By REED NELSON
9:01 — Scandal is back (I don’t think it ever left, but I didn’t watch for a few weeks. I probably missed the Secretary of State’s failed attempt to kidnap the Indian Ocean. Olivia definitely helped stop the ocean-napping, but then again, I don’t know if she was sold to Iran. The fact that the show is on tonight, however, makes me think there was a hiccup in the Iran deal. I’m just going to assume that the hiccup had something to do with the outdated IOS on the lead hacker’s iPhone 4S. I also don’t know if the hackers were seen in any subsequent episodes or if they even use Apple products, so take my assumptions with a grain of salt. Anyways.) because it’s Thursday. We’re off to a fast start in a brownstone. A man and a woman are discussing “money changing hands” with “minors.” She keeps calling him disgusting. He probably is. He probably was engaging in uncouth activities. The woman is Abby. We know Abby, I just wasn’t sure if it was her. She has been pretty irate in the last couple of scenes I’ve watched, but she’s got a lot of information. Probably secrets too.
9:02 — Abby and Olivia are chatting in Olivia’s office. They’re talking about the guy from the previous scene. He’s in some hot water, but we know that because Olivia is involved. Abby let’s Olivia know that Leo is the “Dustbuster.” I don’t what a Leo or a Dustbuster is, because a human can’t be a vacuum. The music let’s us know that this is huge.
9:03 — Olivia walks up to an apartment and knocks on the door. Who answers? LENA DUNHAM. Fine. I knew she was going to be on this show tonight, which is 94 of the 97 reasons I decided to surf the Scandal wave again. Her first line: “Yeah. Ohmygod. You’re Olivia Pope! Hold on… Am I in trouble?” Andddddd title card.
9:05 — Lena Dunham has written a book, in the Scandal world that is. She did that in real life, but this is not Lena Dunham. It’s Suzanne something. Olivia asks Sue if she has written a book. Sue has, and Olivia is pissed. Like, scorched earth with napalm and Texas-sized asteroids pissed. She tells Sue that she can’t publish her book. Also, she threatens to destroy Sue.
9:06 — Oh, Olivia didn’t get sold to Iran. Probably important to note. The story moves to Not Nick Kroll’s office, who is plotting a meticulous plan that, apparently, is designed to not anger highly-trained assassins? Guillermo (his name on this show is Huck, but everyone knows that Huck is just an alias for Guillermo from Weeds who joined Gladiator after he started getting super into triathlons) is in trouble. For what? It’s probably because he’s killed more people this season than Influenza did in 1918, but I can’t be sure.
9:07 — Sue wants $3 million. That’s a lot but considering Olivia Pope estimated her IPO at $1.5 billion, it feels like she’s cheating Sue Dunham. Sue seems to think so too. She tries to Will Hunting Pope’s Sam Maguire and… it works? She wants to sell her story, although the voracity of the story hasn’t been verified. She then discusses her “memoir” and how people will slam her for it, which seems like a very life-imitates-art scenario, or maybe art-imitates-life, but either way. It was almost too spot on, but also not enough. Hanna-Sue Horvath Dunham makes a lot of good points and then moonwalks out of Olivia’s office after a nonchalant intro with Guillermo. She shouldn’t be so casual around Guillermo.
9:10 — The President wants body cams on cops now. He’s super timely but also super ineffective. His marriage seems on the up-and-up, but that must have something to do with Mrs. POTUS’s impending office run. She’s interesting enough. Way better than him.
9:12 — Gladiator is doing some research on Sue. She’s very active, according to Guillermo, on Land-o-Kink, which is like Tinder’s BDSM-y cousin, I think? Whatever it is, the smear campaign is in full effect. Sue’s down with flogging and chains, which is serendipitous for a group looking to launch a full-scale smear campaign.
