Scandal Recap: Handling Other Things


The Fish Rots From the Head
Season 5 Episode 13
Editor’s Rating *****
Tony Goldwyn as Fitz. Photo: Nicole Wilder/ABC

#Gladiators, how I have missed thee! Scandal was on hiatus last week, and they did a great job with “The Fish Rots From the Head.” It’s a pretty solid episode with lots of twists, turns, shade, and one moment that made me ask, “What is life?” Also, I pretty much think everyone on this show is garbage, but I keep watching, so Scandie must be doing something right. Let’s discuss.

We open with Olivia checking on Mellie, who is busy signing a stack of her books. Liv doesn’t seem to like the cover that Mellie chose and makes her feelings known, but it’s kind of like, “Liv, you went to SexFest on the regs with Fitz when he was still with Mellie, so let the damn woman choose the cover she wants.” Anyway, Liv tells Mellie that she cannot help with regards to Susan, but lets her know that Mellie needs to prevent Fitz from being #TeamSus. If he endorses Susan, Mellie can pretty much:

So, she has to convince him to remain neutral and stay out of the primary. Hmm, okay, but honestly, there’s a part me that believes he should endorse Susan. Aside from Cyrus, Abby, and Liv, she is the only mofo who does any damn work. Everyone else is the lazy-ass science-fair partner who shows up the day of and complains like, “Oh, you’re using Rite-Aid brand baking soda and not Arm & Hammer for this volcano project?” C’mon! Susan is qualified to be president. I love Mellie, but she spends half her time drinking hooch out of a mason jar like an aunt who only eats artisanal cheese. That does not a president make.

Cut to Fitz, who is basically using the Oval Office to bone every woman who comes within ten feet of him. Trifling, but I would be doing the same thing if I had that much power and knew that my job was an automatic pantie dropper. All these ladies have to sign a NDA and a Secret Service agent named Sam keeps an eye out to make the process go smoothly. Mmhmm. Somebody is gonna mess this up. Just wait.

Meanwhile, Cy and Secret Service Tom are continuing their plan for world domination by having Cy meet with Governor Vargas for lunch. This is cool and all, but are we still not going to talk about how SS Tom came rolling out the shower all glistening and sexy and talking to Cy like that’s how they always hang out? No? Okay, Scandal. I need some answers! Moving on. Sally interrupts, asking Vargas to come on The Liberty Report; Cy wants him to go on. Vargas is like, “Um, I’m not trying to use tragedy to advance my career.” Aww, so sweet that he’s not corrupt. Cy will change that by the end of the season. No one can resist the Cy.

Back in White House world, there was a Secret Service party at a hotel and a woman named Megan is dead. Abby wants this handled on the low-low, so she has OPA get on the case. The Secret Service is like, “Megan died because she danced on a table and fell off it.” LOL. WUT? Her name isn’t Humpty Dumpty. She was dancing on a Crate & Barrel coffee table that is barely two-feet tall. Someone in this buttermilk ain’t clean. The other lady of the night Fantasia — real name Erin — confirms this story about Megan being high and dancing and falling. While OPA is going into “handle mode,” Marcus is not into covering up a woman’s death to save other people’s behinds. Liv is not saying much about this because her mind is elsewhere. After the situation with the hooker is handled, she and Abby are outside a restaurant like this:

Liv is hella jealous and spying on Jake while he’s on a date with his girlfriend, Vanessa. I am so tired of this garbage. Either she wants to be with him or not. The dude told her he loved her, straight-up offered to run away from her dad with her, she Dikembe Mutombo’d his behind every time, and now she’s out in the street like an urban Harriet the Spy creeping on him because he’s legit trying to happy? This is a trash move and she’s trash for doing it. Obviously, Olake are not healthy together. She needs to move on, be single for a while, and find a dude who truly matches her. IS THAT SO FREAKING HARD TO COMPREHEND?!

Nevertheless, Olivia won’t let it go. She goes to Abby and says that this can’t just be a date and that he must have killed someone to get his job. Very true. But also, she legit almost killed her dad and asked both Fitz and Jake to kill her dad AND she damn near ruined Huck forever because she wanted him to go back to torturing people so she could get a little information PLUS her whole job is covering up lies and scandal. So, moral of the story? They are all trifling people. How and why is Liv taking the moral ground? #Eyeroll

We catch up with David and Susan. He wants her to get an endorsement from Fitz. Susan is not onboard with Fitz because he’s a sleazebag. This is why Susan rules. Of course, Lizzie is upset about this — and also she and David are still doing it. I hate this. You know what Fitz hates? Not dealing with Vargas and his education plan, but Cy convinces him to see Vargas. It does not go well, so Vargas decides to go on Sally Langston to talk about the plan and really stick it to Fitz. Vargas pretty much crushes it in the charm factor, but he says he is not going to run for president. Uh-oh. Cy is watching this from home with Michael, who is braiding hair on a black doll because he’s trying to get better at braiding Ella’s hair. YASSS! This is what people are supposed to do when they raise kids of another race. Michael is woke. He probably goes to Black Lives Matter rallies and reads 227 chat rooms. Love. Him.

