Scandal Recap: 50 Shades of Sexual Healing

Wig to the left! Photo: Nicole Wilder/ABC
Episode Title
It’s Good to Be Kink
Editor’s Rating

If curiosity killed the cat, last night it killed my innocence, too (shut up, don’t laugh). I wanted to know why Abby was so disgusted by the fact that Leo was referred to as a “Dustbuster” in a book written by a woman who had flings with the Who’s Who of D.C. heavy-hitters. She’s so grossed out that she basically spends an entire scene saying “EW” in various terms. I checked Urban Dictionary, and now I wanna wash my eyes out with soap.

Abby is now a client of Liv’s because the book cannot be published since her boo is in it for being a perv, and it’ll fall back on her. Suzanne Thomas (played by Lena Dunham), the writer of the book proposal and the Smut Queen, might be young, but Olivia underestimated her when she paid a visit to her house. She thought one threat of destruction would get her to shut it down. NOPE. Guess again. Sue comes asking for $3 million in exchange for her not writing the book. This leads to one of Scandal’s signature reads, because no episode can be complete without one of the characters giving on-point commentary on the state of affairs in life, justice, and common sense. Sue is disappointed that Liv is telling her to consider the fact that people might call her a whore. Sue flips the script and calls her a prude who is not living up to her great reputation of being a badass by basically being a punk. She even compares her to Notorious R.B.G. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) for her badassness, but she’s not really living up to it. “You’re telling me to be afraid of what names someone is going to call me because I had the audacity to have too much great sex ... What happened to you?” ALL THE WELPS THAT EVER WELPED.

The Gladiators get their hands on the book after Huck sneaks into Sue’s place and finds it among her sex toys. There are 17 chapters, each chronicling her escapades with a different man. They know one’s identity (Leo), but they need to find out who the others are, and I am howling at these names.  SLAPJACK. AGENT ORANGE. BUTTERFINGER. RAWHIDE. MOTORHEAD. JOYSTICK. THRUSTER. THE GULCH. CARPETBAGGER. SIT AND SPIN. ROUGH RIDER. SPANKY. BUNSEN BURNER. THE DOCTOR. Bunsen Burner. Do you have to take antibiotics afterwards? I don’t know. I’m concerned. Anywho, they find out each person using the clues in the book, and it turns out that the Doctor refers to David Rosen. Abby’s taste in men is either REALLY good or really awful, depending on how you like to roll. No judgment or anything.

When the Gladiators get the 17 men of the book into the office and Olivia asks all of them to come up with $175,000 to pay Sue off, they balk. They’ve got the nerve, knowing damn well that if the book is published, it’ll ruin every last one of their careers. And still, David and his annoying-ass white hat tells everyone that accepting the blackmail and paying the book ransom is illegal. He really ought to start using the white hat as a mop, because it is always getting him into trouble.

Meanwhile, Huck is hell-bent on making sure he gets immunity for testifying against B613, and he is desperate for it. I think he’s tricked himself to think some government protection can really keep him safe from those monsters. Learning that the person who can give him that immunity might lose his job because he got tangled up in some sexual debauchery that is now being chronicled in a book has him unhappy, to say the least.

Many people stand to lose if the book drops, and Abby doesn’t lose sight of the fact that she will be jobless after putting in so much work being an amazing press secretary. In the second feminist speech of the night, she schools Leo on why she is writing a resignation letter. He tries to mansplain to her that she doesn’t need to quit just because his pervy behavior is being documented, and Red drops all types of “life ain’t fair” gems on him. Women always seem to be defined by their relationships, as opposed to their accomplishments. And even though Abby is in one of the biggest positions of power, people still focus more on her clothes, weight, and hair than they do on her awards. And Leo is a footnote in everything that is written about her. IT AIN’T FAIR, BRO. She hands in her letter to Cyrus and tells him to sign it when the book drops, and he tells her he has bigger fish to fry. Why must he be such an asshole all the live-long day?

She does figure out that the point of Sue’s book isn’t to destroy all those men. He real beef is with one, her ex-boss, whom heard she was a good lay and assumed it automatically meant she’d want to make the sex with him, too. She tells Olivia (and an attorney on record) that he pinned her down on his office floor and taunted her. But when she reported him to HR, SHE got fired. Liv is going to use her testimony to sue Jim Sanders and get him fired. She also sets things right with Sue by getting her a column with the Washington Post. She decides she won’t publish the book since she’s getting the revenge she wants in the clean way. WOOT!

Afterwards, Huck and Quinn pay Sue a visit and walk into her apartment just in time to see one of the men in the book holding a knife at her. They get him to drop it, and as soon as he leaves, Huck slashes Sue’s neck, killing her instantly. When Quinn yells at him, he says it’s because she could still talk, and he can’t have her messing up everything with his investigation and stopping him from going home to his family. Either way, it’s clear that Huck has lost it, and Liv needs to keep her puppy tamed. Thankfully, he has a puppy, too: Quinn. And she refuses to tell Olivia who killed Sue. She does remind her boss that if they help catch Sue’s killer, Abby will take the fall, and that is who is their family.

Mellie wants to run for senator. At this point, she’d run a marathon to prove a point. Also, Cyrus is trying to bend Liz North to his will, dangling the whole traitor thing over her head, and she’s over it. She tells the First Lady that she wants to be her campaign manager, because she knows the seat she’s gunning for is POTUS. I SUPPORT THIS!

Here’s the thing that many of them are getting completely wrong: what freedom looks like. Huck thinks signing some papers on immunity brings him freedom, when the people who will come after him will be so far off the radar that they can’t even be proven to exist. And Olivia thinks some of her freedom comes from putting on the leather and ending up in bed with some man (who is a sexpot). NOPE.

Oh, and Jake seems to have left his pride on the island with Julia Sugarbaker, because he is now spending his evenings playing snitch to Fitz about Olivia’s wanderings.

I have some questions:

  • Even thought Quinn destroyed all the copies of the books, won’t the publishers that Sue already sent the proposal to wonder if some of the men in the chapters she described in there might have silenced her?
  • Can Bitsy come back and mentor Mellie and Liz?
  • Why didn’t Olivia get a hotel room to bring her conquest to? Why are they in her apartment, which already seems to be listed on Foursquare, since everyone has a key?

Also, Olivia’s clothes throughout this episode were very textured and dark. Since what she wears is often a look into her current state of mind, what this says is that she is in all sorts of internal disarray. From the black-and-blue heavy striped jacket she wore in her first appearance to the black-and-grey knit sweater she wore when she met with Cyrus. There is NO WHITE to be found on our girl, even though she did see the white hat David gave her in this episode.

Favorite Quotes:

“When did you become so afraid of life? I am not ashamed. This is my life, my body, my story to tell, sell. Go ahead and call me a whore. Everyone who writes a memoir is a whore." —Sue Thomas

“I stand on the most powerful podium in the world, but a story about me ain’t a story unless they can report on the fact that I am the girlfriend of D.C. fixer Leo Bergen.” —Abby Whelan

“Think of what I’ve already done for you. The lengths I’ve gone. The bodies I’ve left in my wake. I am exactly the type of person you want in your corner.” —Liz North