Catch up on Scandal S7 Ep. 2 Pressing the Flesh

by

L.T. Milroy

 

There’s romance in the air in Scandaland this week. It seems to be on everyone’s mind in DC. There are other things to worry about in the world, like a possible nuclear incident that might be brewing, but our characters have their priorities. They know what’s really important.

Though weighty issues like nuclear war are broached, this is actually a pretty fun episode. Nothing wrong with a little lighthearted Scandal in the final season.

The CoS ain’t got no time for you. Things start right off on a lewd, and gross, note, as we see Liv in a hotel room. She’s getting dressed as Curtis Pryce, the annoying talk show host from last week, lounges in bed. Ugh, that’s the gross part. Even if Pryce is kind of hot looking, it’s hard to see past the smug and smarm. He’s apparently enjoying the afterglow while Liv, who has no time for such things these days, is anxious to get back to her life. A brief time-out for a little side nookie, and she’s off to take on DC and the world. He complains a bit about the secondary role he seems to be playing in her life, always meeting in hotels just long enough for her to have some stress-relieving sex, but she curtly cuts him off and basically lets him know he’s not a boyfriend, he’s a boy toy, and if he’s not okay with that, she’ll just find another. All things considered, he seems okay with that.

Dinnertime. At the White House, Liv is preparing for a dinner in honor of the president of Bashran. She’s a bit tense, because this is the country the U.S. was caught spying on in last week’s episode, which included Liv threatening the ambassador’s son. There’s a lot riding on President Rashad agreeing to a nuclear treaty, but it’s not going to be an easy sell. Bashran is on the brink of getting nuclear capability, and Liv wants to end that before it begins.

Liv vents to Cyrus about what a stressful night this is likely to be, but his mind is on other things. He complains that she’s seated him next to the eccentric tycoon, Fenton Glackland, who Cy can’t stand. Besides, it seems to him that they’ve been put next to each other simply because they’re both gay and it’s assumed they’ll automatically have a lot to talk about, right? It obviously annoys Cy, but Liv just tells him Glackland is a big bucks benefactor, and Cy should take the opportunity to kiss his ass.

Back at the new QPA, the dinner is seen as a different opportunity, a place to meet prospective clients. The only problem is that the Gladiators aren’t invited. Abby is having lunch with David, who’s still the AG, and asks him to get her four tickets. He isn’t really into the idea, but of course, even though they haven’t been an item in quite a while, Abby can still influence her old BF when she wants to. She gets the tickets, and QPA is ready to attend, under phony names, of course.

Difficult diplomacy. Mellie is greeting President Rashad in front of the press. They’re all smiles as the cameras are on them, but after the reporters are herded out, his friendly demeanor vanishes. He scoffs at her request that he sign a non-nuclear treaty, especially since the U.S. has armed his enemies in the past. He’d very much like to discuss ridding the world of nukes, he says, and why not start with the countries that have the most? Like the U.S.? Mel gives a tense smile. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

Pre-party, Quinn is handing out tickets and identities. She tells Charlie they’re going as a couple, but his name is Kevin. Huck is all cleaned up, and it’s always weird seeing him that way, but he’s looking unhappy. Abby asks what’s wrong, and he says he doesn’t want to go, as he’s no good at small talk. I’m sure that qualifies as an understatement! Abby says he doesn’t have to talk much and just let the other person do the talking, to which Huck answers that the only way he knows to get people to talk is to hurt them. Hee! The RL problems of a sadistic spy. Abby says these Washington folk love to talk about themselves, so they won’t need much encouragement. She says he’ll do fine. Huck asks if it feels strange for her to visit the White House after she used to work there and if she misses it. Abby pauses then says she had an exciting, high-profile job serving the president, and of course she misses it sometimes, but she adds tgat she still prefers being a Gladiator.

Poor, horny Mellie. Mel is nervously getting ready for the dinner. Liv is there and stresses upon her that Rashad must agree to sign the treaty. Liv says that Bashran is maybe a year away from getting nuclear capability, so tonight is crucial. Mel is feeling the responsibility of her first big test of international diplomacy and responds by telling Liv she’d rather go out drinking…slip away to some DC pick-up spot. She complains a bit about all of the responsibilities that come with being president. It never ends, she says. She’s working all the time. She knew it would be tough, but she had no idea. And dating is out of the question. For a woman in particular, the job makes it impossible. She bemoans her single and sex-less status, saying exasperatedly, “There is a famine in my ladybits!” Then she paces around as she says she at least needs a vibrator but can’t even get that, because it’s not like she can go on-line and buy one, like a normal person. The universe seems to have conspired against her getting off.

It’s a funny scene, but Mel is obviously frustrated and doesn’t know how to deal with it. Liv can’t help but laugh. She says she wonders how this scene will play out when Ken Burns makes his documentary of Mel’s presidency, and then Mel laughs, too. Then Liv says it can be lonely, but it’s the job. Mel says she knows.

After dealing with a horny Mel who’s facing the first big test of her presidency, Liv goes to a recess of the White House that’s now housing the new B613 command center. Jake is there, and she tells him that it looks like Rashad is going to be difficult, so they’d better find some dirt on him for leverage. Jake says he’ll start digging.

Mingling. It’s dinnertime, and everyone goes to work. Cy heaves a sigh as a blustering Glackland comes up to him and introduces himself. Huck attempts to make small talk with a woman and only succeeds in creeping her out. Abby tells him to find someone he has more in common with; there’s some military here, so he should try one of them. Quinn, with her husband ‘Kevin’, is looking for clients. Liv is working the room and is surprised to run into Pryce. He isn’t supposed to be there, and he has a date with him, no less. Liv isn’t happy. Mel tries to talk Rashad into signing the treaty, but he’s still resistant, because he faces too much political resistance; if he even says the word ‘treaty’ in relation to dealing with the West, the opposition in his country will rise up, and he’ll be killed or exiled. It’s out of the question. Mel looks despairing and frustrated. Liv sees her from across the room and knows things aren’t going well. On cue, Jake walks in and motions Liv out to the hallway.

Jake, a fast worker as always, has dug up some photos. They show Rashad going into his hotel room, just last night, with a girl who looks to be a teen, maybe underage. Liv thanks him, takes the photos, and returns to her seat. Then she eyes Rashad menacingly as she ponders her next move.

Glackland is blustering a lot, every bit the gasbag Cy thought he would be. He mentions that he’s thinking of getting into politics and might make a run for governor. Hell, he has the time and the money. Then an announcement is made that tonight’s musical entertainment will begin shortly in the next room. Glackland isn’t interested in listening to some singer, he says as he gets up, and tells Cy he wants a White House tour. Cy reluctantly follows him.

An aide delivers a note to Liv, who reads it and says to hold the start of the performance for a few minutes.

Bathroom diplomacy. Liv meets with Jake in the B613 lair. He hands her another folder, which contains info he knows can be corroborated. It leads Liv to take a meeting with Rashad in the men’s room. For privacy, she says. She hands him the folder, and he says the girl in the pictures is his niece, who visited him last night. Liv knows that by now. What she also knows is that he got his niece into college in Boston. Even as he rails against Western influences to please certain factions in his country, he chose to send his niece to college in the U.S. It wouldn’t be good for him at home if this information got out, says Liv. But this just seems to cement Rashad’s hardline view. He says he knows all about her blackmailing of his ambassador and threatening his son, so he expected possible dirty dealings. He also tells her he won’t do business with her, and the matter is closed. He won’t sign the treaty and will be leaving as soon as the concert is over.

Cy reads the riot act. Glackland has been his insufferable self all through the White House tour, and Cy is glad to finally be at the end of it, as he takes his obnoxious guest into the Oval Office. Most people show hushed reverence upon seeing the Oval for the first time, but Glackland, of course, has no respect for anything. He saunters right in, strolls around, then proceeds to walk behind the president’s desk and plunk himself down in her chair, not even hearing as Cy, a bit stunned, implores him not to. Glackland then starts talking again about his big, successful business and how he thinks it’s time to branch out into politics; maybe governor isn’t setting his sights high enough. Why not president? Cy’s heard enough. He snaps and yells at Glackland to get up, calling him an ignorant, entitled boob. In a thinly veiled reference to our current situation, Cy says that the presidency isn’t a prize for bored millionaires. Someone as vulgar as Glackland could never appreciate the splendor of the room or the importance of the building in which he’s sitting. This has all been mounting up in Cy for the past couple of hours, and he lets it all out. Now it’s Glackland’s turn to look stunned. Once Cy is done venting, he regrets it almost immediately and starts to apologize, but Glackland just gets up and walks out.

What Huck’s small talk leads to. Huck takes Abby’s advice and starts a conversation with an army officer. It’s going okay until Huck glances at the medals on the guy’s uniform, which spooks him, and he cuts it short. Later, Abby finds him in the hallway, looking at his phone. Huck says the army guy was suspicious. His medals were in the wrong order, so Huck secretly took his photo and is looking him up. Then Huck says the guy isn’t in the army’s data base, so whoever he is, he isn’t U.S. military.

As this is being unraveled, the fake army guy stops President Rashad and his entourage in a hallway. They’re about to leave, but fake army guy says Mellie wants to meet with Rashad privately. He’s been sent to take Rashad to her, he says, so Rashad goes with him. Instead, fake army guy takes him into a room, closes the door and pulls a gun. He’s a member of the Bashrani opposition, sent to assassinate the president. Before he can pull the trigger, however, Jake and his minions burst in and tackle him.

