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Scandal - Hardball - Review: "Love or Power, Not Both"


This episode of Scandal was as fun as it was juicy! Is it safe to say that I found it to be much better than the premiere? That’s not to say that the premiere was bad (because it wasn’t). It’s just that “Hardball” was jammed with a LOT. It answered at least one question that I had from last week, and it employed a common tactic by the writers of using peripheral characters to give insight into Olivia Pope. You’ll see what I mean in a sec.

“Hardball” starts off with a flashback to the final night of the Republican National Convention, and members of Mellie Grant’s campaign team are watching her give her speech on television. Huck, Marcus and Quinn stand in front of the group, and Marcus’s posture is one of a man who is proud of the woman on the screen, his eyes filled with unshed tears. Soon enough, Quinn notices the tears and questions him about it. Marcus denies that he is crying, but they all know that he’s lying. Quinn looks at him like he’s lost his marbles and Huck tells him that Marcus is embarrassing them. LMAO! Crying is for wimps.

(Side Note: As a matter of continuity, why is Mellie and Olivia (and OPA for that matter) wearing the same outfits that they had on during the first night of the convention?)

Later, we see Mellie celebrating with campaign staffers and giving a little speech about how the night is not hers alone, but all of theirs. Everyone is jazzed and sipping on bubbly. Olivia and Mellie continue towards the OPA crew, and Olivia inquires about how Mellie’s speech came across on TV. Marcus says that from his perspective, it couldn’t have come across any better, which leads to Huck ribbing him about how his perspective had been through tears. Ha!

Mellie considered his show of emotion beautiful and this is followed by a bit of flirting that Olivia was quick to pick up on. Once Marcus departs and Olivia and Mellie are alone, Olivia warns Mellie to be careful with Marcus, telling her that she sees the way that he looks at her. Mellie waves away such a thing before immediately asking Olivia how exactly Marcus has been looking at her. LOL! So...Mellie is interested. Duh.

Olivia continues by running down the reasons why Mellie shouldn’t even entertain a dalliance with Marcus, the most important one being that he works for Mellie’s campaign. Mellie concedes that the attention is flattering, and Olivia agrees that it’s fine for Mellie to be flattered, but she’s going to have to keep her “knees together.”


This conversation is all kinds of crazy, but who would know better than Olivia when it comes to inappropriate involvement with the candidate who is running for president? Granted the circumstances aren’t exactly the same, they are similar enough that Olivia can see the PR disaster awaiting the campaign should this attraction go beyond the flirting.

Having received her warning, Mellie tells Olivia that she has nothing to worry about.

Uh huh.

Flashing forward to present day, Olivia is in the Oval with Fitz, David and Abby, and she is playing the recording of the young woman who left a message on the FBI’s tip line that points to Cyrus Beene as the one responsible for Frankie Vargas’ murder. Olivia points out that the message was the only one deleted from the tip line and that the next day, the woman was blown up in her cabin.

Abby reminds Olivia that they both saw an obviously grief-stricken Cyrus on the day of the shooting at the hospital, but Olivia doesn’t consider that enough to dismiss Cyrus as the one behind the murder. He very well could have felt bad about killing the guy, she argues. David interjects then to say that they already have a suspect in custody and that there is overwhelming evidence that says that Nelson McClintock is responsible. Olivia dismisses McClintock as a patsy, and goes on to ask everyone in the room why it is that they haven’t charged him with anything if they are so sure that they have their guy?

The whole time Olivia is going on, Fitz is silent. He’s the only one in the room sitting and he looks exasperated by the whole thing. As Olivia remains adamant about Cyrus being the real culprit, Fitz finally stands and tells Olivia that he has already sent the FBI out to the cabin and they found no evidence that would connect what happened to that woman to Cyrus.

Olivia replies that who Fitz sent out to investigate was a bunch of inexperienced scrubs, and it is at this point that we get introduced to Angela Webster, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She comes into the Oval right as Olivia is saying this, and she counters Olivia by saying that the President actually sent her to the site and that she took an elite emergency response team with her. Together, she and the team spent the last 15 hours at the cabin site.

Yikes. Olivia sure stuck a Louboutin-clad foot in her mouth, didn’t she? And then she made that sad attempt at walking back the insult that she lobbed at those involved with the investigation, stating that she obviously meant no offense. LOL! Angela wasn’t buying that.

This short interaction immediately let us know that these two women not only know each other, but that their relationship isn’t particularly warm. What’s their history, I wonder?

Fitz asks the Director if she found any evidence that ties the death of the woman to Cyrus and if she has found anything that would connect Cyrus to the murder of Frankie Vargas. On both counts, Angela responds in the negative. Olivia interjects then to say that Angela surely hasn’t stopped looking, but Fitzgerald shuts that down and says that yes, the FBI is done. He isn’t going to investigate Cyrus for Vargas’s murder based off of a tip line voicemail and a blown up cabin.

Olivia is flabbergasted by this, but the President stands his ground and points out that he stood in front of the American people and told them that Cyrus was to be their next Commander in Chief. Olivia called that move a mistake, and frustrated Fitz asks her who it was that told him to do just that.

