We’ve reached episode 04.09, “Where the Sun Don’t Shine.” Fasten your seatbelts, Scandal fans, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Case of the Week. Everything has come together for the mid-season finale.
Mommy dearest. At the end of last week’s episode, the plot hatched by Olivia, Fitz, and Jake to put B613 out of commission and take down Papa Pope didn’t go quite as planned. Pa got away unscathed again. This week, the B613 headquarters gets raided, and everything is gone…well, nearly everything. Someone forgot to check the hole, and that’s where the supposedly-dead Mama Pope is. Fitz told Liv he killed her, but he’d instead turned her over to Pa, who threw her underground.
Ma is questioned and wants to speak to Liv, but her daughter has no interest in helping her. When Fitz brings Olivia in, she flatly turns down Ma’s request for help by saying she should be charged with murder, conspiracy, and treason, for starters. Before she stalks out of the room, she tells Fitz, “As for my father, hunt him, find him, and kill him.”
When Liv visits again later to pump Ma for info on where Pa might be, Ma is in no mood to cooperate. She says Liv should stop this obsession she has with Pa, which she indulges with help from “the boys.” Yes, Ma is apparently as fond of using that word to describe the men in Liv’s life as Pa is. Pa may have ruined Liv’s life, but she gets no sympathy from Ma, who tells her to move on from the pity party. Liv even gets a crass “Cry me a river” from Ma when detailing Pa’s crimes against her.
Having gotten nowhere, Liv gets up and says a goodbye that sounds very final before leaving.
Target: Quinn. The dismantling of B613 has other consequences. Former agents are on a kill list, with Jake and Quinn right at the top. Jake meets up with a source one night, who gives Jake a surveillance video of the street where the snipers were shot outside the restaurant last week. As Jake’s leaving, he takes out an assassin, and on the body Jake finds a playing card with his picture
Back at OPA, Jake tells Quinn and Huck it’s a kill card. There’s one for each agent B613 wants rubbed out. It’s hard to believe an organization like B613 takes the time to make up cheesy playing cards with agents’ pictures. Why not just draw up a list?. Pa is tracking agents and killing them, since they’re loose ends. Quinn takes this info to Charlie, thinking he might be in danger. Charlie is touched she evidently cares whether he lives or dies, and though she resists at first, they eventually make out.
It leads to more, as later we see Charlie at Quinn’s place, obviously post-sex. His phone rings, and he calls from the bathroom for Quinn to shut it off. As she complies, she finds a kill card in his jeans pocket with her picture. She confronts Charlie, and they start fighting, which turns into an all-out rolling-on-the-floor brawl. As she begins to get the upper hand, Quinn says, “The worst part? You wanted to screw me before you did it!”
But there will be no killing at chez Quinn. Later, the bloodied, exhausted pair discusses the situation. Charlie says he wouldn’t have been able to bring himself to kill her, and she basically apologizes for never getting in touch after the end of their weird relationship last season. Then they kind of bond over his grandmother’s illness. Yes, they’re an unconventional couple, but they seem to come to their own weird understanding.
Quinn then brings up how Charlie ruined Huck’s life and it’s one thing she has a hard time dealing with, so Charlie makes a show of good faith. He’s the one who replaced the B613 files and kept some of them. He says he thinks he can help out Huck.
A storybook romance, Scandal style. Quinn informs Liv that she and Huck witnessed Liz and VP Andrew having an affair or possibly more. Liz stops by OPA. She’s miffed, because she got a second opinion on her wonky phone and found out it’s not the Goldilocks virus, which is what Liv said it was. She knows her phone was hacked by Cyrus, and Liv lied to her. She gives a not-so-subtle threat to leak all those photos she has of the Chief of Staff with a male prostitute and leaves.
It’s apparent Liz didn’t waste any time. Liv goes to Cy’s office and tells him something is about to go down. Abby then busts in with news of the photos. An emergency meeting is called in the Oval Office. Liv tells Fitz about everything, including Lizzie’s affair with Andrew. Fitz is loyal to Cy and wants to back him a hundred percent.
Oh, and did I mention that Mellie is there? She is and just found out that her side piece, Andrew, has his own side piece. As we’ve seen, Mellie has genuine feelings for Andrew and thought they were reciprocated. Though she does her best not to show it in a roomful of people, it’s obvious this news hits her pretty hard.
For damage control, Liv advises Cy and his boy toy, Mike, to get married. With an iron-clad pre-nup, of course. A story of unexpected true love will silence all the naysayers. Mikey agrees to the terms, but Cy can’t do it. He says it would be unfair to James, the love of his life. Cyrus has a very selective memory. He seems to forget that he at one point he’d put out a contract on his husband’s life and called it off only at the last minute. Cy also once used him as bait for a political rival, so all of this longing talk of his soul mate rings a bit hollow. Still, that’s his story and he’s sticking to it, so there will be no marriage to rent boy.
