Catch up on Scandal S4 Ep. 22 You Can’t Take Command


L.T. Milroy

 Scandal season 04 came to an end, and it wasn’t such a bad ending at that. Given the overall mess this season has been, it was wrapped up in fairly promising fashion.

Decide for yourselves, Gladiators! Here’s how we stand until next fall…

Case of the Week. Nothing but Papa Pope and the fate of B613, as the season comes to its conclusion.

We pick up where we left off, with senate candidate Mellie greeting a potential big donor, who turns out to be Pa. He introduces himself as Damascus Bainbridge and bubbles a bit about how great it is to meet her. He also drops a remark about what a great example Mellie sets for his daughter. Hee! Don’t ever say Pa doesn’t have a sense of humor.

He says as a big donor he feels there are issues that are important to him and hauls out a file that he hands Mellie. She opens it to see photos of herself with Andrew, way back when. It seems like a million years since the Mel/Andrew affair, but Pa has a long memory, and he’s resurrecting that bit of history. Also included is some info on Operation Remington, which Mel knows nothing about but is obviously damaging to Fitz.

Mel tries to hide her horror, as she contrives a reason to get Lizzie out of the room. Once alone with Pa, Mel asks who he is. In typical Pa take-control fashion, he answers that she shouldn’t ask who he is but rather what he wants. Then he tells her he needs a list of names, or the dirty laundry becomes public. When Liz returns, Mel tells her she needs a list.

Testifying at last. Jake is being questioned by Attorney General Rosen about B613. There’s a montage of things that took place before the testimony, as Jake tells David he wants to play down the whole Remington matter and B613 in general, but the AG won’t agree, since Remington was the birth of B613, and it’s their biggest gun and they have. Also in the montage, Olivia tells Jake that the goal is to take down Pa and B613, and Jake has to tell all in order for that to happen.

When Jake is done, he and David meet Liv outside the courtroom. David says it went great.

Fitz is walking through the hall at the White House, when his phone rings. It’s Liv, who congratulates him on Mellie. She’s ahead in the race for senate as election day approaches. Fitz is on his way to meet Clarence Parker to sign the Brandon Bill into law. It’s that bill he and VP Ross worked so hard on, so he’s having a good day. Liv congratulates him on everything, but she knows that Jake just gave testimony that could do irreparable damage to Fitz’s presidency. When she says goodbye to him, it sounds final.

As Liv hangs up, Huck rushes up to her with eyes bugging out, as usual and says something happened. He takes her to the scene of a slaughter. It’s a bus filled with the sixteen members of the grand jury that heard Jake’s testimony, and they’re all dead. Looks like Pa got to them before they were able to spill the beans about B613 to anyone. But did Pa really need a list of names when he was just going to have them killed en masse on the bus? His strong-arming of Mel was just showing how he is ultimately in charge.

AG Rosen is out. David was at the crime scene. He fell to his knees and got sick when he saw all of the slaughtered grand jury members. It appears it was a tipping point, as we next see him at OPA, dropping off a box of B613 files he calls a parting gift. He’s done. Liv says good guys like David don’t quit, but he won’t be persuaded. Everyone who heard Jake’s testimony is dead except for him and Jake. He adds that he lives for justice, but he doesn’t want to die for it. His pursuit of B613 is over.Mel is frantic after hearing about the killings of the grand jurors. First she tells Liz to keep her mouth shut. Then she tells Cy she was responsible. She tells him all about Damsacus and how he knows so much about her and Fitz. Then she mentions Remington. As soon as Cy hears that, he knows what’s going on. He ushers Mel out of his office with assurances her that he’ll take care of everything. Then he adds “Don’t tell Fitz.”

Mel is frantic after hearing about the killings of the grand jurors. First she tells Liz to keep her mouth shut. Then she tells Cy she was responsible. She tells him all about Damsacus and how he knows so much about her and Fitz. Then she mentions Remington. As soon as Cy hears that, he knows what’s going on. He ushers Mel out of his office with assurances her that he’ll take care of everything. Then he adds “Don’t tell Fitz.”

Mel is frantic after hearing about the killings of the grand jurors. First she tells Liz to keep her mouth shut. Then she tells Cy she was responsible. She tells him all about Damsacus and how he knows so much about her and Fitz. Then she mentions Remington. As soon as Cy hears that, he knows what’s going on. He ushers Mel out of his office with assurances her that he’ll take care of everything. Then he adds “Don’t tell Fitz.”

Ma’s back. The whole thing has Liv very angry. As she waits for the elevator outside her office, Liv tells Jake she’s tired of being Pa’s victim time and time again. As a viewer, I can say we’re sick of watching it. When she’s done ranting, Jake tells her that she’s free and can go wherever she wants. He’ll go with her. Liv says that it doesn’t matter where she goes, because she’ll always be Pa’s prisoner. The elevator arrives, and Liv says she has somewhere to be.

