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A Scandal Refresher: Every Last Thing to Remember From the First Half of Season 5

Olitz is on the fritz. Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

#Gladiators, I’m not sure how you spent the nearly three-month hiatus of Scandal, but much of my time was focused on starting my new charity called “Jesus Be Some Wig Glue,” which is devoted to repairing the hairlines of watchers of Shonda Rhimes’s TV shows, who, week after week, get their wigs snatched after some crazy plot twist has gone down. So far, I have fixed 27 people’s scalps, and I’m pretty much waiting on the MacArthur grant to recognize my genius and give me an award. Until then, I’ll keep working away, and it seems like I’m going to be working overtime this weekend, because at long last Scandie is returning this Thursday, and ABC dropped this awesome teaser trailer for the back half of season five!

Olivia is apparently saying buh-bye to the white hat by rocking a floor-length red leather coat; she’s slobbing on Jake the Bae like he’s a rib bone at a Paula Deen cook-off; and Mellie seems to continue her losing streak as Liv tells her that she’s not going to run the campaign. All in all, the show looks like it’s going to be juicy fun, and if the trailer is an indicator of anything, maybe Olitz will reunite one more time? Y’all know how I feel about that. Olivia Carolyn Pope needs to be #TeamBeByYourself for a bit, but homegirl never listens to me. Before we learn what Olivia & Co. have been up to since the super-intense winter finale, it’s time we take a trip down memory lane and catch up on everything that went down during the first half of season five. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Season five began with Olivia and Fitz hooking up all over the White House while Mellie gets told the equivalent of …

… because Olitz used the last of their damns on K-Y jelly, I suppose. Mellie is uninvited from the state dinner and is apparently out of the loop on most of Fitz’s affairs, Fitz refuses to attend any of her political events, and I kind of feel bad for her. But I’m straight-up like …

… just waiting for Captain Goose Down Pillow Lips, a.k.a. Jake, to show up on my screen. He doesn’t. I guess he is off reading some Langston Hughes poetry and trying to figure out how to get Liv back. Speaking of getting Liv back, Fitz is pretty much ready to go all in on the relationship. As soon as Mellie has her most successful day of her campaign for a Senate seat in Virginia, she comes back to her office to find that Fitz used the last of the ink cartridge to print out some divorce papers. Mellie was like, “I thought we were going to work things out.” Fitz responds with, “LOL. Here’s my Bic pen” (because he ain’t worth a damn), and then he tells Liv that he’s ready to be with her for real. She pretty much reacts to this news the way I do when I hook up with a dude and he thinks the sex was and I’m like, “Nah, that mess was straight-up a 404 error page, but okay.” Basically, Liv feels like their relationship has been moving too fast — it hasn’t — and is pretty much fine just being an undercover lover. And then someone has taken surveillance photos of Olitz making out all over the White House and leaked them to Sally Langston so she can air them on her show, I’m a Petty Heaux. Olitz is stunned, and Mellie is ready to set fire to the fire.

As per usual, Fitz tells Liv that everything is going to be fine because, right, the media never rips the mistress of a powerful man to shreds. First, he decides to cuss his staff out for the affair getting leaked. But shouldn’t he be cussing himself out for cheating for five whole years and coming home to a wife smelling like Luster’s Pink oil hair moisturizer? Anyway, Liv attempts to drown herself in the latest case of the week alongside Quinn, who is mad at Huck, who is completely damaged, and Jake, who is too much of a pushover to tell Liv to kick rocks. Back at the White House, both Mellie and Fitz think the other leaked the affair, which means neither of them did, and we see that Mellie is still in love with Fitz. Ooof. Move on, girl!

