Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 16 Transfer of Power


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


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


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


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


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?





Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 7 A Traitor Among Us


L.T. Milroy


Last week, we found out more about Papa Pope than we ever asked for or wanted to know. That set up this week’s foray into the life of Huck. Don’t worry, it’s much tamer than expected for the most part. Turns out, Huck is just a plain old sucker for a damsel in distress. In his own unique, screwed-up way, of course, but he’s just an old-fashioned guy. One who sometimes tortures and kills for a living, but hey, everyone needs a hobby.

For now, we’re through with the flashbacks we’ve seen so many of in recent episodes. Finally, Scandal is back in present day.

More sparring and making out. Huck is with that new GF of his, Meg, and they’re doing what they always seem to be doing, bobbing and weaving. Literally. If you remember, she’s the friend of the not-so-late Jennifer Fields (who’s actually still alive, but Meg doesn’t know it). She assumes, like the public at large, that Jenny was murdered, and Huck thought it important that she learn to protect herself. So every time we see them, they’re having a sparring session, with Huck giving helpful tips and Meg occasionally landing a good shot. They’ve recently also moved on to becoming romantic partners, so these sparring sessions have a habit of turning into make-out sessions.

When that happens this time, they’re interrupted by Charlie and an irate Quinn. She’s been trying to get in touch with him, but he turned off his phone to get some quality time with Meg. Quinn says Liv is missing, and no one can find her. Huck steps away and makes a phone call while Quinn and Charlie have an awkward conversation with Meg. When Huck gets off the phone, he says a hasty goodbye and leaves without answering any questions.

Turns out, he was going to meet a bedraggled-looking Liv in front of a seedy cafe. She has one thing on her mind: asking him to kill Papa Pope.

The mission, should he choose to accept it. Back at OPA, Liv lays out the facts. She tells Huck that Pa killed Frankie Vargas, and Jenny is alive. She goes over how Pa made Jenny incriminate Cyrus then ordered Jake to kill Jenny. It was an order not carried out, as Jake instead spared Jenny and stashed her away in hiding. Liv says Jake believes that Jenny may be the key to figuring out Pa’s plans. Pa showed just how far he will go in killing Vargas. He’s a danger to everyone and must be stopped.

But Huck is hesitant to take out someone he still refers to as “Command”. Old loyalties die hard. Besides, he says, something is off about this whole thing. Killing Frankie didn’t seem to benefit Pa, or anyone for that matter, so why do it? The whole situation doesn’t add up. But Liv isn’t interested in solving any mysteries. All she knows is that Pa definitely killed Vargas, and that’s all that matters. Huck, because he’s loyal to Liv, and likely also because he likes indulging in a little mayhem now and then, says he’ll carry out this mission if she really wants him to. But she has to be one-hundred percent sure. Is she absolutely sure this is what she wants? She says she is.

In the metro. That leads Huck to go to his trusty toolbox full of devices and retrieve his favorite sniper pistol and silencer. He spots Pa in the street and follows him down into the Washington Metro. There he loses sight of him and starts trotting along, desperately looking around and peering into trains. Really, that’s his spy technique? Because even I think it looks cheesy and obvious, and I have zero espionage training. Eventually he finds Pa, and after a train pulls away they’re left alone on the platform. It looks like a secluded area, but they’re still very much in public, even though no one else is around.

Pa says he’s not armed and Huck draws his gun. Pa says they only have two minutes until the people who are following him show up. Huck asks if Pa killed Vargas, and Pa says he did, but he he wants to explain why. Then he tells all about how he did it to save the woman he loved, and now Liv’s life is in danger. He adds that Liv’s life depends on him now, and anyone who kills him is effectively giving Liv a death sentence. Huck looks doubtful, but Pa’s explanation has so far prevented him from pulling the trigger. Then Pa says a train is about to arrive, and two people will get off. He describes Boris and Natasha from last week (they still haven’t given this nefarious duo names, so I’ll keep calling them that). Huck and Pa step into the shadows as the train pulls up, and just like Pa said, off step Boris and Natasha. They look around for Pa, don’t see him, and leave.

