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Scandal - Extinction - Review: "The Emperor Has No Clothes"



This episode of Scandal in my fangirl opinion was the bee’s knees. Do you hear me? The Bee’s. Knees. Oh my gah! We finally find out who killed Francisco Vargas and why. Much like last week’s episode, which looked at events leading up to the election from Jake’s perspective, “Extinction” focused on what Rowan was caught up in.

The entirety of the episode was in flashback, so we didn’t get to learn how and why Jennifer Fields is still alive, but we did find out how she ties into the larger picture. Simply put, “Extinction” lends context to everything that we’ve seen in the preceding five episodes of which we could make no sense. Follow along to see how I mean.

What we knew before “Extinction”:

  • Mellie Grant lost the election, it all coming down to the votes in San Benito County, California.
  • Olivia was adamant that Mellie concede immediately and not to bother with a recount.
  • Vargas was killed shortly after he began his victory speech in Pennsylvania.
  • Nelson McClintock was arrested for the murder. Despite the evidence against him, he maintained that he hadn’t done the deed.
  • Olivia confronted Rowan about the Vargas murder, believing that he played some role in it, but he denied involvement. He instead steered her in Cyrus’s direction.
  • Jennifer Fields called in a tip to the FBI stating that Cyrus Beene was behind the Vargas shooting. She was soon also murdered.
  • Jennifer’s call was deleted from the server, but was retrieved by OPA. This was presented to the White House as evidence against Cyrus, but Fitzgerald wouldn’t bite.
  • Angela Webster was introduced as the recently installed FBI director. She and Olivia have a past history. Her investigation of the Vargas shooting has been less than stellar.
  • Quinn and Charlie retrieved Jennifer’s fried laptop that they discovered at the site of her murder, and Huck was able to access its hard drive to find video of Vargas blowing up on Cyrus.
  • Abby has been the sole person insistent on Cyrus’s innocence or at least trying to get everyone to give him the benefit of the doubt. She coerced a confession out of McClintock by eliciting Jake’s assistance.
  • Tom Larsen came forward with a false confession of Cyrus hiring him to murder Vargas. OPA later learned that Tom was lying for he hadn’t been in the area when the shooting happened.
  • Vanessa Ballard clued Olivia in to Jake’s unexplained disappearances to see another woman several times since the night of the election. This led Olivia to investigating Jake.
  • On the flip side, Jake got to investigating Olivia and discovered a Swiss bank account in her name that had wired $2 mil to Tom Larsen. Confronted with this find, Olivia went to question Rowan about it. Rowan wasn’t responsible, but he knew who was.
  • A mystery lady drops by Rowan’s workshop upon being summoned by him, and it is revealed that it is she who set up that account as insurance to ensure that Rowan remains on her leash.

The above is not a definite list, but keep these moments in mind.

Past is Prologue

Going back to 53 days before the election, we see Rowan starting his morning. He’s watching the news as he’s having breakfast when he is alerted to a delivery at the door. The package contained a small Megalosaurus with a note within. Turns out that it was an invitation to a talk being given in town by an old flame of his.

If there is one thing that we know about Eli “Rowan” Pope, it is that prehistoric dinosaurs turn him on like nothing else. Couple that with a beautiful woman who shares this same passion, and you end up with a volcanic eruption. (Don’t think to hard on this one, folks.)

Rowan wonders about how long Sandra will be in town, and instead of telling him, she takes him to see the new workspace that she has received to do her work. The two of them continue to geek out over some new discovery that has been made, and I am in stitches. Stitches!

Firstly, I have to commend Joe Morton and Tonya Pinkins for nailing all of this terminology and doing it at Scandal pace. Whoo wee! Secondly, who gets THIS excited about fossils!? Thirdly, this nerding out is being done by two black PhD holders who have deep knowledge and passion for this very thing. “Blerds” exist out in the world, so it was refreshing to see them represented on TV.

But I digress.

