Scandal Delivers More Politics As Usual
The Presidential candidates (and their campaign managers) wheel and deal, dirtily.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Debate Night In America
At the debate, Mellie and Hollis Doyle trade shots; Mellie mostly sticks to substance and Hollis's business record, while Hollis goes for the low blows, bringing up Fitz's infidelity and Liv's role therein. Susan Ross mostly plays Admiral Stockdale, due to her recent discoveries about David Rosen. After a telephoned pep talk from Fitz, she gets inspired to tell the tale of her late husband's death while on active duty in Afghanistan, which in turn inspired her call to public service.
Winner: Susan Ross, who is joined afterward by David Rosen on stage for forced smiles and awkward hugs.
Call Maury Povich
Who called the meeting? Liv.
What's it about? Alex Vargas's oppo research reveals that Susan Ross was never married to her late "husband," and while she wasn't lying to scam VA benefits, she WAS lying because her "husband" isn't her daughter's father. So now she wants Alex to tell her who IS the baby daddy.
How'd it go? Alex wants some quid pro quo, Clarice, so Liv gives up the name of a rehab nurse who could confirm that Edison's stint there, and finds out that the baby daddy is an ex-boyfriend of Susan's named Ronnie. Who is in prison on a drug charge.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Fake It Until You Make It
Lizzie basically orders David and Susan to pretend to be a couple for the campaign season. David says he'll do whatever Susan needs, but then suggests that they could release a statement saying they broke up and that people would understand. Susan weirdly says that people assume every public breakup is because the man cheated, and that she'll look weak. Is that true? I don't assume that. Anyway, she's not having it, and David reiterates that he'll do whatever Susan wants, but adds that he loves her and wishes they could give it another try. Susan turns him down, but once he leaves, she looks at least a little bit tempted by the offer.
Plot Lightning Round
Liv visits Ronnie Baby Daddy in jail and informs him about his daughter. She dangles the idea of a reduced sentence in return for a public statement about his paternity. Ronnie needs to think it over. Huck objects to this whole tactic: he says that Casey, Susan's daughter, will suffer, since she doesn't know about any of this mishegoss. Quinn is like, "Zip it, creep. At least this time we'd be spreading information that's actually true."
Alex Vargas gives his brother the deets on Edison's rehab stay. Frankie doesn't think they should use it; Cyrus backs him up because Cyrus is always going to take the opposite stance from Alex. The information gets leaked anyway (thanks to Alex), and Frankie admits that Alex was probably right to do it. At his next campaign stop, Frankie gets asked about it, and goes in hard on the idea that Edison might not be trustworthy enough to hold high office.
Edison, Rowan, and Jake eat breakfast together and watch the news, where they see Frankie's statement on the rehab stay. Edison is furious and yells at Rowan that Liv must be behind this, and that Rowan needs to rein her in. Rowan checks Edison hard, giving him a typical Rowan speech about how Edison needs to know his role and shut his mouth. Jake watches the whole thing while hilariously eating breakfast like that Michael Jackson popcorn gif.
But then the rehab nurse who had previously confirmed Edison's stay goes public with a statement that Edison was never there and it's all lies. She adds that Frankie Vargas should be ashamed about commenting on fake rumors. So now Cyrus looks good and Alex looks bad. Alex confronts Liv about giving him bad information, and Liv retorts that obviously someone got to the rehab nurse, and that Alex should have gotten there first, so it's on him. I'm a little nervous about how close their faces are during this argument and hope they're not setting up a Liv/Alex hookup.
Situation: Liv sends Marcus out on the campaign trail to handle Mellie, over his protests.
What makes it awkward? Marcus hates Mellie and tells her so, adding that the American public also hates her because she seems like a political robot.
How is order restored? Marcus convinces Mellie to do Jimmy Kimmel's Mean Tweets segment by explaining that it will humanize her with the public. Is this going to be a romcomish situation where they hate each other and then they hook up? I guess I'm not totally against that idea.
Where Is The Line, Exactly?
Liv tries one last time to convince Ronnie Baby Daddy to go public, but he's not interested. Liv removes the carrot and brings out the stick, threatening to plant drugs in his cell to get his sentence increased. Quinn is shocked, but ultimately backs her up, and Ronnie acquiesces. Quinn and Huck leak the information, but Huck is still protesting because he thinks Liv has crossed a line. Um, isn't this the dude who has previously tortured and murdered various people in cold blood? And possibly some of those people were parents? It seems a little silly that HUCK is the one who is against this. Marcus? Sure. But Huck? Anyway, Quinn is a little bit on his side and goes to Abby to talk about how Liv has gone off the rails.
Wrap It Up
So apparently Quinn and Abby's big plan to rein Liv back in consists of getting Fitz to talk to her? Fitz visits OPA, where he and Liv yell at one another for a while about all of the dirty deeds they've done in the past. Fitz says that he's trying to change, and that he wants to run a clean campaign, and thinks Liv should do the same. After he leaves, Quinn and Abby show up to see how it went, and Liv slams the door in their faces, so I'm guessing not good? Also I guess Fitz is Susan's campaign manager now? Doesn't he still have President shit to do?
Fitz meets with Susan (in his capacity as her campaign manager, I guess) and explains that the opposition has DNA evidence about her daughter's father. Fitz offers to commute Ronnie Baby Daddy's sentence in return for his silence. Susan is like, "Yes! Do that!" But Fitz gives her a big speech about how she won't feel right being President unless she truly earns it, which he knows because he didn't earn his first term. And he tells her about the vote fixing in Defiance. I wonder how deep he will go. Will he tell her he killed a Supreme Court Justice? I'm guessing no.
The next day, Susan goes to tell Fitz her decision on the Ronnie Baby Daddy issue but she's too late. Ronnie Baby Daddy hanged himself in his jail cell. Way to go, Liv.
Frankie is pissed at how badly Alex bungled the Edison rehab issue, so he starts giving all the campaign work to Cyrus. Which is a good thing, since that's what Cyrus is being paid for. Turns out Cyrus and Tom were the ones who paid the rehab nurse to lie.
Susan and David Rosen do interviews together about their fake relationship. David Rosen thinks this is a good sign for their real relationship, but Susan shuts him down.
Fitz returns to OPA, and he and Liv agree to run a clean campaign. Maybe they should bring Lizzie in on this pledge? Since she's Susan's actual campaign manager? I get that the writers like putting Liv and Fitz in a room together, and now that they're not boning, they need an excuse. But: kind of a lame way to close things out.