Personal diplomacy. The plot foiled, Jake and Liv take Rashad to a secure room. He’s understandably shook up, but they tell him they intend to find out how the assassin was able to get into the dinner. Then they leave Rashad alone with Mel. She tells him she knows what he’s feeling, since she gets several death threats a day. He says that with his country as volatile as it is, he fears what would happen to it if he were assassinated more than he fears his own death. He seems sincere, and Mel says the treaty really is in his country’s best interests. Signing it really would be the best thing for the future of his country and its people. He thinks that over and says that if Dakal, Bashran’s greatest enemy were to sign the treaty, he would, too. Mel says it’s a done deal. She’ll get Dakal to the table.

And just like that, a huge hurdle, which seemed insurmountable just a few minutes ago, is out of the way. Mel and Rashad have come to a major mutual agreement. Rashad relaxes, takes a sip of water, and asks if Mel has anything stronger. Mel seems surprised but says that of course she does, and gets up to pour him a drink. I immediately thought of that homemade hooch she’s so fond of, but I think she’ll have to know him a little better before she breaks that out! She hands him a glass and sits down next to him. He tells her how lovely she looks, and he’s right; she wore a simple but beautiful blue dress to the party and looks pretty good in it. And let’s not forget how horny she is! Some sparks fly between these two, and they both know it, but they also both know how ill-advised a personal relationship would be at this point. So he finishes his drink, thanks her, and leaves. She lets out a deep breath after the door closes.

The return of Dabby? Romance is in the air with the Gladiators, as well. Abby was standing next to David during the concert, and he tried to take her hand, but she rebuffed him and walked away. Later, she confronts him and asks what he was doing, but he doesn’t understand her resistance. He thinks they should be a couple again. She reminds him that they’re friends, but he says they’re good together, and she knows it.

Spies in love, part whatever. Meanwhile, Quinn and Charlie arrive back at QPA after the dinner. Quinn thinks it went pretty well, but Charlie looks weary. Quinn went all-in with her fake identity, referring to Charlie as Kevin all night, calling him her husband, and making up a fake marriage and family. The whole thing made him uncomfortable. He seems to be questioning their relationship, as he says that he proposed to the ‘old’ Quinn. The ‘new’ Quinn, the one that runs QPA, seems to keep postponing their wedding and doesn’t apopear to need him. He says she needs ‘Kevin’. As he talks, a realization settles in, and Quinn gets angry. She slaps him and asks if he’s really going to dump her while she’s pregnant. He says he’s not dumping her, she’s dumping him, or at least that’s how he sees it. So she sets the record straight. She tells him she loves him and wants to marry him. She says she knows she told him she wanted to get the business up and running before the wedding, but she’s changed her mind. She wants to get married now, as soon as possible. And if he doesn’t want to get slapped again, she says, he should kiss her. And they kiss.

Does this romantic stuff also extend to Cy, by any chance? Glackland had at one point mentioned his art collection, and Cy was shocked that while he spent thousands on art, Glackland didn’t seem to know, or care, about any of it and that he didn’t know who Cezanne was, even though he had one of his paintings. When Cy arrives at the office the next day, still wondering what the fallout might be from the Glackland incident, a package is waiting for him. It’s the Cezanne, a gift from Glackland, with a note that reads that the painting may as well belong to someone who really appreciates it. Cy gives a little smile as he looks at the painting. Maybe we haven’t seen the last of ol’ Fenton.

The standard shocking Scandal ending. In the final scene, Liv is lookin’ for some lovin’, too. She finds Pryce and tells him she has a story for him. She’s going to give him an exclusive about Mel and the Bashran/Dakal treaty. Pryce is impressed and thanks her. But there’s more. Seems Liv has reconsidered his boy toy status, as she says she wants to celebrate, but at her place, not a hotel. He asks if she’s really inviting him over, and the next thing we know, they’re making out in the elevator of her building. As the elevator stops and the doors open, the disheveled pair stumbles out into the hallway. But as Liv gets out her keys, who does she see waiting by her door? None other than Fitz, making his first appearance of the season!

So what has the ex-president, also known as Liv’s ex-squeeze, been up to, and what does he want? Such questions will be addressed next week in 07.03, “Day 101” –

During the first 100 days of Mellie’s presidency, Fitz stays out of the limelight in Vermont, where he takes up life as an ordinary citizen for the first time in years; Marcus joins the former POTUS to begin important work on the Fitzgerald Grant III Presidential Library.

Not only has Fitz returned, but welcome back, Marcus! I was wondering if he decided to keep working for Fitz, and apparently he has. So the former POTUS laid low and presumably made jam up north for the first 100 days of Mel’s presidency and now he’s ready to…do what? And how will he react to the presence of the smarmy and annoying Pryce? Will Marcus have a hand, so to speak, in addressing Mel’s lonely ladybits situation? How bizarre will the Quinn/Charlie nuptials be? So many questions…

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Catch up on Scandal S7 Ep. 1 Watch Me

by

L.T. Milroy

 

So, the final season of Scandal is upon us.

A recap on just where things stand as the last set of episodes kicks off: Mellie Grant, the former first lady and senator, is now the president, and Cyrus Beene, a former chief of staff, as well as death row inmate, is VP. Fitzgerald Grant, the former POTUS, is gone after two terms, living in Vermont, and basically in retirement. For now. Frankie and Luna Vargas are both dead. (Those poor Vargas kids. Talk about collateral damage). And Olivia Pope is no longer heading up her own Washington fixer business. Her former business is now in the hands of Quinn Perkins and the other Gladiators. Liv is now Mel’s chief of staff and also commands the newly reconstituted B613.

So Liv is in command, as well as being the new president’s chief of staff. She’s large and in charge.

Kiss my ring, dude. Season 7 opens with a graphic example of Liv’s comfort with her new role as the president’s right-hand woman. To the strains of “Fight the Power”, she strides confidently through the White House halls to her lovely new office. Waiting for her is a Senator Michaels, who’s there to get an earful from Liv about the president’s college bill. It was the idea of the dear, departed, dead Frankie Vargas, who’s only mentioned and not seen in this episode. This is good, because every time we saw him last season his brains or guts were on display. So, RIP Frankie, but glad you’re finally gone. Anyway, he had a plan for free college for anyone who wants it. Liv knows Sen. Michaels doesn’t support the bill, and she’s trying to get him to change his mind.

When it becomes clear Michaels can’t be persuaded, the S7 version of Liv swings into action. She whips out an envelope which she says contains lots of sleazy stuff about the senator. She doesn’t go into detail, only saying that what’s in the envelope could ruin his career, his marriage, and his life. It’s a good old fashioned blackmailing, my friends!

The college bill is a tribute to the late President Vargas, says Liv, so it’s important to Mellie, and she intends to honor his memory by getting it passed. Liv asks if Michaels is on board, and he just looks shell-shocked by the whole thing. Apparently, he’s never been Poped before, but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing this from Liv a lot this season. As Michaels looks stunned, Liv smugly wants to know if he’s going to ask in what world this kind of thing happens. Then she says, “In what world? My world,” and she smiles, as the music swells again. “My envelope-filled world.”

Cut to Liv walking into the Oval Office and informing a pleased Mel that they can count on Michaels’ vote. It’s good to be king. Or at least, chief of staff.

The new QPA. Meanwhile, back at Liv’s old office, things are looking a bit dire. It’s now Quinn Perkins & Associates, and though there’s only a one-letter difference between that and the old OPA, the new QPA is having trouble attracting business. David Rosen, who’s still AG, is there and is being brow-beaten by Quinn: can’t he steer some clients their way? David says OPA had earned a certain amount of trust that QPA doesn’t have and points out that it takes a while to gain a reputation. At that moment, a woman walks in looking to hire them. Well, that was easy. Quinn dismisses David and tells the woman to sit down. It’s the first Case of the Week for Quinn and our spy friends!

The woman, Madeline, says her father is a professor currently at a symposium overseas, and he’s disappeared. He’s in (the fictional) Bashran, a volatile country on the brink of attaining nuclear capabilities. It can be a dangerous place, but she says he’s been there before and is familiar with the terrain, so the fact that he’s stopped calling is troubling. Something must be wrong.

Look who’s still hanging around. Speaking of disappearing, Pa said at the end of last season that’s what he would be doing, now that Liv would be working in the White House. But here he is, having dinner with his daughter. He’s complaining that Liv has cameras on him, and he’s being watched constantly, which she denies. He’s in no mood for a pleasant meal. He gulps some wine and tells Liv she has a reckoning coming, something about a crisis of power and good vs. evil. She’s still new to Washington, Pa says, and she’ll find out she can’t have it all. But S7 Liv is as smug as she is ambitious. She just smiles and says, “Watch me.”

Smug vs. smugger. Speaking of obnoxiously smug, as if the new Liv weren’t enough in that department, the new season introduces the love-to-hate-him character of Curtis Pryce. He hosts a political show called The Pryce of Power, which looks a lot like Sally Langston’s The Liberty Report, only not with the fun Sally at the helm. Instead there’s Pryce, who’s really smarmy and know-it-all and irritating. When we first see him, Liv is his guest, and the two try to out-smug each other, which is annoying to watch. As Liv tries to make a point about the Vargas college bill, which he doesn’t support, he cuts her off saying their time is up. So he handles an opposing viewpoint by claiming to be out of time? Smooth.

After the show, they’re still trying to out-smug each other, but it’s also evident that Liv feels some chemistry with this sleazebag. It’s not surprising later when he asks her out. She toys with him, neither accepting nor declining, but it’s clear she’s intrigued. Ick.

CotW, QPA style. Back at the office, QPA is looking very much like the old OPA, as the Gladiators go over what they’ve found out about Madeline’s father, Joshua Stewart. The professor has always been well-traveled, sometimes taking his daughter with him to various spots on the globe as she was growing up. Huck does some poking around, and it’s looking less and less like Stewart was a traditional “professor”.

It leads Quinn to show up at Liv’s place that night. Liv looks a bit disheveled as she opens the door a crack to ask what she wants. Quinn fills her in on the CotW and says the Gladiators think Stewart might be a government operative, maybe CIA, and he may have been captured. She hands Liv some papers and asks for her help. Liv reluctantly takes what’s proffered, as Quinn asks if she can come in, because she really has to pee.

