Tonight’s episode of Scandal begins with, you guessed it, a scandal. It’s not major, at least for now, but it could be something if the secret gets out. Basically, Olivia Pope has been getting it in with Curtis, the conservative journalist/commentator who gave her a hard time on his show about Mellie’s education bill. He is cute, so it’s hard to blame Olivia, but he’s starting to catch feelings. He has been complaining about how she’s so secretive about their affair. This translates to Liv as wining, and you know Olivia ain’t about that life.
Olivia is trying to convince Cyrus to woo a billionaire tech mogul (a potential donor). Mellie is trying to woo President Rashad, the dictator for Bushran (if you saw last week’s episode), into a nuclear arms treaty (and apologize for spying on him). All of this is lead up State Dinner. Olivia is trying to make Mellie look good so landing the treaty and major donors are big wins.
Mellie’s meeting with President Rashad doesn’t go well at all. Mellie turns up her charm, but the dictator sees through it, calls her a hypocrite, and says that he’ll remove nuclear weapons from his country when the countries that have the most do so first. *coughs* America. Yup, that was shade to the US.
Now we’re at the State Dinner. Olivia is working hard to make sure no one embarrasses Mellie. All the usual suspects are present, even President Rashad, who makes a grand entrance with Mellie. They keeping up appearances and make it look like they’re getting along, but President Rashad is still not agreeing to the treaty. He feels like it would make him look weak and even put him at risk of assassination. He comes from a conservative Muslim country, and Mellie, well, you know, Murica. But that’s cool because Olivia is working on plans B-Z (with Jake’s help).
Meanwhile, Cyrus is working on the tech billionaire. It doesn’t go too well, because the tech dude is a jerk, but it pans out in the end. This part of the storyline isn’t super major (at least not for now).
Back to Olivia. She gets President Rashad alone and mentions that she’s aware that his niece is majoring in gender studies in the US. That sort of thing–you know, women getting an education–don’t go over well in President Rashad’s country, so he changed her name. Olivia confronts with this information thinking that if he did this for his niece, then there’s some sort of humanity in him. She begs him to sign the treaty. This pisses him off even more. He’s upset that Olivia spied on him and that he didn’t listen to the people warned him about her. He denies the treaty request, once again.
The tables turn later on, though. Basically, another dignitary requests a private talk with President Rashad, claiming that Mellie Grant sent him. It turns out that the man is an assassin. President Rashad thinks it’s the US coming for him, but the man is actually Rashad’s fellow countryman. The assassin gets ready to shoot, but Olivia and Jake got the drop (thanks to a tip from Curtis) so they sent their people to dead that. Luckily for President Rashad and Olivia, the assassination attempt is thwarted just in time.
President Rashad says he knows who may be behind this. Mellie and Liv offer conditional help and finally convince him to sign the treaty, but only if they help him with his country’s biggest enemy (and the people who probably also sent an assassin to try to kill him.
Mellie asks Olivia to give her time alone with President Rashad and she agrees. Not long after, Rashad tells Mellie that his niece actually has Mellie’s picture hanging up on her wall. He calls Mellie extraordinary and then says it’s an honor sitting next to her. Mega progress.
He leaves and says he looks forward to working with her.
The episode ends with Olivia and Curtis making out and preparing to enter Olivia’s apartment for some hot steamy loving, but their steamy session is interrupted by Fitz, who’s standing there waiting for Olivia to come home. He just wasn’t prepared for company. He eeks out an awkward, “Hello,” and tries to keep his voice even, but you know he’s raging inside.
Liv and her boo thang just stand there looking like: