Things are quite dark in Scandalverse heading into the holiday break. Quinn Perkins, a veteran of the show who has been with us since the beginning, is still MIA. Her colleagues, and especially her fiancé, are getting desperate to find her. Since this is the big winter finale, the gang’s all here to celebrate. There are even some faces on hand we haven’t seen for a while.Enjoy this episode. It needs to last for a couple of months. Of course, we’re sent into the break with a cliffhanger, maybe the last in Scandal history…
Stressed-out spies. Things are understandably tense at QPA these days, with Quinn having disappeared. It looks as though she was taken right out of the elevator while coming up to the office for her wedding. Charlie is beside himself with worry about his pregnant bride. Huck tries to ‘cheer him up’ by describing an idea he came up with for a new torture device and how maybe they can try it out whenever they find who took Quinn. But not even the thought of indulging in bloodthirsty behavior can cheer up Charlie in his present state. He tells Huck of the fantasies he has of killing Quinn’s captors and how that’s mainly what he thinks about lately. A grim-looking Abby interrupts to say there’s been a report of a woman found dead fitting Quinn’s description.
At B613, Liv is frustrated that Quinn still hasn’t been found. She tells Jake she wants all the stops pulled out on this case and the weight of the federal government behind the search effort.
When Liv gets home that night, Charlie is waiting by her door. He’s supposed to be looking at the body to see if it’s Quinn, but he can’t bring himself to go. He’s apparently looked at a lot of bodies lately and is tired of the emotionally draining ritual. He asks Liv if she thinks Quinn is dead. Unlike his co-workers at QPA, he thinks she’ll give him an honest answer and not just one he wants to hear. Liv basically says she doesn’t know, but anything is possible.
Charlie finally forces himself to go look at the body, and the woman isn’t Quinn. He seems as stressed by that as he is relieved.
Making Cy suspicious. Abby visits Cyrus in his office. He tells her he was able to talk Fenton Glackland out of filing charges against Charlie. Magnanimous of Fenton, since Charlie is guilty of kidnapping and torture and possibly attempted murder. Cy says Fenton is currently on vacation in Montana to clear his head. Then Cy wonders how they could have been so wrong about him. Even Cy himself was starting to wonder if maybe Fenton was up to something sinister and how could he think something so preposterous? Abby says they had information that the plane bomber once worked for Fenton, which was solid information from the NSA. It was intelligence directly from Jake, so there was no reason not to act on it.
There was a weird moment in this scene. When Cy talked about Fenton going to Montana, he mentioned a gift Glackland gave him before leaving. It’s a candle, which is in Cy’s office, and of which we got a lingering look. It was strange the show went out of its way to acknowledge a seemingly insignificant gift, which makes me suspicious that it contains a bug of some sort and Fenton is spying on Cy. Maybe their ‘chance’ meeting and unlikely relationship isn’t so random, after all. Cy doesn’t appear to share my cynicism at the moment and thinks it’s a lovely candle. Maybe a gift is just a gift? We’ll see.
In any case, Abby bringing up Jake does stir suspicion in Cy. He waylays Jake in a White House hallway and mentions how it was his intelligence that led to the plane bomber. Funny thing is, Cy says, he looked into it and couldn’t find any evidence that the bomber ever worked for Glackland. He adds that Charlie almost killed an innocent man because of that bad intel. Jake looks at Cy creepily and says that those in government service always do their best, but sometimes mistakes happen. This seems to be kind of a threat, and Cy appears to take it that way.
Fresh from creeping out Cy, Jake goes to Liv’s office. She says there’s no news on Quinn. Jake says that the only two people who have any reason to want her dead are in the room, so there’s a good chance she’s still alive. An accurate observation, and one that points out the absurdity of this situation, where Liv is worried about the welfare of someone who might have been intending to expose her damaging secret and wreck her life. She and Quinn have a complicated relationship, to say the least.
Then Jake says he’s worried about Curtis Pryce, who’d been contacted by Quinn. They don’t know how much she told him or how extensive his knowledge is. He could be a problem. A staffer interrupts to tell Liv her father has been trying to get in touch with her. Pa says it’s urgent.
Pa is involved, of course. Papa Pope is waiting for Liv in a restaurant. She tells him she’s too busy to waste her time with him. Quinn is missing, and she can’t stay. He immediately gets her attention by saying he has Quinn. Liv sits, and Pa starts bargaining. He says it’s time for Liv’s reckoning. Quinn, the one person Liv thought she would never kill, now knows enough to take Liv down. It’s quite a dilemma for her, Pa says, and the key to his freedom. Quinn is his pass to getting what he wants. He proposes an even trade: Quinn for his freedom, which, he specifies, includes getting his dinosaur bones back. If Liv doesn’t agree to the terms, he’ll kill Quinn.
Pa seems to mean business, but Liv doesn’t seem to care. She says he’ll never harm Quinn. He won’t do anything until he hears from her, because she’s in charge. She gets up. He says he’s not bluffing. She again just tells him not to waste her time and leaves.
