Catch up on Scandal S4 Ep. 17 Put A Ring On It

by

L.T. Milroy

 This week’s Scandal is all about Cyrus Beane. He’s your monster, and he’s on full display in all of his glory, if glory is indeed the right word. After being on hold as a plot point for quite a while, the relationship between Cy and his fiancé/business student/rent boy hustler, Michael, is thrust back into the spotlight. And it looks like those crazy kids are finally going to ‘put a ring on it’.

This is also the Scandal flashback edition. We find out all about Cy’s tawdry and often painful history by that tried-and-true TV drama method. Olivia gets in on the action as well. So buckle those seatbelts and get ready for a bumpy ride into the past.

Case of the Week. There’s no traditional Case of the Week in this theme episode. It’s all about Cy and Mikey’s journey to the altar.

The flashbacks begin immediately, as Olivia’s in bed, suffering through not only memories of her time in captivity, but also of her various ups-and-downs with Fitz. It’s hard to tell what’s worse. Yeah, I’ve pretty much had it with Olitz at this point. And from reading recent comments from the fans, I’m not alone. It was the linchpin on which this show originally hung, but it’s become dated and worn out. Besides, there’s so much else going on now, I think they could dispense with Olitz and not greatly upset the fabric of the show. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Liv met a guy she fell for as hard as she did for the prez? I wouldn’t mind seeing that.

Liv’s phone buzzes with a text message, thus waking her up. It’s apparently something big, beceause she gets out of bed and starts making calls.

It’s the middle of the night, but everyone is awakened to deal with the crisis. It looks like Quinn and Charlie are back on, if they were ever actually off.  They’re shown sleeping together when Quinn is summoned. Abby is up and dressing as Leo says groggily that it must be something important to get her functioning this early. Liv calls Cyrus, who’s so unhappy from what she tells him, that we don’t hear, that he throws a bit of a tantrum and knocks over the photo on the nightstand of him, James, and Ella. Mistakenly, of course. He’d never do that on purpose.

The gang is gathered at OPA, as Huck drags in an intoxicated Michael who hasn’t been around in a while, but it seems he’s been living with Cy. They’re engaged but evidently in no hurry to get married. That’s about to change.

Michael snuck out of the house and went out drinking. This ticks Cy off, as he says Michael has just one job these days, to play the adoring fiancé, and he’s messing it up. Mikey counters that their contract specifies he can go out if he’s discreet, but his inebriated condition pretty much belies discretion. Liv tells everyone he went to a gay bar, had a bunch of vodka shots, and made out with some guy. There are photos all over Instagram of the unseemly hook-up. On TV, there’s a report about it, which also states there’s been silence from the Chief of Staff’s office.

Liv knows there can’t be silence for long. She tells Cy he has to get married. Soon. Like, this week. Seems he’s already put off the marriage four times. She says he needs to remind the public that the story of Cy and Michael is a love story, and it has to be celebrated with a flashy wedding. It would be a good idea to have it at the White House. Cy says they can’t, because Fitz has made no pronouncement on gay marriage. The prez has a gay, engaged CoS but hasn’t come out in favor of same-sex marriage? Yet another reason Fitz is a jerk. Cy adds that he also doesn’t want to mess things up for Mellie, who’s gearing up for a Senate run.

That makes Liv pay Mellie a visit. She tells Mel she should host the wedding herself, not only as FLOTUS, but as a candidate. It would be good for her to take on a divisive social issue head-on. Love is love, says Liv, and Mellie should be proud to say that as a candidate for Senate.

Mel takes the advice, and in the next scene, she’s holding a press conference announcing the wedding. She says she’s coming out publicly in favor of Cy’s happiness, and that of all gay Americans. She even gives a great sound bite that love between gay people is “something to be celebrated, not relegated or regulated.” Preach, sister.

The Gladiators also swing into action to try and fix the Michael situation. Huck and Quinn go to the bar and tell the bartender that what happened the night before night was an innocent bachelor party, not a drunken hook-up. Huck says to be sure to tell that to the reporters outside. The bartender is convinced after they slide a few bucks across the bar.

And it should be mentioned that this montage is set to the back-drop of K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s Boogie Shoes. Perfect. Whoever is in charge of the soundtrack for this show strikes gold again!

Get used to the flashbacks, because they keep coming. His pending nuptials make Cy reflect back on his previous two weddings. The first was many years ago, when he was running for his first public office, that of comptroller.

