Welcome back, Gladiators! Apologies for my brief absence but I'm back and more excited than ever for this week's episode of Scandal! So, without further ado, let the drama ensue!
Last week saw everybody making tough decisions, many at the expense of friends and family. Now, let's see how they handle the consequences.
At the Republican debate, tensions are high as Mellie and Doyle battle it out on every issue. Susan, on the other hand, is faltering which worries Abby and Fitz. On the brighter side, Mellie seems to be rocking the debate and shutting Doyle down whenever possible, much to Olivia's delight. Doyle, however, isn't going down without a fight and brings up the fact that Olivia is running Mellie's campaign.
During the break, Liv tells Mellie that she needs to respond to Doyle's comment about the two of them working together, while Fitz calls Susan to give her a pep talk. Liz confronts David about the poor timing of his breakup with Susan and threatens him if things fall apart because he broke Susan's heart.
Back in the debate, Doyle continues his assault against Mellie's character, using Fitz's missteps as proof that Mellie will fail. Mellie, however, doesn't falter and says that she's her own person, emphasizing the fact that she and Fitz are divorced. Then, Sally questions Susan who finally seems to have found her voice and uses it like a goddamn boss, managing to dig at both Mellie and Doyle while coming off both strong and sympathetic with stories about her late husband. With that statement, Susan wins the debate. Sally comments on her show that Mellie should drop out so that Susan can gain the female vote.
At OPA, Liv tells Mellie not to take the loss personally. Mellie says that America hates her which makes it personal. Liv tells Mellie that she'll get her the Oval, come hell or high water. Marcus says that Susan was the clear winner but Olivia says that she's a liar. Apparently Susan's war-hero husband wasn't her husband after all and Liv tasks the Gladiators to find out why she's been lying about him.
At the White House, Susan is upset that the papers decided to use a picture of her and David to report on her debate win. Liz says that America only cares about her relationship with David, not the debate and tells Susan that she needs to sell America the relationship if she wants to win. David agrees to play along but Susan doesn't seem too thrilled about it.
Back at OPA, Liv asks Marcus to accompany Mellie to LA for her Jimmy Kimmel appearance which he doesn't seem to be onboard with. But, as per usual, Liv gets what Liv wants and Marcus agrees to go. Meanwhile, Huck and Quinn brief Liv on Susan's relationship with her so-called husband, who she apparently was never married to. Liv says that they should dig deeper to see if she illegally collected veteran’s benefits so that they can paint her as both a liar and a thief, something she can't come back from.
Huck doesn't find anything to prove their theory but Quinn discovers that not only was Susan never married to her husband John, but that another man was the father of her daughter. Now the team must figure out who the dad really is.
Olivia goes to speak to Alex Vargas to find out what else he knows about the Susan situation. Alex is hesitant to reveal his source but once Liv gives him more information on Edison's stint in rehab, he reveals that Susan's baby daddy, Ronnie, is actually in jail.
Back on the Vargas campaign, Alex shares his Edison dirt with Vargas and Cyrus but Vargas isn't anxious to use it and says that he won't comment on rumors. Cyrus tells Alex to watch out or risk missteps.
At Jimmy Kimmel, Mellie is asked to read mean tweets and is a little apprehensive about it. Marcus, on the other hand, thinks it’s a great idea and tells the assistant to find the meanest tweets possible.
At the prison, Liv learns all about Ronnie's relationship with Susan. Liv tells Ronnie that she could get him out of prison in exchange for the truth about Susan and her daughter, in addition to making a public statement. Ronnie says that he doesn't want to hurt Susan's chances at being president and tells Liv that he'll have to think about it. Huck tells Liv that Ronnie won't snitch but she tells him to make it happen. Quinn asks why Huck seems against pushing the issue and Huck says that he wants to protect Casey from the political crossfire. Quinn says that they're fighting a losing battle and Liv hates losing. She says at least they're not lying.
Back at the White House, David tells Susan that they should be honest about their relationship despite Liz's advice. He believes the nation will understand but Susan says they'll understand that David cheated on her and their just trying to make her not look bad. She says that there's no way to spin their breakup in her favor unless they skewer David and he says he'd be willing to do that because he loves her and wants her back.