Quick rewind to last episode: Fitz was hesitant to pick Mellie as the next president because he believed that doing so would be like rigging the election (since Mellie did lose), and with Olivia essentially cosigning what he believed to be the right thing to do, he went with Cyrus.

Telling Olivia that the election is over, Fitz dismisses the meeting, much to Olivia’s disbelief. Ole girl doesn’t have sway over Fitzgerald as she once did. Besides, from an objective standpoint, she does come across as someone who is grasping at straws in a last ditch attempt at victory. Once the room is cleared, Fitz orders Abby make sure that the case is locked down by the following day, which is the day of Francisco Vargas’ funeral. Abby believes that Olivia will not stop as long as she there is still a chance of winning, but Fitz tells her to handle getting a confession out of McClintock while he deals with Mellie.

Tying Up Loose Ends

Some time later over at the FBI Building, we see David and Director Webster interrogating McClintock. They are trying to get a confession out of him, but he won’t budge despite the evidence that they have on him. His social media posts were all unfavorable towards Vargas and his fingerprints are all over the weapon, the roof from which the shots were fired and the elevator leading up to the roof. It’s all enough to get a conviction, but he can avoid the death penalty if he confesses to the murder now and avoids trial.

His lawyer asks David and Angela for a moment to confer with her client for a moment, but McClintock takes the paper that was offered to him and gets to writing. What does he write?

“Can you read that okay? It’s a less polite way of saying ‘go have sexual intercourse with yourself.’”


When David dares to address him by his given name, McClintock gets angry and insists that he be referred to as Mr. McClintock. “As in my parents came to America before yours did, David Rosen.”

Ah, yes. A racist S.O.B. Imagine the brain aneurysm he must’ve been holding at bay for having to sit in a room with two black women and a Jew. The aneurysm should have won, but alas...

McClintock had no intention of confessing. As all of this was going on, Abby watched from the one way mirror. This McClintock confession thing was not going the way it was supposed to.

Elsewhere, Olivia walking into her office suite and she’s speaking with Mellie, who is walking down a hall at the White House. Olivia had just filled her in on what happened in the Oval, and she tells her that even though that avenue is closed, she is going to continue to investigate what happened to the young woman. While still on the phone, Olivia soon comes to a stop in front of Quinn’s office to instruct her to go to cabin site and grab any evidence that she can since the FBI is shutting down their investigation.

Returning to her conversation, Olivia tells Mellie not to despair. When she asks where Mellie is, Mellie says that Fitz had called her to the White House because Teddy needed her, so she’s on mommy duty. Olivia replies that they can meet up together later for drinks.

Pause for the cause: I’m still not used to this whole Olivia and Mellie friendship thing, but I have to say that it’s oddly...refreshing.

When Mellie makes it to the East Wing, she soon learns that Fitz deceived her. Teddy was used to lure her over for a meeting that he wanted Mellie to have with Cyrus. Fitz wants the two of them to come up with a compromise that will prevent the country from imploding due to the uncertainty of who will be the president come January. Fitz then leaves them to work out the details.

The conversation is a rather awkward one as Mellie starts off by stating outright that Cyrus probably intends to kill her. (LOL, rude.) Cyrus doesn’t at all take the bait. He’s as solemn now as he’s been ever since Frankie was shot. He offers Mellie a place in his administration as his vice president on a unity ticket, and Mellie is shocked.

Hell, I’m shocked. Cyrus and Mellie as POTUS and VPOTUS? What could possibly go wrong?

Cyrus goes on to say that he knows that VP isn’t the job that Mellie wanted, but that being president wasn’t the job that he wanted either. He’s just trying to do what he can to bring the country together.

Come on, mehn. Cyrus didn’t want to be president? If ever there was a lie that came out of Cyrus Beene’s mouth, this would be it. I’m not going to quibble though.

Mellie is not down with this offer at all. Vice president? She be below Cyrus? Oh, hell nah! Not now, not ever. She then goes on her usual Mellie ramble about how she was born for the job, worked hard for it and yada yada. I’ll spare y’all the details. The short of it is that Cyrus wasn’t a candidate in the race, and so with her being the last presidential candidate standing, there was no way that she was going to play ball with “the man who tried to murder his way into the White House.”

Before Mellie could depart, Cyrus insists that he has nothing to do with Frankie’s death. He says that somewhere along the way, she’s going to realize that he is telling the truth and that she is going to feel terrible for the chaos that she is helping Olivia to create in the country. He adds that he is not the bad guy this time, that Olivia is.

Oh. Whatever does he mean?


We are flashed back to another moment of Mellie during the campaign, and she is at a baseball park with Marcus to practice an upcoming pitch she is scheduled to make at an upcoming Washington Nationals game. This is all part of an attempt to get Mellie to appeal to white male voters who she is not polling well with, and Marcus has volunteered to guide her through how to throw that baseball.

Of course, he volunteered. It’s an opportunity to spend time alone with the woman that he’s got a thing for and Mellie can’t even pretend that she isn’t enjoying his company. And his attention.

