Lots of fun times in this week’s episode but also some dark stuff. The back-and-forth is enough to induce whiplash.
On the fun side, there’s a guest appearance by Lena Dunham as a sex-crazed, seemingly air-headed would-be author. As for the dark, there’s plenty of time to get to that.
Case of the Week. The CotW is introduced in the very first scene, in the form of Abby having it out with boyfriend Leo. We don’t know yet what they’re arguing about, but Leo keeps insisting it’s no big deal, what with there being no minors involved and no money being exchanged. Abby, on the other hand, is really upset. She calls him disgusting multiple times. Leo says he’s a fixer. and he’ll take care of it, but Abby says he’s too disgusting to take care of it, so she will.
That leads Abby to drop in on her old friend Olivia, who also happens to be a fixer. The problem is a book that’s being shopped around, written by a woman who slept with a lot of powerful DC men. Liv says often those kinds of tell-alls turn out to be a lot of bunk, so Abby probably shouldn’t worry about it. But Red knows better.
The guys in the book are referred to by nicknames, and she recognizes one called The Dustbuster as none other than Leo himself. It’s funny that Abby is so embarrassed that before she’ll utter the nickname, she makes Liv turn around, so she doesn’t have to face her. Liv knows that if this gets out, White House Press Secretary Abby will be humiliated and laughed off the podium, and Abby says that’s why she’s hiring Liv. The book must be shut down before it sees the light of day.
The author is Suzanne Thomas, who recognizes Liv when she stops by her apartment. Since she knows Liv handles dirty work, she assumes she’s in trouble. She’s right and gets treated to full-on Olivia Pope. Liv tells Sue that if she’s smart, she’ll destroy every copy of the book, or Liv will destroy her. Sue appears sufficiently cowed, and as she’s leaving, Liv calls Abby to tell her it’s been handled.
Only it’s not. The next day, Sue shows up at OPA acting significantly more self-assured than the day before. She tells Liv she’ll decline to have the book published, but she wants three million dollars in return. Not from Liv but from whoever hired her. Liv tells her she’ll be branded a whore, but Sue couldn’t care less. Then she goes on the attack.
She freely engaged in kinky sex with these guys, and Liv should be supporting her for being a woman who does what she wants with her body, public opinion be damned. She also offers that “everybody who writes a memoir is a whore,” which is pretty amusing. She tells Liv what a role model she used to be, but now it appears she’s gotten weak and prudish. Sue tells her it’s a disappointing thing to watch, but she won’t do the same. She’s going to be successful and do it on her own terms. That is, unless Liv coughs up the three mil.
After that little speech, Sue flirts a bit with a shell-shocked-looking Huck then leaves.
Best. Date. Ever! That performance makes OPA swing into action, as they find out all about Sue. She’s twenty-six years-old, has a chemistry degree, and until recently worked at the Environmental Protection Agency. She was fired last month for insubordination. She also is a big fan of a dating app called Land-O-Kink. Liv says that in order to raise the money, they have to find all of the men in the book, and for that, they need the book. But how to access it? Sue is no dummy and wrote it on a typewriter to keep it from being hacked.
Huck and Quinn do an amusing search of Land-O-Kink. Huck seems to be a novice and looks at all of the various kinds of kink as he wonders, for instance, why aerial ropes and suspension are listed separately. “Aren’t they the same thing?” he asks, to which Quinn yells, “No!” They’ll need to get Sue out of her apartment for a while, so Huck can find and scan the book. They decide to use Kink to set her up on a date with none other than Charlie.
We get to see some of that date, which is both awkward and funny. Especially when Sue asks him what he’d do if he wanted to get secrets out of her, and Charlie says breezily, “Torture.” She’s intrigued, no doubt thinking he’s being facetious, but of course he’s not. She asks for details, and he gets graphic and creepy. She looks horrified and leaves, which is likely the first time she’s ever abandoned a date. Charlie has that effect on people.
But the date lasted long enough for Huck to get the job done. The next day, the Gladiators of OPA, and Abby, sit down for a good read. Their facial expressions and gestures let us know just how salacious of a book it is.
Really, Davey… Then they set to the task of identifying the men behind the nicknames. And what nicknames they are! Sue has gifted the horny DC elite with monikers like Butterfinger, Motorhead, Joystick, Carpetbagger, and my personal favorite, Sit & Spin. The names are put up on the OPA board, as they make identifications and attach photos to them.
