Catch up on Scandal S7 Ep. 18 Over a Cliff SERIES FINALE!

by

L.T. Milroy

So, finally, I got around to watching the final episode of Scandal. What can I say? A seven-year relationship is ending. I’ve been in the denial stage for a couple of weeks. But I’ve worked through it and have managed to put together one last recap. A eulogy, of sorts.

Ugh. This is tougher than I expected. TV show years are kind of like dog years, so Scandal lived to a ripe old age. That doesn’t make this any easier, though.

So, one more time, a visit to Scandaland –

Nice knowin’ ya, Lonnie. Liv meets up with Lonnie in a deserted warehouse. He tells her he’s not going to investigate the whole B613 thing; he’s too compromised to allow it. Liv, obviously disappointed and ticked off, turns to go. Then he asks her if she wants a Senate hearing. That gets her to pause. He says he wants one thing in return: that Mellie will make gun control a priority if she’s still president when this is all over. Liv agrees. That settled, Lonnie takes out a gun. Liv looks a bit nervous, but it’s clear quickly what his intentions are. He says he’s making sure she gets the hearing she wants, then puts the gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger.

That does the trick. Before long, the media is buzzing with the news of the formerly secret government spy agency B613.

It sends the bad guys scrambling. Cy meets with Jake and tells him not only have they lost an ally in the AG’s office in Lonnie, but now they’re going to have to go up against David Rosen again. He’d recused himself from the hijacking case, but not this one, so he’ll be taking over.

For his part, David is briefing the Gladiators about what’s next for them. They’ve all agreed to testify and spill their guts about B613 and the various misdeeds they’ve committed in its service. That list of naughty things is, of course, quite extensive and graphic for some of them. Huck asks what could happen to them if they’re forced to confess to some of the really bad stuff they’ve done. David looks uneasy, and the scene is cut before we hear his reply.

Park bench meeting. Liv meets Pa on a park bench. One last sort of covert meeting in public to discuss a touchy but weighty matter for these two. I’m going to miss these little get-togethers. Liv says she needs help exposing B613, but Pa doesn’t want to hear it. He gives her an envelope with information on a trust fund, keys to a safe deposit box, and the deed to his house. He’s leaving before this whole thing blows up. Liv says that this is her chance to come clean and start over, but Pa says it’s not about her; it’s about them, the DC machine. She’s still working for them, but she doesn’t realize that they don’t care about her. Liv insists that she’s fighting the good fight, and when she’s done, the secrets will all be out, and B613 will be no more. That makes it all worth it. The country will be better off. Pa looks doubtful as he gets up and walks away.

How many times now is it, over the run of the show, that Pa has threatened to disappear for good? And yet, he’s still here for the final episode!

There are more hints of a happy ending for Melcus. Marcus drops in on Mel, who is day drinking in the Oval. Just like Fitz used to do! Those two have more in common than they’d be comfortable admitting. Mel is depressed about the impending hearings, which she’s afraid are going to end with her impeachment. Marcus tries to reassure her. And they kiss.

Angst at QPA. At QPA, the Gladiators are pretty depressed themselves, wondering about their own fates. Quinn frets that she’ll miss her daughter growing up. Abby is afraid that David will tire of visiting her in prison sooner or later and dump her. As for Huck, he’s not thinking that far in advance. He’s sweating bullets over the prospect of having to talk in front of fifteen people.

The gang’s all here. And that arrives the next day as the hearings begin. All our favorites are on hand along with  Liv and the Gladiators, including not only Fitz, but also Hollis Doyle! Long, long time no see, someone who used to be a major character and then slipped from view entirely! He’s just as loud and crass and obnoxious as ever. Also back is Tom, former Secret Service agent and brutal B613 enforcer and plaything of Cyrus. He gets one final shot at Cy by incriminating him in the Frankie Vargas killing. Liv admits to ordering the assassination of Rashad, as Command of B613. Everyone who testifies is in agreement that Cy engineered the Air Force 2 hacking. It’s basically a bloodletting of all kinds of the nefariousness we’ve seen on this show for seven seasons. Not all of it, since there isn’t time for that in just an hour episode, but lots of it.

After that fun is over, David meets with the gang again. He tells them that the committee will be giving him its recommendations, but prison is looking likely for some or all of them, and they should get their affairs in order immediately. Afterward, Liv takes him aside and asks him for a favor.

Finally, it’s official! The next scene is in prison, but not for the Gladiators. Not yet, anyway. The gang has brought Quinn to see Charlie. He’s looking pretty good, considering when we last saw him he was in the midst of being ‘persuaded’ to talk, and his face looked like a plate of raw hamburger. He’s shocked to see them, and even more shocked when Quinn tells him how they all testified before the Senate about B613. Quinn’s all giddy that this whole meeting could be arranged and asks Charlie to marry her. Now.

This adorable pair of homicidal spies was just minutes away from tying the knot when Quinn got kidnapped, and they haven’t had much of a chance since then. But Liv and the Gladiators have come prepared for the occasion, with flowers and rings. Huck, who says he registered online and is qualified, officiates the ceremony. The bride and groom are overjoyed to finally make their relationship legal. It also spurs Charlie to come clean and admit that he’s been going by a fake name all this time. His real name is Bernard Gusky. Quinn is stunned by this revelation, but, of course, her real name’s not Quinn, either, so they’re even in the fake names department. The difference is, Charlie knew about Quinn’s phony name, and this info is news to her. But in any case, she’s too happy to care. She shrugs it off, Huck continues with the ceremony, and what is sure to be a weirdly dysfunctional and nontraditional, but undeniably endlessly interesting marriage, is coronated. Congrats, you two! But I still feel kind of sorry for Robin.

Another evil parking garage. David is walking to his car, only to find Jake waiting there. Of course, they’re in a parking garage and no one else is around. With all the bad things that take place in parking garages in so many shows, one can’t help but think that the crime rate could be vastly reduced by having those things monitored 24/7. They’re forever hosting scenes like this one.

Jake is there for exactly the reason David suspects: to threaten David into dropping the whole B613 matter. When David hesitates to immediately give in to his request, Jake starts to draw his gun. But David refuses to be bullied and stands his ground. Literally. He puts down his case and raises his arms and says he’s not backing down. He’s not running, so Jake won’t get the chance to shoot him in the back, like he did to James. This is a nice callback to the Season 3 scene where Jake, working for B613, shot James, Cy’s husband, in front of a terrified David. And yes, it was in the back. Jake doesn’t appreciate being reminded and menacingly shoves the gun in David’s face.

But David stands his ground and has his say, despite Jake’s deadly reputation. He says he’s not Jake’s bitch; he’s the attorney general, the bitch of the United States of America. Jake says he sounds ridiculous, and David says that makes sense to him. Jake has never stood for anything in his life, so someone speaking with conviction would naturally sound ridiculous to him.

What does he stand for? Who cares about him? If something happened to him, who would care? There are people who love me, David says, they would miss me. No one would miss you. You’re just Cy’s bitch. So go ahead, do what you were told to do.

Then David adds that he can be Cy’s bitch, or he can, for the first time in his life, do the right thing and not follow orders, just because.

It’s a bold challenge, and Jake doesn’t look comfortable with it. He’s still holding the gun in David’s face but is frozen. David stands with the barrel near his nose for several tense seconds, and then says he’s leaving. He bends down, picks up his case, and starts walking away. He’s obviously still expecting to maybe get that bullet in the back, but when he turns around after a few steps, Jake is gone.

Creepy Jake, one more time. That leads Jake to go to Cy’s office. He walks in and tells Cy that he’s going home. Cy brushes that off and asks if he took care of the David Rosen problem. Jake starts to go, and Cy grabs his arm, which Jake, of course, doesn’t appreciate. But Cy is starting to realize that Jake would really just walk out on this whole thing and gets a desperate look in his eye.

He says that if David is still AG tomorrow when the committee gives its recommendations, he and Jake are finished. But Jake doesn’t seem to care. He says that he’s not going to kill David for Cy. It’s not that he has anything against killing in general, he says, turning on the creepy Jake persona he can flip like a switch. No, he’s a killer. He’s just not going to carry out this particular killing. It’s Cy, he adds, who’s not a killer. Cy is good at getting others to do his dirty work but has always preferred not to get his hands dirty himself. He likes to give orders but isn’t fond of putting the work in.

When Jake is done insulting a stunned Cy, he pauses to lean over and get in his face. He tells Cy, in a menacingly low and evil tone, never to question him, then repeats that he’s going home. He leaves Cy behind, looking shaken and scared.

Nice knowin’ ya, Davey. Later, David is lying in bed with Abby, telling her how great it felt to stand up to Jake. She, though, is distracted, worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow. She thinks she’s going to prison, and voices her fears about him dealing with carrying on a relationship with a federal inmate. He assures her that whatever happens, he’ll never leave her. Then his phone rings. It’s Cy, wanting to deal.

The meeting with Jake seems to have scared Cy into giving up. David goes to Cy’s house, where he has a full confession prepared. He’ll confess to setting up the AF2 hacking and trying to frame Mel for it. Cy seems very calm and resigned to facing his fate. He asks David to have a drink with him. As he pours and hands David a glass, Cy says he’s not a good person, but there are reasons for everything he does. He’s always had a dream of attaining the presidency, he says, and right now, that dream is within his grasp. The problem is, David is standing in his way. At that moment, David, who has sipped from his glass, starts coughing.

Need I even mention, at this point, how stupid it was for David to go to Cy’s house in the middle of the night alone? It’s hard to believe, knowing these people as well as he does, that he’d ever do it. He should have called a colleague or asked Abby to go with him. For that matter, why didn’t Abby say something? Neither of these savvy people knew what a horrible idea it was for David to go by himself to meet with a cornered and desperate Cy? This show has sometimes required some heavy lifting to suspend disbelief, but this, in the final episode, is an extreme example. Just, wow.

And it leads to the death, in the final episode, of perhaps the show’s last truly white hat character. As David starts coughing and sweating, Cy tells him it’s nothing personal, it’s just that he’s in his way. Cy stands back while David struggles for breath. It isn’t pretty, as David chokes and falls to the floor, contorting while trying to breathe. Cy continues to watch, but as David struggles on and refuses to stop fighting, Cy knows he’ll have to get his hands dirty. He picks up a pillow and holds it over David’s face. After a few moments, David finally gives up and goes limp. Cy sits back, seeming both relieved and horrified with what he’s done.

Giving up? Later, Abby is at the morgue to identify David’s body. He reportedly had a heart attack. Liv and the Gladiators are also there, and they’re looking grim. Abby tells them that Cy called David to his house, and it was a trap. Quinn says the bad guys have won, but Abby says they can’t get emotional; there’s time for that later. Right now, they have to do something. Huck says he’ll take care of it, but Liv knows what that means and says no. There will be no more killing. They don’t deal with problems that way anymore. They have to think of something else.

No one seems to have much idea what that is. Quinn tries going to see Pa and asking him for help, but he shuts her down quickly. If he helps her, he says, it will be traced back to him, and he’ll take the fall for it. She says she’s probably going to prison, and does he want Robin to grow up without her parents? He just says he’s not responsible for that. He wishes her luck, and she reluctantly leaves.

Liv is spending her probable last night of freedom with Fitz. He tells her they have to fight this, but Liv has basically given up. Cy has won, and they’re all going to prison. She blames herself for the whole thing, saying she’s been the problem all along. He protests, but she just says that she’s going to prison tomorrow, so tonight is the last night they’ll ever have alone together. Does he want to spend it arguing? He gives in and tells her to take her clothes off, and they start making out.

Pa is in his studio, finishing up the last of his packing. He hears a news report of how AG Rosen suffered a fatal heart attack at VP Beene’s house. He looks pensive, but it’s hard to read his reaction.

Final reckoning. Really. Final. We find out the next morning. Liv wakes up alone in bed. She finds Fitz in the living room, on the phone. He seems surprised by what he hears. When he hangs up, he tells her the committee has postponed giving its recommendations, which it was supposed to do first thing this morning. There’s a new witness.

That turns out to be Pa, who is testifying, he specifically points out, as Command of B613. So, in Scandalspeak, he’s testifying as Rowan, Command of a super secret government spy organization, and not Eli, meek paleontologist. He says he started B613 because of the failings of people like those on the committee he was testifying before, the white men who have always been in charge.

Then Pa Pope, who has never shied away from delivering a scenery-chewing speech on this show, gives his final effort. He says the responsibility for the perpetuation of B613 falls on them; they made it possible through their clueless privilege. Pa says it wasn’t they who made America great, it was him. He’s kept the country safe from behind the scenes; he just never got any credit for it. The white men who run things would never acknowledge that a black man has been running the country for the past thirty years. Their pride and privilege wouldn’t allow it.

That last bit is basically a way for Pa to get himself off the hook. The committee needs to deliver the public some sort of villain after all this, he tells them. They need to hand over Command, but not necessarily him, insinuating that a white guy might be a wiser choice.

And so it went. The scene cuts from Pa to a news report showing the FBI raiding Jake’s house and marching him out in handcuffs. Jake was once, briefly, Command, and he’s done some very bad things, and he’s a white guy, so that combination of things is enough to make him take the blame for everything.

With Jake under arrest, the mood at QPA is one of elation. While Jake will go to prison, Quinn, who an hour ago thought she was going to miss her child growing up, will get to stay home with her kid and new husband. Abby is happy for her, but says that while they might claim the good guys won, the only true ‘good guy’, David, is gone. She’s put off mourning her BF for the sake of the task at hand, but it looks like she’s now ready.

One last bit of creepiness. Jake is sitting in his cell when Liv shows up. She wants to see him one last time. She wonders, if she had never made him leave the island, who he would he be now. She apologizes for making him ‘step out of the sun’, but he tells her not to be sorry. He doesn’t seem to hold this against her, but he’s stoic, as usual. That low-key creepy Jake is ever-present. He doesn’t even seem to mind that he’s headed for a maximum security lock-up in Illinois, for life. He says some nonsense about how they can’t cage him, and he’ll always be free, yadda yadda. He thanks Liv for showing up for him. She says goodbye.