As the little tutorial commences, the sizzle is immediate. Mellie momentarily forgets the promise she made about keeping them knees locked. The temptation of having a sip of the hot cocoa standing in front of her is just too strong, but she recalls herself right as she’s about to go in for a taste and beats a hasty retreat. No line crossing that night.

Flashing toward to present day, Quinn and Charlie are masquerading as FBI agents and have collected a number of items, including a destroyed laptop. They make to leave with their haul when one of the real agents walks up to tell them that all evidence goes in the bin that he is carrying. Quinn and Charlie have no choice but to relinquish their haul to the bin.

Over at the White House, Abby has requested a meeting with Jake. While they have enough evidence to convict McClintock of being the one who pulled the trigger, they still have nothing that proves that McClintock was a lone wolf. Without anything concrete to prove this, the Vargas case stays open indefinitely. Jake isn’t at all sure what it is that Abby believes the NSA could do to help in this situation, but Abby didn’t call him over to get his help as Director of the NSA. She’s asking for him specifically. You know, the Jake who happens to be a trained B613 operative. That’s the guy she needs.

Abby says to him that if Jake helps her close this case, then the election will be officially over and everyone can move on. She says that she thought that Jake would be interested in this conclusion.

Huh. Abigail Whelan sure is an observant one. Using what she assumed to be true, she is luring Jake into assisting her with McClintock with the promise of Jake’s freedom once all is said and done. I wonder what it is that she had seen (or heard) during the campaign that led her to conclude that Jake did not wish to be vice president.

Elsewhere in the White House, Mellie is walking in a daze when Marcus sights her and quickly extricates himself from the two he was conferring with. Once he catches up with her, he asks her why she there and she uses Teddy as a cover. Marcus notices that something is wrong and asks if she is okay. Mellie says that she is and then she instructs him to stop acting as if he cares. Marcus is confused by this statement as Mellie remarks about how he didn’t choose her. As she walks away, she adds that “no one does.”

Ah, gatdamn it, Mellie. Why did you have to go and make me feel bad for you?


Flashing back once again, we see Mellie watching footage of herself throwing the first pitch at the Nationals game and getting positive reviews for her effort. She is in her office with Marcus and they are celebrating her PR victory with moonshine. Marcus clearly hasn’t had anything quite so strong in his life. Mellie must have insides made of steel to be drinking 100 proof rubbing alcohol.

Mellie says to Marcus that she may actually win the election and he nods in agreement. Another one of those electric moments passes between them, but this time, it is Marcus that makes to exit. Right as Marcus gets to the door, Mellie tells him not to go. Annnnnd they give in to their urges.




Back to present day OPA, Huck has handed over to Quinn information on every mission that Charlie has ever been a part of. He doesn’t understand why it is that Quinn wants or even needs to know all of the gory details, especially since she already knows who Charlie is and what he’s capable of, but Quinn insists that this is her doing her due diligence as anyone would do before they get married. (Girlfriend may regret digging further into Charlie’s past. She can’t later say that Huck didn’t warn her.)

Right then, Olivia comes into the conference room with Charlie following close behind. Olivia announces to the group that the White House is sticking with their lone gunman theory, so it is up to them to find evidence to counter not only this, but to also prove Cyrus’s guilt. Asking of what it is that they know about the murdered young woman, Quinn shares that her name was Jennifer Fields and she had been a 28-year-old videographer for the Vargas campaign. Huck adds that there is over 3000 hours of video footage but that none of it is on a cloud. Quinn follows this up with information about the laptop that she found on site that could have footage on it and Charlie says that they had it but that the FBI took it from them. Olivia tells them that it’s time for them to get the laptop back because that footage is the only hope that they’ve got.

Don’t you just love the casual manner by which these people go about breaking all kinds of laws?

Later that evening, we see Olivia having drinks with Angela Webster at some swanky restaurant. Olivia invited Angela under the guise of apologizing for her earlier behavior at the White House, but it was really all just a ruse to keep Angela occupied while Operation Steal FBI Evidence was underway. Olivia says she shouldn’t have questioned Angela’s authority, but Angela says that she was actually the one who was out of line. Olivia insists that it was she herself who was at fault, and so that is why she is paying for drinks.

Upon Olivia’s insistence, Angela remarks that the two of them sure have grown up. Olivia uses that as an opportunity to remark about Angela’s position at the FBI and ask her about how it is working there. Angela goes on to share that because she’s the boss, no one will say anything to her directly, but she does get the look that questions why she is in her position. Olivia knows exactly what she is talking about, and mentions the fake smile that is given when people think that you’re somehow lost.

I call this part of their conversation the Commiseration of Black Women Existing in Predominantly White Male Spaces. I’m willing to bet that CIA Director Lowry would have a similar story. (When real life refuses to give America anyone outside of a white male to lead the FBI and CIA, Shonda Rhimes decides to make both of hers be black women. Bless up.)

While Olivia is chatting it up with Angela, Operation Steal FBI Evidence is underway. Huck has broken into Angela’s car and Quinn is posing as an agent in order to get access to the laptop.

