Welcome back, Gladiators! Hope everyone had a nice rest and is ready for more DC fun with Olivia Pope and company.
When we last saw the gang, Pope and Associates was falling apart as Quinn held a gun on Huck, threatening to pull the trigger while he seemed not totally averse to the idea. Abby was still the White House press secretary, albeit in a different atmosphere, with Liz North now President Grant’s chief of staff. As for Fitz, he had totally shaken up his life by kicking out wife Mellie and firing Cyrus, his longtime friend and now ex-chief of staff.
And, oh yes, the last we saw, on-again/off-again power couple Liv and Fitz was back on again, as they stood kissing on a White House balcony.
Reunited, and it feels so good. That’s where this season picks up. Back together again. Olivia and Fitz. Olitz. Doin’ it like bunnies. We see the two of them going at it a lot, presumably in the White House in Fitz’s bed. They’re certainly getting in lots of workouts. How much time has passed since the end of last season, anyhow?
While the leader of the free world endlessly bangs his mistress, Sally Langston bloviates on her TV show, the ironically named Liberty Report, about the terribly expensive dinner party the president is throwing. It’s in honor of a ‘fairy tale’ couple, Prince Richard and Princess Emily of the fictitious country of Caledonia. Emily is a farm girl from Iowa who fell in love with a prince and lives happily ever after. Fitz is more interested in talking with Caledonia’s Queen Isabel about building an American military base in her country.
Sally is scandalized by the cost to the taxpayers of this extravagant party. She’s also wondering about the mysterious ‘flu’ the first lady has come down with that will keep her from attending. And there’s the matter of Mellie being sworn in as the new senator from Virginia the next day. Her publicist issued a statement saying she’s not ill, and all will go as planned, but the ever-embattled Abby, ex-Gladiator and current White House press secretary, just said she had the flu and wouldn’t be at the party. Still out of the loop, are we, Red? Poor Abby.
A bunch of grrls talkin’ in the ladies room. Liv and Fitz get ready for the party together but attend separately. Later in the ladies room, Abby grills Liv about her private life, but Liv ain’t spilling. She denies seeing Fitz. Not sure how it’s possible to keep that a secret, since Liv seems to be at the White House all of the time hanging with her BF, but Abby buys it. The press secretary’s got a lot on her mind these days. It’s ‘weird’ at the White House without Cy there, and it feels like Liz is just waiting for Abby to screw up so she can fire her. Abby says she needs a new life. Uh, Abby? I think Liv might be in the market for a Gladiator. She’s down to just one now (more on that in a moment). Just something to think about.
Instead, Abby starts talking about the life the princess must have. How she’s a nobody one day and world-famous the next, because of who she fell in love with. As she’s getting all gossipy, who emerges from a stall but the princess. Abby is embarrassed, stammers an apology, calls her Your Royal Highness, and leaves. Emily recognizes Liv and opens up to her that life as a princess isn’t all that great. People invade her privacy all of the time because of who she’s married to. She’s gotten used to it, but sometimes it’s frustrating that nobody sees her as an actual person. Liv totally understands. A little foreshadowing, perhaps?
Ugh. Almost forgot, we got a quick glimpse of Huck in that Olitz-makin’-it montage. Seems he’s doing nothing these days, just vegging out watching TV on Liv’s couch. Yes, Liv’s couch. He apparently landed there after his little tableaux with Quinn and has done nothing since but lie around getting hairier and smellier. I half expected that Quinn would blow him away, but no such luck. Also, he’s lying on a couch still missing a cushion after Liv threw out the wine-stained one last season. Nice bit of continuity there, but it has to be uncomfortable lying on that nonsymmetrical couch.
Case of the Week. The princess seemed like a decent sort once she opened up, but we don’t get to know her. That night after the party, Liv is with Fitz in his bedroom discussing the military base Fitz tried to talk the queen into approving. Since Liv’s wearing one of his T-shirts and nothing else, it appears she’s quite comfortable there. They start making out, of course, but are interrupted by Liv’s phone. It’s the queen.
Liv is sent to the scene of an accident. Cars are smashed. A man is dead in one of them. Nearby, Princess Emily is lying in the road, also dead. Paparazzi is close by snapping pictures of the body, which ticks Liv off. She covers Emily with her coat and yells at everyone to get back and have some respect. This accident is very close to the scenario of Princess Diana’s death, that included a high-speed crash taking place in a tunnel, with paparazzi in pursuit. It seems like an odd thing to do, nearly twenty years later. This week’s episode, ripped from the headlines!…of 1997.
The queen called Liv, because she wants to hire her. Isabel and Richard don’t want those photos of Emily’s body to be published. The princess may be gone, but her dignity can at least be protected. It’s up to OPA to track down everyone who was at the scene that night, But OPA is reduced to just Liv and Quinn, since Harrison was never replaced, and Huck is now being useless, stanking up Liv’s couch.
