Secrets of Scandal: More Cattle, Less Bull
At the Scandal White House, there’s always some crisis happening. Whether it’s hostages abroad, a mole in the administration, or just a Mellie moment (you know what I’m talking about!), Fitz usually has his hands completely full. But being President isn’t all work and no play, and this week, the writers were excited to place our characters at a gala event, to show just how nicely everybody cleans up.
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was the perfect setting for this. The Dinner, which takes place annually at the Washington Hilton, is held to honor excellence in journalism, to give out scholarships, and has taken on the form of a roast of the President.
The dinner is a chance for Fitz to poke fun at himself and make light of all the scandals his White House has endured over the past year. It’s also the site of a few very high-powered negotiations. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; let me trace back to where all these negotiations begin.
We open this week’s episode with Mellie and Cyrus meeting with political operative Leo Bergen. Without Olivia Pope on their side, Team Fitz is doing their darnedest to butter Leo up to run the President’s re-election campaign. But Leo isn’t having it. He says Fitz looks like a loser, and Leo does not work for losers. Instead, he’s off to meet with fresh-faced Congresswoman Josie Marcus. This is not looking good for Mellie and Cyrus…
But Leo Bergen will never get his meeting with Josie Marcus, because she happens to be already meeting with Olivia Pope. Yes, this week we get to see Olivia Pope back in campaign manager mode, doing what she does best. And there’s a lot of managing that needs to happen on the Marcus campaign, because Josie admits to Olivia that she gave up a baby at 15. She hires Olivia on the spot to make sure this secret doesn’t come out.
So, the OPA team heads out to Josie’s hometown of Red Springs, Montana to do a little damage control and pay hush money to the necessary people. Of course, Cyrus Beene’s people are already on the trail, trying to reveal Josie’s secret while OPA is trying to hide it.
Good thing the Gladiators are one step ahead of Cyrus’s people. They’re able to influence the townspeople who know Josie’s secret before they can talk to the news media and, in the words of one of Cyrus’s operatives, Team Cyrus gets “Poped.” Josie’s secret is safe for now.
But Cyrus has another plan – he’ll slip the secret to the Reston campaign, and let them do the damage. Meanwhile, during their trip, the Associates put it together that Josie’s baby was never put up for adoption. The baby was kept by the Marcus family, and, in fact, the woman who was raised as Josie’s sister is her own daughter.
Olivia advises Josie that the only way to handle this scandal is to come out with the info, to be up front with the voters. Josie wants to protect her sister. But on the debate stage, when Reston prompts her, Josie reveals the truth.
Josie’s not happy with having spilled the information about her sister to the public, but it’s clear that she’s winning America’s hearts with her honesty. Nonetheless, she fires Olivia.
Meanwhile, Olivia heads to the Correspondent’s Dinner with Jake. And this is where all the juicy negotiations begin. Mellie pulls Olivia from her table to make a strong plea for Olivia to come back and run Fitz’s re-election campaign, while Sally confronts Leo Bergen in the men’s room about her own “hypothetical” plans for running. Our characters may be all cleaned up, but they’re still getting dirty. The plotting and scheming never ends in the Scandal universe!
In the midst of all this, Olivia gets called back to the office to meet with Josie, who wants to take Olivia back as her campaign manager. What’s a popular campaign manager to do? Will Olivia run Fitz’s campaign or will she run Josie’s? And will Sally really mount a challenge against Fitz?