Then I remember that Quinn is pregnant; it’s easy to forget, because it’s been a long time since the end of last season, and she’s not really showing yet. But she is with child and needs to use Liv’s bathroom. But preggers or not, Liv ain’t having it. She doesn’t want any guests, so she takes the papers and closes the door in Quinn’s face. Then she asks, through the closed door, how Quinn’s doing. Her concern is touching.

We find out why Liv was so averse to having guests. She’s already got one. She returns to her bedroom where Jake is waiting, removing his pants as she walks in. So Liv and Jake are a ‘thing’ again? What about his significantly less than storybook marriage? No wife is mentioned as he gets undressed. But Liv’s all business right now. She’s looking through the papers and tells him there’s work to do. He doesn’t much like being ordered around and starts getting dressed again. She relents, climbs into bed and tells him to stay. With a bit of persuasion, he does, as he gets undressed again and gets into bed. He’ll take sex with Liv over no sex, even if it’s on her terms, as most everything seems to be these days.

Government intrigue. The next day, Jake stops by Liv’s office. He tells her QPA was right; Joshua Stewart isn’t a professor but a longtime CIA agent, a valuable asset in the Middle East. This information can’t get out. They can’t tell Quinn, or even Mellie. He also says Joshua knows a lot of covert information and could be a danger if captured, which he probably has been. This is a guy who isn’t used to torture, so if he’s faced with such, he’ll probably talk pretty quickly. That’s why he’s a danger and the best course of action, Jake says, is for the U.S. to take him out before he can do much damage. Jake says he can accomplish this with no one knowing, with the help of the new B613. All he needs is Liv’s go-ahead. She says she needs to think about it.

The temptation of Cy. Cyrus is meeting with Senator Diane Greenwald, who’s another opponent of the Vargas bill. She’s a hard sell to change her vote, because it’s not that she disagrees with the substance of the bill – she doesn’t – but she believes it shouldn’t be Mel’s legacy. It was Frankie’s idea, who’s a Democrat, and Democrats should get the credit. In fact, says Greenwald, if they can put it off for four years, maybe Cy will get the credit. Then she kisses his ass about what a great candidate he’d make and how he should be the one to give the White House back to the Democrats and how free college could be his legacy. He says no, but he’s clearly intrigued by the idea. She tells him to give her a call when he’s ready to talk about his future.

Liv goes rogue. At QPA, Quinn tells Madeline that Liv is working with them, so it looks good for finding her father. Madeline thanks her and leaves. After she’s gone, Charlie berates Quinn for not telling Madeline that her father is a spy. He sees it as part of an overall problem that’s sure to come up when raising their own child; Joshua didn’t tell his family what he was doing, Charlie says, and wants to know how honest they’re going to be with their kid. Quinn isn’t ready to address such weighty matters yet and blows him off. She says right now all they should be concerned with is finding their client’s father. Huck asks if she’s spoken to Liv, and Quinn says not recently.

Huck has unraveled what’s going on and is waiting outside Liv’s door when she gets home that night. He tells her that Madeline deserves to see her father’s body and give him a funeral. He says he knows that Liv’s planning to covertly have him killed, and it’s not right. His family deserves some closure.

The next day when Jake walks into the Oval, Liv is waiting there, along with Mel. Liv says she just brought Mel up to date on the rescue plans for Stewart. Mel’s interested and asks if Jake has any news. Outside the office, Jake is none too happy about Liv’s end run around him and lets her know. She doesn’t care. She says Stewart is a patriot who’s served his country his whole life, and patriots get rescued, not killed. Not in her White House. Jake says it’s not about the White House, it’s about B613 and protecting the public the way Liv sees fit. Liv says she’ll be command in her own way; it’s not Pa’s B613 anymore.

The temptation of Cy, part II. Liv runs into Cy and tells him that something has been added to his schedule. Mel was supposed to meet with a group of young girls visiting the White House, called the Rangerettes, but she won’t be able to make it, so he’ll have to step in. He’s not happy about the assignment and thinks someone else should do it, leading Liv to remind him that his job is to do what he’s told. After the encounter, he calls Senator Greenwald and tells her he wants to talk. My, these people are sensitive. This reminds me of Abby last season when, after a mild dressing-down from Fitz, chose to take someone’s offer of going over to the dark side. Such fragile egos in DC. One would think they’d have thicker skins.

Spywork. Jake has a reasonably thick skin, after all the torture he’s been through. But he’s not being tortured now; merely humiliated as he does some surveillance to find out where Stewart is. He’s been listening for a while, but has found out nothing. Liv drops in to see how it’s going and he says it’s pointless. Stewart has been missing for seventy-two hours now and was likely being tortured the whole time. He’ll never make it anyway, Jake says, we have to get in there and take him out before he can spill any vital secrets. Liv just says to keep listening.

The temptation of Cy, the final chapter. Mellie meets with the Bashrani ambassador, hoping to come to some consensus on the Stewart matter, but comes away disappointed. He’s a bit of a condescending dick and no headway is made. Mel cuts the meeting short in frustration.

She catches Cy just as he’s about to greet the Rangerettes. Now that some time has been freed up, she’ll be happy to meet with them. Probably a leftover from being first lady, Mel isn’t too jaded to enjoy giving a White House tour to some wide-eyed little girls. Before she does so, she tells Cy how much she’s appreciated his help on the Vargas bill. It’s important to her, and he’s really stepped up his game to help out. She says she envisioned the two of them as a unity ticket, and it’s really turning out that way. They work well together, and she’s looking forward to what they can accomplish.

Mel seems sincere, and it catches Cy off-guard. By the time that meeting he’d scheduled with Senator Greenwald rolls around, he’s had a change of heart. He tells her that as much as he’d like the college bill to be his legacy, it can’t wait four more years. The country needs it now. He can’t in good conscience stall it just to serve himself. He’s going to keep pushing for its passage.

Payback from Jake. Liv walks into the Oval where Jake is with Mel. She says Jake has brought good news: Stewart has been located near the Turkish border. Liv says a SEAL team can be sent in for a rescue, but Mel says after talking with Jake, she’s changed her mind. A rescue is too risky, and a surgical strike is the best option. Liv disagrees, but Mel and Jake overrule her.
Liv, quite ticked off as she strides out into the hallway, takes out her phone. She makes a call, asking the person on the other end for a favor.

In the Situation Room. Mel and her staff are gathered to watch the strike get carried out. Meanwhile, Liv goes to see the Bashrani ambassador and tells him about it, adding that, unbeknownst to him, he’s involved. Or rather, his son is involved. Then we see that Huck is watching a playground from a distance, his rifle trained on a little boy on a swing. Unless the ambassador agrees to help get Stewart freed unharmed, Liv says, she’ll give Huck the order to shoot his son.

Wow, would Liv really follow through on this, the murder of a kid who looks about five-years-old? Even Huck is hesitant, asking if she really wants to do this, and we know how bloodthirsty Huck can be. We’ve seen him kill adults he doesn’t know and has no quarrel with, so he has no problem killing innocent people. Apparently, he might draw the line at kids. How nice. But we don’t find out, as Liv is counting down to the trigger-pulling, the ambassador stops her and says he’ll cooperate.

Liv goes to the Situation Room and hands Mel a phone. It’s the Bashrani ambassador, who tells Mel that Stewart is safe and has been taken to the embassy. He’s coming home, unharmed.

The fallout, a surprise, and of course, Liv comes out on top.  Later, Jake shows up at Liv’s door and apologizes for going to Mel behind her back. Instead of giving a matching apology, Liv grimly says he’s sleeping with the boss, which is her mistake. He got too comfortable, and that’s on her. She says it won’t happen again, because it’s over between them. They can’t both work together and be lovers, so it’s over. He goes to kiss her, but she backs away and tells him to go home to his wife. So he is still in that marriage from hell. He reluctantly leaves.

After he goes, Liv’s phone rings. It’s Senator Greenwald, who says that Cy didn’t take the bait. It looked like he was going to, she reports, but then stayed faithful to Mellie. She says it appears he’s on team Mel all the way and can be relied upon in the future. So it was Liv behind the temptation of Cy. And he passed.

Then Liv goes to the Oval to have it out with Mel and it’s Scandal speech time. Mel is angry that Liv did those things behind her back and against her wishes, but Liv says she did it because the office belongs to the people. Mel doesn’t own it, she’s temporarily leasing it, and she should appreciate that. Mel is still angry, wanting an assurance that in the future, Liv will be working with her and have her back instead of skanking around behind it with her own agenda. It seems to dawn on Liv that Mel hasn’t quite grasped how things are will go around the Olivia Pope White House, so she decides to lay down the law.

Liv says Mel needs to remember three things: 1. You do not ignore me, because, 2. I am right, always; it may be annoying, but get used to it, Liv says, because, 3. There is only us. She and Mel are a team now, and if they work together, they can have it all. Liv says the men around them want to take it all away, because they’re terrified and feel threatened, which is why Mel shouldn’t listen to them. Liv doesn’t seem so much angry that Mel sided with Jake over her, but that Mel sided with any man over her, and it can’t happen again. She says for the remainder of Mel’s presidency, Mel’s success is Liv’s only agenda. “Put your faith in me,” Liv says, “and you’ll become a monument.”

Mel listens intently and says she’s all in. She says she wants to be a monument.

There you go. It’s Liv’s world, we just live in it. And try our best to survive.