Abby does damage control and schedules a TV interview, so that Mellie and Fitz can deny the Olitz affair. Elsewhere, Olake are spooning while on the road dealing with the case of the week that does not matter. The spoonage is cute, but also super friend-zone-y, so I guess Jake is taking an L. Once they handle their case, they drive back to D.C., and that’s when Fitz’s trifling behind does the equivalent of Boyz II Men’s Michael McCary emo speeches in the middle of “End of the Road” and leaves some boo-boo voice-mail message about how he loves her and doesn’t want her to throw away her life for him. Cut to me like:

Because game. Recognizes. Game. He knows very well that “freeing” her is basically going to make her want to claim him, which is exactly what she does. She tells the media that she is Fitz’s bae at the exact moment that Mellie and Fitz are giving an interview about how their marriage is stronger than ever. LOL. Mellie is, of course, devastated, and Olitz continue to not care. Mellie is sick of the bull, so she calls Cy and has him negotiate the terms of the divorce. At first she just wants their homes, and Cy is like, “Think big, ya dummy,” so she’s like, “I want to be president,” and instead of telling her to stop chasing waterfalls and stick to the rivers and lakes she’s used to, Cy is like, “Okay.” So he gets Fitz to agree to the terms, which include him being by her side during her campaign, but at the final moment, Mellie still doesn’t sign the papers. At the end of the day, she still wants Fitz, but she knows it’s over, so she stumbles through the White House, looking for her secret stash of hooch. She gets drunk and warns Liv that she does not realize all that she will have to give up to be with Fitz. This shakes Liv to her core, so she confronts Fitz, and they have another one of their knock-down, drag-out fights, and then she calls Jake to complain about Fitz.

Unfortunately, Jake does not tell her this but instead listens to her vent about the guy she left him for. Moral of the story: No one on this gahtdamn show has any self-esteem, and they all need to talk to Iyanla and get their lives together. Back at the White House, Fitz and Mellie have a heart-to-heart. Sure, he’s doing damage control on this Olitz affair, but it also seems like he is trying to do right by her. But Cy being Cy, he tells Mellie that Fitz played her, and she backs out of the interview, so the only way to handle the affair is for Abby to drag Liv’s name through the mud. Liv reunites with Fitz and tells her they can survive this. Eye roll. And I’m not the only one because Rowan, who is still in jail, sees what’s going down on the news and he can’t believe his daughter is still caught up in this ignorance. Then we see Jake visiting him in jail and talking about how the Louvre is on fire. What??

Turns out Liv putting Rowan in jail means that someone even more evil than him is wreaking havoc on the world. So Jake is off to investigate. He goes to Paris with Charlie, and they see a woman spy named Elise, who it turns out was once married to Jake. The show tries real hard to make me care about this, but she’s basic, and we all know that Liv is the one for him, so Elise can hop on a baguette and peace out of my life. She does not. In fact, he invites her to come back to the U.S. with him. Meanwhile, the Olivia Pope smear campaign is in full effect, and it’s causing OPA to lose all of their clients, so they try to recruit Marcus (the hottie activist from last season). He says no, but then he changes his mind, because duh. As for the White House, the smear campaign has Fitz operating purely on emotion, so he fires Abby (he then rehires her after Liv tells him he was being an ass), refuses to rehire Cy, and then keeps Lizzie on staff even though she is terrible at her job. Cy is still pissed at Fitz, so he spends much of his time trying to convince Mellie to impeach Fitz. She’s not onboard with this plan and eventually fires him because he will not let it go.

Marcus takes control of the Olivia smear campaign and confronts the media about the way they are discussing her because she’s a black woman. The GOP tells Fitz they will fight the impeachment if he kills the Brandon Bill. He calls Liv, who has been holed up in her apartment thanks to the paparazzi following her, and asks for her advice. She tells him to be a leader, so he and his motorcade head over to Liv’s place and take her out on a date. ‘Kay, but what about that Brandon Bill, though … ?

