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Scandal - Mercy - Review: "One Down, One to Go"

This episode of Scandal was the best bit of television theatre put on by an ensemble cast that I have seen in awhile. To summarize my feelings simply, speechless would be an apt descriptor. This cast’s ability to take words on a sheet and give them life in the way that they do, and how those respective pieces when put together attract or repel in a given situation is a true marvel to behold. I’m waxing poetic here, I know,

“Mercy” continues from where the last episode left off, with this one involving the coming together of several unlikely forces in order to take down a common enemy. We’ve seen this happen twice before on Scandal, the first being in S2 when the mole had to be taken down (222) and the second in S5 when Andrew Nichols became a problem (517).

How successful will the gang be this time around? Read on to find out.
Quiet Before the Storm

The episode opens up with an upside down shot of Olivia from above as she comes awake in bed. Dressed in one of Fitz’s NAVY tees, she blinks a few times as if confused as to where she is. She is quick to recover as the shot turns right side up and she glances to her left to catch a glimpse of Fitz sleeping next to her. (The use of the camera in this manner lends a dreamlike quality to the moment.)

Olivia adjusts her position in bed so that she is facing Fitz, and she lies there a moment as she watches him sleep. All too soon, she recalls something that pulls her away from her gazing and out of the bed.

Lasting under a minute, this is the only true moment of quiet that Olivia has for herself all episode. Her divergent and unexpected indulgence in a night of lovemaking with Fitzgerald brought with it a measure of peace that the situation at hand was otherwise robbing them all. Her spinning world came to a brief halt and she had a chance to breathe and reassess before returning to the battlefield.

The first stop that Olivia makes in this return is to see Rowan where he is being kept in one of the bunker rooms beneath the White House. Upon being let into the room by one of the guards posted outside of it, Olivia finds Rowan reading a newspaper. A spread of fruits and pastries of all kinds liter the small table in front of him as if meant to be feasted upon by a small army.

Olivia announces her presence by asking him how he’s enjoying his breakfast, and he sarcastically compares the experience to him watching the sunrise on the Champs-Élysées (in Paris). Olivia gives him a small smile before she claims the seat in front of him and asks him how he is feeling. He responds with a declarative question about how Fitzgerald Grant had him cuffed and caged, and Olivia clarifies that what she was asking was how he felt about being free of the mystery people. She goes on to tell him that he is safe, but Rowan dismisses this and says that his safety is only temporary. He tells her that she continues to underestimate the enemy, and that the only way that he can truly preserve his life is to run.

How unusual is it that Rowan has been consistently talking about running now that the cat has become the mouse?

Their conversation is interrupted when the door to the room swings open and in walks Fitzgerald. Rowan scoffs upon his entrance, and Fitz gives the other man a brief glance while taking few steps closer to Olivia. When he is close enough to her, Fitz leans down to her level and kisses her!!

Petty level on fleek. Aside from Secret Service, Fitzgerald has never kissed Olivia in front of anybody, so him doing so here is quite notable. He knew that doing this in Rowan’s presence was going to enrage the man (which was precisely the point) and he didn’t give one damn. This move told Rowan that Olivia and Fitz were once again shaking the sheets, and the death stare that he was giving his daughter showed his displeasure over that.

Remember the last time that these two came to a head over Olivia? It was in “A Door Marked Exit” (310) when Fitz said some unsavory things about Olivia in order to get under Rowan’s skin. Rowan won that round, however, when he had Fitz’s son killed in retaliation some episodes later. Keep this tidbit in mind as you read on.

When Fitz finally acknowledges the other man, Rowan directs Fitz to refer to him as “Mr. Pope.” Fitz skips right over this as he feigns interest in Rowan’s well being, but Rowan know that Fitz couldn’t care less and says as much. Olivia chimes in then to share what Rowan was just telling her, but Rowan interrupts to speak for himself. He tells Mr. President that he appreciates the protection and hospitality provided but that he needs to goes to Paris or Zanzibar.

Fitz is amused by these requests and rhetorically asks Rowan if he looks like a travel agent.  Rowan starts to respond when Olivia interjects to get both men to back down. She then attempts to share with Rowan Fitz’s plan for the mystery people, but Rowan isn’t interested in it. He believes that the mission is suicidal, and he tells them that he has no intention of joining them in it.

Rowan then makes to exit the room, but he is immediately met by the two guards standing outside of it just as Olivia calls out to him. Realizing that there’s no escape, he turns back to Olivia and Fitz to find them both watching him. Olivia offers an apology over the fact that Rowan is going to have to stay put. This is made even more clear when Fitz tells him that he is free to eat as much as he wants and roam around the grounds to his heart’s content, but that any movement that he makes will require that he be accompanied by the two agents who are presently blocking the exit. Fitz then tells “Mr. Pope” that he is very much a prisoner.

