Kerry Washington as Olivia.
#Gladiators! I’m happy to back and recapping this episode in real time! And I’m especially glad because “Buckle Up” is a vast improvement over last week’s boo-boo episode. A lot goes down tonight: Mellie learns some devastating news, Liv and Abby are as mad at each other as Katy Perry and Taylor Swift were a couple years ago, and there are tons of shakeups in this election that I totally forgot was still even happening.
The only way this episode could have been better is if halfway through it, Michael and Susan teamed up to do their white version of Lemonade. Just replace Beyoncé in New Orleans with them hanging around the linens department of Bed Bath & Beyond like:
Alas, that is not the world we live in. It’s an unfortunate truth, so let’s move on to the ShondaLand world, shall we?
We open all three campaigns — Mellie, Susan, and Hollis — vying for the endorsement of Florida governor Baker, who is played by Annie Motherflippin’ Potts. Any time I can see one of the OG divas from Designing Women on my TV, I am as happy as an ice cube in a glass of white wine on an episode of The Real Housewives. I must also be six years into menopause because, surely, no other actual 31-year-old would be this ecstatic about Designing Women. Moving on.
Hollis is a distant third, leaving Mellie and Susan to duke it out for Florida — which means Abby and Liv basically hate each other right now. They are slamming each other’s candidate in the media, and at one point, when they’re waiting for the elevator with Quinn, Olivia blocks the door so Abby can’t enter. Part of me is like, “That’s your former best friend. That’s trife,” but the other part of me is like, “Lol. This counts as reparations, right?” #ImComplex.
Meanwhile, Michael is ignoring calls from Alex Vargas. He wants Michael to get dirt on Cy about the shooting that made Frankie a hero. Because Michael is a good person, he’s like, “Those pictures you showed me don’t prove anything. You don’t know that Cyrus has been cheating.” Cut to me like:
Sweetheart, get a gahtdamn clue. Cy comes home late every night, isn’t giving you the D, and Alex showed you proof that he hangs out late at night with Tom, who is a hot piece. You know what the hell is happening. I get that you love Ella and are knee-deep in reading her bell hooks every night before bed, but Cy is a heaux. Accept it and figure out the rest of your life.
Back to Abby and Liv. So Mellie’s team, Fitz’s team, and Susan’s team are aboard private jets, waiting to fly to Florida for this important dinner with Baker. Susan’s plane take off and then Abby stalls Mellie’s plane by claiming that Air Force One has a mechanical error. (If it seems like Air Force One is about to take off, no other planes can do anything.) So, Mellie will be late for the dinner and Susan will get more one-on-one time with Baker. Liv is crunk. Although it’s obvious that she’s mad about being outsmarted, she also seems angrier than usual. She needs to talk to a therapist and have a good ugly cry about her life, but instead she’s just pouting. Fitz is also pouting because he did not give Abby permission to pull that stunt. She’s like, “Just let me do my job.” Biiiiiiish: Calm. Your. Tits.
Across town, Alex wants Frankie to get the edge on Edison, so he wants his bro to come clean about his daughter’s cancer treatment. Cy is like, “That’s not cool.” Frankie wants to win the nomination without trading on a sad story, and I agree. Frankie is too good for that. You know who else is too good? David. Yes, he was hella gross for cheating on Susan, but when Baker steps to him about doing her a favor in exchange for her endorsement, David reveals that he’s a big Hall & Oates fan and goes, “I can’t go for that. No, no can do.” Baker is like, “Fine, I’m going to endorse Mellie because she’s more fit to be president.” Show me the receipts, please! It’s good to see David slowly returning to white-hat status. And when he tells Susan and Lizzie about the bribe, Lizzie is mad that he didn’t make the deal — but Susan is touched? Instead of hating David 100 percent, she only hates him 95 percent. Progress!
Back to the battle of the planes. Marcus tells Mellie to take matters into her own hands. While those two are talking, Quinn and Huck step to Liv: “Why are you here and not trying to save Jake?” Good point, but you’re not really supposed to call your boss out like that. Liv gives them a tired-ass speech about being gladiators. Riiiight, but that was before you killed a dude with a Crate and Barrel chair. After she’s done cussing them out, we see that Mellie has left the plane and is heading towards Air Force One. Abby is like, “Don’t go out there,” but it’s not like Fitz would leave his ex-wife stranded, so he goes out to meet her.
The press quickly notices the meeting, snapping photos of every moment. Mellie and Fitz are being civil with each other. Cameras aside, they seem to have found a place of peace and closure. They don’t need to attack each other anymore. Life is too short for that kind of ignorance. As they talk, the topic turns to Liv. Mellie makes a joke about Liv destroying Abby in the long run and Fitz is like, “Girl, don’t make jokes about Liv beating people.” And then, he picks that moment to tell Mellie that Liv killed Andrew. Hmm, maybe not the best time for that. They both express their concern for Liv because she’s not acting like herself.
Look, I’m all for exploring Olivia’s dark side, I’m not sure that I buy Mellie being soooo concerned. This rings a little false, but whatever. After Mellie and Fitz return to their respective planes, Fitz orders Abby to let the plane take off. She balks. He tells her to STFU and do what he says. Air Force One takes off, followed minutes later by Mellie’s plane. Liv is pissed at Mellie for making a decision on her own, but the move worked. Please back the hell off, Liv.
