Take heart, weary Scandal fans, the end is in sight for all this Olivia-goes-to-the-highest-bidder stuff we’ve endured non-stop since the show returned from its winter break. By this episode’s close, Liv will be back home, but not before she bosses everyone around in what’s probably at least her third or fourth language, has her life put in danger by her own government, gets rescued by an old friend, and tells off the leader of the free world for going to war for her.
You know, just another day in Scandal-land.
Because we don’t want to miss any time that could be spent with this wonderful storyline, we open right where we left off last week, with Olivia’s kidnappers bringing her purchasers. Her hood is removed. and she’s faced with a bunch of Iranians speaking into their cell phones. She asks Gus what’s going on, and he doesn’t know, because he doesn’t speak Farsi. But Liv does, and as she’s always thinking on her feet, she starts telling them that her captors plan to kill them as soon as they get their money. Then she tells Gus they plan to kill him as soon as he turns Liv over. She successfully plays them against each other, everybody feels threatened, and the deal is off.
Time to bid…again. That means the auction is back on, news that starts filtering around to all the principal players. Abby knows something’s up but is in the dark, and Cyrus won’t help. She tries to get information out of him, but he stonewalls by telling her it’s a matter of national security.
Back at OPA, Quinn is uncharacteristically drinking her sorrows away as she thinks not only about Olivia, but about what a sick handful Huck has become. Jake comes in with the news that the Iranian deal fell through and Liv is ok. The sale is off, and the auction back on. Quinn is relieved and accepts comforting by Jake after first pushing him away.
The President meets with his advisors about exactly how to rescue Liv. He still wants to go for extraction, though the chances for success are slim. After CIA director Lowry goes over the extraction plans, she says she has a second presentation for him, which concerns neutralizing the threat. The threat is Liv, who she says knows too much classified information from her time working in the White House. She talks about what various enemies of the US could learn from Liv and the kinds of things they’ll request for her return. She makes a strong case for neutralization, but when she’s done, it’s like Fitz hasn’t listened to a word and says to go ahead with extraction.
I can dream, can’t I? A shocked Cyrus sits in the Oval Office as Fitz prattles on about how confident he is that Liv can be rescued safely. Cy can only take so much of what he feels is delusional talk before he wigs out. He angrily tells Fitz he made him what he is — the president, a leader – and this is what he does with his power? He’s going to lose everything, and Cy won’t go along for the ride any longer. He tells Fitz what an idiot tool he is, quits, and storms out of the room. Fitz is left with his mouth hanging open.
But of course, it was only make-believe. Cy was just fantasizing that he had the guts to tell Fitz off and quit. In reality, he sat still while the Prez blustered about how great his extraction plan is, which the CIA just told him had at thirty percent chance of success. Cy smiles and agrees with Fitz; to his face, anyway. Behind his back is another matter.
Abby is still trying to get information but continues to be unsuccessful. She complains to AG David that she’s out of the loop, to which he replies he’s not exactly in that loop himself. David seems nervous, and she wants to know why. He says Liv is a liability, and the administration could elect to have Liv neutralized if it was deemed the best course of action. Abby says Fitz would never go there.
But it might not be in his hands. Cy calls Lowry, and all the others who had agreed with her and recommended neutralization, to a secret meeting. They agree to go against what Fitz wants and put their plans into motion. In the hallway, Abby sees the meeting breaking up and guesses what’s going on. Later, she goes to Cy’s office and confronts him about scheming with the CIA to kill her best friend. She threatens to tell Fitz, and he says he’ll have her arrested. She tells him she won’t be intimidated with Liv’s life on the line. He says Liv is his friend too, but the fate of the nation is more important. She has to be neutralized. It’s in the best interests of national security.
The Andrew problem. As all this is going on, the loose end of VP Andrew is still hanging around. He may not be the rising political star he once was, but neither is he going away quietly. He has been reduced to a shadow of his former self, however, desperately grasping for any shred of power he can possibly hang on to. Remember when Andrew was an affable type who told the story about how he lost the love of his life, whom he strongly hinted was Mellie, to another guy and had tried to make the best of it ever since, but he’s never been the same? Remember how sympathetic he was and what a good guy he seemed to be and how much you liked him? That seems like a lifetime ago from the scheming, treasonous little slug we have now.
But he made the fatal mistake of colliding with Huck’s orbit, so his days would finally seem to be numbered. Mellie drops by Andrew’s office for a little pep talk and bearing an amnesty agreement. Though the agreement ensures he won’t be publicly humiliated, she still makes certain he knows his political career is over. He reached for the stars and failed. He had presidential aspirations but got as far as he’s ever going to get and had better accept it. Still, he remains obstinate and refuses to listen, again threatening Mel with spilling all the details of their affair to the press.
