Where does Scandal season six go after killing the president-elect? Episode two of the ABC drama surprisingly doesn't pick up with the chaos caused by the death of Frankie Vargas. Instead, Thursday's installment begins with a flashback to when Mellie Grant was still running for president.
Why the flashback? Scandal is shedding light on how Marcus became press secretary after previously working with Pope & Associates on Mellie's campaign.
The flashbacks reveal Mellie and Marcus were starting to develop feelings for each other. However, Olivia told Mellie to shut it down. Olivia was Marcus while working on Fitz's campaign. She's been in that position and knows that it won't end well. She makes Mellie promise to "keep her knees together" — but that doesn't happen. After training with Marcus to throw the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game, the two take a couple swigs from Mellie's moonshine mason jar and give into their feelings for each other.
Cut back to present day and Olivia is trying to convince Fitz that Cyrus is the one responsible for Frankie's death. Fitz doesn't want to hear it though. The FBI can't find any proof to pin the crime on Cyrus, and he's desperate to get a confession from the alleged shooter. The problem is that the alleged shooter is insisting that he did not commit the crime.
With no confession signed, Olivia still has time to get the proof she needs on Cyrus. She gets Quinn and Charlie to steal evidence from the FBI's investigation, but Abby is one step ahead of her. She enlists Jake's help in getting the confession — no matter what it takes. It's not clear what exactly Jake does to the suspect, but he gets the confession. The alleged shooter is left shaking ... with wet pants.
Meanwhile, Fitz gets Mellie and Cyrus in the same room to figure out a way to work together. Mellie's not interested. She accuses Cyrus of killing Frankie and asks how he's going to take her out. Cyrus doesn't lose his cool, though. Instead, he offers her the position of vice president under a unity ticket.
Sounds like a good deal, right? Not to Mellie. She fires back at Cyrus that he didn't earn the presidency, and he's certainly not qualified for it. She refuses to back down from something she worked so hard for. But Cyrus makes one more plea. "Look at me," Cyrus tells Mellie. "I had nothing to do with Frankie's death. Absolutely nothing."
It sure looks like Cyrus is destroyed by Frankie's death. But then again, Scandal fans know that he's capable of anything. He tries to tell Mellie that Olivia is playing her.
"I'm not the bad guy here, Mellie," he continues. "Not this time at least. This time, she is."
Is Olivia the bad guy? When it comes to Frankie she's innocent, but it turns out that she did have a hand in breaking up Mellie and Marcus. Another flashback reveals that Olivia found out about Mellie's affair with Marcus. Mellie was absolutely glowing (the sex was so good that she wept during it) and finally happy. But Mellie's relationship with Marcus put her chances for the White House in jeopardy — and Olivia wasn't willing to risk it. She got Abby to hire Marcus as White House press secretary, sabotaging his future with Mellie.
In present day, Marcus is the first person Mellie calls. Knowing she can't tell Olivia about Cyrus' offer, she asks for Marcus' advice — and he tells her that one of the perks of being VP is that you get more freedom in your personal life.
"You said no one ever chooses you," he says. "I did choose you."
That definitely rattles Mellie, but she doesn't make her decision regarding Cyrus' offer until Abby pays her a visit. In order to get Mellie to close the deal for VP, Abby reveals that it was Olivia who asked her to give Marcus the press secretary job.
Mellie immediately confronts Olivia at her apartment, and things turn ugly.
"You can't be the one person that destroys every relationship I have," Mellie yells.
But Olivia has a good argument. Mellie asked her to make her president of the United States, and that's what she was trying to do. She tells Mellie that her relationship with Marcus would have killed her poll numbers, and that she made the choice for her.
"There are sacrifices," says Olivia. "Marcus was one of them."
Unfortunately for Olivia, that choice seems to have cost her the White House. Mellie storms off and tells Olivia that she's done with her. She heads to the White House to speak to Fitz about accepting the position as VP. But as Mellie waits for her ex-husband, she realizes the Oval Office is really what she wants. She leaves before signing any papers and returns to Olivia's apartment. The two are back in business, and the good news is that Huck may have found proof that Cyrus killed Frankie.
Olivia brings Fitz footage of a tense conversation between Cyrus and Frankie. Frankie can be seen telling his running mate that his first order of business as president of the United States will be putting him behind bars.
It looks like Mellie still has a chance.