That’s enough to convince Huck that Pa is telling the truth. He asks who they are. Pa says he doesn’t know, but he does know that whoever is watching Liv for them is on the inside. It’s someone she trusts, someone close to her; a traitor, hence the episode title. Pa says Huck needs to find out who the mole is. Pa would do it himself, he says, but he’s being watched too closely. He asks Huck for his help, and tells him to “trust no one”. So we’re going all X-Files now, are we? I think Scully and Mulder would fit right into this show at this point. The truth is out there!

Huck walks into OPA, fresh off this conversation, and the whole gang is there. He eyes both Quinn and Charlie with suspicion.

Dysfunction is all around. Later Huck is listening in on Quinn and Charlie at home. I’m not sure how he got their place bugged so fast or what that device is he’s using, but it won’t be the last WTF moment in this episode. The happily dysfunctional couple discusses its upcoming wedding. Then Quinn remarks how crazy Meg looked when they met her today and that it appears Huck has another weird, whacked-out GF. Quinn laughs and says he seems to attract those. Charlie says she’s jealous and reduces it to a catfight, which ticks Quinn off, and she throws him out. Huck looks a bit hurt about Quinn basically calling him a psycho magnet, but he doesn’t have long to feel sorry for himself. After Charlie leaves, Quinn makes a phone call; she assures the person on the other end she’s alone then asks if a place has been found to put Jennifer. It sure sounds incriminating to Huck.

Quinn leaves and when she gets to the location, goes up to a door and knocks. As she does, Huck comes up behind her and puts a gun to her head. The door is opened by Jake. Huck takes all this in, including seeing Jenny in the background, and thinks he’s just stumbled onto a whole nest of moles.

Huck pushes his way in and holds all three at gunpoint. He deems Jenny to not be a threat, and she’s banished to the bathroom while he questions Jake and Quinn. He says Liv is in danger and tells them what Pa said. Jake asks if he thinks one of them is the mole, and Huck says he doesn’t suspect Jake. He thinks it’s Quinn or Charlie. Quinn seems both hurt and insulted by the accusation. She denies it, says maybe Huck is raising such a big stink to deflect attention from himself, because he’s the mole, and then draws her gun. So now Huck and Quinn are both waving their big ol’ guns in each other’s faces. Jake must be feeling left out.

Jake asks who’s threatening Pa, and Huck says all he knows is it’s a woman. Jake thinks he knows who it is and takes out a photo of Sandy. She’s someone from Pa’s past he was spending a lot of time with up until the election, then she vanished. Quinn says she’ll track Sandy down to try to get some answers. Then Huck and Quinn stare each other down and slowly lower their guns. For now.

GF troubles. At OPA, Huck and Quinn are working at their computers. Things are pretty tense between them, and Quinn breaks the silence to ask if Huck is going to apologize for thinking she was the mole. She says she thinks maybe Meg is the mole. After all, Huck doesn’t have a great track record with girlfriends, and she brings up Becky. A refresher: Back in Season 2, Becky tried to frame Huck for shooting Fitz. She was almost successful, and as a parting blow, she killed Huck’s ‘family’, the one he had been watching over and become obsessed with, in his own neurotic and scary, yet ultimately harmless way. He was able to track her down, and she was arrested and is currently in prison. They had met at an AA meeting, and Huck thought she was just a normal girl drying out. Becky totally played him, Quinn says, and maybe Meg is doing the same thing.

When Huck gets home, who’s there waiting but Meg. He did give her a key to his place, so she thought it was okay to come by anytime. Huck looks really shocked she’s there, so she says maybe she should go. He backs down and says he’s happy to see her, and they start making out. Later, Meg uses the afterglow to bring up Liv. She says maybe Liv could help her find out who killed Jenny. Huck says he’ll bring it up to Liv and see what she says. Meg says that if he doesn’t mind, Jenny was her friend and she’d like to talk to Liv about the matter herself, face to face.