There’s also a little bit at the end with the smarmy Pryce, who’s apparently going to be around a while. Looks like Liv took him up on that date, as she shows up in a restaurant where he’s waiting. She sits down, but just long enough to, again, lay down the law. She tells him she’s going to , and he should follow about thirty seconds later and meet her in a hotel room. She tells him exactly how to get there. It looks like that’s as close to “dating” as it’s going to get for the two of them, but he doesn’t appear to mind. He merely gives a slightly lascivious smile as she leaves. He probably already realizes, it’s her world, and he’s just living in it.

And that’s where it ends. Welcome to a new season and a new Olivia, the madly driven, power-hungry version who plays international politics and threatens five-year-olds. What’s next for our no-longer white-hatted heroine (if she ever was one), is in a preview for 07.02, “Pressing the Flesh” –

President Mellie Grant hosts a state dinner for President Rashad of Bashran in a first step toward peace in the Middle East, and in case Mellie’s charm alone doesn’t work, Olivia secretly puts Jake to work, so that they are armed with a back-up plan; the team at Quinn Perkins & Associates attends the party in hopes of gaining more high-profile clientele.

I wonder how Liv will react to her former mates skanking around her party looking to drum up business .They’d better remember who’s in charge…

 

Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 16 Transfer of Power

by

L.T. Milroy

 

We’re finally at the end of Season 6. After seeing Frankie Vargas die a thousand deaths, and bad guys who can’t quite keep track of all their phony names, and getting whiplash trying to figure out if Ma and Pa Pope are supposed to be good or bad this week, and hoping Kerry Washington can soon resume her regular schedule, so we can move on from episodes chock full of flashbacks that have been pieced together like Frankenstein’s monster, it’s all ending.

Yes, it’s been a crazy season. And it comes to kind of a crazy end. It does leave things in pretty good shape for S7, though, which is not a bad way to end the season.

WH hijinx. Fitz strides purposefully through the White House hallways to his bedroom. Waiting for him there is Liv, in his bed. But he doesn’t have time for that kind of activity right now. He testily asks her how she could have released Ma. They bicker about it a bit, but then Liv shuts it down. This is their last night together. Tomorrow is the inauguration. Then she’ll be Mellie’s chief of staff and he’ll be on his way to Vermont. They shouldn’t be wasting their last night together fighting. She tells him to get his butt into bed. He tells her she’s very bossy. She tells him he loves it. He gets into bed. Liv is right, as usual.

Who thought she’d get away? Ma is sitting at a diner counter. A man sits on the stool next to her, and she gets out an envelope and pushes it over to him. Then she gets up and goes to the ladies room. He puts the envelope in his pocket, and as he walks toward the door, the feds descend. They find the envelope is stuffed with money and arrest him, as the guy denies he knows anything about it. When the feds check the ladies room, Ma is, of course, gone. She dug out her tracking chip and left it on the sink. Why did someone as savvy as Jake think Ma would be tripped up by the presence of a mere chip? With all she’s been through in her life, she probably eats those things for breakfast at this point. So Ma is in the wind, again.

Discussing security. At the White House, Liv, Fitz and Jake, along with Mellie and Luna, the president and VP-elect, discuss the inauguration. Fitz is still nervous and wants the whole ceremony moved indoors. Mel is adamant that the day proceed the same way it has for all the previous presidents. Jake says there will be a ton of security and nothing will be left to chance. Then Luna says, regardless of that, she doesn’t want to bring her children to the swearing-in; it’s too dangerous. Fitz again pressures Mel to call it off. She thinks it over and relents to no children on the dais. Mel won’t bring her own kids up there, either. But otherwise, the swearing-in will go on as planned.

David comes into the room to give Fitz an executive order to sign. David asks what it’s about, but Fitz just signs it, thanks him, and doesn’t answer.

Inauguration day. The big moment has finally arrived. Amid the usual pomp and circumstance, and it being outdoors, like usual, Fitz, the outgoing president, is first introduced, followed by Luna, then Mel. Where’s Susan, the current VP? It’s a little odd that she’s been MIA for the entire season, but her not being present in this instance is really glaring. However, it’s not explained. Liv stands nearby, looking a bit tense. Jake scans the crowd and checks with the snipers placed around the perimeter; they report nothing suspicious.

The all-clear signal appears to be what Ma is waiting for, as she’s made her way to a rooftop where a sniper is stationed. Yes, even though the entire intelligence community is looking for her, Ma was able to slip her chip and make her way to the site of the inauguration, which Jake swore was locked down tight as a drum. Looks like the entire resources of the U.S. government are no match for Ma on a mission. She overpowers the sniper and gets behind his rifle, which is trained on the dais.

Liv, as Mel’s chief of staff, is sitting near her as she starts to take the oath of office. At that moment, Liv’s phone vibrates. It’s Ma, telling Liv to move out of the way. It should be remembered that Liv has been convinced that Ma isn’t gunning for Mel, which is why she had her released. She thinks Ma is playing another game she just hasn’t figured it out yet. Now it’s urgent that she figure it out, as Ma is aiming a rifle at the inauguration dais and telling Liv to move. Liv begs her not to shoot, but Ma confirms what Liv has been saying and that she isn’t aiming for Mel. Before Ma can say who her target is, Liv hears a silencer shot, and Ma stops talking.

Liv isn’t sure what’s happened and looks around. Mel is finishing her oath, and everything looks fine. Up on the roof, Ma is down. Standing behind her is Pa, who traced her and shot her before she could get off a shot. He sees the phone Ma dropped and hears Liv on the other end. He picks it up and tells Liv that Ma is alive but has been shot. It’s all over. Back on the dais, Mel waves triumphantly to the crowd.

Afterward, Liv goes to see Fitz and Mel in the White House and angrily confronts Fitz. She says Ma is in surgery and might die, and if she does, she’ll never be able to tell them who she was really aiming at. Liv assumes the target was whoever hired her to kill Mel. Fitz doesn’t believe that and says Ma was undoubtedly intending to carry out her mission and shoot Mel. The new president interjects to say she’d love to talk about her assassination some more, but she has a ball gown to pick out, and leaves. She hasn’t yet picked out the gown she’ll be wearing to the inaugural ball? Isn’t that kind of thing usually done way in advance? Doesn’t say much for Mel’s planning skills.

Fitz is told he has a phone call from AG David, which he says he’ll take in the hall, and he, too, leaves. Liv gives him a perplexed look as he walks out with no explanation.

The end of OPA? Or is that QPA? Or AWA? It looks like Quinn has really made up with Abby, with whom she’s discussing the inaugural ball seating chart. It’s all business until they wrap up and Abby turns to leave. At that point, out of nowhere, Quinn asks Abby if she’ll take over running OPA. She tells an obviously shocked Abby that she wants to get away while she still can. There’s still a chance that she can be normal and raise her child to have a normal life, and she’s going for it. Abby asks about Charlie, but Quinn scoffs at that. She says Charlie doesn’t know about any of this. She’s not going to tell him about the baby, because Charlie could never ‘do’ normal. She loves him, Quinn says, but that’s not enough. He could never be normal, and that’s what she wants. Abby, still stunned, says she’ll think about it. Quinn tells her to think quickly.

Extorting the AG; jerking around the POTUS. Liv, her curiosity aroused by the phone call, drops in on David and comes right out and asks him why he called Fitz. He says it was to discuss an executive order, but when Liv presses him for details, he says he can’t give any. That leads Liv to think out loud about how she and Mel were going to keep David on as attorney general, but maybe that’s not such a good idea, after all. It looks like that threat worked like a proverbial charm, as in the next scene, Liv is back at the White House, confronting Fitz. She says the executive order concerns a transfer of funds, and she guesses it’s to reestablish B613. He confirms it. She can’t believe he’s giving that power back to Pa, and he says Pa won’t be running things, he will. Liv says that Pa manipulated him and will work against him. Fitz laughs that off; he’s used to people working against him. All a president does, he says, is deal with constant opposition. Then he says this is his chance to make a real difference.

Just a minute here. I know Fitz was bitching about people opposing him all the time, and I don’t doubt that’s true to a sizeable extent, but he’s been president for eight years. He hasn’t had the opportunity to ‘make a real difference’ at any point during those eight years?? Not even once or twice? He had two terms and didn’t get anything he considers important done during either of them? He needs to revive B613 in order to accomplish something? That’s what I would call a failure of leadership, and I wouldn’t exactly be bragging about it.

Liv reveals that she was going to ask him to stay in Washington and not go to Vermont. He says she doesn’t have to ask now, because he is staying. She says she didn’t want it to happen this way. Then she trashes the legacy of B613, saying how it ruined her father’s life, and hers. Reviving it isn’t how she wanted him to stay.

Later, Liv is watching inauguration coverage on TV when Fitz walks in. He tells her he’s rescinded the executive order. What she said made him change his mind. He says she was right about not reviving B613. Liv responds by saying “I’m always right!” This means, he says, that now he’s leaving DC. He has a foundation to run in Vermont, and she has a country to run. He says it’s time for him to go and says goodbye.

Olitz, attracting attention, as usual. It looks like a very un-dramatic parting for Olitz, but this pair never does anything devoid of drama. The helicopter to take the president away is sitting on the White House lawn, and Fitz walks toward it, with the press all around, taking pictures. He stops walking when he hears someone call out “Mister President!” It’s Liv, of course, who could have given Fitz a big send-off in private a few minutes before, but instead is doing so now, very publicly. He watches as she walks toward him, then starts running. She jumps into his arms, and they kiss, and it’s all as cheesy as it sounds. The cameras click away as Liv and Fitz swallow each other’s faces. What a photo op. When they’re done slobbering, she tells him it’s been an honor. He says the honor has been his. Eye roll from me.

It’s strange to see Fitz departing DC, though. The whole premise of this show was the story of Liv, the fixer, and her relationship with Fitz, the president. Liv hasn’t been a fixer in quite some time and recently handed the business over to Quinn, and now Fitz isn’t president anymore, either. So this is a show in the midst of entirely reinventing itself.