Getting off pretty easy. As for Cy, Liv is waiting when he walks into the Oval. He’s surprised to see her, as he had an appointment with Mel, but Liv says Mel is busy, and she’s here in her place. She hands Cy a resignation letter; his, to be exact. He’s resigning from the vice presidency, immediately. She tells him he can fight it and debase himself, or he can sign it and try to move on and get some peace of mind. It’s his choice. But he has to make it, now. Cy looks trapped. He blubbers a bit about all the plans he had for himself and even offers Liv a drink, at one point (and even he has to laugh a bit over that, knowing how absurd it sounds). Eventually, though, he faces the inevitable, takes the letter, and signs.

BFFs? With that, the mopping up is done. Almost. Liv sits with Mel on a White House balcony. After all that craziness, Mel asks what’s next. What’s next for her administration? What can she do to assure the public everything is back to normal, and she deserves their trust? Whatever that is, Mel says, she’s hoping Liv will be by her side to carry it out. But, surprisingly, Liv turns her down. She says she’s spent enough of her life cleaning up other people’s messes. She wants to do something else. Mel is disappointed. She envisioned the two of them moving on together. She tells Liv she needs her, but Liv says she doesn’t. Mel should be her own woman and run things her own way, and she’ll be great at it. Mel asks what Liv will do. Liv answers, “Whatever I want.”

One last thing… Then there’s a jump ahead in time. Charlie (Bernard?) is released from prison and is greeted by his wife and daughter. There’s a moment of adorableness as the couple hugs and kisses their baby and each other. Mel is seen signing a gun control bill, which makes good on Liv’s promise to Lonnie. At the signing, Mel poses for photos with Marcus. It clearly looks like they’re a couple, though it’s not spelled out. Liv is shown having dinner with Pa. It’s a typical Pope dinner with great food and wine, and father and daughter seem to be getting along quite well. Abby and Huck somberly visit David’s grave. Jake lies in his prison cell, dreaming of his time ‘in the sun’, on the island with Liv.

Then the scene switches to Liv strutting around DC in a fabulous white coat. A car pulls up next to her. Fitz gets out, and they make some small talk, and it looks like Olitz is very much on. Again, the extent of the relationship isn’t spelled out, but after all they’ve been through, Liv and Fitz clearly still want to be together, and it looks like they will be.

The timeline in this flash-forward montage is a little fuzzy. Charlie would have been released from prison pretty quickly after Pa’s testimony, but in the bill signing scene, there’s a quick shot of the bill which says Gun Control Act of 2021, so that’s three years in the future. The scene with Liv and Fitz looks, like Charlie’s scene, to be jumping forward almost no time at all. It seems implied that Olitz is a couple, in some capacity, as soon as Liv turned down a job with Mel. Do they end up in Vermont making jam? That isn’t stated, but it’s always possible. That would be a weekend thing, though, the jam-making. I don’t see Liv stepping away from the action for very long at any given time.

One real last thing… Throughout the episode, there were various shots of a mother and her two young daughters (who are series creator/producer/writer Shonda Rhimes’ own daughters, apparently) walking through a museum of portraits of presidents and Washington luminaries. They’re seen looking at the various portraits, including those of Fitz and Mellie. In the final shot of the episode, and series, the girls stop in front of a lovely portrait of none other than Olivia Pope. The implication seems to be that this is taking place at some point in the future, and Liv has been elected president. There are also portraits of those besides presidents, first ladies and such, but it seemed to me to be implying that Liv is a future president. The scene is also evocative of the recent photo of a young girl gawking at Michelle Obama’s official portrait. The two girls in this scene aren’t open-mouthed gazing at Liv, fortunately, as that would have been too cheesy, but the scene is clearly meant to recall that classic, candid photo.

So, that’s how it ends. Olitz seemed to be the end game on this show from S1, and it looks like it was. But it wasn’t heavy-handed in this episode; it wasn’t even explicitly spelled out, which was a nice touch. It looks as though Mel and Marcus found their way back to each other and lived happily ever after. Or at least the Scandal equivalent. The Gladiators are off the hook for their misdeeds and can go back to being fixers. It will take Abby a little time to find a new normal life. RIP, David. You’ve been with us since the very first episode, seven years ago. You deserved better.

Jake, of course, took the biggest hit of anyone. Whatever you think of him, having to rot away in a federal lock-up forever, while everyone else in this saga is allowed to get on with their lives, just ain’t fair. He’s paying the price for everyone, including Cy, who should definitely be in the cell right next to him.

Cy got a reasonable comeuppance, though. For someone as ambitious as he’s always been, to work for so many years and get that close to achieving his dream, only to see it all come to naught after all that time, must be excruciating. Living out the rest of his days, and he was still pretty young by political standards, still very much viable in the political arena, in total anonymity, will be torture for him. Maybe not as unpleasant as what Jake will endure, but a nasty fate, nonetheless.

What else is there left to say? This show has been around since the spring of 2012. I’ve been with it since episode 01.01, right up to 07.18. It’s hard to say goodbye to Scandal and these characters. I’m ok right now, but come the fall, I’ll probably start getting a craving only Olivia Pope and the gang can satisfy. It’s not going to be pretty. Are there are any ex-Scandal support groups out there?

Thanks to all those who kept up with these recaps. It’s been fun. Don’t know if any more recapping is in my future. Shows as recappable as this one don’t come along every year, after all.

So long, Gladiators!

 

 

 

 

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Catch up on Scandal S7 Ep. 17 Standing in the Sun

by

L.T. Milroy

 

The good guys/gals and bad guys/gals continue to draw battle lines, as the ultimate struggle for power winds down in Scandaland. The blood sport continues this week, with some genuinely surprising moments and the return of a favorite old character who’s largely been missing lately.

The march toward the conclusion continues…

Like old times…again. We open with a brief scene in Fitz’s bedroom, as Liv gets dressed while he lounges in bed. It’s something we’ve seen many times over the run of this show, with the one dressing and the one still in bed savoring the afterglow changing back and forth, but basically the same scene. This time they’re discussing Mel and the grilling she faces today by special prosecutor Lonnie. Liv says she knows Fitz isn’t just concerned about Mel’s welfare because he still cares about her, but because his own legacy is tied up with hers, whether he likes it or not. He agrees. There’s lots of legacy talk this week, which I suppose should be expected with the show coming to a close.

Long tall Sally. Welcome back, Sally Langston! She’s been MIA for virtually the entire season but is seen on the set of her show The Liberty Report. She’s being a supreme beeotch to everyone around her as she prepares to go on the air. Never change, Sally. Once the camera is on, she’s all over the President Grant story, about how Mellie will be questioned about her role in the plane hacking and what it means for democracy. The scene is brief, but have no fear, lovers of liberty. There’s more Sally on the way later!

Ambush. Mel is being advised by her lawyer, Helena, as she prepares to be questioned. She’s frustrated because Helena is telling her all about asserting her Fifth Amendment rights. Mel says she’s innocent, and as such has no reason to be briefed about this. Liv agrees, saying that if Mel clams up and takes the Fifth, it will look to everyone like she has something to hide. Liv advises Mel to just tell the truth. That’s her best defense.

Their powwow completed, the three women head for the deposition room. There’s some badass slow-motion as Mel, Liv and Helena swagger down the hall. They stride by Cy, who isn’t impressed with their collective badassedness, and snarks at Mel as she passes. I wouldn’t be so smug, Cy. It’s almost over, so you’re probably going down, and not in a good way, sooner rather than later. Doesn’t he know it’s the next-to-last episode? Maybe nobody told him.

What awaits Mel in her questioning is hinted at as Marcus runs into an old friend. When he finds out she’s now on the intel committee, he asks if she can give him any inside info. She just tells him to be glad that he’s not working in the White House anymore. Marcus takes this as a tip-off that the stuff is about to hit the fan, and takes off in a sprint to see Fitz. When he breathlessly reaches Fitz’s office, Marcus tells him that Mel is being set up. He’s not sure what it is, but a bombshell is about to be dropped.

Mel is sitting face to face with Lonnie the guilty scumbag, who’s the special prosecutor in this case. He wastes no time getting to the point and asks Mel why she fired Liv. Mel says she wasn’t fired, she resigned over disagreements the two of them were having at the time. Lonnie asks if those disagreements had anything to do with Liv plotting the Rashad assassination. Mel looks taken aback and says she knows nothing about that. But Lonnie came prepared. He shows Mel video, taken with that overhead Oval Office camera, in which she and Liv have a discussion where the Rashad matter is referenced. Bombshell, dropped. Fitz called Liv just before the detonation to try to warn her she was about to be attacked, but she let it go to voicemail.

Now Mel’s look has turned to one of distress. Lonnie says Cy found out about the assassination plot and was going to talk, so Mel tried to get him killed to keep him quiet. Mel pauses for a moment, confers with Helena, then reluctantly says that she takes the Fifth. As they’re getting up from the table, Lonnie takes a subpoena from his pocket and hands it to Liv. He wants to talk to her tomorrow.

Jake the snake. While Liv, Mel, Fitz, Marcus and David are in the Oval talking over what to do next, Lonnie and Cy meet down in their bunker of evil. Though he looked very confident facing Mel, Lonnie looks anything but at the moment. He tells Cy how nervous he is about what they’re doing. Plotting against a sitting president like this, he knows he’s committing treason, and has no illusions about that. Cy tries to tell him how what he’s doing is for his country and for his son, yadda yadda yadda, and even Lonnie knows that’s trite. The thing he’s most concerned about at this point is having gotten in so deep with someone as shadowy as Jake. Who exactly is he, anyway? Lonnie did some poking around and says he couldn’t find any evidence that Jake Ballard even existed before joining the navy. How did someone with no past get as far as he did? Cy looks vaguely intrigued by the question.

Long tall Sally, part II. At QPA, Quinn and Huck are talking about the Liv facing questioning situation, when Sally walks in. She wants to know if the former employees of Liv’s have any information they might want to give her about the whole thing. Quinn tells her to leave. Since sweet talk, Langston style, didn’t work, Sally changes tactics and straight up offers cash. It will sure help Quinn, she says, who’s going to need to hire a good lawyer for Charlie. Somehow I doubt altruism is playing much of a part in this for Sally. And hasn’t she been around long enough to know better than to buy a source? It seems naive and out of character for her.

Creepy, jilted Jake. As Liv walks into her apartment, she senses someone there and calls out Jake’s name before turning on the lights. Of course, it’s him, sitting and waiting creepily in the dark. How many times over the run of this show have we seen this exact scenario? So, submitted for your approval, Jake breaks into Liv’s apartment and sits alone in the dark and silence waiting for her to get home, one last time.

It’s not silent for long. Jake gets up and offers Liv a glass vial full of sand. He says it’s from ‘their island’, the one they ran away to, the one where he thought they were going to live together forever. He’s kept this sand all this time, and now he wants her to have it. Liv, of course, says tiredly she doesn’t want it. He says standing in the sun with her on the island was the only happy time of his life. But it didn’t last. She came back to DC to make a president, and now, he says, he has a president of his own to make, and she won’t be getting in his way. He tells her that when Lonnie asks about the Rashad assassination tomorrow, she’s going to say she organized it at Mel’s request. She’s going to admit her own guilt and implicate Mel, and when Cy becomes president, he’ll pardon her. Liv objects, telling Jake he’s not like this and doesn’t have to do it, but he says this is the way it’s going to go. Then he basically says she only has herself to blame, because she drove him to this by dumping him. He says something about how a dog will turn on you if you keep starving it, which I interpreted to mean that if she hadn’t always chosen Fitz over him, he wouldn’t be so unreasonable right now. So it looks like this really is him whining because he’s always everyone’s second choice? That’s what it’s really all about for him? Butthurt Jake hands Liv the vial and leaves.

When Liv talks things over with the Gladiators, they discover a problem. Any way they can think of to expose Jake and try to stop him involves one or all of them. Anything they can charge Jake or Cy with can be traced back to Liv or Fitz or Mel or OPA or QPA, or some combination thereof. If they take Jake and Cy down, then the dominoes start to fall. Quite a conundrum.

Chatty Liv. The time has come for Liv to be questioned. Jake, who seems to be in on everything these days, is watching covertly in the B613 lair. Like he did with Mel, Lonnie gets right to the point, immediately asking Liv if Mel ordered her to have Rashad killed. Liv at first tries to evade, saying the question carries the presumption of Rashad having been deliberately killed, which hasn’t been proven. But Lonnie ain’t playing word games. He says Liv can answer the question or, like Mel, take the Fifth. Liv pauses then says Rashad was assassinated, but the order wasn’t given by Mel. It was given by Liv herself, acting as Command of B613! Huh?? Wow, ‘outing’ B613. I didn’t see that coming! Neither did Jake, who bolts up from his chair. But Liv isn’t close to being done. She says B613 is a secret spy organization, currently being run by Jake Ballard, in an old pool room in the White House. Then she spills all the deets on this now not-so-secret enterprise.

Lonnie is shocked. A secret CIA is being run by the White House? No, says Liv, it’s the other way around. B613 controls the White House. Lonnie looks both panicky and clueless and calls for a break. He can’t get out of his chair quick enough and heads straight for that old pool room. Jake is already standing outside. Lonnie tells him to step aside, which he does. Knowing this show, I thought the room might already be empty, but I guess Jake clearing the lair of all that B613 equipment in, like, 30 seconds, is too much to ask even us jaded Scandal fans to believe. So Lonnie walks in and sees all the incriminating stuff out in the open, and knows that what Liv just told him is true. Outside, Liv walks up to Jake, who asks what she thinks she’s doing. She answers, of course, “Standing in the sun.”

Secure that lair! So that leads Lonnie to take Jake back to the room to question him privately. Jake notes that the camera that filmed both Mel and Liv’s questioning isn’t on, and also that he was never subpoenaed. Lonnie concedes that this talk isn’t exactly on the record, but he’s called the FBI, and they’re going to closely go over everything they find at B613. After that, there will be plenty of subpoenas to go around. So it looks like Lonnie, like a rank amateur, left B613 unguarded, choosing instead to take Jake with him and just call the FBI. As expected, when agents arrive at the lair a few minutes later, all traces of B613 are gone. The room is an empty cavern.