That incident coming after Quinn’s talk sends Huck on a mission. He visits Abby in the White House. Hey, Red, long time no see! He tells her he needs access to a prisoner. He also mentions that Jenny is alive. She makes a phone call, and soon Huck is in a prison visiting room, sitting across from Becky. He asks her how she was able to get past his defenses and play him for such a sucker, way back when. What weakness did she sense in him? Becky says she’ll play along and help him, but only if she gets something in return. Her sister is dying, and she wants to see her again. She has limited time to do that now, and in fact, her sister may already be dead. She’s not sure, because it’s so hard to get information in prison. She just wants to see her sister one more time.

Huck looks genuinely touched and says he’ll help her any way he can. It’s then that a little smile spreads across Becky’s face as she says she doesn’t have a sister. She was playing Huck again, just like she did in the past. It’s so easy, she says; he’s so gullible, such an easy mark for a suffering, pretty girl with a sob story. So, who’s playing him now? Becky gives a twisted smile as she asks if his current squeeze acts all sad and damaged for him. Huck walks out.

Paranoia, justified. After that lovely meeting, Huck calls Liv from his car. He asks if she knows about Sandy. None of them knows Sany is dead at this point, so he’s asking if Liv knew about her relationship with Pa. But she doesn’t care about that, and asks for confirmation that Pa killed Vargas, which Huck gives. But he explains Pa did it protect Sandy, the woman he loves. Since Pa has fallen in love, Huck says he’s a different person. People can change, and love has changed Pa. Ugh. Really, Huck? For a guy intimately familiar with the dark side of Pa and what he’s capable of, Huck sure has a short memory. Liv isn’t buying any of this. She says Pa is who he’s always been; he hasn’t ‘changed’, and if Huck can’t get the job done by morning, she’ll find someone who can and hangs up.

Huck puts the phone down, and we see that he’s following Meg. He’s watching from across the street as she sits on a park bench. She’s all alone and looks sweet and innocent. He seems mad at himself for distrusting her and starts the car. But as he’s about to pull away, who shows up and plunks herself down on the bench right next to Meg but the evil Natasha! Well played, show. Didn’t see that coming. I had my suspicions about Meg from the get-go, but having this scenario thrown in our faces is another matter entirely. The two women exchange pleasantries as Huck watches, a look of total shock on his face.

Not a great date. Later, at home, Huck calls Meg and asks her to come over. He has good news. Liv has agreed to talk to her about Jenny’s case. As he says this, he’s readying a syringe; it’s apparently truth or consequences time for Meggie. When she arrives, Huck manages a bit of small talk then shows Meg the needle. He says she can talk, or he can force the information out of her. She can start by telling him who the woman in the park is. Meg looks terrified and says she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. She’s never seen the woman before. She just came and sat down next to her. She says again she doesn’t know what this is about and asks Huck not to do this. He waves the needle in her face and says it was a mistake to trust her. So Meg says to go ahead and be a monster if he must, but to look in her eyes first; if he sees someone you can’t trust, then he can do it. After a moment he relaxes his grip on her, and she takes the opportunity book it out of there.

After Becky was gracious enough to administer that test, Huck just failed with flying colors. He tipped his hand by telling Meg, twice, that he didn’t want to do this, but she was forcing him. Implying, correctly, that she could be persuaded to force him not to. Which she did.