I’m going to pause here to say that given what has thus far transpired (and what will be seen further below), Olivia and Fitz did more than just sex it up in that bedroom the previous night. They assuredly discussed strategy, including the decision to hold Rowan captive. When Rowan gets up to leave the room, Olivia already knew that he wouldn’t be going anywhere and she wasn’t at all surprised when Fitzgerald declared him prisoner.

Now aware of his true status at the White House, Rowan reclaims his seat and takes up his newspaper once again as he grumbles that at least in his former situation, he had his dinosaur to play with. He then dismisses Olivia and Fitz from his presence and returns his attention to the paper. Olivia appears surprised by his attitude and she looks up at Fitz to find him still staring at Rowan.

When neither make a move to depart, Rowan loses patience and yells at them to LEAVE!!!!!!

Oh. Okay.

Elsewhere in DC, Abby is sitting up in bed with Leo and her mind is on all the things that had transpired thanks to her brief falling in with the mystery people. She’s still struggling with it all, and she can’t share any of it with Leo. Her behavior has Leo wondering if he had done something wrong and she assures him that he didn’t, but he presses on because he believes that maybe he had. Abby tells him that her running the country and keeping it afloat means that her “boyfriend’s shortcomings” are the very least of the things that are occupying her head. (Facts upon facts.)

Despite that being said, Leo offers his apology anyway. This sets Abby off and she yells that everything isn’t about him before she exits the bedroom and leaves Leo to his coffee and morning television.

On the screen is Luna Vargas, wife to slain President-elect Francisco Vargas, and she is commenting about the election of Mellie Grant by the electoral college. She expresses what she believes that country is feeling after having lived through what has happened during the election. She states that it is her husband who the people voted into office, and yet these people have an incoming president that they did not choose. (Not so subtle shade at real life POTUS and the country’s election process.)

Luna goes on to say that people are scared and that when they feel marginalized and unimportant, they resort to taking their power back by any means necessary. She then calls on the White House to unite the country and ensure that the citizenry are not forgotten.

If you’re wondering why this seemingly random scene of Luna was inserted, it makes sense later on.

Over at OPA, Huck is well enough to return back to work, and the first person he bumps into is Charlie. Huck greets him warmly enough, but Charlie gives him a frosty response. Huck finds his reaction curious, but he forges along anyway and asks him if Quinn is coming into work that day. Charlie punts the question back at him, throwing Huck off. He says that he doesn’t know, hence the reason why he is asking.

Charlie forgoes subtlety at that point and says that given all the time that Huck and Quinn have been spending together (with Quinn fluffing his pillows), they ought to know each other’s business and whereabouts. Huck tries to defend himself against the implied accusation, but Charlie tells him to save it and walks away.

In another part of the city, Jake has brought David out to the woods somewhere to pay his respects to Elizabeth, who he has buried right under David’s feet. Being told this causes David to jump back a bit and then marvel over his inability to tell that the dirt in that area had been disturbed. He starts to ask Jake of just how many other bodies he has buried in that spot, but Jake cuts him off to bring him back to the reason why the were there.  

The ceremony (if you will) is a bit humorous and quite fitting for Elizabeth North. David starts off by saying that while he did spend a lot of time with Liz, he doesn’t think that he really knew her. He goes on to share that underneath her “vitriol and blind ambition”, he believed that Liz had a good heart. Jake stares at him blankly as David adds that Elizabeth had the capacity to be a good person...sometimes. (LOL!!!) Jake makes a noncommittal sound at that before stating that there is something to be said for Elizabeth not giving a damn about anything, and David replies that she cared only of her horses and her daughter.

After a moment where David wondered over how Elizabeth’s daughter was going to deal with the loss, Jake says to David that he knows who is responsible for Liz’s death, and as such, it is imperative that David keep Ponytail within sight. David assures him that he understands what he needs to do and can handle it.

Speaking of Ponytail…

Over at Mellie’s Senate office, Ponytail has provided Mellie with a new cell phone, laptop, tablet and assistant, and calls them a “congrats on the new gig” gift, but Mellie isn’t fooled by that. She guesses that her new “gifts” are likely loaded with tracking devices and tiny explosives in the event that she should attempt to escape. Ponytail confirms this while excluding the new assistant, who she says is “partial to knives.” Grrrrreat.

Mellie sneers at this right before she hands over a sheet over paper that contains her list of potential Cabinet appointees. She starts to explain to Ponytail who she would like in a particular positions when Ponytail mockingly laughs at her attempt at being boss. Taken aback, Mellie says that there has to be something that she is allowed to do, including picking her Cabinet. Ponytail tells her that she’ll be allowed to do something at some point, but that time wasn’t now. She then makes clear to Mellie that the Cabinet is “theirs” and that “my” no longer exists in “their” vocabulary.

Ha! If ever there was a favorite song for every character, Mellie’s would be “My, My, My” and it wouldn’t be because of its lyrics.

Anywho, Ponytail tells Mellie not to worry about the Cabinet right then because they have a much bigger vacancy that needs filling.

