This week, Scandal dials it back a bit from the craziness of last week, but there are still plenty of bizarre shenanigans going on.
We’re still enduring the insufferableness that is Boris and, in particular, Natasha. They’re still hanging around for now, but hopefully the clock is ticking on their presence. At the end of last week’s episode it looked like, for the first time on the show, all of the regular characters were going to have to unite and work together to defeat an enemy common to them all. But things are rarely as they seem in Scandaland, and it becomes evident pretty quickly this week, that unity is shaky, at best.
Just like old times. Liv wakes up in bed next to Fitz. She’s back in the White House bedroom and is even wearing Fitz’s old Navy t-shirt, just like she used to. It’s as if no time has passed at all.
But it has, and there are matters to attend to. Liv quietly gets out of bed and goes to visit with Papa Pope, who’s being held somewhere in the recesses of the building since being arrested. She finds him in a nearly bare, dreary room, which is really depressing. But in front of him is an obscenely lavish breakfast spread, which is really attractive. There are all kinds of colorful fresh fruits and yummy-looking pastries. There didn’t seem to be any bacon present, which is a flaw, but otherwise, quite a nice meal for someone being held captive.
But it’s still captivity and Pa is ill-tempered and unhappy. Liv tells him he’s safe now, but he realizes how dangerous Boris and Natasha are and is worried. He says his only option is to run as far away as he can. He mentions Zanzibar, which is where he wanted to send Sandy to get her out of danger a few episodes back. What’s so safe about Zanzibar? Fitz walks in. Pa tells him he appreciates the hospitality, but he really has to GTF out of there. He gets all riled up about his safety and lack thereof and tries to leave, but the Secret Service blocks the door. Fitz tells him he’s not going anywhere. He’s free to wander the building a bit if he wants, but those SS agents will be following him wherever he goes, so he should remember that he’s not actually ‘free’.
Just like bad times. Liv and Fitz may have taken up right where they left off, but the domesticity isn’t so cozy over at the Abby/Leo abode. They’re reading the paper in bed, bickering. She seems to be in a foul mood about something, so he apologizes for whatever it is he did. She says not everything is about him. He complains that her job takes up too much time, and she says she has an important job, it should take up a lot of time, and they just aren’t seeing eye to eye on anything.
It was just a flesh wound. Huck is back at work at OPA. Apparently all he needed was one episode of sitting around Liv’s place in her bathrobe, and now he’s all recovered from being shot point-blank three times, being stuffed in a trunk, thrown into a lake, and nearly drowned. No problem! All in a day’s work. His friends were warned he might have permanent brain damage, but instead he made a full recovery in record time and seems none the worse for wear, happily greeting Charlie as he walks in. Charlie isn’t as happy. Huck asks him if Quinn is coming in today, and Charlie says he doesn’t know, then adds, “You tell me.” Huck looks a bit confused. Meow, you guys.
Meanwhile, Jake has taken David into the woods. An odd couple in an odd setting. Jake has done it for sentimental reasons. He knows David and the recently departed Liz North were an item for a while, and he thought David might want to say goodbye to her. He tells David he’s standing on her. David’s a bit unnerved, which is understandable, but then pulls himself together to say a few words. He says he didn’t know Liz very well, but he thinks that underneath it all she had a good heart. Jake basically says he thinks she was a sleazeball.
Why don’t they just neutralize Natasha? Mellie is in her office, having a meeting with the obnoxious Natasha. Mel has a list of potential cabinet appointees for her administration, but Natasha condescendingly laughs that off. Doesn’t Mel ‘get it’ yet, that she’s just going to be a figurehead? She should understand that she won’t get to make any actual decisions. This news is delivered with the same snarky smile and irritatingly smug attitude that accompanies everything Natasha says. She’s endlessly grating and can’t be killed off fast enough. Jake suggested a couple of episodes back that he should just take her out, so why don’t they let him?
Natasha says Mel’s cabinet will be filled for her, and there’s nothing for her to worry about. There’s also one other big vacancy that’s going to be opening up.