As the conversation continues, Olivia remarks that she is glad that Angela is in Washington and that the President is lucky to have her. Angela’s response to this statement wipes the cordial mask clean off of Olivia’s face. What was that that she heard in Ms. Webster’s voice? What was that coy little smile that Angela could barely hide? Chile, Olivia looked like she had been hit with a taser while still in the shower. Angela here has herself a thing for Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III!


That’s an unexpected plot twist. Olivia struggled like hell to school her features into one of nonchalance, but she was failing badly. Angela was quick to say that she would never EVER do there. Olivia should know that. After all, the two of them go way back. She wouldn’t disrespect Olivia in that way! All of that said, Angela tosses in a giant BUT, which Olivia fills in for her by describing Fitz as “attractive, magnetic, charismatic”. Angela agrees with all of this and then says that nothing has happened between she and the President, and that it is important to her that Olivia knows this.

At this point, Olivia is working to project the image of a woman who is unfazed by this attraction that Angela has towards Fitz. Her body language is all like, this conversation is silly and rather irrelevant while at the same time conveying that she wants to smash her glass upon the table and cut a bitch.

Angela goes on to say that nothing will ever happen between her and Fitz….unless Olivia gives her the green light.




Y’all should have heard the bark that came out of me when she said this. Olivia’s head snapped up so fast! I swear, if looks could kill, Angela would be a pile of ashes on her seat. The task of distracting Angela while her team works to steal from right under her nose was not turning out how Olivia expected it to. Hahahahahaha!

Angela says if it isn’t okay or if Olivia still has feelings for him, then Olivia should just let her know, to which Olivia denies that there is anything lingering there between her and Fitz. She even goes so far as to tell Angela to go ahead and ask him out. Angela is surprised by this and asks if Olivia is sure. Olivia’s response? “Sure. If he says yes, of course.”

LMAOOO!!! If. He. Says. Yes. This girl really is banking on the man saying no. Ah, Olivia. You about to get your feelings hurt.

While all of this is going on, Huck, Quinn and Charlie succeed in their coordinated effort to attain the evidence. This happens just as Angela gets a message summoning her back to the office. Olivia tries to stall Angela’s departure a bit, but she finally lets her go when she gets a text telling her that her team is in the clear. Olivia then says to Angela that she was really glad that they were able to talk.

Once Angela departs, Olivia drops the facade. She obviously cannot stand the woman. If anything, learning that Angela has the hots for Fitzgerald only added fuel to an already raging fire. This is about to get interesting.

Insight #1.

Arriving at the FBI Building, Angela finds Abby sitting outside of the interrogation room. She wants to know why it is that Abby is interrogating McClintock without authorization. Abby says that her authorization comes from the White House. Just then, David comes rushing in and wants to know what the emergency is. Abby says that there isn’t one, but Angela says that she needs an injunction against Abby because she is jeopardizing her investigation. David says that whatever the issue is, he is sure that they can come up with a non-litigious solution. Angela opts to leave them to it while she goes in to speak with the suspect, but she is barred from entry by the guard who is standing by the door.

David reminds Abby that Angela is the director of the FBI and also the one who is investigating the murder of Vargas, not the White House. Abby says that she understands this but that someone is already in the room speaking with McClintock. Just then, Jake emerges from the room and hands to Abby documentation of the suspect confessing to killing Vargas before departing.

With the purpose of her trip there complete, Abby gives the document to David and informs him that she will be telling the President to expect him.

When Angela is finally able to enter the room, she is surprised to find a McClintock who is shaking in fear and has literally wet his pants. What exactly did Jake Ballard say and/or do to him? This kind of confession is far from kosher and you just know something is going to come up later to throw a wrench into Abby’s best laid plans.

Later that evening at OPA, Olivia is in her office explaining to Mellie what it is that Huck is doing with the damaged hard drive while pouring each of them a glass of wine. Mellie is amazed that it is possible to rebuild a hard drive, and then she asks Olivia where it is that they got the laptop anyway. When Olivia asks if she really wants the answer to that, Mellie decides that she does not. What matters is that Huck is able to find video on there that connects Cyrus to the Vargas shooting.

After a brief pause, Olivia goes on to ask Mellie if she has met the new director of the FBI. Mellie says that she has met her a couple of times and queries as to why it is that Olivia asked. Before Olivia can respond, David surprises them with an appearance and he immediately snatches up Olivia’s untouched glass of wine and takes a healthy gulp of the thing before saying to Olivia that the “Constitution is going up in flames.” Ut oh.

Having been made aware of what happened over at the FBI Building, Olivia returns to the White House and is demanding to see the President, but she is making no headway with Abby who tells her that Fitz is indisposed. Olivia is keeping pace with her as Abby heads for her office and says to her that the White House is pinning the Vargas assassination on the wrong man. Abby in turn tells her that McClintock confessed to everything and rejects Olivia’s accusation that she forced him into it. Olivia already knows the truth and asks Abby how it is that she could do something that is so beneath her. Abby’s response?