Flashing back over to OPA, Huck is standing outside of Olivia’s office when Olivia walks into the conference room. He tells her that she has a visitor and that he won’t allow her to be alone in the room with said person. Curious as to who this person is, Olivia looks through her office doors and finds Mr. Android (a.k.a. Theodore Peus) sitting on her sofa!

Without wasting but a moment, Olivia charges into her office with Huck following close behind. Her entry prompts Mr. Android to stand and introduce himself, but Olivia ignores his offered hand and tells him that she always knows who she is. She then tells him to get straight to the point of his visit.

Mr. Android proceeds to tell her that “they” no longer consider Jake to be an acceptable vice presidential option, and that he would like Olivia to secure his resignation. Olivia scoffs at this and remarks that Mr. Android knows that she won’t be doing any such thing. Peus proceeds then to pick up his bag from where it was sitting on the floor to retrieve something from its side pocket. As he pulls a folder out and hands it to Olivia, he shares that they have had Mellie’s Senate office bugged since the day of the primary.

Olivia flips open the folder to find pictures of Jake wrapping up Elizabeth’s dead body. Mr. Android remarks then that it would be tough for one to be vice president when he is caught committing a crime on candid camera. Olivia guesses that Mr. Android is threatening to release the pictures if Jake doesn’t resign, and the man doesn’t bother to respond because he knows that she already knows the answer.

Olivia hands back the folder and gives Mr. Android what is initially believed to be an acceptance of his directive, but then she tells him to go ahead and release the pictures!

From the look on Mr. Android’s face, that response was not what he was expecting. He utters a startled “excuse me” and Olivia repeats what she told him. Release the pictures.

Olivia then says to Peus that if he knew anything about her, he’d know that she’s pretty damn good at spinning things in her favor. She goes on to state that he releasing damning photos of Mellie’s vice president will not only take Mellie out, but would take Mellie out as well. Nobody wins.

Mr. Android stares at Olivia as if impressed by her gumption before he remarks that the list they have for Jake’s replacement is quite short. Olivia is sardonic when she replies that she’s sure that he is excited to share this list with her, and he tells her simply that Jake’s replacement is himself! (Say what?)

Olivia is good with the poker face as the man remarks on how honored he is to serve the country and states his certainty that Olivia will handle what has been requested of her. He makes to leave her then, but Olivia moves faster than he and makes it to the door before he does. Holding it open, she thanks him for finally showing his face to her and says that him having done so will make destroying him and all those close to him all the more sweeter.

Hot damn. This girl is good and crazy, and I like it! Head Gladiator in the house!! She may not know how she was going to take down Mr. Android, but she was determined to do it.

Later that evening, Olivia is at her apartment with Jake and they are respectively having wine and beer. She has shared the latest development with him, and when he tells her that he isn’t resigning, Olivia points out that him refusing to will ensure that he goes off to prison for a long time. Jake remarks that he was supposed to be the guy on the inside who would protect Mellie, but Olivia tells him that he would be able to better do that from the outside as head of the NSA. She goes on to add that if Jake doesn’t leave the ticket, the mystery people will kill him.

The last thing that Olivia needs on her hands is Jake’s death, especially when it is something that she could have prevented. Y’all are familiar with how hard she takes any harm coming to him or anyone that she cares a lot about. If only she had my attitude when it came to homeboy, but alas…

Jake’s reply to this is that he’d like to see the mystery people try to get at him, but Olivia is quick with the chastisement. She is clearly bothered by the possibility of Jake being hurt. Jake goes on to say that since Rowan is gone and safe, they can go after the cabal without worrying about the old man. Olivia states then that Rowan may be safe but that he isn’t gone.

Surprised by this information, Jake guesses that Rowan is being kept at the White House. He then laughs when he realizes that Fitz isn’t letting Rowan go. Olivia doesn’t appear to be in any kind of laughing mood over this, and she eventually interjects to tell Jake that their next move at the moment is him resigning as vice president. What happens next is just something that they’ll have to figure out.

Casting the Net

The following day, Quinn is exiting her vehicle to find Abby waiting in the parking garage. Abby has come to tell her what Olivia has instructed about them being “on” for today and them needing to be ready. (Why didn’t Olivia just call Quinn herself to relay this info?)

Quinn gives Abby something of a verbal shrug in response and continues past the other woman, but Abby follows along with her. Abby shares that she wasn’t able to go home last night because she was tired of being mean to Leo and of always seeing Huck whenever she looks at him.

This mention of Huck stops Quinn’s advance and she stares up at Abby with impatience. Seeing that the ice around Quinn still wasn’t thawing, Abby does a sad little shrug as she shares that she believes that Leo is starting to hate her. She clearly wants to pour her heart out about the trouble that she is having, but Quinn isn’t open to entertaining her at all. Quinn doesn’t bother acknowledging anything outside of the message that Olivia gave and then ends the conversation

Upstairs, Quinn enters Huck’s office to tell him that they need to be ready to go today, and that she will need his with handling Jake’s press conference. Huck, who is looking at what appears to be some piece to a motherboard, wonders when press became his responsibility, and Quinn replies since Olivia is out managing Mellie and Charlie is MIA.

