Team Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young)? The ultimate “Scandal” partnership finally happened in episode 11.
Last week’s installment teased a working relationship between Olivia and Mellie, but their bizarre new union is put on the backburner when Season 5, episode 11 begins. The episode starts with Cyrus (Jeff Perry) having a flashback to his long career as Chief of Staff. “I have to go,” he says when the scene cuts back to reality. But who is he talking to and what exactly is he trying to say? The ABC series isn’t ready to reveal that just yet.
Back to Olivia and Mellie, the former First Lady and her husband’s ex-mistress are just getting started. Mellie wants Olivia’s honest opinion on the book she’s writing, but she also doesn’t want to hear it. Olivia tells her that the book is missing an important chapter — why she stayed in her relationship with Fitz when she knew about his mistress. She argues that the people are going to want to know why Mellie “turned a blind eye all those years.” However, Mellie’s not interested in sharing that story. She fires back, asking Olivia why she left. Both women can’t answer, and Mellie ultimately snaps. She calls Olivia a “plaything” that Fitz used to pass the time. Thanking her for her help, Mellie storms out of Olivia’s office.
Mellie might have to step it up if she wants to seriously run for president. Liz (Portia de Rossi) has her eyes set on the Oval Office as well. The only twist is that her way in involves Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani). But does the vice president even want to become the Leader of the Free World? No way, and she certainly has no plans to allow Liz to pressure her into it. Liz isn’t one to take no for an answer, though. She turns to David Rosen (Joshua Malina) to get him to convince Susan to run for office.
“The muppet is in love with you,” she tells him.
But why would David play Liz’s game? She threatens to withdraw sex from him. That’s all David needs to hear. He goes to visit Susan and asks her out on a date — to Gettysburger! Susan accepts, of course. However, after talking to David she realizes that he’s starting to sound like Liz. Susan doesn’t want to see the truth. Instead of putting the pieces together that Liz has David wrapped around her finger, she lets David manipulate her. After calling herself a “bug” that Mellie could crush, David pulls her in for a big kiss.
“Don’t you ever call yourself names in my presence again,” he says to her. “You’re not a bug, you’re a warrior. You can win, I really believe that.”
Elsewhere in the White House, Abby (Darby Stanchfield) is trying to convince Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) to do an interview with a reporter who has a history of writing impressive features. Fitz is ready to let his guard down, but Cyrus warns him otherwise. He urges the President to take a stand and “set the world on fire” during his last six months in office. However, Fitz is more interested in laying back … and flirting with the reporter.
Cyrus has had enough of being ignored by Fitz. He heads to a bar where he finds Mellie drinking away her problems. The two quickly begin to bond over booze and Cyrus encourages her to continue her run for President. But Mellie knows Cyrus all too well. She cuts him off before he can go any further and reveals that she’s already got someone in mind to run her campaign. Completely lost, Cyrus makes a bold move. He goes into Fitz’ bedroom in the middle of the night to reveal that his cousin died. “I have to go,” he says to him, bringing “Scandal” viewers back to the start of episode 11.
Mellie’s conversation with Cyrus makes her realize something as well. She heads to Olivia’s apartment, moonshine in hand, and finally reveals why she stayed in her marriage when she knew her husband had a mistress.
“It was working,” she explains.
Mellie continues that she hated herself when it was just her and Fitz. However, when Olivia entered the picture, it gave Mellie an opportunity to “breathe.” Her husband having a mistress made her feel “alone,” “relieved” and “free.”
“I stayed because it was working,” she concludes.
It’s the truth — but not something that Mellie could actually publish in a book. And that’s when Olivia reveals the reason why she left. “I was scared,” she tells Mellie.
That’s exactly what Mellie needs to write in her book. She was scared and never thought she could stand on her own. However, she ultimately realized that she had the power the whole time — it just took her a little longer to realize. Olivia makes Mellie rewrite the chapter and is impressed by the outcome. She’s so happy with it that she makes Mellie leak the pages to the press. It was the right move, because now Mellie even has Sally Langston (Kate Burton) on her side.
The episode ends with Fitz asking out the reporter on a date, forcing Abby to freak out and call Cryrus. But Cyrus is done with Fitz. He’s already eyeing his next project, the Governor of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, David takes a stand against Liz and tells her that he won’t manipulate Susan into running for President. But David already laid the groundwork because Susan filed the paperwork.
“Let’s make a president together,” Liz tells David, pulling him in for a kiss.