Catch up on Scandal S4 Ep. 18 Honor Thy Father


L.T. Milroy

 To those who think it looks like that title might signal a Papa Pope reappearance, you’re not just being paranoid. It was too good to last, having Pa off fishing somewhere, far away from the action of DC and B613, a story line that is far past its sell-by date.

But first there are two other plotlines to follow this week. There’s a painfully simplistic case for Olivia to work on, and a glimpse into Mellie’s family history. The latter is more fun.

Case of the Week. There is a CotW this episode, such as it is, but it’s not the most riveting case the show has ever come up with. Most viewers probably had the thing figured out in a couple of minutes, if it took that long. So Liv the Fixer didn’t even need to break a sweat for this one.

Congressman Nicholas Reed comes to Olivia for help with his father, George, who’s on death row. He wa convicted of murder fifteen years ago and is due to be executed. He came home one day to find his daughter and Nick’s sister, Jamie, hanging from a rod in her closet. She was only fifteen, and it later came to light that she’d been having an affair with her math teacher, Dan Hoffman. When Hoffman broke up with Jamie, she couldn’t handle it and killed herself, so George killed Dan.

The father has been proudly sticking by that admission ever since. He’s never fought any part of his sentence, but Nick has always contended that he’s not a murderer and asks Liv to meet with George to derail the execution.

George meets with Liv, but he doesn’t want her help. He says that he shot Hoffman to death, and his son has never been able to accept that. He won’t fight execution, because he’s been dead inside ever since finding his daughter’s body, anyway. But Olivia tells him she’s taking his case and that soon, he’ll be a free man.

The Gladiators find out all they can about George. He was raising two kids alone after his wife was killed in a car accident. When he found out Jamie had been seduced by her math teacher, he went to Hoffman’s house and shot him twice. Since George readily confessed, there had been no police investigation, which leads Liv to speculate that the case is still open.

When OPA looks into Hoffman, they find out he was a serial predator of his students. They come up with three other victims, all of whom confirm the teacher seduced them, but not all of whom are ready to discuss it. Liv takes the information to Nick, who says now there are lots of potential killers. There may have been other enraged fathers, and maybe Hoffman’s wife found out about his after-school activities. Liv goes to visit his ex, Lisa, but when she gets to Lisa’s home, she finds her sister packing up the place. Lisa died of cancer two weeks ago.

Thinking there may be some evidence in the house, Huck and Quinn go snooping and find a gun in a box in the basement. The ballistics are run, and it’s a match for the murder weapon.

Liv meets at the prison with Nick and George. She tells them about the gun, and then says she knows it was planted. It was in nearly perfect condition, and a gun left in a basement for fifteen years would have at least been rusty. Liv says she thinks Nick planted it to frame a dead woman and get his father off. Then she says what we’ve all been thinking. That Nick killed Hoffman, and George has been covering for him all of these years.

But George still wants to take the rap for his son. He says again that he’s guilty, tells Nick to shut up, calls for the guard and leaves. When they’re alone, Nick tells Liv that George said he’d kill himself if Nick ever confessed. But Nick says the time has come for him to take responsibility.

Liv meets with George alone and tells him he has to let his son confess. George talks about Nick’s political career and how much he’s accomplished, but Liv says Nick wants to be responsible for his actions, and George has to let him. The dad is persuaded and is released from prison. Nick is shown confessing at a press conference, and is arrested.

That’s it for the CotW. As previously stated, not exactly riveting, but there are two subplots that are more interesting.

David forges on. AG David Rosen is going forward with his plan to blow the lid off B613. He offers Jake immunity to testify and says Huck, Quinn, and Charlie are already on-board. Jake is incredulous that David is even entertaining this notion and says the immunity agreement is a death warrant. David says if Jake doesn’t testify, David can’t protect him. It’s a threat that gets David throttled and pinned to his desk. Dave should have seen that coming, ‘cause I certainly did. Jake tells him to drop the whole thing.

David goes to OPA for help. The Gladiators, and Charlie, dig up three former B613 agents, Max, Margot, and Simon. They all saw Jake in action, and all three are offered full immunity if they’ll talk about what they saw. They’re confined to a safe house while David convenes a secret grand jury. Is that anything like double secret probation? Because that’s pretty serious stuff.

