Catch up on Scandal S5 Ep. 19 Buckle Up


L.T. Milroy


It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

A friendly warning: There are several incidents in this episode that make absolutely no sense. How easy a time one has with totally suspending disbelief and accepting as reality that which has no basis therein, is a crucial factor in determining how much fun one will have this week. Just keep in mind that Scandalverse ain’t the real world. And even events that happened in the past in Scandalverse itself don’t necessarily hold true today.

Aside from that, it’s the Olivia and Abby show this week. The former friends are now political adversaries, and it’s an election year, so anything goes. The campaign trail is no place for the meek, and since none of these characters even remotely fits that definition, the players are all in full preen mode as they do battle. No one really emerges looking good.


This makes no sense. Things are heating up in the campaign as the Florida primary approaches. Mellie and Susan are basically tied, both polling ahead of Hollis. All three seek the endorsement of Florida’s governor, Louise Baker. Baker is powerful and influential, and her endorsement is almost guaranteed to lead to a win of the Republican primary. She’s hosting a dinner to meet all of the candidates, after which she’ll announce who she’ll endorse.

On the campaign trail, Lizzie wakes up Susan and David in a hotel room. No, they’re not back together. Not in a personal sense, anyway. David is sleeping on the floor. It’s all for appearances, which Liz says is very important. Susan obviously isn’t happy with the arrangement. David tells Liz it’s tough on Susan to have to constantly be around someone she hates, but Liz says they have to seem like a happy couple for the campaign.

Really? In the first place, is it that vital that Susan be seen to have a BF, one who’s constantly at her side? And in the second place, how is David able to be there constantly? The guy is the attorney general of the United States, so he kind of has a job to do. It’s just like Jake, the head of the NSA who’s always at Pa’s house, eating, and never appears to do any work. At least David used to be shown working in his office. But now he’s somehow free to travel the country, tagging along on the campaign trail.

Liv and Abby brief their candidates on the proper protocol for the Baker dinner. It’s important to make a good impression on the governor, as it would be hard to recover from a loss in Florida. Both Mel and Susan are told the loser would have to suspend her campaign. Huh? I don’t know if this qualifies as something that totally makes no sense, but it’s a head-scratcher. The two are doing well, battling it out for first place, but the runner-up in Florida would be considered a lost cause and would have to drop out? Doesn’t really add up.

Stand-off. At an airport in California, Mellie and her staff, including Liv, are boarding a plane for Florida. Nearby is Air Force One, containing Fitz and his staff, including Abby, also preparing for take-off. Abby sees Mel, and it gives her ideas. She asks the pilot if AF1 is ready to go and if Susan and her entourage have already left for Florida. The answer to both questions is yes.

In their plane, Mel and Liv and co. haven’t yet left and are wondering what’s causing the delay. They can’t take off until AF1 leaves, and it seems there are “mechanical problems”. Liv immediately smells a rat and calls Abby, who says she doesn’t know how long it will take to resolve the matter. Liv says this could cause Mel to miss the Florida dinner, but Abby doesn’t care, since her only concern is the president’s safety, and she won’t allow the plane in the air until she’s sure it’s safe to do so.

Of course, these mechanical problems are no quick fix. As the delay stretches on, Mel is getting increasingly agitated. She frets about what will happen to her candidacy if she misses the dinner. She starts wigging out in true Mellie fashion, but before she reaches fever pitch, Marcus shuts her down by giving her a look and barking a quick “Mellie!” That settles her down. Quinn is amazed and wonders how he did that. Hee! Marcus and Mellie are obviously going to be the show’s next power couple, and they should just surrender to the inevitable, already.

Liv says she can’t force Abby to back off, but she can try to shame AF1 off the runway. A story starts circulating on the news channels that the mechanical problems are bogus. Fitz sees a report and demands to know if it’s true. In private, Abby confirms that it is. She’s doing this purely for political purposes. But lying to the FAA is illegal and if they take off now, they’re basically admitting guilt. She tells him he may not like what she did, but it’s done. Now he has to get out of the way and let her do her job.

