The good guys/gals and bad guys/gals continue to draw battle lines, as the ultimate struggle for power winds down in Scandaland. The blood sport continues this week, with some genuinely surprising moments and the return of a favorite old character who’s largely been missing lately.
The march toward the conclusion continues…
Like old times…again. We open with a brief scene in Fitz’s bedroom, as Liv gets dressed while he lounges in bed. It’s something we’ve seen many times over the run of this show, with the one dressing and the one still in bed savoring the afterglow changing back and forth, but basically the same scene. This time they’re discussing Mel and the grilling she faces today by special prosecutor Lonnie. Liv says she knows Fitz isn’t just concerned about Mel’s welfare because he still cares about her, but because his own legacy is tied up with hers, whether he likes it or not. He agrees. There’s lots of legacy talk this week, which I suppose should be expected with the show coming to a close.
Long tall Sally. Welcome back, Sally Langston! She’s been MIA for virtually the entire season but is seen on the set of her show The Liberty Report. She’s being a supreme beeotch to everyone around her as she prepares to go on the air. Never change, Sally. Once the camera is on, she’s all over the President Grant story, about how Mellie will be questioned about her role in the plane hacking and what it means for democracy. The scene is brief, but have no fear, lovers of liberty. There’s more Sally on the way later!
Ambush. Mel is being advised by her lawyer, Helena, as she prepares to be questioned. She’s frustrated because Helena is telling her all about asserting her Fifth Amendment rights. Mel says she’s innocent, and as such has no reason to be briefed about this. Liv agrees, saying that if Mel clams up and takes the Fifth, it will look to everyone like she has something to hide. Liv advises Mel to just tell the truth. That’s her best defense.
Their powwow completed, the three women head for the deposition room. There’s some badass slow-motion as Mel, Liv and Helena swagger down the hall. They stride by Cy, who isn’t impressed with their collective badassedness, and snarks at Mel as she passes. I wouldn’t be so smug, Cy. It’s almost over, so you’re probably going down, and not in a good way, sooner rather than later. Doesn’t he know it’s the next-to-last episode? Maybe nobody told him.
What awaits Mel in her questioning is hinted at as Marcus runs into an old friend. When he finds out she’s now on the intel committee, he asks if she can give him any inside info. She just tells him to be glad that he’s not working in the White House anymore. Marcus takes this as a tip-off that the stuff is about to hit the fan, and takes off in a sprint to see Fitz. When he breathlessly reaches Fitz’s office, Marcus tells him that Mel is being set up. He’s not sure what it is, but a bombshell is about to be dropped.
Mel is sitting face to face with Lonnie the guilty scumbag, who’s the special prosecutor in this case. He wastes no time getting to the point and asks Mel why she fired Liv. Mel says she wasn’t fired, she resigned over disagreements the two of them were having at the time. Lonnie asks if those disagreements had anything to do with Liv plotting the Rashad assassination. Mel looks taken aback and says she knows nothing about that. But Lonnie came prepared. He shows Mel video, taken with that overhead Oval Office camera, in which she and Liv have a discussion where the Rashad matter is referenced. Bombshell, dropped. Fitz called Liv just before the detonation to try to warn her she was about to be attacked, but she let it go to voicemail.
Now Mel’s look has turned to one of distress. Lonnie says Cy found out about the assassination plot and was going to talk, so Mel tried to get him killed to keep him quiet. Mel pauses for a moment, confers with Helena, then reluctantly says that she takes the Fifth. As they’re getting up from the table, Lonnie takes a subpoena from his pocket and hands it to Liv. He wants to talk to her tomorrow.
Jake the snake. While Liv, Mel, Fitz, Marcus and David are in the Oval talking over what to do next, Lonnie and Cy meet down in their bunker of evil. Though he looked very confident facing Mel, Lonnie looks anything but at the moment. He tells Cy how nervous he is about what they’re doing. Plotting against a sitting president like this, he knows he’s committing treason, and has no illusions about that. Cy tries to tell him how what he’s doing is for his country and for his son, yadda yadda yadda, and even Lonnie knows that’s trite. The thing he’s most concerned about at this point is having gotten in so deep with someone as shadowy as Jake. Who exactly is he, anyway? Lonnie did some poking around and says he couldn’t find any evidence that Jake Ballard even existed before joining the navy. How did someone with no past get as far as he did? Cy looks vaguely intrigued by the question.
Long tall Sally, part II. At QPA, Quinn and Huck are talking about the Liv facing questioning situation, when Sally walks in. She wants to know if the former employees of Liv’s have any information they might want to give her about the whole thing. Quinn tells her to leave. Since sweet talk, Langston style, didn’t work, Sally changes tactics and straight up offers cash. It will sure help Quinn, she says, who’s going to need to hire a good lawyer for Charlie. Somehow I doubt altruism is playing much of a part in this for Sally. And hasn’t she been around long enough to know better than to buy a source? It seems naive and out of character for her.
