Scandal Season 5, Episode 11 Recap: The Ex-Girlfriend Gang

Photo: ABC/Erin McCandless.
The ex-girlfriend gang trope is cheaply entertaining. We've seen women who share little in common — beyond the same ex-boyfriend — befriend each other in movies like John Tucker Must Die and The Other Woman. But there's no empowerment in the obsessive need for revenge. In real life, we've seen it with a certain squad that has a thing for Jonas Brothers. It's also hard to find empowerment there, since the perfect Instagram shots never come with captions about the messy conversations. Yet, we can always depend on Shonda Rhimes to turn a trope on its head. With Mellie (Bellamy Young) and Liv (Kerry Washington) teaming up to get Mellie elected as the 45th President of the United States, we've found an ex-girlfriend gang we (almost) want to join.
With the help of an XL mason jar of moonshine, the complications were front and center this week on Scandal. Mellie and Liv finished Mellie's tell-all from last week's episode and released the juiciest chapter — pages detailing how she was able to stand by her husband after the public reveal of his affair, a situation unfortunately all too common in modern day politics. And, perhaps more importantly, why she eventually left him. The answer to both? Power. Which means we finally get the power couple we deserve. I've never been Team Olitz, and I wasn't a fan of Jake, but I am 100% Team Ollie (Melvia?).
While Team Ollie is making history, Cyrus (Jeff Perry) is trying to make sure the name President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) ends up in history books. As always, Cyrus is thinking bigger than his counterpart. He's doesn't want to settle for an end-of-term interview. In a speech essentially written for President Barack Obama, Cyrus reminds Fitz now is the time for "going to toe to toe with [the] Senate...rallying Tea Party support for a judicial nominee." (Obama must have seen a screener of this episode. While he still needs to work on getting approval for a judicial nominee, he did make news today by eliminating funding for abstinence-only sex education.)
It's exactly the kind of move that Cyrus was looking for from Fitz. Instead, he ended up with a President willing to cancel his interview if he can have a date with the journalist who "has a huge crush on him." (Side note: She is actually the worst journalist of all time — she stopped her career-changing interview to tell the President she found him too hot to listen to him). So, after a couples montage worthy of any romantic comedy, Cyrus has moved on to a younger model. Fitz just doesn't know it yet.
Cyrus is getting ready to support a young man running for the Governor of Pennsylvania. He's the child of immigrants, still idealistic enough to deliver an inspiring speech on education reform, and hopefully wants the White House more than he wants his mistress. And, finally, to complete the 2016 presidential candidates of Shondaland, we have Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani). Mellie thought Susan would never be able to gain the party's nomination, yet here's Susan with 93% of people seeing her as a viable candidate. Leave it to the TGIT lineup to have a world where only three people are running for the Republican nomination, and the majority of them women. Let's just hope Megyn Kelly makes a cameo and moderates this debate as well.
Lingering Questions:
Is there some rule that there has to be a love triangle in the White House? Susan, David, and Elizabeth don't even make sense. Elizabeth (Portia De Rossi) doesn't even seem attracted to David (Joshua Malina). But, some people have sex to make babies, other people have sex to make a President.
Is Cyrus going to quit his job? I've heard of people leaving a one-night stand by waking someone up with a hasty lie and vague nicety before disapearing forever, but that's not exactly the best way to step down as Chief of Staff.
Has Liv decided that there's no point? We don't expect Liv to be perfect, we don't expect Liv to be sober, but we do expect her to at least remember the White Hat shoved in the back of her closet. How can she sleep with Jake (Scott Foley) while he lives with her dad? How can she let her dad remain free after everything he's done?
Where was Papa Pope (Joe Morton)? He was just promoted to series regular, but wasn't in tonight's episode. If Olivia isn't going to handle the situation, we should at least get the joy of Joe Morton's acting.

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