Huck latches on to the latter innocently asks about it. Quinn waves it off as she explains that Charlie hadn’t returned home the night before, and that he was likely fine. She adds that it was probably a case of him forgetting to share his plans with her. Quinn is obviously concerned but she is working to play it cool, and when she seeks reassurance from Huck of the explanation that she came up with, he is quick to cosign it.

Next we see Jake standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and announcing his resignation as VP-elect. This causes a furor among the press and Marcus is fielding the questions at the White House as best as he can.

Over at the Attorney General’s office, Ponytail catches the announcement and tells David that she has to go because Mellie has got a big day ahead of her at the White House. David is able to play his way through her faux speculation about Elizabeth probably having left town for greener pastures, and when she finally departs his office, he immediately places a call to share that Ponytail is on her way to the White House.

Now at the White House, Ponytail is walking down the hall with Mellie as she instructs her on what it is that she has to do when announcing her replacement vice president.  The two soon reach the Oval Office and go right in. Fitz and Abby look to have been in wait for their arrival.

Ponytail starts off by saying how it is such an honor for her to meet Fitz and how thankful she is for him allowing Mellie to make such a historic announcement. Fitz wastes no time in letting her know that he aware of who she is and the things that she has done.

Caught a bit off guard by that, Ponytail quickly adjusts and says that since he is already in the know that they can discard with pretending that it is Fitz who is the one in charge. Abby chimes in at this point to tell Ponytail that the game will end badly for her, and Mellie pleads with Abby to hold her counsel. Ponytail tells Abby that the end is far from near before she turns to Fitz to inform him that Mellie is anxious to share her new VP choice with the world. She then turns back to Abby to ask if Abby intends to give the press a head’s up of the announcement or if she herself will have to handle the job.

Right then, the Secret Service suddenly come swarming into the Oval. There is controlled chaos as the women are instructed to remove their heels and get to moving. With a swiftness, everyone is escorted out of the Oval.

Fitz wants to know what is going on, and he is told that a drone has entered White House airspace and looks to be armed. As Fitz and Mellie get taken down one hallway, Ponytail protests and states to the agents around her that she is to stay with the President-elect. The agents pay her no mind as they escort both her and Abby down to the bunker.

Once there, Ponytail pulls out her cell phone to find that she has no signal. An agent informs her that all cell phone signals are blocked within the airspace radius, and Abby adds that it is to block anyone from remotely triggering a bomb. Ponytail demands to be with Mellie, and the agent patiently explains to her that she has neither the authority nor the clearance to make any such a request. Abby pipes up then to say that she, too, lacks this clearance. Needless to say, but Ponytail isn’t at all happy.

Unholy Alliance

Elsewhere in the White House, Fitz and Mellie are seen entering the Residence with several guards accompanying them. Soon, an agent opens up the door to the living area to reveal the presence of Olivia, David, Jake, Cyrus and Marcus!

Mellie’s mouth is agape as a female agent informs Fitz that all are in place and that the building is secure. With that information in hand, Fitz asks the group how much time they have, and Jake tells him that they have at the most 75 minutes before the White House is taken off of lockdown. This pronouncement leads Mellie ask to be filled in on what is going on, and Olivia steps forward to tell her that the drone causing the ruckus on the South Lawn is actually theirs and that this is them making a play in order to take her back from Mr. Android and co.

When exactly was this little ploy thought up? How genius!

While the news media is reporting on the drone in White House airspace, Huck is back at OPA controlling piloting the craft. Quinn is still trying to reach Charlie and remains unsuccessful. Claiming a seat next to Huck, Quinn proceeds to ask if he had noticed anything particular about Charlie when he saw him the day before and if it seemed like Charlie may have been mad at her.

Wanting to stay out of the situation, Huck hesitates a bit before he responds in the negative. Quinn follows this up with more questions, but Huck has to shut her down so that he can concentrate on what he is doing. After a moment, Huck decides to tell her what’s going on. Quinn scoffs what he shares and proclaims Charlie’s suspicions to be ridiculous, though she doesn’t look as if she completely believes that herself.

Huck and Quinn have a brief moment of awkwardness before Huck announces that he is set to land the drone. Quinn checks her watch as Huck carefully and successfully brings the drone to the ground.

Back over at the White House, Fitz announces to the group that the drone has landed and that the bomb squad is moving into position. Jake, in turn, states that this gives them approximately a little over an hour to work with.

Suddenly, Mellie  inquires about the location of her children and Fitz assures her that they are safe with Secret Service. Despite this, she points out that they are on lockdown protocol and asks where her report is on her children’s status. She turns then to an agent standing by the door and orders him to get her a report on Karen and Teddy at five-minute intervals.