There are seventeen chapters, one for each conquest, but the Gladiators get stuck on sixteen, called The Dr. Gradually, Abby figures out that the person isn’t a doctor. The title is initials. The “Dr” stands for David Rosen. Our good friend, and Abby’s ex-boyfriend, Attorney General David Rosen. Poor Abby. Now she’s linked to two guys in the book! And poor David, the only one of the seventeen without a funny, snarky nickname.
Liv and Abby go to David’s office to give him the news. He says he “dated” Sue at a low point in his life, back in season two in Scandal-verse. He had lost Abby, lost his job, and was scrounging up work as a substitute teacher. That was quite a fall from grace for the once high-powered attorney, and he turned to Sue to feel…well, disgusting, if you ask Abby. She’s now flinging that word David’s way after giving it quite a workout with Leo. But David doesn’t really notice, since he’s concerned about his career.
Not exactly a meeting of the minds. With all of the guys identified, Liv gathers them at OPA. She fills them in then says in order to keep the book under wraps, they each have to chip in $175,000. Most of the men are angry and vocal about it. Leo, though, appears amused. When one of the guys objects to handing over the cash, Leo reminds him he probably spent more than that on sex toys last year, so he needs to pay up.
After Liv tells them this is the best solution, they take a vote on the measure. It’s 16-1, with David being the lone dissenting vote. He says it’s extortion, it’s illegal, and as AG, he won’t do it.
David’s lack of cooperation has Huck concerned. Huck is still looking for immunity for his testimony regarding B613, and David has been reluctant to give it. This book thing only further complicates matters. The two meet up, and David says it’s over for him. He refuses to pay Sue, and if the book goes public, he won’t be AG any more.
Huck is afraid that will leave him twisting in the wind. He sees telling the truth about B613 as the only way to get his wife and kid back, and that’s something he very much wants. He says if the next AG finds those B613 files, he’ll likely end up in prison instead.
After thinking it over, Liv decides David is right. It’s immoral to pay Sue off, and besides, things like that never work, because someone always talks. They need to dig into Sue’s life and see what they can find out to get some leverage.
All of Abby’s men. Despite repeatedly calling him disgusting, Abby has evidently forgiven Leo, as we see them at home that night. He’s doing his pre-bed exercises while she types away on a laptop. He thinks it’s funny that two of her boyfriends are in the book. Besides, it looks like she apparently taught David a few things, so who’s disgusting now? It seems that Abby is a bit of a freak herself, as this isn’t the first time Leo has made such a reference.
But at the moment, Abby is in no mood for this kind of talk. She tells him she’s writing her resignation letter. He says there’s no need for that. Sure, there will be some buzz if Sue’s book comes out, but Abby can weather it, and it will blow over. But Abby knows better. She says she’s good at her intense, high-profile job, but that’s not enough. The press also regularly writes about her hair and clothes and whether she’s wearing too much lipstick or not enough. They also always mention Leo, because it has to be pointed out that she’s the girlfriend of the DC fixer. When they write articles about him, she asks how often she is mentioned. What happens to him, happens to her. So she’s resigning.
The next day, Abby warns Cyrus about the book. He says he’ll take care of it. Then she offers her resignation, which he accepts. He’s rather abrupt and unfeeling about the whole thing.
Runaround Sue. Huck tells Liv and Quinn that he’s dug around at the EPA and found out why Sue was fired. She’s summoned to OPA. Liv says she knows that despite Sue’s monetary demands, she’s not after money. She wants revenge. Her boss, Jim Sanders, found out about her kinky ways and came on to her. When she turned him down, he fired her and blabbed about her to everyone at work. There was the implication that Sanders felt that if Sue said yes to one man, that meant any man was entitled to her, including him. So when she said no, he not only fired her, he blackballed her in the industry, so she couldn’t find a decent job anywhere else.
Liv says her intellect has been stolen from her, and that’s what she needs to get back. Sue is persuaded and tells all to Irene, a lawyer friend of Liv’s. Irene listens and takes down everything Sue tells her. If Sanders doesn’t step down and agree to their terms, Irene will take her case to court. Sue feels better after spilling her guts, but there’s more: Liv has made a few calls and lined up some job interviews for her. Sue is overwhelmed that Liv would do so much on her behalf and hugs her before leaving.
