Catch up on Scandal S6 Ep. 13 The Box


L.T. Milroy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The preview for 06.14, “Head Games” –

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

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