Sandra goes on to tell Rowan that this project and the workspace is being funded by a private collector who is paying for it all. She then slips in there rather coyly that she’d like a partner in the endeavor, someone who knows their stuff. Of course, Rowan jumped on the offer without hesitation.

Another morning, Olivia shows up at his door. She has come to seek his advice (WHY?!) on what she should do about Mellie engaging with Marcus Walker. Olivia didn’t immediately share who Mellie was sleeping with, so Rowan shrugged it off and pointed out that Mellie is single, but when Olivia does, Rowan understands her dilemma. Word getting out that Mellie is sexing a black man would prove problematic for their base. (This base sounds like trash.)

Olivia came with the expectation of advice from Rowan on what to do, but we have seen her pull this stunt in the past. She already knows what she needs and wants to do to handle the situation, but because it is distasteful, she comes to Rowan as if to get his stamp of approval. If he tells her to do it, then she can justify to herself that she was merely following his advice. She can abdicate responsibility for her actions and blame them on him. We’ve been here before.

Rowan knows that she knows what she has to do and he points this fact out to her. Olivia states that Mellie loves Marcus, and Rowan tells her that none of that matters. He goes on to say that the Oval belongs to Olivia, so if she wants it, she is going to have to do what she has to to get Mellie into it. Mellie wants the WH as much as Olivia does, he says, but there is a difference:

“She is weak. She is undisciplined. She is soft. She has never been hungry for anything. She has never learned the hard way that love is a privilege reserved for the victor.

“But you know. You understand. I raised a warrior. Everyone and everything that you love is a weakness. Eyes on the prize, baby.” -- Eli “Rowan” Pope

How is it that Rowan can speak truth and yet still be awfully wrong? In comparison to Rowan and Olivia, Mellie is weak. Disciplined she is not. I could exhaust you with a long list of examples, but I’ll refrain. Mellie being vulnerable and open to love, however, is not a weakness.

This is the one drum that Rowan has beat since he arrived on the scene, and at present, it appears to have finally succeeded in taking some hold on Olivia. His whole philosophy is that one cannot be great or even survive if they are weak in any way. Weakness not in physicality, but in allowing emotion to hold any sway over intellect. It’s a cynical way to live. More on this later.

Upon hearing this statement, Olivia wonders aloud at whether Rowan ever gets lonely.

So Olivia is lonely. I’d feel bad about it, but this is the cold bed she chose to lay in. She wants the WH, right? What she says here is as revealing as her reaction to hearing Mellie describe how being with Marcus made her feel. Warm, happy, invincible. The woman felt like she could fly. Being a political nun, however, leaves that well kinda dry. Sadz.

Later at work, Rowan is putting way a replica dinosaur fossil when he spies a camera embedded in one of the window frames. He tries to play it cool, but he is clearly on edge as he takes another quick glance at the camera. It is then that one of the workers named “Sarah” brings over to him a folder of the latest information of a dig site. Who is “Sarah”? She’s the mystery lady from the last episode!! Ah shiitake mushrooms! WHAT IS SHE DOING THERE?!

Back at home later that evening, Rowan is seen pacing in the darkness until he gets the visitor that he is waiting for. He has asked some gentleman to run background check on Sandra, but the man could find nothing on her. She’s clean. The collector, however, is a different story. They don’t exist. Ut oh.

Now alarmed, Rowan asks the man of the last time that he checked on Olivia, and he tells him that it was last week when he did his usual sweep.

Wait, so Rowan has been having Olivia’s place(s) swept for bugs? This in addition to the sweeps that Huck does? How long has he been doing this?

Having received this information, Rowan heads over to Olivia’s. He tells her that he’s come to borrow a Marvin Gaye record from her. He has searched all the record stores and none of them have it, so he came to her because he figured that she must. Olivia tells him that she has a lot of work to get through, but he begs her for this, stating that he’s surrounded by children who don’t know anything about good music. Then he asks if she has ever heard of a rapper named Young Thug.