She goes to visit with Ma Pope in prison. At least we don’t have to watch Ma snack on her wrists this time. Instead, she sits there, cool as the proverbial cucumber, while her daughter praises her: Liv says she’s tried everything, and she hasn’t been able to do what Ma did, which is get the better of Pa. Ma played him and escaped from him during what came to be known as Operation Remington. She even could have had him killed but didn’t. Liv asks how Ma accomplished it.

Ma seems to be totally uncooperative as she says that Liv is so vain (she probably thinks this show is about her), that she always turns things into a big drama starring herself. Did she and Pa not give Liv enough hugs growing up? she amusingly asks. Ma wonders why Pa is still around, and then says there are plenty of people who should want to take him down, but they don’t know there’s even an enemy. Nobody is aware Pa exists.

By the time Ma came out with that last bit, Liv had been worn down by the it’s-always-all-about-you talk from Ma, and was heading for the door. But if it seemed like Liv wasn’t listening, what she does for the rest of the episode proves she was. Closely.

The Plan. The OPA gang, plus Jake, is at the CIA with the box of B613 files. If nobody knows Pa exists, Liv figures she should get the word out. She tells agent Lowry, the CIA director, all about B613, and Lowry scoffs. Liv takes out some files and tells some stories of B613 operations, while Lowry reels off the official explanations. It’s clear, however, that Lowry isn’t even convincing herself with her denials, and when Liv tells her B613 is real and asks what she’s going to do about it, Lowry pauses briefly before getting on the intercom and calling for a team to be assembled.

All the disruptions have led Cy to meet with Pa who says he just did what needed to be done and adds that he didn’t kill David as a favor to Cy. He’s done Cy other favors too, says Pa, and Cy owes him.

Don’t trust Lizzie! Liz goes to Mel’s office to let her know she’s on her side unequivocally. She’s fine with getting Mel that list of names, but she has to know why, and who is Bainbridge? She says she can’t do her job properly and get Mellie into the senate if she doesn’t know what’s going on. Mel tells her to sit.

Cy meets up with Lowry in the CIA lobby. He tries to blow her off, but she says that B613 was conceived as a small group of four or five people, not a large organization. The whole thing has gotten way out of hand, and she’ll have to arrest Pa. Cy, unruffled, says that B613 doesn’t exist, but if it did, it’s best not to rile it. He threatens her against going forward with an investigation, and she must know that Cy doesn’t make idle threats. The next thing we see is Liv and Jake being arrested. Liv asks what’s going on as Lowry silently watches.

Team Grant. It’s election eve, and Mellie has her staff gathered at the White House. Fitz thanks them for all their hard work. He praises Mel, the future senator, for her ambition and leadership skills. He talks about how much he admires how she pulled herself back together after Jerry’s death and about what a great team they make.

Meanwhile, David is in Cy’s office. He’s expecting to get fired, but he doesn’t care, because he knows he did the right thing. Cy laughs at that. He doesn’t want to go through all the work of breaking in a new AG, he says, especially since he already knows David’s weakness: Abby, who may be with Leo now, but it’s obvious David still loves her and doesn’t want anything to happen to her. It would be a shame if something happened to her…

Threat complete, David leaves Cy’s office. He passes Abby in the hall. She says hello, but he just hangs his head and doesn’t answer. Abby looks puzzled. She peeks into Cy’s door and sees him looking worried. Her spidey senses are certainly tingling..

David gets to work immediately and gives Jake and Liv waivers to sign, repudiating any knowledge of B613. He threatens Jake with treason and tells him to recant his testimony. He tells Liv that if she doesn’t cooperate, he’ll go after Huck and Quinn. David lies and tells each of them the other one signed, and eventually they both do. Satisfied, Cy tells Lowry to release them.

A pair of monsters. Abby can only hold back for so long before she goes to Cy’s office. She asks if he’s seen Liv, and he plays dumb. She gets honest and asks isn’t he sick of lying and sneaking around and of her wondering if he killed Liv. He answers that he is tired of it, but that she doesn’t have the clearance to know everything. Then he gives the quote of the season, and also the most honest thing he’s ever said concerning how he conducts himself: “I can’t have a soul. If I had one, I would never accomplish a thing.”

Liv is at home licking her wounds in her favorite way, by sitting in bed drinking wine. Her phone rings, and it’s Pa wanting to gloat, bigtime. He welcomes her home, but she’s in no mood for his nonsense and says someone at some point will catch up to him and kill him. He laughs, because he’s taking care of that. There’s a montage of agents being knocked off as Pa talks about how everyone who knows about Command is being neutralized. That phony Howdy Doody lawyer, not-Virgil, from last week is doing the deed, eliminating all the B613 agents. When he’s done with the mission, Pa puts a bullet in his head. Howdy Doody should have known Pa has loyalty to no one.