Meanwhile, Marcus doesn’t think that Megan OD’d. He suspects that the Secret Service is up to something and wants to investigate further. Marcus gets the autopsy report. Megan was murdered, but Olivia is like, “Let this go.” Lizzie tells Fitz they need to go on the offensive and have Susan shut Vargas down — Fitz eventually agrees. Mellie goes to drop off her son so he can hang with Fitz for the weekend, but this dumb heaux Lisa is there and it’s awkward for everyone. Mellie is mad AF and cusses him out: “Keep these broads away from our chillrens.” Standing Ovation. How the hell is Fitz bringing “strange” around his kids like that? That is so inappropriate. Stop thinking with your peen for five seconds. So, Mellie is upset and vents to Liv. This conversation makes her think about Megan, so she goes back to OPA to rally the troops to find more evidence.

David goes to visit Susan at her office and Lizzie is there, looking hella mad that David is giving Susan flowers. The two women then fight about Fitz’s endorsements, but David convinces Susan to go on The Liberty Report to slam Vargas and ensure an endorsement. We cut to Fitz; he has finished hooking up with a reporter and then she asks him to comment on the rumors that Liv is running Mellie’s campaign. He doesn’t say anything, but he’s devastated.

That night, Tom tells Cy that Vargas’s daughter is dying of cancer. That’s why he’s not running: He doesn’t want anyone to know. Heartbreaking. Cy then meets up with Vargas and tells him about his tragic backstory — his brother Oliver was paralyzed, and he told Cy to go to Harvard and not stay at home — and that’s why he gives everything to politics. He wants to honor his brother.

Across town, Jake is standing over Liv while she sleeps. She wakes up startled and he asks her what she thinks of Vanessa. He goes on to say that she is amazing, but she’s not Liv. Then he’s like, “No one can do for you what I do for you,” and starts to DJ Skillrex her vajeen. THIS IS STUPID. But they’re both good looking, so I’ll allow it. They get ready to go all the way, but she tells him to stop because she thinks he has an ulterior motive. He leaves.

The next day, Marcus and Quinn meet with Erin. They want the truth. Turns out they didn’t want to pay Megan and because she was high, she tripped and bumped her head. She was still alive, so the Secret Service injected her with heroin until she OD’d. Liv goes to Abby and Abby is like, “You agreed to take the Secret Service on as clients. You agreed to protect them.” Liv asks her what she wants to do; she doesn’t what the rules of gladiating. Liv ends up in the Oval Office to tell Fitz what happened. He wants to know why Abby didn’t tell him about this sooner and Liv is like, “Because she’s been handling other things.” Cut him like:

LOL. The shade of it all. I love it. He claps back and says that he knows Liv and Mellie are working together. Ooof. This whole scene is awkward.edu and she’s like, “The fish rots from the head,” basically meaning that Fitz is reckless, and cares more about banging a different girl every night — and not being particularly discreet about it — than he cares about doing his job. The Secret Service is mimicking his attitude and it led to disastrous results. Hmm, I mean, this really isn’t Fitz’s fault. Sure, he’s skanking it up, but he’s not going to kill someone to cover his tracks after a sexual situation gone wrong. That is on the Secret Service. But I will concede that Fitz’s son shouldn’t be exposed to all these random broads. Liv is correct in saying that his son is picking up on his scandalous behavior. Fitz looks stunned, but also, he knows she’s telling the truth.

The next day, Fitz meets with Susan. She admits that she’s against Vargas’s plan. He’s impressed that she did what she thought he wanted even though it felt wrong to her. He wants her to follow her gut. He then offers his endorsement and she’s like:

He understands she’s doesn’t want his endorsement because of his heaux ways, but he’s going to work on that so he can be the person she will want by her side. She’s down with that. He then holds a press conference to condemn the Secret Service agents. Meanwhile, Vargas asks Cy to run his presidential campaign. Apparently, the story about Cy’s brother touched him and he wants to make a difference. Hmm, was Cy’s story made up? Vargas leaves and we find out that Oliver doesn’t exist. DAMN! Cy is cold.

We end on Liv visiting Rowan. He has company over: Jake and Vanessa, who are … engaged. WHAT THE CRISPY FRIED CHICKEN FUCK? Look, y’all: I have been all about Jake for many seasons, but this is ignorant. Last night, he tried to finger bang his way into a relationship with Liv and when that didn’t happen, he proposed to someone else the next day? Die in a fire, Jake. I’ll bring the marshmallows.

Alrighty, what did you think? Who else is annoyed by Jake’s engagement?

Scandal Recap: Handling Other Things