I doubt that Olivia is rocking out to Young Thug. Serious doubts.

Olivia finally relents and goes in search for the record that he came for. While she is in her room retrieving the record, Rowan looks about her place for listening devices. He remarks about how her keeping her records in the back of some closet is a sin, and Olivia replies that she is too busy making a president to listen to any of them. She then goes on to say that the campaign is losing ground and that the election may come down to San Benito County. She doesn’t understand why people there don’t like Mellie since that’s where she’s from. (Well, technically, Southern California is Fitzgerald’s home turf, but whatev.)

Olivia finally emerges with the requested record. Rowan is by the window now and he asks her about a black SUV that is parked just below her window. Taking a peek, Olivia tells him that it is Secret Service that is there for her protection. They have been there since the RNC. (Hmm. Do campaign managers typically get Secret Service?)

Rowan then asks if Huck is still doing his regular sweeps and Olivia tells him that he does it every Wednesday. Rowan instructs her to tell Huck to switch things up in order to be less predictable. Olivia is quick to shut him down on trying to tell her how things ought to be done in her own space by asking if he needed anything else. Maybe some Isaac Hayes or Curtis Mayfield. (Name drop them classic soul singers, Livvie!)

Love Is A Weakness

Back to work Rowan goes armed with the album and some drank. He’s got Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” playing and Sandra comes strolling into the workspace, and she is confused as to what Rowan is up to. Rowan hands her a glass of the drink, but it’s not just any drink. Oh, no. It’s THEIR drink from forty years back. And this song? It has significance to a particular archeological trip that they took as well. Back then, Sandra was trying to get his attention and she says that it didn’t work. Rowan tells her that it is the one regret that he has in life.

Whew, chile. Things are getting a little spicy among these dusty old bones. Rowan makes his move and Sandra looks like she done gotten her entire life! He then pulls her into a nearby closet.

Meanwhile, their interaction is being watched by mystery lady and some other guy who tells her that they don’t have eyes in the closet to see what is going on in there. The lady isn’t at all concerned. Rowan and Sandra getting closer was a good thing, she informs the chap.

Sandra is all giddy about making out in the closet for the first time in decades when she is introduced to Rowan and his gun to her neck! Eek!


Rowan wants to know who the people are who have the cameras installed. Sandra says that she doesn’t know and that she isn’t working with them. She begs him to put the gun down, but he instead shifts it up to her head and demands to know where she met them. Sandra replies that they were the ones who came to her office and brought her to DC. She doesn’t know where they are now. All she knows is that they want him specifically. Rowan tells her that she could have warned him at the lecture, but she says that those people are everywhere. Plus, they had threatened to kill her.

Rowan stares at her long and hard, searching for some sign that she was lying to him. He eventually pulls the gun away from her head and exits the closet. He tells Sandra to stay where she is. Out in the open gallery, he speaks to those he knows are watching and tells them to come out.

Rowan is sitting when they do finally emerge. Two men and the mystery lady. The one man approaches with his hand out as he says that it is a true honor to meet Rowan, but Rowan instead ignores the outstretched hand and tells the man that he will regret whatever they are up to. He then goes full Command as he states that he is waiting for the man to explain why it is that he believed that he could lure Rowan into a cage and get away with it. Rowan is just seething.

The man retorts that this is all tough talk from “someone who sat quietly in a chair waiting for daddy to come home from work.” (Is this a literal or figurative reference?)

Rowan gets up at that moment and tells the man that he could kill him right then. The other man steps forward and points out that there are three of them to his one, and that Rowan has no idea who the leader is. Suddenly, that second man pulled out a gun and shoots the second man in the head. Brains everywhere.


Now these people have Rowan’s attention. If they are willing to pop off a gun on one of their own in such a manner, these folks aren’t to be trifled with. Besides, the second man was right. Rowan is at a disadvantage. Yikes!