At the big dinner, Hollis charms the pants off Baker, and Susan looks like she just smelled a fart, so that’s how the night is going. Mellie arrives, and Baker says she’s not making room for late guests — #Eyeroll — but in walks Mellie with Fitz! Is Fitz endorsing Mellie right now? Weird, but okay. Baker immediately makes room for Mellie and Fitz at the table. It’s a lock that Mellie will get Baker’s endorsement. That night at the hotel, Susan tells David that she forgot he was a good man. He says he will never hurt her again, then they hold hands. (He’s still sleeping on the floor, by the way.) I’m not back to shipping them again, but I’m open to this idea of them being baes.
Cy comes home and Michael is doing the white version of Angela Bassett from Waiting to Exhale — he’s not setting clothes on fire, but he is demanding the truth. Cy fesses up to boning someone else and criticizes Michael for being needy. Huh? Michael only does two things: Watch Ella all day and go to the gym so he’ll stay hot. That’s not needy; that’s being a good husband. Cy is a gahtdamn fool. Michael is like, “I know his name is Tom.” Damn. Cy is like, “Don’t go down this road. You will get kicked the eff out this house.” Michael takes his ass down the road anyway and gives a jump drive to Alex that supposedly contains dirt about the shooting. Michael is totally going to die, but he can’t let Cy play him for the rest of his life.
The next morning, Baker endorses … Susan?! Whoa, didn’t see that coming. A’ight, a’ight. Annie Potts is cool again. Susan hugs David. Ooh! She put all her titties into that hug, so I’m thinking she will let him put his peen in her vajeen pretty soon. Shortly after Baker’s announcement, the news about Frankie’s daughter hits the airwaves. OMG! How?! Cy finds out that they got it from Alex. Turns out the jump drive that Alex used was jank and actually delivered photos of Frankie and his daughter to the press. WOW! Michael is ride-or-die for a bae who treats him like a week-old bowl of Uncle Ben’s Rice. If my bae were cheating on me, told me that our child wasn’t mine, and threatened to kick me out of the house, no way in hell would I help him. I would be tap dancing all over his balls like I’m Savion Glover. Anyway, Frankie fires Alex. Cy leaves a voice mail on Michael’s phone, promising that he will go to therapy to repair their relationship. Mmhmm.
Back at OPA, Huck confronts Liv, who keeps pretending she’s fine about killing Andrew. Huck tells her that she’s not fine; he’s worried about her. She says she’s happy that Andrew is dead. Huck is like, “And … ?” She starts crying and tells Huck that her dad threatened Jake’s life if she crossed him. She doesn’t want to be like her father; she doesn’t want any more blood on her hands. This scene is really well acted. Kudos, boos!
At the White House, Abby is in the Oval House with Fitz and she’s furious. I don’t understand. He is the president of the United States — his job is to tell her what to do. Also, Liv told Abby weeks ago that she could not handle becoming a D.C. monster, then like 12 minutes after her goofy ass became a monster, she’s already crying like she got to Pinkberry five minutes after it closes. Abby, ain’t nobody here for your tears. We just watched Liv cry over Andrew, Jake, and her crummy life. You don’t get to cry because you don’t have as much power as you would like. SHUT UP, ABBY! Thankfully, Fitz calms her down, but I’m over this mess.
Later that evening, we learn that Hollis ended up winning Florida. Huh?! Sorry, Susan. She’s bummed, but goes off to write her speech anyway. When she leaves, we learn that David did make the deal with Baker. UGH! David! You’re supposed to be a white hat, you fool! I really hope Susan doesn’t find out about this. Across town, Abby and Liv have their showdown. The whole time Abby is in her gahtdamn feels, while me and Liv are like:
Liv is like, “After I made the president and the White House, I had to walk away from him. The White House is mine. I earned it.” Cut to me like:
These silly women need to chill because they are both out of their minds. That’s one. Two, Liv won the presidency for Fitz by breaking the law, so she didn’t earn it. She stole it. Three, I’m sick of Abby (even though her hair is mad cute) because she didn’t even want to be in power a month ago. This sudden character change has me bored to tears. Four, it’s the middle of the night — how do they have all this damn time to be speechifying? If that were me, I’d be in some holey pajamas with an oatmeal mask on my face, saying, “Girl, can we chat tomorrow? They just put Ally McBeal on Netflix, so I’m about to watch the Robert Downey Jr. years when he was fresh out of rehab. Night night, boo!” Anyway, Abby and Liv decide to go after Hollis together.
We end on Cy coming home to Michael … except Michael isn’t there. All of his clothes are gone! And so is Ella! Hell yeah, Michael! I’m so proud of you! Cy gets on the phone and leaves a message for Michael. He’s all like, “You can’t take my damn child!” LOL. WUT? When Ella graduated from Huggies Little Movers a year ago, you were nowhere to be found. Michael was watching blac-hair tutorials on YouTube while you were out in these streets heauxing. Michael reads Ella her bedtime stories every night; you’ve been bust talking about how the only thing that matters is getting back in the Oval. You do not care about your child. It’s best for Michael to to take her out of that home and be a single dad for a bit. He needs to find a dude who will love him and not constantly remind him that he was a prostitute. Cy, you are a landfill made entirely of used orange peels and broken Skip-Its. Sit your ignorant behind down and let Ella and Michael go.
Alrighty, what did you think of this episode? Who do you think is going to win: Abby or Liv?