In the middle of threatening Jake and telling him how much trouble he’s in, Lonnie’s phone rings with the bad news. Jake knows exactly what’s going on, and reverts back to smugness immediately. He says it would be foolish to pursue this matter without any proof. He then tells Lonnie to make Liv’s testimony disappear and says he can help in that regard. He takes the card out of the camera.

Time for another white hat powwow. The White House and FGI gang gets together to discuss all that’s gone down. Fitz says Liv’s testimony has been buried. Mel is still freaking out that there was any testimony at all. What was Liv thinking, ‘outing’ B613 like that? It carries consequences for every one of them. Liv goes all truthiness again and says the truth is the only thing that will stop Jake and Cy. All the ugliness has to come out. The prospect of that still makes Mel nervous. It’s too dangerous, she says, and they have no way of controlling what it may lead to. Liv counters again that the only weapon they have is telling the truth, and it’s the only way they can end up as the heroes of this story.

So the crusading Liv meets with the Gladiators. They think the whole thing is suicide, but Liv doesn’t want to debate them. She says she needs their help get Lonnie to act. They have to convince him not to bury the existence of B613. Quinn says she thinks she knows a way.

Quinn goes back to the hungry Sally and says she has a dynamite exclusive for her, and tells her all about the suppressed testimony. Sally can be the one to blow the lid off B613. But Sally is hesitant; she wants to see some proof. Quinn says B613 is a secret agency, so its members aren’t exactly anxious to talk about it. Sally says if Quinn brings her some evidence, she’ll go with it.

Marcus gets a speech. Then there’s a scene that doesn’t move the plot forward but does give Marcus a chance to pontificate, which he doesn’t often get. Mel is stressing to him about her whole situation, and he gets real with her. He tells her that she chose to surround herself with sharks, so she shouldn’t be surprised when the going gets dangerous. Now she has to navigate it.

A little Pa/son bonding. Jake drops by Pa’s lab, where Pa has been shown fussing over his BONES. That seems to be what he does these days, but Pa is never really retired. He’s always been a playa and always will be. Jake says all this hasn’t been easy on anyone, but he’s doing what he’s doing for the right reasons. Liv is just an unfortunate casualty. Pa doesn’t seem upset. He just says okay then wonders why Jake doesn’t look very happy. He should feel great that he’s getting his way, but obviously something’s missing. Did Jake show up there because he needs approval from daddy? Will that make everything better? So Pa makes a big show of telling Jake how awesomely great he is. He tells Jake how proud he is of him and fusses over him like a spoiled child.

That’s when the head games really begin. Jake gets pissed at this display and says he’s Command now. Pa is just jealous because Jake has all the power that Pa used to have.

Pa laughs at that and says Jake has nothing. Those who have real power don’t talk endlessly about it and obsess over it, like Jake does. If he had any real power, Pa says, he wouldn’t have to say so. That makes Jake draw his gun. Pa doesn’t flinch and says he still has all the power. Jake and Liv may have followed him as Command, but they never took the power from him. Neither of them was ever really Command, in the full sense, like he was. Jake raises the gun and points it at Pa, saying he could kill him right now. Pa says he could, but he won’t. There’s a standoff as Jake points the gun directly at Pa’s head, and Pa just stares back. It’s certainly not unthinkable that Pa could get taken out in this situation in the penultimate episode, so there’s some tension. But Jake eventually takes the gun down and starts to walk away. Pa tells him he’ll be here when Jake falls. Jake says to just stay out of his way.

Fitz drops by Liv’s place. She says all they can do is wait and hope that the Gladiators can come up with enough to convince Sally to do the story. Then Fitz says they know how this story ends; with them, doing what’s right. More white hat stuff as the show sprints down the stretch. And another hint that Olitz is the end game, just like that scene with Mel and Marcus seemed to be hinting the same about Melcus.

Over a cliff. But the Gladiators are having not unexpected difficulty getting anyone to go on the record regarding B613. They’re starting to doubt they can accomplish the task, when Abby reminds them what this is all about: saving Liv. It’s obvious they’re all complicit in these crimes, but Liv has decided to step forward and be held accountable. That’s up to her, Abby says; what’s up to them is whether she does it alone. Huck says he has an idea.

The Gladiators meet with Liv and tell her they’ve had trouble getting anyone to talk about B613. But they do have proof through the testimony of witnesses: themselves. All of them have worked for, or in close proximity to, B613, and can testify as to its existence. Liv says she can’t let them do it. They say they know everything and are willing to talk to help her. They’re by her side, over a cliff, and all that. Liv knows it’s useless to argue and looks grateful.

Liv then goes to Mel and tells her all that’s happened. She and the Gladiators are ready to go forward, but it’s Mel’s decision. Liv says she can deny Mel knew anything about B613 or not. It’s up to her. Judging from her reaction, it looks like Mel is ready to follow Liv over a cliff, as well.

Long tall Sally, one last time. That’s proven in the next scene. Sally opens her show by saying she’s doing something highly unusual for her, she’s coming to the aid of President Grant. In the name of liberty! She talks about how for the past thirty years the government has been run by a secret spy organization, but now she’s exposing it. Watching in his office, Cy leaps from his chair, just like Jake did a few scenes ago, and it’s just as funny. Cy runs down the hall to Jake’s office, where he’s watching, as well. The two look grim and panicked as they listen.

Liv, Fitz, Mel and Marcus are also all watching together. When Sally is done stating her accusations, all four of their phones start to ring. Liv verbalizes the obvious by saying “Here we go…”

Here we go? But, we are going! As in, final episode of all time, ever, going. Anything being set to ‘go’ right now better get wrapped up quick, because next week is 07.18, “Over A Cliff”, the final episode of the series. Couldn’t find much of a written preview, but in the trailer at the end of this week’s ep, it looks like everyone will be testifying next week, with Fitz being questioned, along with all the Gladiators. How many skeletons will come dancing out of how many closets? Any careers going to be busted? Any lives lost?

There are far too many lose ends dangling out of this show for them all to be tied up in just one hour. It will be interesting to see what TPTB behind the scenes think is important enough to resolve and what is considered unworthy of resolution, and thus left to dangle, in perpetuity.

We’ll all find out next week. After 123 episodes, it all comes down to this. Over a cliff, indeed. Let’s keep going!

Catch Up On Scandal S7 Ep. 16 People Like Me

by

L.T. Milroy

 

What to do about Jake?

That’s the question presently being posed by Scandal. I know, you probably remembered the question as being, “What to do about Cyrus?” That’s so last week. But actually, that’s still a question, too, only now there’s more than one question. The evilness is spreading as the clock ticks down.

The basement hallway of drama. We’re back where we left off last week, with Mellie and Liv in the bowels of the White House, where all the real business goes down. Mel has just asked Liv to come back and be Command again, with her first task being the neutralizing of Cy. Liv doesn’t respond well to the suggestion. Mel says how she’s the perfect person for the job, because she’s the “most precise and capable killer” Mel knows. Way to hand off a compliment, Mel! Liv insists that she’s not a killer…anymore. Because she hasn’t offed anyone in the last five minutes, that means she’s an ex-killer? Got it, Liv. So are Huck and Charlie and Quinn, I suppose. All of them are awash with the blood of both the guilty and innocent, but I guess they’re all retroactively clean. Pure as the driven slush, the lot of them.

When complimenting Liv’s skills as a killer falls flat, Mel goes in another direction. Cy is the enemy of the presidency, she says, and she rationalizes his murder as something patriotic. Cy has waged war on them, and they’re only responding to his attack. Liv is still hesitant, so Mel takes yet another tack. This is about sisterhood, she says. She’s the first woman president, and Cy doesn’t get to steal that job from her. An unprincipled man like Cy does not to get to rewrite women’s history. Liv looks like she might be weakening but still hasn’t agreed.

The axis of evil is having a meeting of the minds, as well. Jake is sitting with Cy in his office. Cy says things are going right on schedule, but Jake thinks it would be wise to take a pre-emptive strike against Liv. She’s obviously a threat to them, so why not make a move before she does? Cy disagrees. Everything is going nicely for them, and they shouldn’t complicate things by over-thinking or deviate from the plan. Jake obviously isn’t happy but seems to accept Cy’s decision.

Back in the Oval Office, Mel is hunkering down. Her possible involvement in the AF2 hacking is all over the news, even before Lonnie makes a statement that she’s under investigation. She instructs her assistant that the only phone calls she wants put through to her are Liv’s. Anything else can be handled by the staff.

Back home. The Gladiators, back in their old home at the QPA offices, are with Liv, discussing their options. Liv says she needs to get Cy alone, so she can convince him to stop his pursuit of charges against Mel. Like that will be so easy to do. Huck knows what a task that is and asks if there’s a plan ‘B’. Quinn says they’re plan ‘B’; the Gladiators will keep trying to find out the identity of the hacker who helped Lonnie and Cy, and are hopeful they can do that before Liv is forced to do anything drastic. This doesn’t much placate Huck, who still looks uneasy.

Jake is also at home with wife Vanessa, and she’s wigging out a bit. Whatever he’s involved in, it has her really nervous. She’s afraid they’re in danger. He tells her there’s nothing to worry about and assures her he has everything under control. Then he reminds her they’re a team. Whenever he does something, he does it with an eye toward their future. She just has to trust him.

Alone again, naturally. Marcus drops by the Oval to see how Mel is holding up. He finds her working, all by herself as usual. Why is Mel always alone? There never even seems to be any Secret Service around. I don’t remember Fitz constantly being by his lonesome when he was POTUS. But then, he was usually boning Liv and had her for company. Marcus says Mel should get out and confront these allegations, head on. She has to be forceful and vocal about denying the charges against her. It looks like Mel knows about Jake’s hidden camera, because she brings Marcus over near the window, out of camera range, and whispers that she and Liv have made up, and Liv is working for her. Marcus doesn’t much like the sound of that, but Mel says she and Liv are fine, and he doesn’t have to worry.  She cuts their meeting short, and he reluctantly leaves.

A stand-off. Cy receives a note he interprets as being from Lonnie, requesting a meeting. However, when he arrives in that secret bunker, it’s not Lonnie waiting for him, but Liv and Huck. He’s just there as muscle, in case Cy decides to give them a problem when Liv tells him to give them his cell phone. Cy hesitates just a moment before taking out the phone and handing it over. Huck takes it and leaves.

Liv, being her lushy self, has brought some wine and pours them each a glass. Hasn’t Cy been on the wagon for several years? He ain’t anymore. He accepts a glass as Liv tells him to call off the investigation of Mel. He says no, of course, and basically asks what she’s going to do about it. Liv, leaning on a chair, ominously grips it, and we’re obviously supposed to be reminded of when she once solved the matter of a troublesome VP by giving him a few whacks with a very similar chair. She’s not at that point yet, though. She says that the Gladiators are working to find out who helped Cy hack the plane, they’re going to be successful, and he’s going down. Cy, in turn, threatens her with the weight of the government, particularly the Secret Service. They could show up at any time and arrest her. Liv scoffs at that. She asks if he really wants agents to find him in the bunker where he plotted with Lonnie. A bunker that contains evidence of his guilt, including the nearly-priceless Cezanne, which still sits on a table. They trade threats back and forth, with each seeming to think the other is bluffing.

A one-woman show. Marcus tells Fitz he’s worried about Mel. Fitz says he understands how Mel feels; her presidency and her legacy are under attack. The presidency makes people do things they never thought they would. Marcus asks how Fitz survived it, since it’s obvious he did things he truly regrets and continues to be tormented by some of it. When Fitz admits he is, Marcus asks, “Doesn’t Mel deserve better?”

As for the POTUS herself, she’s alone in the Oval, as always, although at present, she’s a bit tipsy. She’s talking out loud as she drinks, and it’s obvious she knows about that overhead camera we saw previously. Since it’s a B613 device, it’s probably not supposed to be there, as Jake heads that enterprise and he brutally let Mel know his loyalties lie with Cy. If it was supposed to be disabled, but it wasn’t, and it looks like Mel knows that, since she’s obviously playing to it. She also knows Jake’s probably watching, and she taunts him as she swills. They’re on to him, Mel and her posse, and he’s going down, because Mel is a leader and Jake is a follower, she says. He’s always been nothing but an errand boy for truly powerful people, like her, but he’s about to lose even that. His time is up, she says gleefully. Jake is watching, expressionless as always. He’s sure got that stoic look down perfectly. The belittling must be hard to take, though.

Back in the bunker. Liv goes out into the hallway outside the bunker, needing a break from the verbal parrying with Cy. Huck is sitting on the floor. He says he knows she poisoned one of the bottles of wine she brought and wonders if it’s going to come to that. He’s disappointed, because he feels like he just got the old Liv back. Ugh, with that again. Liv says she hasn’t done anything yet. She’s waiting to hear from Quinn, who she’s confident will track down the hacker. Then Cy will be forced to give up, and plan ‘A’ will work. Huck looks doubtful.

Liv goes back in the bunker to try to wear Cy down. It’s proving to be a difficult task, even greased by what is surely some very fine wine. Cy isn’t interested in Liv’s questions and takes the conversation in another direction. He says he’s been thinking about Fitz a lot lately, who’s been a very important figure in both their lives; if not for him, they never would have met in the first place. He asks if Liv ever thinks about what her life would be like if she had never met Fitz. How things would have turned out very different for her and would she be a different person? Cy then addresses his own question and says that if he never met Fitz, he’d be exactly the same. He’s ambitious and unprincipled, and he would be that way whether Fitz had ever been in his life or not. He is who he is, Cy says smugly, and there isn’t anything Liv can do about it.

Cy’s taunting takes its toll. Liv goes back outside to sit with Huck in the hallway. Her phone rings; it’s Quinn with bad news. She’s traced the hacker, who she found dead. Cy must have gotten to him and made sure he wouldn’t talk. He’ll probably kill Charlie, too, Quinn adds. Liv hangs up and tells Huck. He asks about the wine, and Liv basically confirms that she intends to open the poison bottle. She says all clues will point to Lonnie as the killer and tells Huck to go.

