Not much to say to set up this week’s Scandal. Liv is being told to hit the road and is seeing her hard work and manipulations and such, all go to naught, so things might get a bit messy for her. Meanwhile, Mel is testy, Quinn is impatient, Cy is devious, Pa is by turns paternal and scary, and, for a change of pace, the Gladiators may have some actual gladiating to do! Buckle up!
That will be all, Ms. Pope. Picking up where last week left off, Liv is in the Oval Office with Mel, who has just had Liv replaced as chief of staff. After discovering Jake unpacking his things in her office, Liv confronts the POTUS about her decision. Mel says she did what she had to do. Liv doesn’t hold back, calling her foolish, reckless, naive and stupid. Mel answers that the stupid thing would be for her to continue to fall for Liv’s crap. Liv says that Jake has an agenda, but Mel doesn’t care; she says what this is about is Liv killing Rashad. Liv owns up to the deed but says it was justified. Mel ain’t having that. She says Liv killed Rashad because she didn’t trust Mel to make the right moves in the situation and thinks Mel is a bad president. Then she tells Liv to go.
So Liv tries another tactic. She says Jake is trying to come between them, and they can’t let him. She tells Mel not to let anger cloud her better judgment. But Mel says she’s not angry and tells Liv again to go. Liv stands there as several emotions cross her face, until Mel says that if Liv won’t hand in her resignation, she’ll announce Liv’s termination. It’s up to her. Liv finally reluctantly leaves.
A strange interlude. Jake and his wife Vanessa are in AG David’s office, with Vanessa all excited about Jake’s new job. David is vetting Jake for the chief of staff position, asking if there’s anything he needs to know that he doesn’t already. So Jake sprightly says that he and Vanessa have an open marriage. I assumed he was referring to his skanking around with Liv, the most recent example of which being just a few hours ago, but that’s not it. Vanessa looks uncomfortable and asks him if he thinks this is a good idea, but Jake says they should come clean: Vanessa is having an affair. They have an arrangement, Jake says, and he thought David should know, but doesn’t think it should be a problem. David seems a bit taken aback but agrees.
Hunting Liv. Quinn and Pa watch the news at Pa’s house. They’re reporting rumors that Liv is on the outs with the Grant administration. Quinn is excited about Liv’s seeming White House departure. Without Mel to back her up, Quinn says, Liv is vulnerable to prosecution. But Pa thinks it’s too soon to think about taking Liv out for good. They have to pick their moments carefully. Liv may be down, but she may not be out just yet, and they can’t assume she is. Pa says now isn’t the right time to go after her. Quinn is silent but looks confused.
Case of the Week?? Is there actually a case of the week at QPA? And is it still called QPA? I assume it is, so I’ll keep addressing it as such. Charlie walks in the office to see a strange man waiting there. Abby informs him that he’s a client. She says it’s a little awkward with Charlie still in mourning, but this guy showed up, and it’s not like she could turn him away. Charlie says it’s okay. They need to pay the bills, and besides, he thinks Quinn would want them to carry on the business.
The Gladiators meet with the guy, a government employee whose name is Robert Bacall. He recently discovered that twelve million was deposited in his bank account, followed shortly after by an email, written in Russian, that stated he’s now in their service, the twelve mil was a kind of welcome bonus, and they’ll be in touch. Robert says he’s a mid-level lackey in the State Department with virtually no power, so he can’t explain why anyone would assume he could help them. He asks the Gladiators to make this all go away.
Spies, compromised. Mel goes to see Jake in the B613 lair. He tells her that with Liv gone, this place is all about Mel now. Its tools are Mel’s tools, he says. Just as Jake is raving about what great tools Mel has inherited, everything shuts down. All of the computer screens suddenly go blank and the power goes off. She snarkily says maybe he needs better tools, but he looks genuinely worried. Gee, I wonder who could be gumming things up and trying to make Jake look bad.
He immediately places a call to Liv, who sits smugly at home on her couch. Jake tells her she doesn’t want to do this, but Liv is obviously in no mood to have him tell her what she wants. She reminds him of something he apparently forgot, and utters Pa’s infamous epithet: “You can’t take Command.” Game on.