Problem is, the only two agents I care about, Charlie and Russell, are nowhere to be seen. They both know Pa is Command, so have they paid the ultimate price for it? We don’t know. I have a feeling Charlie is in the rats and cockroaches category. He could probably survive a nuclear blast. I hope so, because I’ve grown quite fond of his crazy ass. Russell was probably thrown in the hole immediately after failing to kill Jake and is likely still there. Get comfy, buddy. Nobody’s coming for you any time soon.

In any case, Pa goes on to tell Liv that Ma has been working for him in exchange for her freedom. We see Ma with Cy, who tells her she has to deny any knowledge of B613, which won’t be a difficult price to pay to get out of prison. Pa tells Liv that B613 is dead, because all of the agents are gone, the files have been destroyed, and Command. Rowan, the leader of B613, is dead. Now Pa is just an anonymous guy who works at the Smithsonian, and he can live out his life in peace. No one is searching for him. He’s free, and he has her to thank for that. Liv hangs up.

Sleazy Lizzy. At a rally, Mel is introduced as the new senator from Virginia. As she speaks, Fitz watches off-stage. He thanks Liz for all her work, and Liz says she’s just glad “it’s over and all behind us”. Fitz asks what she’s talking about, and Liz innocently sputters that she thought he knew. She tells him about the big donor who knew things about them and shows Fitz a photo she took of Mel with Pa. He asks what Pa asked Mel to do, and she tells him, just as Mel introduces him. He plasters a smile on his face and takes the stage.

Back at OPA, Quinn is distraught about Pa just getting to walk away. Liv says Pa has destroyed all evidence of B613, but Quinn brings up the money Huck stole from the B613 account and can it be traced? Huck says that money has been laundered so many times it could have come from anywhere, but it gives Liv an idea.

The end of Rowan? Pa is in his ‘lab’ where cops show up to arrest him. He threatens them, but for the first time in a long time, his threats are hollow. He’s brought to the lock-up where he’s visited by Liv and Jake. Liv tells him that there’s evidence he’s been stealing from the Smithsonian since the day he became department head. He’s being charged with embezzlement. Pa, livid, promises to take Liv down, but she says there’s no chance of that, since he doesn’t have any power. Command does, but he said himself Rowan doesn’t exist anymore. Damascus is just an anonymous old guy who works at the Smithsonian, who is now charged with a serious crime.

Liv walks away smiling as Pa bellows, “Oliviaaaa!!!” like he’s doing his Wrath of Khan impersonation. It’s pretty amusing.

Those crazy torture twins. Liv may be happy, but something is bothering Quinn. She corners Huck at OPA and asks why he’s working with Pa. She says she saw the bodies on the bus, and she recognized it as Huck’s handiwork. I’m not sure how that’s possible, since everyone was just slaughtered. I guess that’s Huck’s calling card. Mayhem. He bugs his eyes out, again, and tells her to get out. She draws her gun and tells him to sit. She obviously means business, so he does.

Huck says he didn’t have a choice but to work for Command, but Quinn says he always has a choice. He says he did it for his family, but she says he did it for himself, because he loves to kill and can’t turn down a nice chance to inflict a slaughtering, regardless of who asks him to do it. She says he doesn’t deserve his family, or her, or Liv. She puts the gun against his head and says the best thing she could do for him is to shoot him. He agrees and tells her to do it. He seems serious. She looks like she might take him up on the offer, but when the scene ends she’s still standing there, gun at his head, trying to decide.

The stuff hits the fan at the White House. Mellie is celebrating her senate victory and speculating about a future presidential run with Fitz and Cy. Fitz is quiet at first, and then asks if Mel really thinks he’d let her be president after what she did. He knows everything about the grand jury list and Pa Pope. She says she was trying to protect them, but he says they are no longer a team. He’s disgusted with her and tells her to get out. As in, out of the White House.  He doesn’t want her around.

Does it even need to be stated how ridiculous it is for Fitz to claim moral superiority here? The guy who killed Verna Thornton with his bare hands, the guy who put soldiers’ lives in danger to go to war for his mistress, thinks what Mellie did is unforgivable? Is he really that un-self-aware, or does he just hold himself to a different standard?

After Mellie leaves, Cy tries to play dumb, but Fitz knows all about his role, too. He even knows how Cy helped Pa, and that Pa is the man who killed Jerry. He tells Cy he knows everything, and then fires him. Wow, did not see that coming. Neither did Cy, who looks stunned.

