Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 15 Tick, Tock


L.T. Milroy


Welcome to the almost the end of the season! The wild ride that is S6 is nearly over. It started late and is shorter than usual by five or six episodes, but it’s rumbling to a conclusion.

How do things stand, at this point? Pa is on the side of the angels again, for starters. Yes, Pa Pope is a good guy, working to take down Ma Pope, who has returned and is decidedly bad. Characters tend to rotate and vacillate on this show, going from good to bad and back again. Sometimes in the same episode. Just accept it. It’s easier that way.

I’d also like to mention that the grammar nerd in me appreciates the comma inserted in the episode title. It shows an attention to detail the writers of this show often forget to give to the plot.

Tracking Ma. At the Pentagon, a team has been assembled to track down Mama Pope. Pa and David, an extremely unlikely pair, discuss how the whole city is wired down, and it’s just a matter of time until she’s found. Jake is out in the field with a group of commandos, ready to strike at a moment’s notice. Liv and Fitz come in. They talk about how desperate Ma must be, as her plans to crash the economy and profit handsomely from it are being thwarted, with the threat coming from members of her own family.

Following a lead, Jake and the commandos break into an abandoned building where Ma was believed to be. The place is empty, but she had been there and left some interesting things behind. The most upsetting thing to Liv is a map of Mellie’s inaugural parade route. It’s looking like Ma is in town to assassinate Mel.

Liv goes to Mel to tell her what they found. Mel’s reaction is classic: “It’s official. Every member of your family has wanted me dead at some point.” Hee! Sing it, sister! Liv suggests moving the inauguration indoors, but Mel isn’t nuts about the idea.

Quinn in charge. Quinn is in Liv’s…uh…her own office at OPA. I assume it’s still called OPA, but that’s really going to have to change now that OP is gone, doesn’t it? It’s weird seeing Quinn in charge. Huck and Charlie look around the office, to which the new boss has already added some of her own touches. They comment on a new chair, which she plays down, saying it’s from home. They discuss beefing up security, with Ma in town. Charlie calls her ‘boss’ on the way out. She doesn’t seem real happy with that.

That was rather uneventful… Back at the Pentagon, Jake, David and Pa go over all they know about Ma. Looking through surveillance photos, a certain Secret Service agent keeps turning up. He has a checkered past, was once fired by the SS, and was just recently reinstated. They think the guy might be easy for someone like Ma to compromise, and they’re right. They trace him to a hotel room; Ma’s hotel room, specifically. Before he can spill any state secrets, or get a bullet in the head from Ma, or quite possibly both, Jake knocks on the door, gets the guy out of the way, and the commandos storm in. Ma protests her innocence and says this is all a mistake, but otherwise she surrenders very quietly.

Ma is brought to that bunker-type cell where we’ve seen other prisoners sweat it out. She keeps saying she has nothing to do with any assassination plot, as she gets chained to the table. She knows she’s being watched from the other side of the glass, presumably by Pa, so she starts talking to him. She says he’s wasting his time. She’s innocent and will explain it to him if he’ll just come in. Pa, and Liv are, indeed, watching and listening, as Ma starts spinning a little monologue about Black womanhood. Everyone in this family has a severe case of diarrhea of the mouth. Liv tells Pa maybe he should go in and talk to her. He says not yet.

The new OPA’s first case.  Back at the new OPA, there’s still a bit of bickering going on. Charlie starts talking about the wedding, then asks Quinn if there’s even going to be a wedding, what with all of her new responsibilities. Before she can answer, Liv walks in and tells them Ma has been claiming she’s in town to protect Liv from who’s really planning the attack on Mel, but she’s lying. Liv says Ma hired someone to kill Mel, and whoever that is must be found. She needs to find them as quickly as possible and asks for Quinn’s help. It’s the first case for the new OPA. Quinn accepts.

It’s obvious Liv was affected by walking into an OPA that’s no longer hers, and when she leaves, Huck follows her into the hallway. He asks if she needs any help, but she says no, he should stay and help Quinn. He tells her to be careful.