This second man claims the seat vacated by the now dead first man and claims that he is now the one in charge. Sure that he now has Rowan’s attention, he goes on to assure Rowan that Sandra is an unwilling participant in all of this. What they want is Mellie Grant in the White House. Rowan tells them that fixing an election is not cheap nor is it easy, but money for these people isn’t a hindrance. The man tells Rowan that they wouldn’t be there talking to him about this if they didn’t have complete confidence in his ability to handle this.

When Rowan looks less than enthusiastic about the offer, the man asks if Rowan understands what is at stake. Rowan states unequivocally that Olivia will be fine, but the man points out that Sandra won’t be. Ut oh.

Remember what Rowan said to Olivia about how “everything and everyone that you love is a weakness”? Rowan likes to boast that he has no vulnerabilities, yet these people have somehow figured out that he does. Two, in fact. Contrary to his bluster about her being fine, Olivia is definitely a weak spot. He wouldn’t be having her apartment and office swept for bugs if he truly believed otherwise. His second (and just now discovered) weakest link of them all is Sandra.

Realizing that they have him on a leash, Rowan bargains with them by stating that if he does what it is that they want him to do, Sandra gets to walk unharmed. He does this for them and they don’t ever have to cross paths ever again with each other. The man agrees to these terms. As he is departing with the mystery lady, he says, “Get it done, Eli.”

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!

Another evening, Rowan is with Sandra in his home, and she is upset and terrified at what is happening. She is especially terrified over what transpired in that closet. She wants to know what is going on, the truth of it. She wonders if this has to do with his old life at the CIA. She asks him who the man was that she met in the closet, the one who had a gun to her. Sandra says that that man couldn’t have been Eli. It had to have been somebody else that she wishes to forget.

Sandra, girl, you’ve just met Rowan. You’re probably one of the few people in his orbit who has never met him.

Rowan is quick to apologize for mistrusting her and tells her that she doesn’t have to worry anymore because it has all been taken care of. He is protecting her now and she is safe. He tells her that he’s got her, and she tells him that he better had. Then this woman allows him to kiss her. And THEN we see that she had sex with him!

What in the mickey flick!? This man threatened your ass with a gun and could have damn near killed you because he’s a short fuse away from a full explosion, and you’re out here riding the pony? This is that shit Olivia would pull whenever Jake did some harmful shit to her. Next thing you know, she’s rolling about in bed with him.


I’ma need these women to stop making these questionable ass decisions.

Later we see Rowan meeting up with his guy from earlier. He had apparently tasked him with finding something that could be used to implode the Vargas campaign, and what he has is a file on Jennifer Fields. He explains to Rowan that Jennifer is an overeager aid to the Vargas campaign who was spending a lot of late nights with the boss until she was beat up by one of Cyrus’s goons. Rowan isn’t impressed by this information, stating that public release of this information would be a minor setback for Vargas. What Rowan asked for was something foolproof that would ensure that Mellie wins the election.

The man then suggests voting machines. They’ll be able to sway the election if they pick and choose their counties. Rowan instructs him to begin with San Benito County!

Oh boy. This is looking to be another Defiance, Ohio, moment!

Or not.

Olivia has found out about the tampered with voting machines. Apparently, Huck has been keeping an eye out for any such manipulations and he caught the ones that were tampered with. It was some old B613 algorithm, which is why she knew that the person responsible had to be Rowan. She is hot about this as she confronts her father about it, and Rowan isn’t at all unapologetic as he asks if a favorable outcome for Mellie isn’t Olivia’s goal. Olivia in turn tells him that that the whole point of her wanting to run clean is to know what it is like to walk into a WH that she earned. She already knows what it is like to walk into one that she stole.