That’s about to be discussed over at OPA. Boris has dropped by to speak with Liv. He informs her they want Jake replaced as VP. Liv says that’s not going to happen, and he says they’ve had Mel’s office wired. He shows Liv a recording made there recently, a video of Jake cleaning up the Liz mess. If Jake won’t agree to step aside, Boris says, he’ll be framed for Liz’s murder. Liv doesn’t flinch; she tells him to go ahead and release the video, she doesn’t care. His plan will fail, because if people don’t trust Jake, they won’t trust Mel, either. Then he tells her she’s going to install him as the new VP. She brushes that aside, too. She says she’s glad she got to meet him, and now that she knows him, she it will feel that much better when she destroys him. He repeats that he will be Mel’s VP and leaves. After he’s gone, Huck asks Liv what their next move is. Her badass attitude dissipates quickly as she says she has no idea.
Giving in. For now, it looks like Liv feels out of options. That defiant attitude she used on Boris is nowhere in sight as she goes to Jake and tells him about the visit. She says he has to resign as VP. He says he won’t, and Liv says he’ll going to prison. That video of him cleaning up Liz’s body pretty much speaks for itself. She adds that considering the evil administration that’s about to assume power, Jake will probably be more useful at the NSA, anyway. Well, Liv, that’s assuming he’s not replaced at the NSA. And it’s also assuming that Jake does any actual work at the NSA, which to this point we’ve seen no evidence of.
Jake isn’t convinced, either. He says they can’t just do nothing. They have to fight back, and it’s a good time, now that Pa has been arrested. Liv hesitantly brings him up to speed and tells him Pa wasn’t exactly arrested and is in White House custody. Jake is disgusted by that and says Fitz is letting Pa go. Liv just says he should resign. That’s the best move right now.
As usual, Liv’s advice is followed. Jake announces that he’s stepping down as Mel’s VP. David watches the announcement on TV in his office. Natasha is there too, and they’re dressing after an apparent quickie during work hours. Why is David still doing Natasha?? What about Jake dramatically breaking into his house last week to grab him and warn him about how Natasha was murderous and evil, not to mention smarmy and annoying, and he should stay away from her? Does he think Jake was just jerking him around? Dave does seem a bit uncomfortable, especially when Natasha starts wondering aloud whatever became of Liz. It’s so irresponsible, she says as she dresses, to just disappear without a word to anyone. When she’s done going on and leaves, David makes a phone call to someone he tells, “She’s on her way to the White House.” So Dave is working against Natasha and is stringing her along. Great, but can he do that without quickies in his office? Yuck.
Showdown in the Oval. Natasha is on her way to a meeting with Fitz in the Oval Office. She picks up Mel on the way and says a few sarcastic, condescending things to her as they walk. I hate her so much. I’m normally not pro-violence, but I want to see her come to a messy end very badly. And soon.
Fitz and Abby are waiting in the Oval. Natasha greets them with fake cheeriness, gushing all over Fitz. He quickly tells her she can drop the act; he knows who she is, and he knows what she’s done. She immediately reverts to her smug, irritating self and tells him he’s not in charge here. As she starts to tell him how little power he actually has, cops and the Secret Service suddenly burst into the room. Agents grab everyone and hustle them out. They’re told a drone has been spotted over the White House, and they’re all being taken to safe spaces while it’s being investigated. As they’re being hurried through the halls, Natasha gets separated from Mellie. She protests loudly, saying she needs to go with Mel, but she’s hustled in the opposite direction, along with Abby. The two of them are deposited with two agents in one of the White House’s sealed off, soundproof rooms. Natasha tries to call Mel, but her phone is dead; she’s told all signals have been blocked. All Natasha can do is pout when she’s told she’s just going to have to sit and wait for the lockdown to be lifted. She’s used to getting her way and is frustrated that she seems to suddenly be totally powerless.
Fitz and Mel are taken to a room where the gang has gathered: Liv, David, Jake, Marcus, and Cy are waiting to have a little meeting. Mel looks confused when she sees everyone. Liv informs her that the drone is theirs, put there for them all get some alone time to try and figure things out. Fitz says they probably have about seventy-five minutes for the situation to be investigated, so they’ll have to work fast before the lockdown is lifted.
