“Scandal” Recap: “Dog Whistle Politics”


On Thursday’s “Scandal,” Olivia and Fitz continued to navigate the fallout of their relationship going public as Jake became re-entangled with Papa Pope. Here are the most important things to know about “Dog Whistle Politics,” the fourth episode of season 5.

The episode picked up with Jake confronting Papa Pope in prison about the Louvre being on fire, convinced it was a scheme to get out from behind bars and regain his power with B613. Jake was sure there’d be a trail that would lead to Papa Pope’s associates on the outside, and vowed to even kill him if need be. He set off for Paris to investigate with Charlie’s help, and came face to face with a former contact, Elise, who refused to help him.

Quinn offered Marcus a job: A spokesperson of sorts for Olivia Pope and Associates. He turned it down: “Do I want to be a gladiator in a suit? Hell no.” She was right, however, that the company needed damage control. The next day, Fitz ranted about the media “crucifying” Olivia, and fired Abby for throwing Liv under the bus. Olivia called Fitz “emotional” and an “idiot” for “firing [his] press secretary in the middle of a scandal,” and defended Abby for the actions she took. “I told you, this is my choice to make,” she insisted to Fitz, saying she did not need to be “rescued.” Just then, however, Liv realized someone was taking photos of her inside her apartment from the building across the street.

Quinn swept Liv’s apartment and Huck rented the one across the street to protect a nervous Olivia, but she rejected Quinn’s insistence that the company needed fresh blood to help them. Later however, Marcus changed his mind about the job, and Quinn instructed him to tell the media it’s “business as usual” for the company, with Olivia super busy with clients.

Meanwhile, at a women’s caucus meeting, Mellie was stunned to find out the women of the Senate wanted to impeach Fitz over his affair, but she refused to promise her vote. Cyrus, however, tried to convince her to take the “righteous” stance and use it as a play for the Oval Office. Fitz tried distracting himself with son Teddy, which Mellie walked in on, making her emotional over the state of their family. “I don’t want us to fight anymore,” she told him. “If you don’t hurt me, I won’t hurt you.”

At the same time, Liz met with male Republican Senator Gibson, who also wanted Fitz held responsible for his affair. Liz, a non-fired Abby, and David all urged the president to meet with Gibson, warning that an investigation would “bulldoze” him and Liv. At the meeting with Gibson and other senators, Fitz and Liz offered a number of concessions, and they were presented a proposal to kill a number of bills, including the Brandon Bill. Though Fitz saw it as “extortion,” Gibson warned he would start impeachment proceedings if he didn’t agree, and even had the balls to tell the president that the next time he has an affair, to “choose a girl that’s a little more palatable to the base.”

Back in France, Jake went to Elise’s apartment, where it was revealed they had a long-ago missed meeting at Grand Central Station that left him thinking she was dead and her thinking he betrayed her. “I really loved being married to you,” Jake told her in one of the episode’s many bombshells. And with that, they hooked up. Elise vowed to help Jake with his B613 investigation, but ended up shot during a clandestine meeting. Elise survived, and revealed to Jake that she lied earlier. She never showed up to Grand Central Station. “We’re spies,” she told him. “There’s no forever for us.” He told her to come back to the U.S. with him.

Olivia angrily and tearfully revealed to Fitz she was getting rape and death threats online from people “mad that I had the audacity to be born female and black.” As she cried on the phone, she insisted she was “fine,” though it was clear she was anything but. At the same time, Cyrus, “hell-bent on revenge,” continued to pressure Mellie into joining the impeachment movement, and ranted about how betrayed he felt by Fitz. The tirade ended with Mellie kicking him out, and Cyrus saying he quit.

Throughout the episode, clips of a tabloid-like expose chronicling Olivia’s life aired on TV. As Marcus was hounded outside the office, he blasted the media for portraying Olivia as not just an “angry black woman,” but also a “homewrecker.” Quinn ripped him for “going off script,” but he convinced her and Huck to do TV interviews calling out “dog-whistle politics” — the media’s use of thinly-veiled bigoted language and stereotypes that such outlets routinely get away with.

Knowing Abby and Olivia think alike, Fitz asked his press secretary for advice on Gibson’s proposal. Abby encouraged him to do the “smart” thing and go along with it, but the president said he wanted to do the “right” thing. Fitz then took the motorcade to Olivia’s apartment as the media followed. “What the hell are you doing?” she asked. He responded, “I’m taking my girlfriend on a date.” And with that, they made out right in front of the Secret Service.

In the final moments, Fitz and Olivia exited her apartment hand in hand, with the media capturing the moment live. That was all it took for Mellie to go back to the women’s Senate caucus and say she wanted to impeach her husband. The promo for next week showed Olivia continuing to deal with “mistress mania.” TELL US: What do you think of tonight’s episode?

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