Elsewhere, news of Edison's indiscretions has leaked and Vargas says that he stands by Alex's decision to release it despite Cyrus' warnings to the contrary. At the rally, reporters question Vargas about Edison's time in rehab and he offers an amicable answer. Edison, on the other hand, is upset about the leak and suspects that Olivia is behind it. He tells Rowan that he needs to stop Liv before she makes things worse but Rowan shuts him down, establishing himself as the boss, and letting him know that he'll handle the situation as he sees fit.
At Vargas' campaign office, news that the Edison allegations are just rumors breaks when a former nurse testifies that Edison never sought treatment in the rehab facility. The nurse goes on to say that Vargas' comments were hurtful and uncalled for and Vargas is visibly upset about this turn of events. Cyrus, however, say this coming a mile away.
Back at OPA, Alex confronts Olivia about the information she gave him that he now believes to be false. Liv seems unsympathetic about the nurse changing her story and Alex vows to pay her back for the misstep come election day.
Meanwhile, in LA, Mellie is less than thrilled about being asked to do "Mean Tweets" and Marcus yells at her, fed up with her whining. Marcus says that her sense of entitlement is exactly why she'll never be president.
Liv goes back to the prison to try to convince Ronnie to take the paternity test. Ronnie says that once Susan is president, she'll get him out of jail but Liv says that Susan has forgotten about him in here and that she doesn't care. When he doesn't bite, Liv threatens to plant drugs on him and Quinn and Huck look worried about what Liv is willing to do to win. Finally, Ronnie agrees to take the test.
Back at OPA, Huck tells the team that Ronnie is the father. Huck tells Quinn that they're done playing dirty. Quinn tells Huck that it's not personal but Huck says that Liv is crossing a line that she can't come back from and that they can't do this.
Quinn meets with Abby to talk to her about her concerns about Liv crossing the line. She gives Abby the information on what Liv has been up to and they stage an intervention with Fitz. Fitz asks Liv how she can’t be sick of playing dirty games but Liv says that his coming to talk to her to try and change her mind is playing dirty too. Fitz says that he came because he believes in Susan but Liv calls her a liar and says that she believes in Mellie just as much. Fitz says that he just doesn't want Susan to be another victim of something like Defiance but Liv's not buying that he was ever a victim; he got exactly what he wanted. Fitz tells Liv that they have a chance to do things honorably this time and that they don't have to be the people they used to be anymore.
At the White House, Fitz tells Susan about the Ronnie situation and tells her that he can make it go away. However, he tells Susan that she should come clean, that the truth will make her come across as human. He thinks that telling the truth is worth the risk. Susan says she couldn't do that to Casey but Fitz says that if she doesn't do it, she'll only be protecting the path to the Oval and being president isn't worth it. Finally he tells her the story about Defiance and tells her to decide who she wants to be.
Back at Kimmel, Marcus approaches Mellie with mean tweets about himself to make her feel better. When she laughs, Marcus tells Mellie that that's the version of herself that she needs to show the public, someone relaxed and who can laugh, especially at herself. He tells her to use this opportunity to win the race.
Meanwhile, Susan frets over whether or not to tell the public about Ronnie before going to Fitz and Abby to tell them that she's made her decision. Before she can reveal what it was, though, Fitz tells her that he has some difficult news. At OPA, Quinn comes in to tell the team that Ronnie was found dead in his cell.
On the Vargas campaign, Vargas is still clearly upset with Alex over the Edison debacle and begins handing things over to Cyrus. Tom comes in and Cyrus thanks him for handling the nurse situation. While Susan and David get interviewed about their relationship as they continue to play the perfect couple, David says that he's happy that Susan has forgiven him but she tells him that she's just a prob.
Back with Mellie, she finally agrees to do the "Mean Tweets" segment and completely rocks it, coming across as funny and laid back. Liv calls Fitz back to OPA and tells him that she wants to win but that she wants to win clean. Fitz agrees to run a clean race, promising to kick her ass, and the two share a drink, finally back on friendly terms.
I actually really enjoyed this episode! So much of this season felt like lame filler material that I was glad to see everybody get their hands wet for a change as they prepare for the upcoming primary. I know you won't believe that I'm going to say this (I can't believe it myself), but I was actually proud of Fitz in this episode. Shocking, I know! He seems to be finally learning from his mistakes and I'm glad he and Liv decided to run a clean race. Final note, I'm looking forward to more Marcus and Mellie interaction. I like that he wasn't afraid to call her on her crap!
So, what did you think? As always, let us know in the comments!