That involves calling a press conference to ridicule the accusations that AF1 is grounded for political reasons. She swears that the plane really is undergoing maintenance. Meanwhile, Liv puts out her own spin, talking to the media about the many people inconvenienced by this apparent stunt, as there are other planes that also can’t leave until AF1 does.

Back in Florida… David is unpacking in his room when there’s a knock at the door. He’s surprised to open it to Governor Baker. He tells her she just missed Susan, and he can try to find her, but the gov says she wants to speak with David. He’s surprised, but she gets right to the point. She likes Susan and thinks she’s smart, but she’s not presidential material. Mellie, on the other hand, is a backroom brawler who gets things done. David is put off by this message and says he isn’t anxious to convey it to Susan.

Then Baker brings up a company called Tamarac Sugar, which David’s office is investigating. So at least there’s a mention of David’s job, if not an explanation as to why he can put it on the backburner for an extended length of time. David confirms the company is under investigation. Baker says on these merits, she’d have to endorse Mellie, but if he’ll drop the Tamarac Sugar investigation, she’ll endorse Susan. So Baker is powerful and influential, and apparently crooked as hell. Just another joke at Florida’s expense.

David conveys the details of Baker’s offer to Susan and Liz, who predictably, thinks David should drop his investigation. Susan disagrees. She says if the governor wants her to play dirty, then she doesn’t want her support or her endorsement.

At the airport… As the time ticks by, tensions are running high in Mel’s plane. Quinn asks why they’re  just sitting there, locked in a duel with Abby, and Liv blows up at her. After she storms off, Quinn tells Huck she doesn’t know what to expect from Liv anymore.

Mel tries to get away from all of the commotion. Marcus, her new BFF and future torrid lover, finds her and asks if she’s okay. She despairs that her campaign will be over if she misses this dinner. He reminds her that Abby doesn’t control AF1, Fitz does. She understands his implication but says she can’t call the president. Marcus says Fitz would never snub his ex and the mother of his children live on television. That idea makes Mel smile.

So Mel tries to force the issue by leaving the plane. She walks about halfway to AF1, then stops and stands there. The runway is lined with media by this point, and everyone is riveted toward Mel, wondering what’s going on. They’re not alone. Inside AF1, Abby is watching and also wondering, when Fitz walks in and says he’s going to meet with Mel. She says he can’t go, but he says he can’t just leave her standing there.

The Real Ex-Political Spouses of DC. Fitz and Mel make a little small talk when he first approaches her on the runway. He says he’s proud of the campaign she’s running. Since he brought it up, she asks him to move his plane, so she get that campaign back on track. He says he can’t, and they squabble a bit about whether Abby controls him or not.

Then the subject of Liv comes up. Abby says Liv seems on edge these days, and they’re getting on each other’s nerves. She’s wondering what’s up, so Fitz decides to let her in on exactly what happened that has Liv in the state she’s in, and tells her about Andrew. Mel says she thought it was Liz who killed Andrew, since she was so in favor of the idea. Then she assumes Fitz means that Liv paid someone off to off the ex-Veep, but he straightens her out that Liv did the deed herself, with her own hands.

Mel is clearly shocked but can’t really show it, due to the press being just a few yards away. Speaking of that, it’s hard to believe they would have this conversation with cameras so close by. They’re standing right out in the open, I think all it would take is a decent lens and a small amount of lip reading to have Liv’s secret all over the Internet before Mel and Fitz even left that runway. But again, we’re talking about Scandalverse, not the real world, so Liv’s secret is safe for now.