Mall meeting. Cy has asked Liv to meet with him. He’s brought along a case, which contains the three mil needed to bail out Abby. It looks like Abby’s leaving would affect him more than he let on. But Liv tells him she’s handled the situation, and the money isn’t necessary. Instead of being relieved, Cy is disappointed, and it dawns on Liv what’s going on. She says he doesn’t want to help Abby so much as he wants to get his hands on Sue’s book. All the dirt on all of those powerful DC types would be beneficial to him. He admits that it wouldn’t hurt.
Lizzie’s back! Things are complicated for Cy these days, and he addresses matters by dropping in on Lizzie. He agreed not to turn her in for conspiring to commit treason with Andrew, and he’s about to start making good on his promise that she would be his bitch in order to secure his silence. After the Andrew business, Liz has stepped down from her post chairing the RNC and is living below the radar.
Cy meets her in the park, where she’s watching her daughter play. That reminds me. I wonder where Cy’s daughter, Ella, is. The one he adopted with James. What became of her? She’s never seen nor mentioned, the poor, neglected kid.
Anyway, he tells Lizzie that although he knows what a traitor she is, the conservative crowd doesn’t and loves her. She still carries some weight in this town, and he wants to use it. Fitz has a pet bill he’s trying to pass, but is short a few votes. Cy wants Lizzie to use her influence on the Republican senators on the rules committee to get it through. She reminds him she’s on leave from the RNC, but he reminds her that she works for him now. Saying no is not an option.
Springtime for Mellie. Cy is also a bit confused these days by the goings-on at the White House. A recent meeting with Fitz and Abby was interrupted by Mellie, who announced her plans to the trio. She’s running for the Senate in Virginia. She wants the seat vacated by Susan Ross, the new VP. Cy now understand why Mellie recently bought a house in Virginia. It was to establish residency. Mellie just smiles and tells abby that she wants to hire Leo as her campaign manager. Abby is taken off guard and says Leo is too busy these days.
The news of Mellie’s plans works its way to Lizzie, who sees it as an opportunity to get her mojo back. She drops by Mellie’s office with a folder in hand. It contains Lizzie’s plan for getting Mel elected senator. Liz says she needs an ally to help her regain her stature and some power, so she won’t have to be at Cy’s beck and call any more. She also says she knows that the Senate is just Mel’s short-term plan and that she has her eye on a future presidential run. Liz wants to be her campaign manager and make her the new senator from Virginia then someday put her in the Oval Office. Mel answers by accepting the folder.
Didn’t see that coming… It looks like the future is a lot brighter for Sue these days, but her past has come back to haunt her. Quinn and Huck drop by her apartment to find the door open. They step in and hear her scream for help. Sanders has been informed of her plans and isn’t happy. He’s in the kitchen holding her at knifepoint. Quinn draws her gun and tells him to drop it. He does, and Huck grabs him and rushes him out the door while telling him to keep his mouth shut.
Quinn wonders why he let Sanders go, as Sue starts gushing her thanks. Before saying anything, Huck takes the knife and slashes Sue’s throat. It’s quick and shocking. Huck knows his stuff, and Sue dies instantly. Quinn asks why on earth he did it since everything was worked out, but Huck says he couldn’t trust her.
He’s sure Sue would have talked, which would drive David out of office and mess up Huck’s immunity agreement. That’s certainly a stretch, never mind that Huck is one scary dude. All he needed to do was bug out his eyes and threaten her, and there’s no way she would have talked. But I guess that wouldn’t have been dramatic enough.
Liv is beside herself upon hearing the news that Sue is dead. But Quinn doesn’t explicitly tell her Huck did it. Instead, she’s secured every copy of Sue’s book and turns it all over to Liv who asks if she knows who killed Sue. Quinn says it doesn’t matter, because Sue isn’t her client. Abby is. Sue’s book is packed with potential suspects for the cops, if that’s what Liv wants, but justice for Sue comes at a cost to Abby. And Abby is family. So even though it’s not stated, Liv appears to have figured out Huck did it.
Later, Liv puts all of the copies of the book into her wall safe at home.