They’re successful in paying off everyone, except one publication, which plans to run the photos. It’s not the photos themselves, exactly, that need to run. It’s just that there’s this big open space on page one that needs to be filled. So Liv proposes an alternative: The prince will permit himself to be photographed at the morgue identifying the body, with that picture running instead. Yikes. Richard agrees. Anything to keep Emily out of it.
Meanwhile, Quinn deduces that the one photographer they were never able to track down isn’t a photographer at all. In the picture they have of him on a motorcycle, he doesn’t have a camera, but there is an antenna sticking from his backpack. Liv takes the picture to David Rosen, the ever white-hatted attorney general, and tells him of her suspicions that motorcycle guy hacked into the princess’s car and made it speed up to cause the crash. She thinks it wasn’t an accident but a murder. David says he’ll look into it.
Fun with Liz and Mellie. It’s always a good time when these two get together. Mel has her own office, because she’s now a new senator and all, and Liz is there with her. Mel tells Liz it’s her job to make sure Fitz goes to Mel’s swearing-in ceremony later that day. Mel knows Fitz has no intention of going, and Liz knows Mel knows that, so Liz just whines about how she doesn’t like being ‘summoned’ by Mel and gets up to leave. Mel gets down to what she really wants to know: Why did Liz betray her, after Mel took her in and saved her career? Liz, of course, doesn’t see it that way. She says everything Mel did she did for herself. She was Mel’s prisoner, not her reclamation project, and it was Liz who got Mel elected senator. Now, she says, Mel is on her own. She doesn’t matter to Fitz anymore, but Liz is his chief of staff and is speaking for him when she says, he won’t be coming to her swearing-in today.
Kicking Red around is a DC pastime. For those wondering how long it would take for Abby to start getting abused in the post-Cyrus administration, the answer is not very. The Abby abuse starts immediately but doesn’t come from Lizzie right away. Sally calls to harass her by first mentioning Cyrus and that ridiculous claim of how he stepped down as chief of staff to “spend more time with his family,” and now Mellie is MIA from a state dinner because of a mysterious illness. Abby brushes it all off as “a flu and a life choice.” Sally wonders if Fitz will show up at Mel’s swearing-in, and Abby hangs up. She makes some calls and finds that Fitz, indeed, does not plan to go. She goes to Liz, who blows her off.
In a White House hallway, Liv sees Abby and ducks into a doorway to avoid being seen. This must happen quite a bit, given how often Liv seems to be hanging around. She already lied to Abby about not seeing Fitz, and now she’s de-facto lying again by ducking her. That sucks, Liv.
Liv was skulking about, because she’s having lunch with Fitz. She brings up Mel’s swearing-in ceremony and tells him that, for the sake of appearances, he has to go.
So it falls to the press secretary to explain why the president won’t be going to see the first lady get sworn in as a new senator. Abby stands before the press corps and says in light of events with Princess Emily, the president won’t be able to make Mellie’s ceremony. Of course, as far as she knows, that’s true. A reporter asks if Abby is sure, and she says she is. So the reporter asks why someone at the swearing-in just tweeted that Fitz is there. Sure enough, cut to the ceremony where Fitz is holding the Bible while his wife takes her oath of office. Sigh. Poor Abby.
Reconciliation complication. The Grants look like a perfectly happy couple at Mel’s ceremony, so much so it fools even Mel herself. Afterward, she gushes to Fitz how good they are together and how they belong together. She apologizes for being forced into assisting with Papa Pope’s dirty work, but she and Fitz are a team, and they should get back to work together as soon as possible.
Fitz answers by taking some papers from his pocket and handing them to her. He tells her he’s divorcing her, and if she fights it, all that will happen is they’ll ruin each other. They each know enough about each other to take the other down, but Mel wouldn’t want to do that. Fitz is well into his second presidential term, he says, but Mellie’s political life is just beginning. If she doesn’t sign the papers, her career in politics will be over before it begins. So at some point, she’ll have to quietly give up and sign, if she has any ambitions.
Much to his surprise, Liv is less than thrilled when Fitz tells her all of this. She says they had a plan, and it didn’t involve him filing for divorce while still in the White House. She wants to take it slow,, even though they’ve only been dragging this out for five years, but he doesn’t want to wait.
Betrayal. Abby is obviously upset about being hung out to dry in front of the press and complains to Liz about it. Abby says she knows Liv is ‘Cy’s guy’ and Liz wants her out, but Liz could have told her Fitz was going to Mel’s swearing in, so Abby didn’t look like a complete fool. It’s obvious from Liz’s reaction that she didn’t know Fitz was going, either. Dun dun DUN! As adversarial as they are with each other, I think these two just figured something out…
Later, Liz drops by Abby’s office to tell her that Liv was spotted in the White House (ya think?), which means she’s sleeping with Fitz, which means she’s likely all up in his bidness. Abby looks hurt and says she didn’t know. Lizzie says that if she’s wondering who’s been undermining her, maybe Abbs should consider taking a look at her old friend Liv.