When Liv tells Jake what happened, he thinks the only way to handle this is to storm Pa’s house. If there’s a chance to get Quinn back alive, they have to take it. But Liv disagrees. She says they should wait it out. Pa is bluffing. He’ll return Quinn.
The next time we see Jake, he’s meeting secretly with Pa. He tells Pa this battle with Liv is one he’s not going to win. Pa says to let Liv do her worst. He’s ready. When Jake relays those sentiments to Liv, she’s annoyed that he went to Pa behind her back. She still thinks they should have done nothing and just waited Pa out. Jake still disagrees with that strategy and says Pa will never just admit defeat and give Quinn back. Liv has to start taking him seriously, and she has to do it soon, because the clock is ticking.
Taking a meeting in a hotel is rarely a good idea. Liv’s assistant, the one who interrupted her meeting with Jake earlier, is sitting in a hotel room. There’s a knock at the door, which she opens to Pryce. She called him there to talk about some dirt she has on the administration. She says he has to promise that Liv won’t find out she told him, and Pryce agrees. Gee, I don’t see any way this could go wrong. Curt should take a tip from Pa to always meet in a restaurant or some otherwise public place. Amateur.
House arrest doesn’t look all that bad. While her staffer takes that meeting, Liv goes to one of her own. She’s in a secure and lavishly appointed apartment when who strolls in but Mama Pope. Apparently Liv installed her there to hide her from Pa. Even though her accommodations are lovely, and she can’t complain about her living conditions, Ma is still a prisoner and is ill-tempered about it. Liv tells her that Pa kidnapped Quinn. After being reminded who Quinn is, Ma asks what Liv wants her to do about it. Of course Ma is going to be contentious and difficult. Did Liv expect anything else? If she did, she sure doesn’t learn from experience. Liv says Ma can help her or not, which she expresses by saying, “You can either be my mother or a bitch”, a line that’s odd and obtuse and ridiculous all at the same time. When Ma is silent, Liv gets up to go, but Ma just laughs and tells her to sit her “dramatic ass down.” Hee! A little mother-daughter time, Pope style. Always a bit off kilter.
Ma asks what it is Quinn has on Liv that has Liv so nervous. Liv isn’t specific and just says that Quinn ‘knows things’. She despairs over what to do, but Ma scoffs at that. Ma says Liv knows what she wants to do, and she’s there looking for permission. So many of Liv’s problems go away if Quinn dies, but she’s afraid to admit that. Ma says she should just let the clock run out.
Speaking of clocks running out, Liv’s assistant calls Jake from her hotel room and says, “It’s done.” Pryce is crumpled on the floor, condition unknown. Are Liv and Jake already to the point that they’ll just wantonly kill anyone who gets in their way? Or is Pryce incapacitated but still alive? I think we’re supposed to assume he’s expired. Don’t get in Command’s way.
Jake drives this point home for Cy. As the Veep is waiting outside the Oval for a meeting with Mel, a nearby TV has a news bulletin that Curtis Pryce is missing. As Cy watches, Jake comes up creepily behind him and says what a shame it is. It would be quite a loss for the country to lose such a crusading journalist for the truth. But Jake says it’s not really unexpected, since Pryce has stepped on a lot of toes and made lots of enemies. Again, this sounds a bit threatening, and Cy takes notice.
A reckoning and a boot. Jake goes to Liv’s place and tells her Pryce is missing. Liv says it’s a tragedy, but she doesn’t want the details. He reminds her that Pa’s clock runs out tomorrow morning. She has to decide exactly how she wants to handle it. Liv says even though it would solve a lot of her problems, it’s hard to just let Quinn die. Jake says then she should take Pa’s deal and give him back his bones. But Liv is still conflicted. She says if she gives in on this, he’ll just keep asking for things. This is about power, and he’ll take everything she has if she lets him. Jake says then to just go ahead and kill him. At long last, do what she has to do. He asks her who she is; if she’s really Command, she’ll act like it. Liv apparently doesn’t like being called out and tells him to leave.
Time to kiss Liv’s butt. Remember that nuclear arms reduction treaty Mel was going to get signed by Bashran et al? Looks like it’s finally time to do that. Although we don’t get to see the treaty actually signed, Mel meets with Liv beforehand. Even though she’s been distracted by various side projects, Liv was apparently able to help enough with the treaty that Mel praises her for it, saying she was instrumental in Mel accomplishing something six previous presidents couldn’t. She smooches her ass so much, Liv probably had a hard time sitting down for dinner. After a slight speed bump last week, it looks like Mel is ride-or-die and solidly on Team Liv.