Creepy, jilted Jake. As Liv walks into her apartment, she senses someone there and calls out Jake’s name before turning on the lights. Of course, it’s him, sitting and waiting creepily in the dark. How many times over the run of this show have we seen this exact scenario? So, submitted for your approval, Jake breaks into Liv’s apartment and sits alone in the dark and silence waiting for her to get home, one last time.
It’s not silent for long. Jake gets up and offers Liv a glass vial full of sand. He says it’s from ‘their island’, the one they ran away to, the one where he thought they were going to live together forever. He’s kept this sand all this time, and now he wants her to have it. Liv, of course, says tiredly she doesn’t want it. He says standing in the sun with her on the island was the only happy time of his life. But it didn’t last. She came back to DC to make a president, and now, he says, he has a president of his own to make, and she won’t be getting in his way. He tells her that when Lonnie asks about the Rashad assassination tomorrow, she’s going to say she organized it at Mel’s request. She’s going to admit her own guilt and implicate Mel, and when Cy becomes president, he’ll pardon her. Liv objects, telling Jake he’s not like this and doesn’t have to do it, but he says this is the way it’s going to go. Then he basically says she only has herself to blame, because she drove him to this by dumping him. He says something about how a dog will turn on you if you keep starving it, which I interpreted to mean that if she hadn’t always chosen Fitz over him, he wouldn’t be so unreasonable right now. So it looks like this really is him whining because he’s always everyone’s second choice? That’s what it’s really all about for him? Butthurt Jake hands Liv the vial and leaves.
When Liv talks things over with the Gladiators, they discover a problem. Any way they can think of to expose Jake and try to stop him involves one or all of them. Anything they can charge Jake or Cy with can be traced back to Liv or Fitz or Mel or OPA or QPA, or some combination thereof. If they take Jake and Cy down, then the dominoes start to fall. Quite a conundrum.
Chatty Liv. The time has come for Liv to be questioned. Jake, who seems to be in on everything these days, is watching covertly in the B613 lair. Like he did with Mel, Lonnie gets right to the point, immediately asking Liv if Mel ordered her to have Rashad killed. Liv at first tries to evade, saying the question carries the presumption of Rashad having been deliberately killed, which hasn’t been proven. But Lonnie ain’t playing word games. He says Liv can answer the question or, like Mel, take the Fifth. Liv pauses then says Rashad was assassinated, but the order wasn’t given by Mel. It was given by Liv herself, acting as Command of B613! Huh?? Wow, ‘outing’ B613. I didn’t see that coming! Neither did Jake, who bolts up from his chair. But Liv isn’t close to being done. She says B613 is a secret spy organization, currently being run by Jake Ballard, in an old pool room in the White House. Then she spills all the deets on this now not-so-secret enterprise.
Lonnie is shocked. A secret CIA is being run by the White House? No, says Liv, it’s the other way around. B613 controls the White House. Lonnie looks both panicky and clueless and calls for a break. He can’t get out of his chair quick enough and heads straight for that old pool room. Jake is already standing outside. Lonnie tells him to step aside, which he does. Knowing this show, I thought the room might already be empty, but I guess Jake clearing the lair of all that B613 equipment in, like, 30 seconds, is too much to ask even us jaded Scandal fans to believe. So Lonnie walks in and sees all the incriminating stuff out in the open, and knows that what Liv just told him is true. Outside, Liv walks up to Jake, who asks what she thinks she’s doing. She answers, of course, “Standing in the sun.”
Secure that lair! So that leads Lonnie to take Jake back to the room to question him privately. Jake notes that the camera that filmed both Mel and Liv’s questioning isn’t on, and also that he was never subpoenaed. Lonnie concedes that this talk isn’t exactly on the record, but he’s called the FBI, and they’re going to closely go over everything they find at B613. After that, there will be plenty of subpoenas to go around. So it looks like Lonnie, like a rank amateur, left B613 unguarded, choosing instead to take Jake with him and just call the FBI. As expected, when agents arrive at the lair a few minutes later, all traces of B613 are gone. The room is an empty cavern.
In the middle of threatening Jake and telling him how much trouble he’s in, Lonnie’s phone rings with the bad news. Jake knows exactly what’s going on, and reverts back to smugness immediately. He says it would be foolish to pursue this matter without any proof. He then tells Lonnie to make Liv’s testimony disappear and says he can help in that regard. He takes the card out of the camera.
Time for another white hat powwow. The White House and FGI gang gets together to discuss all that’s gone down. Fitz says Liv’s testimony has been buried. Mel is still freaking out that there was any testimony at all. What was Liv thinking, ‘outing’ B613 like that? It carries consequences for every one of them. Liv goes all truthiness again and says the truth is the only thing that will stop Jake and Cy. All the ugliness has to come out. The prospect of that still makes Mel nervous. It’s too dangerous, she says, and they have no way of controlling what it may lead to. Liv counters again that the only weapon they have is telling the truth, and it’s the only way they can end up as the heroes of this story.
So the crusading Liv meets with the Gladiators. They think the whole thing is suicide, but Liv doesn’t want to debate them. She says she needs their help get Lonnie to act. They have to convince him not to bury the existence of B613. Quinn says she thinks she knows a way.