Rowan tells her that the whole rigging is on himself. Olivia can still go to sleep knowing that she ran an honest and brilliant campaign. She’s still clean, he tells her. He then instructs her to go home and relax with the knowledge that she is going to be victorious, but Olivia informs him that she undid the hack and that Huck made sure that the backdoor used to get into the system has now been closed. It’s so closed that even Huck couldn’t figure out a way back into it. She goes on to tell him that the choice for who the next president will be shall fall on the millions of Americans who will be casting their vote. And she shall sleep well with knowing that the choice was that of the people and not decided by herself or Rowan.

Tell him, Olivia! (Though what you do later re: Cyrus compromises this stance of yours, but I’ma let you finish.)

This isn’t at all what Rowan needed to have happen. He blows up on Olivia and tells her that her actions guarantee that she is going to lose. Disheartened by his lack of faith in her ability to do this honestly, Olivia departs. Double sadz.

Now Rowan is back to square one. He’s now trying to convince Sandra move to the island of Zanzibar, but Sandra is not on board with that. (Isn’t this where he sent Olivia?) She tells him that she can’t just leave the life that she has to move thousands of miles away. Sandra’s reaction to the fit that Rowan throws is hilarious. She’s like boy bye, and waits until he gets himself back together.

When Rowan turns back to her, he tells her that he worked for the government running an organization that she’d rather not know the details of what they did, but the number one rule of this organization was that they have no attachments. No family, no love, no nothing. There can be love for country, your fellow officers and for the mission that you were tasked with. Anything else is a liability.

What he has just shared leads Sandra to asking if she is considered a liability, and Rowan answers in the affirmative. He knew this from the very day that he first met her. Sandra points out to him that he did eventually get married and Rowan concedes that he did so to the wrong person. He says to Sandra that if he was going to break the rule, he should have done so with her. (I’m going to need more backstory here, Shonda.)

Sandra shares with him that he hurt her when he disappeared suddenly. She believed that they were going to spend the rest of their lives together. She says that she loved him, and he tells her that he felt the same way and still does. This is why she needs to go to Zanzibar, but Sandra is adamant about staying stateside. If Rowan is going to protect her, he’s going to have to protect her while she is in America.

Since Rowan is unwilling to force Sandra out of the country, he’s got to come up with some other way of effecting the outcome of this election. He is meeting up with his guy again, who informs him that he was unable to re-rig the voting machines. Another setback.

Betrayal of Country

Rowan returns home and find the mystery lady there waiting for him. She starts off by remarking about how she hates Rowan’s couch before she lets him in on the fact that she stopped by to see Sandra who was freaked out by the gun that she had. Mystery lady then goes on to say to Rowan: “You messed up, Coolio.”

Did she just call him Coolio?


She’s there to let Rowan know that despite the limitation in time, he is going to have to make good on what he promised them, and that is Mellie Grant in the White House. If he doesn’t do it, the guy that she has with Sandra right now will be told to handle business.

Rowan says that he should kill mystery woman right then, but she counters by saying that what he ought to do is kill Vargas when he take to the stage to give his acceptance speech.

WHAAAAAAAAT?!

Shocked by that suggestion, it take a moment for Rowan to respond to this new demand, stating that it is a foolish plan given that Vargas would not yet be sworn in as president and so that’ll leave Cyrus as the one to take Vargas’s place. Then he figures that Mystery Lady wants him to frame Cyrus for the assassination, but Rowan argues that doing such a thing is impossible. Mystery Lady says such a thing isn’t impossible for the “Greatest of All Time, right?”

How do these people even know who Rowan is?! Again, who y’all be?

Election Day his now here and Rowan is meeting up with his guy in an alley. Rowan pops open his trunk to share with ole boy what the new plan is. He is excited to see the sniper rifle. Rowan hands him a file containing his new identity, and it is…. *drum roll please* NELSON MCCLINTOCK!!

Chile….how did I go this ENTIRE episode without recognizing that this man Rowan had been meeting up with the entire episode was the one arrested for killing Vargas?! He’s B613?!


I didn’t see that coming.