A covert meeting. Liv takes a clandestine and decidedly unglamorous meeting in a bridge tunnel with some guy named Hector. Well, hello Garrett Morris! Always nice to see you again. She says Pa told her Hector could do anything, and she needs him to ‘keep them off the network’. So it looks like he’s responsible for the B613 power failure, and she wants him to keep working his magic. Hector says he’s not exactly on good terms with Pa, and Liv says neither is she. He says he’ll see what he can do.
Mel sure is ill-tempered since Liv left. In the Oval, Jake is trying to explain the continuing B613 outage to a skeptical and pissed-off Mel. He says Liv is just throwing a temper tantrum and will get over it. Mel isn’t so sure. An aide interrupts to say Cyrus is here and wants to have a word with Mel. Jake and Cy trade frosty greetings as Jake leaves.
As soon as they’re alone, Cy asks Mel what Jake has on her. He assumes Jake is holding something over her and is manipulating her. That angers Mel. Why does everyone always think of her as a victim? She says Jake is there because she wants him there. Cy says he killed Rashad, but Mel says if he did, it was at Liv’s command. Cy can’t believe Mel has fallen for Jake’s line of BS after all he’s done. He deserves execution, Cy raves, not a promotion! But Mel is totally unmoved. She simply says that Liv is out and Jake is in, and that’s all Cy needs to know. He can either accept that and be her VP, or he can be someone she has to deal with. “Is that something you want?” she asks with steely resolve, Surely he doesn’t want to be someone she has to deal with. She’s definitely not bluffing, and Cy seems to notice that.
A little fun in the nursery. Pa is in the baby’s room, looking all cute cooing to Robin as Quinn walks in. It’s a precious scenario, a bit too much so for Quinn, who asks if this is why Pa is so reluctant to let her take Liv down. Exposing Liv’s deeds means also exposing that Quinn is still alive, and then there would be no need for her to hide out at Pa’s any longer. She says his reluctance to lose his ‘new family’ is making him lose sight of their goal of putting Liv in prison. Maybe she and Robin are bad for Pa, Quinn says, because they’re making him soft.
Quinn has apparently grown a bit too comfortable with Pa, speaking to him this way. He reminds her of who he really is and tells her not to push him. Liv is his child and a sensitive subject. Then to prove he hasn’t gone soft, he threatens Robin by telling her how easy it would be for him to simply break her neck, and Quinn would be powerless to stop him. Quinn looks sufficiently terrified, with Pa’s hand menacingly close to Robin’s throat, so he backs off. He tells her that she just felt the way any parent would feel when their child is threatened. The reason he can’t allow Quinn to take Liv down is biology. She’s a parent herself now, so she should understand that. His point made, he lets Quinn take Robin back and mother and daughter hastily leave. Alone in the room, Pa appears a bit shaken as he tries to gather himself together. It looks like threatening an infant is a bit extreme and uncomfortable, even for him. Who knew he had boundaries?
Randy Robert. Huck is trying to trace Robert’s Russian email, but it keeps leading him in circles. Abby’s digging led her in a different direction, and her search is more fruitful. She walks into QPA and asks Robert about hotel receipts she’s found and that he’s been having lots of midday meetings with someone. Robert first denies knowing anything about it, then admits that he’s been having an affair, and it’s with a married woman, so that’s why he was evasive about it. Can anyone guess what comes next? As Abby is berating Robert for not being candid with them, Huck interrupts to say he’s discovered who Robert has on the side: Vanessa, Jake’s little woman. This mid-level State Department drone with no power has been banging the head of the NSA’s wife.
In case there was any doubt about who was behind all this, Liv is seen at home watching news reports on the whole salacious thing. She’s sitting on her couch, drinking wine and eating popcorn and smirking, when the phone rings. It’s Jake. She tells him she was thoughtful enough to write up a draft of his resignation. He hangs up.
Mel, of course, is decidedly unhappy with the whole mess. She calls Jake and David to the Oval to read them the riot act. Robert is being sold on the news as a Russian spy, and she accuses Vanessa of selling state secrets. David promises there will be a full investigation. Jake says it was Liv who put the twelve mil in Robert’s account, and Mel agrees. She tells them to prove it and make it go away.
Old friends…it’s complicated. Liv pays a visit to Cy, who’s treating himself to a little libation. She asks him for a drink, and he says he doesn’t drink with enemies. That makes Liv apologize for what she did with Glackland. She says she had no other options. So she was responsible for that. Liv is in a confessing mood and says she had Rashad killed, but it was to get the peace treaty signed, so it was a righteous deal. Cy asks and gets confirmation that the frame-up of Robert also came from Liv. She says she just did what she had to do for the good of everyone and adds that if Jake can push her out, he can do the same to Cy.