Olivia finally is able to begin the meeting and she tells the group what their goal is: freeing Mellie and keeping Mr. Android from becoming vice president. Fitz turns to David then to ask him what their legal options are, and David says that what they have is the 25th Amendment, which allows Mellie to nominate whoever she wishes and Congress to confirm. Mellie points out that Congress is a hurdle that Peus could easily overcome by paying them off in the same manner that he paid off the electors.

David then offers that Mellie could pick someone else entirely, and Fitz says that they’ll need a candidate. Cyrus pipes up then to say that he has one in mind, and everyone turns in his direction. Mellie gives him this look that says, “You can’t be serious.”  (LOL!!) Olivia is skeptical of a “unity ticket” and Cyrus replies that it isn’t the craziest of idea. Mellie’s face suggests that she believes otherwise.

Just then, the door to the room opens and in comes Rowan. Cyrus demands to know why Rowan has joined them, and Fitz explains that Olivia asked to have him included in the conversation. Cyrus asks why for and Rowan announces to the room that it was he who shot Frankie Vargas.

Cyrus is stunned by this information as is Marcus. Rowan assumes that he was brought up because the group wants him to kill someone else. At that, Mellie drops her head in her hands and laments that they aren’t any better than the people they are fighting, but Fitz states that murder is not why Rowan is with them. Rowan remarks then that if murder isn’t the reason why he was brought to the meeting, then he’ll just head back down to the bunker.

Fitz says that Rowan isn’t going anywhere just as Olivia speaks up to tell her father that they need his help with figuring a way out of this mess that they are in. While she speaks, Rowan has his eyes trained on Fitzgerald. He takes several steps closer to Fitz so that he is standing directly in front of him, and then he demands that Fitz say what it is that he needs from him.

The tension in the room has now gone from 50 to 1000 as everyone turns to look at Fitz. Olivia sighs a plea to Rowan, but it isn’t from her that he wishes to receive this request for help. He wants to hear it from Fitz. Realizing that there wasn’t a way around it, Fitz humbles himself to say to Rowan that they need his help. This statement isn’t enough for Rowan, who instructs Fitz to continue on.

Fitz’s expression tightens as his eyes shift over to Olivia who is standing some distance behind Rowan and slightly to the side. Unable to hold eye contact, she nods at him to give Rowan what it is that he wants. Fitz goes on to say that tactically and strategically, Rowan would be able to give them a fresh perspective on how to deal with the enemy. He then asks Rowan if he would help them by sharing his expertise.

Rowan straightens up at this and leaves them all in suspense as he appears to give the request some thought, and then he compounds Fitz’s humiliation by dismissively telling him no.

Fitz stands from his seat then and says to Olivia that he told her that bringing in her father would be a bad idea. Rowan turns to Olivia then to reiterate that he has no intention of being part of a suicide mission. (Why did she even bring him up there when he had already stated what he thought before??)

Moving quickly beyond the moment, Olivia shares with the group that her father is of the opinion that they have already lost the fight, but she makes clear to them that she doesn’t share in this belief. She then asks where they had left off and Jake tells her that they’ve got 60 minutes while David states that they were at Mellie picking an alternate vice president.

Mellie states that she doesn’t believe that their plan will work and nominating anyone other than Mr. Android is guaranteed to get the mystery people to killing someone else. Olivia tries to calm her down, but Mellie goes on to say that they brought this situation upon themselves the moment they said yes to Defiance.

When Marcus innocently asks what Defiance is, everyone else in the room suddenly look like deer caught in headlights.

Rowan interjects then to say to the guards by the door that he’s feeling parched and wonders if this “lockup” allows for its detainees to drink. Mellie meanwhile is still going on about Defiance and saying that they never should have done it, and at some point, Cyrus tells Mellie to shut up.

Ut oh.

Mellie turns to Cyrus then to tell him not to tell her to shut up and exclaims that her life is on the line. Jake tries to interject, but Cyrus leans in to say to Mellie that if she had listened to Olivia and conceded the presidency, none of this would be happening.

Where’s the lie though?

Mellie and Cyrus then get into a full on argument, and Rowan chuckles at the display. Olivia looks exasperated and Rowan turns to her to ask if this is what she considers to be “winning.” Fitz speaks up then to kill the bickering just as Rowan proclaims the group and their plan to be wholesale worthless.

Fitz, who has been standing quietly off to the side of the room since Rowan made a public show of rejecting him, finally moves to rejoin the rest of them as he informs Rowan of his initial intention of having him arrested and thrown into Supermax. He says that the only reason why he hadn’t done so was because Olivia begged him to spare Rowan. Fitz goes on to say that the only reason why Rowan is still standing and why he is even among them now is because of her, and that the very least Rowan can do is to show his daughter some “damn respect.”

Chiiiiiiiiile….hide your damn wife and your kids because it’s about to be flames up in this mickey flick.

Olivia calls out to Fitz in a chiding tone, but it was too late. The words were already out of his mouth and now it was Rowan’s turn to fire back. Rowan turns what Fitz says about Rowan showing Olivia respect back on him and asks if he should show Fitz any respect for having traded his chance at arresting his son’s killer for a “cheap roll in the hay.”