Seeing no way out, Cy goes to Fitz’s office to hand in his resignation. He recommends Fitz bury him in the press and get as much mileage out of it as he can. Fitz doesn’t accept at first but relents after Cy insists.
Cy also mentions that Fitz is about to fight against going to war with West Angola, which certain factions in the government want, and he wishes he could help in that fight.
Bitch baby gets a tongue lashing. A beaten-down Cy is more than Liv can stand. She drops by his house to find him packing. He thinks he’ll go to Europe and whines about how he was called a gay stereotype on the news. Then Liv does what she does best, which is to swing into full Olivia Pope-alpha mode. She does it by talking to him the way Cyrus would.
She asks him when he decided to let himself be ruined then aggressively berates him with things like “The Cyrus Beane I know doesn’t hide in his half-empty closet and wet his pants like a little bitch baby!” She calls him bitch baby a few more times, just for impact, then calls him out on his personal fortitude: “I want to know, right in this moment, who you are! Who are you, Cy?”
The bullying wakes him up. Next thing we know, the marriage is on. Cy and fiancé rent boy are making TV appearances acting all cuddly and cute. They talk about their beltway romance and plans for a big Washington wedding. Public sentiment seems to be on their side. Then we see Cy unpacking, not in Europe, but back in his office in the White House. Fitz stops by for advice about West Angola. They discuss it, and Fitz decides not to send in troops, despite pressure from Republicans.
Lizzie’s been busy. We found out last week that Lizzie and Andrew had formed some sort of personal and professional alliance. This includes trysts at a secret love nest in the city, a union Quinn deemed “gross.”
But they’re also meeting at the White House. Liz drops by Andrew’s office for a little making out. He asks if she’s heard from Kubiak, but she says she hasn’t. Then she recites a litany of her problems: Kubiak is still MIA, Olivia is on her ass, and the President still hasn’t declared war. But she puts that aside for some more making out. She might have a lot on her mind, but she’d rather bang than talk.
Later, Lizzie drops in on Mellie to get in a word in favor of violence. Liz is expecting a cordial chat, but Mellie is in no mood. Liz says she hears Mellie’s husband doesn’t want to go to war with West Angola, and she wonders why, since war is such a good idea. As she’s talking, Mellie looks so ready for a brawl, it’s almost hard not to take pity on Liz, knowing how Mel would likely take her apart in a street fight. And the FLOTUS is ready. She hits back immediately by saying Liz shouldn’t have come to her for support. They’re not on the same side just because they’re both screwing Andrew: “It just makes us both at risk for the same STDs.” Of course,” she says that with a sweet smile, “when it comes to screwing someone, I’m not nearly as gentle as Andrew. From me, it will hurt.”
Does anyone doubt her? Certainly not Lizzie, who looks appropriately nervous. She seems caught off guard by this side of Mellie, but we always knew it existed. Nice to see it again.
Bad boy Veep. Unbeknownst to Fitz, some of those who do want war are a lot closer to him than he thought. And they won’t take no for an answer.
Huck has traced the cell phones of Andrew, Lizzie, and Kubiak and found that they were all in the same place at the same time only once in the past six months. They were all at Jeremy’s law firm the night Caitlin was murdered. To track down some information, Quinn gets into the firm, using Jeremy’s finger to get past security (don’t ask). She finds a client code which leads to a company called WACO Inc. It stands for West Angola Commercial Organization.
It turns out, Jeremy’s firm manages WACO’s American assets, and a war would be profitable for them. Lizzie and Andrew are tied up in it, which is why Andrew has been encouraging Fitz to declare war on West Angola. The Veep stops by the Oval and expresses his disappointment overt Fitz not hitting back after the assassination attempt.
At the same time, Quinn has been analyzing video of that incident, and she sees Andrew subtly but clearly move to shield himself a second before the car bomb goes off. He obviously knew it was coming, which means the bombing wasn’t an act of terrorism. It was staged.
So the killing of Caitlin, the suicide of Jeremy, and the death of Kubiak are all tied up with WACO and Andrew and Lizzie. The only thing that doesn’t fit, according to Quinn, is all of those surveillance photos of Olivia.
Dad’s back. Papa Pope said at the end of last week’s episode that he was leaving. This was after killing a battalion of snipers and having the B613 files switched and ruining a perfectly nice dinner with his daughter. With undoubtedly expensive wine.
Afraid that she’s in danger, Jake wants Liv to carry a gun. She says she’s gone her whole career without one, but he talks her into taking it. Then he shows her how to hold it, and we get the obligatory shot of Jake with his arms around her, showing her the proper technique. He tells Liv they can still leave everything behind and go back to the island. She sets the gun, tells him that the sun isn’t coming back up, and asks him to teach her how to make a kill shot.