The big reveal. Liv is at OPA, where she and the Gladiators are trying to figure out who Ma was intending to shoot. She looks at the inaugural ball seating chart, and then asks to see footage of Frankie’s assassination. Again??! Haven’t we seen enough of that this season, and from every possible angle? Fortunately, it’s brief. Then Liv has flashbacks to many moments in the campaign, and one person keeps popping up: Luna Vargas, widow of Frankie, the new VP. She realizes Ma had double-crossed Luna and was aiming for her, not Mel. Luna, still thinking Ma intended to shoot Mel, didn’t want her kids on the dais.

Liv takes her suspicions with her when she drops in on Luna, who’s getting ready for the ball, but Liv tells her she’s not going. She knows, and it’s over. She just needs to find out if there’s a plan B, now that plan A was foiled. Luna plays dumb at first, then gets quite smug and tells Liv that yes, there is a plan B, which is Luna herself. She’s the new Veep, and the widow of Frankie Vargas, who has become somewhat of a folk hero to many. She’s very popular. Not only that, but arresting her will taint Mel with scandal. The Grant administration will be crippled before it has a chance to get off the ground. Liv can’t touch her, and Luna tells her to get out.

Liv tells everything to Jake. She says Luna’s right, they can’t do anything to her, and it pisses Liv off.

Hospital visit. Liv goes to see Ma in the hospital. She tells her she knows Ma was planning to shoot Luna. Ma asks Liv what she’s going to do with that information. Liv says there’s nothing she can do. Luna has her over the proverbial barrel, and she’s not happy about it. Ma thinks Liv is just jealous, because Live believes the White House is hers, and she doesn’t want to share it. Liv doesn’t argue with that. She says she earned, it and she deserves it. Ma says to go get it back.

Oh, baby. Back at OPA, Quinn and Abby are all dressed up in their ball gowns. Before they go celebrate, Abby tells her she can’t take over OPA now, because it would be a disaster. She instead tells Quinn to hire her. Quinn asks why she’d come back after working in the White House, but Abby says she wants to. She also says that if Quinn wants to have the baby, she’s there to help. Quinn appreciates the support. Charlie and Huck walk in, decked out in their tuxes. Quinn has so far kept Charlie in the dark about his impending fatherhood but finally speaks up and tells him she’s pregnant. It appears she’s ruled out ‘normal’ as an option. Charlie looks stunned, but only for a moment, then seems genuinely thrilled as he takes her in his arms and kisses her. Huck is the one who looks a little shell-shocked.

Remember him? The newly inaugurated Mel looks around the Oval Office and revels in the feeling a bit. She’s decorated the room with feminist icons like Victoria Woodhull, which seems strange for a Republican. Someone like Woodhull doesn’t exactly fit the mold for Republican heroine. Fitz always acted more like a Democrat, too, another instance of Scandaland differing from RL.

Mel goes from her Oval Office revelry to a drearier scenario. We’re transported to Cyrus’s house, where he’s deep in the throes of a brownie-induced nap. It makes an amusing picture, Cy asleep, chocolate crumbs on his face, a half-empty plate nearby. That’s the scenario that greets Mellie, the new president, as she walks in. She tells him to get up and clean up, because she’s taking him to the ball.

One last thing on the way to the ball… Liv looks radiant in her ball gown and Jake, her escort, shows up,  looking equally impressive. The pair is all ready to go out on the town and rub elbows with the DC fabulous, but there’s some business to attend to first.

They pay a visit to Luna. Liv wastes no time getting to the heart of the matter and tells Luna she’s going to die tonight. Luna scoffs at that and yells for Secret Service. Jake calmly sits down and says the SS agents are his people, they answer to him, not her, and they’re not coming. Luna tells them they can’t kill her, she’s the vice president. Liv glibly answers “Raise your hand if you’ve killed a vice president!”, and raises her hand. She gives Jake a look. He says his was Argentine, but Liv says that still counts, and Jake raises his hand. Hee! Liv says hers was American. Then she says they won’t have to do away with Luna, she’s going to do it for them, and Jake takes out some pills. The inevitability of the situation dawns on Luna, who says that she’d never voluntarily leave her children. You mean the kids whom you’ve deprived of a father? This is a horrible situation for her, but to play the kids card after deliberately having their father murdered is a bit much. Liv is very cold-blooded about the whole thing, telling Luna that if she won’t take the pills, which will painlessly induce a heart attack, then Jake will have to take matters into his hands, and it won’t be painless.

Luna looks desperate. She starts talking about how she didn’t want to be first lady, that’s not the cloistered life she wanted, so she paid someone to make sure Frankie lost the election. But they went too far and killed him, and she had nothing to do with that. Liv says she’s a liar. Luna starts to babble about Frankie and his legacy and how she has public sympathy on her side and will be able to get so much more done than he could have and some stuff about Jackie O. in her bloodstained outfit and pillbox hat, and she goes on and on. Liv lets her rant, then icily says it’s either the pills or Jake, her choice. Luna hesitates a moment, then grabs and gulps the pills. Liv tells Jake to call her when Luna’s dead, and leaves.

Meet the new boss. Liv walks into the Oval. Mellie and Cy are there. Liv hands Mel a paper to sign, an executive order, just some little budget thing. Cy notices and seems to give a furtive smile, but Mel just signs. It looks like B613 lives! But Luna doesn’t. Liv’s phone buzzes; it’s Jake, with the news that the new VP has had a fatal heart attack.

Liv goes to see Pa in his lab. She tells him she’s reviving B613 and will run it herself. He’s retired and is not to get involved. She says she loves him, she wants to have a relationship with him, Sunday dinners and the like, but if he crosses her, she says, she’ll kill him.

Later, Liv is sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, sipping from a bottle. Cy shows up. They remember the agreement they made many months ago, when the campaign first started and they were on opposite sides, to get together and share a drink at the Lincoln Memorial when the whole thing was over. A lot has happened since then. Liv tells him about Luna. He’s shocked that it was her behind Frankie’s assassination. Liv doesn’t tell him that Luna’s been ‘taken care of’, so he says the question now is how to get rid of her. Then Cy says things about Frankie and Luna and Frankie’s legacy, and the words he uses are identical to the ones Luna used in her parting speech. The realization dawns on Liv, who says it was Cy behind the whole thing. She says it’s going exactly the way he wanted. He guesses that the EO she had Mel sign had to do with the revival of B613, so he says it looks like they both got what they wanted.

Liv doesn’t really acknowledge that. She just tells him to stay in town; he’s going to be nominated for VP. He asks her how it feels to be the most powerful person in the world. Liv smiles and says it feels right.

Ok. First of all, if you’re thinking this makes no sense, you’re right. If this was all set in motion by Cy, it was a totally convoluted plan. And an unnecessary one. Mel flat-out offered Cy the vice presidency a few episodes ago. Why risk everything on a shaky plan with no guarantees. Why not just take the offer when it’s on the table? Making Luna the bad guy and ultimate mastermind behind the whole plot seems kind of tacked on.

None of it makes much sense, but it does set up what Scandal is going to be in its seventh, and final, season. One thing that was very consistent through this episode was Liv’s transition over to the dark side. Basically threatening the attorney general’s job to extort information out of him is definitely not a ‘white hat’ thing to do. Nor is forcing a woman into suicide, ultimately for one’s own gain, and appearing not to have any qualms about it whatsoever. Then proclaiming her love for Pa, but letting him know she won’t hesitate to slit his throat if he gets in her way? Essentially, she’s become Pa. Once in power as Mel’s chief of staff, she’ll be a wrecking crew expecting to get her own way, with the support of whatever B613-type operation she starts up behind her.

Season 7 Liv will be a formidable foe, and it looks like it will, in large measure, be up to the new OPA – Quinn, Charlie, Abby and Huck – to keep her in check. And maybe Marcus, though it looked like he was going to Vermont to run Fitz’s foundation. And what of Fitz? Once he gets wind of all this, will that alter his plans? Will he stay in DC, after all? And if so, how much of his time will be spent fighting on the opposite side of someone with whom he has such an extensive personal history? And what of Pa, supposedly retitred? And Ma, currently in the hospital, supposedly headed for prison? And whose side will Jake come down on? Will he choose or try to play both sides? Interesting questions, all. It sets up some interesting possibilities.

No episode count has been announced for S7, nor a premiere date. It looks like at this point, those details are still being decided. All that’s definite right now is next season is Scandal‘s last. A show notorious for doing things in a loud, over-the-top way, has the chance to plot out its own ending. For those of us who have been around since the first episode, it’s a bittersweet prospect. Looking forward to seeing what kind of exit plan the show chooses, and how all these characters end up, but Thursday nights won’t be quite the same.

Thanks to all who take the time to read these recaps. See you back here for the S7 premiere, whenever that turns out to be…

Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 15 Tick, Tock

by

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!

Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 14 Head Games

by

L. T. Milroy

 

Ha ha. This week’s episode title is quite the pun! See if you can figure it out. This show is just so subtle and cryptic sometimes…

Season 6 is careening toward its culmination. The endless presidency of Fitz is finally coming to a close, as well. The craziness? As always, that’s just beginning.

A bit of fun to kick things off. A little montage starts the episode. Things seem to be going well with the Scandaland characters at the moment. Marcus is all smiles as he addresses the press about the drone crisis. It’s over, the drones have been disarmed, and the Fitzgerald Grant administration is moving on. Fitz has just one week left in office, and he’s concentrating on a smooth transfer of power. He’s also concentrating on his new/old relationship, as shots of Olitz tearing up the sheets are seen. Almost literally tearing up, as in thrashing around, glass-shattering sex. Keep any priceless antiques out of the White House bedrooms when these two are around. Huck watches Quinn model wedding dresses for her and Charlie’s upcoming nuptials. He’s being very patient but tells her she should have told him what a maid of honor has to do. Huck is Quinn’s maid of honor. I don’t know whether to put an exclamation point or question mark at the end of that sentence.

