Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday’s episode of Scandal. Read at your own risk!
A new presidential candidate stepped into the spotlight during Thursday’s episode of Scandal, and he seems very, ahem, familiar.
Oil tycoon Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry) returned to the fold to decide whether to financially back Mellie’s (Bellamy Young) campaign or Susan’s (Artemis Pebdani). Except Hollis was just probing to find out their policies and strategies, ultimately double-crossing them both and announcing his own bid for the Republican nomination. Suffice it to say, Doyle’s candor and unfiltered rhetoric makes him the prime Donald Trump-esque candidate.
Given the current political climate in the U.S., which candidate has the best chance of winning the upcoming presidential election in the world of Scandal? “Hollis Doyle,” executive producer Shonda Rhimes tells EW. “That sounds terrifying. I’d like to believe that it’s someone like Susan, but I think it’s Hollis Doyle. I think that’s a scary factor, because I don’t think it’s about the issues as much as it is about flash.”
With Scandal’s primary election storyline mirroring real-life politics, expect to see some situations that sound familiar. “When you watch the show, there are definitely moments that feel like they could be ripped from the headlines,” executive producer Betsy Beers says. “That, to me, certainly indicates that we’re all affected by what’s going on, but what a great canvas to do whatever you want with the ‘what if’ situation. There are one or two things that if you see them, you’ll think, ‘I might have actually seen them before.'”
The real worry, however, is not whether Hollis can win the election on his own, but whether he’ll once again rig it. For the uninitiated, Hollis Doyle was part of the cabal that got Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) into the White House the first time around. “Money is power, and right now Hollis has a lot of it. He has a lot of opportunities that the rest of us don’t,” Young says, noting that she wouldn’t put it past Hollis to repeat history. “Certainly, there’s no trusting Hollis. But that’s all the more why she needs Olivia [Kerry Washington].”
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.