We’ll be seeing some unlikely alliances in tonight’s Scandal Season 5 Episode 11 “The Candidate”. Spoilers! During the final moments of last week’s premiere episode, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) had an understanding. The former First Lady is working with her ex-husband, President Fitz Grant’s (Tony Goldwyn) ex-mistress to ensure that she becomes the Scandal first female president of the United States of America. Meanwhile, VP Chief of Staff, Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi) wants her boss Scandal Season 5 Vice President Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani) to run as president too. Read on for this week’s Scandal Season 5 Episode 11 “The Candidate” recap and highlights.
In the beginning of Scandal Season 5 Episode 11 “The Candidate”, White House Chief of Staff, Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) flashbacked to some of his numerous challenging moments with Fitz. The scene then transitioned to Olivia sitting inside the Scandal Gladiators conference room. Just outside, Mellie was waiting to hear her comments about the former First Lady’s latest book draft. Spoiler! The junior senator from Virginia was writing a tell-all book.
Olivia said cutting chapter 2 would make it better. Mellie objected because that part was when Fitz was shot and how she can relate well to the American public through emotion and grief. Olivia told her that the people don’t care about talking points. Instead, they would want to see the real Mellie in her most vulnerable state baring her soul. Olivia suggested the said chapter must go and replaced with why the junior senator chose to stay with Scandal Fitz even after she learned he was having an affair. People would want to know why she turned a blind eye and stayed in their marriage? Was it because of love or ambition? Impressed, Mellie remarked, “You really can compartmentalize like nobody’s business,”.
“You asked for Olivia Pope; you got Olivia Pope,” – Olivia Pope
In essence, Mellie doesn’t want her book to answer those questions but Olivia pointed out that if her tell-all doesn’t address why she stayed, she will be asked that during every media appearance and book tour stop. Looking uncomfortable, Olivia retorted, “You don’t know, do you? You don’t know why you stayed.”
Mellie countered, “Do you know why you left?” This time Olivia dodgingly responded, “I don’t need to answer that one,” She added, she isn’t the one writing a book nor is she running for president. From across the Scandal conference room of Olivia Pope & Associates, both women felt they each met their match. Mellie surmised, “You don’t know either, do you?” she asks Olivia.
Unsurprisingly, Olivia and Mellie enraged each other through the course of their consultation. Even though the former First Lady admitted she was devastated when she found out about her husband’s affair, she thought their marriage could survive. Despite this admission, Olivia thought Mellie still wasn’t going deep enough which led the senator to lash out at our head Gladiator. This seemingly volatile relationship ended when Mellie called off their agreement as she stormed out of Scandal headquarters. That night, Olivia and Jake Ballard had another passionate tryst even though the latter proclaimed this isn’t happening again.
Meanwhile, Scandal POTUS Fitz is preparing to sit down with hard-hitting journalist, Lillian Forrester (Annabeth Gish) who wants to write an interminable story on him. Abby Whelan, White Press Secretary wanted Fitz to do this profile with the respected journalist. Cyrus was firmly against the idea. Despite his efforts to dissuade the president into doing this kind of interview and focus on taking strong action instead, Fitz dismissively shot him down again.
Spoiler! Cyrus did his best to set ground rules for the interview, but it was obvious that there was some kind of romantic chemistry and sexual tension between Fitz and Lillian. The journalist and her interviewee somehow managed to hit it off. Even as Lillian swore she had no ulterior motive except to write a damn good article, the supposedly respected journalist interrupted her interview; turned off her recorded and then proceeded to admit she couldn’t focus on her job because she actually has a big crush on Scandal Fitz.
After being caught unaware, Fitz regains his composure and the interview is over. Regardless of whatever conflict of interest, Scandal POTUS suggested he and Lillian have some dinner together. Spoiler! Of course, the so-called respected journalist agreed to a date.
