No, you didn’t actually sit on your remote and switch over to the news: Scandal just got a tough-talking presidential candidate who might seem more than a bit familiar to those following the real-life race.
Hollis Doyle, the smarmy oil tycoon who’s out for his best interests and no one else’s, returned to throw his hat into the political ring, which means we have three Republican candidates (still much less than the real-life primaries started off with) and one Democrat — because Vargas is running for office, too.
Doyle came waltzing in with the premise of giving his stacks of money to either Mellie or Susan’s campaigns — if, of course, they’re willing to support his interests. After meeting with both of them, he goes rouge and launches a bid of his own — stealing Mellie’s campaign slogan and plan to launch her campaign at her childhood elementary school, to boot, all while sounding a lot like another guy we’ve been hearing a lot of this election season. All that was missing was a promise to build a wall.
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On the other side of the race, Abby gets wind that Cyrus has been running Vargas’ campaign, which means he’s going behind the president’s back and the GOP’s to work for a candidate across the aisle.
When she first floats Vargas’ name to Cyrus, he feigns vague recognition, but Abby says she knows about their phone calls and visits to Harrisburg and has photographic evidence of them meeting, to boot. Bluff, called. He changes course and claims Vargas sought him out to run his campaign, tells Abby he made a mistake and asks her not to tell Fitz.
She agrees, but then goes to Olivia and admits she wants Cyrus’ job and she now has information that would give her the chance to take it. Liv asks if she should wait her turn for the position, and Abby reasons that’s what a good person would do — but the Cyruses of the world, the Cyruses of Washington, aren’t the types to wait in line, and she doesn’t know if she should be that type of big dog.
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Olivia gives Abby a warning: Power corrupts. If she goes after Cyrus she’ll lose the white hat, and it doesn’t come back once you throw it away. “Be a better person,” she says.
It’s advice Abby decides not to take. Choosing Team Big Dog, she goes to Fitz, tells him Cyrus is running Vargas’ campaign, and asks what he plans to do about it. He doesn’t know — at first, it looks like Cyrus has got him in a corner, because exposing him as a turncoat would not only make his administration look bad but also leaves him having to fill a chief of staff position. Abby offers another alternative: Let him go quietly, which lets him step away and pursue whatever he chooses, and that Fitz wouldn’t have to look far at all for a replacement — because she’s right here and would be his best general and greatest champion. (Lean in, Whelan!)
The job is hers, Fitz says — but if she wants Cyrus’ gig, she has to fire him first, which she does.
NEXT: Olivia steps up her spy game with Jake