A gift from Pa. David stops by Papa Pope’s lab. Pa is loading his possessions into boxes. He tells David he’s retiring. His work here is finally over, he’s packing it in, and he’s going to lie on a beach somewhere. Unless David is there to bring him some kind of news. David says no, the Vargas case is closed, and this is unofficial business. It’s about Natasha; he’s trying to identify her. He checked out that name she gave him last week that she said was her actual real name, Grace something-or-other, but of course it, too, was phony. Natasha definitely had a weird fetish for fake names. David’s at a dead end and was hoping Pa might have some information to give him. Pa at first says he doesn’t, then reconsiders and says he has something that might help.

Everyone’s picking on Red. Liv is in the Oval Office, discussing Fitz’s final days with him. He mentions that he wants to pardon some prisoners in the next week and has some files on likely candidates. The subject comes around to Abby, and Liv says he has to talk to her about what’s happened. If he doesn’t want to forgive her and let her back in the loop, he should say so and let her go, but he has to have it out with her. She takes the prisoner files with her on her way out.

It appears Liv’s advice fell on deaf ears. Later, Abby goes to the Oval to bring Fitz some papers. He tells her it’s a slow day, and she might as well go work from home. Ouch. Calling that passive-aggressive behavior is somewhat of an understatement. She reminds him that as his chief of staff, she has never worked from home, and she wishes he’d talk to her. She says she confided in him, because she needed a friend, and now he’s turned against her. Liv has forgiven her, so why can’t he? Fitz doesn’t answer.

An actual CotW! At OPA, Quinn and Charlie are discussing honeymoon plans. They have different opinions on what to do, and Charlie doesn’t see why they can’t do all of it. Quinn says she can’t be away from the office that long. Charlie asks why they can’t take a long honeymoon, since Liv is leaving OPA anyway, so there won’t be anything to rush back to. Quinn says Liv isn’t leaving, just as she shows up and puts down the files. She tells them of Fitz’s plan for pardons and tells them to look through the files for candidates. They’ll want to find a high-profile pardon that will make the White House look good, Liv says. Hey, it’s a genuine Case of the Week! How long has it been? Remember when those were a weekly occurrence? As she walks out, Quinn says Liv looks as take-charge as ever and isn’t going anywhere.

Getting ahead. A very upset-looking David shows up at Abby’s door. He’s holding a box and tells her he needs to put it in her refrigerator. She asks what’s in it, but he won’t say. She pulls him inside, takes the box, and tells him to sit. She opens it to find the head of Natasha, whom Pa finally did away with last week. Since she and Boris were always threatening to send him Liv’s head in a box, it looks like he got his own style of revenge by dispatching her and boxing her up. He thought it might help David identify who she really was. Giving up his little trophy just so Davey can get some closure? Pa can be such a softie.

Abby, of course, is freaking out. Why would David accept such a thing? David says Pa terrifies him: “I’m not going to argue. He gives me a head, I take a head!” David says he called Jake, who’s coming over to get some DNA from Natasha’s noggin. Maybe then they can get some answers as to who she really was.

More CotW. The Gladiators have found a favorite candidate for a pardon in Shaun Campbell. He was convicted of the murder of Robert Barnes, who was charged in killing several people in the bombing of a Black church. Barnes was tried locally for the bombing and acquitted. One night Barnes and Campbell had an altercation in a bar. Campbell left, but the next morning, Barnes was found hanging from a tree. Despite no physical evidence, Campbell was convicted of murder, based in part on damning testimony from Barnes’ friend Donny, and given a life sentence. He’s already lost two appeals, so a presidential pardon is his last hope.

Quinn lays out the facts of the case to everyone. That includes Liv, who’s there in body only. Her mind is elsewhere, as she’s more interested in looking at her phone. Quinn asks Liv where they should start. Liv tears her  attention from the phone long enough to mumble something about Mellie’s cabinet picks, says the Gladiators seem to have everything under control and they don’t really need her, and leaves.

Picking on Red II. Jake has arrived at Abby’s place. As he gathers DNA from the head, Abby chatters nervously, while David just looks deeply disturbed by the whole thing. When he’s done, Jake wants to store Natasha’s piehole in Abby’s freezer, a desire to which she understably firmly objects. He says he might need the head again, but Abby doesn’t want it in her house. It’s just not right, she says, to have it in her freezer. Jake haughtily says Abby isn’t the arbiter of what’s right and wrong and leaves without the head.

Wow, that took some stones, Jake, to pretend to be morally superior to anyone. Jake killed countless people while working for, and then heading up, B613. Many of those killed were the truly deserving and reprehensible, but among his victims were also the innocent collateral damage, like Cyrus’s husband, James. So, his hands awash with blood, Jake is going to talk trash to someone about his moral superiority? Wow. And I thought Fitz took the crown for lack of self-awareness on this show.

Kicking stereotypical butt. The Gladiators (minus Liv, who’s with Mellie doing chief of staff-type stuff regarding cabinet picks) go over the facts of the Campbell case. They feel strange that they’re doing this stuff on their own, but Quinn says Liv obviously has faith in them, so they can do it. While reviewing what those involved in the case have said about it, Quinn notices that Donny, the chief prosecution witness, has been oddly silent. She thinks he lied.

They decide to speak with Donny and take a road trip deep into redneck territory. Donny tends bar in a backwoods place that’s very much the stereotype, complete with country music and good ol’ boys playin’ pool. Quinn and Huck start talking with him, and he’s all too cooperative. He’s a proud racist who says that if Campbell ‘knew his place.’ he wouldn’t have been in the bar to begin with. Quinn says he’s innocent, and Donny says an innocent Black man is a contradiction in terms. Yeah, Donny’s pretty stereotypical, as well. Huck studies him as he spews this stuff, then says Donny is the guilty one. He and Bobby planned the bombing together, but Bobby got the credit, then unexpectedly got off. He was supposed to go to prison but instead escaped responsibility and was a local racist hero. Donny killed him out of jealousy, Huck says. Donny shrugs that off and basically confesses. “So what if that’s all true?” he says. It all worked out for the best: Bobby’s dead, Donny himself is free, and the Black guy is in prison where he belongs. It’s all good.

The good ol’ boys in the bar see what’s going on and start walking over. Huck and Quinn notice and pull their guns, at the same time everyone else does. Everyone is pointing their pieces at each other, at a stalemate. Breaking the tie is Charlie, who bursts in with his big-ass rifle. The boys are disarmed, allowing the Gladiators to make their getaway. On the way out, Huck takes a moment to reach over and slam Donny’s face on the bar, and Quinn calls them a bunch of racists, just for good measure.

So long Pa? Liv is having a pleasant dinner with Pa. She asks him what he’s going to do in retirement. He says the usual: fishing, reading, traveling. He has to get away, he says, and he can’t hang around now that Liv is going to be Mel’s chief of staff. With Liv in power, him being underfoot would just impede her. He says it’s a DC rule that family and other loved ones just get in the way, and she can’t think she’s above the rules. She’s not. Liv scoffs at that. She’s not him, she says, and lives by her own rules. She tells him to go off and relax, take a break, and recharge, then come back home. Pa says no, this is goodbye. He stands, so Liv says goodbye, a bit shocked, and he walks off.

So is Pa really going to disappear for good? And did he just leave Liv with the dinner bill? Considering how much this father/daughter pair enjoys the finer things, I’m sure that’s a mighty expensive restaurant. The wine bill alone is probably a couple of hundred bucks. Way to make a dramatic, and cheap, exit, Pa.

A heart-to-heart back at headquarters. There are different concerns over at chez Abby. She’s lying in bed, wide awake, when she hears footsteps outside the door and tells David to come in. He says he wanted to take a walk but couldn’t go downstairs because, well, “It’s” down there. She says he can go if he wants, but he says he won’t leave her alone in her house with a head in the freezer. He’s a nicer guy than that. She appreciates the company and tells him to get into bed.

Abby puts a pillow wall between them for modesty’s sake. David starts talking about how Washington has changed him and how he came to town as a ‘white hat,’ a true believer. That idealism is gone, he says, and worse, he gave it away. It culminated in the relationship with Natasha, and he wonders how he could have been sucker enough to fall for someone as nasty as the current resident of Abby’s freezer. Abby tells him not to feel bad, because she fell for Natasha, too. She says Natasha fed her ego, just like she did with him, and made her feel important. It’s not a nice realization for Abby. She says she never thought of herself as a good person, but she didn’t believe she was an evil one.

Office politics. At OPA, Quinn is waiting for Liv in her office, which seems to irritate Liv. She asks Quinn what she’s doing there. Quinn says Campbell is innocent, and they know who the real killer is. She can’t prove it yet, but she knows it. Fitz has to pardon him. Liv is unimpressed. She curtly says that Fitz won’t sign off on anything without proof, so to come back when they have some. Quinn is frustrated. Liv may be preoccupied these days, she says, but her name is still on the door, and doesn’t she care about helping people and fulfilling OPA’s mission anymore? That also annoys Liv. She tells Quinn she’s not risking the firm’s reputation without hard proof; just Quinn’s gut feeling isn’t enough. Actually, there’s also the fact that Donny basically confessed, something Huck also heard and could confirm, but Quinn doesn’t bring it up, for unknown reasons. Liv asks again why Quinn is in her office in the first place, then throws her out.

Charlie drives Quinn to the prison to visit with Campbell. She wonders what she’s going to say to him. She got his hopes up so high for a pardon, and now she just got shut down by Liv. It’s all over. Charlie, as always, is philosophical about the whole thing, typical for his go-with-the-flow personality. He says if Liv does leave, and OPA is no more, there will always be new horizons to move on to. Look at him. All of those years in B613 and after it shut down, and now he’s at OPA, still working cases. Then he gives the quote of the episode: “Just because Olivia traded in her white hat for the White House, that doesn’t mean we stop being Gladiators.” That gets through to Quinn. She decides to put off the visit to the prison for an alternate plan.