At QPA, the Gladiators are trying to connect the twelve mil in Robert’s bank account to Liv, but she did a good job of linking it to Russia. To the media, it seems as though Robert is a Soviet spy. Looks like poor ol’ Robbie is playing the part of patsy.
Solving problems. In the Oval, Mel and Jake discuss their options in the Vanessa situation. Cy walks in and says he has a solution that will make both Jake and Vanessa look good.
Next time ‘nessa is seen, she’s giving a TV interview where she denies having an affair with Robert. It was all a set-up by the NSA. She was working for her husband, the erstwhile head of the agency, as part of a sting operation. Robert is indeed a Russian operative, Vanessa says, and she was helping her hubby and the US government bring him down.
Watching from the wings in the studio, Jake smiles. Liv watches Vanessa’s display on TV wearing a stony expression.
So Jake and Vanessa are in the clear, but they threw Robert to the proverbial wolves in order to do so. He’s at QPA fretting over the fact that everyone thinks he’s a Russian spy. Abby’s answer is to give him a list of lawyers, because she says he’s going to need one. That’s the best QPA can do for its first client in, like, forever, tell him to get a lawyer? The Gladiators seem unconcerned about Robert’s welfare. Talk about collateral damage. Ouch.
An ultimatum. Later, Cy shows up at Liv’s door. She asks if he’s there to gloat. He says no. He then says he has a private memo from Mel to the CIA director, asking her to corroborate Vanessa’s story or face obstruction of justice charges. Liv says it’s not something she can use, since she wants to get rid of Jake, not Mel. But Cy says, if Mel goes, he’ll become president, which is something he still covets, of course. Liv says Mel has been Cy’s friend, but he says Mel is an amateur who didn’t even know she was being set up. Liv counters that Cy is more than capable of doing his dirty work himself, so why involve her? He says she’s better at this kind of thing than anyone. He also lets her know that a Cyrus Beene administration would welcome her back into the White House. She can have all the power, he says, or none at all.
A deal. At Pa’s place, Pa tells Quinn he knows how frustrated she must be. She says she saw Vanessa on TV, and Liv definitely took a hit from that incident. But she knows Liv doesn’t give up and is still fighting. Sooner or later, she’ll reach out to Pa for help and he’ll be forced to choose. He’s already told her about the biology thing, so Quinn knows that if it comes down to her or Liv, Pa will choose Liv. Quinn offers Pa a deal: if he lets Quinn call Charlie, the three of them will go away and disappear, forever. If Pa will leave them in peace, she won’t pursue trying to put Liv away. Pa agrees.
Bad news at the doctor’s. Mel mentioned earlier in the episode about needing a mammogram, and now she’s in the doctor’s office, waiting for it to begin. Liv shows up, and Mel says to let her in. Liv tells her she’s decided not to resign. Instead of announcing her resignation as chief of staff at tomorrow’s press conference, she’s going to call on Mel to resign the presidency. Liv hands her a file and says she came out of respect, to give Mel advice on the best way to step down. Mel is predictably unreceptive, as she scowls and shoves the file back at Liv, who goes on to wax poetic about how Mel should take responsibility for her actions and step aside gracefully, for the sake of all the female politicians to come.
Chuck gets a surprise. At QPA, the Gladiators are discussing their most recent case. They all agree that it was creepy working it without Quinn, and the prospect of closing up shop for good is considered. Charlie protests, of course, but Abby says it’s just not the same anymore, with Quinn not there. Charlie smiles and says it will be the same again, eventually. For someone supposedly in mourning, he’s acting rather chipper. The Gladiators look at him expectantly. He gives a big smile, stands up, says he’ll be back, and runs out.
Charlie runs straight to Pa’s place in his excitement, and standing outside, calls for Quinn. Pa comes up behind him and puts a gun to his head, wanting to know why he’s there. Charlie says he’s looking for Quinn, and Pa says she left an hour ago, to be with Charlie, per the agreement he and Quinn had. She said she’d take Robin and Charlie and ride off into the sunset with her family. Yet here Charlie stands. Looks like Pa has been double-crossed by Quinn, that little scamp.