Are you shitting me? This man is seriously subjecting his daughter to a public slut-shaming??

As Rowan goes on to state that Fitz spared his life as a way to buy his way back into Olivia’s bed, Jake glances in Olivia’s direction. Fitzgerald, however, has his eyes trained directly on Rowan and he is visibly pissed. When Rowan goes on to equate himself with a wrinkled dollar bill that Fitz “can throw at the foot of a stripper” (that being Olivia), Fitz comes from where he is standing behind the sofa  just as elder man states that Fitz learned such tactics from Big Jerry.

Jake stands up in time to hold Fitz back from attacking Rowan, and the Secret Service agents present step tentatively forward but are still at a distance. After a moment, Fitz proclaims himself to be fine, but Jake doesn’t appear convinced. When Jake wouldn’t let him go, Fitz yells that he is fine and then pushes off from Jake to put some distance between himself and the others.

Listen, y’all. I don’t even know how Olivia stood there as her father spoke of her in such a manner and especially in front of all of these people who in one way or another hold her in high esteem. His debasing of her has usually been confined to the two of them, but because he needed a weapon against Fitz, he subjects his child to public humiliation? Who does that??

I suspect that Rowan also did this because Olivia chose to do the unthinkable (in his mind) and go against him in pursuing what she believes to be the right course of action instead of listening to his advice to just let things be. In particular, he likely did this because she is on this path together with Fitzgerald.

So much for me thinking that there was a possibility that the loss of Sandra changed him. He’s the same bastard that he has always been. And to think that this is the person who Olivia was set to sacrifice her young life to protect. This same man who she somehow has convinced herself loves her so very much.

I don’t ever want to hear anybody real or imagined say that Rowan loves his daughter in his own way because his “own way” isn’t love at all. He doesn’t love his child. What he offers her is conditional favor that he dishes out only when said daughter does something that is to his liking. I haven’t any idea what it’ll take for this to happen, but it is far past time for Olivia to sever this relationship because this is all kind of no.

As Jake reclaims his seat, Olivia moves towards a nearby window. Everyone else in the room sits stunned by what had just transpired and appear afraid to make any sudden movements.

Instead of Rowan leaving them all be, he decides to compound what he has already said about the group being “worthless” by stepping up to Olivia to convey something about mercy. He relays that he has heard the word uttered by a number of unfortunate men “time and time again.” He says that the word is typically shrouded in anguish and marked by shame, but the moment the word is whispered, the suffering of the individual dissipates.

While Rowan is imparting these words to Olivia, he isn’t addressing her alone. He’s directing this to them all, but he focuses on Olivia and Fitzgerald specifically. The others are visibly uncomfortable as Rowan carries on, with Mellie appearing the most horrified. At some point, Olivia glances back at Fitz and makes brief eye contact before she once again faces forward to endure more of her father’s ramblings.

Rowan continues by saying that the men who eventually speak “mercy” have not only alleviated themselves of their anguish, but have also come to finally accept that they have lost their battle.

It apparently wasn’t enough that he humiliated his daughter by equating her with a stripper. Oh, no. Rowan must heap on that her, her group, and their mission a failed nonstarter by comparing them to the men who eventually pleaded “mercy” because they had finally accepted their fate of being losers. What a complete asshole.

Once he finally departs with his guards in search of a drink, Olivia tells the group that they are taking a five-minute break. As everyone heads out of the room, she releases a long sigh. Fitz comes over to see if she is okay, and he attempts to comfort her, she rebuffs him and leaves the room, too.

After that stunt that Rowan pulled, Olivia needed a moment to collect herself. Can you imagine how embarrassed she must have been feeling right then? No matter how well intentioned Fitz may have been, Olivia had to work through those emotions on her own.

It go’n be alright, Livvie. It go’n be alright.

Breaking Off Into Pairs

As the news media continues to report on the happenings outside of the White House, Rowan is pouring himself some water back in his room. He soon receives a knock at the door and in comes Cyrus. Rowan believes that Olivia sent Cyrus to fetch him, but Cyrus actually came there on his own. He says that he was wondering if Rowan could use something a little stronger than what he had on hand.

Getting permission from one of Rowan’s guards, Cyrus escorts Rowan down to a giant wine cellar that Fitz had installed in the basement as a gift to future presidents. He recalls that the space used to be a hair salon as he hands Rowan a glass and wonders at which one they should try out first.

Back in the room upstairs, David is conversing with Fitzgerald about women (this is a first), and he shares his belief that something must be wrong with him since he is attracted to women who are forces of nature--tornadoes. He states that their relationships shouldn’t always end in devastation...or domestic terrorism. (Ha!)