9:14 — Sue is on a date with a spy whilst getting spied on. Guillermo is rifling through her things at home while the One who got forced into Olivia’s employment against her will spies from the car. On her date, Sue gets offended when her date says that he wants to nail her feet to the floor using a nail gun. In Criminally Creepy Date’s defense, she was asking about cuffs and chains first. In her defense, crucifixion is a terrifying fetish and he probably shouldn’t be around other humans ever.
9:16 — Olivia is drinking alone, while Jake Ballard and POTUS talk Olivia in the White House. Ballard is talking about Paranoid Olivia. They seem very casual about her recent kidnapping auction scenario. But hey, they are into some serious shit. For all I know, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.
9:18 — Visualization Board Set To “Work it” time. Lots of Important People, lots of pseudonyms, lots of eclectic sex habits, only one Doctor, only one Dustbuster. But The Doctor isn’t The Doctor. What they saw was the initials DR. Who’s DR? OH MY GOD. DR IS NOT NICK KROLL. He slept with Sue when she was underage and he was a substitute teacher. Bad move, NNK. Bad move.
9:22 — Lena Dunham on Scandal is fun. Moving on. Cyrus is in a playground. He’s talking to a traitor, and he keeps calling her one. I think she’s in the House. She’s the blonde one from the auction episode. Sorry, I suck at keeping these characters straight.
9:23 — Olivia calls a meeting with everyone implicated in Sue’s book. She asks for $175,000 from all involved. They seem split, but Not Nick Kroll, aka Attorney General of the United States, gives an impassioned and totally reasoned speech as to why they shouldn’t pony up. He leaves and encounters Guillermo. Guillermo wants immunity and to be with his family. He’s worried about some documents getting into the type of hands that can send him to prison. It’s a valid fear based on pretty much the entirety of his behavior and actions over the course of this series.
9:27 — Abby is resigning. It’s because of her skeezy boyfriendhusband, or, more specifically, because of his sleeping around with young authors. Also, it turns out that the Leo they were talking about, the one of Dustbusting fame, is the aforementioned boyfriend. I’m tempted to call it a plot twist, but I literally have no context for that proclamation. This could’ve been a simmering thing or it could have been a broadside collision thing. I have no idea. Either way it’s making for super compelling television. I’m on Abby’s side, fwiw. Team Dustbuster probably sucks anyways.
9:32 — Guillermo wants the book to go away. He says cover it up, but when speaking Guillermo, that could mean anything from paying someone to destroying an entire bloodline. Indentured Servant has a revelation. Sue is in some trouble. They can use the trouble.
9:34 — Abby tells Cyrus she has to resign based on a current relationship with Dustbuster and a former one with Attorney General Not Nick Kroll. He doesn’t verbally disagree but he looks shaken. In addition to Team Abby, I’m pretty sure I’m also on Team Cyrus. He seems to have his heart in the right place.
9:36 — Olivia is in a bar while “Sexual Healing” is playing. The realized stack of money representative of the music budget on this show could crush a nuclear bunker. Olivia decides to leave with a seemingly kind stranger that offers to buy her dinner. She goes to the bathroom to freshen up and immediately has a kidnap-flashback. The flashback is unnerving enough for her to make a kitchen getaway. I feel like the kitchen getaway is an underutilized getaway in real life. Just one time, I would like to get into a situation, preferably legal, that requires me to make a kitchen getaway.
9:41 — Guillermo and Indentured Servant are in a kitchen. She makes a dentist joke, which is the second dentist reference that’s been made between the two. It is well-documented that I am not a Scandal completist, but one of the episodes I have seen involved Guillermo ripping out one of her teeth with a pair of pliers sans anesthesia. The dentist stuff is intentional, right? It’s just super dark, isn’t it? Or am I reading too far into it?