You always hurt the one you love. In a parking garage, Huck meets up with Liv, Quinn and Charlie. Liv is not in a good mood. She asks Huck when he was going to tell her about his meetings with Pa. Then she shows him Sandy’s body, stuffed in a car trunk. Charlie says he found it in an old dumping ground that B613 used to use back in the day. Not only is there that link to Pa, but the car was covered with his fingerprints. Liv says Pa didn’t save Sandy, he killed her. But Huck is convinced Pa is telling the truth; after all, that woman is following him, Huck saw her with his own eyes. Quinn says Huck also thought there was a mole at OPA, and Charlie says it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, being played by Pa. Liv says Pa killed Vargas, he killed Sandy, and now he’s playing with Huck’s head, and it has to stop. Huck keeps pleading his case, how people can change, how Pa is a prisoner and needs them to help him. Pa needs their help, he says, so what is Liv going to do? After a brief silence, Liv turns to Quinn and tells her to finish the job. Then she tells Huck to get rid of Sandy’s body.

????? What happens next, I can’t even begin to explain. As Huck is burying Sandy, he seems to feel something in her neck, so of course he gets out a knife and goes spelunking. He digs out some kind of chip. It leads to a whole treasure trove of video, of Pa and Sandy and Boris and Natasha. Just about everything we’ve seen is there, including Pa shooting Sandy and Natasha’s threats against Liv. Whether all of this stuff was embedded on the chip or the chip led to somewhere all of this stuff was stored, isn’t clear. It’s sketchy and happens quickly, and it’s as if the show is implying that it’s not important how this footage appeared, just that it did appear and it’s key to the plot, so just accept it. Everything in the video seems to confirm what Huck has been saying about Pa.

Huck shows the footage to Liv, who views it in silence. Then she gets on her phone and calls Quinn, who at the moment is trying to get Pa in her crosshairs, and tells her to stand down.

This week’s shocking ending. Liv and Huck show up at Meg’s door. She tells them she tried to file a police report, and the police told her Huck didn’t exist. Hee! Don’t know if she’s making that up, but it sounds plausible. She doesn’t want to let them in, so Liv tells her Jenny is alive. Then she says Huck needs to forgive himself, and he needs Meg’s help.

Meg agrees to go with Huck. He takes her to where Jake has stashed Jenny, so she can finally see the friend she thought she’d lost. Huck and Meg are all smiles as Huck opens the door, and when Jenny walks in, she seems happy to see Meg. Things go dark very quickly, though. Without a word, Meg draws a gun and shoots Jenn dead. Then she turns to a startled Huck.

Then we cut away to Meg meeting up for a progress report with Natasha and Abby. Wait, Abby?? Our Red, former Gladiator turned Fitz’s chief of staff, old bud of Liv’s, that Abby? Yep, that Abby wants to know where things stand. Natasha says Jenny is dead. Abby asks about Huck. That’s when we cut back to the previous scene, in time to see Meg pull the trigger. She shoots Huck three times, and he’s on the floor bleeding as the episode ends.

Is this the end of Huck? I hate being spoiled, so I have no idea, but this show hasn’t killed off a major character in quite a while. The last time was at the end of S3, with Harrison, and that was because the actor was becoming such a public mess IRL, not due to any problem with the character. Jake has come ridiculously close to death but miraculously survived. So, we’ll see.

And what about Abby? Has Red joined the dark side, hanging out with evil folk like Natasha? We’ll likely find out next week, in what appears to be an Abby-centric episode. A preview of 06.08, “A Stomach for Blood” –

The events leading up to election night are retold from Abby’s perspective, revealing a formidable thirst for power and the explosive secret she’s been keeping.

Abby, we hardly knew ye!

Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 5 They All Bow Down


L.T. Milroy

After taking three weeks off, Scandal‘s back with the continuing saga of the presidential election and its fallout.  

In this installment, it’s all about Jake. The marriage of Jake and wife Vanessa has gone largely unexplored up to this point, but that changes this week.

