"Scandal" fans have been awaiting (or dreading) "Girls" creator and actress Lena Dunham's guest appearance on the show since it was first announced a few months ago. The specifics were kept closely guarded, but most viewers were sure about one thing: Shonda Rhimes and Co. were going to go all in.
They teased it as a role that was completely different than anything else Dunham has done, which made me sigh with relief. Maybe it's because we're both 20-something writers living in overpriced cities, but I hate Dunham's character Hannah Horvath with an irrational passion. I can't even watch "Girls" for Jessa's outlandish behavior or Shoshanna's charm anymore and I routinely have to remind myself that Dunham is not, in fact, Hannah.
That being said...I kind of hated Dunham's "Scandal" character as well. She played a young woman named Sue who had written a tell-all about her sexual exploits with some of D.C.'s elite. Leo Bergen had received a copy of her book proposal from one of his friends in publishing who thought he would get a kick out of it. But as it turns out, Leo is actually one of the former lovers mentioned in the book.
Leo tells Abby and, naturally, she is furious. He tries to laugh it off and tell her that he learned some of his sexiest tricks from Sue, but Abby is not in a laughing mood. She's the White House press secretary. If any of this gets out, it will blow back on her and ruin her career.
Abby chews Leo out for being an idiot and marches off to seek Olivia's help.
Olivia tracks Sue down to convince her not to go through with the book, and Sue is practically giddy about it. Apparently, she's a big fan of Olivia's. She isn't worried that the press will figure out the true identities of the men in her book because she gave them code names but, as Olivia points out, the press will have no trouble deciphering those. (Many of their nicknames come from their favorite sex acts. Whatever you do, do not Google Leo Bergen's nickname. Trust me on this.)
Liv asks her if she wants to ruin the lives, careers and families of men with whom she had consensual sex, and Sue insists it was never her intention to hurt any of them. Smelling blood in the water, Olivia tells Sue to call the publisher, pull the book proposal and delete all of her files. If she refuses to do so, Olivia promises to ruin Sue's life. Naturally, Sue is dumbfounded and Liv tells Abby that Sue is just "a kid who got in over her head." Oh, if it were only that simple.
Sue mulls it over and decides that she will delete the book in exchange for $3 million from Liv's client. She figures it was one of the men in her books and thinks it must be one of her deep-pocketed former lovers because "Olivia Pope don't come cheap." (I rolled my eyes so hard at that line, I was afraid they would get stuck that way.)
Olivia tried to talk Sue out of it, warning her that the backlash from this book will be swift and full of slut-shaming. That's when Sue lets her have it. She's disappointed because the Great Olivia Pope, one of Washington's most powerful women, would play that card with her. "When did you become so weak?" she asks Olivia, before launching into her speech about Olivia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg's power being like a contact high for other women in Washington. She tells Olivia that she is "disappointed" by her behavior which...UGH. It was out of character for Olivia to resort to slut-shaming so quickly, if at all, and once again, all I could hear was Hannah, Hannah, Hannah.
Oh, and about the wig that the hair and makeup department of "Scandal" gave Dunham. There are no words. It was like...mousy brown straw with too-short bangs. It managed to look greasy and dry AT THE SAME TIME. If I were Liv, my only reaction would have been "You have to learn how to properly deep condition your hair before you can check me, sweetheart."
Things were pretty dull over at the White House during this episode. Mellie is still trying to launch her official political career and plans to run for the senate in Virginia. She asks Abby about hiring Leo to be her campaign manager, and Abby hesitates because Leo is in the middle of his own personal sex scandal.
The folks at OPA are working hard to get a copy of Sue's book. They've tried hacking into her computer, but they figure out that she typed the entire thing on a typewriter to avoid hackers, which deeply impresses Huck. They decide to break into her apartment and get her to leave it by having Creepy Charlie pose as another BDSM enthusiast and take her on a date. They set it all up by creating a fake page for him on Sue's favorite dating site, Land of Kink.
Meanwhile, Fitz has hired Jake (who has had a disturbingly small amount of scenes since the show returned from winter break. MORE JAKE, PLEASE.) to spy on Olivia because Fitz was born a creep and that's all he knows how to be. Jake agrees to do it, but warns Fitz that his services do not come cheap. There's no way this is going to backfire on them. No way at all.
Liv, Huck and Quinn set about decoding all of Sue's nicknames. There are senators, ambassadors, Supreme Court justices, directors of major departments and...Attorney General David Rosen. Abby is the one who figures that one out and naturally, she's more than a little freaked out. TWO of the high profile men she's dated are featured in this book. This is not good news.
OPA rounds up all of Sue's boos to crowdsource the $3 million. Leo is all for paying Sue off, but David refuses to give into extortion and convinces the other men to refuse to pay. One major problem with all this: if David's career is ruined by Sue's book, it will ruin his Project B613 plans with Huck and Jake. Huck is especially concerned about that because he needs to expose B613 in order to get his family back and he needs David to grant him immunity for the crimes he committed while working for Rowan.
Abby's world is also in the middle of crumbling. With both her ex and current boyfriend mentioned in Sue's book, she decides to resign from the White House rather than let her personal life negatively impact Fitz's administration. Leo insists that there will be a little bit of buzz about the book, but it will die down. Abby incredulously reminds him that she is a woman and therefore, will be judged much more harshly by the press. The press reports on her hair and weight and makeup, but their favorite topic, by far, is her dating life. "They cannot imagine that my life does not revolve around you," says Abby. The fact that she dated two of the men in the book will make her a laughingstock and ruin everything that she'd built for herself.
Feeling frisky after reading Sue's book, Olivia decides to hit the town and picks up a beautiful man named Russell (Brian White). They make plans to head back to her apartment, but there's just one problem: when she goes to the restaurant bathroom to "freshen up," she has a panic attack. When are you going to go get yourself some therapy, Liv?
The next day, Huck comes into work with a break in the Sue case. Apparently, her real issue is that her old boss at the EPA found out about her sex life and tried force her to have sex with him. She reported it to human resources and was fired two weeks later. Her old boss black balled her. Liv hires a lawyer for her, sets up a couple of job interviews for her and they plan to take her old boss down.
Turns out, Cyrus was a little more interested in Abby's story than he let on. He comes to Olivia with the $3 million for Sue. Initially, he pretends that he's doing it to help Abby but Olivia soon realizes that he wants the book for dirt on some of the men mentioned. "This town. It's heart," says Liv, in disgust.
Huck and Quinn head to Sue's apartment for some OPA business and find one of her former lovers there, threatening her with a knife. Huck allows him to leave and then takes up the knife himself, slitting Sue's neck. Quinn is furious, but Huck insists that he liked Sue but had to kill her because of David and his immunity. It's the first time I've seen Huck show remorse for killing someone, so that must stand for something.
Olivia wants to dive headfirst into the investigation, but Quinn gives her the copy of the book and tells her that it doesn't matter who killed Sue. Sue was not her client. Abby is her client. Getting justice for Sue would mean hurting Abby, who is family.
News of Sue's death leaves everyone reeling, but it also leads Olivia back to that restaurant in search of Russell. This time, they make it back to her apartment and...let's just say...she might get over Fitz and Jake, after all.