Our Lindsay, so grown up. When we next see Quinn, she’s all cleaned up in a nice outfit, walking through the White House corridors with Marcus. She arranged a favor from her former colleague and current press secretary, a meeting with the president. She wants to plead the Campbell case face to face. At first she’s flustered by being with the president in the Oval Office and has trouble articulating herself, but eventually gets the words out. Again, it’s frustrating, because she sticks with what she told Liv, about her gut basically being the barometer in this case, with no mention of the de facto confession. Fitz says she sounds like Liv, with this whole trusting her gut thing. Quinn says Liv doesn’t agree with pardoning Campbell, because it’s a sensitive case, and stepping in could get messy for Fitz. Regardless of that, Quinn says, it would be the right thing to do. Fitz smiles a bit condescendingly and thanks her for coming.

Quinn reluctantly turns to go, then stops. She says she’s not leaving until he signs the pardon. He gets annoyed and says that Liv, her boss, opposes the idea, so why should he go along with it? Quinn says this Liv isn’t her boss. This Liv is getting ready for the White House and doesn’t want to take chances. She wants to play it safe and not stir things up. The old Liv would be here fighting for Campbell, but since that Liv isn’t around anymore, Quinn says, she is. She showed up here to fight in Liv’s place. Fitz, who as we well know likes confident women, seems impressed by Quinn’s plea. He tells her to have a seat.

So long, Marcus? Mel stops by Marcus’s office to find him packing. Earlier, during her meeting with Liv to discuss cabinet picks, Mel suggested Marcus as the new communications director. Now she offers the position to him, wanting him to stay on in her administration. He thanks her but turns her down. Fitz made him an offer to run his foundation, and Marcus accepted. Mel says he won’t be happy doing that after working in the White House. He’ll be so far from the action. She asks again for him to stay and make a difference with her, but he again says nol “I’m not Olivia,” he says and tells her goodbye.

Wow, Marcus telling Mel that he’s not Liv. He has no intention of hanging around the White House for the next four to eight years, being the plaything of the Grant that occupies the Oval Office. And another interesting thing about that scene. Apparently Marcus is now going to run Fitz’s foundation, which was formerly going to be Abby’s job. Fitz just can’t stop dumping all over Red. I guess it’s just as well, considering how much she was bitching about going to Vermont.

Jake states the obvious. Jake calls Abby and David to tell them he has an ID on Natasha. They go to his place, where he shows them video he made of her apartment. Her name was Gertrude. So Sarah/Marjorie/Samantha/Grace was actually Gertrude? Okay, fine. Jake found some sort of device at her place and was able to retrieve her last text message. It’s clear the message is from someone controlling Natasha. Jake says, like he’s making some sort of revelation that Boris and Natasha were working for someone. Well, DUH, Jake. Doesn’t he remember her telling him that no matter where she went her boss would find her, leading him to dig a tracking chip out of her neck? Has he already forgotten that little act of savagery? She TOLD him she was working for someone. Why is he acting like it’s a surprise?

The keys to the kingdom. Fitz is giving his last interview as president. The interviewer cites his successes, such as the Brandon Bill, but Fitz says he wishes he’d gone further. Then he brings up the pardons and talks about the Campbell case in particular.

Later, when Liv walks into OPA, Quinn knows she must have seen the interview and confronts her right away. She had no choice, and says she handled the case just like Liv would have. Liv listens, expressionless, then walks into her office. Quinn follows, angrily thinking she’s being blown off. She’s not. Liv walks over to her office wall safe and opens it. She tells Quinn what’s in it: bank books, statements, and even secret Washington contacts. Quinn asks why Liv is telling her all this. Liv says that heading up this firm means going up against the White House sometimes, and soon, that will mean going up against Liv herself. She needed to know that Quinn could handle that. This whole thing was a test. Fortunately for her, not to mention Mr. Campbell’s future, Quinn passed.

Quinn seems sincere as she thanks Liv, who thanks her back. Quinn says she’ll go back to her office now, but Liv tells her she’s already in her office and leaves. Quinn looks around at her new digs. She appears somewhat overwhelmed as she fondles the desk a bit.

A not really much of a surprise ending. Abby and David are packing up Natasha’s head for its final resting place. At last. I thought that thing would never leave. Jake is at the door. He says he found out who Boris and Natasha’s boss is.

Pa is just about to get away from all of this. He’s walking up to a private plane, which is waiting to whisk him to his retirement paradise. But alas, it’s not to be. At the last moment, a car screeches up. Liv and another woman get out and tell Pa to come with them.

Pa is taken to a White House bunker where Fitz and Jake are waiting. They tell him Boris and Natasha were working for someone and show him some papers. He looks at them and says no, he’s retiring and not getting involved. They say he’s their only hope, since he knows her better than anyone. He says she’s not his problem, but Liv asks who’s going to protect Liv from her when he’s gone. “Her” turns out to be none other than Maya, aka the long lost Mama Pope. That’s who was pulling Boris and Natasha’s strings. She’s still out there and is shown sitting at a bar somewhere, sipping a drink and watching the news.

That wasn’t such a big surprise. Given the way this show works, she was bound to reappear at some point, most probably in an evil capacity, so this fits right in. The return of Ma sets the stage for the last two episodes of the season, 06.15 “Tick, Tock” and 06.16 “Transfer of Power”. A preview:

As the clock ticks down to the inauguration of the first female president of the United States, Olivia takes a big risk to ensure Mellie’s safety; in the final days of his presidency, Fitz uses his power to make some unexpected changes.

The episodes will be shown back to back next week, wrapping up a short, sixteen-episode S6. Yes, it’s almost over, already! Couldn’t find out exactly when S7 starts (maybe the network doesn’t know yet itself?), but it was recently confirmed that it’s going to be the show’s final season. After an admirably lengthy run, Scandal will be going out, aware of its impending demise and basically on its own terms. How crazy does that have the potential to be?

Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 13 The Box

by

L.T. Milroy

 

Been looking forward to the end of the Boris and Natasha show on Scandal? Well, hold on, that wild ride is about to come to an end. Whether it was worth it and what it was ultimately all about are open to interpretation, but it’s about to wrap.

More drone problems. The episode opens with Luna Vargas holding a press conference accepting Mellie’s offer of VP, which is where we left off last week. So apparently no time has passed. The drone has just been cleared from White House air space, and Mel went public with her VP choice.

Cut to the WH, that has a whole new drone problem on its hands. Fitz rushes into the Situation Room. With the drone being controlled by Huck having been cleared away, new reports of drones start coming in from across the country. Nine in all have been spotted, all over major metropolitan areas.

As the news is breaking, Boris calls Liv. He, of course, is responsible for this. He watched their stunt with the drone, and it inspired him to strike back in similar fashion. The difference is, his drones are armed and dangerous. He wants Natasha back, and he wants Mellie back, as well as to be named Mel’s VP and have control over her, just like he’d planned. If he doesn’t get what he wants, he tells Liv, he’ll start detonating drones. Liv scoffs at that and says what we’re thinking: there’s no way he could have pulled something of this magnitude together so quickly as to be a real threat. That would be an almost impossible feat. She calls his bluff, and then he calls hers. As she’s telling him there’s nothing to fear from him, an explosion is heard. The drone over Dallas has blown up. So he was able to assemble something of this magnitude together in almost no time? It’s so discouraging to fight a superhuman foe.

Fitz orders evacuations of drone areas and wants to know exactly what they’re carrying, so he tells David to investigate the Fund for American Renewal, the phony PAC set up by Boris and Natasha. As Liv joins them, Fitz wants to know what their options are. Liv says Natasha is in custody, and they should use her. She can lead them to Boris. Jake says he’ll talk to her.

Liv goes to see Pa in his WH ‘cell’ and watches a news report with him. He’s disgusted with the whole thing and turns off the TV. He says again that he wants to leave and get as far away as possible. He’d also like for her to come with him. He’s done fighting. Liv says she’s not. He says this is a fight she can’t win and if she stays, she’ll die.

Not so smug now, are we? Jake goes to see Natasha in prison. He asks her where Boris is, and she’s her usual smarmy self in response. He calls her a ghost and says that no matter how much poking around he did, he couldn’t find any evidence that she actually exists. He says that if she cooperates and leads them to Boris, she can go free, just disappear and be a ghost again. She dismisses that and says she isn’t the ‘disappearing’ type. She’s too valuable to her employer. The only way she’ll disappear is by a bullet, from someone like Jake or from Boris. If she tries to get away, wherever she goes her boss would find her. That admission makes Jake smile. He says that’s just what he wanted to hear as he walks around the table, getting out his pocket knife on the way. She basically just told him she’s had a tracking chip implanted, so he goes for the usual location for such devices, the back of the neck, pushes her head to the table, and starts digging. He eventually locates and removes the chip. Natasha, chained to the table, didn’t have much choice in the matter.

For once, the mouthy Natasha is silent, sitting in a bloody and exhausted heap. On his way out, Jake pauses to say he’ll send someone in with a Band-Aid. Always such a gentleman.

Huck uses the chip to try to find Boris’s location. Once he starts tracking, though, he gets shut down. Liv’s phone rings. It’s Boris, who said the chip had a kill switch, which they activated. He gloats about being a step ahead of them, and he finds their lame efforts irritating. Then he repeats his demands of Natasha being freed and him being named as VP. Liv says she doesn’t have the power to make that kind of deal with him. He says he thinks she does. Then she says some stuff about not making deals with terrorists, which was a mistake and draws a quick response from Boris. The drone over Philadelphia explodes.