Seeing his distress, Fitz asks David if he is familiar with the type of women who wear headbands and pearls, and whose cardigans match their shoes. David asks if he is referring to the type that like to throw dinner parties, and Fitz confirms that he is. Fitz goes on to say that he used to think that his life would be better and easier if he could be attracted to a “headband kind of woman” who is supportive, quiet, and cheerful. He says that he has wondered why he couldn’t be attracted to them, but then he states that every time that he has come in contact with one that is perfectly content to stand in her husband’s shadow and do as she is told, all he wants to do is ask the woman what is wrong with her. (LOL! Fitzgerald isn’t exactly used to being around meek women.)

Fitz goes on to tell David that there isn’t anything wrong with him. The issue at hand is that David is attracted to women who don’t wear headbands, “powerful women, who raise the bar and make you jump to get there.”

Fitz continues by stating that he would have never made it in the White House if it weren’t for such women, and he points out that David would have been a history teacher if it weren’t for them. When David informs him that he had been a history teacher, Fitz says that he isn’t one now. Instead David is the Attorney General. (More facts upon facts.)

Having bolstered David’s morale at bit, Fitz concludes by stating that David just has to be sure that the woman loves him. With a smile that speaks to a particular someone in mind, Fitz says, “If she loves you...she can be any kind of tornado she wants.”

And y’all are gonna have to give me a moment.

What in the world transpired between Fitz and Olivia that night??

Back to the wine cellar, Cyrus remarks that he and Rowan have been reduced to drinking wine in the basement while the real decisions are being made upstairs. He states that they both used to be untouchable as he ran the Oval as Chief of Staff and Rowan existed above the Oval as Command. Now here they sat without those powers, one a former inmate and the other the prisoner of the President.

Having sufficiently brought the mood down, Cyrus suggests that they open another bottle and Rowan quickly concurs. As he hurries towards the wine, Rowan excitedly proclaims that they ought to try something lighter this time around and asks Cyrus if he has a preference, but Cyrus leaves the choice up to Rowan.

Cyrus appears to still be in a contemplative mood as he turns the bottle opener about in his hand. He conversation about power and says that the loss of it must be worse for Rowan who now has his influence dulled. Rowan points out that this is merely a case of “natural evolution” and goes on to say that the fiercest predators were always the ones most susceptible to change.

These similar words are similar to those that were uttered by Sandra during her lecture in 606. Later in that same episode, Rowan points out to Olivia that he is not the predator that she believes him to be, but is instead smart prey that is trying to help his species survive.

As Rowan continues to marvel at the collection of wines in the cellar, Cyrus finally makes his way down to join him. He states that what he has always liked about Rowan is that at their core, they had wanted the same things and that they are both patriots. Rowan laughs this off as he says that those upstairs succeeded in boxing them both in and handing them their asses. He then says that the best that they can do is tip their hats off to them.

Wait. Tip their hats off to them?

Oh, Cyrus…

Rowan back to the bottles and feigns interest in still searching for a particular one as Cyrus pulls open the spiral end of the bottle open and starts his approach upon Rowan. But as Rowan told Olivia all those episodes back, he is smart prey. He smashes the bottle that he had in his hand and quickly turns back to Cyrus with the sharp jagged edge directed right at Cyrus’s throat! He asks if Cyrus truly believed that he would be able to kill him, or if this is Cyrus’s way of trying to get himself killed. He then asks if Cyrus wants to die, and Cyrus’s response is that the country and himself need Frankie Vargas.

Sigh. The man isn’t suicidal. He’s just desperately grieving the loss of his friend.

And just as quickly as he had raised that bottle opener, Cyrus deflates and drops the opener to the floor. Rowan follows suit and backs down, setting the broken bottle aside before continuing up the small set of steps. Before Rowan can exit, Cyrus remarks that Vargas was better than them both, and Rowan acknowledges those words by offering Cyrus his condolence, as insincere as it may have been.

Elsewhere in the White House, Olivia has come to find Jake. (Oh, goodie....) She has come to get him to return to work, and Jake tells her that she should quit behaving as if their group is a unified team. When she asks him if he believes that they should instead give up, Jake in turn asks her of what it is that she is fighting for exactly. He wants to know if she is fighting for justice or for the Oval, and wonders if she even knows. He then questions if maybe she is fighting for “him.”

Here. We. Go.

Just so y’all know, I am currently clawing my eyes out with one hand and typing with the other while my ears bleed from the conversation that ensues. The second that Jake ventures into Fitz territory (as he is wont to do), that dopey ass Fauxlake music starts to play and I just want to stab myself a hundred times. Why are we doing this?

Jake asks Olivia when she started sleeping with Fitz again (AS IF IT IS ANY OF HIS GATDAMN BUSINESS) and Olivia is incredulous that he’d think that her quest to take down the mystery people was in any way tied to her wanting Fitz. Jake says that he doesn’t know what to believe and asks when isn’t anything tied to him.

Olivia turns away from Jake then as she states that she doesn’t have time to entertain him just then. She doesn’t make it far when he says that he may not know much and that he is pretty twisted himself, but that what he does know is that Olivia doing the same thing over and over again when she knows the end result is the true definition of insanity.