POTUS, cleanse thyself. Mel gives Fitz a call. She says she pretty much just needs to hear a friendly voice. It’s nice that they’re finally at this point in their relationship. Better not to be fighting all the time for their own sakes, as well as that of their little kid we never see. He says she doesn’t need his advice, but he’ll give some, anyway. He seems to suspect that she’s decided to go dark and tells her to find another way. He’s not sure what she’s planning, but he doesn’t want her to end up like he did. “Don’t lose your soul,” he says. “Find another way.”

Crashing the party. Lonnie comes by Jake’s office, and Jake tells him it’s dangerous for them to be seen together. But Lonnie says there’s a problem. He can’t find Cy. He looked at Cy’s calendar and penciled in for right now is a meeting with Lonnie, but of course, he’s not with Lonnie. Jake looks concerned.

In the bunker, Liv hesitantly opens the bottle of poison wine. She pours a glass, but just as she’s going to hand it to Cy, Jake bursts in. He tries to hustle Cy out, while Liv tries to get him to take the wine. It’s kind of comical, actually, how Liv holds out the glass and tries to force Cy to drink, even as Jake is steering him toward the door. Jake thinks it’s really obvious, too. He takes the glass of wine and puts it aside. Then he hands Liv his gun, and tells her to take it and use it instead. It’s more honest. When Liv won’t take the gun, Jake turns it on himself, even putting it in his mouth and imploring Liv to pull the trigger. He has a wild look in his eye and has just gone flat-out crazypants at this point. Liv doesn’t shoot, of course, so Jake removes the gun and says it’s no surprise. Liv has always been all talk and no action. She’s always needed people like him to get things done for her. Then he tells her to prove him wrong and once again holds out the gun. She won’t take it and is left standing there, trembling, as Jake and Cy leave.

Domestic strife. At home afterward, Jake calls Lonnie and tells him Cy is okay. Everything is still going to plan, but Jake adds that he wants to broaden the scope of the investigation to include Liv along with Mel. They might even be able to get Liv on Rashad’s assassination, he says. As he hangs up, Vanessa walks in, ticked off. She overheard his conversation and says he’s into this a lot deeper than he let on to her. He says again that all he does, he does to advance the two of them, and they’re a team. But Vanessa has had enough of that. She says she knows he’s working for Cy, and everything he does is meant to make Cy happy. Jake says he just wants to align himself with a winner, which will advance their own cause. But she’s signing off on all this ‘team’ stuff once and for all. There is no ‘us’, she says. Not anymore. She believed in him once, but that’s all over. She was supposed to be Jackie O, but instead she’s just the wife of the VP’s bitch. She wants out.

Ouch. Some rough words from the wife we’ve seen almost none of, up to this point. Vanessa has been virtually invisible this season, and now this insulting outburst. Jake remains expressionless throughout this tongue lashing, as always, but it’s hard to believe the little woman won’t be paying a price for her verbal indiscretion.

The basement hallway of drama II. Liv meets up with Mel in the recesses of the White House again. She says she couldn’t kill Cy. Mel doesn’t seem very disappointed. She says solving problems by killing people isn’t who they are, anyway. Liv says they don’t have to use violence to deal with things just because the men who have occupied their positions always chose that method. They can choose their own way and win this thing if their bond is stronger than whatever it is Cy and Jake have. Liv says she’s with Mel all the way, and she always has been, despite what Mel may have felt at times. Is Mel with her? Mel says she is.

That leads a re-energized President Grant to give a statement to the press. It’s more of a throwdown, really. Mel says in no uncertain terms that she isn’t guilty of the crime of which she’s being accused. She’s innocent and refuses to just sit silent and be bullied. She’s speaking up, and those accusing her had better be ready for a fight. Cy watches on TV and kind of shakes his head, but still seems a bit concerned about this new take-no-crap Mel.

After helping Mel craft her glorious re-ascendance speech, Liv shows up at Fitz’s place. Rather, the insanely expensive bottle she’s brought along shows up, sitting in front of the door as Fitz opens it. I’m not sure if it’s scotch or whiskey, but it’s really good stuff, judging from Fitz’s reaction. Liv steps out of the shadows and judging from the look on her face, she’s there for one thing only, and it ain’t good hooch. He says something about drinking to the old days, but she just jumps him, and they kiss their way inside. Olitz is back on, bitches! After a moment, the door opens again, Fitz grabs the bottle off the floor, and goes back in. He wasn’t going to leave pricey liquor behind, impending hot sex or not! Even after all he’s done, sometimes I still respect that man.

And since we can’t end on a happy booze and kissing and sex note, there’s this. Cy goes to Jake’s house where Jake answers the door, a bit out of breath. Cy says he’s changed his mind and now agrees that it would be a good idea to take action against Liv. Jake says he’s one step ahead; he’s already talked to Lonnie. and Liv is under investigation. Cy is upset that Jake went to Lonnie behind his back. Jake says he doesn’t need permission, but Cy says this whole thing is his operation. He calls the shots. Jake, looking all crazy in the eyes, as he has for much of this episode, tells Cy he wants to show him something.

They walk into the kitchen, and Cy sees something we don’t as yet, although it’s pretty obvious what ‘it’ is. Jake calmly pours them drinks. He reminds Cy that Cy proposed a partnership with him, and he accepted. He says he and his wife Vanessa agreed to a similar arrangement before they got married, but she recently told him she wanted out. That’s unacceptable. He says he’d hate to have to dissolve his and Cy’s partnership like he did his and Vanessa’s. Then the camera pans back to show the formerly mouthy Vanessa, dead on the floor. Cy assures Jake that he has nothing to be concerned about. They’re still partners.

So it looks like Jake, the batshit crazy version, is now in the proverbial driver’s seat. He has even the looney Cy under control, at least at the moment. And time is of the essence, what with this show perilously close to its end, there’s no time for Jake to go pinging back and forth between good and evil, as the writers have been fond of doing with him. The penultimate episode, 07.17 “Standing In the Sun”, is upon us. It carries this one sentence description –

 

Cyrus and Jake’s mission to take the White House reaches a new level of deceit when Liv is called to testify against Mellie.

 

With the end in sight, I’m waiting for those white hats to come out again. Can Liv be redeemed, after all that’s happened? Only two episodes left…

 

 

Catch up on Scandal S7 Ep. 14 The List

by

L.T. Milroy

What to do about Cy? That seems to be the big question around Scandaland these days. The former political power player turned death row prisoner, who’s now the popular VP, is proving to be quite a handful in the waning days of this series. Cyrus Beene has sure worn many hats during its run. Where exactly he’ll end up has turned out to be a key question that’s affecting the fates of many of the other regulars. At the moment, he’s on top of the world and controlling his destiny, but we all know how fast things can change in Scandalverse. It’s been whiplash-inducing at times, and I expect nothing less as the program careens to its conclusion.

Case of the Week set-up. In the opening scene, we see a young woman in a store, talking on the phone to her father. She appears to be some sort of government worker and seems fine and happy until she says goodbye and hangs up with dad. That’s when she goes to the store’s gun department, wanting to buy a gun.

Meanwhile, Olivia shows up at Abby’s door. Abby, of course, says she doesn’t want to see her, so Liv gets to the point immediately and tells Abby she thinks the hacking of Air Force Two was done by Cyrus. That intrigues Abby enough to let her in. Once inside, Liv says “we” have to figure out what to do about the situation. Abby finds her word choice interesting; “‘We’ aren’t going to do anything,” she says, because the Gladiators have no intention of working with Liv. A contrite Liv says she’s not asking for their forgiveness, just for their help. Abby still looks doubtful but says she’ll think about it.

At the White House, Mellie is concerned about the new federal budget plan. She needs the votes to get it passed and asks Jake for help. She does this while lying on the floor of the Oval Office; her back has gone out, and apparently the doctor’s only advice for when this happens is to lie on the floor. She suggests enlisting Cy’s help with this task. He’s popular right now, after coming out of the AF2 incident, and should help rustle up votes for them. Jake isn’t happy about that idea, but agrees.

Jake then drops in on the B613 lair, where a computer nerd is working on finding out who hacked AF2. She’s studying the virus but hasn’t yet determined its origin.

Case of the Week. Liv visits Marcus at the Fitzgerald Grant Institute. She asks him out to dinner, and he says she must really have no friends. Hee! Liv smiles, but they’re quickly interrupted by a guy wanting to speak with Liv. He’s looking for his daughter who seems to have disappeared. He tells Liv about her, and it’s obvious she was the young woman buying a gun in the opening scene. He hasn’t heard from her, which is strange, because she keeps in regular touch. He wants help finding her.

Liv tells him she doesn’t do this kind of work, but the guy says his daughter, Alisha, came to Washington because of her. Alisha idolized Liv and wanted to work in DC to be like her. She’s an intern because of Liv, working in Congressman Beard’s office. He says he hasn’t heard from Alisha in a week, so something must be wrong. Liv and Marcus talk to Fitz about the case, and he agrees to take it.

At QPA, Abby tells the Gladiators about the theory of Cy being behind the AF2 hacking. Since she can’t tell them she got the idea from Liv, she says she heard the attorney general, aka her BF David, talking about it. They debate looking into it. Charlie says they shouldn’t rush into anything, and then speaks with Quinn alone. He seems a bit off-center, which is understandable, and says he’s still getting used to the fact that she’s still alive and around to speak to at all. He’s also concerned that she came back to work too quickly, but Quinn says she’s not the type to sit around at home. She has to stay active and wants to work this case.

Liv’s minions. Trying to track down some info on Alisha, Liv goes to her apartment. Alisha’s roommate, Megan, answers the door. She recognizes Liv immediately and gushes a bit before letting her in. They go to Alisha’s room, which has some pictures of Liv on the wall and looks vaguely stalkerish. Megan says Alisha’s been gone for a couple of days, ever since she lost her job. They were both interns in Congressman Beard’s office, but the internships recently ended. At that point, all the interns were either offered a fulltime position or told they could leave; Megan got the first option and Alisha the second. Megan then tells Liv she has to get to work. On the way out of Alisha’s room, Liv takes her laptop.

At FGI, Liv and Fitz are going through the laptop and find out about Alisha’s recent gun purchase. They also find a note Alisha wrote to her boss, a guy named Waterbend, just before she was fired. They’re reading it as Marcus walks in to inform them the police have been notified about the disappearance. In the note, Alisha says she won’t tell anyone ‘what happened’ and asks him not to ‘GFV’ her. Liv and Fitz are confused, so Marcus shows them a website dubbed “the fresh meat list”, which is The List of the episode’s title. It’s all about female interns on Capitol Hill and is as lurid as you’re probably thinking. Marcus says that GFV stands for gluten-free vegan, meaning Alisha was one of the interns who wouldn’t cooperate with the sexual requests of her boss. Once the list labeled Alisha as someone who wouldn’t ‘put out’, she not only wasn’t hired in Beard’s office, but couldn’t find a job anywhere on the Hill. She looked around, but no one in DC would hire her. Then she bought the gun.

Tracking Cy. Mel is meeting with Cy, telling him they have to get more votes for their budget. He says he’ll talk to some Democrats about it. Mel thanks him and adds that she’s so glad he’s okay. Then she starts to apologize for almost shooting down the plane and killing him, but he says it’s not necessary. He totally understands what she did, and he would have done the same thing. It’s hard to believe Mel is really sincere about this and believes Cy acted in a heroic and selfless fashion, but who knows what she suspects? At this moment, it appears she’s being honest. She also promises him they’ll find out who’s responsible for the hacking and hold them accountable.

At QPA, Huck and Charlie are doing their own work trying to crack the plane virus. Abby is watching Cy on TV being interviewed in his office about the federal budget, when she notices something and asks aloud where the Cezanne is, the painting Fenton Glackland gifted Cy. It was hanging in Cy’s office, and now she doesn’t see it. Abby says that it was worth enough to get a hacker to write a hijacking virus. That gets the attention of Huck and Charlie, since they hacked Cy’s bank accounts and were frustrated to find no big withdrawals had been made. Maybe this is how he raised the funds.

Then we see the man in question himself, as Cy enters a secure room. There awaits Lonnie, the hacker, with the Cezanne. I’m a bit confused by Lonnie, because the actor was a semi-regular on The West Wing and played a good guy, a Secret Service agent who served in close proximity to President Bartlet and once took a bullet meant for him. He’s working with the evil-these-days Cy here, so is decidedly not a good guy. He tells Cy he’s getting nervous. He knows Liv met with Abby about her suspicions, that all kinds of people are looking into the plane hacking, and he thinks it’s getting too dangerous. He loves the painting but says he won’t be able to enjoy it in prison. Cy tells him to calm down. Nothing can be traced to him. He was paid with the painting, so there’s no money trail. He just needs to keep doing his job, Cy says he’ll worry about Liv.

A piggish pol and a corpse. Liv and Marcus go to speak with the Waterbend guy, who’s responsible for having Alisha branded a GFV and ruining her life. He has this conversation while walking briskly, as if he’s just so busy he can’t keep from rushing around for two seconds to address the disappearance of a former congressional staffer. He’s also a huge turd and says it’s not his fault if Alisha didn’t want to ‘play the game’. She knew what DC was like, so he’s not responsible for her choices. What she did was up to her. This angers Liv, who starts laying into him as Marcus’s phone beeps. It’s the morgue calling to say Alisha’s body has been found. It was a suicide; she bought the gun to use on herself when she was distraught that the career she’d fantasized about was over before it began.

Alisha’s grieving father is brought in to identify her. Afterward, he has a few choice words for Liv. He says he knows who she really is and what she did to get there. She’s on top of the heap, but she screwed Fitz to get what she wanted, and who knows what else she’s done? Liv is someone who’s played the game to the hilt, while his daughter was a good person who just wanted to make an honest living. She didn’t stand a chance in this town. She idolized Liv, but Liv is not a role model, and Alisha couldn’t see that. He says she was just a nice person who’s dead before her time, because she looked up to Liv.

Liv takes all this in, a bit stunned at the outburst. She’s probably heard much of it before, but considering the source, it’s obvious she’s affected by it.