Pa’s still thinking about Zanzibar. Later in the Oval Office, David calls Fitz and says they’re still coming up empty on finding Boris’s location. Fitz is frustrated. He tells Liv that Pa has to talk. He must have learned something useful about Boris and Natasha during the time he was working for them. They go to Pa’s room. He’s his usual jumpy self and reiterates his desire to run. He again says he’d like it if Liv came with him, and she says again that she’s staying to fight the good fight. Fitz says the only reason Pa wasn’t executed for Vargas’s murder was because he can be of help to them. Otherwise, what good is he? Then Fitz gets angry and accuses Pa of working for the other side. Pa says he isn’t working for anybody. He’s just trying to get out of this alive.

No one will play with Red. Abby and Cyrus meet with Luna Vargas to brief her on all they know. Earlier, there was a scene where Cy stopped by Abby’s office and wondered why she wasn’t in the Oval with everyone else. She insisted she had important work to do, but he expressed the opinion that she was being frozen out. He said he needed someone to talk to Luna with him, but now he was having second thoughts about asking Red, since she’s on the outs. Abby was adamant that she wanted to do it, but their meeting is interrupted by Fitz, who asks Luna to excuse them. Nice, keeping the future VP out of the loop, POTUS.

Fitz tells Cy and Abby he wants to send federal responders to Dallas and Philly. Cy disagrees. He thinks it’s unwise to concentrate so much on the areas already affected, and they don’t want to spread their resources too thin. That seems readily apparent to me, but Fitz considers it like it was something that hadn’t occurred to him. He agrees and asks Cy to come with him back to the Oval. He thinks Cy can make a valuable contribution to the proceedings. They go, leaving Abby standing there, looking humiliated.

Cy does more of this articulating-the-seemingly-obvious thing when brought back into the inner circle. Torture is suggested to get info out of Natasha, but Fitz rejects that. Besides, I think Jake already indulged in that a bit, given the abandon he displayed in hacking up her neck. Cy asks if Natasha has a TV in her cell or access to the news. When told she doesn’t, he says they could tell her anything, and she wouldn’t know whether it was true or not. So it should be pretty easy to bluff her. Again, Fitz thinks this is brilliant and sends Jake in to have another go at Natasha.

The bad girl blinks. So Jake strolls in and tells Natasha they’ve captured Boris. He wasn’t at the command center at the time he was arrested, so the drones haven’t been defused, but Boris is in custody. Natasha doesn’t buy it. She guesses that now Jake will say that whoever gives up the command center location first will get a deal, but Jake says they have Boris, and they’ll get him to cooperate. He’s just there to inform her that she isn’t useful to them anymore, and she can look forward to rotting in prison. There will be no deal for her. He just wanted to bring her the bad the news in person, he says, and gets up to leave.

She tells him to wait and says they should listen to her, not Boris. He can defuse the drones, yes, but that’s pretty much all he can do. She can name names, lead them to bank accounts, and help them bring down the whole operation. For immunity, she’ll spill everything.

The boxes. David has come up with something interesting while looking into the Fund for American Renewal. He shows Liv evidence of deliveries from the phony PAC to Pa’s lab, over the period of several weeks Pa worked for Boris and Natasha. In all, there were twenty-three packages delivered. But he couldn’t find out what was in them.

Liv tells Huck about it and wants to see the surveillance video of Pa’s lab. They find what they’re looking for as Pa is seen getting deliveries of boxes time and again, and he’s clearly not happy about it. He reluctantly accepts them and opens them hesitantly, getting more and more skittish as the deliveries mount up. At one point he tries to refuse a delivery, but the box is forced on him. He opens it slowly, looks in, and throws it across the room. A brick tumbles out. Liv and Huck are confused. Huck looks through the invoices. Every box had the same weight, which was eleven pounds.

Didn’t we all know Davey would screw this up? Jake goes to David and tells him Natasha is ready to sign an immunity agreement, but she asked that David, the AG, deliver it to her himself. Jake warns him not to engage Natasha at all. Just get her to sign the agreement and leave. David acknowledges that, and though he’s not as comfortable around this kind of thing as Jake is, he seems confident as he hands Natasha the papers and tells her to sign. She says she wants to be truthful with him and tells him her real name is Grace Dennis. This babe pulls out yet another name at this point? A recap: When she first appeared, she was referred to as Sarah; when she introduced herself to Abby, it was as Marjorie; when she was going out with David, he called her Samantha; and now she says she’s really Grace? I’d like to point out that I’ve been consistently calling her Natasha virtually from the beginning. Unlike the show, I’ve never wavered or misled anyone or tried to be unnecessarily confusing. I’m kind of proud of that, under the circumstances.

That ‘real name’ reveal leads to Natasha getting all sincere with David, as she tells him she really liked him and wants to start over. He’s not interested. He calls her a killer and says he hates her. Hey Dave, remember that ‘no engagement with Natasha’ thing you agreed to? Well, it’s too late now. He stepped readily into her little trap, as she tears up the immunity agreement. She says she knows he’s lying about having Boris in custody, because he twitches when he lies. He didn’t twitch when telling her he hates her, so he was telling the truth about that. Then she tells him how weak he is and how pathetic it was for him to be upset over her getting rid of Liz, who she calls “that disgusting woman”.

David’s heard quite enough of this from Natasha and belts her. Not merely a slap on the cheek, but a punch in the mouth. She’s pretty shocked and seems to take it worse than the neck-gouging from Jake. She probably knows that to a guy like Jake, a little knifework to dig out a tracking chip is no big deal. But David is a man of the law; he doesn’t make a habit of going around hitting people, so this kind of behavior is very out of character for him. But then she pulls herself together enough to tell him he’ll be sorry if she ever gets out. He says that’s never going to happen.

One more time… Liv tells Fitz about the boxes Pa was being sent. She says Pa, who was Command, was being controlled by someone for the first time in his life. Fitz still thinks they can get information out of him, so he decides to try yet again. He grabs a bottle and goes to visit Pa, who of course, isn’t thrilled to see him. Fitz pours them both a drink and sits down. He starts talking about how after eight years, this will be his legacy, this drone thing, and how unfair that is. He tells Pa he knows about the boxes, and they have a contentious discussion about Pa wanting to get away and freedom, and how Pa says Fitz will never know what true freedom is because he’s never been oppressed. These two can’t seem to play nice together.

When he’s done venting, Pa explains about the boxes. They were all the same weight as the average human head. Boris and Natasha said that if they ever caught Pa not cooperating with them, Liv would pay the price, and they’d let him know by sending him her head. Those boxes were all just ‘dry runs’ to taunt him. Fitz says that Pa can still help them take Boris and Natasha down. Pa laments that he’s incapable of protecting his daughter, but Fitz says he has been protecting her. It’s one of the things he’s best at.

Taps. Back in the Oval, Liv and Fitz go over options. Liv insists that he can’t give in to terrorists. Of course, he’s already done that a couple of seasons ago when Liv was being held hostage, and Fitz negotiated for her release. I thought that would be conveniently forgotten, but Fitz brings it up immediately. He says he already has negotiated with terrorists, but the question is, would he do it again? He doesn’t get to answer his own question, as that’s when Pa walks in. He asks to speak to Fitz alone then says he wants to help and knows how to make Natasha talk.

Cut to Liv and Pa waiting to see Natasha. Pa says he’s sorry, and Liv says he has nothing to be sorry about. But then he does. When the door opens, Pa walks in, grabs the guard’s gun and tells him to uncuff Natasha. He still wants to run. If she can guarantee him his freedom, he’ll take her with him; if not, she stays in custody. She says she can’t promise his freedom, but she can take him to someone who can. That’s good enough for Pa, and they run off.

Afterward, Liv gets a visit from Mel, who is not in good shape. She’s heard about Pa. She says that all Boris wants is her, so why not give in and make him VP? Liv gives her a little speech about how she’s going to be the first female president, and she can’t give up, because that’s exactly what Boris and Natasha want her to do.

Meanwhile, Pa has gone back to his lab with Natasha. Boris shows up and tells Pa what a good job he did. Pa says he didn’t do it for the praise, he did it for his freedom, which Boris agrees to. Boris and Natasha say they’ll help Pa disappear then leave. After they go, Pa makes a phone call, saying “He’s on the move.” It was all a setup, which Pa cooked up with Fitz. Jake finds Boris at the command center, along with a couple of lackeys trolling the drones, pulls his gun, and takes everyone out. A few minutes later, Natasha returns to the lab with a package for Pa, containing the essentials—a passport, some money, condoms—to help him get started for his life on the run. But he’s not going anywhere. He’d gotten another package that day, he says, a dinosaur tooth to complete the model he was working on. He tells Natasha about completing the model, then takes the large, sharp dino tooth and guts her with it. Yes, he stabs her to death with a dinosaur tooth. Quite a unique way to go.

So after all that, Boris and Natasha are dispatched pretty quietly. Jake had been whining about wanting to just shoot them and finally got his wish. Just how much of this will be followed up, and to what extent? There are three episodes left.

The preview for 06.14, “Head Games” –

While outgoing President Fitz considers his legacy, the Gladiators question what’s next for OPA; Jake finally discovers the motivation behind Peus and the Mystery Woman’s reign of terror.

Why do they call her the Mystery Woman? Why not address her by her actual name, Sarah-Marjorie-Samantha-Grace? I’ll just stick with Natasha. That is, if she ever needs to be addressed again, as she did suffer a fatal dinosaur wound and appears to thankfully be permanently out of the picture. And, what exactly is next for OPA? Remember when Liv was a fixer, and she and the Gladiators did nifty, fixy, sometimes sketchy, things and ran around DC with powerful, colorful, and often naughty, people? That was fun. I wonder if we’ll ever see that again.

Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 12 Mercy

by

L.T. Milroy

 

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?