangle with his two women, the ‘good’ one and the ‘nasty’ one, because it’s now affecting his work. Poor David. Abby couldn’t care less, but made the mistake to make fun of David and his women (plural) in front of Susan. Of course Abby would never expect David to go for Susan. And now Susan is so distracted, that she can’t think straight anymore and it’s affecting her debating skills. When Susan finally confronts David, he claims to have done no such thing as cheating. Oh David, a liar and a cheat. David does end things with Elizabeth immediately…it’s a little too late. Elizabeth just can’t believe she is the one getting dumped and traded for Susan Ross. And Susan may be sweet and a bit naïve from time to time, but she’s not stupid. Susan still dumps David for lying and cheating. Go Susan!

As for the actual debate we have to wait a little longer. All the candidates are prepared (more or less) and are ready to slay. So prepare yourselves for next week.