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‘Scandal’ season 5 episode 16 recap: How far will Olivia go to get Mellie elected?

ABC/Ron Tom

ABC/Ron Tom

By JEWEL WICKER/ Jewel.wicker@ajc.com, originally filed Thursday, March 31, 2016

The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Scandal” fans have known for a while now that Olivia becomes ruthless when she’s on the hunt for more power. In tonight’s episode, titled “The Miseducation of Susan Ross,” we are reminded of just how far she is willing to go.

In last week’s episode, presidential hopeful Frankie Vargas’ brother, Alex, gave Olivia some dirt on Susan Ross. Tonight, we learned exactly what secret Susan’s been keeping.

The episode begins with a republican presidential debate hosted by Sally Langston.

Hollis talks about deporting Mexicans. Mellie works to distance herself from her husband (“You’ll notice he’s my ex husband, not my husband”). Susan Ross, who has just broken up with her cheating boyfriend, struggles to stay focused.

Susan stumbles when answering most questions, but in the end she tells a story about her husband who was killed in Afghanistan while serving his country.

She’s crowned the winner of the debate by Sally.

There’s just one problem.

Susan Ross’ es-husband is not her ex-husband.

Not only has Susan lying about being married, but she’s been lying about her daughter’s father.

It turns out, Susan had an affair with her high school boyfriend, Ronnie, and conceived her daughter, Casey. Casey’s father was eventually arrested on drug-related charges. For the past decade, he’s been in jail.

Olivia promises to set Ronnie free if he will help her prove that Susan Ross is a liar, but he refuses. When Susan is president, she will free him, he says.

Meanwhile, Alex Vargas leaks information regarding Edison’s stint in rehab to the press in hopes of crushing the competition.

Edison knows that Olivia is the only one who could’ve exposed him and tells Eli Pope to control his daughter. In the best scene from this episode, Eli delivers one of his signature rants, reminding Edison who the real boss is and telling him never to disrespect him or his daughter again.

Later, a woman from the rehab facility lies to the media, saying Edison was never there.

Alex is livid, believing Olivia gave him false information.

Cyrus is happy. It turns out, he’s the one that paid the woman to lie. Now he can serve as Frankie’s campaign manager without Alex getting in the way.

When Olivia realizes that Ronnie won’t work with her, she threatens to plant drugs in his jail cell. He eventually agrees to help.

Huck, who has never been the show’s moral compass, believes Olivia is going too far.

“This isn’t politics. This is ripping a family apart for no reason,” he tells Quinn.

For some reason, they enlist Olivia’s ex-boyfriend to try to help convince her to do the right thing.

Fitz and Olivia mostly yell at each other and exchange insults. Fitz tells Olivia that he wants Susan to win on her own, not as a result of dirty politics. He urges her to play fair.

Olivia refuses, until she hears news that Ronnie has committed suicide in his jail cell.

Olivia and Fitz finally agree to run clean campaigns. They drink bourbon in Olivia’s office and laugh like old pals. It’s nice, until you realize if the two become too friendly the two could end up rekindling their tumultuous relationship.

As Olivia spends time with their mutual ex, Mellie appears on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to participate in the show’s “Mean Tweets” segment. The idea is that the presidential hopeful might be more likeable if she can show that she can laugh at the mean things that are said about her on social media.

Will it work? Will the American people grow to love Mellie Grant?

Will Susan Ross eventually stop using her ex-boyfriend David Rosen as a “prop” to boost her image?


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