Once more we’re outside Olivia’s front door, although this time we get to see what happens: predictably, new squeeze Curtis Pryce, faced with the possibility of polite conversation with Fitz, makes a swift exit. But what does Fitz want? Well, he’s discovered that over 200 African American girls are missing, no-one seems to care about them, and he’d like Olivia’s help to find out what’s going on. Olivia suggests, rather snippily, it’s one for QPA rather than her. In fact, I had some difficulty in working out why Liv was so tetchy: last time we saw her and Fitz, were they not making out on the White House lawn in full view of the whole of Planet Earth? Anyway, QPA pick it up, find a poster girl for the cause – missing teenager Zoe Adams – and get the girls’s mother to go public. This is all something of a ruse by Fitz, with Rowan’s help, to remind Olivia of “who she is” and separate her from B-613, but since Olivia is de facto the most powerful woman – perhaps person – in the world it might be that she doesn’t need saving, exactly.
Meantime Mellie is trying not to fling her tongue down the throat of Bashran’s President Rashad, while working on a nuclear treaty between him and President Nazari of Dakal. “Anything else you need?” she enquires coquettishly of Rashad at the end of one meeting. Olivia, needless to say, can sniff this sort of thing out from a mile off, and tries to keep the boss’s mind on the job. And it’s quite a job: Nazari won’t sign the treaty, and Rashad’s been deposed in a coup; the latter, per Papa Pope, being something that Olivia could have prevented had she been concentrating on B-613 rather than Fitz. “Are you Command”, thunders Rowan, “or are you someone’s girl? You can’t be both”.
By comparison to all of that, the developing relationship between Cyrus and Fenton Glackland (“Fentsie”) feels almost quaint: they play a virtual reality game; they hang out; Cyrus decides that he can keep the Cézanne Fenton gave him if he pays $20 for it. I’m not sure the ethics of that would survive the most cursory scrutiny, but given what Cyrus has done in the past it’s endearingly harmless. All of which gives VPOTUS and POTUS a reason to bond over their love lives: Mellie breathlessly confides that Rashad makes her go “all twitchy inside”, and Cyrus worries that Fenton is “beneath” him. It’ll be interesting to see if the show follows the Cyrus/Fenton relationship through: a romance between two middle-aged men, neither (and I say this with no disrespect to either actor) of whom have conventional movie-star good looks, would actually be quietly radical on a network show.
Anyway. Missing Girl #1 is found alive, with no word (unless I missed it) of where she’s been, whether she’s connected to the other missing girls, and which of the show’s Big Bads (I assume) is behind it. I guess we’ll come back to that. Mellie and Olivia argue about whether to send troops into Bashran to help out Mellie’s crush. Olivia and Fitz kiss, because of course they do. And the final scenes are soundtracked by TLC’s sublime ‘Waterfalls’, nicely rounding off an entertaining if preposterous episode.