McClintock is told to go to some parking garage in Philadelphia and await his instructions. When it dawns on McClintock why it is that he is being sent to Philly, he wants more details, but Rowan reiterates that he is to do as he was just told and await instructions. Before McClintock departs, Rowan tells him that he needs to know everything about Jennifer Fields. Rowan then returns back to his workspace to get to forging some contraption.

Now it’s the night of the election and we are back at Mellie’s campaign headquarters. Olivia is pacing as she is listening to the news as Mellie comes in to ask her about their status in San Benito. Olivia tells her that they’ll know soon.

We flash over to Rowan, who is driving when the results of the election comes in. This is juxtaposed with what’s happening at the Grant headquarters as Mellie directs someone to turn up the volume of the TV. We see a pensive Fitzgerald walking away from Olivia to stand by Mellie before we get flashed back over to Rowan in his car. Governor Francisco Vargas has won the election.

We then see when Jake gets the message on his phone and makes his way out of the hotel suite to meet up with Rowan (see 605 for context). Next, it’s Olivia telling Mellie to call Vargas and concede.

In Philadelphia, McClintock is setting up shop in the parking garage. Rowan has made it to Philly and he injects something into the neck of a Secret Service agent who had just radioed in that the tunnel he was guarding was clear. Rowan drags the agent’s body into the tunnel before he takes his earpiece and continues further down the tunnel. He makes his way up and under the stage upon which Vargas is standing.

The elated crowd is waving posters and flags in celebration of their candidate’s win. McClintock meanwhile has his rifle trained on Vargas and Rowan is down below replacing some plate in the stage with the one that he made. His allows him to be able to see Vargas. He then pulls out his gun and points it at Vargas from below.

Let’s focus on what Vargas is saying to the people while Rowan is doing all of this:

“Hello, Philadelphia! When we started this improbable campaign, we were told this couldn’t be done--that I couldn’t do it, that you wouldn’t do it. Well, America, here we are!

“We were told that people who came where we came from couldn’t get here, didn’t belong here, because we were just---people. Mothers and fathers, working men and women, immigrants, laborers, farmers, teachers, janitors, poultry workers. People without wealth, connections or advantage. People without a leg up. People to whom the vast fortunes of this great nation never trickle down.

“We were told that this job wasn’t for one of us. Well, America, here we are! !Ya llegamos!

“Thank you for thinking differently. Thank you for thinking about tomorrow, not yesterday; about progress, not decline; about equality, not bigotry; about love, not hate; about hope, not fear. Thank you for thinking that we really can be a nation of the people, by the people and for the people.” -- President-elect Francisco Vargas


How intentionally apt given the current situation that real life America is in right now.

As Vargas is speaking, you see that his words are affecting Rowan, whose hand shakes as he trains his gun on Vargas. He drops hand with the gun to his side and fights the emotion that he is experiencing. When he finally is able to pull himself together, Vargas steps away from the podium to kiss his wife and wave to the crowd.

When Vargas returns to the podium, Rowan finally pulls the trigger and he hits Vargas in the leg. He then gets him in the back, and as Vargas falls to his knees, he looks shockingly down and directly at Rowan who then proceeds to shoot Vargas in the head.


With Vargas down, McClintock now fires off a few shots from his rifle at no one in particular. He leaves the gun behind and then walks away. Meanwhile, Rowan has used the radio of the Secret Service to direct them to the parking garage. Shots fired from the fifth floor of the parking garage, he says.

Lord have mercy….

Pandemonium ensues. Rowan is able to make his way out of the tunnel and back out into the open. He locks the entrance to the tunnel up and then just stays in place looking like he was experiencing an outer body experience. It isn’t long before a police officer comes along and directs Rowan to stand up and turn around. Rowan says he is Secret Service, but the cop doesn’t believe him. He carefully starts his approach but he doesn’t get far before he is shot in the back by McClintock.

