In a moment of art imitating life imitating art, Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry), the fictional candidate shaped after Donald Trump, surprised the GOP by winning the fictional Florida Republican primary in last week's episode of Scandal, right before Donald Trump became the last Republican nominee standing in real life.
With a common enemy — Hollis Doyle — Abby (Darby Stanchfield) and Olivia (Kerry Washington) team up with President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and the Gladiators to try and bring him down. They promise to stop trying to take down each others' candidates, so naturally Abby starts digging up new dirt on Mellie (Bellamy Young) in the very next scene.
With storylines ripped out of the headlines, the gladiators accuse Hollis of racism after he says things like, "No more of these South of the Border types with their greedy little hands." And his poll numbers go up. One of his ex-wives accuse him of rape, and he responds, "Hollis loves himself with women, and women love themselves some Hollis." Oh, and his poll numbers go up. It comes out that Hollis spent time with known members of the KKK, and he responds, "books and thoughts don't hurt people, it's the politically correct that hurt people." Surprise, his poll numbers go up...again.
With Hollis seeming invincible, Abby becomes desperate, and decides to meet Papa Pope (Joe Morton). At least that is what I'm telling myself because otherwise WHY would she agree to get in a car with Rowan after everything he's done? Papa Pope reveals Pope Juniors' biggest secret — she aborted Fitz's baby.
Liv is able to prove that Hollis is nothing more than a business man saying one thing as part of his campaign, while his actual beliefs are the opposite of his campaign. With one leak of a video, Hollis is out of the race, as well as his slogan "dare to be great again" (sounds really familiar, huh?). Liv is also able to get Edison (Norm Lewis), plus her father and Jake (Scott Foley), out of the running by convincing Edison to speak out about Hollis' campaign. He gives an amazing speech starting with, "Black lives do matter because young black people are under attack," and ending with an attack on all of Hollis' supporters.
Turns out America is not quite ready for a candidate to be so frank about institutional racism, and Edison is out. Papa Pope is none too happy and knows that Liv is behind it. He probably has a few choice words for her, but so does his partner in crime. Jake asks Edison to let Liv know he's "chasing the sun." Looks like Jake and Liv might be teaming up to put an end to Papa Pope...again.
With only one Democratic candidate standing — Vargas (Ricardo Chavira), it's time for the GOP to look closer at their own nominees. Abby and Liv present to a round table of Marcus (Cornelius Smith Jr) — who seems to be getting conditioned to be Mellie's campaign manager, boyfriend, or both — Liz North (Portia de Rossi), Mellie, Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani), and Fitz. They are each supposed to present the worst dirt they have on the other. Liv reveals David's (Joshua Malina) decision to take off his White Hat and make a deal over big sugar with the Florida governor. Yet, Abby chooses to hide Liv's abortion...for now.
Ladies and gentleman, we now are ready for the general election on Scandal. It will be a match up between Mellie and Vargas (or, more accurately Cyrus and Liv). This would have Jake, Papa Pope, Abby, and Elizabeth North sitting on the sidelines, and since the previews for the season finale don't hint at a third party candidate or brokered convention, we can expect plenty of shady maneuvers and secrets.
Who will be the next Shondaland President? Will Liv reunite with Fitz or Jake next week? Will the secret of Liv's abortion be revealed to Fitz, or the whole world? Let me know what you think in the comments, and check back next week for our coverage of the Scandal finale.