Liv walks into her apartment and hears the sounds of a baby. I would hightail it out of there at that point, but Liv goes to investigate. She finds Robin in her bedroom a second before Quinn steps out of the shadows. Liv is, of course, shocked to see her, but Quinn has no time for pleasantries. She says she just wanted Liv to see her goddaughter once, then takes out her gun and points it at Liv. Poor Robin. With Quinn and Charlie as parents, and Liv as godmother, she doesn’t stand a chance at a normal life. She’s already had guns pointed at and around her numerous times and almost been choked by Pa, and she’s only, like, a week old.
Liv tries to talk her way out of this jam, but Quinn lays out her plan. She’s written up Liv’s confession, which Liv will sign and give to David, and Liv will spend the rest of her life in prison. As she says this, Quinn steps forward and sticks her gun menacingly in Liv’s face. But this isn’t Liv’s first gun in the face. She coolly says Quinn can’t kill her, because she’s still Command. She never stopped being Command, and she’s too important to kill. Liv adds that there are B613 snipers outside right now who aren’t happy that Quinn is pointing a gun at Liv, and they undoubtedly have Quinn in their sites. Then Liv lunges for Quinn’s gun, they struggle briefly and a shot is heard. But the shot wasn’t from Quinn’s gun, it was from outside. Apparently, there really were snipers out there, the first time there’s been any evidence that B613 was comprised of anything but just Liv and Jake. How convenient. In the struggle, the snipers hit the wrong target, as Quinn goes unscathed, but Liv is shot in the shoulder. Liv yells for Quinn to leave while she can, and Quinn grabs Robin and runs.
Giving up. Mel may have blown Liv off before, but that was apparently bravado. She meets with Jake on a White House balcony and tells him Liv knows all about her role in the Vanessa affair. Mel says she’ll admit to it, before things get worse. Jake says he can help her fight this, but she says no. She says she’ll leave his name out of it, so he should get through it okay, but as for his future, she can’t vouch for that. When Cy becomes president, Jake will be on his own.
Coming home. An injured Liv shows up at Pa’s door. It looks like the bullet just grazed her shoulder, but she still got shot, and she’s still in rough shape. Pa lets her in and cleans the wound and stitches it up, which is a pretty neat skill for him to have. We also get to see the whole process up close, which is rather gross. Liv cries that Quinn hates her, and they have a bonding father/daughter chat.
Liv, redeemed? The next day, the news from Capitol Hill is all about Liv’s impending press conference, where she’s expected to announce her resignation. Once she takes the podium, she talks about how proud she’s been to be Mel’s chief of staff. Then, instead of incriminating Mel, she abruptly resigns. As she gives her speech, the other characters are seen. Jake is packing up B613, when the power suddenly is restored and the computers kick on. Sitting in front of his TV, Cy looks distressed, as his dream of the presidency crumble before his eyes. At QPA, Abby and Huck watch Liv on TV. Huck turns around to see who’s just walked in the room and looks shocked and stunned. It’s Quinn, of course, who’s returned with Charlie and Robin. The Gladiators are beside themselves as they mob the happy family. At the White House, Mel watches the TV with a somber look.
So instead of bringing down the president and her administration and potentially throwing the country into chaos, Liv decides to take one for the team. I guess it’s kind of a big deal, given how far over to the dark side she seems to have gone of late. She redeemed herself just a bit, I suppose.
So where to next? Why not try something gimmicky in Scandal‘s final season, like a crossover? After a two-week vacation, the show returns on March 1 with an episode entitled “Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself”, which is actually the first part of a How to Get Away with Murder crossover, the second half of which, “Lahey v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”, will follow.
In 07.12, Liv is transitioning out of the White House when she gets a visit from criminal defense attorney Annalise Keating, who needs help with a case she hopes to bring before the Supreme Court. How much help a politically hobbled Liv is actually going to be able to provide, however, remains to be seen. Do Liv and Annalise have a past? That remains to be seen, too.
Does this mean I have to recap two hours on March one? And if so, where will those extra hours in the day come from in order to do so? And did the other networks always basically take the time off during the Olympics instead of trying to compete with counter-programming? Scandal’s break coincides exactly with the Games, so the network is pretty much giving up and ceding the next two Thursdays to the Olympics. Make sure to take in your share of skating and skiing and curling over the next three weeks. Apparently, it’s required.
CU next month, Gladiators!