Rowan tells McClintock that he is late, and the guy says that the place is crawling with cops so he had to be careful. He did as Rowan instructed and left the rifle at fifth floor of the parking structure. He is ready to go, but Rowan doesn’t move. Instead, he pulls out a part to McClintock’s mission. Receiving the folded paper from Rowan, McClintock reads it and then looks up at his boss in disbelief. He looks kind of sad about it, but he takes his orders and runs off. McClintock had just found out that he was to take the fall for Vargas’s murder. Damn.

Entrapped

The mystery woman and her fellow goon are seen chilling in Rowan’s workspace and watching Rosen announce to the world that they caught Nelson McClintock and that his prints were all over the weapon. (But wasn’t Nelson wearing gloves?) Rowan walks in and mystery lady is all excited because he has handled the Vargas situation. Partially anyway.

Rowan wants to know where Sandra is, but they first want to know how Cyrus is going to be framed. Goon man wants to know if McClintock will be the one pointing fingers at Cyrus, but Rowan says that he has someone else in mind for that.

Mystery Lady is ready to celebrate, but Rowan wants to see Sandra. After receiving a nod from goon man, Mystery Lady instructs other via a camera to release Sandra. Once Sandra emerges from the room she had been locked in, she and Rowan embrace. She assures him that she is fine and tells him that she loves him. He tells her the same, and then Mystery Lady interrupts with a retort about how she gets that Rowan wants to put a ring on it and then “take her ass to go eat shellfish of some kind”, but they have to return to business.

LMAOOO!!! Two Beyoncé references in one -- Single Ladies and Formation. I swear…


Rowan pulls out his phone upon the reminder and rings up Jennifer Fields. He instructs her to make the call. We then flash to the moment when she calls the tip line to say that Cyrus Beene is the one behind the assassination attempt!


You see, I KNEW something was off with that call from Jennifer! I mean, how the hell would she had known that Cyrus was behind the shooting? And wouldn’t it had made better sense to link McClintock to Cyrus than to have a third person call in a tip? Without at least some testimony and corroborating evidence linking McClintock to Cyrus, it would take even the shittiest of defense attorneys to be able to get Cyrus to walk. Did Rowan know this? Was he buying time? Or had he not thought this through?

After making that call, Rowan says to Mystery People that he has held up his part of the bargain and that now their business is complete. Rowan turns to leave with Sandra, but goon man stops them. He says to Rowan that the problem with being someone who does good work is that you end up being someone valuable. He tells him that “only a fool would let go of a valuable possession, and we both know that I am no fool.”

This doesn’t sound good.

Rowan is none too pleased by this turn of events. He reminds the man that they had a deal, and the man says that he would like for he and Rowan to have many more deals. Rowan has no intention of working for them, but the man says that he already is and that they have found Rowan’s streak of weakness. She is standing right next to him. The man says that all he has to do is hold a gun to Sandra’s head and whatever he wants of Rowan will be done.


The man goes on to say that the times require that they have someone with a “strong back” to do what is needed to be done. Rowan lets go of Sandra’s hand then to step a bit closer to the man speaking. Don’t think for a second that Rowan missed the dog whistle within that man’s statement. Rowan asks the man if he believes that he know owns him, if he thinks that he’ll serve as a slave who will plow the man’s fields, shine his shoes, pick his cotton and dance a jig for the man’s amusement. Rowan is incensed that they think that they can hold a gun to the head of the woman he loves in order to control him.

Calmly, the man says to Rowan that they found his weakness, and that it isn’t something that Rowan ought to beat himself up about. As it turns out, the man says, he and his folks are just better than Rowan.

Oh.


Rowan chuckles, unamused, as he says, “You people. Always thinking you’re better than us.”

Welp.

Rowan then suddenly whips out his gun and shoots Sandra in the head!

YOOOOOOOOO!! The faces of the mystery people were like…


Rowan then says that he has no weaknesses and that nobody owns him. Weeeeeeell, that’s a total untruth, isn’t it? There is a certain almost 40-year-old campaign manager for the Republican candidate for President who is still living a breathing, yeah?