Huck needs to go. Huck is waiting in David’s office. David comes in with an immunity agreement for him to sign. He asks if Huck heard about what happened to Sue then goes off on how guilty he feels about the whole thing. He knows it’s crazy that he kept it legal and did everything by the book when it came to Sue and her book, but he still feels somehow culpable. He goes on and on.
But Huck doesn’t say a word as David rants. He just sits there, looks over the agreement, and signs it. If there were ever any doubts about Huck having a freaky moral code and no conscience, this dashes them. He did all of this to get his family back, but there’s no guarantee it will happen.
His ex seems to sympathize with him, but that’s a long way from taking him back. Does she have any idea how much he’s changed since he disappeared all those years ago? Once she gets a whiff of the truth, it’s doubtful she’ll want anything to do with Huck. And why would she ever want him to be anywhere near their kid? Seriously, Dexter Morgan is a better role model.
Huck gets up after signing the agreement, and David asks where he’s going. Huck just says “Home.” I don’t see how this can end well for the wife and kid. I fear that we’ll soon be seeing them in body bags. Unless the show kills Huck off first. He used to be my favorite character, but over the past couple of seasons, they’ve made him so morally and ethically bankrupt and vicious, I’d welcome him being bumped off. He’s just gotten repulsive.
The league of unextraordinary gentlmen. That book didn’t contain all of the creepy guys in DC. Jake is making himself useful these days by reporting to Fitz on all things Liv. They have meetings in the Oval to drink scotch and talk like manly men. During one of these verbal towel-snapping sessions, Jake informs Fitz that from what he can gather, the international crime community has moved on from the Liv auction and now has bigger fish to fry. Isn’t that convenient? She doesn’t appear to be in danger of any more kidnappings.
Meanwhile, it looks like exposure to Sue has inspired Liv to channel her inner bad girl. After getting a copy of the book, she’s reading at home one night while drinking a huge glass of wine. Yes, that hasn’t changed. She’s still dealing with her PTSD by throwing back massive amounts of grape.
The next thing we know, she’s all dressed up and sitting at a bar, obviously trolling for men. Of course, any woman who looks like Liv never has to wait long for male attention, and she catches a guy’s eye. He comes over, and she tells him her name is Alex. He’s Russell and suggests going to dinner and getting to know each other. She suggests not going to dinner, going to her place, and not necessarily getting to know each other. He’s open to that, too.
Liv goes to the ladies room to freshen up before leaving with her fresh hunk of manmeat. But when she looks in the mirror, she has flashbacks of that grimy bathroom she had to use when being held captive. The flashbacks are too much to handle, and she runs out the back door.
In the final scene, she’s back at the bar. This time there are no flashbacks. Russell shows up, and she wastes no time taking him home. It’s pretty reckless for someone who was recently kidnapped, but she’s apparently too horny to take her safety into consideration. They’re shown making out, which is interspliced with Jake and Fitz having man-talk in the Oval. Jake says there’s still no chatter from the crime community about Liv. There’s also nothing new to report on Liv getting out more. She still sits at home in her off-time, tanking back wine.
Except for tonight. Liv tells Russell to get in the bedroom and get naked. He goes, undressing on the way. She picks up the bottle of wine and two glasses and follows.
One more note. It appears that despite all that happened this week, Abby and Leo are doing just fine. By episode’s end, they’re at home discussing Sue. Leo says it’s too bad, since she was a nice person, and he liked her. Abby concurs. He asks if she read the book. She says she did, and it was good, especially chapter five. He asks what was in chapter five and kisses her. She smiles and says to have some respect.
But he’s not being disrespectful. He says they should talk about Sue and what she would be doing right then. Abby suggests something about going to the kitchen and butter, and it sounds like she has a 9 ½ Weeks food/sex thing in mind. If these crazy kids can survive all that’s been exposed, they just might be DC’s new power couple to be reckoned with.
And speaking of power couples, whatever became of call guy/business student/Cy’s BF Michael? That plot thread is taken up again in next week’s episode, “Put A Ring On It,” A preview –
When Michael gets himself in a bad situation, the Gladiators launch into damage control and put pressure on Cyrus to move up the wedding. Meanwhile, David takes the first step in executing his plan to take down B613.
If that comes with a side dish of no more Huck, I’m in.