Scandal Season 5 Episode 11 Review: The Candidate

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Shonda Rhimes is banking on another season of the inner workings of OPA judging by the political scheming we just witnessed on Scandal Season 5 Episode 11.

And, okay, it's not like she really has any reason to be worried there won't be a sixth season, but the setup on "The Candidate?"

It was pretty intense.

On one team we have the Dynamic Duo of Mellie and Olivia. On the other Liz and David are trying to make a President. And then there's Cyrus Beene.

Ever one to maintain his thirst for power, Cyrus Beene has decided that since Fitz will never forgive him for all he's done to protect the Grant legacy, it's time to jump ship. He's hoping the Pennsylvania governor will save him this time, and the man just might.

We haven't seen much of him yet, but he definitely seems like a man who needs a little molding. If there's anyone who's capable of doing that it's Cyrus.

Here's the thing though. 

I don't blame Cyrus for recognizing that Fitz is pissing away what could be an amazing last year in office and deciding to get out while he can in order to ensure he gets to hang out in the Oval for four or eight more years. It's sort of his thing.

He's not the kind of guy who can run on his own (though wouldn't keeping all of THOSE skeletons in the closet be something to see!) so he needs to be the man behind the man. 

It's also where he's most comfortable and it works. 

Fitz is on the way out. Susan has Liz and David. Mellie has Olivia. Finding a new candidate is his only option aside from retirement and, well, hahahahah. No.

Before we get into a discussion of Mellie and Olivia, which was really the heart of this episode, let's just go ahead and get the Liz/David/Susan triangle out of the way because never has there EVER been a more awkward triangle than this one.

David Rosen can be totally geek hot sometimes. And then he's kissing Susan Ross and it's like watching two people who've never kissed before make out. Like what some of the Duggar first kisses have probably been like. 

There is no part of Susan and David that gets me excited. There's no part of David and Liz that gets me excited either.

The entire trio is so bizarre!

David considers Susan a friend. Liz is his friend with benefits. Together David and Liz want to "make a President" but what do they think will happen when Susan finds out they're sleeping together? And what is David going to say next week on Scandal Season 5 Episode 12 when Liz tells him he has to sleep with Susan? 

Please be a man of honor and 1) don't do it and/or 2) shove Liz into a closet somewhere and throw away the key and never touch her again. 

The best part of the entire Liz/Susan/David thing was that we finally got to see the inside of a Gettysburger. For a location talked about as often as this one has been mentioned, it was high time someone ventured inside the place. Good job. Now I want fries.

And that brings us to Mellie and Olivia.

Man, do I love it when these women work together (at any time except for when they're plotting to let Rowan Pope out of prison).

The thing about them is that they're always at odds, but deep down, they're both on a quest for power and control. They're both out to prove they have what it takes to make it. They just go about it in different ways.

Olivia has always been the person behind the scenes making sure things get done. In her marriage to Fitz, and in much of their political lives, Mellie was the same way. She took care of the "lesser" tasks that mattered in the public eye. 

They're both capable of finessing situations, and seeing them get drunk and have a heart to hear about why they left or stayed was sort of perfect.

In so many ways, their mutual relationships with Fitz were always a yin and yang of one another. It was good to hear Olivia acknowledge that the reason she left was because Mellie made it safe to be with Fitz. As long as Mellie was in the picture, Olivia didn't have to worry about committing, and that's what she never wanted to do.

She never wanted to commit to Fitz in the Vermont and jam way and that's what so many of us have always known.

That's not to say she wants to be with Jake. It's quite clear all she wants from Jake is sex, and hey, to each her own. But it could also be said that that's all she ever really wanted from Fitz since she didn't want everything else that comes with being in a relationship with somebody.

I'm excited to see Mellie and Olivia work together as partners instead of adversaries. If they can convince Sally Langston to be on their side, they're practically unstoppable.

Elsewhere, Fitz has found a new fling (Ehh...), Marcus is making headway with Huck (yay), and Abby's (still) tired of being the work wife. 

Oh, and Olivia's looking amazing in red.

What did you think of "The Candidate"? How does Liz/David/Susan make you feel? Do you prefer Mellie and Olivia as friends or foes? Sound off in the comments below and don't forget to watch Scandal online!

The Candidate Review

Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (67 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Scandal Season 5 Episode 11 Quotes

I was devastated when I found out Fitz was having an affair with you. I fell into a deep depression and the only thing that got me through was thinking that you were just a phase. Fitz and I, we could survive a phase. So I stayed.

Mellie [to Olivia]

Mellie: You really can compartmentalize like nobody's business.
Olivia: You asked for Olivia Pope. You got Olivia Pope.