What could possibly happen next? “Scandal” fans were left with their jaws on the ground at the end of Season 5, episode 2 when Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) admitted to the press that she was President Fitzgerald’s (Tony Goldwyn) mistress. So, what happens now that the secret is out? That’s what episode 3 explored Thursday evening.
Olivia’s reveal comes just as Fitz and Mellie (Bellamy Young) are sitting down for an interview as a united couple. The plan is to brush off the affair rumors … but neither expected Olivia to come clean about her relationship.
Abby (Darby Stanchfield) manages to shut down the interview before it goes any further. Needless to say the First Lady is NOT happy when she finds out what Olivia did. But Fitz? He’s ecstatic.
The team at the White House (including Olivia) puts a new plan in place. This time, instead of putting on a united front, the President and the First Lady will announce that they are amicably divorcing. Too bad Mellie wants none of that plan. However, she has a secret weapon who can help her get what she wants – Cyrus (Jeff Perry).
Mellie places a call to get the former White House Chief of Staff as her new chief advisor. It’s a power move on her part, and Abby and Elizabeth (Portia de Rossi) are certainly scared. Before Abby talks to the First Lady any more about how the interview about divorce could help her, Cyrus warns Abby that he’ll be handing over a list of demands.
“What do you want?” Cyrus asks Mellie.
“I want to destroy Olivia Pope,” she fires back. “I want her to suffer like I suffered.”
Unfortunately that’s not a real option, so Mellie offers Cyrus her back up demand – “I want the Oval.”
Cyrus puts together a list of Mellie’s demands, which include Fitz supporting her bid for the White House and refraining from public appearances with Olivia. Fitz initially shoots down Mellie’s demands, but Olivia tells him to reconsider.
“We need Mellie on our side,” she warns him.
Mellie’s not the only person that they need on their side though. The whole affair drives a wedge between Olivia and Abby. Olivia thinks that Cyrus is playing a large part in ruining their friendship, but Abby blames it on Olivia. She’s upset that Olivia lied to her about the affair and thinks that her former boss doesn’t think she’s good enough to do her job. Can their friendship ever be repaired?
The pressure begins to mount on Olivia and she places a call to Jake (Scott Foley), who is getting drunk at the Pope & Associates office with Quinn (Katie Lowes) and Huck (Guillermo Diaz).
“I think I made a mistake,” Olivia tells Jake. “What I said to the press … not my best move.”
Jake senses that something is off and immediately offers to drop whatever he is doing to get her. But Olivia has to face the affair head on … and it’s not getting any easier. Mellie’s list of demands grow, adding the Olivia can’t take the Grant name and that Fitz has to give up his family’s home in Santa Barbara. Fitz agrees to it all, but this time around Mellie decides that it’s not enough. She tells Cyrus that she wants more – and that he’s too soft to deliver it.
Cyrus doesn’t take kindly to Mellie’s criticism that he “lost his edge,” so he decides to go straight to Fitz. He pretends to be sympathetic to the President, telling him that Mellie is not thinking straight. But Cyrus has ulterior motives. He pitches a new plan – Fitz takes back Mellie and put his relationship with Olivia on the backburner until he leaves the White House.
Olivia continues to freak out, and running into Mellie doesn’t help. The First Lady is back to drinking and warns Olivia about what she’s getting into by standing by Fitz in the White House. Can Olivia handle giving up everything that she worked so hard for? No! Olivia tells Fitz to take Mellie back and that she’ll wait out the remaining 18 months he has in the office. That’s not something that Fitz is willing to consider though.
Fitz works his charm and talks to Mellie. He apologizes and gives her the credit she deserves for helping him to get to the White House. It seems as if everything is going to go as planned with the “amicable divorce” interview … until Cyrus tries to push his luck and beg for his old job back. Fitz doesn’t even humor him.
“You do not work here anymore,” Fitz dismisses him.
Cyrus looks as if he’s about to lose his mind. But it’s worse than that. The rejection leads him to manipulate Mellie. He tells her that Fitz played her and that she would be stupid to agree to his deal. Instead of doing the interview, Mellie leaves the White House with Cyrus.
Since time has run out, Olivia and Fitz have to go with Abby’s plan. It’s one that Olivia knows has to happen, but Fitz isn’t happy – they have to spin Olivia as the villain. Fitz is ready to go down and pull Abby from podium, but Olivia says the magic words – “Sit there and watch me choose you.”
Of course, there was one more twist in episode 3. While all the media was focusing on the affair, the Louvre in Paris was in flames. Jake visits Papa Pope (Joe Morton) in jail to tell him the news.
“Lazarus won,” Papa Pope tells him.
“Looks like it,” Jakes responds.