Scandal recap: 'The Belt'
As a culture, rich white people aren’t known for adding much to the world. Perhaps we can attribute the Kardashians to them. Maybe even smallpox blankets. But if Cyrus Beene and Orange Is the New Black‘s Piper Chapman have anything to say about it, they’ll add “being really terrible at jail” to that very brief list. We left Cyrus as he pulled a Full Piper, rolling up to jail, getting the inmate treatment after being arrested for the casual crime of having the president assassinated. Simply put, he’s having a horrible time, while elsewhere in D.C., Mellie and Olivia are having an impromptu dance party. But as Olivia and Associates are celebrating their win, Huck is fixated on a video of Dead Jennifer’s friend, smiling and laughing. Softy Huck is the best Huck.
But the world is bigger than just Cyrus, Olivia, and Mellie, which is why Abby goes to the White House to demand that David not pursue the death penalty. David can’t be persuaded to help Cyrus, though. Actually, Cyrus isn’t getting a break from anyone… he’s led into a super small cell for his exercise, which consists of walking in a circle. When he sees Tom elsewhere in the prison, he asks his guard to see him, but the guard, played by everyone’s favorite deadbeat older brother Billy Riggins (Derek Phillips), spits in his face… because that’s prison life, YA HEAR?
Speaking of people who got the short end of the stick, Elizabeth North doesn’t have a lot to work with anymore, so she tells Abby that for a price, she’ll be happy to work with Abby to get a message to Cyrus that he’s not getting the death penalty. Liz delivers the word, but when she starts to leave, Cyrus pleads with her to get Tom a letter convincing him that Cyrus loves him. In doing so, he might be able to get this situation turned around. In another episode of White People Who Don’t Understand How Prison Works, Liz asks why he isn’t able to do it himself, which just goes to show how far people like Elizabeth North are separated from… well, everything.
Huck meets up with that girl he was watching to get more information on Jennifer and her explosive demise, but the loose end here is that Tom didn’t confess to Jennifer’s murder, and since he’s so willing to throw in the towel on the president’s murder, then why not hers? It definitely leaves some questions. Meanwhile in prison, that gorgeous bearded prison guard who spat in Cyrus’ face slips another prisoner some drugs, so Cyrus attempts to figure out how to get… you guessed it… a pen and paper. He asks his inmate neighbor how to get some writing supplies, but his inmate (who is in prison for EATING HIS FAMILY) only offers the suggestion of a belt so Cyrus can kill himself. Yikes.
Cyrus continues to try and negotiate with his dreamboat of a drug lord/abusive prison guard, and he finally drops that he knows the guard’s passing drugs along to inmates and he’ll tell his supervisor if the guard doesn’t help him. Oh, Cy. Huck meets back up with Jennifer’s friend and decides to teach her self-defense, and it’s clear that Huck likes her. And then when she takes a rogue punch and clocks him in the nose, it’s clear he loves her because B6-13 guys are freaks like that.
As a lame duck with a dead PEOTUS on his hands, Fitz has nothing else to do but, you know, hook up with the FBI director. She took Olivia’s advice to heart and is canoodling in bed with Fitz in her pajamas. But in standard Scandal form, it isn’t long until she unknowingly releases information she didn’t know was important… Abby said the president gave orders to not pursue the death penalty with Cyrus, but clearly that’s not the case. However, Cyrus is already on borrowed time, so he’s not wasting it. He snags that pen and paper from Gerald McSexyGuard and passes a letter on to Liz to give to Tom because who knows how long it will take Fitz to reverse those Whelan marching orders.
NEXT: Cyrus becomes president
Everyone puts their clothes back on and pulls Abby into the Oval to discuss how you can’t tell people the president said things he didn’t say. When Abby tries to defend herself, Fitz shuts her down, which would normally be annoying, but Abby has gone off the rails. You know what happens when you go off the rails? You go to jail like Cyrus. Michael has come to visit him, and guess what he has? Cyrus’ Fifty Shades of Assassination Love Letter that he wrote to Tom. And even in the midst of your husband being charged with the president-elect’s assassination, it still has to hurt to read in black and yellow (because it was a Steno pad) that his husband was slipping Tom more than assassination orders.
Back at the White House, Fitz has reversed Abby’s orders and decided to pursue the death penalty for Cyrus. All seems hopeless, and that ray of sunshine next to him keeps suggesting he kill himself with Gerald’s belt. So in pity, Gerald lets Cyrus take a breath of fresh air outside, but then he locks Cyrus out and lets other prisoners take care of him. In an iconic moment, one of them says, “Everyone in my family voted for Frankie Vargas.” It’s too much.
When Cyrus wakes up, he’s with Michael at James Madison Hospital because he got the bejeezus stomped out of him. Even better, though, Tom recanted his statement, and it looks like Cyrus is going to be president after all. And Olivia says, “If you make Mellie your vice president, I won’t stand in your way.” Wow, thanks Liv. And with that, Cyrus becomes president and Mellie becomes vice president, and this show is absolutely out of control. We blast through inauguration, and as Cyrus is standing in the middle of the Oval, Mellie (in pearls) dismisses him because she doesn’t want blood on her carpet. PSYCH! It’s all a dream, and Cyrus isn’t president… he’s just beat to a pulp in prison still.
Somehow pulling through like a champ, he manages to call Olivia from prison to tell her that all of this is Tom, and while he definitely knows he’s a monster, he’s not an assassination monster, which is a special brand of monster, you know? Olivia tells him that she’s not able to help him, but instead, he needs to be the kind of man he wants to be. She also says that she’ll always be his friend, but she can’t talk to him again… which is not how friendship works, but you do you, Olivia.
With no other options left, Cyrus waits in his cell while Gerald brings him his dinner. Instead, Cyrus asks for Gerald’s belt, but Gerald says Cyrus shouldn’t kill himself. Cyrus does a little bargaining, though, and promises not to do it on Gerald’s watch, which is apparently charming enough to work. And as one man’s happiness journey spirals, another man’s begins. Huck goes to visit Jennifer’s friend to ask if she’s a friend or client, which leads to a make out. But they’re interrupted by Quinn, who calls to tell Huck they found information on Tom. Meanwhile, in his “final moments,” Cyrus passes goodbye letters to Gerald before his suicide attempt. But Gerald’s belt is not in Cyrus’ cell… it’s in creepy prison neighbor Ralph’s. He uses the belt to choke Gerald and get his keys, freeing them and choking Gerald long enough until he lets them into Tom’s cell. There’s a lot of saying things and last-minute moves, so let’s just bullet this episode, shall we?
- Gerald McSexyGuard is dead via getting his head slammed against the bars
- Tom admits he’s innocent, thus making Cyrus innocent
- Quinn reveals Tom was paid to say he killed Frankie
- Huck and Jennifer’s friend love a good make out
- Abby is buh-bonkers and Fitz is sleeping with the FBI director
- Ralph still likes to snack on people
Lord be. Ain’t you tired, Scandal fans? So who do you think killed Vargas, and how do you think Mellie and Cyrus fit into this crazy world now that he’s innocent?
Shonda Rhimes’ political drama: Sex! Murder! Olivia’s suits!