“What was it you said, Liv? Sometimes we have to do what’s necessary no matter the consequences.” -- Abby Whelan

Welp. Olivia didn’t like that thrown back in her face. You’ll see why further on. Keep this quote in mind.

If Abby thought that this confession meant the end of the fight, she was clearly mistaken. She should know Olivia better than that. She does know Olivia better than that. And Olivia promised to fight on. Cyrus is going down.

Now over to Marcus who is chilling in his office when he gets a call from Mellie who is looking for someone to speak to who isn’t Olivia. Marcus initially gives her the cold shoulder, but that doesn’t last very long. Mellie is looking for his advice on Cyrus’s proposal. Olivia isn’t someone that she feels that she can speak to about for obvious reasons. Marcus tells her that as someone who is still relatively young, having the #2 spot in the White House will earn her more qualifications and improve her chances of winning when she runs again in 8 years.

Marcus then adds that there is some freedom that comes with serving as the vice president, once that the presidency does not allow and that is the ability to live under the radar and have a personal life. *hint, hint* Mellie caught on to what he was suggesting right as he was starting to end the call, but she halts him with another question about her taking the presidency now. Marcus ponders his answer and then straight up tells her that he misses her. Recalling what Mellie said earlier about nobody ever choosing her, Marcus informs her that she is the one that he chooses and that all she has to do is choose him, too.

Awww….look at Mellie getting herself someone who genuinely loves her. She and Marcus outchea with the reverse Olitz love going on. I peeps you, Marlie.

Love or Power, Not Both

Flashing back, we see Mellie at Olivia’s place and she is daydreaming. She isn’t at all hearing a damn thing that Olivia is saying to her because she is lost in some private heaven that has her smiling to herself. Olivia eventually notices Mellie’s distraction and recalls her to the present. Mellie apologizes and then tries to focus, but Olivia is suspicious and calls Mellie by her entire government name.

Melody Margaret Grant.


Melody Margaret. Yikes.

And that officially makes it four characters who share the same middle name. There’s Sally Margaret Langston (208), Ella Margaret Novak-Beene (214), Susan Margaret Ross (415) and now Mellie. Either “Margaret” holds some kind of significance for Shonda (or somebody behind the scenes) or it is her go to name like “Nicole” was for virtually every American parent who had a daughter in the 80s.

It doesn’t take much for the truth to come spilling out of Mellie. She gave in to her base instincts and got that PIPE! From the way Mellie is describing it, it was an otherworldly experience and Olivia couldn’t be more shocked by what she is hearing. Olivia concludes that the sex was good and Mellie is quick to point out that “good” is not an appropriate enough qualifier. The sex had her so thrown off that she CRIED uncontrollably from the sheer joy of it all!


Here is the rest of what Mellie had to say about the experience and I quote it in full for what I hope is obvious:

“There is a fire inside me now. I am having almost a religious experience. I found the light, Liv. I was living in the dark. I was blind, but now I see. My skin is warm, and I feel generous, and colors seems brighter, and smells seem stronger, and I believe in… I believe.

“And the thing is I’m pretty sure it’s just...love. And I have gone without it all this time. Can you believe I’ve missed it? Can you believe I’ve went for so long never feeling this?

“Is this what you felt with Fitz? Because if it is, I understand. You should have it. I should have it! Everybody should have it! It’s happiness. I’m happy. Marcus makes me happy. He loves me.” -- Mellie Grant

Whew, chile. Where does one start with this thing? Let’s go with the first part of this thing. All of what Mellie is feeling right then? That used to be Olivia once upon a time, but she isn’t that person anymore. Olivia is literally occupying a space that is opposite to that of Mellie where she is shadowed in darkness while Mellie is radiating with light.

You can see from Olivia’s expression that what she was hearing from Mellie was striking a chord. The second part above essentially describes Olivia’s present state of emotional barrenness. Where is the love? Where is her happy?

Mellie then had to go hit her with the “is this what you felt with Fitz?” Lawd… The evolution of these two women’s relationship really has been something else. They have literally gotten to the point where they can bring up Fitzgerald and not have him be the catalyst for World War III.

Olivia didn’t respond to the question, but then again, she really didn’t have to. We already know the answer. Mellie is so hopped up on that love juice that she’s ready to gift happiness tokens to everybody!


What was interesting to me (and also deeply sad) is that prior to this dalliance with Marcus, Mellie had no context to which to refer when she was trying to make sense of Fitz’s devotion to Olivia. No matter what she or anyone else tried to do, Fitz was steadfast and remained so for close to a freakin’ decade! That kind of deep-seated, unwavering love was something that Mellie had never experienced, and that just makes me sad for her. No wonder she was always so damn cranky.

Can you believe I’ve missed it? Can you believe I’ve went for so long never feeling this?

Insight #2.

Oh, yes. Olivia was shook, but she is quick to recover. She tells Mellie that she’s happy for her and that Mellie deserves this. Then she had to go toss some doubt into the whole thing by stating that she had been worried that Marcus wasn’t the right guy, but that she is glad that Mellie has found something “real” with him. If you haven’t yet caught on, this is Olivia laying the groundwork for handling this situation that she tried to head off with a warning to Mellie.