Immunity. David calls Liv and tells her Emily’s car was deliberately crashed. Liv and Quinn go over some details of Emily’s life and discover the prince and princess didn’t spend much time together. She spent most of her time with her bodyguard. He also died in the crash.
Liv finds evidence of an affair between Emily and her bodyguard and brings it to Fitz. She and David meet with Fitz and Liz, and Liv says she wants to question Prince Richard. Fitz says no, citing diplomatic immunity. Liv says he just wants his naval base, and they have a little spat, which ends with Fitz saying the two of them have different priorities. He warns her against taking any information to the queen.
Huck off. An exhausted Liv goes home, apparently for the first time in a while. Huck asks why Liv is in her own home instead of at the White House. Good question. That’s where she usually is these days. And since Huck is hanging out at her place, it also looks like Liv’s apartment is as easy as ever to break into. I have no idea why she continues to live there, since anyone can apparently get in with very little effort. She should be kidnapped again in no time.
Huck tells Liv he opened a window earlier, and that counts as daring for him these days. He doesn’t want to do anything except lie on the couch until Liv ‘fixes’ him. Liv answers that she fixes situations, but she can’t fix people. Huck looks disappointed.
Feeling desperate, Mel turns up at Cyrus’s door. Despite the warm words about wanting to be with his family, Cy’s husband and child are nowhere to be seen. Mel gets right to the point. She tells Cy they’re both finished if Fitz divorces her. He has to somehow get his job back. Cy says he’s not helping her anymore, but Mel says it’s already too late. Fitz doesn’t want Cy back as chief of staff any more than he wants Mel as first lady. She breaks down crying.
The queen of mean. David drops off a secret autopsy report on Emily at OPA. The report is being suppressed, because it shows that the princess was pregnant. Liv brings the report to the queen and tells her of her suspicions that Richard knew about the pregnancy, thought it wasn’t his child, and had Emily killed. Liv wants to question Richard, but the queen says he’s not guilty. Then Isabel admits that it was she who found out about the pregnancy and had Emily killed. She was pissed because Emily had just one task, to produce an heir for the monarchy, and couldn’t even do that correctly. The queen couldn’t risk the throne being taken by someone who wasn’t a rightful heir.
Liv summons up all of her righteous indignation as she threatens to expose the queen, but Isabel isn’t nervous. She’s protected by diplomatic immunity. If that weren’t enough, there’s also the nondisclosure agreement Liv signed when the royal family hired her. Isabel smugly informs Liv she hasn’t a legal leg to stand on.
Of course, this isn’t just some loser, this is the Olivia Pope the queen is dealing with. Liv figures that the nondisclosure agreement only applies to outsiders, not other members of the family, and she spills everything to Richard. As Emily’s body is loaded on a plane for the trip home, Liv watches in amusement as Richard informs Isabel that she’ll be abdicating, due to old age. Richard will be taking the throne and he’ll shut her away somewhere he doesn’t have to look at her ever again. If she fights him, he says he’ll go public with all he knows. As Isabel looks stunned, Liv can’t resist getting in an ‘evil queen’ comment.
Dr. Ballard, fixer. The episode is almost over, and the only regular yet to make an appearance is Jake. That’s about to be rectified as Huck approaches an apartment door. Looks like he was able to push himself beyond opening a window. Jake answers the door, and Huck tells him he needs help. Jake steps aside and lets him in.
Hitting the fan. When Liv arrives, Fitz is on a White House balcony, where all the good stuff always happens on this show. He tells her that Prince Richard will be succeeding the queen immediately, and since Richard isn’t a big fan of the plans for an American naval base, that’s probably dead in the water. Liv reminds him about boundaries. He brings up the divorce and their plans, and Liv says going public now is a bad idea. They have to work a few things out before making their relationship public, or they don’t stand a chance and have no future as a couple. Fitz reluctantly agrees, and they kiss.
Their make-out session is interrupted by Abby, who clears her throat. Liv and Fitz jump, and Abby looks accusatory, hurt, and betrayed; Liv looks guilty. Abby tells Fitz there’s something he has to see.
It’s Sally, on her show that’s apparently on all hours. She’s spilling the proverbial beans all about Olitz, how there are rumors all over Washington about their dalliance. She has no ‘money shots’ yet, but she does have photos from the White House showing Liv traipsing around all areas of the building, day and night, like she lives there. And a few shots of Fitz and Liv getting rather close. Of course, everyone’s TV is tuned to this. Mellie looks particularly interested.
So, after five years, Olitz is finally ‘out’. Who leaked those photos? Here’s a preview of next week’s episode, called “Yes”, directed by Fitz himself, Tony Goldwyn –
The Pope and Associates team dives into a new case that takes Olivia out of D.C. and away from the President. Meanwhile, back at the White House, Fitz is determined to find who’s responsible for causing the latest turn of events, and Abby receives unexpected guidance from a master of damage control as she struggles to catch a break.
What is this OPA “team” that’s spoken of? Some new Gladiators are needed, stat!