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Scandal recap: The Miseducation of Susan Ross

Mellie, Hollis, and Susan debate while Olivia continues diving into dirty politics

Posted on

Richard Cartwright/ABC


TV Show
Drama, Thriller
run date:
Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Bellamy Young
Current Status:
In Season

Are you sick of debates yet? At least two have overlapped with TGIT this election cycle (sorry, politics — recapping comes first!), and now they’ve crossed over to being on Scandal itself.

But for all the promos teasing the “Great Debate,” the Republican match-up only took up a small chuck of this episode. Hollis Doyle was Peak Hollis Doyle, saying Trump-like things about who should and shouldn’t be allowed in our country, while Mellie held her own against questions from Sally Langston and shots from Doyle about Fitz. And Susan…well, Susan wasn’t doing so hot. When asked to add anything after Doyle’s immigration comments, all she manages is, “It’s a big problem. We need to do better.” Her head clearly isn’t in the game. 

During a commercial break, she gets a call from Fitz, who tells her she only needs one good moment to turn her debate performance around. And she gets it off of a comment from Mellie about women not being their husbands’ keepers. Sally asks Susan if she agrees, and she starts speaking of her late husband, who was killed by a Taliban sniper while he was in Afghanistan and protecting land for a pipeline being built by the likes of Hollis Doyle. She didn’t tell him that didn’t seem right to her, and then he died — and after that she vowed to never stay silent again.

“We’re not our husbands’ keepers but maybe we should be America’s,” she says. The crowd gives her a standing ovation, and headlines the next day declare her the debate winner. The media also captures David Rosen on stage with her as he promised he’d do, despite her dumping his butt for being a spineless cheater. 

Mellie is bruised by her debate loss, but Olivia vows to get her the Oval come hell or high water, sounding just like her father. Let’s not forget, she’s got that envelope with dirt on Susan Ross…which notes that she and the husband she spoke so passionately about at the debate weren’t actually married. It’s intel they can’t go public with until they find out more — if she was just trying to protect their daughter that’s one thing, but if she collected veterans’ benefits she wasn’t entitled to, that’d be another story. Following the money turned up no deposits from the Army into her bank accounts, but it did reveal a payment to a lab for a DNA test, which means that man isn’t Casey’s father.

Liv and Alex Vargas meet to swap another set of dirty scoops — she gives him a second source to back up her intel on Edison Davis’ time in rehab, but she wants to know who fathered Susan Ross’ daughter. That brings them to a prison where a man named Ronnie, who was Susan’s childhood sweetheart, is now serving time for a drug conviction. He denies the affair, but Olivia offers to help him get out of prison early if he takes a paternity test, which he says he’ll think about after she presses him. Huck, meanwhile, is the only person to raise the point that this would destroy Casey’s life. Quinn and Liv aren’t fazed. Politics, right?

On the other side of last week’s dirt swap, Alex Vargas wants to leak the Edison Davis story to the press, which his brother is initially resistant to and Cyrus agrees with. But they go forward after Liv gives Alex the second source, and Frankie gives public comments about it on television, questioning whether this makes his opponent unfit for the presidency.

Not surprisingly, Davis is pissed and knows Olivia was involved. He asks Rowan to stop her before she does anything else, and he gets on the receiving end of a Grade A Papa Pope Speech (trademark pending) about whether or not he wants to be a boss before telling Davis he’ll handle it.

But it seems he doesn’t have to, at least for Meridian Terrace — the nurse goes public and refutes the story, claiming Edison Davis never went there for treatment and it was wrong for Vargas to comment publicly about it. Vargas subsequently pulls his brother from taking the lead on managing his campaign and tells him to answer to Cyrus. (Naturally, this was his and Tom’s handiwork.)

NEXT: Olivia and Fitz “keep it real”