Intrigued by the statement, Mellie asks Olivia why it was that she was worried, and Olivia dismisses it as nothing before going on to say that people in Washington tend to gossip and they’ll remember him as the guy who slept with the mayor’s wife. Mellie isn’t bothered by that since Marcus already told her about it. Olivia then tries another tack, which is to paint Marcus as an opportunistic climber. She states that prior to Marcus meeting her, he was a civil rights activist who had a podcast, and he dropped all of that as soon as he was presented with the opportunity to come work for Olivia.

(Okay, for the record, that isn’t at all how it happened. Marcus didn’t even initially want to be part of OPA, but Olivia was banking on Mellie being ignorant of this fact and of why he eventually did agree to join.)

I understand the why of what Olivia is doing here, which is to protect her investment that is Mellie Grant, but she is still trash for doing it. Everything with her is the nuclear option. If it’s an obstacle, it needs to die, and in this instance, what was due for annihilation was Marlie.


Mellie remains unphased by Olivia’s words and pretty much just waves it all off. As Mellie starts to gather her stuff to leave, you see the smile that Olivia was faking fade. Then as Mellie is heading for the door, Olivia once again restates her happiness for Mellie, which is a bald-headed lie. She’s about to rip that relationship apart and regret nothing.

Back to present day, Huck has fixed the hard drive but there are over 5,000 hours of footage on it. Yiiiikes. That’s gonna take a minute to get through.

Meanwhile over at the Capitol, Abby has come over to speak with Mellie who is quick to tell her that she has yet to make a decision regarding Cyrus’s offer. Abby says that the conversation that she wants to have with Mellie is intended to help her make her decision. (Ut oh.)

Flashing back to the campaign, we see Abby remarking to Olivia about the 14 point bounce that Mellie got just from throwing that baseball. Olivia uses the opportunity to ask Abby for a favor. She explains that Mellie and Marcus have a thing going and that she needs Abby to get Marcus a job at the White House, something that’s big enough that he can’t turn the offer down. Abby remarks that maybe it’s just a fling, but Olivia says that she believes that it is deeper than that. It then dawns on Abby what it is that Olivia is asking her to do, and that is to help her break up Mellie and Marcus as Olivia once asked Harrison to help with breaking up Abby and David way back in S2. (Good call back, writers!)

Olivia didn’t even flinch. Instead what does she say?

“We’re making a president, Abby. We do whatever is necessary no matter the consequences.” -- Olivia Pope

Recall what Abby said to her in present day when Olivia confronted her about the McClintock confession? If this rule is good for Olivia when it comes to protecting Mellie, then it’s also good for Abby when it comes to protecting Fitz and the presidency. Boom.

So my one multi question from last week has been answered.

  • How did Marcus end up as White House Press Secretary? What happened with he and Mellie? They appear to be on good terms, but there seemed to be a strain there. Maybe? The last time we saw them, they were about set to jump on each other. So what happened?

We now know what happened. Olivia Pope.

Flipping back to present day, Olivia is now at her apartment and she is opening the door for Mellie and the first question from Mellie is if Olivia had gotten Marcus the press secretary job. Oops! Looks like Abby’s been blabbing.

Olivia can’t even bring herself to answer the question. The answer was evident by the guilt on her face anyway. In shocked disbelief, Mellie comes into the apartment and goes off, but not in her usual Mellie fashion. She is truly hurt by this betrayal at the hands of someone she believed was being real with her. Poor Mellie hadn’t yet learned that Olivia will crush the soul of her dearest friend if it meant protecting herself.

“You can’t be the one person who destroys every relationship that I ever had, can you?! Why are you doing this?! What is wrong with you?!” -- Mellie Grant


You mean you didn’t want a soulless, godless creature running your campaign, Mellie? She sure did destroy your every relationship. Fitzgerald, Andrew, Marcus. Olivia is a walking blight upon humankind. NOW you want to know what’s wrong with her? She’s been dead inside for like ever. Why are you even surprised that she’d pull a stunt like this? Once your campaign manager takes a steel chair to a stroke-debilitated man, all other possibilities of things that you didn’t think she could do kind goes flying out the window.

In response to an upset Mellie, Olivia defends her actions by saying that what she did was what she was hired to do, and that is to make Mellie president. She reiterates again as she had on the last night of the RNC how bad the optics would be should it be found out that she was having an affair with someone who works for her campaign, then Olivia goes on to list the other negatives against Marcus, which includes the fact that he’s black and political poison. Ouch.

Olivia isn’t incorrect in her reasons as to why the relationship with Marcus was bad for the campaign, but she made Mellie believe that Marcus was merely using her to get ahead, which wasn’t at all true. These emotional manipulations that she inflicts upon others is exactly the kind of thing that her father inflicts upon her. It’s sad to see her continue to reflect Rowan without even realizing it.

Olivia goes on to say to Mellie that it was a choice between Marcus and the presidency. Mellie can have one or the other, but not both. She tells Mellie that she “gets to be powerful” and to “change the world”, but she most definitely does not get to be “vulnerable or weak or compromised in any way by anyone.”