It leads her to visit FGI, where she’s spending quite a bit of time these days. She tells Fitz they can’t just let the case end here. They have to do something for Alisha and all the women on the list. She wants to bring down Waterbend. Fitz says the existence of the list should be enough to do that, but Liv thinks they need something more, so she pays Megan a return visit. Since Megan was classified by Waterbend as ‘prime rib’ and still has a job, it’s safe to assume she made a different decision than Alisha. Megan is uncomfortable but confirms it and says it was easier to just put up and shut up about it. She didn’t know Alisha had killed herself. Liv says they want to build a case against Waterbend using the website and asks if Megan can help. Megan looks hesitant.

Like old times. Marcus has a meeting with Mel in the White House and shows her the fresh meat list. It was apparent that Liv and Fitz didn’t know about the list, and now it seems Mel is surprised, too. Why is Marcus the only one in this circle of DC luminaries who knew this thing existed? That isn’t addressed. Mel is horrified and agrees that something should be done, but says for a variety of reasons, new legislation at this time would be impossible. Politically, it’s just not something she can do right now. She says she’s sorry she couldn’t give him what he came there for, and he answers that when it comes to her, he never gets what he wants. It was then that I remembered the torrid affair these two had. That was last season, after all, an eternity in Scadaltime. Marcus obviously remembers, and the two have a loaded moment staring at each other. I was thinking Mel might attack him, rip his clothes off, and they’d go at it right on the desk, like in their first hook-up, but no such luck. She says she’ll take his proposal for legislation into consideration and thanks him for coming.

Busted. Abby brings David dinner to his office. As she walks in, he’s texting with Cy, which concerns her. Are they buddies now? David says no, but they faced death together, so they have a bond. She starts talking about Cy and the plane hacking investigation, but David says he doesn’t know anything. He tells her that since he’s so close to the situation, he’s recused himself from the investigation.

Things get more complicated at QPA. Huck has found the Al Smith Dinner speech Cy wrote. He says it makes no sense that he was writing a speech for a dinner he knew he wouldn’t be going to. If he had planned the plane hacking in advance, he’d know he wasn’t going to the dinner. This seemed to be evidence that he was sent to the summit and put on AF2 at the last minute. Charlie says none of it adds up. Quinn agrees and asks Abby if David told her anything more. Abby hems and haws a bit before coming clean and telling them the theory about Cy masterminding the hacking didn’t come from David but from Liv. Quinn, as expected, doesn’t take that admission well. She doesn’t trust anything about Liv and shuts down the investigation immediately.

That night, Abby meets clandestinely with Liv. She tells her that Quinn found out the Cy intel came from Liv, and they’re no longer investigating the case. Liv is frustrated and insists that Cy is guilty of this. Abby says that might be true, but it can’t be QPA that proves it.

Really, Jake? In the Oval, Mel is also frustrated. Jake tells her he’s having trouble getting enough votes for the budget. Even though she shut Marcus down over it, she brings up sexual harassment legislation. Jake says to wait for the whole budget mess to be over. Until it’s passed, they really can’t concentrate on much else. Mel agrees, and in another callback to her past, she orders up some fried chicken while she and Jake burn the midnight oil discussing their options. Remember back when Mel was first lady and she’d deal with her problems with a mess of fried chicken from the White House kitchen? I love fried-chicken-eating Mel.

The POTUS and CoS have their pow wow on the floor, where Mel is still mostly confined after throwing out her back. Her prone position, though, doesn’t interfere with her ability to wolf down fried chicken, which I love and respect her for. They get a little silly after a while, and Mel admits that she hurt her back doing happy baby, a yoga pose. They laugh about that, and Jake says they make a good team. Then he puts his hand on hers and they have an intimately awkward moment as they look at each other. It doesn’t last very long. She says she thinks he should go, and he reluctantly does.

Ugh. I have to admit that Mel and Jake is new, if rather creepy. Is every possible combination going to be pimped out as a couple before this show is through? I mean, why didn’t they get Pa and Quinn together when they had the chance? Is it too early to pair Robin up with someone? (Where is Robin while Quinn and Charlie are working all the time, anyway? Should I even ask? Probably not.)

Bitter Chuck. At QPA, Huck is still working on tracing the plane virus. Charlie reminds him that Quinn told them to drop it, but Huck says it doesn’t feel right. So what if they’re following a lead provided by Liv? What if the lead is legit, and the old Liv is back? Charlie says that will never happen. Liv, now and forever, will be their adversary and is not to be trusted. He adds angrily that he won’t ever work for Liv or anyone in the White House ever again.

Like old times? Liv is meeting with Fitz at FGI and looks rather dejected. Fitz tells her that they’re not defeated; all they need is for one woman to come forward and help them. So far, that hasn’t happened, and Liv is thinking it’s not going to. This whole matter has also apparently gotten Fitz thinking. He asks Liv if in the past he was ever inappropriate with her. Wow, that’s quite a question to be asking, at this point. Liv says no, she doesn’t think he crossed a line but that they crossed it together. She also says she has no regrets about it and that she’d do it again. They’re kind of bonding for the first time in a long time, but before they get too close, and the thoughts and prayers of Olitz fans everywhere can be fulfilled, Megan appears in the doorway. It looks like prime rib gal isn’t happy wearing that moniker, and she’s decided to come forward and speak out.

 

The next day, Megan goes before the press. She looked kind of bubble-headed and willfully naive when we first saw her, but now she looks confident as she talks about the atmosphere in DC. It’s too late for her friend Alisha, she says, but she wants to do something in her memory. The reaction to her words is immediate, as others come forward to talk about how they were victimized by the list. Before long, an alternative list surfaces online of Washington’s worst predators.

It was a job well done for Liv. As she leaves FGI (for now), she thanks Fitz for all his help. They shake hands while inspirational music plays, and it’s hard not to see this as a redeeming undertaking for Liv, as well as a possible step toward an Olitz reunion. For the moment, however, a handshake is just a handshake.

Things aren’t going so well for the faux couple of the episode. Jake walks into the Oval. and Mel tells him about legislation she’s going to introduce on workplace harassment. He takes that as his cue to apologize for last night. She doesn’t mince words and says she has no interest in playing Liv and Fitz with him. Having lots of secret nookie with staff is not something on the agenda for her administration. He says he didn’t assume it was. What he did was the result of being attracted to her in that moment, nothing more. She says she thinks it might have been a power play on his part. He denies that and says again it was an honest reaction to the moment. Mel looks doubtful.

More old times. Liv is at home watching the news when Abby knocks at the door. She compliments Liv on Megan’s press conference. Liv accepts the compliment and asks her in. She tells Abby she doesn’t blame the Gladiators for not trusting her or wanting to work with her. She can understand that. Besides, she says, it’s not their fight in the first place. Liv says it’s all about the promise she made to Mel back when they first began working together, which was to do all she could to protect her from the men who want to take her power. Even after all that’s happened between her and the POTUS, Liv says she remembers making that promise, and she intends to keep it. Abby is impressed and won over. She doesn’t care what her coworkers think; she wants to be on Team Liv.

One last thing… At B613, Jake’s computer nerd says she’s tracked down who made the computer virus. At QPA, Huck has hacked into Charlie’s laptop and discovered something disturbing: the laptop had the virus the day before it infected AF2. Huck tells Quinn about it. He says it unfortunately kind of makes sense, with Charlie being so angry about anything government related lately. Quinn then confronts Charlie with the evidence, accusing him of working with Cy again and writing the virus. This was another callback, as I’d forgotten Charlie once worked for Cy; way back in the first couple of seasons, when Cy was Fitz’s CoS, Charlie did all his dirty work. Quinn says he’s back in cahoots with his old boss. Charlie denies this quite vigorously. He would never work with Cy again and says someone must have put the virus on his laptop. He’s so adamant that Quinn reconsiders and starts to look panicked. She tells Charlie to GTF out of there, but it’s too late. As he rushes toward the door, FBI agents burst in and put him under arrest.

Later, AG David makes an announcement to the press that an arrest has been made in the AF2 hacking. He says he’s had to recuse himself from the case, but an able and trustworthy person will be taking his place. Then he introduces this pillar of virtue who will be prosecuting Charlie for the hacking: none other than Lonnie the art lover! He’s apparently an underling of David’s in the AG’s office. David seems to genuinely trust the guy, but Davey also dated the obviously unwholesome Natasha last season, so his powers of judgment may be a bit skewed, Abby notwithstanding.

Cy watches this announcement on TV, happy with what he sees. At Liv’s place, there’s a knock on her door. It’s Quinn, looking desperate. With Charlie under arrest for a federal crime and things seeming hopeless, she has no one else to turn to but her old mentor, the one she threatened to kill just a couple of episodes ago. Things can change fast in Scandaland.

The clock is running out, though. There are only four episodes left in the series, the next being 07.15, “The Noise”. It airs on 3/29, as the show takes a break next week, and is directed by Darby Stanchfield, aka Gladiator Abby Whelan. Ms. Stanchfield putting on the director’s cap is a Scandal first, as the regulars continue to branch out. It looks like the remainder of the eps will be focused on the comeuppance of Cy. The CoS has, of course, behaved in a shoddy fashion many times in the past, but now, in the series’ final-stretch eps, he’s basically being portrayed as the evilest evil that ever eviled. He will have to be dealt with, and if Liv can atone for some of her recent bad behavior in the process, all the better.

 

Hard to believe the whole circus is winding down. C U in 2!

Catch up on Scandal S7 Ep.13 Air Force Two”

by

L.T. Milroy

 

Someone has taken control of Air Force Two, and some of our favorite denizens of Scandaland are in peril, both in the air and on the ground. How will they all fare during this hour? That’s the question that will be answered throughout the episode. And there’s also some technical cyber stuff I didn’t even come close to understanding. I don’t know if it all even makes sense. Is it accurate, or more like the lightning speed with which we saw Liv and friends get a case before the Supreme Court last week? That was entertaining but not very true to life. I’m not sure exactly where on the ridiculosity continuum this AF2 hacking falls, but I guess that’s not really the point. As always with this show, one shouldn’t try to analyze too closely; just try to relax and enjoy.

In that spirit, on to this week’s shenanigans.

Speechus interruptus. The episode opens to Cy laughing it up in his office. Whatever he’s reading has him highly amused. He’s cracking up so loud his assistant, Hannah, comes in to find out WTF is so funny. Turns out, he’s loving his own handiwork. He’s writing a speech for the upcoming Al Smith dinner, and has come up with some jokes he knows are going to kill, including one about Sally Langston, who still doesn’t make an appearance, but gets a mention, at least. Now what about Susan Ross? She remains MIA and is still apparently unmentionable. He can’t wait to entertain everyone with his rapier wit.

But he won’t get the chance. Cy is called into the Oval, where Mel informs him that she’s sending him to Lisbon for the digital piracy summit. He’s decidedly unhappy about that, as he is with the fact that Jake, Mel’s new chief of staff, is there and seems to be in on the decision. In fact, when Cy starts grousing about what a great speech he wrote, Mel suggests Cy gave it to Jake, who is going to the dinner in his place. Far from placating him, that makes Cy even more angry, as he calls Jake a hack and stalks out.

Abby’s dilemma. At Abby and David’s place, David, who’s also going to the summit, is finishing packing. He tells Abby on his way out the door that he’s making reservations for a fancy dinner on Thursday. That stresses Abby out. At QPA, she prattles on to Huck and Charlie about how she thinks David is going to propose and that she doesn’t know how to respond. If she really wants to know what he might be planning, Huck suggests hacking into David’s browser history.

On the plane. Cy is still bitter as he boards Air Force Two. Once in the air, David remarks about what a nice plane it is, but Cy hates everything today and calls it a dump. It’s a piece of garbage compared to Air Force One, he says. Then a staffer comes in to give them the news: they’ve lost control of the plane, which is on autopilot, controlled by an unknown source. They’ve also lost contact with the ground.

At QPA, Huck and Charlie have hacked David and are rummaging through what he’s been up to online. They find that he recently made a jewelry purchase and that he made and canceled six dinner reservations before settling on one. The two murderous spies seem to be enjoying their gossipy foray through Davey’s bidness a little too much for Abby, who gives them the side-eye. She says Huck and Charlie used to be dark and creepy, but now they’re all ‘fluffy’, which she finds even creepier. Hee! The light mood doesn’t last long, as a sober-looking Quinn walks in and tells Abby there’s something on TV she has to see. News of AF2 has broken, and the jewelry-buying dinner-crazy Davey is in mortal danger.

A visit with Ma. At the moment, Liv is far away from the political scene. She shows up at Ma’s place, which is the apartment where Ma is being held in custody. Ma Pope hasn’t been seen in a while, but she’s still around, still being held prisoner, albeit in a very lovely place, and still bitter and sarcastic about everything. Liv has brought French food and beverages to celebrate Ma’s birthday. She takes off her coat, and Ma is surprised, and a bit suspicious, that she’s actually going to stay for dinner. Liv says she just wants to spend some time with her mother on her birthday. Her phone rings, but she turns it off, not wanting to be disturbed.

Meanwhile at the White House, Mel huddles with her team. They’ve lost all contact with AF2. They don’t know who’s controlling it, but it’s been hacked and this is likely a hostage or kidnap situation. Mel tells Jake that there has to be some way to get in touch with those on the plane and tells him to find it.

Hacking and some other stuff. Back on AF2, Cy gathers everyone and tries to calm them down. That group includes people like Cy and David, as well as their staffs, but also several reporters who are along for the ride. They’re informed that the malware that hacked the plane was brought on-board unwittingly by one of them, so everyone is told to hand over their electronic devices to the Secret Service. Hearing this news, Cy’s assistant, Hannah, panics. She takes Cy aside and tells him she thinks this may be her fault. She gives him her laptop and tells him that the day before, it went missing, but she’s always misplacing things and didn’t think much of it. After it reappeared on her desk later, she basically forgot about the whole thing. She also says the laptop went missing right around the time Jake showed up.