One frustrating thing about this episode is that the timeline is particularly confusing. The time jumps are constant, and it can be hard to figure out exactly what took place when. It looks like everything this week happened before last week’s episode. The closest thing we have to the present is the saga of Jake and Vanessa’s not-quite-storybook marriage, which is where we begin… 

Sally’s back! It’s the first Sally Langston sighting this season! It’s just after the Democratic Convention, and Sally is talking about Mellie and Jake on her show The Liberty Report. Jake and Vanessa watch it in their living room, and Vanessa thinks everything about the Mellie/Jake ticket is amazing. She says she feels like Jackie O, to which Jake responds by rolling his eyes, and it’s quickly apparent theirs is not a marriage made in heaven. She says he’s about to make history, but he’s in no mood for a pep talk. He bitches about the rigors of the campaign trail and all of the crap he’s had to put up with from Olivia. If you remember back to last season, Jake wanted no part of the vice presidency, but Liv pushed him into it. Seems like he’s getting tired of taking all of his marching orders from the Popes, be it Liv or Pa.

All of his complaining gets Jake all wound up and upset, which leaves Vanessa confused. She wishes she knew what was up between her husband and Olivia, but he hasn’t told her anything. In fact, he hasn’t told her much of anything at all about himself, which will be a continuing source of frustration for her throughout the episode. As for now, she tries to play the supportive wife and tells him that he’s the one about to assume power. If Mel is elected, he’ll be the vice-president, and Liv will be merely “a footnote in his biography.” That placates Jake for the moment, as he responds by jumping her right on the coffee table. Is that the same furniture you use to entertain guests, guys? No, thanks, I’ll skip dessert.

Getting tipsy with Vanessa. Now there’s a time jump forward. Cyrus has just been arrested for Frankie Vargas’s murder, and Jake is backstage at Sally’s show. He’s waiting for his wife to arrive, so they can appear together. Liv is coaching him on what to say. Quinn walks in, wanting a word with Liv. She asks what they’re going to do about Cy, and Liv says they’re not going to do anything; he’s not their client, Mellie is. They have to focus on doing whatever they can to help Mel. Quinn then gets a call from Huck, who tells her he ‘found Vanessa’. The same Vanessa Jake is waiting for at the studio to appear on TV with him? The same.

Liv tells Sally that Jake and Vanessa won’t be able to be on her show, because Vanessa has the flu. One of those crazy twenty-four-hour bugs that comes out of nowhere, whatareyougonnado? Sally gives a wry smile to that explanation and obviously doesn’t believe a word of it. Liv looks like she barely believes it herself, but she just says they’ll reschedule when Vanessa is up and around again. 

But Jake’s bride is already getting around. Huck found her off the road in her wrecked car, which she crashed into a tree. Neither she nor her passenger is physically hurt, but the passenger is plenty pissed off, and Vanessa is plastered. After a night of drinking, seems she picked up the bartender, a young buck named Kevin, and went joy riding. He’s not so joyful after the accident, though, and is complaining about what an insane little mess Vanessa is. Huck gets the cops to close off the road and keep the whole thing quiet.

The battling Ballards. They get Vanessa back to OPA and call Jake. He’s decidedly unhappy with his wife’s behavior, even though Liv says they have everything under control. The police aren’t talking, and Kevin was paid off to keep his mouth shut. But Jake starts angrily questioning Vanessa, and things quickly get out of hand. Liv breaks up the fight, and Jake stalks out, says he has things to do, and Vanessa is Liv’s problem.

This episode is basically a study in Jake and how much of his character has been shaped by his relationship with Liv. That’s explored with the help of another flashback. It’s a couple of days after the VP debate, in which everyone agrees Cyrus handily beat Jake. Liv is discussing Jake’s performance with him and he’s being his usual passive aggressive self. She’s tired of the way he always behaves toward her and asks him to drop the “cheery pod person act”. He accommodates that request by attacking her, telling her she’s turned out to be just like her father, but all of that effort still hasn’t made her happy. So she tells him what she says will make her happy, which is winning the presidency for Mel honestly. That’s why she’s so laser-focused on winning this race. She wants to make a president the right way this time and try to make some amends for Defiance. It’s her only chance for redemption. That sounds a bit shaky to me, but it has the desired effect on Jake. He understands her needs, and the two forge an alliance instead of being adversaries, and start really working together for the good of the campaign.