Wow. Look at Rowan Jr go. It’s a pity that Olivia is in this mental space where she believes that one must compromise happiness and vulnerability in exchange for some version of power that somehow lacks these things. This is a purely Rowan philosophy, where being happy and being powerful are mutually exclusive. Love, happiness, vulnerability? Those are all for the weak, and the weak shall never know greatness.

That’s a rather empty existence if you ask me, but nobody did so…


Mellie cannot believe what she is hearing from Olivia and makes to leave, but Olivia isn’t letting. She tells Mellie that Mellie was unable to see the consequences of engaging with Marcus, so she took it upon herself to make the choice for Mellie. Olivia goes on to say to her that Marcus was a sacrifice that needed to be made.

Yep, Rowan all the way.

Mellie is like, well, relationship killer, Cyrus offered the vice presidency to me. She says that she wasn’t initially goes to accept, but now she has changed her mind. Mellie then tells Olivia that they are done. Party over. Deuces.


Flashing back, we see the moment that Marcus breaks it to Mellie that Abby offered the job of White House Press Secretary. The announcement instantly quells the adore that Mellie was feeling just seconds before, and it is clear that she is recalling that little nugget of doubt that Olivia planted in her head about Marcus being a climber.

Marcus is of course confused by her reaction and then it all goes downhill from there. Mellie outright accuses him of exactly this, of using her to elevate his status. She then asks him what he plans to do after this new gig in order to climb even higher.

Needless to say, Mellie is pretty nasty in her accusations, but I can’t even blame her. This is a woman who was already insecure about anyone ever genuinely choosing her, and when she finally believes that she has found one who has, Olivia introduces just enough doubt to leave Mellie to take to dismantling the relationship herself once Olivia gets Abby to offer Marcus the Press Secretary gig. Mellie must have felt like a damn fool once Abby clued her in to Olivia’s role in the whole thing.

Back to present day OPA. It is the next morning and Quinn is going on about her engagement to Charlie and is asking what it was that Huck is really thinking, if maybe he thinks that she should marry Charlie. Huck isn’t trying to talk about Charlie, and he reminds Quinn that they have all of that footage to go through. Olivia comes in to the conference room then to tell them that they no longer have a candidate, so don’t have to go through the footage. They are to pack everything up and call it a day.

Quinn is surprised by this and asks Olivia what happened to them pursuing truth and justice. Olivia turns to Quinn then and asks her what her problem is with her going on about her marrying Charlie. Quinn lists all of these rather weak excuses as to why she’s making all that noise, which basically boils down to it being a big decision, she made it without thinking, Charlie has done some awful things and….that Charlie is old. LOL! That last one is likely because Quinn couldn’t think of anything else to add.

Olivia is unimpressed by these answers as she goes on to say the following to Quinn:

“And he somehow loves you. And you somehow love him, and you’re looking for excuses because you’re scared. [If you’re not scared,] then what is stopping you? What is stopping you from accepting something that most people never have? What?

“Share your life. Because you’re not tethered to power. Because you live below the radar. Because you’re free from it. Because you can. You are being offered normal, maybe even happy. The fact that you’re even questioning whether you should take them, frankly, it’s annoying.

“Live! You get to live and love and be happy. Do you know what some people would give--”

Quinn cuts her off at that point because Olivia is getting even more passionate as she speaks on, and she tells her boss that she gets it.

What this moment further confirms (for me anyway) is that Olivia doesn’t believe that the things that she is encouraging Quinn to grab onto are things that are available to her. Note what she said about Quinn’s life not being tethered to power, which therefore allows her to live below the radar. As a person who had once sought that “normal” existence, Olivia sounds like she has given up on that ever being a possibility for her. Ever. That’s disheartening.

And is it just me or did Olivia sound like she was encouraging Quinn to do what she herself couldn’t with Fitz?

Insight #3.

Later we see everyone present at the funeral of President-elect Francisco Vargas. It’s just lots of sadz.

Even later that same day, Mellie arrives at the White House to see Fitz with the intention of letting him know that she has decided to join up with Cyrus’s ticket. When she gets to the Oval, Charlotte goes off alert the President to Mellie’s presence and to also find Marcus at Mellie’s request. While Charlotte is off, Mellie notices that the door to the Oval is open and she steps inside and imagines herself there. By the time Marcus shows up, Mellie is gone.

We next see Mellie walking into Olivia’s office. She has decided that the presidency is what she wants. She has willingly sacrificed Marcus for the presidency. (Damn.) The first thing that comes out of Mellie’s mouth is, “It hurt this bad when you left Fitz?” And Olivia takes her sweet time, but she eventually answers in the affirmative.

And my eyes are officially sweating.


Olitz references is all over this episode. What. Is. Up?

Now we have these two women who have made the conscious decision of walking away from love in order to attain something that they feel is much greater, that gives them purpose. Something that they believe will bring them fulfillment. But will it? Should happiness be the price paid for climbing the ladder? Men aren’t required to make such a sacrifice, so why should these women?