Exit Ballard. After a rewarding day, Liv is with Jake outside of her apartment. She opens the door, but he won’t go in. He says his mission is complete. B613 is gone, Command is in jail, and she’s safe. He goes to leave, but she calls him back. He says Pa and Fitz both asked him to keep Liv safe, and he went over the line on both accounts. He’s in love with her, he says, but she’s in love with “him,” and if she wants what’s hers, she has to go take it. Gracious of Jake to step out of the picture like that.

There’s a little montage of the fallout at the White House. Cy, his things packed, turns in his credentials. In the background, Lizzie walks by, carrying a box of her things into Cy’s office.

The Secret Service shows up at Liv’s front door. Fitz knocks. There’s no answer.

That’s because she was on her way to see Fitz. In a feel-good ending for some fans, and torture for others, once Fitz returns to the White House, he wanders out onto a balcony, and Liv steps out of the shadows with an unmistakable come-hither look. She’s following Jake’s advice and has come to take what’s hers.

Fitz asks “What happens now?” to which Liv replies “Whatever we want.” Then they kiss. It seems unlikely they’d smooch right out in the open on a White House balcony, but the whole thing is supposed to be charming, so I won’t ask inconvenient questions.

Lots of snogging. Season IV over.

So let’s take an inventory. Mellie is out of the White House and out of Fitz’s good graces but not out of options. She would have been in quite an unfortunate position had this occurred a couple of seasons ago, but Mellie’s her own gal now. As the new junior senator from Virginia, she has agency and power to wield, and there’s no doubt she intends to do just that, despite the split with Fitz. There’s revenge to be gotten on Lizzie, too. I anticipate that Mel is going to be very busy next season.

I don’t expect Cyrus to slink away quietly, either. This is a guy who said point-blank that he’s a monster with no conscience who will do anything to hold onto power and prestige. Now he’s feeling wronged and desperate. A cornered Cy is not going to be a pretty sight. Perhaps he’ll join forces with Mel, who is likely in a similar frame of mind right now. That has the makings of an interesting and amusing alliance.

There are many fans who wouldn’t mind one bit if Huck and Quinn turned out to be a murder-suicide. Huck definitely needs to go. He only serves as a killing machine at this point and doesn’t really do much else, as this episode pointed out. He wouldn’t be missed. Quinn, on the other hand, is a lot more versatile. She’s basically become Liv’s right-hand woman with Abby gone, and she can step in to fill a variety of roles, in addition to those torturing skills. It would be particularly interesting to see how she would react to killing Huck (at his insistence), given how he mentored her.

Jake is gone? He’s right. His job of shadowing Liv is over, with B613 now defunct. The guy’s got more lives than the average feral cat, but if he hangs around this bunch much longer, his luck will eventually run out. If this show wants a reset, it would make perfect sense for him to just disappear. That would be in his best interests, too. Go find a beach somewhere, Jake.

Abby looked way too smug watching Cy pack up his things and get escorted out of the White House. She’s still basically a decent person, but she must know she’s surrounded by vipers, and Cy is king viper. If she thinks she’s seen the last of him and he can do her no harm, I feel she’s sadly mistaken, maybe dangerously so. And Lizzie is as power-hungry and ambitious as Cy in her own way, so having to deal with her as new chief of staff isn’t likely to be fun.

And Lizzie also must know that she will never be safe as long as Cy is out there. It wasn’t very long ago when he was gloating that she was his beeotch for life, because he knew all about her plotting against the government with Andrew the vegetative ex-Veep, and he could spill his guts at any time if she provoked him. Why would he not use that? She has to know she’s wearing a bull’s-eye, and Cy is armed and dangerous.

David hasn’t escaped death as many times as Jake, but he has to be feeling both lucky and demoralized. Yes, he’s one of only two people in the grand jury room who’s still alive, but he now knows how easy it is for someone to get him to compromise his principles. He may still be around next season, but he probably won’t be the same confident, white-hatted hero he’s preferred to think of himself as up to now. If AG Rosen is just plain tired and beaten-down, it wouldn’t be surprising.

Ma is free, and Pa is in jail. Each is a potential danger, regardless of the status of incarceration. To say both are wild cards is a huge understatement.

As for various other characters, I expect Susan Ross and Sally Langston to be back. Anything could be in store for VP Ross. She’s a bit of a blank slate right now. Sally will probably just carry on as before, being a thorn in Fitz’s side. Joining up with Cy and/or Mel, maybe? Leo Bergen, aka The Dustbuster, will probably carry on being his old, sleazy self, as well. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

And that leaves Olitz, which looks very much alive at the end of S4. I’m not a shipper, but no matter; the way things were left, the show can really go in any of several directions. Olitz may look happy now, but that could change in an instant. There’s a lot that could get in the way: an angry Mellie, an angry Cy, an angry Pa, a scheming Lizzie. So many potential hazards.

Hard to believe the season’s over. It’s been fun! I’ll miss these weekly recaps. Stay cool and meet me back in Scandalverse next fall!

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