His girlfriend Janet helps him pick out an outfit for a public appearance. He realizes how much he depends on her and impulsively asks her to marry him. She’s surprised and freaks out a little because it’s so sudden, and they’ve only known each other for two months. But he says he’s certain she’s his soul mate and gets down on one knee. But she’s still unsure. After all she’s a strict Catholic, and marriage will have to be forever, since she doesn’t believe in divorce. But Cy won’t be swayed. He tells her again how much he loves her, and she says yes. Then they squeal and jump around, and it would all be really sweet if we didn’t know what a train wreck lies ahead.

Not everyone is pleased. Lizzie, who is now Mellie’s campaign manager, stops by her office. She’s pissed that Mel didn’t check with her before going public about hosting a White House gay wedding.Liz is quite indignant, but Mel shuts her down immediately by reminding Lizzie she works for her, and it’s not Lizzie’s job to judge or lecture Mel about anything.

Lizzie backs down, to the point she starts calling Mellie “Mrs. Grant.” Yikes. I guess it’s wise not to annoy Mel too much, given all the dirt she has on Liz and how she could destroy Liz any time she wants. But it’s still weird to watch the sassy Liz grovel.

Long tall Sally. As well as flashbacks, it’s the reappearance of almost-forgotten characters week. Along with Michael, who’s back but Sally Langston, the ultra-right wing darling. She’s returned after killing her unfaithful, gay husband, Daniel Douglas, and subsequently resigning the vice presidency.

Sally’s now the host of her own Sunday news show called The Liberty Report (insert eye-roll here), and has made it her crusade to smear her former boss’s administration. She’s offering $10,000 to anyone who can give her some definitive dirt on the dirty doings of Michael. She claims to have inside information from a secret war room that was convened by White House insiders.

It appears Sally has rebounded rather well. That she’s a murderer, which breaks one of those commandments she likely talks about a lot, is still unknown to the public. And at least she’s no longer rocking back and forth muttering about “crispy piggy.”

Liv meets with Cy and Mikey and asks Mike if Sally will find anything. He assures her he’s clean. Afterward, Quinn wonders how Sally knows about the war room and thinks someone must be leaking intel. Huck wonders who in the White House would give Sally information. Liv surmises that maybe it’s someone who doesn’t know she’s even doing it.

Busting the Dustbuster. Turns out, the leak who didn’t know she was leaking is Abby. Leo has been snooping around, and besides, he says she’s not always all that discreet when they talk at home, so she’s kind of to blame. Abby’s livid, and says they have a “separation of church and state” relationship, but he doesn’t necessarily agree. He also asks if the situation was reversed, wouldn’t she use something she learned from him, if the opportunity presented itself?

Abby’s still upset, but when Leo leaves the room, she wastes no time testing his theory. She flips through his phone to see what she can find. What a couple this is!

At OPA, Huck tells Liv he’s found that Michael has a second phone on which he only receives calls from a Phillip Reed. Then Abby drops in and imparts the info she got from snooping on Leo: Sally has Reed booked on her next show.

More Cy flashbacks. At home, Cy and Mikey are having a spat, because Mike has the audacity to enter Cy’s very bedroom. That violates their agreement to stay in separate parts of the house. The incident causes Cy to flash back to the moment his first marriage officially fell apart.

A younger Cy is wearing an extremely bad fright wig. Seriously, this show must have a handsome budget. They couldn’t afford a convincing hair piece? Anyway, he comes home all excited. He’s now a professional pol and has decided to run for a seat in Congress. He wants to talk it over with Janet but finds her half in the bag. She’s been drinking to work up the courage to ask him for a divorce. She says they’ve been together for sixteen years, but she still feels like she barely knows him. She’s lonely.

Cy says they can’t break up. They got him into office, and as a team was the force behind getting Fitz elected Governor of California. Now it’s his turn, and with her support and Fitz’s connections, they can get him into Congress. But Janet can’t be convinced. Although she claimed to barely know Cy, she apparently knows him pretty well. She says she’ll admit she’s not having an affair if he’ll admit he’s not gay. Ouch. He’s speechless, which on this show is saying something. Janet tells him goodbye.

Back in the present, Michael emerges from Cy’s closet, in the literal sense, carrying some shirts. He says there was a laundry mix-up, and he’ll get back on his side of the house. Poor Mikey.

More dirt. There’s a promo on TV for Sally’s show, in which she says that this week, she’ll be blowing the lid off an illicit DC romance.

Liv and her team, including Mellie and Lizzie, are gathered at the White House. Liv tells Mikey they know he’s been lying about his personal affairs. He’s been seeing Phillip for seven months. Mike looks embarrassed. Abby says they can’t cancel the wedding, but Liz says it’s already a public relations nightmare, and Mel agrees. Liv tells them to hold off on doing anything until she’s tried everything.