9:43 — Olivia calls a meeting with Sue. She breaks down what happened: Sue refused a publisher sex, he then blackballed her and the rest is history. It was a terrifying encounter. No jokes here. Bottom line: Sue decides to get her ex-boss. Olivia gets her some baller interviews including the Washington Post. Problem seemingly solved. But 15 minutes are still left on the clock, so…
9:44 — Cyrus shows up at a park with $3 million in cash. Did I mention that this show is the best? The cash is in a briefcase. Cyrus takes the opportunity to tell Olivia about POTUS and Ballard’s undying affection for her. She doesn’t care. Rear-view life, Cyrus. Rear-view life. He then reveals that HE wants the book, for, you know, future leveraging capabilities. Olivia is disgusted. She walks away without the briefcase of money leaving ample room for a spin-off called Cyrus on a Bench: A Man And His Money.
9:46 — Mrs. POTUS and blonde lady are talking in an office. Blonde Lady is blackmailing her. She wants power, influence and an ally. She wants to be Mrs. POTUS’s campaign manager and her argument for is chillingly compelling. I think she said the words, “think about all the bodies I’ve left in my wake,” which is never a chill thing to say, even if you’re a literal wave on a popular body surfing beach talking to your friends about how many people enjoyed your presence.
9:47 — Guillermo and Indentured Servant go to Sue’s apartment. Something is clearly wrong, because the door is open. Something is always wrong when the door is open. That’s as science as gravity. And gravity is as science as it gets. Sue’s getting held up with a knife by a guy who was on Olivia’s corkboard. Everything is cool. Everything is… HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT. GUILLERMO JUST SLIT HER FUCKING THROAT WITH A KNIFE AND SUE HORVATH IS WAY, WAY, WAY DEAD. Indentured Servant looks momentarily terrified, but she gets over it because she’s had teeth ripped out of her skull and shit like that. That was fucking brutal. Guillermo is profusely apologizing to a dead girl and his PIC doesn’t seem to want to let him know that a) he’s probably not because he just slit her fucking throat in cold blood and b) she’s, again, way, way, way, way dead. The last image before the commercial break is a slow pan off Lena Dunham, fake blood pooling everywhere. So not cool, Hannah. Not the way I want to see my favorite New Age Neurotic.
9:51 — I’m pumped for the commercials. Citrus Chicken Sorrento looks nice. Better than kitchen floor corpses. Also, corpses is a word that had a big couple of weeks. Robert Durst said it on The Jinx and then it was repeated a lot on the show, and now I feel like I’ve heard a top-five creepiest word way too much this week. But back to the Sorrento: Way better than corpses.
9:53 — Olivia is PISSED. She dug Sue. Everyone dug Sue, but that’s not the point. She thinks it was Leo Bergen, but Quinn (Indentured Servant, I’ve learned, is named Quinn) is lurking with a reality bomb. She gets super real with Olivia and flops a manila envelope of dangerous information on Olivia’s desk. The info is Sue’s book, something Olivia deduces could’ve only been recovered at the crime scene.
9:55 — Guillermo is signing his immunity papers while Not Nick Kroll feels guilty about Sue’s murder. He has no idea that the dude signing papers across from him killed her, and the introspection is just too much for Guillermo to take. He leaves visibly shaken. Observation: He’s got to stop killing people. Even if he doesn’t feel terrible about most of it, half of his body has to be covered in stress-induced shingles. Also, I’m not a doctor, but his blood pressure is most definitely 745/723. That’s impossible, he’d be dead, you say. Well, sure, he’d probably be dead, but I’m not a doctor. I’m just telling you what I’m seeing.
9:56 — Abby does the kinda awkward but also kinda touching thing where she asks Leo — a former Sue lover — about Sue. Abby thinks Sue could write. They talk about a super kinky chapter five, which Leo takes as an invitation to put a move on. It improbably works. This show makes no fucking sense. She went from, “Gross, not now,” to “I’ll take all my clothes off and run down to the kitchen” in about a tenth of a second.
9:58 — Olivia goes back to the bar she ran away from. This time she has sex with the guy she ran away from. The music, as always telling us something, is telling us she’s getting better.
9:59 — That’s it, that’s all. Nelson, OUT.