Later on, David Rosen suggests that Fitz hire a lawyer named Patty Snell to handle this impeachment business, and Olivia has hired Leo to handle the Olitz crisis from OPA’s end. Leo and OPA decide to spin Liv’s image and give it the Angelina Jolie effect, a.k.a. make Liv super philanthropic. They dress her like one of the people, and she has Edison go to bat for her publicly. Mellie is thrown off the impeachment committee because it’s a conflict of interest, but she manages to stick it to Olitz by telling the committee that Fitz bought the ring that Liv always wears in public. This, of course, was withheld from Leo, so now he has to spin the Olitz relationship as the greatest love affair of all time. During all of this craziness, Jake the Bae is continuing to be Liv’s doormat by buying her dinner, hanging out with her, and guiding her through the scandal. Jake, honey …

Anyway, Olivia gives a moving interview, and Marcus finds out the committee knows that Fitz launched the Angola war to save Liv’s life, so the White House calls Cy to bribe him not to reveal that Fitz knew about Liv’s kidnapping. Cy agrees to take the job as long as a list of demands are met, which include Lizzie Bear being fired. Cy is back! But that doesn’t stop the committee, because they put Mellie in the hot seat, and she straight-up lies about when she found out about the Olitz affair. So Cy says that Olitz have to get married … but Fitz is still married. What. Is. This. Fuckery? We catch up with Elise’s boring self, and she’s planning on helping Rowan break out of prison so they can start up B613 again. What. Is. This. Fuckery. The. Sequel. No one is here for this story line that damn near ruined Scandal. So she tells him to meet up with a guard who will sneak him out. That guard is shady, Rowan kills him, and Jake finds out what went down. Elise says, “Boo, I was trying to have Rowan killed.” Well, ya failed, so go back to Paris, please.

As the impeachment stuff gets worse for Olitz, it’s looking like the only way out of this mess is them getting married. So she shows up to the White House and sees rose and candles, and music is playing. Fitz wants to propose to Olivia … while he is still wearing his wedding band … from his marriage to his first wife … whom he has not divorced yet.

Liv is so confused by this whole mess, she leaves and calls Jake to ask his opinion. Thankfully, he has grown a pair and hangs up on her, and she goes to visit Rowan in the hospital following his fight with the security guard. He says that if she can help him get out of the hospital, he will help her with the impeachment committee. Ruh-roh. This is not a good idea, but she’s down and goes to Mellie to see if she can get her onboard with letting Rowan handle the impeachment crew. They fight, and then Liv tells her that Rowan killed Lil Jerry to relieve her conscious, I guess. Then, the next morning, she tells Fitz she will marry him. Da. Fuq. And for some reason, she wants to tell Jake this, so she calls him, and he’s like, “Whatevs, I’m running off with Elise.” L to the O to the L. No one cares about the heifer, and for him to act like Elise is the paper that covers Liv’s rock is absurd. But it doesn’t matter anyway, because Elise ends up dead, so I guess Jake is staying in town. Speaking of absurd, Mellie and Fitz have another one of the screaming matches, but thankfully they sign the divorce papers, so they are done. Now Mellie can go get her some happy.

It’s the day of the wedding, and that’s when it dawns on Liv that she will have to give up a huge part of herself to be Mrs. Fitzgerald Grant, so she has Abby give Fitz back the engagement ring. Liv meets up with Mellie, and Mellie is maniacal at this point. She freed Rowan for Liv, Rowan got the committee to stop their impeachment, and now Mellie wants Liv to pay up. She tells Liv that Liv is going to make her the next president of the United States. Uhhhhhh.

This is all very weird, and what’s even weirder is that despite Liv calling off the wedding, her and Fitz are boo’d up. But this being Shondaland, that happiness is short-lived because Cy tells Fitz that Rowan is free. Yeah, Liv probably should have told bae that before she rode on his pony again. #Priorities. Jake, being a good spy for a change, figures out that Liv is behind Rowan getting set free and basically says that she’s power-hungry just like her dad. Jake is also sad that Elise was killed by Rowan — I’m not, but I get it — and Liv offers up a weak apology. Later, we see that Jake and Fitz are working together to find Rowan, and Jake wants Papa Pope dead. All of a sudden, Liv doesn’t, even though for the past two seasons she was having both of these fools try to kill her dad. #MakeUpYourMind. Anyway, the list of people she has pissed off keeps growing because Cy has noticed that Fitz is letting Liv call all his shots, which renders Cy pretty useless. They have an argument about it, and it’s pretty clear that Liv is becoming Lady Macbeth. That ain’t good, y’all!