As Cy is learning this bit of info, the plane suddenly lurches, sending him flying and opening a big, bloody gash in his face. AF2 has turned around and is now headed for Washington, DC.

Cy tells David he suspects Jake might be behind this. He takes out Hannah’s laptop and says he’s not turning it over to the Secret Service, because he doesn’t trust them, or any government official, for that matter. Jake has lots of contacts in the intelligence community, so who knows who’s been compromised? If they’re going to get out of this alive, Cy says, they’ll have to find a way to contact their friends, who care about them. The White House can’t be relied on and is useless to them. In the first bit of technical voodoo I don’t quite understand, a staffer is able to send the virus from the laptop to QPA. It contains a short message explaining that this is the virus controlling AF2, and that the Gladiators shouldn’t trust anyone in the government.

Creepy Jake shot down. Mel, huddled with her team in the Situation Room, has found out that the plane is headed for DC. Jake shares the opinion that it may have to be shot down, for security reasons. That makes Mel ask everyone to give them the room. Once alone, she tells Jake she can’t believe, with all the resources available to them, that shooting down AF2 would even be an option. It’s seeming like Mel might suspect Jake of nefarious intentions when she unleashes an unexpected full-out assault. She guesses this stunt with AF2 might be Jake’s way of “taking out the trash”. She knows he doesn’t like Cy, so maybe this is him getting the Veep out of his way, once and for all. It would sure be an effective way of getting the job done.

Jake disagrees and says this method is too messy; if he merely wanted Cy gone, there are much easier ways to do it, so why go to all this effort when he could just take Cy out quietly, without drawing so much attention? He certainly has the training to do that. But Mel isn’t convinced. She brings up the Rashad assassination and says maybe he just has a thing for planes. None of this looks good, and Mel says she needs some time to think, alone. She orders Jake out, telling him she’ll deal with him later.

A rude birthday party. The dinner of tension continues at Ma’s place. Liv is trying to ignore the awkwardness, and begins gushing about her recent court case with Annalise. Ma isn’t moved by Liv’s seeming attempts at bonding. She asks why Liv is there. Liv says she wants to celebrate her mother’s birthday. Ma says if that’s really the case, if she really wanted her to have a good birthday, Liv would let her out instead of continuing to hold her in custody. Then Ma, as is her wont, gets all snarky and abusive, culminating in her intimating that Liv was only there out of guilt brought on by her court case, and that it’s ironic Liv threw herself so enthusiastically into trying to get so many people of color out of prison, while she lets her own mother rot away under house arrest. Then she condescendingly accuses Liv of living in a fantasy world. Liv has heard enough. She rolls her eyes, gets up and walks across the room to her phone. She turns it back on, because she’s done listening to Ma’s BS, but is surprised when it beeps immediately.

Even stripped of much of her DC clout, when Olivia Pope goes AWOL for a couple of hours, the world is waiting when she returns. Her phone has a message from the POTUS, who’d been trying to reach her earlier. It’s unknown what exactly Mel would have said to Liv, had she gotten hold of her, but later, sitting alone in the Oval after throwing Jake out, she calls Fitz. He offers to tell her what he would do in this situation, but she turns him down. Mel wants to handle this on her own.

Trash talk everywhere. Cy and David are gossiping about Abby and marriage, and relationships, and whatever they can think of to take their minds off their current situation, when outside the window a couple of F-15 jets pull up alongside the plane. Cy gravely says this means Jake’s winning. Mel has decided to have the jets handy in case AF2 needs to be shot down. She hasn’t made any decisions yet and says no one is to pull the trigger without her go-ahead.

Back on the ground, they’re also using gossip to deal with the situation. At QPA, Abby and Huck are anxiously watching the news, and Abby is distraught. She thinks the White House has already made the decision to shoot down the plane. She faces losing David, but she says it’s basically just as well, because she was only going to break his heart, anyway. It looks like he was going to propose, and she says though she loves him, she doesn’t want to marry him. Huck says he thinks Abby’s bad first marriage is keeping her from being happy, and she shouldn’t let it. There goes Huck, being all ‘fluffy’ again.

A reckoning. On AF2, David tells Cy he thinks they should try to get a message to Mel that Jake may be behind this. Cy thinks it would do no good. If they mess with Mel’s head at this point, it could backfire, and the plane will just end up being a bomb aimed at DC. That’s the worst-case scenario. Better to be shot down.

Then there’s more technical mumbo jumbo. A reporter has caught onto the fact that the cockpit has access to Wifi and shows up there to ask them to share. It’s weird that a reporter would be allowed to just stroll into the cockpit of AF2, particularly during an emergency situation, but that’s what she does. She wants the world to see what’s going on as the plane looks like it’s about to be shot down, and asks them to give her access (on her phone that she kept, against orders). When she returns to her seat, she finds her phone is active.

It’s then that Cy seems to have accepted the inevitable and gets in front of everyone to address them. They’ve all seen the F-15’s outside, he says gravely, and they all know what it means. Their government is considering shooting them down, and though it’s a horrible thought, it’s better than the alternative. If some terrorist is trying to use AF2 as a missile, it’s best to remove that option, if possible. They’re headed for DC, and it’s looking like they’ll crash in a highly populated area, which means many casualties. Lots of dead bodies is what the terrorists want the world to see, so they can blame it on the US government. They’re in a position to prevent that. It’s an awful way to go, but they’ll go as heroes, Cy says. The world will know they gave their lives to keep America safe. They’ll die as patriots, and he’s proud to do that with them.

It’s a brave, inspired, and indeed, presidential speech. And one which Cy delivers looking bedraggled, his clothes still covered with the blood from his head wound. He looks strong and heroic and, coincidentally, the world got to see it. As soon as he started talking, our intrepid reporter, her phone service restored, started secretly live streaming. The Gladiators are seen silently watching, as are Liv, Fitz and Jake, in their respective locations.

An upset Liv, still ‘celebrating’ at Ma’s, starts panicking, and the ever-snarky Ma thinks she’s being foolish. Why does Liv care about those people on the plane, anyway? They’re not her friends. In fact, they’re the kind of DC insiders who brought her down. She should be celebrating their impending deaths. Ma delivers this with her customary irritating smugness, and when she starts in with the mind games, a disgusted Liv leaves. Happy birthday, Ma!

After delivering his inspirational speech, Cy walks through the plane, making reassuring eye contact with everyone. When he gets to the shutterbug reporter, he also gives her a little nod. It’s subtle, but unmistakable.

A sort-of resolution. At the White House, Mel has cooled off enough to speak with Jake. She asks him to tell her he had nothing to do with this, and he does. He doesn’t sound all that convincing, and Mel doesn’t look very convinced. Jake then basically says he serves at the pleasure of his president. Whatever she wants from him, she should tell him, and he’ll do it.

Things are tense on board AF2, and get even tenser as the F-15’s pull back to get in firing position. A decision has to be made whether to shoot the plane down before it’s too late. It’s something Mel still wants to avoid, so with the seconds ticking down, she tells her team to try one last time to make contact. At QPA, the Gladiators work furiously to try to shut the virus down. The cuts back and forth between AF2, the White House, and QPA during these last seconds are actually pretty exciting. Normally it wouldn’t be, but with the show ending soon, who knows what they have in store for the fates of these characters? Killing off Cy and David in this manner certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

But then, suddenly, it’s all over. We don’t get to see the resolution. The scene cuts away to Abby’s apartment. There’s a knock at the door, and she opens it to David. At this point, the transition was so jarring, I wasn’t sure whether this was supposed to be reality or fantasy. But then it slowly becomes apparent that it’s reality, it was just done in a really questionable fashion. She jumps into his arms and is so happy to see him that she forgets all about what she told Huck about breaking David’s heart. She knows he was planning to propose, and she tells him to just go ahead and do it. She’s ready. But he says she has it all wrong. The info they dug up had to do with his mother’s birthday; the jewelry and dinner reservations are for her. David says he knows Abby well enough to understand that he shouldn’t propose to her unless he wants to lose her. She looks so relieved and like she’s found her soulmate.

Can she do this? Liv is back at home after her fun little mother/daughter get-together. She watches news reports while she gets a package ready for delivery. Those news reports include clips of Mel, thanking everyone involved for all they did, and singling out Cy for his cool head and extraordinary bravery.

The package is seen being delivered to Ma. It contains a lovely coat, the likes of which Ma admired, but chided Liv for wearing. In a pocket is information about how to access a one-way ticket to Paris and a Swiss bank account. It leads Ma to give Liv a call. Liv says that she’s giving Ma what she wants and is cutting her loose. She tells Ma that she won and to take the ticket and the money and go live the life she wants. She’s free. So all this time, Ma was being held at Liv’s discretion? After all the many crimes Ma has committed, it wasn’t the federal government holding her, but Liv, and Liv has the power to just release her? Seems unlikely, but it’s happening.

Giving Ma what she wants, however, is apparently the best way to punish her. As she listens to Liv talk, she looks distressed, obviously unhappy with what she’s hearing. After all her carping about being held captive, it looks like she finds captivity preferable to being set free. Is it just all about the game for Ma? In the end, has it never been about convictions of any kind on any level on her part, but merely about the rush she gets out of playing cat and mouse with Liv and Pa? Judging by how stricken she’s looking in this scene, that appears to be the case.

As always, one last thing… After dealing with Ma, Liv stops by Cy’s place. He seems a bit jumpy but says he’s doing fine. Liv gets right to the point and asks himwhy AF2 and not AF1? Hacking AF1 would have been so much flashier. He just looks baffled and says he can’t explain the attack, he just survived it. She says it was a hell of a gamble, and he replies that gambling’s for fools. He slowly gets more revealing, and it becomes clear he was indeed somehow involved with this whole thing, though he won’t admit it outright to Liv. She tells him that his timing was off; he did this too soon into Mel’s presidency for it to have any lasting effect for him. It appears he’s not concerned about that. He says that the second Grant administration might not be around much longer, anyway.

So that’s how it ends this week, with Cy pretty blatantly threatening Mel to Liv’s face. The same Mel who we’d just seen a couple of minutes before praising Cy’s bravery and commending his authority in keeping an AF2 under attack under control. Mel has been shown to be pretty savvy, so it’s doubtful she doesn’t suspect Cy at all. She must know by now what she’s dealing with, in terms of both Cy and Jake. She called out Jake during this episode, so I don’t think she’s so obtuse about Cy’s ambitions and limits, but who knows? This show has dumbed down characters before.

With no one killed off, we plunge ahead to 07.14, “The List”. That’s a rather generic title, and I couldn’t track down a written preview. Judging from the short preview shown this week, it looks like next week, and the rest of the season, will be about who hacked the plane and why, and of course, about redemption. Where exactly will all the machinations of Liv and Cy and Jake…and everyone else over these years finally end up? With only five episodes left in the series, it’s all going to be resolved soon.

Catch up on Scandal S7 Ep. 12 Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself

by

L.T. Milroy

 

So this is the How To Get Away with Murder crossover edition of Scandal, and it’s not bad, as these sorts of gimmicks go. I tried HTGAWM when it first debuted, but it didn’t grab me. I haven’t been back since, so I can’t say I was looking forward to this as a fan. But Annalise Keating is a fun character to spend some time with, and she and Liv play off each other well here.

It’s also worth noting that Tony Goldwyn directed this episode. He’s been directing in addition to acting for years, so that’s not unusual. With the end of this show looming ever closer, though, it just seems like everyone’s keeping their options open.

Hot for teacher. So what has Olivia been up to since being asked to leave her job in the White House? We find out immediately, as she’s in front of a mirror getting dressed in a sensible suit, looking somewhat straight-laced but still very doable. Then at a blackboard, on which she writes How to Survive a Scandal and turns to face a roomful of students. She’s teaching a course at DeWitt University on her craft of being a fixer.

Sitting among the students is former law professor Annalise Keating, who introduces herself to Liv when the class is over. She says she’s representing a class action case that could reform the justice system. She represents a bunch of clients, mostly poor and mostly of color, who are being held in custody for long amounts of time, because there aren’t enough public defenders. She says she wants to get the case before the Supreme Court and asks for Liv’s help. Liv isn’t sure what she can do, but Annalise leaves her with a file and asks her to look through it.

QPA lives! Quinn is back from the not-quite dead and back to work at QPA. Abby and Huck are running down their cases and reviewing what’s been going on around the office, but Quinn is distracted. She’s looking up Liv online and has found out about the DeWitt position. Abby snarks about the ‘those who can’t do, teach’ thing, but Quinn is obviously still mighty bitter about Liv leaving her for dead.

One of the few still speaking with Liv is Marcus, who meets her in a bar. She tells him about Annalise, but not only does Marcus know who she is, he’s an admirer. Beyond that, though, he’s not much of a help and doesn’t give Liv any substantive guidance on what to do. She asks him why he sees her at all, after what’s happened, and he’s blunt: because she’s Black. He’ll always be there for her, and he’ll always root for her, simply for that reason, he says, intimating that she should do the same for Annalise.

Getting acquainted. At home, Liv flips through the case file. It gets her attention, so she goes online to find out what she can about Annalise. I’m not up on everything going on over at HTGAWM, but it seems that Ms. Keating is as dicey a character as Liv herself and has lost her prestigious job teaching law due to such dicey-ness, for starters.

It leads Liv to show up at Annalise’s hotel room door to tell her she has a strong case, but she also has a big problem, which is being the face of that case. She says Annalise just had too many problems, which, of course, is ironic coming from her. Annalise has been accused of murder and is a drunk, says Liv, someone who has killed in cold blood and likes to gulp wine from big-ass glasses. Annalise says she was wrongly accused and is sober now. Liv says it doesn’t matter; the press will focus on her colorful past instead of her case. Then she says to have a safe trip home to Philadelphia, and Annalise closes the door.

But if this matter were closed that quickly, there would be no episode. Liv starts to walk away, then reconsiders and goes back. She tells Annalise she’ll help out, but this is her town, she’s in charge and they need to follow her rules. Annalise agrees.

At FGI. Liv goes to see Fitz at the Fitzgerald Grant Institute. She gives him the file and asks for help. She says she knows he doesn’t like her right now, but this isn’t personal. It’s about doing the right thing.

