Plus: There's a glimmer of hope for Olivia and Fitz
It’s his wedding, and he’ll throw his groom to the wolves if he wants to.
Thursday night’s episode of Scandal focused on Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) the show’s most Machiavellian character – and in this political drama, that’s saying a lot.
A self-described “filthy monster,” Cyrus can go from being Olivia Pope’s (Kerry Washington) mentor and biggest champion to ordering her murder. And this week, his dalliance with prostitute Michael (Matthew Del Negro, who is truly Noah Wyle’s clone) finally bit him in the butt.
• Back in the first half of season 4, Michael – originally paid by Elizabeth (Portia de Rossi) to prey on Cyrus – had signed a contract promising to be discreet. It worked … until he was photographed grinding with a stripper at a gay club, leaving the press to question his relationship with Cyrus.
• Olivia to the rescue! Liv insisted that Cyrus finally marry Michael and convinced Mellie (Bellamy Young) to host the nuptials at the White House, giving her campaign a boost among northern Virginia liberals and ensuring that Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) wouldn’t have to sacrifice his conservative base by admitting that, yeah, with a gay chief of staff, he’s pro same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, Huck (Guillermo Déaz) and Quinn (Katie Lowes) convinced a bartender at the club that Michael had just been letting off steam during “an innocent bachelor party.”
• But guess who’s back, back again? Former VP Sally Langston (Kate Burton), who went off her rocker after she killed her closeted husband. The Bible-thumping Republican had transformed herself into the host of The Liberty Report, political commentary show with a serious right-wing slant. Off a tip from Leo (Paul Adelstein), she went on air calling the upcoming wedding a sham and offering a $10,000 reward for anyone with proof. The guy with whom Michael had been secretly sleeping came forward, and even Olivia’s offer to make Fitz appoint Sally secretary of state didn’t deter her.
• Cyrus decided to throw Michael under the bus by claiming he’d been cheated on and playing the sympathy card with the press. But after dinner with Michael’s horrifically homophobic parents, who admitted they were seeing their son walk down the aisle because Elizabeth paid them, Cyrus changed his mind. Is Cyrus experiencing … character growth?! They exchanged vows in the Rose Garden after Cyrus admitted they’ve never really love each other – but that was for the best, because if he didn’t love Michael, he couldn’t break his heart.
• That brings us to the flashbacks: We finally met Cyrus’s wife (Emily Bergl) and teared up watching James (Dan Bucatinsky) come back to life in his memories. Both marriages were broken by Cyrus’s manipulations during his quest for power. On an equally heartbreaking note, we saw Liv and Fitz right after their first breakup, when she quit her job at the White House. Fitz gave her a family heirloom ring and asked her to wear it, even if she wouldn’t come back to him, so he’d know everything was okay. In the present, Liv woke up from a recurring nightmare of their spoiled romance and her kidnapping to frantically search for the ring in her apartment. At Cyrus and Michael’s wedding, it was back on her finger, and she gave Fitz just the faintest hint of a smile. Swoon!
• “It sounds like a shotgun wedding!” –Cyrus
“It is, and you’re the pregnant bride.” –Olivia
• “There is a word for you, Sally.” –Mellie, giving the Southern belle’s version of an expletive
• “You talked! You poked the hole in the condom, not me. I kept it all wrapped up.” –Leo to Abby
• “Think about it … playing hardball with Putin on horseback in Siberia. It’s not too late.” –Olivia to Sally
• “That woman. Pretty. Godless. Elizabeth something.” –Michael’s mom
• “I would never murder you … myself. I’d hire a professional to do it. That’s a rookie movie.” –Cyrus to Michael
• No, but actually – where is baby Ella, and who is caring for her?
• Can Cyrus and Michael make this marriage of convenience work?
• What is going to make Jake (Scott Foley) go insane next episode? We got major anxiety just watching the preview.
Fitz. And not just because Jake was M.I.A for the whole episode. Those flashbacks reminded us why we rooted for Olitz in the first place, and Liv literally put a ring on it to show him all hope for a reconciliation isn’t lost. Oh, and those James flashbacks reminded us how pissed we still are that Jake shot him!
Scandal airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.