That leads Mellie to have Lizzie to her office for a friendly lunch. Well, it seems friendly until lunch is served, and all the help has left the room, after which Mel gets down to business. She says Liz has to do something about Andrew. He refuses to go quietly. Liz says Andrews is aware Cy got to her, and he won’t listen. But Mel won’t take no for an answer. She says, “I slept with that filthy dirtbag to save you and your child,” alluding to the unconsciousness-inducing sex Mel had with Andrew to get her hands on his cell phones. She turned the phones over to Liz, who gave them to OPA to avoid another late-night visit from Huck. Mel tells Liz it’s time to pay up.
The Huck problem, the mother of all problems. So the Huck problem plays a part in this saga yet again. Jake is at OPA as Huck tells him that Liv’s auction will be starting again soon, and they have to find the dark site. Jake takes advantage of this down time to try to relate to Huck as fellow ex-B613. Jake says that everything they did to Huck, they did to him, including being thrown in the hole. They made Jake love killing, too, he says, and we get to hear him speak graphically about how good warm blood feels on your hands and how great bones sound when they snap just right. So instead of redeeming Huck, so far this scene is just convincing me what a sick puppy Jake is. Yuck.
Jake says he has a beast inside him just like Huck does, but he doesn’t let him out. He keeps that guy locked up, and Huck has to learn to lock up his guy, too, or one day “he’ll be strong enough to lock you in.” Huck says that Liv is the only one who can lock that guy in, thus letting us know just how important she is to him. But Jake says Huck has to learn to do it for himself.
Huck tells Quinn the auction is back on. She needs to clear the air, too. She tells him she needs to hear him say that if they lose Liv, he’ll keep it under control and won’t go on a killing spree. He promises. Lizzie walks in. She asks to speak to Huck, alone. Uh oh.
Liz tells Huck that Andrew is going to get away with everything. Huck doesn’t want to hear about it and says he has work to do. He assumes she’s going to ask him to do something he just promised Quinn he wouldn’t and asks her outright if she wants him to kill Andrew. She basically tells him to follow his instincts and do what comes naturally. He says he doesn’t do that any more.
The letter of the law. Well, that’s a matter of semantics. Later, Quinn spots Huck leaving with his bag of tricks. She reminds him he promised, no more blood. He agrees, and she lets him go. Then we see him with Andrew, who’s naked and Saran-wrapped to a chair. Huck gives him an injection as Lizzie looks on. Then he tells Liz to call 911 and say the VP has collapsed. He’s just induced a stroke and put Andrew in a vegetative state but left him alive because he doesn’t kill any more. He promised Quinn no more blood and technically kept that promise. I wonder if Andrew appreciates the difference.
So the ladies solved the Andrew problem, with a little assistance from Huck. Later, there are TV reports telling of how the Veep had a stroke, as we see Mellie and Liz walking through the halls of the White House. They see each other and trade sly little smiles as they pass. Mel goes to visit Andrew in his hospital room and tells him how he brought all this on himself.
So that’s what the scheming VP has been reduced to. Though his character started out well, he did indeed devolve into a filthy dirtbag, as Mellie so delicately put it. He won’t be missed.
Back at the dysfunctional auction. With the auction winding down, Huck puts in a two-billion dollar bid as Marie Wallace. It looks like it’s going to be the winner, when a group from Russia matches it as time runs out. It’s a tie. Huh? This is the worst auction ever. First, it was suspended in last week’s episode when one of the bidders gave that idiot Gus a direct cash offer, and he took it, totally violating the rules. Now the bidding closes in a tie? Gus asks Liv to break the stalemate. She says to take Marie’s bid, but he calls her bluff and picks the Russians.
Abby walks into OPA, and Huck tells her they lost. She informs them that the CIA might be planning on taking Liv out, so if anyone has any favors to call in, now would be the time. In desperation, Abby then goes to see Fitz, but just as she starts to talk to him, Cy busts in and dismisses her. Once she’s gone, Cy lies to Fitz and tells him all systems are go concerning the extraction.
Papa, can you hear me? Abby calls David and asks if he has any contacts at Interpol. Jake is doing his part by going back to have another chat with Mama Pope. She gives him the name Prescott Lake in Canada. Jake goes there, and what does he find? It’s Papa Pope, out in the country doin’ some fishin’ and all rested up and ready for more speechifying. Goodie.
Jake fills Pa in on what’s going on. Pa just laughs and says it’s unbelievable. Yeah, Pop, that’s what all us fans are thinking. Then Pa waxes on about life and makes some fishing analogies, and blabbidy blah blah, the usual Pa Pope diarrhea of the mouth. He says he knew Jake would come to him for help eventually. Jake says Pa has to help because Olivia is his daughter, and Pa says he doesn’t have a daughter. Well, that ends that, apparently. Talk about a wasted trip.