Then they talk about Liv a bit, and it’s a little bizarre. Mel says it’s understandable that she hasn’t been herself. Fitz asks if Liv has been sleeping and has she been eating properly? He also says she likes to relieve tension by jogging and asks if she’s been jogging. It’s an odd conversation between a man and his ex-wife, concerning his ex-mistress, who is now her campaign manager. When they talk about whether she’s getting enough sleep or is eating or goes out for a run, it’s like they’re discussing the handling of a cherished family pet.

Mel says Fitz has to move the plane, and not just for her. He nods and goes back to AF1, where he orders Abby to tell the captain to get the plane in the air.

Back on her own plane, Mel gets reamed out by Liv. Mel says she had to do something. She says Liv should just be quiet unless she has an idea of her own. Liv picks up her phone and calls AF1.

FL politics. Liv can still save the day when she puts her mind to it. At Governor Baker’s dinner, Susan and Hollis are on hand trying to curry favor, though Hollis is doing much better at that. Susan seems to kind of already be done with the whole thing. The guv is informed that Mellie Grant has arrived. Baker haughtily says she doesn’t accept late-comers, but when the door opens, in walks Mel and her staff, followed closely by Fitz. Baker’s demeanor changes, and she welcomes the president, who tells of plane problems and apologizes for being late.

Mel gets a prime seat next to Baker and talks easily with her. It looks like she has the endorsement locked up. Susan is still pissed off, and Hollis seems lost in the shuffle.

Later, Susan is lying in bed, thinking things over. David is on the floor. Why must he sleep on the floor? Can’t they at least get him a cot or something? So, she tells him that she appreciates his integrity and that she still admires him, but he hurt her so bad. He says he knows and apologizes again. She reaches down and takes his hand. He tells her he’ll do his very best never to hurt her again.

In the morning, the governor gives her endorsement, unexpectedly, to Susan Ross. Susan is shocked, as is Mel.

Some loose ends. At OPA, Liv is trying to figure out how to regroup after the non-endorsement, but Huck tells her she shouldn’t be working. She says she’s fine, but he says the first kill is the hardest to get over. Liv doesn’t want to hear that kind of talk. She insists killing Andrew was cathartic and she doesn’t regret it at all. She feels great. Huck says he knows there’s more. So she breaks down a little and says that if she sees Jake again, Pa will kill him. This is the first mention of anything B613-related this week, which is just fine, after last week’s Jake-a-thon. She says she’s done with killing. Once was enough for her. She’s better than that, she says. Better than Pa. She starts to cry and resists when Huck tries to hold her, but then relents.

At the White House, Abby has it out with Fitz and tells him he can’t be overruling her like he did at the airport. He must remember that she’s his chief of staff. She runs him, and he runs the country. He can’t mess with that chemistry. She says Liv would have done the same thing, and he agrees. And again, the subject of Liv highjacks the conversation, as Abby goes on to say she keeps remembering the sight of a bloodied Andrew on the floor. Fitz tells her she has to do something to try to forget.

On primary day, Hollis pulls an upset and wins Florida. Both Mellie and Susan’s campaigns are understandably disappointed, but neither says anything about dropping out. I was hoping they’d address that issue, but they didn’t. Hollis says that if those kitties, Mel and Susie, don’t stop hissing at each other, he’ll run away with the race. Jerk.

Black hat. David must be particularly let down by Susan’s loss, as he sold his soul for a win. He tells Liz he made a deal with Baker. Is this how you intend to impress Susan with your integrity, Davey? So disappointing. Not to mention out of character. David is now a win-at-all-costs guy?

Abby goes to see Liv at OPA. She asks why Liv is so mad at her. Then she brings up that job offer Liv made her, to come back to OPA if the White House gig blows up. Abby found it insulting. Liv counters by saying she’s happy for Abby’s success. She’s glad she’s gotten where she is, but Liv raised her up. Then Liv says she wants the White House back. She’s rooting for Abby’s success, but not if it means Liv’s failure.

In the end, Liv and Abby agree on one thing: Hollis. They both can’t stand him and both want to see him go down. They decide to work together to make sure it happens.