While this alliance might be good for the campaign, it stirs jealousy in Vanessa. She notices how well her husband and Liv are getting along, and one night she accuses him of having an affair. He calls it a ridiculous accusation and says she sounds crazy. This couple is barely speaking to each other by this point, and it seems to be all Jake can do to manage to even look at his wife when he argues with her. She says he and Liv talk all of he time, but she’s married to him, and they never talk. She keeps pushing, telling him she doesn’t know anything about him and that she wants a partnership with him. He finally yells that he doesn’t want to talk to her. He basically straight up tells her there is no partnership, which may be true in his eyes, but hey, brutal way to get your message across, buddy.  

Vanessa starts to leave but isn’t defeated quite yet. She does her best to brush off Jake’s nasty slight. She comes back into the room and tells him she wants to know about him and Liv. But he has no interest in being honest or civil with her, and he leaves.

Drying out. Back in what appears to be present day in this episode, Vanessa is at OPA after her accident. She’s awake and sober after a drunken nap. Liv tells her that if she wants to take some time for herself and get away for a while, there are places she could go where no one would know about it. Vanessa sees Liv as an adversary, so she interprets the advice as being for Liv’s benefit, not hers and wouldn’t it be nice for Liv to have her out of the way, so Liv could be unfettered to do whatever it is she wants with Jake? Liv says that’s not true, but Vanessa says she wants to hear it; she wants ‘the speech’, the one Olivia Pope has always given over the years in this situation to all of the wives and girlfriends. Liv takes exception to that but not nearly as much as when Vanessa starts alluding to how many miles Liv has put on her private parts with other women’s husbands and boyfriends. That brings out the street in Liv, who gets all up in Vanessa’s face, threatening to lay her out for such trash talk.

The threats deflate Vanessa’s ‘tude significantly, and she backs down. She says she just wants her husband back. Liv has his attention on the campaign trail, and if they’re not having an affair, then Jake is seeing someone other than Liv, because Vanessa knows he has someone on the side. Liv says that’s impossible, since she’s running the campaign and knows where the candidates are at all times. If Jake was having an affair, he wouldn’t be able to hide it from her. If that’s the case, Vanessa asks, then where did Jake disappear to on election night?

Oh great, Pa’s back. That leads to another flashback. It’s election night, and Vargas has just been declared the winner. At Grant headquarters, no one can quite believe this outcome, and while the room is buzzing, Jake gets a text. He’s just learned he won’t be VP, and his wife is standing right next to him, but he doesn’t seem to care about either these facts as he reads the text and leaves.  

Vanessa assumed he was going to meet whatever babe he’s seeing. If only that were the case. Instead, Jake has a furtive meet-up with none other than Papa Pope. Pa says that Liv failed, since she didn’t get Mel elected. Jake tells Pa he failed and should have killed Jake when he had the chance. Pa brushes that off. He’s never out of options. As he opens his briefcase, he tells Jake that something is about to happen, and when it’s all over, Jake will be VP if he plays his part correctly. Then he hands over a folder. 

So, Pa was behind the Vargas assassination? It’s implied but not spelled out, as is so much on this show. So anything could still be true. 

The battling Ballards, part II: Creepy Jake. Vanessa is sober and back home. Jake is alone and working when she walks into the room. She tries getting romantic with him, but of course, he lets her know in no uncertain terms that he’s not interested. She asks what she did to make him hate her so much. Then she confesses that her car accident was no accident; she drove into the tree on purpose. That gets through on some level, and he finally condescends to hold her. While he seems vulnerable, Vanessa starts questioning him again. She knows virtually nothing about him, and that has to change for the sake of their marriage. She wants her questions answered. 

