Scandal Recap: Full Circle and Sweet Baby

Mmhmm. Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC
Episode Title
Put a Ring on It
Editor’s Rating

Rings and weddings should come with delight and commitment, but on this episode of Scandal they came with disorder and chaos. When these symbols of love and partnership are coupled with dishonesty, what you get are broken hearts. 

The fight to turn a ho into a househusband is real, and Cyrus Beene’s hired fiancé, Michael, is not behaving like the kept man he is. The press already has more than enough reasons to question the authenticity of the relationship between the White House chief of staff and the gigolo, so getting ahold of pics from Michael’s night of partying and tongue-lapping other men is a crisis. This is why Olivia forces Cyrus to pick a wedding date, since he’s already pushed it back four times. She also convinces Mellie to use her next press conference to show her support for gay marriage and Cyrus. Besides, she needs to show that she is somewhat progressive, since she’s officially running for a Senate seat in Virginia.

This will be his third marriage, but the sad part is that it will be the only one that doesn’t begin with lies. Cy’s first marriage was to a woman named Janet, but on his wedding day his groomsman’s proposition to him for continued sexytimes made it clear that Beene wasn’t getting married for the right reasons. Sixteen years into the marriage, Cy comes home and finds Janet drunk in their closet, and she wants a divorce. Why? Because being married to him is lonely, and she knows he’s gay. I love the fact that Scandal made this happen while they were literally in a closet. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, Shonda! His marriage to James also began with a lie, because he promised him he wouldn’t ever make him compromise his journalistic integrity. HA!

The real outrage I felt in all this was that young Cy was rocking a wig so dreadful it looked like a literal hair hat. I spent every flashback scene just wondering if Scandal were trying to tell us that bad people don’t deserve good hair. If that was the message, then mission accomplished.

As wedding planning proceeds, former Vice-President Sally Langston gets on TV to say she heard that the wedding between Cyrus and Michael is a publicity stunt, and their relationship is a sham. She offers a $10,000 reward to anyone who can show her the receipts, because being a professional shit-starter is her superpower. But as she’s playing hardball, I wonder if she remembers that she killed her gay husband and Cyrus knows about it. Did she forget? Anyhoo, she got this information from Leo Bergen, who admits it to Abby. Those two might be lovers, but they’re on opposing sides for work, and their lack of separation of church and state will continue to be a problem if neither of them keeps quiet.

One thing Scandal does very well is to call back things we might have ignored or forgotten to remind us that everything in the world of Liv is truly tied together. The song I call the “Vermont Instrumental,” which plays every time Olivia and Fitz make puppy dog eyes at each other, always signifies some important moment between the two. The double-banded gold ring that Olivia always wears on her pinky is the one she took off when she got kidnapped. It is also the one she’s thrown at Fitz in a moment of extreme anguish at something he did. That ring’s importance has always been hidden in plain sight, but we finally get to know the story behind it.

We flash back to Cyrus’s wedding day to James, and Liv and Fitz end up alone in a room together. She’s clearly pissed at him; he’s confused about why she quit at the White House, and she angrily admits that it’s because seeing him every day would be hard. He puts a box down and says it contains a one-of-a-kind ring, given to him by his grandmother. He didn’t even think Mellie was worth that ring, and he was offering it to Olivia. The ring is called doux bébé which is “sweet baby” in English. He wants her to wear it because it will let him know that no matter what happens, they aren’t completely ruined.

Back in the present day, Liv shows up to the Oval Office and tells Fitz she needs a favor from him. He’s so thirsty for her approval he agrees to it without even knowing what it is. She makes her hand visible and he notices that she isn’t wearing the ring. WELP! He had it coming. The very first episode of Scandal was titled “Sweet Baby.” It was here that a White House intern named Amanda Tanner accused Fitzgerald Grant of sleeping with her and manipulating her, all in the name of love. Liv thought she was lying until the girl divulged that the president referred to her as “sweet baby.” THIS is why she had layers of hurt. Beyond his peen betrayal, he also violated the sacred bond they had tied to the phrase. Man, all this just points to the fact that Fitz ain’t shit. The dude is an emotionally spastic asshole far too often.

Back to Cyrus and Michael, though. The wedding is happening and neither party is really happy about it. Michael’s estranged parents were even paid to come to Washington, D.C., and go to dinner with the couple for photo ops, but that turns into the WORST DINNER EVER. Michael’s father rips into him about how much of a disgrace he is. He even mentioned how they sent him to camps to “fix” him, and the disappointment it caused that it didn’t take. Ouch. That is way harsh, Tai. Cyrus’s fake boo shrinks at the table, beat down by his father’s words, and I actually felt bad for him. The poor dude is so hurt that Beene’s attempt at being somewhat nice at home is met with a hostile push.

Worth noting is the fact that Liv was wearing a solid white top as she fixed the PR crisis behind the Beene wedding. Instead of throwing Michael under the bus like they were going to do, she stops Sally from exposing the truth by letting her know that if she takes Cyrus’s relationship down, her dead husband’s legacy will follow. He happened to be one of Michael’s longtime clients. ALL THE WELPS THAT EVER WELPED. I think Liv was wearing white because she was finally handling something right, doing the right thing, and the right person was saved from suffering. She hasn’t worn anything in solid white all season, so this is a welcome change.

I admit to loving Cyrus far too much, often forgetting that he’s a manipulative monster. But I can’t help it, especially when I see flashbacks of his relationship with James. He loved his boo, and he still sleeps with a picture of them and Ella next to him. Although he was Novak’s puppetmaster, they had a tenderness between them which showed that every beast has a heart. On his wedding day to Michael, Beene finds his betrothed lamenting about how he knows Cyrus hates him and how he has nothing on a day that is supposed to be a dream. Cy’s speech to him is adorable, in spite of the fact that it begins with him saying, “I would never murder you myself. That’s a rookie move. I’d pay a professional to do it.” As Stevie Wonder’s “All’s Fair in Love” plays, he tells Michael that their marriage might be stronger BECAUSE there’s no love there and no expectations that will come with disappointment. When Michael falls into Cyrus’s shoulders crying, I may or may not have sniffled because it was one of Cy’s most vulnerable and honest moments.

We also see baby Ella after all this time! She’s like 2 or 3 now (TV time is quick). She must be home visiting from baby boarding school. The wedding goes off without a hitch, and the president is one of the witnesses and when Liv stands up, he sees her wearing “Sweet Baby.”

This was one of my least favorite Scandal episodes ever, because I didn’t care enough until the last five minutes. I’m hoping it’s the calm before the storm that comes after Huck snitching on B613. The repercussions will be major.

Favorite Quotes:

“I can't bother the president with my hooker troubles, Liv.” – Cyrus

“You poked the hole in the condom. NOT ME.” – Leo to Abby about who leaked information first

“Make Cyrus sound less like a bitch baby who lost his prom date and more like one of the most powerful men in the country.” – Abby

“You don’t believe in me so I have nothing in you to break. I am on no pedestals. You see me what what I am: a filthy monster trying to hold on to its last shreds of humanity.” - Cyrus