In any case, here they are. Sisters bonded by a quest for something big. A giant win. A feather in their cap. The ultimate reward in the finite galaxy of ultimate rewards. Two women scraping their way into the White House? Where has that ever been done?

But WILL it actually be done? That remains to be seen.

As Olivia and Mellie sit down to enjoy their wine together, Mellie notices Olivia’s mood, but before she can remark on it, Huck disturbs the peace to let Olivia know that he’s found something among the video’s on Jennifer’s computer. Clearly, Huck didn’t listen when Olivia ordered them to put an end to their investigation.

That evening, Olivia goes over to the White House to share with Fitz what it is that Huck has found on the hard drive. She makes her way to the East Wing and spots Fitz standing outside on the Truman Balcony. What she didn’t anticipate is finding him with company! And who is that company, you ask? Dun, dun, DUUUUUUN!!! None other than Angela Webster!




Well. Homegirl didn’t waste time.

Olivia stops in her tracks when she sees the two standing rather close as Fitz points something out to her in the distance, and Olivia doesn’t even bother announcing her presence. She just stands there until she is noticed. LMAO!

Can you imagine the internal chaos that was going on with her in that moment? She had to keep it cool though. Can’t let them see you sweat. After all, she no longer has feelings for the man, right? It was totes cool for Angela to ask him out, right? That’s IF he said yes.


Once her presence is noted, Olivia apologizes for interrupting them (LOL!) right before she steps forward to hand Fitz the tablet for him to view what it is that she brought over. As he proceeds to do just that, Olivia watches him for a long moment as she struggles to keep from going off on a mofo. Ole girl is most assuredly PISSED. Note the green gloves and purse that she’s carrying. Envy is such a messy color to wear, but it sure is delicious when it’s sported by someone who claims not to harbor any of it in their closet.


Olivia eventually shifts her eyes from Fitz to Angela, and Angela looks almost scared. Maybe I’m just reading the awkwardness of being caught on the Truman Balcony with your “friend’s” ex (but come on, really always) man as Angela being scared. If she isn’t scared, she ought to be because if the looks that Olivia gave them both is any indication, there may be some trouble to be had. Or not. We shall see. Olivia isn’t exactly rational whenever she’s been bitten by the jealousy bug.

Insight #4.

What Olivia brought is video of Vargas arguing with Cyrus, and he is UPSET. From the looks of it, Vargas has discovered something that Cyrus has done that he disagrees with. Vargas promises that once he becomes president, that he will make sure that Cyrus is put in jail for whatever it is that he did.

This video is watched by Fitz, Angela and Abby. No one has a damn thing to say because it now throws doubt on the investigation that the FBI supposedly conducted into Cyrus Beene. Smug, Olivia walks up to Fitz and asks him if he now thinks it is time for the DOJ to investigate Vargas’s murder. (LOL, petty.) Of course, Fitz orders Abby to get David Rosen on the line for him.

With that mission accomplished, Olivia exits stage left.

So now I have even more questions. Why was Jennifer’s laptop recording video of Vargas and Cyrus’s private meeting? The video that is circumstantial and can hardly be considered evidence of anything on its own, but when put together with that voicemail, it’s enough to cast some serious suspicion in Cyrus’s direction. Now since that voicemail was in the FBI database, who over at the FBI (or outside of it) deleted it and why? How was it that Angela concluded that there was no evidence implicating Cyrus when the FBI hadn’t even finished combing through all of the evidence on the scene? That’s a rather sloppy investigation. What the hell did they do for 15 hours?

Also this business about Angela dating the President. Would it not be inappropriate for Fitzgerald to be on a date with the Director of the FBI? She is heading up the FBI, a position that she was assigned to by the President himself. Wouldn’t that present some kind of conflict of interest? Sure Fitz has two months left in his presidency, but this kind of thing doesn’t make any sense for either of them. Setting aside the conflict of interest, Fitzgerald already has a well earned reputation of being unable to keep his dick in his pants, and I’d think that he’d be interested in doing whatever he can to keep the rest of his presidency relatively scandal free. Then there is Angela who was just talking to Olivia about how her presence at the FBI is subjected to the silent questioning stares, let alone the fact that she is the head honcho over there. Dating the president seems like a rather crazy move, especially for someone who is already at a deficit credibility-wise through no fault of her own.

So my thinking is that things aren’t as they appear. I’m going with that right now until I am proven wrong because the dating thing defies logic. Yes, I know. We are talking about Scandal here, but this scenario is just too incredible for me to take at face value.
In any case, what are your thoughts on the episode? What did you pick up on? What did you think was going on with all those references to relationships and love? Will Olivia ever find middle ground? Is Marlie Over or shall they rise again? Will Quinn actually marry Charlie?

What’s really going on with Fitz and Angela? Were they on a date or was that a misleading moment? Who do you think killed Vargas? Did anyone notice that Jake was hardly in this episode?

Okay, that last one was me being juvenile.

As usual, share your comments down below or send them my way via Twitter. Thank you for making it to the end of this really long recap/review of Scandal episode 602! See you next week!

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