But the room is bugged. As all of these plans are being discussed, Jake is on the other end, getting an earful. The Gladiators didn’t think to do a sweep of the room before hashing out these super-secret plans about toppling a brutal, super-secret spy organization? Nice work, guys.

Not-so-safe house. Needless to say, those three ex-agents are sitting ducks. Charlie gets back from a shopping trip to find blood all over the room, and the members of the trio either dead or dying. I thought Charlie was supposed to be on guard duty. When one is pulling guard duty, one is supposed to, you know, guard, as opposed to running out to get cold cuts. One would assume a pro like Charlie could do this kind of thing in his sleep at this point. One would be mistaken.

Then Jake steps out of the shadows. He and Charlie fight, but not to the death, as expected. Once Jake gets the upper hand and is sure all of the agents are dead, he runs out.

Later, Charlie, Quinn and Huck clean up the room. David is also there. He’s discouraged by this setback but says they just have to find some more agents to testify. Charlie says that’s not realistic and that no one else is going to come forward after this. Huck agrees and tells David he should leave.  On his way out,  David gingerly steps across the blood-stained floor with bags over his shoes. Hee! Call Joni Ernst. A new twist has been put on bread bags.

Charlie says their only option is to kill Jake. Huck concurs and says Jake isn’t himself. He’s in survival mode, and thus is too dangerous to be running around. Charlie asks Quinn if she’s in, and she reluctantly agrees.

Quinn and Huck try to track down Jake by his cell phone. Quinn is still reluctant about the whole kill-Jake thing, because she remembers how Jake did everything he could to help when Liv was kidnapped. Huck isn’t so sentimental. They get a hit on the cell phone, and it tracks to Liv’s apartment building. When they get there, Huck bangs on her door and a startled when Liv opens it. She’s relaxing at home, watching TV with Russell, the guy she brought home last week. Everything seems fine, and Jake’s not there.

But he is. After Liv closes the door, Jake emerges from the apartment across the hall. He’s keeping an eye on her. As long as he’s okay, he says cryptically, Liv will be, too.

The white hats and Lincoln. Their failure leads the white hat brigade to sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and lick their wounds. Charlie knows when to fold those let’s-kill-Jake cards and says it’s over They’ve been beat. David thinks they should go to Liv and tell her everything, but Huck agrees that they’re out of options, and it’s time to give up. David insists they’re the white hats, so they aren’t supposed to quit until they get justice. Three of these white hats are trained killers and torturers with a bloody trail in their wake a mile wide, but now that they’re all on David’s side, he calls them good guys. Talk about a grey area.

But Charlie’s done. He shakes Huck’s hand, gives Quinn a kiss, and offers David his hand. David refuses. Get over yourself, Dave. Charlie’s parting words are “Goodbye, and stay alive.” David tells Huck and Quinn they’ve made the wrong decision, but Huck says Liv is family, and they have to protect her. As he walks away, Quinn tells David to be careful, because Jake is still out there.

Later in his office, David has flashbacks to the night Jake shot James, and two others, in front of him. He calls Huck to say they don’t need any more witnesses. As an eyewitness to Jake’s savagery, David can testify himself. Jake, of course, has David’s phone bugged and hears the conversation.

That night, David is carrying some files out to his car with his assistant, Holly. We’ve seen Holly here and there, helping out around the office, and she’s seemed cheerful and happy. But no one is what they seem in Scandal-land. As David opens his trunk, out of the shadows steps Jake, gun drawn. David is sure he’s breathed his last, when Jake tells him to step to his left.

As he does, he sees Holly has her gun drawn as well, pointed at Jake, who says it was Holly who killed the agents at the safe house, and he had to prevent her from killing Charlie. It looks like there will be a stand-off, but Jake shoots Holly, and David is treated to watching Jake blow away yet another person right in front of him. Jake thoughtfully gives Davey a cloth to wipe Holly’s blood off his face.

Jake tells David that they are the good guys, but “you won’t always be able to tell.” Then he says, “He’s coming.”

Out of tune. We also learned this week that Mellie is short for Melody. She grew up with an equally cutesily-named sister called Harmony, whom we meet in this week’s third storyline.