Waiting for the end of the world. Cyrus and the CIA cabal who’ve conspired to have Olivia killed are at the White House, watching her exchange with the Russians. Drones are at the ready to take out everyone there. Lowry has a really itchy trigger finger and keeps wanting to give the command to fire, but Cy is hesitant. Then he takes a close look at the proceedings and says don’t fire; not to fire. He zeroes in on the face of one of the Russians.
Turns out it’s not a Russian, but an ex-Gladiator swooping in to save the day. It’s Stephen Finch, who used to work for OPA, but left after the first season on good terms and has been living in Russia recently. So when he was informed of Liv’s predicament, thanks to Abby and David, he stepped in to help his old friend.
Olivia is pretty relieved to see him. Once she confirms all the goons present are his people and that she’s safe, she grabs Stephen’s gun and shoots Gus in the leg. When he falls down in agony, she kicks him a few times for good measure. Can’t say that wasn’t pretty great to watch. Enjoy the gulag, buddy. Ditto for your idiot nerd lackeys.
A chopper has been arranged to get Liv home. She asks Stephen to come back to DC with her. She says they need him at OPA. He thanks her for the offer but tells her he likes it where he is. She thanks him again for saving her, but he says she saved him, once upon a time; he’s just returning the favor. Looks like he’s another of Olivia’s reclamation projects that turned out pretty good.
Once she’s back stateside, instead of going to the hospital, Liv is questioned by the CIA. She’s shaky and is having flashbacks to her time in captivity. After a while she says she has to stop.
Later, the Gladiators take Liv back to her apartment. Huck is installing about fifty deadbolt locks on the front door. Don’t know how much security that would actually provide against a team of determined international terrorists, but it’s a nice effort. Liv walks in hesitantly. The place is still a mess, complete with wine stain still on the couch. Huh? Seriously, these people know how to efficiently clean up after body parts are strewn everywhere, but they can’t lift a little vino out of a couch cushion? At least flip it.
Jake says he’ll spend the night, but Liv says she wants to be alone. After what she’s been through I’d accept some company, but Liv likes to go solo. They all say good night. Huck hugs her and says he’s glad she wasn’t dismembered. Such a charmer. Then he gives her the ring back.
As soon as everyone leaves, Liv hears footsteps outside, and there’s a knock at the door. She looks through the peephole and takes ten minutes to undo all of the locks It’s Fitz. He says he had to see her for himself. But she doesn’t give him the greeting he was hoping for. She lets him in but seems less than thrilled with his company.
He says he went to war for her, but that wasn’t exactly a great card to play, since Liv isn’t happy with that whole situation. She counters with “I have been riding and dying, for you. I fixed an election, for you. Sacrificed everything to keep you in office. We all did: Cyrus, James, Jerry, Harrison, Mellie, everyone.” Wow, of those five people she just named, three of them are dead. That qualifies as a sacrifice.
Then he says he was willing to give up everything for her and offered to, but she turned him down. And she says that’s the problem: What did everyone sacrifice so much for, if he was just willing to give it all up? The effort would just be a waste. Then Liv gets to the heart of the matter:
“Everything I’ve sacrificed to get you here, so you could be the best. So you could make history. So you could be the President you were meant to be. And you were! You were the President you were meant to be. And then, when the true test came along, when I was taken — because of you — you go to war? You sent thousands of innocent soldiers into harm’s way, some of them to their deaths, for one person?”
He says he had to save her, but she says he didn’t save her. She’s on her own. And to emphasize her point, she throws her ring at him, goes to the door, and holds it open. He leaves, and she relocks the terrorist-proof deadbolts.
I’m not quite sure what exactly Liv expected of this situation. Go to war or not, she was still kidnapped and held for auction. And as much as her quick thinking saved her a few times, she didn’t get out of it ‘on her own.’ Without Abby managing to come up with Stephen, Liv gets taken out by a missile, courtesy of Cyrus and the CIA.
The whole plotline was just unfortunate. The question is, how do things return to normal for Olivia? It looks like she’ll be back handling a case in the next episode, with this preview from the network –
A tragedy in D.C. gains national attention, and the White House must deal with their problematic VP.
I guess Andrew is “problematic” in the sense that he can’t move or speak. And the tragedy in DC appears to be some sort of race-related case. Are things going to basically go back to how they were, with Liv returning to doing her job like nothing happened? Any time a show asks its fans to just forget a major storyline that monopolized several episodes, it means that storyline was ill-advised.
There’s a little time to reset, though, as the show takes a break for a week. The next episode, The Lawn Chair, airs March fifth.
The bidding has closed.