Lizzie is still around, being pointless and threatening to go on Sally’s show to spill White House secrets. Everyone is scared of this for some reason, when it’s like, Um, just kill her and move on. I mean, isn’t that what happens in real life? People start to get too big for their britches, and then government is like:

However, since this is Scandal, a deal is made for her to be vice-president Susan’s new chief of staff. Poor Cy and also poor David because he really hates her … but then they have sex in his office. Oh no! What about Susan? She had been crushing on David all season. Hopefully, this hate sex is temporary because Susan is wifey material. When David is not getting laid, he’s doing actual work. Cy, frustrated that Fitz is keeping him out in the cold, tells David that Rowan is free. Naturally, David is livid and orders both the CIA and the FBI to see how the hell that happened. He finds out that Liv ordered the release and tells Cy this, who basically praise-dances for Jesus because he now has something that will push her out of Fitz’s good graces. He tells Fitz the news; Fitz doesn’t believe it and is sure it’s a misunderstanding. He confronts Liv just in case, and she admits to everything. Listen, I think Fitz sucks, but what Liv did, releasing the murderer of her bae’s son, was too far. However, Fitz doesn’t put Liv away in jail; instead, he has Cy move her into the White House and then, on the down low, tells Jake to kill Rowan:

Moving her into the White House and ordering the death of her father in the span of five minutes? This is all crazy, and Fitz is clearly planning on keeping Liv captive as punishment for what she did. And she seems to be going along with this until she can figure out a plan. In the meantime, she’s deep in her FLOTUS role: attending events, working with kids, planning other White House events. This is cool, but it’s not Liv. She’s a fixer, active in the D.C. scene and effecting change in her own, twisty way. She’s not happy, which is precisely why she’s so intrigued by Mellie’s filibuster to prevent the Senate from passing a bill that would no longer guarantee funding for Planned Parenthood. Finally, Mellie is doing something she is passionate about, and all Fitz can tell Liv is that Mellie only cares about Planned Parenthood to spite him. Get. A. Grip. Bro.

Mellie’s filibuster starts to gain traction, and Abby thinks it would be good to have Liv help spin the situation to make the White House look good. Fitz is like, “Nope, she’s busy baking cookies.” Meanwhile, across town, Huck has kidnapped Rowan. Eep! It looks like at long last Rowan is going to die, but nope, Huck just holds Rowan hostage for a day to prove to himself that he’s not addicted to killing anymore. Hmmm, I mean, I guess that’s nice, but freeing Rowan is really not a good idea, so maybe he should have just killed Papa Pope real quick and then vowed to never kill again?

Liv helps Mellie crush the filibuster, and the bill gets tabled until after the holidays. Hooray! I know Mellie and Liv have had their ups and down, but them coming together on this is really great. Perhaps Liv should work with Mellie so she can become the first female president. But first there is something really important that must happen: Liv gets an abortion. Without telling Fitz she was pregnant. Double wow. This is so heartbreaking. Liv knew she couldn’t raise a baby in a home where the man she’s supposed to love is keeping her as a prisoner. It seems those dreams of Vermont and jam evaporated a long time ago. She returns to the White House, and her and Fitz have another one of their intense fights, but this one feels different.

She doesn’t tell him about the pregnancy, but that’s beside the point. They are so toxic to each other, and in this fight they realize that the vitriol between them has overtaken their love. #SadEmoji, but also:

Olitz has been going back and forth forever, so it’s good that they are finally done … for now. This is Scandal, after all. And because this is Scandal, Rowan returns home, and Jake is there? They’re teaming up again?!

Scandal Refresher: The First Half of Season 5