One last thing… The entire episode has basically been a set-up for the final scene. Her time running out, Liv goes to Pa’s house. He immediately gets down to business and asks what Liv’s decided, Quinn’s life or his freedom? Liv is still full of attitude and says he doesn’t summon her, which is kind of silly, because she’s standing right there, so he apparently does summon her! Pa’s answer is to pull a gun, point it at her head, and repeat his request. Liv is unimpressed; she says he won’t shoot her, even though it would solve his problems (there’s a lot of that going around in this episode). He should do it though, she says. She tells him to shoot her, just go ahead and do it. End all his problems, quickly and easily. She stands and waits. He points the gun at her, and his hand starts shaking. After a while of that, he lowers his arm. He can’t bring himself to shoot. Liv smugly says if he doesn’t have it in him to kill her, she wins.
Of course, Pa still has the Quinn card, which he then plays. He says the time is up, and she can’t just let Quinn die. Liv wordlessly gets out her phone, calls a number, gives some sort of official code, and says she has a kill order. She then gives the specifics on Pa – height, weight – and where he can be found. She hangs up and tells Pa he has twenty minutes to live, because government agents are on their way, and they have orders to shoot to kill. He appeals to her humanity, but she says she wasn’t raised to have any. Then she says Pa has taken everything she ever loved. And now he speaks of her ‘humanity’? There is none. She’s no ‘ray of light’, she says, she’s not ‘a warm campfire’, she’s a blowtorch. Then she tells him he has sixty seconds; he can kill Quinn or hand her over.
Pa says Liv is bluffing, but she says he’s the one who’s bluffing, and she starts counting down from sixty. Pa leaves the room. There’s the sound of a keypad, followed by a door opening. Then there’s a gunshot. Quinn’s voice can be heard, pleading, then another gunshot, then silence. Liv is shocked and looks sick, like she’s about to hurl all over Pa’s nice furniture. Pa walks back into the room and asks if she wants to see the body.
Aaaaand, that’s it. That’s the end of the winter finale. As for myself (and likely as well as any other fans who have been watching since the first episode and have something invested in this show), I was screaming, YES!!! YES, I DO WANT TO SEE THE BODY!! On this show, are you kidding?? I DEFINITELY want to see the body!! But the episode ended, so that will have to wait.
Fitz is still around? It should be mentioned that there’s also a subplot this week, involving Marcus and Fitz and Fitz’s foundation, all of which are apparently still ‘things’ on this show. A boring subplot that didn’t add anything to the proceedings, but a subplot nonetheless.
The foundation has criminal justice reform as a pet cause. Marcus thinks Mellie could spend some of the political capital she’s about to get from the treaty signing by helping that cause, but Fitz disagrees. He and his ex aren’t exactly getting along well these days and can barely stand to look at each other to co-parent that ghost of a kid that no one ever sees. He’s not in a position to ask for any favors.
That leads Marcus to go to the White House on Fitz’s behalf. He brings along some folders containing crime proposals to show to Mel. She wants to know why he’s really there. He says because Fitz can’t be. And it’s sad that she won’t speak to Fitz, he says, because she’s better than that. It’s hard to believe these two had a torrid affair not that long ago, because anyone in the same room with them these days is in danger of getting frostbite. Mel says he’s being condescending and insulting and tells him to leave. After he goes, she starts leafing through one of the files he left.
Later in the episode, Fitz drops by the White House to pick up Teddy (who still isn’t seen, just referred to, but even that’s an improvement). Mel tells him she wants to discuss his foundation’s ideas on criminal justice reform. Just like that, she seems interested. Not sure why time was taken up with this, except as a way to justify Fitz hanging around, if he’s going to.
And one more sub-subplot. The Dabby situation is also addressed. Last week, an Abby/David reunion appeared to be in the works. Early in the week, Abby made it very clear she was interested in Davey’s bod at one point, and he, rather abruptly, backed off, made a lame excuse, and left. Strange, since he was originally the one who wanted to rekindle things between them. Later, she calls him on his apparent rejection, and he confesses that she scares him because her world is so dangerous. He’s been helping find Quinn by alerting them whenever dead females are found who fit her description, of which it appears there’s a depressingly endless supply. How long, he asks, before he’s identifying Abby’s body? But Abby’s in no mood for this downer talk. She says her job can be dangerous, but life is full of risks. Some risks are worth taking. And she kisses him. So it looks like Dabby is indeed back on, despite David’s well-founded concerns.
Time for a break. This is where things stand going into the holiday break of the final season. Liv may have gone too far in calling Pa’s bluff. But is Quinn really dead? That’s a total toss-up. Just hearing gunshots means nothing on this show. A corpse, and a DNA test on said corpse, will be required before I’m convinced. Pa may still consider Quinn to be more useful alive than dead. And the two may even have been working together, against Liv, and Quinn was never really kidnapped in the first place. There are several possibilities. One thing’s for sure, though: Quinn is nine months pregnant. If she and Pa are in cahoots, I hope he knows something about birthin’ babies, because she’s due to whelp at any moment. Yikes.
All will be addressed when Scandal begins the second half of its last season, on Jan. 18. Happy holidays, Gladiators!