"The Candidate"
5x11 - Olivia 1
Season Five
Season 05, Episode 11
Episode Information
Air Date: February 18, 2016
Viewers: 6.09 million
Written by: Alison Schapker
Directed by: Allison Liddi-Brown
Character Information
Relationship Stories:
Episode Chronology
Previous Episode: "It's Hard Out Here for a General"
Next Episode: "Wild Card"

The Candidate is the eleventh episode of the fifth season of Scandal, and is the eightieth overall.


Mellie seeks out Olivia’s help but may not be prepared for what entails and Liz tries to convince Susan Ross to run for the presidency. Meanwhile, Abby and Cyrus are at odds when a profile piece on Fir comes into questions.


Olivia advises Mellie to let the readers of her book into the deepest, darkest corners of her soul. She wants her to tell the world why she stayed with Fitz after she discovered he had taken up with a mistress. Was it for ambition or love? Olivia realizes that Mellie doesn’t know why she stayed with Fitz. That’s fine. Mellie realizes that Liv doesn’t know why she left. She later unleashes some venomous words about the true nature of each of their relationships with Fitz.

According to the polls, the people seem to think that Susan Ross would make a fine presidential candidate. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, the current vice president doesn’t share the sentiment. She wants David to convince Susan to run. After all, the veep is in love with him. So, David asks Susan out on a date. After much debate, they head on over to Gettysburger. Susan orders the Double Lincoln. David assures her that she can get both the Freedom Fries and the Union Rings. After all, “freedom” and “union” go together.

After a solid 5-stars & stripes meal, David lets Susan know that he thinks she should run for president. The veep details all the reasons why she shouldn’t. Many of her declarations are extremely self-deprecating. David can’t listen to this any longer. He shuts her up by planting a kiss. David lets Susan know that she is worthy of the presidency, and she can win. They make out some more in their cozy little Gettysburger booth. A short time later, Susan files papers to run for president. Elizabeth rewards David for a job well done.

Marcus finally breaks down the wall Huck has put up between them. He encourages him to go see his son. In other news, Jake shows up at Olivia’s door. No words are spoken. Olivia simply undresses and heads into the bedroom. Jake does the same. A short time later, Jake gets dressed to leave. Olivia declares that what they just did is not going to happen again. Jake assures her that it will.

A somewhat hammered Mellie shows up at Olivia’s to declare that she stayed with Fitz because it was working. She takes a swig of hooch before explaining what she means. She claims that she deserved Olivia coming into her life, but then she turned a corner thanks to the space she was given. Mellie started liking herself again because she was alone and free. The three of them made it all the way to the White House. Of course, that’s nothing she can ever write about if she ever wants to be president.

Mellie lets Olivia know that she was a great mistress. That’s probably because she’s such an overachiever. Both ladies are pretty drunk at this point. This explains the hysterical laughs they share over some more hooch. Olivia admits that she was happy that Mellie stuck around because it always gave her an out. She left for the same reason Mellie stayed. It’s because she was scared. Olivia knows that’s what Mellie needs to write. Her realization that she had power on her own is the theme of the excerpts they intentionally leak online.

Cyrus is against the president doing an interview with ambitious journalist Lillian Forrester (guest star Annabeth Gish). He wants to make the most of what little time they have left in the White House. Cy’s impassioned speech has little effect on Fitz. It leaves him feeling devastated. Cyrus later sees Mellie at a bar. He leaves abruptly after Mellie’s declaration that they both made a president.

Cyrus tells Fitz that his cousin just died. He has to go. Now. Later, Lillian begins her interview with Fitz. Then she stops it. She admits she has an enormous crush on him. So Fitz asks Lillian out on a date. He’s no Andrew Shepherd when he does this, but he gets the job done. As for Cyrus, the place he had to go to is Pennsylvania. He observes the governor of the state win over a hostile crowd at a town hall meeting. The guy is good. Perhaps even good enough to be President of the United States?


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Long Speeches & Rants

"Fitz didn't have any fight in him. He didn't know how to stand on his own two feet. I mean, I saw the potential. We all saw it. But I had to work at it. I held his hand, I bluffed, I bled, and I got nothing in return. Except for you. You showed up. I wasn't devastated, Olivia, or numb, or empty. I was deserving. I deserved you. I was a 37-year-old governor's wife with two kids, and that was all. I was somebody's wife and somebody's mother. Not my own anything. I deserved you. I warranted you. I justified you. I had lost myself, and in return, I got you. You are my retribution. And it was humiliating. I couldn't even hate you. I couldn't even pretend to. I hated myself."  

 Mellie Grant to Olivia Pope

"I stayed because it was working. I stood by and I allowed the affair to continue, because it was working for all of us. He was occupied, thanks to you. He was happy. You lit his fire. We made it all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And one day, it was gonna be my turn. Fitz would make me President of the United States, because he owed me at least that much. And so I stayed. Because the three of us, ugh. We worked!"  

 Mellie Grant to Olivia Pope


Promotional Photos

→ See and enjoy 40 pictures from The Candidate at Images from The Candidate.

Behind the Scenes


Promotional Videos

Scandal 5x11 Promo "The Candidate" (HD)

Scandal 5x11 Promo "The Candidate" (HD)

Sneak Peeks

Episode Clips

Olivia Tells Mellie Why She Left Fitz - Scandal

Olivia Tells Mellie Why She Left Fitz - Scandal