Scandal Deals With Blood And Doyle
Hollis Doyle returns to brew up trouble for Mellie and Susan as they continue their Presidential runs, all while Liv investigates Jake, and Abby breaks bad.
What's the occasion? Dinner with the Popes, including Jake and Vanessa.
What are the refreshments? Liv brought a fancy crepe cake -- and, of course, wine.
Whose big public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? Vanessa mentions that she met Jake when she bumped into him and dropped her phone, and then saw him a few days later in a café. This is important later. More importantly, Liv is gracious and friendly, at least until she gets the text telling her that Quinn and Charlie are done placing bugs in Vanessa's apartment. Jake doesn't seem to be buying Liv's ruse, and knows something's behind her sudden desire to be Vanessa's BFF.
Plot Lightning Round
Mellie meets with Hollis Doyle (remember that guy from the early seasons? The rich, obnoxious oil tycoon who helped steal the election for Fitz?), even though Liv cautions against Mellie's having anything to do with him because Hollis is The Devil. After making a bunch of lecherous comments, Hollis tells Mellie that if she eliminates the EPA, he will donate half a billion to her campaign. Mellie can't make that promise.
Lizzie tells Fitz, Abby, and Cyrus that she thinks Susan should meet with Hollis Doyle. Fitz is adamantly against it, because Hollis is The Devil, but Lizzie thinks the timing is great because they could cut off Mellie's financially precarious campaign before it even starts. Cyrus (who has ulterior motives) says there's no harm in talking to Doyle, so Fitz gives his assent.
Fitz attends Susan's meeting with Doyle, mostly so that he and Doyle can have a dick-measuring contest. Susan is schmoozing Doyle hard, talking about how oil companies are good for the economy and who cares about the environment anyway? Fitz cuts her off and says she doesn't need to set aside her ideals to suck up to Hollis, because Fitz got elected without Doyle and his money. Doyle says sharply that Fitz must be referring to his second term, because they both know how Fitz got elected the first time. Fitz quickly ends the meeting before Doyle can tell Susan that they fixed Fitz's election.
Hollis goes back to Mellie, and this time he wants to talk about the "freeloading illegals." OH, I get it now. Hollis is Donald Trump. Anyway, Mellie tells him her key issue is going to be universal Pre-K, and that she's going to announce her platform at her old elementary school. She even has her tagline worked out! Hollis is delighted (which doesn't ring any bells for Mellie, so she is totally off her game) and promises to work out his financial support the next day.
Lying Liars who Lie
Who called the meeting? Abby.
What's it about? After picking up on a hint from Ethan and getting evidence from David Rosen (who wants lady advice, which Abby rightly finds pathetic), Abby wants to confront Cyrus about working with Governor Vargas on his run for President.
How'd it go? Not great for Cyrus. He throws everything he has into his denial (multiple lies, anger, even a "how dare you!"), but Abby keeps hitting him with more undeniable evidence. Finally, Cyrus breaks and almost admits everything, or at least enough to screw him if Fitz found out. He promises to stop, and Abby promises not to tell Fitz.
Situation: Liv has been obsessively watching her new video feed of Vanessa's apartment.
What makes it awkward? During one heavy makeout sesh with Vanessa, Jake looks directly at the camera, so he totally knows.
How is order restored? Jake confronts Liv in her apartment, quite harshly. He accuses her of being manipulated by Fitz, just like she was manipulated by her father, but he says it a lot meaner. He also claims to be in love with Vanessa. Liv points out that Jake doesn't have girlfriends; he has marks. Jake says he loves that Vanessa is just a normal person, and then creepily asks Liv if she got off on watching him and Vanessa do it all the time.
Here's An Idea
Don't Kidnap Someone Until You Are Sure He's The Guy You Want
Huck and Marcus are having a great time watching Javi's soccer games using Huck's surveillance cameras, until Huck spots Kim with her boyfriend, and he's pretty sure the boyfriend is a guy he and Charlie once tortured. Huck jumps to the conclusion that the guy, Sean, is going to bring harm to Kim and Javi. Charlie barely remembers the guy and doesn't find anything incriminating through his investigation. Despite that, Huck tampers with Sean's car and steals his phone so that he breaks down on the side of the road with no way to call for help. Enter Helpful Huck, who offers to give Sean a ride to a gas station. Except when they pass a gas station, Huck speeds up instead of stopping.
