“Scandal” Recap: “The Fish Rots From The Head”
On Thursday’s “Scandal,” Olivia was angered by both Jake and Fitz’s dalliances, while Cyrus wooed Governor Francisco Vargas. Here are the most important things to know about “The Fish Rots From The Head,” the 12th episode of season 5.
The show began with Mellie signing copies of her memoir, and seeking guidance from Olivia on how to continue her path to the presidency. She said she would need Fitz’s support by having him not endorse Susan and instead stay neutral. He was clearly preoccupied, though, flirting with every woman who crossed his path, and inviting quite a few of them back to his private residence, where Abby had each sign non-disclosures and hand over phones before the trysts.
When Mellie later dropped off their son, she wanted to broach the election topic with Fitz. But she found a woman named Lisa from the Treasury there in a robe. “Screw as many whores as you want. I wouldn’t expect anything less,” she angrily told him. “But you sure as hell better keep them away from my children.” And with that, she took their little boy and left.
Later, Fitz hooked up with a journalist, who tipped him off that Olivia was working with Mellie and seemingly running her campaign. Meanwhile, while in bed together, David urged Susan to get Fitz’s endorsement, something Liz badly wanted. Later, David walked in when Liz was trying to convince her to not hold anything back, and he was awkwardly caught in the middle between them.
Cyrus met with Frank (Francisco) and encouraged him to ride the “hero” wave by appearing on “The Liberty Report.” The governor, however, wasn’t interested in using the tragic event to his further his political career. So instead, Cyrus promised him a meeting with Fitz to discuss his education plan. When they did, the two clashed, and Frank left thinking the president was a “jerk.”
The meeting motivated him to do the TV interview with Sally, but Cyrus was pissed Frank said on air that he had no intention of running for president because there was “plenty” still to do in his home state of Pennsylvania. Thanks to Tom’s investigating, Cyrus learned that the real reason Frank didn’t want to run for president was because his young daughter had cancer, and they were keeping it a secret for her privacy. Without revealing what he knew, Cyrus opened up to Frank about his own (supposed) family tragedy, and said sometimes it means you need to serve a larger purpose.
An out-of-hand Secret Service party led Olivia and her OPA team to a hotel, where they found four agents and a dead woman. The men said she was wasted and hit her head on a coffee table, and Quinn went into cover-up mode to hide the “hooker’s” so-called “accident.” Marcus was clearly uncomfortable, but Liv was more fixated on figuring out what Jake was up to with his girlfriend, Vanessa.
Marcus was suspicious when he found the prostitute’s phone was wiped before he could do it, leading him to think the Secret Service agents weren’t being truthful. Indeed, the autopsy report showed that the woman suffered blunt force trauma before she took any drugs. But Olivia saw the men as her clients, and told Marcus to “let this go.” But after Mellie ranted to Liv about the Secret Service covering up Fitz’s rendezvous, she changed her mind and had Marcus and company start digging again.
Later, she was stunned when Jake showed up in the middle of the night, ripping her for following him. He went on to tell her that Vanessa is perfect, “but she’s not you.” Against her better judgment, they started to hook up, but Liv stopped it, asking point-blank, “What are you up to, Jake?” Rather than answer, he simply said goodbye and left.
The next day, Quinn and Marcus questioned the woman’s friend who was also at the party, who didn’t want to be a “snitch.” But after being told that the agents could’ve helped her pal live and shouldn’t be protected, she revealed that an argument took place over payment, and the men purposefully let her be over-pumped with heroin. Olivia went to Abby with the info, demanding they take the case to David. Instead, she ended up confronting Fitz in the Oval Office.
The two started off with pleasantries, but the tone quickly changed when Liv told him about the agents’ involvement in the prostitute’s death. Fitz quickly surmised she was upset over his “transgressions,” and questioned her working with Mellie. He rejected being told what to do about the case, and she in response sad, “The fish rots from the head. Yours boys in the Secret Service are taking their cues from you.” She chastised him for setting a bad example not just for his security, but his own son. Liv’s parting line: “You better ask yourself, is this really who you want to be?”
The talk clearly had an effect, as he met with Susan the next day, and gave her not just campaign advice, but also his endorsement. She, however, said she wasn’t really sure she wanted it, given his current reputation. He vowed that he would “earn” her respect back. At a briefing after, Fitz held a press conference about the Secret Service’s “abuse of power,” revealing he fired the agents and they would be prosecuted by David.
In the final minutes, Frank asked Cyrus to run his campaign for president. He told him about his 5-year-old’s poor prognosis, but was motivated by the idea of working to better her future. Not surprisingly, Cyrus was thrilled. At the very end, Olivia went to her father’s for Sunday night dinner, only to find Jake and Vanessa there… and that they were engaged.