Rowan tells them that their account is settled, but it really isn’t. Mystery Woman says that she didn’t see coming him shooting Sandra, but she wastes no time in calling Rowan’s bluff by pulling up a video feed of Olivia on her phone. She tells Rowan that wherever Olivia goes, they have eyes on her. Eyes as in human eyes, and that means that she can give the order at any time to have a bullet put in Olivia’s head within seconds.

So much for all of that bluster that Rowan just exhibited. Goon man chimes in then to say that they need Cyrus in jail and Mellie in the White House. Rowan is to make sure that happens. They then leave him alone as to ponder the gravity of the situation that he is in. He shakes with emotion as he glances over at Sandra’s lifeless body by the door.

In a later scene, Rowan is seen sitting at his workbench and staring at the dinosaur that Sandra had sent to him earlier. He does not seem to be doing well at all. Suddenly Olivia walks in and he has to adjust his face and hide his troubles. Olivia has come to find out if Rowan had a hand in the assassination of Vargas. Now this part we saw in 601, but at the time, we were without any context whatsoever.

Rowan is telling Olivia that this is an opportunity that she can use to her advantage, but steers him back to the question she had asked him. Rowan straight up lies to her face and tells her that he didn’t shoot Vargas, but Olivia doesn’t believe him. Rowan said he thought about it, but Olivia had made it clear to him that she didn’t want his help. Olivia tells him that she didn’t need his help, and he points out to her that “San Benito County begs to differ.”

Sigh. I honestly don’t know why Olivia continues to subject herself to Rowan’s mind games.

Now upset (as she usually use after Rowan hits her with some nonsense), Olivia is on her way out the door when Rowan drops the gem about Cyrus being the one behind the assassination attempt. At Olivia’s shock, Rowan points out that that moment of feeling that she is showing is her “streak of weakness.” (Hole up. This is what mystery man said to Rowan!)

Rowan tells Olivia that her weakness is the reason she lost and also because she sees him as a predator. He says to her that he can’t be a predator, at least not in the world that they live in. Smart prey he may be, but not the predator. He is prey that is trying to help his species survive.

(I peeps what you did there, Shonda.)

He proceeds build upon the case for Cyrus being the one behind the shooting. Olivia initially doesn’t buy what her father is selling as she says to Rowan that Cyrus loves Vargas, but Rowan points out that Cyrus loves Cyrus. He then continues by twisting the knife of the loss by saying that Olivia lost because she was unwilling to let him help her in San Benito, but now she has another opportunity to capture that win.

And this is where we now are ladies and gents.

When Olivia leaves, Rowan drops his mask. He then heads over to where he has Sandra’s body wrapped up in plastic. He breaks down in tears before righting himself and stepping away.

Wow. So Rowan has something of a heart inside of there, but as he’s repeatedly preached to Olivia, love is a weakness, and these mystery people have proven why it is that he lives this philosophy. To answer the question that Olivia posed to him earlier: yes, Eli is lonely. For a moment, he had joy back in his life, but just as quickly, it was taken away. Triple sadz.

Many questions have been answered, but there are many others still pending. Who deleted Jennifer’s call from the tip line server? Was it Abby? Why is Jennifer still alive? Why did McClintock maintain his innocence if taking the fall for the assassination was part of his mission? What did Jake say to him to get him to finally confess? What was in that folder that Rowan handed to Jake the night of the election? Was it intelligence that he was to pass on to the President re: McClintock? He was several hours late to the briefing election night. Is Angela also in on this? The FBI’s investigation has been sloppy from the beginning.

I need answers!! Hopefully we will get more next week. What burning questions to you guys and gals have? What did you think of the episode? Share those thoughts in the comment section below or with me on Twitter.

I thank you for reading this recap/review of Scandal episode 606! See y’all next week!

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