Scandal 5×11 – The Candidate

"You had become the beautiful kept thing he lusted after. Where you went, he went. Which meant that I suddenly had space. I had air of my own that I could breathe."


This was Scandal‘s strongest episode since November, and I absolutely loved it.

I’ve been saying this for the longest time, but the dynamic between Liv and Mellie has the potential to be the single most intriguing relationship on Scandal. That’s why I was absolutely ecstatic to see The Candidate spend so much time on their deeply-layered dynamic. The revelations from both ladies concerning the affair (and the fact that they actually liked having each other around) felt like the kind of revelatory bombshells that were five seasons in the making. Just the sight of the two ladies drinking Mellie’s hooch on the floor was marvelous, and their various confessions injected the storyline with a real sense of weight and emotion.

Also great was the fact that Fitz went a whole episode without nagging or throwing childish tantrums. I’m not exactly sure what to make of Lillian Forestor quite just yet, but it was interesting to note how bold she was in admitting that she had an enormous crush on Fitz. I’m very intrigued to see where the writers take this subplot, as it would be interesting to see Fitz have some romantic sparks with someone other than Mellie or Liv.

Elsewhere, the weirdest love triangle of all time continued in the form of Susan, David and Liz. While it pains me to see Susan being played like a puppet, I loved watching her and David shut down a Gettysburger and make out over fries. Plus the fact that we now have TWO women running for the Presidency is a wonderfully empowering statement for the show to make. Who doesn’t want both Susan and Mellie to win?

Unfortunately that final Cyrus flashback was particularly useless. It’s not like it was ambiguous the way Cyrus left Fitz and basically latched on to Fitz 2.0 (an aspiring Governor and potential Presidential candidate in the form of Desperate Housewives alum Ricardo Chavira).

Scandalous Bits

– The sight of a barefoot Mellie living (and snacking) in Pope & Associates was just priceless.

– Was anyone else completely irked out by David getting on his knees in front of Liz? Yuck yuck yuck.

– Loved the music during Cyrus’ cheesy speech to Fitz in the Oval.

– Horror movie scene: Liv taking off her clothes as soon as she opened the door to Jake. Exquisitely filmed, I loved how the camera just panned away from her room and everything else was left up to our imagination. It was slightly rape-y and oh so creepy.

– Why was Cyrus insulted when Mellie said that “we made him”. Someone explain please!

– Milestone: Mellie visiting Liv’s house for the first time ever!

–   I’m not sure I totally got Mellie’s answer (the one that Liv gave her and which she wrote in the book). Is it that she was too scared to leave Fitz and try to make it on her own?

– How cool was it to see Sally visibly proud of Mellie as she read an excerpt from her “leaked” book?


Marcus: He either pretends I’m invisible or growls like a dog.
Quinn: That’s just Huck. He growls.

Mellie: You never had what we had, Olivia. 23 years. You may have had your cheap hotel rooms and your White House closets and your secret homes in Vermont that you didn’t think anybody else knew about. But as far as actual real relationships go… you were just a blip on his radar. A plaything he used to pass his time with until trash day rolled around and you got boxed up and shipped off…
Olivia: That’s enough, Mellie.
Mellie: Oh, I’m sorry. Did you not want to go there today?

Liz: That bracelet is hideous.
David: Susan likes it.
Liz: Because that Muppet is in love with you.

Susan: We shut down a Gettysburger. A Gettysburger.
David: That’s power.
Susan: It’s obnoxious.

Olivia: You were mean.
Mellie: Of course I was. You were my husband’s mistress. Was I supposed to be friendly?
Olivia: You were really awful. I’m telling you, you were nasty. And I took it.
Mellie: Why? I wanted to fight. You never fought.
Olivia: I was your husband’s mistress. I was in the wrong.
Mellie: Truth is, I was glad you were there. You were a good mistress. Probably a great one. You know what I mean?
Olivia: Mm. Well, I am an overachiever.

Olivia: When I was with Fitz, I was happy you were around, too. With you around, I didn’t have to… I had an out. You… You were my out, Mellie. You kept him unavailable.

Must-Download Tune
Master Blaster (Jammin’) by Stevie Wonder

Thanks to some very welcome emphasis on Liv and Mellie’s nuanced relationship, The Candidate was a top-notch hour of Scandal. 

Nad Rating


  1. I absolutely love the Mellie/Olivia dynamic and only pray it continues for more than one episode. Honestly, I forget Cyrus is on this show, ever since Papa Pope entered the picture he's been less interesting/important. Speaking of Papa Pope, he's been upgraded to series regular *le sigh*. Kinda wish this show was a mini series with more tightly constructed storytelling because we have 10 more episodes left and that prospect makes my head hurt. This shows already losing ratings big time.

  2. The scenes between Mellie and Olivia were compelling to watch, even their confessed reasons for why one stayed and the other left. I knew Olivia preferred Fitz as unavailable. A man she can have and not have at the same time. That is a nice bit of breakthrough on her part. Now if only she can break her pattern of sleeping with Jake, another person who isn't good for her and who she clearly resents for the things he has done. It seems, based on the promo of next episode, Huck of all people is going to confront Olivia about that.

    I think Lillian is up to something and has an agenda that is going to be trouble for Fitz.

    I think Cyrus was insulted when Mellie said “we made him” because, in his mind, he made Fitz alone and not with any help from Mellie. It was all on him which makes Fitz's indifference to him too much for him to deal with after everything they've been through and all Cyrus has sacrificed for the sake of his job. Hopefully, his departure from Fitz's side is permanent. That character needs new material.

  3. yes exactly so true. It's gone on for a bit too long. Would have much preferred two or three seasons of perfection instead of five of fluctuating quality!

  4. Yes that's what I assumed about Cyrus but I found it weird since Mellie played such an obvious part when they were part of the Roundtable of Evil!

    Indeed. Praying for new material! Getting repetitive!

  5. I also think the “we made him” line could be about what Cyrus and Fitz said earlier in the episode. Cyrus says something like “our temple” and Fitz corrects him sternly “MY temple, not ours”. Maybe Mellie's line just reminded him of that or something, I don't know.

    Love the review, Nad. Such a great episode. The Liv/Mellie dynamic is obviously fascinating. I can't believe it took them 5 years to bring them into a great storyline together.

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