Motherhood. Ma is still talking out loud to herself. She tells Pa he better get in there and talk to her, because the clock is ticking, and then starts doing a ‘tick, tock’ thing, repeating it over and over. It’s reminiscent of ‘seven-fifty-two’. Then she talks about many years ago when they were married and starts getting a little bizarre, climbing up on the table even while being chained to it, and Pa decides to finally speak with her. She tells him she wants to see Liv. He says Liv wants nothing to do with her. Then he says Liv might be persuaded to come see her if she gives something in return, like answering some questions. But Ma has no intention of making things that easy for him. She asserts her innocence and insists that she’s just trying to protect their daughter, since he can’t. Pa gets angry at that. He says she may have given birth to Liv, but she’s not her mother. Ma gets angry at that and says again that she’s innocent and time is running out.

The rehabilitation of Red. The Gladiators are frustrated as they keep hitting dead ends in trying to find out who Ma is working with. Charlie says it’s too bad Boris and Natasha are dead, since they could be a big help. Then Quinn realizes that while many people have been taken out over the past few weeks, one major player in this whole saga is still very much alive and could prove useful to them.

So they invite her back to her former place of employment. The Gladiators are waiting by the elevator as the doors open to Abby. The reunion is a bit strained, but Abby has brought them some bank records she thinks might aid in their search. As often is the case in these matters, she says to follow the money, and it will likely lead to answers. She’s politely thanked for her efforts by Huck and Charlie, but Quinn merely turns around to walk back into the office. Abby starts to go, then stops to tell Quinn that she never took any money and thinks she should know that. Quinn considers that and asks Abby what she wants. Abby says she wants to help. Quinn somewhat reluctantly tells her to come in.

Pa has gotten tired of Ma’s BS and given up on her. He’s retreated back to his lab, where he’s visited by Liv. She tells him he has to go back and talk to Ma. He’s the only one who can break her.

Balcony drama. Mel and Fitz are out on a White House balcony, having a drink. She’s discussing with him Liv’s suggestion of a private inauguration. She still doesn’t like the idea. Every president in history has stood before the nation and taken the oath of office, she says, it just wouldn’t be right for her to do so indoors, out of public view, even if it will be safer. He says if it were him, he’d cancel the whole public ceremony. She says that’s easy for him to say, he’s experienced it, twice; for her, it’s something she’s been dreaming about all her life. But he says he’d cancel, because he knows what it’s like to be shot. He describes in detail the assassination attempt on him and what the whole experience felt like, thensays he just wants to spare her the possibility of going through that.

Not exactly a happy mother/daughter reunion. Despite the Gladiators’ best efforts, they can’t find Ma’s money and say maybe there’s a possibility she’s telling the truth. Quinn can’t believe that could be true and starts beating herself up that this is her first case as the head of OPA, and she’s blowing it. Abby then suggests maybe they’ve been looking in the wrong place. Instead of searching through who was doling out money, they should concentrate on who received money. Look downstream.

Later, Huck shows up at Liv’s apartment. He tells her Ma didn’t hire an assassin, she is the assassin. She’s not in charge, someone hired her. That gives Liv an idea, but she doesn’t execute it very well. She goes to see Ma and acts very concerned about her welfare. She says she and Pa have looked into Ma’s claims of innocence, and they believe her. Neither of them thinks she’s involved in the assassination plot, but if she knows anything about any of this, she has to tell them. Then Liv asks how Ma is and if she needs anything to eat or drink before screaming to anyone outside the door that Ma is being abused, and she’s an innocent woman, and someone better come in here and unchain her right now.

It’s all very over the top, and Ma doesn’t wait long to call Liv’s bluff. She smiles sweetly and says Liv isn’t fooling her for a minute. So Liv switches gears and tells Ma she has thirty seconds to spill the details as to how she was going to carry out the assassination. Ma doesn’t listen and just keeps taunting her until Liv has had enough. When she counts down to one and Ma is still being smug, Liv lunges at her and wraps her hands around her throat. Of course, this is probably approximately, like, the thousandth time in her life someone has tried to kill her, so Ma takes it like a pro. She says nothing and just stares as Liv screams at her as she strangles her. Jake then bursts in and pulls Liv off. Ma merely coughs a bit and tells Liv she understands.