That’s easier asked than answered when you’ve lived your life in the shadows, like Jake has. They settle on the couch, and she puts her head in his lap and tells him to start spilling his secrets. She has no idea what she’s really asking, and he doesn’t know how to respond right away. As he’s thinking, he briefly puts his hand on her neck and gets a creepy look in his eye. It seems as if he’s contemplating solving this problem like he did so many others while working for B613. But he’s running for VP, and covering up such a big mess would be a challenge, even for someone as well-versed in covering up messes as he is. So instead, he decides to be as honest as possible. He tells her he can’t answer her questions. He’s done things he can’t tell her about. He can’t talk about his past, and maybe she can’t deal with that, but that would be too bad, because if she could, they’d make a great Washington power couple. If she could just accept him as he is, with no questions asked, they could be unstoppable.

Vanessa is shocked by this admission and isn’t ready at this point to commit to such a relationship. She’s spooked by the fact that she married someone with so many closely guarded secrets and hastily gets up and leaves the room.

Tracking Jake. At OPA, Liv and the Gladiators go over the timeline of Jake’s election night disappearance. They say there are nine hours he was unaccounted for. Nine hours?? By her own admission, Liv was keeping such a tight lid on running the campaign. Then how did one of the candidates manage to slip away unnoticed for nine hours? This isn’t addressed.  

Huck traces Jake’s cell phone to Virginia the morning after the election. They wonder what he was doing there, and we find out via another flashback. Turns out it was Jake who blew up Jessica Fields’ cabin in the woods. Huck and Quinn are seen approaching the cabin when it blows up, and Jake slips out the back door.

Liv and the Gladiators go over the facts. They suspect Jake of killing Jennifer. Circumstantial evidence points to him, but they need proof. Liv says they have to keep him under constant surveillance. Huck and Quinn follow him and find that he’s making regular trips to a motel room. He’s been there eleven times since the election. 

Educating Vanessa. Remember when Liv was a fixer? That’s what the show used to be all about. I’m reminded of this when she harkens back to those days by trying to get Vanessa under control. She shows up at Vanessa’s door with Mellie in tow. Mel has some things to say that Vanessa needs to hear, Liv says, and leaves them alone. 

Mel brings up Sally’s show. Vanessa is pissed, isn’t inclined to play along, and says there’s no way she’s appearing on The Liberty Report with Jake. She’s soured on her husband and the whole politics thing. She just wants it all to be over. Mel kind of chuckles at that and says the real problem is that Vanessa doesn’t know what she wants. She’s the wife of a public servant and sure, that can be trying at times, but it also puts her in a position to get what she wants. First, though, she has to figure out what that is. Mel says Vanessa should be figuring out her priorities. Prop up Jake and play the dutiful, supportive wife, but always be working herself. She needs to suck it up now and have the world later. Mel says she should know, because she speaks from experience. 

The folksy, direct approach works. When we next see Vanessa, she is indeed on The Liberty Report, sitting at Jake’s side and playing the faithful wife. She appears to have taken Mel’s advice to heart as she talks up what a great guy Jake is and what a great VP he’d make.

 Liv gets Poped. As Vanessa gushes over her husband, Liv watches from the wings. While this TV appearance is going on, Huck and Quinn are breaking into the motel room Jake has been frequenting. Then Liv gets a call from Quinn who tells her the trip was a bust. The motel room is empty and immaculate; it almost looks as if Jake knew they were coming.

And, of course, he did. Even though we’ve never actually seen him on the job, Jake is the head of the NSA and has all of that spy experience, so it’s tough to surveil him without him knowing. As Liv speaks with Quinn, Jake walks up to her, so she hastily gets off the phone. Jake informs her that they’ll find nothing in that motel room. He cleaned it up pretty well. And he knew he was being followed; Huck and Quinn were so obvious about it, he says, it was as if they wanted him to notice. Then Jake hands Liv some papers and tells her to go make a president honestly. 