Wedding number two. After repairing the broken photo of his kid and dead husband, Cy flashes back to his second wedding, to James. At wedding number one, he had to fight off the advances of a friend with whom it looks like he had a personal relationship, so that marriage didn’t start off well. Neither does this one.

The setting is perfect. An inn in Vermont. But one of the grooms is having cold feet. Cy tells Liv he’s afraid James is going to stand him up. She says to find him and talk it out.

Turns out, what James is concerned about is his career. He wants to be Cy’s husband, but he also wants to keep being a journalist, and he’s afraid he can’t be both. He says he’s his own man and won’t be Cy’s lap dog. Cy says his being CoS won’t interfere in their marriage. He insists that he’ll never make James compromise his principles or journalistic integrity.

Later, Cy and James are packing for their honeymoon. The marriage has barely begun and already Cy is going back on his word. He gets a phone call which results in him asking James to plant a story for him. After some cajoling, James reluctantly agrees. Looks like both of Cy’s marriages were built on lies.

It’s Liv’s turn to flash back. Cy isn’t the only one with flashbacks this week, nor was he the only one to deal with drama at that inn in Vermont. Liv’s dreaming again about her captivity and about Fitz then wakes up. She recalls Cy’s wedding to James through her own lens.

She’s getting the honeymoon suite ready by putting out flowers and spreading petals on the bed. A bit hokey, but so far, so good. Then Fitz walks in. She tells him he’s not supposed to be there. But Liv has just quit her job in the White House, and he wants to know why. She says it’s because she can’t work there and be around him, seeing him every day. He’s not happy but accepts the explanation.

Then he gives her a ring. It’s the one she never takes off. The one she dropped to leave behind as a clue when she was kidnapped. The one she threw at Fitz in anger in her apartment a couple of episodes ago. It belonged to Fitz’s grandmother. He says he was supposed to give it to Mellie, but it never felt right. If Liv wears it, he’ll know she’s out there and thinking of him, even if they’re not on speaking terms. He says it’s called doux bebe, or “sweet baby” in English. So that’s where all that ‘sweet baby’ stuff came from in the first season. This feels like a total retcon, but why pick nits at this point? And I didn’t know rings have names. Gotta love those fancy DC types.

Liv takes the ring, puts it on, and kisses him. Back in present day, she gets out of bed and goes looking for the ring, which she finds in a vase. I’m not sure how it got in there, but I guess it could have landed anywhere after she threw it at him. She seems relieved to have found it.

Fitz. The. Worst. President. Ever. Even though Liv has found the ring, she’s not ready to put it back on yet. She drops in on Fitz in the Oval and tells him she needs something for Cy. It’s a bargaining chip to use with Sally. Liv hands him a paper, and he notices she isn’t wearing the ring. Apparently this rattles him to the point that he’s totally not thinking, because he just takes the paper and barely looks at it before signing it. Which befits the leader of the free world.

As she’s leaving, he petulantly chides her for going to Mellie and making the wedding plans behind his back. That’s all he cares about? She acknowledges she did it and leaves.

Liv goes to visit Sally, paper in hand. Amazingly, it contains an offer of the job of Secretary of State. So Fitz signed off on offering a crucially important, high-level administration position to a crazy-ass loon without giving it a second thought, because…Liv threw him off his game? Is that all it takes? Are we really supposed to like Fitz, because this just makes him look like a weak, ethically-lacking, unprincipled mess. UGH.

Liv says Sally can be the new SoS, and maybe even president someday, but she has to give up being a pundit. Lucky for the country, and the world at large, Sally doesn’t bite. She says she loves her TV bully pulpit and has no interest in being a politician any longer.

Liv goes to Cy and tells him she couldn’t convince Sally to drop the interview. Sally is going to have Phillip on her show and expose his affair with Michael. Liv says their only move now is to go to the press and admit Mike cheated. They’ll make Cy a jilted lover and play the victim card. They’ll play it hard, and the public will sympathize with Cy. This will make the press destroy Mikey, but Cy couldn’t care less. He’ll come out on top, and that’s all that matters.

Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh. Michael’s parents have been invited to the wedding, much to Mikey’s displeasure. It seems he hasn’t spoken to them in years, but they’re being brought to DC to witness the storybook marriage of Mike and Cy. They’re all getting together for dinner that night, and Cy sees it as an opportunity.

He says he’ll “discover” Michael’s infidelity that night, in public, in front of Mike’s parents. He tells Liv to leak the location of the restaurant to the press, get the four of them a table near a window, and watch the fireworks. Liv tells Cy he’ll totally be throwing Michael to the wolves to save himself, but Cy says it’s his only option. He’s not ready for his White House career to be over yet.