Back at OPA, Huck has his attention on a computer screen as Quinn talks. He’s controlling the drone! But he’s a multi-tasker, as well as a quick healer, he can deal with Quinn’s drama and control a drone that has thrown the White House, and all of DC, into upheaval, at the same time. Earlier, Quinn was concerned because Charlie didn’t come home last night. Now she’s even more concerned, because she still hasn’t heard from him, and it’s been all day. Does Huck have any idea where he might be? He tells her that Charlie might be jealous because he thinks that Quinn still has a thing for Huck and is staying away. Quinn says it’s absolutely ridiculous for him to think that. Huck somewhat reluctantly agrees.
A little WH chaos. The secret meeting of the minds at the White House discusses its options. David suggests a legal remedy, but Mel says since the people they’re dealing with bought the electors, they can buy Congress, too. So David says Mel can pick someone else as her nomination for VP. Cy speaks up that he thinks he might be a good choice, when Pa walks in. Everyone is surprised to see him, and even more surprised when he says that since he killed Vargas, he assumes he’s there because they need him to kill someone else. Liv steps into this awkwardness to say that he’s there to help them figure a way out. He says it’s a suicide mission, and he wants no part of it. Liv disagrees and thinks it’s worth trying. Then Cy and Mel start bickering, and as the mood in the room deteriorates, Pa does his best to completely destroy it as only he can. He starts by calling them all worthless, then manages to insult everyone, even Liv, to the point that Fitz has to be held back from taking a swing at him. Liv suggests they take a little break.
We’ll now break down into smaller groups… Pa goes back to his fruit and pastry-laden cell. Cy shows up and says he wants to show Pa something, then takes him down to the wine cellar Fitz had installed.
Meanwhile, David and Fitz are lamenting their troubles with the opposite sex. David complains about the kind of woman he seems to be attracted to. Well, since breaking up with Abby, he has made some questionable choices, culminating in inexplicably getting involved with the evil and excessively obnoxious Natasha. Fitz says he used to think things would be so much easier for him if he was attracted to boring women, or as he calls them ‘headband women’, but he knows that would never work for him. He and David are drawn to power and to powerful women, he says, and they both owe much of their success to it.
Cy and Pa are down below sampling some of the finest White House wine. Cy is getting a little weepy as he gets tipsy, lamenting his own troubles. He says he and Pa, once very powerful people in the government, are now being left behind. Pa just wants more wine, and as they finish a bottle, gets up for another. They chat, and as Pa browses through the collection, Cy follows him around, ominously fingering the corkscrew in his hand. Eventually he makes a move toward Pa, but Pa, as always, is a step ahead; he breaks a bottle and wheels around, holding the jagged glass in Cy’s face and asking what he thinks he’s doing. Cy gets even weepier then, saying how much he misses Frankie Vargas. He talks about how he needs Frankie at times like this and how badly he feels his absence. No one can take his place because, as Cy says, “He was better than us.” He really seems sincere, and it looks like this was a tipsy, lame effort to avenge Frankie’s death. Pa seems to think so, too, as he backs down. He tells Cy he’s sorry for his loss and leaves.
Elsewhere, Liv and Jake are sniping at each other. He asks what she thinks she’s fighting for. He thinks it’s all about Fitz, as usual, and she should know better by now. She should have learned that Fitz isn’t the answer to all of her problems. She snaps that she wishes he could put ‘this’ aside and be of some help to them instead of being a whiny pain in the butt. Suffice to say things aren’t going well in Jolivialand.
Mel sits by herself, and Marcus asks how she’s doing. She says she never should have contested the election; she should have just ceded, and none of this would have happened. He says she shouldn’t apologize for being ambitious or for never giving up. Then he reminds her that she’s the president-elect and to forget what Boris and Natasha have been telling her. She has the power and should use it.
After the encounter with Pa, Cy has wandered off on his own. He stops in a corridor to stare at a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt. He stares for a good long time. Aaaaand…that’s the whole scene. I thought maybe he was going to start talking to it, like Nixon supposedly did in his last days before resigning, wandering the White House halls at all hours and talking to the portraits. But no, Cy just stares.