Quinn goes back to the hungry Sally and says she has a dynamite exclusive for her, and tells her all about the suppressed testimony. Sally can be the one to blow the lid off B613. But Sally is hesitant; she wants to see some proof. Quinn says B613 is a secret agency, so its members aren’t exactly anxious to talk about it. Sally says if Quinn brings her some evidence, she’ll go with it.
Marcus gets a speech. Then there’s a scene that doesn’t move the plot forward but does give Marcus a chance to pontificate, which he doesn’t often get. Mel is stressing to him about her whole situation, and he gets real with her. He tells her that she chose to surround herself with sharks, so she shouldn’t be surprised when the going gets dangerous. Now she has to navigate it.
A little Pa/son bonding. Jake drops by Pa’s lab, where Pa has been shown fussing over his BONES. That seems to be what he does these days, but Pa is never really retired. He’s always been a playa and always will be. Jake says all this hasn’t been easy on anyone, but he’s doing what he’s doing for the right reasons. Liv is just an unfortunate casualty. Pa doesn’t seem upset. He just says okay then wonders why Jake doesn’t look very happy. He should feel great that he’s getting his way, but obviously something’s missing. Did Jake show up there because he needs approval from daddy? Will that make everything better? So Pa makes a big show of telling Jake how awesomely great he is. He tells Jake how proud he is of him and fusses over him like a spoiled child.
That’s when the head games really begin. Jake gets pissed at this display and says he’s Command now. Pa is just jealous because Jake has all the power that Pa used to have.
Pa laughs at that and says Jake has nothing. Those who have real power don’t talk endlessly about it and obsess over it, like Jake does. If he had any real power, Pa says, he wouldn’t have to say so. That makes Jake draw his gun. Pa doesn’t flinch and says he still has all the power. Jake and Liv may have followed him as Command, but they never took the power from him. Neither of them was ever really Command, in the full sense, like he was. Jake raises the gun and points it at Pa, saying he could kill him right now. Pa says he could, but he won’t. There’s a standoff as Jake points the gun directly at Pa’s head, and Pa just stares back. It’s certainly not unthinkable that Pa could get taken out in this situation in the penultimate episode, so there’s some tension. But Jake eventually takes the gun down and starts to walk away. Pa tells him he’ll be here when Jake falls. Jake says to just stay out of his way.
Fitz drops by Liv’s place. She says all they can do is wait and hope that the Gladiators can come up with enough to convince Sally to do the story. Then Fitz says they know how this story ends; with them, doing what’s right. More white hat stuff as the show sprints down the stretch. And another hint that Olitz is the end game, just like that scene with Mel and Marcus seemed to be hinting the same about Melcus.
Over a cliff. But the Gladiators are having not unexpected difficulty getting anyone to go on the record regarding B613. They’re starting to doubt they can accomplish the task, when Abby reminds them what this is all about: saving Liv. It’s obvious they’re all complicit in these crimes, but Liv has decided to step forward and be held accountable. That’s up to her, Abby says; what’s up to them is whether she does it alone. Huck says he has an idea.
The Gladiators meet with Liv and tell her they’ve had trouble getting anyone to talk about B613. But they do have proof through the testimony of witnesses: themselves. All of them have worked for, or in close proximity to, B613, and can testify as to its existence. Liv says she can’t let them do it. They say they know everything and are willing to talk to help her. They’re by her side, over a cliff, and all that. Liv knows it’s useless to argue and looks grateful.
Liv then goes to Mel and tells her all that’s happened. She and the Gladiators are ready to go forward, but it’s Mel’s decision. Liv says she can deny Mel knew anything about B613 or not. It’s up to her. Judging from her reaction, it looks like Mel is ready to follow Liv over a cliff, as well.
Long tall Sally, one last time. That’s proven in the next scene. Sally opens her show by saying she’s doing something highly unusual for her, she’s coming to the aid of President Grant. In the name of liberty! She talks about how for the past thirty years the government has been run by a secret spy organization, but now she’s exposing it. Watching in his office, Cy leaps from his chair, just like Jake did a few scenes ago, and it’s just as funny. Cy runs down the hall to Jake’s office, where he’s watching, as well. The two look grim and panicked as they listen.
Liv, Fitz, Mel and Marcus are also all watching together. When Sally is done stating her accusations, all four of their phones start to ring. Liv verbalizes the obvious by saying “Here we go…”
Here we go? But, we are going! As in, final episode of all time, ever, going. Anything being set to ‘go’ right now better get wrapped up quick, because next week is 07.18, “Over A Cliff”, the final episode of the series. Couldn’t find much of a written preview, but in the trailer at the end of this week’s ep, it looks like everyone will be testifying next week, with Fitz being questioned, along with all the Gladiators. How many skeletons will come dancing out of how many closets? Any careers going to be busted? Any lives lost?
There are far too many lose ends dangling out of this show for them all to be tied up in just one hour. It will be interesting to see what TPTB behind the scenes think is important enough to resolve and what is considered unworthy of resolution, and thus left to dangle, in perpetuity.
We’ll all find out next week. After 123 episodes, it all comes down to this. Over a cliff, indeed. Let’s keep going!