“Scandal” Recap: “It’s Hard Out Here For A General”
On Thursday’s “Scandal,” the midseason premiere picked up six months after Olivia’s abortion and her breakup with Fitz. Here are the most important things to know about “It’s Hard Out Here For A General,” the 10th episode of season 5.
The show began with Olivia dining in a restaurant with Papa Pope, who praised her for “playing” Fitz “like a fiddle.” She insisted “it’s better this way” with them being apart, as she didn’t want to be a “prisoner,” but her father thought she shouldn’t have given up her power. After, she went home and passionately, if not angrily, hooked up with Jake, who had been living with Papa Pope the last few months.
At the same time, Fitz woke Abby in the middle of the night requesting his schedule cleared for the next three days so he could prepare for the East Asian Summit. He asked her to join him for the Gridiron Dinner, and she made up an excuse about Leo. Huck then interrupted Olivia’s hookup to reveal they had a new client: the head of the NSA.
The woman, Diane, had been remotely hacked with hundreds of files copied relating to Project Mercury, a secret program the government uses to spy on allies and foreign enemies. She insisted her partner Billy wasn’t to blame, even though testing showed the hacker was doing the job from inside the house. Olivia was convinced he was responsible, but wondered if he was a spy or a whistleblower.
During yet another hookup with Jake, Olivia got a call from Cyrus, who was stressed over Fitz leaning on Abby and whether she was capable of being a good “work wife.” During the chat, she seemed to have regrets over giving up the Oval. The next day, Mellie surprised Olivia by showing her a draft for a memoir. She still wanted Olivia to work for her presidential campaign, but Olivia kept refusing.
Abby caught wind of a potential Project Mercury leak from a reporter, whose newspaper got the info from a whistleblower. Fitz invited Jake over to the White House, where he insisted he’s “good” with his “freedom.” He told Jake about the Project Mercury leak, and asked him to investigate it on the down-low so the NSA wouldn’t find out. After both men insisted they don’t speak to Olivia, Jake accepted the job.
Fitz once again called Abby to chat during the night, after which she confessed to Cyrus that the president is driving her crazy. Cyrus told her she’s Fitz’s “new work wife,” to which she responded, “Ew, no.” Cyrus said Fitz couldn’t focus without one, citing Mellie and himself, and encouraged Abby to find a way to make it work.
Huck tracked down Billy’s cell to a house where Quinn and Marcus only found Jake with the phone. He and Olivia then argued over the situation, with Jake refusing to help her and Diane, because he thought the NSA head should get in trouble for allowing the breach to happen. Indeed, an official investigation into Diane was subsequently launched, and she admitted to Olivia that she was clearly played. Diane asked Liv to talk to the president for her, as she thought her firing over a lover would prevent any woman from getting her NSA job again.
Abby lied to Fitz when she went go hang out with Olivia, who insisted she didn’t miss her old lifestyle with him. Abby was contemplating quitting over her new “work wife” status, but Liv defended Fitz, explaining how he’s “alone” and has no one left after she dumped him. Of course, she now needed a favor from him, but she didn’t want to call him and end up back at square one with him, falling back into their old habits and usual patterns. At Abby’s urging, she sucked it up and called… and Fitz declined to speak with her.
Fitz chose a replacement NSA director after forcing Diane to resign, after which Quinn discovered that the leaker to the newspaper was NOT her BF Billy, but someone who successfully set him up. Olivia and her team then found Billy dead, and she quickly deduced that Jake was responsible, having killed him to control the guy he and Fitz thought was the whistleblower. But then the plot thickened further when Fitz introduced the new NSA head: Jake himself!
Olivia later stormed into Papa Pope’s house and confronted Jake over setting up the whole thing from the start to get Diane’s job, even at the expense of an innocent man. Both father and boyfriend insisted the world was better off this way, and Papa Pope laid into Olivia for not understanding the power play. Abby then did her own storming, into the Oval Office after Fitz woke her once again. She insisted she is all in for her job, but not this job of keeping him company.
In the show’s final moments, Cyrus praised Abby for laying down the law, Huck refused to hang out with Marcus because he was still “normal” and wanted to “protect” him, and Olivia read Mellie’s book. She told the former First Lady that the memoir came off as boring and dishonest, and advised her to rewrite it without holding back. “That book will help make you president,” Liv insisted, finally agreeing to work on it together.