Fitz must have been persuaded by what he read, because later, Liv and Annalise, along with bubbly assistant Michaela, are at FGI waiting for a meeting with Fitz. Marcus is also there and seems amused by Michaela’s enthusiasm. When Fitz arrives, he says Mellie has agreed to hear them out. Marcus says the Supreme Court is basically guaranteed to take the case if the White House gets involved.

A snarky meeting. The group goes to the White House, where Mel welcomes them to the Oval Office. Annalise lays out the facts of the case. Mel acknowledges that it’s an important issue but says this isn’t the right way of addressing it. She likes the case but not the court. The bench is much too conservative right now for them to have a chance at a win. David says some justices may retire in the not-too-distant future, so maybe in a year or so they could try the case. Fitz says that’s too long to wait, but Mel says they’ll lose right now, so it’s useless to try. At that point, Liv asks to speak with Mel privately. Everyone leaves the room.

Once they’re alone, Liv pulls no punches and asks Mel why she agreed to this meeting if she knew she was just going to say no. Mel answers that she did it as a favor to Fitz, and she didn’t say no, she just said not right now. Liv thinks Mel is doing this to punish her, and Mel counters that Liv is just taking up this case because she needs a win to stay relevant in DC. Liv brushes that off and says she’ll go forward with Mel’s support or without it. Mel says if she does, she’ll be considered an adversary of the White House.

Meanwhile, Jake drops in on Quinn at QPA. He requests the Gladiators’ assistance with Liv’s case. Quinn flatly says she has no interest in anything Olivia Pope, so Jake asks if that’s the case, why is Quinn Googling Liv all the time to find out what she’s up to? So, you’ve been doing some NSA work? Good for you, Jake! We still haven’t actually seen you on the job, but here’s a bit of evidence of it, so that’s something. Jake echoes Mel and tells Quinn that if Liv wins the case, she could well return to power in DC.

Liv meets with Annalise and breaks the news that Mel couldn’t be persuaded to back them. Annalise is bitterly disappointed and says Liv’s powerhouse reputation is apparently way overblown. But Liv blames everything on Annalise’s reputation; Mel knows all about it and would never consider getting involved with her. Later, Liv sounds off to Fitz. She complains about Mel, and then says maybe they really don’t need her and they can pressure the Supreme Court to take the case themselves, by going high profile. So Liv starts talking publicly about the case.

Here comes the judge. That gets the attention of QPA, which starts its own investigation to try to sidetrack Liv. The work of each team leads it to Supreme Court Justice Spivey, who it is determined is the swing vote. Marcus thinks Spivey can be swayed to their side, and Liv wants to do a TV interview about the case. Annalise says she’s the face of the case and she should be the one speaking about it. They butt heads over this for a couple of minutes, until peacekeeper Michaela suggests they do the interview together. They reluctantly agree.

The Gladiators are busy trying to dig up some dirt on Spivey to use against him, but it’s proving to be quite a task, as he looks squeaky clean. The deeply cynical Quinn says there’s got to be something somewhere. Abby says that if they can’t ‘hamstring’ Spivey, Liv will win. Quinn says no one is as clean as Spivey looks, so they’ve just got to keep digging, because something is out there.

Jake informs Mel that the Gladiators are coming up empty in their quest for dirt. QPA is working for the Grant administration on this one, but so far, nothing has been turned up. Jake says he’ll join the search and find something to get Spivey on their side. Mel says he better, or Liv wins. Then Mel starts saying how she regrets her handling of Liv’s departure from the White House. She never should have let Liv look good by allowing her to resign and should have just publicly fired her. Mel thinks that maybe the details of Liv’s departure should be leaked and asks Jake if one of the Gladiators might want to help do her dirty work. I think that’s a pretty safe bet.

At the hair salon. Liv and Annalise are getting their hair done in preparation for their TV interview. As they’re shooting the breeze with their stylists, a TV in the background has a report about how Liv getting involved in the case is a personal vendetta against Mel. A White House spokesperson gives a statement that while the president’s office has nothing official to say on whether Liv was fired as chief of staff, it does confirm that it will not be working with her in any capacity in the future. Wow, talk about bad timing. Liv gets uncomfortable watching this, as Annalise, like the public in general, thought Liv had left the White House of her own accord. Now here’s this report that the person Annalise had turned to thinking she was a DC insider is actually on the outs with the POTUS herself. Her shock is evident.

The hairdressers leave the two women alone to talk, and things go south pretty quickly. Annalise says Liv told her she’d left the White House on good terms. Liv says that the terms of her resignation were ‘complicated’. That kind of cautious, borderline-BS talk just angers Annalise. She lets loose, calling Liv an elite prep school girl who wouldn’t know anything but the phony Black bonding she’s displayed so far. Issues of class are touched upon, things that can be ‘complicated’ for Liv, former prep school girl that she decidedly is.

Annalise wants to know exactly why Liv left the White House. Liv doesn’t answer, and instead insults her, calling her a bully. She says she doesn’t have to explain herself to Annalise, or anyone.
At home with Abby and David. Abby and David are lounging around at home and obviously comfortable, so they’re presumably living together again. Just like back in season two or three…whatever it was…who remembers at this point? But they are one of the show’s original couples, and many fans have been clamoring for their return. So, your requests have been answered, Dabby fans. Here they are looking all domestic and happy. That’s fine and everything, though I admit I miss Leo. He was fun to have around. David’s last relationship was with the evil Natasha, the less said about which, the better.

The couple is watching a news report on Liv’s firing. Abby admits that she planted the story, with Quinn’s blessing. She says it had to be done for the nation. Liv can’t be allowed to keep playing by her own rules and benefiting from it. Abby is a bit too adamant about this, which leads David to remind her that it’s okay for her to miss Liv. They go back a long way and have a complicated relationship. Abby says she doesn’t miss her, she just doesn’t trust her.

In a parking garage. Liv is sufficiently wounded by the whole thing. She’s waiting when Quinn walks up to her car and asks what she thinks she’s going to get out of this. Quinn says it’s simply a good-old-fashioned battle: QPA is merely fighting for its client, and Liv is fighting for her political life. Liv doesn’t see it that way. She says Quinn is doing this solely out of revenge. Quinn says even if that were true, what’s wrong with it? Liv says that Quinn once wanted QPA to be about justice, not revenge. She adds that QPA will regret taking the case.

Redeeming Liv. At FGI, Fitz asks Liv if there’s anything she needs for the interview the next day. She says no, and then tells him that they’re not going to win this case, because Annalise has too many problems for them to overcome. Liv saying this is ironic, since Annalise isn’t guilty of murder, while Liv decidedly is. She seems to have forgotten that small detail, or maybe since she’s never been publicly accused, as Annalise has, she thinks it somehow doesn’t ‘count’. Who knows how Liv rationalizes her past abhorrent behavior to herself? I’m no shrink, and I have no desire to go spelunking in her psyche.

Fitz listens to what Liv has to say, but he notes that the problem isn’t Annalise; it’s Liv. More precisely, it’s that Olivia Pope has disappeared. Since when does she let people saying mean things about her stop her? Liv says she’s not that person anymore. She doesn’t have that fight in her. He asks why she took the case, and answers, glibly that it’s because she wants to change the world. He says that her giving that answer seriously proves that her old self is still there; she just has to find it.

Dirt, found. The Gladiators’ digging in the dirt has finally paid off. Charlie informs Quinn that he’s come up with something solid on Spivey. Quinn is excited, saying the case is done, as is Liv. Abby reminds her that they only play dirty for good reasons, and Quinn says this is a good reason. She meets with Jake and passes along the info. She asks him why the Grant administration is so against this case, and Jake says it isn’t; this isn’t about the case, it’s about stopping Liv.

More redemption. Liv and Annalise are doing their interview on a show called Focus on Washington. I miss The Liberty Report. I know that would be the wrong venue for this pair to make this appearance, but I still miss it. The interview goes well. The issue of Liv’s White House status is confronted right away, as she’s asked if Mel fired her. Liv says yes. She says she regrets having left a job she was so proud to have on such acrimonious terms. She talks about her respect for the White House and how hard it was to sever ties with so many people she loves and admires. What she doesn’t regret is being a fighter. It’s who she is, and it’s who Annalise is, too. She’s proud to be fighting alongside someone like her. Annalise takes it from there, talking about how important the case is and how all they’re asking for is an hour of the court’s time.

That night, Liv and Annalise are at Liv’s place, celebrating their successful appearance. Annalise is amused by Liv’s choice of celebratory food and drink: wine and popcorn. The media is giving the pair’s appearance nothing but positive notices, but the happy mood is tanked pretty quickly. Marcus calls, telling them Spivey hasn’t changed his mind, and the court won’t hear the case.

Marcus made the call from a bar, a regular haunt of his to which he’s introducing the energetic Michaela. The two get flirty and are about to go in for a kiss, when Michaela’s phone rings, and she makes a hasty exit.

Helping in Liv’s redemption. At this point, Liv gets help from an unexpected source. Later, at her home, she gets a visit from Quinn, who hands over the dirt QPA dug up on Spivey. She says this lust for justice has overtaken her feeling of being pissed off over Liv leaving her for dead. These are fun people.

In that spirit of generosity, Liv drops in on Spivey. He tells her he won’t change his mind, and she’s wasting her time. Then she hands him an envelope that contains evidence he once paid off a witness to a hit and run accident involving his son, in which someone was killed. Spivey looks stunned. He says his son was young and made a mistake, and he couldn’t bear to see his child’s life ruined. Liv then says she’s not there to blackmail him, if that’s what he’s thinking. She’s found that the witness he paid off died two years ago, so he’s basically in the clear. This secret can stay secret. All he needs is someone who can ‘bury’ the payment, which is the kind of thing that’s her specialty. All she asks is that he consider his son’s predicament in relation to her case. There are many people all over the country who are waiting for justice who don’t have well-off, well-connected daddies, like his son did, and doesn’t he think they deserve a chance?

It’s announced shortly afterward that the Supreme Court has decided to hear the case.

The episode ends on the courthouse steps, where Liv and Annalise are all smiles as they wear the hell out of fabulous coats as they congratulate each other. Annalise asks what’s next for Liv and if it’s back to the classroom. Not when the SCOTUS beckons. They agree that they’re actually a pretty good team and want to stick together a bit longer. Instead of going their separate ways, they descend the court steps side by side, ready to go to battle together.

This was a pretty good episode, but it was basically a stand-alone. It was fun hangin’ out with Annalise and all, but the outcome of that court case really has zero effect on Scandalverse. Next week, it’s merely a memory as we continue the march toward this show’s epic conclusion. At least, I’m expecting epicness. Shouldn’t I be?

Little info is available on 07.13, “Air Force Two”. The network is continuing its strategy of being tight-lipped with these last eps, but I managed to dig up this –

When Cyrus and David embark on a trip to Lisbon for the digital piracy summit, their plane is hacked, leaving their friends and colleagues on the ground little time to save them.

Interesting that it’s a hacking, not a hijacking. Cy and Davey, an odd coupling indeed, are stuck together in danger on Air Force Two. White hat David and all-manner-of-sleaze Cy. Sounds like a good time is in store for all!

Catch Up On Scandal S7 Ep. 11 Army of One

By

L.T. Milroy

 

Not much to say to set up this week’s Scandal. Liv is being told to hit the road and is seeing her hard work and manipulations and such, all go to naught, so things might get a bit messy for her. Meanwhile, Mel is testy, Quinn is impatient, Cy is devious, Pa is by turns paternal and scary, and, for a change of pace, the Gladiators may have some actual gladiating to do! Buckle up!

That will be all, Ms. Pope. Picking up where last week left off, Liv is in the Oval Office with Mel, who has just had Liv replaced as chief of staff. After discovering Jake unpacking his things in her office, Liv confronts the POTUS about her decision. Mel says she did what she had to do. Liv doesn’t hold back, calling her foolish, reckless, naive and stupid. Mel answers that the stupid thing would be for her to continue to fall for Liv’s crap. Liv says that Jake has an agenda, but Mel doesn’t care; she says what this is about is Liv killing Rashad. Liv owns up to the deed but says it was justified. Mel ain’t having that. She says Liv killed Rashad because she didn’t trust Mel to make the right moves in the situation and thinks Mel is a bad president. Then she tells Liv to go.

So Liv tries another tactic. She says Jake is trying to come between them, and they can’t let him. She tells Mel not to let anger cloud her better judgment. But Mel says she’s not angry and tells Liv again to go. Liv stands there as several emotions cross her face, until Mel says that if Liv won’t hand in her resignation, she’ll announce Liv’s termination. It’s up to her. Liv finally reluctantly leaves.

A strange interlude. Jake and his wife Vanessa are in AG David’s office, with Vanessa all excited about Jake’s new job. David is vetting Jake for the chief of staff position, asking if there’s anything he needs to know that he doesn’t already. So Jake sprightly says that he and Vanessa have an open marriage. I assumed he was referring to his skanking around with Liv, the most recent example of which being just a few hours ago, but that’s not it. Vanessa looks uncomfortable and asks him if he thinks this is a good idea, but Jake says they should come clean: Vanessa is having an affair. They have an arrangement, Jake says, and he thought David should know, but doesn’t think it should be a problem. David seems a bit taken aback but agrees.

Hunting Liv. Quinn and Pa watch the news at Pa’s house. They’re reporting rumors that Liv is on the outs with the Grant administration. Quinn is excited about Liv’s seeming White House departure. Without Mel to back her up, Quinn says, Liv is vulnerable to prosecution. But Pa thinks it’s too soon to think about taking Liv out for good. They have to pick their moments carefully. Liv may be down, but she may not be out just yet, and they can’t assume she is. Pa says now isn’t the right time to go after her. Quinn is silent but looks confused.

Case of the Week?? Is there actually a case of the week at QPA? And is it still called QPA? I assume it is, so I’ll keep addressing it as such. Charlie walks in the office to see a strange man waiting there. Abby informs him that he’s a client. She says it’s a little awkward with Charlie still in mourning, but this guy showed up, and it’s not like she could turn him away. Charlie says it’s okay. They need to pay the bills, and besides, he thinks Quinn would want them to carry on the business.

