Olivia and Abby's campaign war heads to Florida (once it gets off the tarmac)
The election has gone south this week — geographically speaking, to Florida, where a key endorsement is up for grabs. But Olivia and Abby’s relationship has also taken a massive dive as things get down to the wire for their respective campaigns.
It pains me to see Liv and Abby at odds — the show is so much better when these two are on the same team! But with Olivia managing Mellie’s campaign and Abby on Team Susan as the president’s chief of staff (which seems like it would not be a thing that would happen in real life, but I digress), things between them have gotten tense. They won’t even share an elevator.
The next state on the campaign trail is Florida, where an endorsement from the governor would lock up enough delegates to secure a commanding lead. As Sally Langston puts it on The Liberty Report, “May the best woman win.”
Florida’s Gov. Baker is inviting all the Republican candidates to a dinner, where they’ll have to plead their case in hopes of winning her favor. But first, they’ve got to get to Florida. With Susan Ross’ plane already en route, Abby schemes up some “mechanical problems” on Air Force One, which means no other planes on the tarmac — including the one carrying Mellie Grant, Olivia, and the Gladiators — can take off.
Olivia fires back by going directly to the press, leaking news that the plane’s issues are bogus. Abby calls the Grant campaign desperate, Liv brings up all the other stranded passengers being held up by this mess, and both say voters’ anger at the other candidate will be reflected in the voting booth. Marcus tells Mellie to appeal directly to Fitz, and she does, causing a press frenzy when she steps onto the tarmac and waits patiently in front of her ex-husband’s plane. Despite Abby’s protests, he goes out to meet her.
Fitz and Mellie have a nice, civil conversation that takes a turn when Mellie jokes that things between Liv and Abby have gotten so bad that one could “go full Tonya Harding” on the other and kill her. Fitz grasps onto that poor choice of words and tells her (with the media watching, so neither of them can really react) that Olivia killed Andrew — she didn’t hire anyone to do it; she did it herself with her bare hands. Mellie tells him Liv has seemed like a different person — there, but not there — and now she knows why. Fitz asks Mellie to make sure Olivia sleeps, runs, and eats, which are very weird things to talk to your ex-wife about regarding your former mistress, but this is Scandal we’re talking about here.
Fitz gets the plane to move, and Olivia is mad at Mellie for pulling the stunt, even though it worked — they’ll get to the dinner late, but they’ll get there. But there might be a better way, and Liv makes a call and asks Abby to turn the plane around.
NEXT: Who gets the Florida endorsement?
In Susan Ross land, she and David Rosen are still sharing hotel rooms at Elizabeth North’s insistence, to keep up appearances (sleeping on the floor, though, not even the couch, because “dogs aren’t allowed on the furniture”). Gov. Baker comes to the room when he’s there and she’s not, with a proposal for Rosen: She’ll endorse Susan if the attorney general’s office drops its investigation into a sugar company she took kickbacks from. He talks over it with Susan and Liz; the latter tells him to do it, but the former sticks to her guns — if the governor plays dirty, she doesn’t want her support.
The dinner begins sans Mellie, with Gov. Baker talking with Hollis Doyle about government regulations against sugar farmers. When Mellie arrives, Baker initially tells her staff not to let in a latecomer, but she’s got a clutch plus-one in tow: Fitz. Not one to turn down the president at the table, she lets the rest of their party stay.
Later, in their hotel room, Rosen commends Susan for challenging Baker on the sugar regulations (respectfully but honestly, as you’d expect from her), and they have an honest conversation themselves. She says he hurt her more than anyone ever has, and he apologizes for it. They grasp hands, and he says he’ll do his best to never hurt her again. That apparently extends to cutting a deal for Baker to publicly endorse Susan, which she does. It doesn’t do much good, though, because despite polling third heading into Florida, Doyle steals the primary race away from both of them.
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On the Democrat side, Cyrus outmaneuvered Alex Vargas, who was trying to get Michael to share secrets about him by saying Cyrus cheated and played a role in the Harrisburg shooting. Michael gave him a flash drive that somehow sends pictures of Frankie Vargas’ cancer-stricken daughter to the media from his brother’s email address, infuriating the presidential candidate and having him tell Alex to get out. But it did cost Cyrus, too — when he gets home, all of Michael’s things are gone; he took Cyrus’ daughter, too.
And then we get back to Olivia and the aftermath of Andrew’s murder. Huck is worried about her, but she claims she’s fine. She’s satisfied, not grieving. “It felt good, crushing his face with that chair,” she says. “I felt free. I felt whole.” She’s glad he’s dead, and it feels good knowing she was the one who killed him.
It sounds so un-Olivia like, and Huck stands there, waiting for the rest of it. Her face crumples, and she sits, telling him her father threatened to kill Jake if she tries to go near him again. One kill is enough, she says, and lets Huck hold her as she starts crying.
At the Oval, Abby is furious with Fitz for overruling her with the plane and not letting her do her job, but of course, her anger is really about Olivia. “I’m not the one who made her kill Andrew. She’s a murderer all on her own,” she tells Fitz. “All I did was make a call — to protect you.” She cries, saying Liv must have been so scared, and it’s then that Fitz sits her down and says she needs to come up with something, anything, that will let her forgive herself.
These two talks lead to Abby meeting Olivia at OPA, where they strike a deal. They (and their candidates) both lost today, but they’re going to team up now to take on a common enemy: Hollis Doyle.