“Scandal” Recap: “Pencils Down”
On Thursday’s “Scandal,” Olivia had to play fixer for Mellie while the Gladiators investigated Jake’s new fiancee. Here are the most important things to know about “Pencils Down,” the 14th episode of season 5.
The show began with the announcement of the first Republican debate, which would feature Mellie, Susan, and Hollis. He, Olivia, and Liz argued over the terms of the face-off, while Susan practiced her sparring skills against Fitz. The race was set to get more complicated, though, with Florida senator Edison Davis also throwing his hat into the ring, but on the Democratic side.
Mellie polled poorly with focus groups, coming off as an unrelatable “know-it-all.” She begrudgingly accepted Olivia’s advice to “dumb it down” and “lose the bitch face.” And with Hollis monopolizing the news cycles as the “down-home candidate,” they decided to have Mellie go to Gettysburger and be a “woman of the people.” But when asked by reporters when else she stops in the fast-food place, she said she used to go every Sunday… even though the establishment is closed on those days in tribute to the Civil War.
Naturally, the media seized on her lie, and she blamed Liv for putting her in the position in the first place. Meanwhile, Cyrus started leading Frankie’s campaign, but clashed with the governor’s passionate brother Alex, who was clearly loved by the staff. Alex went to Olivia offering “dirt” on Susan in exchange for info on Edison, but she refused to trade.
As Mellie floundered, though, she changed her mind, and sought advice from her dad of all people, wanting Papa Pope’s “permission” to choose power over morals, as he always does. Surprisingly, though, he questioned her willingness to hurt her former fiancé, and urged her not to change Mellie… or herself.
Quinn tracked Jake as Olivia continued to wonder what he was using Vanessa for. In “plan B,” Quinn pretended to be a former college classmate to get close to her, and they “bonded” over relationships. Vanessa revealed she underwent a full background check, including bank info, since Jake is the head of the NSA. Quinn determined Jake was using her for her bank accounts, and siphoning money to fund a SuperPAC.
Liv told Edison that she thought her father was secretly funding his SuperPAC, and she quickly realized they were in cahoots. She tried to warn him that Papa Pope is not the person to be around, but he saw her as the “monster,” not her dad. Liv later interrupted Jake on a date, and tried to seduce him in a bathroom as she revealed she knew about the money laundering. “You tell my father that whatever game this is, I will win,” she said before leaving him all hot and bothered.
David, of course, was caught in the middle between Susan and Liz, and Abby refused to give him advice on how to resolve the love triangle, though she didn’t know who was involved. To help the campaign, though, Liz urged Susan to take her romance with David public. She and David reluctantly agreed, but Susan became worried when Abby casually mentioned that David was “juggling” women.
Susan point-blank asked David if he was “cheating” on her, which he strongly denied. “It’s only you,” he told her. After, Liz tried to seduce him, turned on because he got Susan back on track, but he refused. “I can’t do us,” he told her. “I mean it, Liz. We’re done.” He insisted he’s “in love” with Susan, and she did not take the breakup well. Later, Susan asked Fitz why men cheat, which caught him off-guard. He said people do for different reasons, and though she feels she should believe “him,” Fitz argued, “If you feel like he’s cheating, then he probably is.”
With Hollis leading the latest poll, he scored the center position for the debate. Minutes before show time, Susan dumped David. He insisted his affair was “over,” but all she said was he still needed to join her on stage afterward, as the press had already been told of her boyfriend. Liz played dumb about David’s cheating, and they actually both ended up crying over him, though Susan just thought her campaign manager was being sympathetic.
Olivia told Mellie to stop worrying about strategies and to trust her because “everything was going to be fine.” She then went and exchanged envelopes with Alex, giving him info on Edison’s time in rehab. The show ended with the candidates taking the stage as Olivia opened Alex’s file on Susan.