Abby's Heel Turn
Abby tells Liv that Cyrus is working with a Democratic Presidential candidate, and is disturbingly excited about how she could destroy Cyrus with this information. Liv realizes that Abby wants to be Chief of Staff, and advises her to wait her turn instead of ruining someone else to get there. Abby gives a big speech about how she's always the good person in a town filled with monsters, and if she doesn't take advantage now, one of the other monsters will take her spot in line. Except she uses a lot more throat-ripping imagery. However, Abby allows that she doesn't know how monsters sleep at night. Liv advises Abby that she's just been seduced by the power of being so close to the Oval, and that being in power isn't all it's cracked up to me. Plus, Liv thinks that once you go full monster, you can never go back. She urges Abby to continue to be a good person -- the same good person who, just last week, was totally fine letting the murder of a sex worker by Secret Service agents get swept under the rug. Okay, then.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Liv vs. Quinn
Quinn, Liv, and Marcus are trying to track down Huck before he kills the innocent Sean. Quinn decides this would be a great time to take Liv to task for abandoning her "family" for the White House, and then ignoring her work responsibilities so that she can spy on Jake. Liv basically tells Quinn to do her job because that's what the money is for, but Quinn can't stop picking. Liv finally explodes and reminds Quinn that she was kidnapped, tortured, and then put on the auction block. And within a year, she was standing in the Oval Office, running the White House. So Liv has decided that she gets to be selfish for once, and Quinn can deal with it dot gif. Before Quinn can respond, Marcus points out that Huck has just arrived carrying Sean's unconscious and possibly dead body.
Winner: Liv, because being tortured and then auctioned off does kind of trump having to do your job for long hours.
Abby's Actual Heel Turn
Alert Type: Birth Of A Monster Alert.
Issue: Abby tells Fitz what Cyrus has been up to, even after vowing to both Liv and Cyrus that she wouldn't.
Complicating Factors: Fitz doesn't want to take any action, because he fears firing Cyrus will cause a huge scandal that will overshadow Susan's campaign. Never mind that Cyrus has been fired before and also no one outside Washington or the cable news channels really cares who the Chief of Staff is anyway.
Resolution: Abby makes the case that Fitz has Cyrus over a barrel, because getting fired would ruin Cyrus's career as well as his chances with Vargas. So Fitz can force Cyrus to resign, and hire her as the new Chief of Staff.
Spoiler: Fitz is impressed with Abby's moxie, and tells her that if she gets rid of Cyrus, she can have his job.
Wrap It Up
Liv and Huck drive back to Sean's car. Huck says that Sean will wake up and just think he was in a car accident. I would like to know where Huck gets these magical drugs where you can basically dial in the exact amount of amnesia time you want someone to have. Anyway, Huck cries and says that he has to let go of his family and move on. Liv seems to be applying the same concept to her whole Jake mess.
Hollis "Trump" Doyle announces that he's running for President -- and, to Mellie's dismay, does so at an elementary school and even steals Mellie's campaign slogan. He also manages to promise education to all who will work for it, and you're like, "Wow, that seems like a decent thing to do" until he explains that "pesky little border-crossers" and "sad little refugees begging for a handout" will "not be welcome." This would have been a lot more shocking a year ago.
Susan goes into the Oval and starts screaming at Fitz for interfering in her negotiations with Hollis Doyle, because now he's going to screw up her campaign. Fitz tells her not to speak to him that way in the Oval, but Susan takes a slug of liquor for courage and tells Fitz that she will respect him inside his office, but he needs to respect that this is her candidacy and her campaign, and he should butt out. Susan has agency! Finally! I'm sure it won't last. They will ruin her just like they've ruined every other character.
Liv is about to leave OPA when she stops and returns to tell Quinn that the only way Liv is able to be selfish is because she knows Quinn is there, running things when she's on an island with Jake or kidnapped or in the White House. So I guess that was an apology? After Liv leaves, Marcus asks about the island, and Quinn is about to blow him off yet again when she remembers that Liv said they need to keep Marcus in the loop. She explains the bare minimum.
Abby tells Cyrus that he's fired, and he's more surprised that she actually told Fitz than anything else. Abby joins Fitz and Susan in the Oval for a drink.
Liv meets Jake in a restaurant and says that she wants a truce, because she was wrong about his relationship, and she's been acting so crazy because she misses him. Jake accepts, but before they can talk much further, Vanessa joins them. When Vanessa drops her phone, Liv remembers Jake telling her the story of how he originally got introduced into her life, after Rowan assigned it. Liv realizes that it matches beat for beat the story Vanessa told her about how SHE met Jake. Liv makes her excuses and leaves, and calls Quinn and tells her to step up their surveillance on Jake. I remember a time when this show would have burned through this entire storyline in one episode. Like, Liv would have already confronted Jake with evidence that his relationship is a fraud and probably Huck would have murdered or tortured someone. Sigh.