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…