The Gladiators meet with the guy, a government employee whose name is Robert Bacall. He recently discovered that twelve million was deposited in his bank account, followed shortly after by an email, written in Russian, that stated he’s now in their service, the twelve mil was a kind of welcome bonus, and they’ll be in touch. Robert says he’s a mid-level lackey in the State Department with virtually no power, so he can’t explain why anyone would assume he could help them. He asks the Gladiators to make this all go away.

Spies, compromised. Mel goes to see Jake in the B613 lair. He tells her that with Liv gone, this place is all about Mel now. Its tools are Mel’s tools, he says. Just as Jake is raving about what great tools Mel has inherited, everything shuts down. All of the computer screens suddenly go blank and the power goes off. She snarkily says maybe he needs better tools, but he looks genuinely worried. Gee, I wonder who could be gumming things up and trying to make Jake look bad.

He immediately places a call to Liv, who sits smugly at home on her couch. Jake tells her she doesn’t want to do this, but Liv is obviously in no mood to have him tell her what she wants. She reminds him of something he apparently forgot, and utters Pa’s infamous epithet: “You can’t take Command.” Game on.

A covert meeting. Liv takes a clandestine and decidedly unglamorous meeting in a bridge tunnel with some guy named Hector. Well, hello Garrett Morris! Always nice to see you again. She says Pa told her Hector could do anything, and she needs him to ‘keep them off the network’. So it looks like he’s responsible for the B613 power failure, and she wants him to keep working his magic. Hector says he’s not exactly on good terms with Pa, and Liv says neither is she. He says he’ll see what he can do.

 

Mel sure is ill-tempered since Liv left. In the Oval, Jake is trying to explain the continuing B613 outage to a skeptical and pissed-off Mel. He says Liv is just throwing a temper tantrum and will get over it. Mel isn’t so sure. An aide interrupts to say Cyrus is here and wants to have a word with Mel. Jake and Cy trade frosty greetings as Jake leaves.

As soon as they’re alone, Cy asks Mel what Jake has on her. He assumes Jake is holding something over her and is manipulating her. That angers Mel. Why does everyone always think of her as a victim? She says Jake is there because she wants him there. Cy says he killed Rashad, but Mel says if he did, it was at Liv’s command. Cy can’t believe Mel has fallen for Jake’s line of BS after all he’s done. He deserves execution, Cy raves, not a promotion! But Mel is totally unmoved. She simply says that Liv is out and Jake is in, and that’s all Cy needs to know. He can either accept that and be her VP, or he can be someone she has to deal with. “Is that something you want?” she asks with steely resolve, Surely he doesn’t want to be someone she has to deal with. She’s definitely not bluffing, and Cy seems to notice that.

A little fun in the nursery. Pa is in the baby’s room, looking all cute cooing to Robin as Quinn walks in. It’s a precious scenario, a bit too much so for Quinn, who asks if this is why Pa is so reluctant to let her take Liv down. Exposing Liv’s deeds means also exposing that Quinn is still alive, and then there would be no need for her to hide out at Pa’s any longer. She says his reluctance to lose his ‘new family’ is making him lose sight of their goal of putting Liv in prison. Maybe she and Robin are bad for Pa, Quinn says, because they’re making him soft.

Quinn has apparently grown a bit too comfortable with Pa, speaking to him this way. He reminds her of who he really is and tells her not to push him. Liv is his child and a sensitive subject. Then to prove he hasn’t gone soft, he threatens Robin by telling her how easy it would be for him to simply break her neck, and Quinn would be powerless to stop him. Quinn looks sufficiently terrified, with Pa’s hand menacingly close to Robin’s throat, so he backs off. He tells her that she just felt the way any parent would feel when their child is threatened. The reason he can’t allow Quinn to take Liv down is biology. She’s a parent herself now, so she should understand that. His point made, he lets Quinn take Robin back and mother and daughter hastily leave. Alone in the room, Pa appears a bit shaken as he tries to gather himself together. It looks like threatening an infant is a bit extreme and uncomfortable, even for him. Who knew he had boundaries?

Randy Robert. Huck is trying to trace Robert’s Russian email, but it keeps leading him in circles. Abby’s digging led her in a different direction, and her search is more fruitful. She walks into QPA and asks Robert about hotel receipts she’s found and that he’s been having lots of midday meetings with someone. Robert first denies knowing anything about it, then admits that he’s been having an affair, and it’s with a married woman, so that’s why he was evasive about it. Can anyone guess what comes next? As Abby is berating Robert for not being candid with them, Huck interrupts to say he’s discovered who Robert has on the side: Vanessa, Jake’s little woman. This mid-level State Department drone with no power has been banging the head of the NSA’s wife.

In case there was any doubt about who was behind all this, Liv is seen at home watching news reports on the whole salacious thing. She’s sitting on her couch, drinking wine and eating popcorn and smirking, when the phone rings. It’s Jake. She tells him she was thoughtful enough to write up a draft of his resignation. He hangs up.

Mel, of course, is decidedly unhappy with the whole mess. She calls Jake and David to the Oval to read them the riot act. Robert is being sold on the news as a Russian spy, and she accuses Vanessa of selling state secrets. David promises there will be a full investigation. Jake says it was Liv who put the twelve mil in Robert’s account, and Mel agrees. She tells them to prove it and make it go away.

Old friends…it’s complicated. Liv pays a visit to Cy, who’s treating himself to a little libation. She asks him for a drink, and he says he doesn’t drink with enemies. That makes Liv apologize for what she did with Glackland. She says she had no other options. So she was responsible for that. Liv is in a confessing mood and says she had Rashad killed, but it was to get the peace treaty signed, so it was a righteous deal. Cy asks and gets confirmation that the frame-up of Robert also came from Liv. She says she just did what she had to do for the good of everyone and adds that if Jake can push her out, he can do the same to Cy.

At QPA, the Gladiators are trying to connect the twelve mil in Robert’s bank account to Liv, but she did a good job of linking it to Russia. To the media, it seems as though Robert is a Soviet spy. Looks like poor ol’ Robbie is playing the part of patsy.

Solving problems. In the Oval, Mel and Jake discuss their options in the Vanessa situation. Cy walks in and says he has a solution that will make both Jake and Vanessa look good.

Next time ‘nessa is seen, she’s giving a TV interview where she denies having an affair with Robert. It was all a set-up by the NSA. She was working for her husband, the erstwhile head of the agency, as part of a sting operation. Robert is indeed a Russian operative, Vanessa says, and she was helping her hubby and the US government bring him down.

Watching from the wings in the studio, Jake smiles. Liv watches Vanessa’s display on TV wearing a stony expression.

So Jake and Vanessa are in the clear, but they threw Robert to the proverbial wolves in order to do so. He’s at QPA fretting over the fact that everyone thinks he’s a Russian spy. Abby’s answer is to give him a list of lawyers, because she says he’s going to need one. That’s the best QPA can do for its first client in, like, forever, tell him to get a lawyer? The Gladiators seem unconcerned about Robert’s welfare. Talk about collateral damage. Ouch.

An ultimatum. Later, Cy shows up at Liv’s door. She asks if he’s there to gloat. He says no. He then says he has a private memo from Mel to the CIA director, asking her to corroborate Vanessa’s story or face obstruction of justice charges. Liv says it’s not something she can use, since she wants to get rid of Jake, not Mel. But Cy says, if Mel goes, he’ll become president, which is something he still covets, of course. Liv says Mel has been Cy’s friend, but he says Mel is an amateur who didn’t even know she was being set up. Liv counters that Cy is more than capable of doing his dirty work himself, so why involve her? He says she’s better at this kind of thing than anyone. He also lets her know that a Cyrus Beene administration would welcome her back into the White House. She can have all the power, he says, or none at all.

A deal. At Pa’s place, Pa tells Quinn he knows how frustrated she must be. She says she saw Vanessa on TV, and Liv definitely took a hit from that incident. But she knows Liv doesn’t give up and is still fighting. Sooner or later, she’ll reach out to Pa for help and he’ll be forced to choose. He’s already told her about the biology thing, so Quinn knows that if it comes down to her or Liv, Pa will choose Liv. Quinn offers Pa a deal: if he lets Quinn call Charlie, the three of them will go away and disappear, forever. If Pa will leave them in peace, she won’t pursue trying to put Liv away. Pa agrees.

Bad news at the doctor’s. Mel mentioned earlier in the episode about needing a mammogram, and now she’s in the doctor’s office, waiting for it to begin. Liv shows up, and Mel says to let her in. Liv tells her she’s decided not to resign. Instead of announcing her resignation as chief of staff at tomorrow’s press conference, she’s going to call on Mel to resign the presidency. Liv hands her a file and says she came out of respect, to give Mel advice on the best way to step down. Mel is predictably unreceptive, as she scowls and shoves the file back at Liv, who goes on to wax poetic about how Mel should take responsibility for her actions and step aside gracefully, for the sake of all the female politicians to come.

Chuck gets a surprise. At QPA, the Gladiators are discussing their most recent case. They all agree that it was creepy working it without Quinn, and the prospect of closing up shop for good is considered. Charlie protests, of course, but Abby says it’s just not the same anymore, with Quinn not there. Charlie smiles and says it will be the same again, eventually. For someone supposedly in mourning, he’s acting rather chipper. The Gladiators look at him expectantly. He gives a big smile, stands up, says he’ll be back, and runs out.

Charlie runs straight to Pa’s place in his excitement, and standing outside, calls for Quinn. Pa comes up behind him and puts a gun to his head, wanting to know why he’s there. Charlie says he’s looking for Quinn, and Pa says she left an hour ago, to be with Charlie, per the agreement he and Quinn had. She said she’d take Robin and Charlie and ride off into the sunset with her family. Yet here Charlie stands. Looks like Pa has been double-crossed by Quinn, that little scamp.

Liv walks into her apartment and hears the sounds of a baby. I would hightail it out of there at that point, but Liv goes to investigate. She finds Robin in her bedroom a second before Quinn steps out of the shadows. Liv is, of course, shocked to see her, but Quinn has no time for pleasantries. She says she just wanted Liv to see her goddaughter once, then takes out her gun and points it at Liv. Poor Robin. With Quinn and Charlie as parents, and Liv as godmother, she doesn’t stand a chance at a normal life. She’s already had guns pointed at and around her numerous times and almost been choked by Pa, and she’s only, like, a week old.

Liv tries to talk her way out of this jam, but Quinn lays out her plan. She’s written up Liv’s confession, which Liv will sign and give to David, and Liv will spend the rest of her life in prison. As she says this, Quinn steps forward and sticks her gun menacingly in Liv’s face. But this isn’t Liv’s first gun in the face. She coolly says Quinn can’t kill her, because she’s still Command. She never stopped being Command, and she’s too important to kill. Liv adds that there are B613 snipers outside right now who aren’t happy that Quinn is pointing a gun at Liv, and they undoubtedly have Quinn in their sites. Then Liv lunges for Quinn’s gun, they struggle briefly and a shot is heard. But the shot wasn’t from Quinn’s gun, it was from outside. Apparently, there really were snipers out there, the first time there’s been any evidence that B613 was comprised of anything but just Liv and Jake. How convenient. In the struggle, the snipers hit the wrong target, as Quinn goes unscathed, but Liv is shot in the shoulder. Liv yells for Quinn to leave while she can, and Quinn grabs Robin and runs.

Giving up. Mel may have blown Liv off before, but that was apparently bravado. She meets with Jake on a White House balcony and tells him Liv knows all about her role in the Vanessa affair. Mel says she’ll admit to it, before things get worse. Jake says he can help her fight this, but she says no. She says she’ll leave his name out of it, so he should get through it okay, but as for his future, she can’t vouch for that. When Cy becomes president, Jake will be on his own.

Coming home. An injured Liv shows up at Pa’s door. It looks like the bullet just grazed her shoulder, but she still got shot, and she’s still in rough shape. Pa lets her in and cleans the wound and stitches it up, which is a pretty neat skill for him to have. We also get to see the whole process up close, which is rather gross. Liv cries that Quinn hates her, and they have a bonding father/daughter chat.

Liv, redeemed? The next day, the news from Capitol Hill is all about Liv’s impending press conference, where she’s expected to announce her resignation. Once she takes the podium, she talks about how proud she’s been to be Mel’s chief of staff. Then, instead of incriminating Mel, she abruptly resigns. As she gives her speech, the other characters are seen. Jake is packing up B613, when the power suddenly is restored and the computers kick on. Sitting in front of his TV, Cy looks distressed, as his dream of the presidency crumble before his eyes. At QPA, Abby and Huck watch Liv on TV. Huck turns around to see who’s just walked in the room and looks shocked and stunned. It’s Quinn, of course, who’s returned with Charlie and Robin. The Gladiators are beside themselves as they mob the happy family. At the White House, Mel watches the TV with a somber look.

So instead of bringing down the president and her administration and potentially throwing the country into chaos, Liv decides to take one for the team. I guess it’s kind of a big deal, given how far over to the dark side she seems to have gone of late. She redeemed herself just a bit, I suppose.

So where to next? Why not try something gimmicky in Scandal‘s final season, like a crossover? After a two-week vacation, the show returns on March 1 with an episode entitled “Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself”, which is actually the first part of a How to Get Away with Murder crossover, the second half of which, “Lahey v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”, will follow.

In 07.12, Liv is transitioning out of the White House when she gets a visit from criminal defense attorney Annalise Keating, who needs help with a case she hopes to bring before the Supreme Court. How much help a politically hobbled Liv is actually going to be able to provide, however, remains to be seen. Do Liv and Annalise have a past? That remains to be seen, too.

Does this mean I have to recap two hours on March one? And if so, where will those extra hours in the day come from in order to do so? And did the other networks always basically take the time off during the Olympics instead of trying to compete with counter-programming? Scandal’s break coincides exactly with the Games, so the network is pretty much giving up and ceding the next two Thursdays to the Olympics. Make sure to take in your share of skating and skiing and curling over the next three weeks. Apparently, it’s required.

CU next month, Gladiators!