In the meantime, Mellie and Cyrus run into each other at a bar. While commiserating over their deeply unhealthy attachment to Fitz and Olivia, the lady senator thought everything seemed to be falling down. Cyrus encouragingly said he was still confident that Mellie could end up in the White House. But he did look slighted when he learned the former First Lady had an eye on someone else to run her campaign. To add insult to injury, Cyrus was dismayed when Mellie shared credit with him for installing Fitz as president.
Afterwards, Mellie arrived at Olivia’s apartment chugging along some moonshine. Through her ranting, she confessed she felt lost while she was with Fitz. Somehow she felt retribution through his affair. Seemingly though, Olivia had given her some freedom so she stayed on because their unlikely triad somehow worked. To which Olivia quickly added she could still become Scandal president. Olivia warned the lady senator though that she could never say that in public. Agreeably, Mellie acknowledged that is the problem.
After everything that had happened, Olivia and Mellie get drunk and actually bond over their twisted and unorthodox relationship. Scandal’s Olivia admitted, she too was happy that Mellie was around because the former First Lady essentially provided her passage out. She went on and confessed she left for the same reason Mellie stayed. And that was because she was scared. Just then, Olivia realized that was exactly what Mellie had to write in her book. She should write that she was scared and it took time for her to recognize within her that she didn’t need Fitz. She had the power to be independent all along.
Over at the Scandal Office of the Vice President, Elizabeth informed VP Susan Ross that she got 93% rating in a poll for potential presidential candidates. The ambitious VP Chief of Staff wanted her boss to run as president just so she could get back inside the Oval Office. To help convince Susan Ross, Elizabeth enlisted the help of Attorney General David Rosen to persuade the vice president. David and Elizabeth are secretly involved romantically but the latter thought if the attorney general talked to Susan, she could be manipulated into running for the Oval Office.
When David went to Susan about the possibility of her seeking the presidential election, he pretended to not know that Elizabeth had already broached the idea to Susan. It was quite obvious Susan valued Joshua’s opinion because she is in love with him.
After some time, David had a change of heart and wanted not to be part of Elizabeth’s manipulation schemes on Susan. He felt the vice president was too good for such things. Unfortunately, Susan had already filed the paper work for her candidacy. David felt sincerely concerned because he knew the vice president didn’t really want this. True to her Scandal manipulative form, Elizabeth seductively distracted the attorney general as they heavily made out.
This time around, Olivia is satisfied and happy with what Mellie had just written. Olivia thought it would be too late if the lady senator would wait until her book gets published. She inferred the material should get it out as soon as possible to help in Mellie’s presidential campaign but the former First Lady said it would take her publisher at least six weeks to get it in the bookstores. Olivia alleged they don’t need bookstores – as it happens, a few pages were leaked which immediately trended in the all the media.
In this week’s Scandal Season 5 Episode 11 subplot, Marcus Walker had been feeling stressed and uncomfortable because fellow gladiator, Huck Muñoz had been ignoring and dismissing him for some time now. When he reached out to Quinn Perkins, she just advised the young associate to leave Huck alone. Unfazed, the Scandal Season 5 gladiator tried again. While Huck was watching some kids’ soccer game, Marcus complimented the resolution and picture quality of the hacker’s videos. As he watched over Huck’s shoulder, the young associate admired one soccer player’s skills which apparently stood out. In an unguarded moment, Huck acknowledged the boy was his son. This broke the ice between Huck and Marcus. The former opened up about not seeing his son after they moved. It was nice to see a simple bonding moment between the two men.
In the closing moments of the show, Scandal Season 5 viewers are transported to a scene which happened on the night before Fitz’ interview with Lillian. Cyrus woke Fitz up in the middle of the night and claimed his cousin died so he had to leave. Then we next watch Cyrus reject Abby’s pleas for help in controlling Fitz’ date with the supposedly respected journalist. Abby immediately apologized for calling him at such a sad time.
As the camera follows Cyrus through a series of corridors, we clearly see he isn’t at his cousin’s funeral. He is at a town hall meeting where the very charismatic Pennsylvania governor is giving a highly moving speech to constituents. It seems that Cyrus has his eye on a new charge to build up for the Oval Office.
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