The Democrats. The subplot this week concerns the other political party and a real doozie of a WTF plot point.

We see a little domestic bliss, with Cyrus is getting dressed as Michael plays with the adorable Ella. Yes, the kid makes an appearance! Michael’s phone rings, and he ignores it, because he knows who it is. Alex Vargas hasn’t stopped bothering him to get some dirt on Cy. Later, the phone rings again, and Michael picks up to tell Alex to stop calling. Alex says Cy had something to do with the Harrisburg courthouse shooting and Mike has to get him what he asked for. Mike says again to stop calling and hangs up.

At campaign headquarters, Cy tells Frankie Vargas that he and Edison are tied in the polls, and they need a wedge issue to make Frankie stand out. Alex says Frankie has kids, and Edison doesn’t, and they should exploit that. But Frankie has been keeping his kids out of the campaign, because he doesn’t want his daughter’s cancer to enter the news cycle. He’s been deliberately keeping that story out of the press and intends to continue that way. Alex disagrees, but Frankie says to find something else to exploit.

This totally makes no sense. Meanwhile, all is not well at home for Cy and his husband. Alex told Mike that Cy was cheating, which wouldn’t seem to be a problem, since it was well established last season that this is a fake marriage. There was an entire episode devoted to explaining that. It was assumed that Cy would be out doing whatever he wanted, and that Michael would have a side piece, as well. There was no question about that.

So how to explain this, then? Cy comes home, and Mike demands to know if he’s cheating. He says this like a classic jilted spouse, which made me wonder if Idozed off for large portions of this show and missed some major exposition on the Cy/Mikey relationship. Because the last I knew, it was very much understood between these two that they have a sham marriage. Now, for some reason, Mike is acting hurt that Cy might be cheating and even mentions counseling. Huh??

The faux marriage is inexplicably looking very real. Mike says he just wants to know if Cy is sleeping with someone, and Cy says he is. He wants Mike to back off and not be so needy while Cy is busy making a president. Then he gets needlessly insulting and says if Mike doesn’t drop the matter, he’ll return the former hustler to the streets he came from.

That seems to change Mike’s allegiance. He meets up with Alex and gives him a flash drive full of information from the week of the shooting. If there’s anything incriminating on Cy, it will be there.

Only it’s not. Turns out, Mikey’s loyalty wasn’t compromised, after all. The flash drive led Alex to photos of Frankie with his daughter, and made it looked like Alex leaked the photos. The “leak” is quickly traced to Alex, who is immediately fired by Frankie. Cy calls Michael and says  that it worked, and then offers to consider going to marriage counseling. For a fake marriage??? I just can’t wrap my head around this sudden, 180-degree turn, with zero explanation. This is a whopper, even for Scandal.

Bye, Felicia. But this marriage may be beyond counseling. At episode’s end, Cy comes home to an empty house. Mike’s gone, as are his clothes. So is Ella. Mike left a note. Cy is furious that his rent boy husband has disappeared with Ella, who he referred to as James’s child at one point. Give it a rest, Cy. You hardly ever see that kid. You’ve shown virtually no interest in her. Let Mikey take her and find a nice guy to raise her with, far from your influence. She’ll likely turn out better.

So Michael and Ella are on the lam. Cyrus is mad at Mike, while happy to seemingly be rid of Alex. But there’s no way we’ve seen the last of him. Alex has a score to settle, and besides, he’s Frankie’s brother, and that blood tie isn’t so easy to break. I’d warn Cy to watch his back, but since he’s spent his entire adult life screwing people over, I assume he’s adept at that by now.

There are only two episodes left in this season, including next week’s 05.20, “Trump Card” –

Olivia and Abby have to put their differences aside and work together to try to take Hollis down; Edison realizes he may have made a deal with the devil, as Rowan and Jake continue to try to pull the strings behind his campaign.

Maybe ol’ Ed shouldn’t have been so quick to mock Liv when she tried to warn him.


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