Jake is tracking Pa and thinks he’s traced him to a safe house in Virginia. But when Jake busts in, of course, the place is empty. Pa led him there because he wanted him to be far away when he talked to Liv.
For the umpteenth time, Pa is waiting in her apartment when she gets home. He has wine and a Stevie Wonder album to reminisce over, but he’s short on sentimentality. He makes that clear when he takes out a gun and tells her to sit. He puts the gun on the table and tells her how ungrateful she is, sending people to kill him after he’s sacrificed everything for her. He says, “There would be no Olivia Pope if not for me.” In typical Pope family dysfunction, she counters by calling him a “sick, lonely man.”
As he gets more agitated, Pa stands and starts pacing. The gun is still on the table. It seems too obvious a mistake for someone like Pa to make, but Liv goes for it, anyway. She snatches up the gun and points it at him. He doubts she can hurt him, but she surprises him by pulling the trigger. Of course, it was a test. The gun isn’t loaded, and Pa is fine, but now he knows his little girl would kill him if given the chance. Especially after Liv was in the kill-shot stance when aiming at him.
Then, for the second time in two episodes, Pa claims he’s going to disappear. He takes back his gun and heads for the door but leaves Liz with this: “No matter how hard you try to deny it, you will miss me when I’m gone.”
Hey, Pa, as the saying goes, how can we miss you if you won’t go away? Let’s see if Pa makes good on this latest threat to make himself scarce. And also, why didn’t Liv pull out the gun Jake gave her instead of taking the obvious bait of Pa’s gun? He’s way too seasoned a pro to make such an amateurish mistake, and Liv has to know that.
So Pa is gone for good. Again. He told her what an ungrateful little mess she is, mixed in a little you’re-just-like-me talk, found out she’s angry enough to kill him, then left. Just another day in the life of the Pope family.
Where in the world is Olivia Pope? But Pa’s tirade hasn’t got Liv feeling down. Quite the contrary, she’s taken stock of things and is doing rather well that night when Jake stops by. In typical Olivia fashion, she’s celebrating with a nice bottle of wine and has dinner ready for him. It’s take-out, but it’s the thought that counts. Jake tells her about how he’s been chasing Pa and almost had him, but Liv isn’t interested. She puts on Stevie Wonder and starts dancing then asks him to join her. It takes a little coaxing, but eventually he does.
After cutting loose for a while, Jake ruins the mood by telling Liv he loves her. She answers that she wants Vermont with Fitz, but she also wants the sun with him. So instead, she’s choosing neither. She’s choosing herself. Jake will have to be content with that place in her life, for now. As she states succinctly, “You can dance with me, or you can get off my dance floor.”
Jake decides to be a sport and have Liv on her own terms. They dance some more, then wonder if there’s any place in the apartment they haven’t had sexytimes yet. Liv suggests on top of the piano. Jake thinks it might be kind of dangerous and some reinforcement is needed, so he goes into the bedroom to grab some pillows and blankets.
When he gets back to the living room, Liv is gone.
At the White House, Andrew stops by the Oval for a word with Fitz. He asks the Prez about the one thing he can’t live without.
Jake looks around the apartment and sees Liv’s spilled wine on the couch. There’s no trace of her.
Fitz grabs a smug-looking Andrew and asks, “What did you do to her? to which Andrew replies “How are you liking that war now, sir?”
So that’s the final piece of the puzzle. The surveillance photos of Liv were in preparation for her kidnapping. It all ties into a war with West Angola that certain factions within the government want. Now the question is, will Fitz declare war to get Olivia back?
Loose ends. Charlie gave some B613 files on Huck to Quinn, who passed them on to Huck. Huck showed up at his ex-wife’s house one night and left them with her. He asks her to read them and says “It’s the last thing I’ll ever ask you to do.”
Will Huck’s ex let this wild-eyed whacko back into her and her son’s lives? Only if she’s as crazy as he is.
Abby reappeared this week, and it turns out she and Leo are an item. David found out inadvertently when the AG questioned her about the whole Cyrus affair. He wanted to know where she was on a certain date, and her alibi is she was with Leo. She also confirms it was all night. David looks a little crushed.
There’s also a brief scene late in the episode when Liv stops by the Oval Office to talk to Fitz, and he’s there with Cyrus and Abby. She sees them from outside, and in a rare moment they’re talking and laughing, all getting along. Liv backs away and doesn’t go in.
A couple of scenes later, she’s snatched up from her own apartment. Can’t say that that’s very surprising, though. For someone in Liv’s line of work, that fortress of hers is shockingly easy to penetrate. Pa has made kind of a hobby of it over the past couple of seasons. Now Lizzie and Andrew and TPTB at WACO have seemingly mastered it, as well.
So that’s where it ends as we head into the winter break. Some questions to ponder are where Liv has been taken and how far Fitz will go to get her back. We’ll find out when Scandal returns on January 29th.