Cyrus and male prostitute/fiancé Michael had the White House wedding neither of them ever dreamed of in Scandal’s “Put A Ring On It.”

Scandal 4×17 Recap

For those who may have forgotten, Cyrus (Jeff Perry) was caught having an affair with male escort Michael (Matthew Del Negro), who, it turns out, was working as a spy for Lizzie North (Portia de Rossi), and agreed to enter into a marriage contract with Cyrus in order to save Cyrus’ job and reputation. In exchange for an agreed upon – and hefty – sum, Michael will marry Cyrus and publicly deny that their relationship was ever business. But, that fragile deal could come tumbling down when Michael is caught drunk at a bar, hooking up with another man.

The breaking news of Michael’s wild night out has Olivia (Kerry Washington), Abby (Darby Stanchfield), Quinn (Katie Lowes), Huck (Guillermo Díaz) and Cyrus up at four in the morning to begin working on a strategy. When Michael, still drunk, comes into Pope & Associates, it’s clear he’s unhappy with his arrangement with Cyrus. Cyrus doesn’t even look at him, and he feels like a prisoner in Cy’s home. Regardless of the animosity between Cyrus and his husband-to-be, Liv is convinced they need to go through with the wedding – and they need to do it fast.

Quinn and Huck pay off the bartender a the bar Michael partied at to tell the press that Michael was just having a little too much fun at his bachelor party, but that alone isn’t going to be enough to keep the press from digging into Michael. So, Liv comes up with a new plan: a White House wedding. In order to take the heat off Michael, they need to give legitimacy to the wedding, and a White House wedding would not only make the nuptials legitimate, it would also become a hot topic for the press. Cyrus refused to take the idea to Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), saying that he can’t ask the sitting Republican President to host a gay wedding at the White House just to save his reputation.

A White House Wedding

Instead of approaching Fitz, Liv goes directly to Mellie (Bellamy Young). She knows Mellie wants to run for Senator of Virginia and convinces her that hosting a gay wedding at the White House on her own would win her support with Virginia moderates and liberals. Not only that, but Mellie taking a different stance than her husband on the issue of gay marriage would allow her to separate herself from him politically, making her a politician in her own right. Mellie needs some convincing, so Liv gets a reporter to ask Mellie about the wedding during a press conference and, just like that, the First Lady is on board with the wedding.

Lizzie North is less than thrilled with the new development. She thought that, as Mellie’s campaign manager, she would have more control, but when she takes the issue to Mellie, Mellie shuts her down and gives her a job to do. Michael’s estranged parents haven’t responded to any wedding invite, and she tasks Lizzie with getting them to attend.

With all the press scandals surrounding the wedding, Abby, Liv, Mellie and Lizzie set up a war room in the White House to plan the wedding, something Abby lets slip to Leo (Paul Adelstein) as she’s running out the door. Later that day, she gets a rude awakening when Sally Langston (Kate Burton) appears on her new conservative talk show and raises doubts about the legitimacy of Cyrus’ wedding. Sally tells her 4 million viewers that she heard from a White House source that there has been a war room set up to deal with Michael and Cyrus’ sham wedding, and she’s willing to put her money where her mouth is. She offers a monetary reward for any information proving Cyrus and Michael’s wedding is a press move.

Sally’s inside scoop seems too accurate to come from a low level source, and Abby realizes that Leo must be Sally’s source. She is furious, she thought they had a “separation of church and state” rule, but he broke it by going to Sally. Leo replies that Abby was the one who broke the rule first by telling him anything, and she can’t say she wouldn’t do the same if the roles were reversed. Fueled by Leo’s confession, when he leaves the room in anger, she grabs his cell phone and listens to his voicemails.

Sally, it turns out, has booked a special guest for Sunday’s episode: Michael’s secret boyfriend, Peter, with whom he’s been having an affair for the past few months. Cyrus and Mellie are ready to call the whole thing off, but Liv refuses to give up. In a final effort to get Sally to back off, Liv goes to the President and gets him to sign off on a deal that would make Sally Secretary of State in exchange for her silence. Unfortunately, Sally refuses to take the deal. She doesn’t have political ambitions anymore, she has a talk show where she can speak directly to her people, and that’s all she wants now.

Liv delivers the bad news to Cyrus and tells him they have one final option if he really wants to save his career. If Michael’s affair does become public knowledge, they can play the jilted lover card. She can spin it so it looks like Cyrus is just another man who had his heart broken, but she doesn’t particularly want to. Michael, for all his faults, is at his core a good guy, and if they do this, the press will chew him up and spit him out. Cyrus, still furious at the situation in the first place, says he doesn’t care. And, as an added bonus, he’s having dinner with Michael and Michael’s parents, which could set him up to be the picture of heartbroken when the wedding falls apart.

Practically giddy with the idea of ruining Michael’s life, Cyrus goes off to dinner with his fiancé’s parents. Michael’s mother and father make it clear they don’t support Michael’s sexuality. No, they aren’t there to support him, they’re there because Lizzie North said that if they showed up and smiled, she would pay them a small fortune. After seeing Michael’s face at the dinner, Cyrus has a change of heart and decides he doesn’t want to throw him under the bus to save his own reputation.

Liv and the team come up with one final Hail Mary to get Sally to back off of her interview with Michael’s lover. Liv goes to visit Sally and tells her that her dead husband, who was in the closet throughout their marriage, appeared frequently on Michael’s client list from when he was working as a male escort. If she goes ahead with the interview, that information becomes public knowledge and the entire world will know her dirty secrets. Sally cancels the interview, and the wedding goes off without a hitch.

Before the wedding, Cyrus goes to see Michael and tells him that, while he can’t promise that they will ever fall in love and have the fairytale life together, he can promise to be there for him and support him and care. He won’t toss Michael aside anymore.

Cyrus’ History of Marriage

The episode was full of flashbacks to Cyrus’ two previous marriages – his first to a sweet religious woman, and his second to James (RIP). As Cyrus looks back on his marriages, we learn that he married a woman, Janet (Emily Bergl), back when he was first getting into politics and was trying to convince himself that he wasn’t gay. He didn’t want to be killed politically, and he actually seemed to love his wife. Janet was a Catholic who saved herself for marriage and announced to Cyrus when he proposed that she didn’t believe in divorce. But, some years down the line, she changed her tune. She’s lonely and she wants a divorce and she wants him to come out.

Cyrus’ marriage to James (Dan Bucatinsky), of course, was completely different. James was the love of his life, and Cyrus promised him on their wedding day that he would never use James’ profession as a journalist to his political advantage. Of course, all Scandal fans know that Cyrus didn’t really keep up his end of the deal, and the two were on the brink of a breakup when James was murdered.

Hope For Olitz

Finally, the episode also featured a glimmer of hope for Olitz fans. Liv, still suffering from post traumatic stress at her kidnapping, is having trouble sleeping and one vision keeps popping up in her head: her throwing her ring at Fitz when she returned. In the middle of the night, she runs around her house searching for it. It turns out the ring was a family heirloom passed down to Fitz by his grandmother.

Fitz was supposed to give it to his wife, but he never did. In a flashback to Cyrus’ wedding day, we see Fitz give the ring to Liv. He wants her to wear it, even if they aren’t together, just so that he knows they are connected. And she had worn it consistently from that day on, until she threw it in his face. At the White House wedding, Liv puts the ring back on.

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 pm on ABC.