Lizzie has been vetting the people in Mel’s life in preparation for her Senate run, and now she’s in the deep South somewhere, chatting with Harmony. She’s a down-home girl who makes soap and drops some hints about dirt she may have on Mellie, but says she always kept her mouth shut, because Mel is family. She stands by Mellie in spite of everything and will always have her back, because Mel is her big sister.

Mel is not happy when she finds Liz has been to visit lil’ sis, who’s really a half-sis. But Liz says it’s necessary to vet everyone, now that Mellie is a candidate. Liz knows Harmony is hiding something, and once she’s ready to talk, some journalist will have no trouble dragging the info out of her. Given that, Liz informs Mel she’ll have to stay on Harmony’s good side. If Mel wants to be a senator, sis has to be welcomed into the fold. This makes Mel even more unhappy.

How can Cy benefit? Harmony is invited for a tour of the White House. After witnessing a snarky, catty meeting between Harmony and Mel, Cyrus thinks this is an opportunity to get scheming Mellie the candidate out of his way. He knows the half-sisters bring out the worst in each other and that Fitz hates the squabbling, so he’ll likely will get disgusted with Mellie and withdraw his support for her candidacy. At least I think that was Cy’s plan.

Fitz at first refuses an invitation to dinner with Mellie and Harmony, but later, he’s there with them. Predictably, it’s a disaster. Before it’s over, Mel calls cHarmony trailer trash with a whore for a mother, and Harmony mentions how she could tell the story of their father and Mel’s frigid mom. She adds that all of the dirt she has on Mel could sure come in handy someday before she stalks out.

Cy’s plan would seem to be playing out just fine, but something unexpected happens. After Fitz tells Mel she’ll have to make nice with Harmony if she wants to be a successful politician, Mel answers that now it’s Fitz’s turn to be the supportive spouse. She played that role for him all of these years, so he’s supposed to return the favor. The dinner was his cue to support Mel and try to defuse the situation with Harmony, but he didn’t do it. He agreed to play the First Lady role, and when called upon, he didn’t step up.

Surprisingly, Fitz decides to fix things. He calls Harmony into the Oval Office before she leaves and tells her that Mellie was unkind, but not because she’s ashamed of or embarrassed by Harmony. She’s jealous. She never got over her dad leaving her mom for Harmony’s mom, and she only inflicts pain on Harmony to hide her own pain.

It’s a load of crap, but it works. Harmony goes to see Mel before leaving, and wordlessly hugs her. Mel gives a halfhearted hug in return. When she’s gone, Mel asks Fitz what happened, and Fitz just says he did what he had to do. He adds that Mellie’s going to win this election, and he’ll be right by her side as she does so.

So Cy’s plan failed, big time. Instead of driving Fitz and Mel apart, the incident seemingly cemented their political alliance. And, in true Dynasty-esque fashion, Cy happens to be outside the door and hears this whole conversation, where Fitz pledges his support to Mellie. He knows his little plan tanked. Mellie the candidate is very much alive, and he’ll have to keep dealing with her, with Fitz supporting her more than ever. Cy is not happy.

Can’t Liv have a normal BF? I was hoping Liv’s new man would just be some normal, boring guy she could have some fun with and forget about the rest of her crazy life with for a while, but it looks like our poor, exhausted, lovelorn heroine is never going to have that.

Early in the episode, Liv and Russell woke up in bed together, so apparently their romp was more than a one-night stand. He tells her that she shouts in her sleep, and in different languages. He also tells her his real name is Franklin Russell, and he knows she’s Olivia, not Alex.

So far, so good and reasonably boring and normal. But in the final scene, Liv’s home alone when there’s a knock on her door. She looks through the peephole and opens up for Franklin. He’s not looking happy. He’s standing next to Papa Pope.

So, like many suspected, it seems he was a plant all along. Stay tuned for all of the upcoming speechifying that always accompanies a Pa sighting.

The show takes a week off but return on April 16th for “I’m Just a Bill”. A word about the episode –

Papa Pope is back! But taking down daddy could be the end for Olitz.

That’s all the network is saying two weeks before air. There are only four episodes left in this season, so a lot of stuff should be hitting a lot of fans before long. If you get hit by some flying stuff, maybe Jake will be good enough to hand you a cloth to wipe off your face…

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