In the aftermath of stranglegate, Liv is pacing on that White House balcony that sees a fair amount of action this episode. Jake tells Fitz and Mel what happened. Mel goes outside to talk to Liv, who apologizes and says that now Ma will never talk. Mel says regardless, she’s not canceling the inauguration.

Strategizing. Liv, Fitz, Jake, and David go over their options. Fitz wants charges brought against Ma. Liv says no, they should let her go and track her, and she’ll lead them to whoever hired her. If they hold her, that person will just hire someone else in Ma’s absence. That whole scenario makes Fitz nervous. Ma knows what she’s doing, she’ll somehow manage to give them the slip. He gives Liv twelve hours to find who hired Ma, then he’s going to press charges, and he and David leave. Left alone, Liv tells Jake he knows she’s right about this. He agrees.

Liv and Jake go see Ma and unchain her. Liv tells her she’s going to get a tracking chip, and they’re going to use her as bait.

Not that joyful an event. It’s the end of the day at OPA. Abby is leaving and says goodbye to everyone. Huck and Charlie answer, but Quinn ignores her. Abby dejectedly leaves. Quinn has been acting like a real beeotch all day, and we finally find out why. She follows Abby into the hallway, where Abby starts spouting some martyr talk about how she knows she’s still considered bad, and it should be expected that Quinn won’t be nice to her, until Quinn interrupts to say she’s pregnant. There are a few moments of silence, with neither of them knowing quite what to say in the wake of that disclosure. Then Quinn starts to despair over what she’s going to do, wondering how dangerous, borderline sociopathic people like her and Charlie could ever be parents. Good question, babe. It seems like a recipe for certain disaster. Abby surely realizes this and has no idea how to answer, so Quinn just thanks her for her help.

A proposition. An angry Pa shows up at Liv’s place. He’s heard Ma has been set free and can’t believe Liv would do such a thing. Liv says she can’t discuss it with him. He says Ma played her, but she says Ma played him. They’re obviously not going to agree about this. He says Mel will die, and it will be Liv’s fault.

Pa then pays a visit to Fitz. He tells him it’s time to reinstate B613. Fitz says there’s no way he’s going to hand that kind of power back to Pa, but Pa says he doesn’t want it. His time has come and gone, and Fitz should be the one running the new B613.

Elsewhere, a van door is opened, and Ma is set free. Liv is with Mel, reassuring her that Ma will not fail them.

Pa states his case for Fitz heading up the newly revived B613. Liv will be in power now, and Fitz knows her pretty well. She needs a check on her powers, and Fitz would fill that role perfectly. Fitz seems to be considering it.

And that’s where it leaves off.

Next week, the season ends with 06.16, “Transfer of Power”. Actually, it ended this week, but these are clearly two different episodes that the network decided to show in a two-hour block, so I’m splitting them up into two different weeks. Try to stop me.

The preview for the season finale just says that “Fitz uses his power to make some unexpected changes.” He’ll no doubt be mulling over Pa’s suggestion. No mention of Ma in the preview, but I assume we’ll find out how much of a presence she’s going to have in S7. If any.

Incidentally, I’ve read that Katie Lowes, who plays Quinn, is pregnant IRL, so that’s presumably why her character had that particular reveal in this ep. Pregnancies sure have wreaked havoc with this show, twice with Kerry Washington and now this. Kerry’s pregnancies, and her absences, weren’t dealt with all that well, IMO (that absolutely ridiculous kidnapping/auction plot, anyone?). It wouldn’t seem to be good timing at this juncture to cut back on Quinn’s screen time, after she just got that big promotion. We’ll see how the show handles it…


Only one left!


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