But Cy sees a monkey wrench get thrown into his best-laid plan when he meets Mikey’s parents. They’re horrible, virulent homophobes who are ashamed of their gay son. Dad says they’re embarrassed to be there but are putting up with everything, because of all the money Lizzie paid them. Neither Cy nor Mike was aware of the monetary angle.

Then dad talks about how disgusting it was to have a gay kid and about the camps he sent Mike to when he was growing up, none of which worked.. He says seeing Mike with Cy makes him sick. Michael looks demolished, and Cy looks stunned. Mom says Lizzie is paying them more than dad makes in a year, so they’d better smile for all the press watching through the window.

The experience obviously affects Cy deeply. As does what happens later that night, when Michael again crosses the invisible line in the house and comes to Cy’s bedroom wanting to borrow his shampoo. Mike’s drunk to the gills, stumbles and falls, and angrily pushes Cy away when he tries to help. They’re both demoralized and miserable.

After the meet-the-parents debacle, Cy can’t bring himself to sacrifice Mike to meet his own ends. In the war room at the White House the next day, everyone is chattering away talking about Michael’s cheating, when Liv walks in. She sees the look on Cy’s face and knows something has happened. She tells the room there’s been a change of plans. They’re not going to throw Mike under the bus. They have to come up with some other way to stop Sally.

Liberate this. Liv goes to see Sally on the set of The Liberty Report (*barf*). She’s sitting in the make-up chair and is due to go on the air in a few minutes. Liv gets right to the point: if Sally doesn’t kill the interview with Phillip, Liv will tell all about Sally’s sham of a marriage to the gay Daniel Douglas. Her far-right base will abandon her, and she’ll lose her show and her influence. Sally says Liv has no proof of anything, but Liv has come armed. Back when Mikey was a rent boy, DD was one of his customers. A regular customer, and yes, Liv can prove it.

It’s not clear whether this is a bluff or not, but it works. Sally backs down. She goes on the air and says Phillip’s claims couldn’t be verified, and since her show is all about integrity, the interview has been cancelled.

A gay old time. The White House lawn is all decked out for the big wedding. The guests arrive. Abby tells Leo about Daniel Douglas. He asks if it’s true, but she whips out the church and state thing, and says she’ll never tell. These two are beyond weird.

Michael is sitting alone in one of the large White House rooms. Cy goes to check with him one last time before the ceremony begins, and he finds Mike on the edge of tears. Michael says all his life he’s dreamed of his wedding day. Even when he was being bullied as a kid, even when his parents were sending him to camps and trying to change him, even when he was working the streets, he always believed that someday, someone would love him. Now his wedding day is here, and he’s marrying Cy who hates him and would probably kill him with his bare hands if given half a chance. He has nothing.

Despite that Michael is mostly right, Cy grew up with a healthy dose of self-loathing himself. He sits, and first says that he wouldn’t kill Michael, that’s an amateur move. He’d have someone else do it. That certainly doesn’t make Mike feel any better.

But then Cy says he could lie about what their marriage will be like, but both of his other marriages began with lies, so he’s going to be honest. They’re not in love and never will be, but that’s a relief to Cy, because it means he won’t disappoint Michael like he did the other two people he married. He can’t hurt Michael any more than he already has, and there’s no chance he will break his heart. He says he knows Mike is a good person, and that means something to him, because Ella needs a good person in her life. There may not be love between them, but Cy says he’ll try his best to be Michael’s “someone.” He’s not alone.

Michael nods and hugs him. And they cry a little. It’s all terribly sad and somewhat pathetic, which pretty much defines the way gay relationships were treated for so many cruel years. And the heavy hand of politics, which figures in this particular relationship, doesn’t help matters. But there’s also honesty, at last, for Cy. Also hope. And maybe little Ella will get somebody to love and pay attention to her on a regular basis. It’s the least that poor, neglected kid deserves.

The couple is nothing but smiles as Mellie officiates at their service. Michael’s parents are there and have also managed to plaster smiles on their repulsive faces. All appears to be joyful and normal.

After the vows are exchanged, Fitz catches Liv’s eye. He notices she’s wearing the ring again. Ugh. No reconciliation, please.

In the preview for next week’s episode, there’s lots of Jake, and it sure looked like the guy had flipped his proverbial lid. A lot of talk about Liv being in danger, courtesy of Jake himself. But here’s what the network has to say about 04.18, “Honor Thy Father” –

David tries to recruit former B613 agents to strengthen his case. Meanwhile, a congressman asks Olivia to help his father escape his looming death penalty.

 

Hmm, a revisit of the B613 mess, and Liv being a fixer. No mention of Jake at all. Looks to be a very busy episode.

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