What she sees in the papers drives Liv to make an angry visit to Pa. She says he set up a trust fund in Switzerland in her name and made a wire transfer that makes it look like she was the one who paid Tom to confess to killing Vargas. Pa tells her to stop asking questions she doesn’t want the answers to. Though he dismisses her, as he usually does, he’s not his usual totally cocky self while doing so. He seems a slight bit hesitant, and we soon find out why. 

The lady in red. A little while after having it out with Liv, Pa is alone in his studio when he gets a visitor. It’s a woman who appears to have appropriated Pa’s cocky attitude. She breezes in, and Pa is angry with her at first, wanting to know why she’s trying to frame Liv. So it looks like he didn’t set up Liv’s trust fund. She says it’s just an insurance policy, and besides at this point, Liv is expendable. She served her purpose. She delivered Mellie, and now she’s just a loose end that can be cut at any time. Every day she has from now on is a gift, because she’s not needed anymore. And neither is Pa, for that matter. She says if he starts bitching about every little thing, maybe he’ll be judged too much of a pain to keep around, and both he and Liv can be gotten rid of. It’s up to him, she says, and looks at him for an answer. Pa is sufficiently cowed and contrite and tells her what she wants to hear, so she can leave while he’s still in one piece. 

Soooo…huh?? Command has a boss? They’ve spent, like, five seasons setting up Pa as Lucifer, and now it turns out Lucifer has someone to answer to? The evil buck always stopped at Pa’s door, to mix metaphors, and now they’re telling us there’s someone even more evil pulling his strings? If so, where does that stop? What if this mysterious woman in red also has a boss, who’s even more ruthless and nasty than she? And that boss has a top super secret quadruple-nasty boss! The possibilities are endless. Boring, but endless. 

And who is this woman in red? The whole time she was on screen, I was trying to figure out if I should recognize her. I have to admit, many of the Scandal ladies of recent episodes—Vanessa, Jennifer, this lady in redall look pretty similar to me, so it’s hard to tell. But she is a brand-new character, one we haven’t seen before and one we know nothing about. Except that she scares the previously unshakable Papa Pope.

The last shocking twist. Scandal has been keeping in reserve a bomb to drop at the last minute of episodes lately, and this week’s is about to detonate. Jake meets Liv in a parking garage and tells her to come with him. Once in his car, he pulls the silent treatment except for asking for Liv’s phone, only to throw it out the window. He will say nothing, nor answer any questions. Liv gets increasingly nervous as he drives and won’t tell her where they’re going. It would be a tense scene, except we know that Jake isn’t going to kill the star of the show, so that drains much of the intensity. But what, exactly, is he up to? 

He drives into the woods and stops the car  before telling Liv to get out. Again, this looks like a classic hit, but we know it’s not. Liv doesn’t know that, though, and keeps trying to get Jake to talk. She tells him she didn’t pay Tom off to kill Vargas, and Pa set her up. Then she says she knows he blew up the cabin and killed Jennifer and wants to know if he killed Vargas, too. After walking through the woods, they come up to a cabin. As Jake unlocks the cabin door, he finally tells Liv he killed Jennifer because Pa asked him to. That’s what he does, he says. First in the Navy, then in B613. He follows orders. Then he opens the door and pushes a reluctant Liv inside.

And who does Liv find herself face to face with in the cabin? The very much alive Jennifer Fields. Seems rumors of her death have been greatly exaggerated. Also seems maybe Jake didn’t follow orders this time.

As is often the case with this show, when questions are answered, it leads to even more questions. The maelstrom continues with next week’s 06.06, “Extinction” –

Rowan is caught by surprise when someone from his past resurfaces; Olivia has to make a life-changing decision about the campaign; flashbacks reveal exactly what happened the night of Francisco Vargas’s assassination. 

More flashbacks! Where would this season be without them?