TV ReviewsScandal Season 7 Episode 2: Pressing the Flesh Review

Dylan PhillipsOctober 13, 2017

If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.

Synopsis: Mellie hosts a state dinner for President Rashad in a step toward peace in the Middle East, and Olivia secretly puts Jake to work so that they have a backup plan. Meanwhile, Quinn’s team attend the party in an attempt to gain more high-profile clientele. (TVGuide)

Writers: Matt Byrne

Director: Tony Goldwyn

Rating: PG

Running Time: 43 mins

“Pressing the Flesh” starts off with Olivia being Olivia. She’s in a five-star hotel room with Curtis, because when Olivia wants something she gets it. Curtis wants to go out publicly with Olivia, but she’s busy with planning a state dinner. No big deal, just meeting with the president of Bashran to discuss giving up his nuclear arms program. While Olivia is planning this decisive evening, Cyrus comes to her and questions his place in it. Apparently he’s been conveniently sat beside another gay man and big donor to their campaign, Fenton Glackland (Dean Norris), as a way to woo him.

Meanwhile, QPA is trying to find their way to the same dinner to try and drum up some fancy, scandalous clients. Abby decides to talk David into taking her and then adds on the rest of the team which everyone is excited for, but Huck of course. Why is Huck in fish out of water situations so amusing?

Mellie has a discussion with President Rashad about his nukes, but he fires back and tells her she’s trying to overthrow him and that maybe the world would be safer if the United States gave up their weapons. That got nowhere. A frustrated and distraught Mellie rants at Olivia about how lonely her job is, including the fact that she is a powerful woman with a “beautiful vagina that’s treated like a murder house.” That line, my god. And Mellie is a strong, independent, beautiful woman who don’t need no man, you know unless it’s for… other things. 

And yet even after the rant, the two new besties laugh at the ridiculousness and figure out where to go from there. Well Olivia already has an idea. She goes to a secret room in the White House where she’s set up the new B613 headquarters. She instructs Jake to find dirty on Rashad in case he doesn’t sign their treaty.

Everything seems to go wrong at the state dinner as Olivia runs into QPA and Curtis. Mellie alludes to some dirt they found about Rashad meeting with a woman to which he replies if he signs the treaty he will be exiled or killed. However, Olivia digs deeper and learns the woman isn’t a prostitute, but the president’s niece who he sent off to America to get a good education. Something his supporters may not take kindly to. She threatens to expose Rashad’s secret, but he scoffs saying he’s heard of her. The devil.

Meanwhile Cyrus is attempting to woo Fenton, who is really getting on his nerves. Fenton continues to talk about how much wealth he has, how he can buy his way into a governor position or even the White House (after sitting down in the president’s chair in front of Cyrus). Wrong move buddy. Of course Cyrus explodes at him and tells him that he would never be president even in his wildest dreams.

Now we’ve had a lot of drama so far at this state dinner, but what is one without someone’s life being threatened? Turns out Huck noticed something off about one of the military personnel attending the event and he’s right. The guy is not part of any military database. Cue the guy bringing the President Rashad to a secluded area to kill him, explaining how he is a Bashrani man that is against how his country is being governed and wants to solve that issue. Right when he’s about to pull the trigger the secret service barge in and tackle the hitman to the ground.

With his newfound perspective and nowhere else to turn, Rashad sits down with Mellie to discuss a nuclear arms treaty on one condition: she brings his country’s enemy to the talks as well. They grab some drinks and have a moment, where he talks about how he admires her strength and can’t wait to work with her in the future. Get it Mellie, you so lonely.

And then we jump back to the rest of the characters and their moments. David and Abby discuss whether or not they are meant to be together. Charlie and Quinn discuss the future and that they want to get married now. Cyrus is gifted a very expensive painting by the financier as an apology. And then there’s Olivia.

The episode ends with Olivia confronting Curtis about his attendance at the state dinner. She decides to give him inside info on the treaty, but in exchange for, well you know. As they make out on the elevator ride back up to Olivia’s apartment the door opens and Fitz is waiting there. Fitz, where the hell have you been. We missed you.


  • Where has Fitz been?
  • What’s the deal between Mellie and Rashad?
  • Is there more to the story between Cyrus and his rich new friend?
  • Will all the relationships we’ve seen over the years be rekindled in this final season?

Overall, this was alright episode. It has great monologues as always, but with less shock-and-awe moments the story drags as it acts more as an introduction to a few season arcs rather than as a strong self-contained episode. Hopefully this expository episode is the last one as this season ramps into high gear for its final lap.

Score: 7/10

What did you think of “Pressing the Flesh”? Let me know in the comments below!

If you liked this, check out my other reviews here as well as my channel and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook.


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