Down in the bunker, Natasha is getting tired of being cut off from everything. She wants out. Abby says she might as well be patient, since there’s nothing any of them can do but wait. This makes Natasha angry, because she deals with being told ‘no’ about as well as a bratty six-year-old with an attitude problem. She launches into her usual power play tactics and starts threatening Abby, but Red tiredly cuts her off. She can make threats against Leo, Abby says, but it doesn’t matter, because they’ve broken up. In fact, Natasha has upended just about every relationship in Abby’s life, so she can threaten all she wants, but they’re empty threats. Natasha can’t take anything from her at this point, because, Abby says, she has nothing left to take.
A plan and some messy BBQ. There’s news the drone has been cleared away, and the lockdown will end soon. That’s not good news to those huddled in the West Wing, gathered together again, but still haven’t come up with a plan. Jake, in his familiar hawkish manner, says they should just challenge Boris and Natasha, head on. Liv says they can’t be the ones to decide that; Mellie, who has not yet reappeared and is the one who’s really on the line here, so the ultimate decision is hers. At that point, Mel walks in, fresh off her pep talk from Marcus. She’s heard Liv and says “Let’s do it”. She’s going to fight this thing, starting with naming her own choice for VP. Then, surprisingly, she walks over to Cy. Even more surprisingly, he says he doesn’t want it. Huh? He wanted it a few minutes ago. Did Teddy tell him something? Now Mel has to come up with another choice. Liv says it must be someone not only pure and trustworthy, but brave enough to step into this mess.
A few minutes later, they all emerge from the room. Liv calls Quinn and tells her that she and Huck can relax. It will all be over soon. Quinn relays the info and asks Huck if he wants to get some dinner. He tells her he’s found Charlie. So while flying a drone over the White House and forcing it into lockdown, he had the spare time to track down Charlie? The guy gets more done in the immediate aftermath of getting shot and almost drowned than most of us manage in weeks of perfect health. Then we see Quinn go to where Charlie is, sitting in his car, most likely following someone. He’s wolfing down dinner, some unattractive messy thing on a bun, and he’s getting sauce all over the place. I’m kind of grossed out, but Quinn pours out her heart to him, telling him she loves Huck, but as a friend, not like she loves him. He’s the only one she wants to marry. Then they kiss, and I’m further grossed out, because now Quinn has sauce all over her.
The new VP. Natasha is really ticked and has taken to pacing like a caged animal. They just said on the news that the drone has been cleared and the lockdown lifted, so why are she and Abby still in solitary? She makes some insulting remarks about the two of them probably being forgotten, because Abby’s not important enough to remember, which Abby just ignores. Shut up, Natasha. Then the news says there’s an announcement from Mellie, which shocks Natasha, as Mel isn’t supposed to do anything without her there. She and Abby watch as Mel says she’s decided her pick for VP is Luna Vargas, Frankie’s widow. A real ‘unity ticket’, Mel calls it. Luna joins Mel onstage, and they’re all smiles.
The same can’t be said of Natasha. She’s beside herself with anger and demands to be let out of the room. Abby apparently got the point across that she’s no longer threatenable, so Natasha goes up to one of the Secret Service agents and starts telling him all of the terrible things that will befall him if he doesn’t open the door. At that moment, the door opens from the outside. In walks Liv, looking as smug as Natasha usually does, informing her that she’s no longer Mel’s chief of staff. That would be Liv herself. What Natasha is now, Liv says, is in custody. A cop steps forward and puts the cuffs on her. Natasha is, of course, as defiant and smug as ever, telling Liv she has no idea who she’s messing with and how much she’ll regret it. Liv is unimpressed. She gets in Natasha’s face to tell her she messed with the wrong person: “You don’t take Olivia Pope; Olivia Pope takes you.” Normally I have an averse reaction to anyone speaking in the third person, but it seemed appropriate here. Natasha is led away.
Abby says Boris is going to be really unhappy when he gets the news. Liv acknowledges that and asks if she’s ready for a fight. Abby says it’s the least she can do.
It looks like quite a fight is in store. Boris isn’t going to like the incarceration of his smarmy partner in crime one bit. A preview of 06.13, “The Box” –
As the future of the country hangs in the balance, Olivia and Fitz are at odds with Rowan; Jake employs surprising tactics to manipulate the mystery woman.
So even with the fate of the world at stake, Liv and Fitz and Pa just can’t seem to play nice with each other. What’s it going to take, guys?