Not appreciating being called crazy, Olivia warns him to refrain from doing just that and says that she’ll refrain from calling him “pathetic and weak and jealous.”

Welp. I mean…

As usual, Olivia is immediately contrite and apologizes for hurting his fee-fees. And in his typical don’t know when to quit way of doing things, Jake goes on to tell Olivia that Fitz is not the answer.


Nevertheless, Jake does make a point that I agree with, and that is that the White House is not the place for her. (That’s as far as I’m willing to go, people.)

Having listened to his spiel, Olivia declares that she doesn’t need anyone to save her. Jake asks her if she is certain about that, and Olivia outlines that she saved "him" (likely Rowan) and has also saved Jake. She then tells him that she doesn’t have time to sit around and nurture his tender feelings because she now has to go out and save Mellie. She goes on to say that she wishes he would put aside whatever it is that is going on with him in that moment and help her. She then waits a moment to see if what she said has sunk in before she sashays out of the room.

And I am left HOLLERING!

Out of everything that transpired earlier with Rowan, the one thing that Jake took away from all of that was that Olivia’s vagina was once again open for business and that its sole customer happens to be the guy that he has always viewed as his competition. He doesn’t even ask her how she is faring following her public humiliation. Instead, he’s here whining about her and Fitz.

Y’all can go right on ahead and keep this lame ass for y’allselves because I want none of him.

In another part of the Residence, Marcus has tracked down Mellie, and he asks her how she is holding up (like any man who has real concern for the woman that he cares about would), and Mellie initially replies that she is doing great before she finally says that no matter what everyone else plots and schemes, the gun is still pointed at her head.

Marcus interjects to say that he won’t let the mystery people get to her, and Mellie gives him an indulgent smile and starts to say that she doesn’t think there is much that Marcus can do, but he again cuts her off to say that he won’t allow those people to get her. (Aww…)

Once he takes a seat next to her, Mellie turns to him to ask if she did the right thing in fighting for the Oval or if he believes that Cyrus was right about her being greedy. Marcus tells her that it depends on whether she is going to sit there and mope or if she intends to try to make the world a better place. (Ah, Marcus the idealist. Olivia used to be so much like you…)

Mellie argues that her hands are tied and that she can’t really do anything, and Marcus counters by reminding her that she is going to be president whether or not the mystery people wish to acknowledge that, and as such she has a lot of power. Mellie rebuts by saying that they’ll recognize it up until they decide to bash her head in with a 9-iron. (Yikes!)

Mellie goes on to wonder aloud why it is that she didn’t just let Cyrus have the Oval, and Marcus gives her a little pep talk about how she is Mellie Grant and doesn’t give up. He says that if Cyrus was the one who had won, he would have told Cyrus to go home because Cyrus is too egotistical and selfish to run the country. He then says that unlike Cyrus, Mellie is clear-headed and patient and exacting.

Okay, um, who exactly is this Mellie that Marcus is describing because I don’t recognize her. Clear-headed, patient and exacting? Mellie?? The same Mellie who just got herself in this current situation because she specifically wasn’t clear-headed or exacting?

I know that Marcus isn’t privy to a lot and that he wears love colored glasses when it comes to her, so I’m just going to let them have this. I actually like their relationship and hope that he will be a positive influence in Mellie’s life moving forward.

Coming Back Together

In another room in the Residence, Cyrus has come up from the basement and is now standing in front of a portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt. He stares at it for a long moment before he continues to the living area to join the others. (If any of you understood the significance of this and why Shonda chose to include it at the last moment, please share in the comments below.)

Down in the bunker, Ponytail is watching the news and wondering why they are still locked up when the drone has been cleared by bomb squad. Abby tells her that she’s sure that there is a reason for it, and when Ponytail orders her to find out, Abby patiently offers that the reason is likely above their clearance level.

Turning away from the television, Ponytail accuses Abby of lying to her, but Abby maintains that she knows as much as she does. Ponytail can’t believe that despite having the threat cleared that the Chief of Staff still wouldn’t have access to the President, and Abby tells her that she isn’t the ones who makes the rules and that whether Ponytail wishes to believe it or not, there are things that remain out of her control in the White House, even at her level of clearance.

Ponytail tells her then that things will most assuredly change when she’s the one running things. She proceeds to attempt to threaten Abby should it be that Abby is lying to her, and this sets Abby flying to her feet. She asks Ponytail who it is that she intends to threaten in her life, given that she and Leo have broken up and that she no longer has friends thanks to Ponytail.

Oh, man. Abby and Leo are no more? Say it ain’t so!

Back at the Residence, Olivia returns to the room to tell the group that the bomb squad has cleared the drone and that she doesn’t believe that they can keep up with their ruse for much longer. Marcus asks if Olivia has another drone in her pocket, but Jake launches out of his seat then to suggest that they confront Mr. Android head on. (This man is always looking for someone to kill, ain’t he?) David states that the mystery people will push back, and Jake points out that Fitz has control of the entire U.S. military, and that they should fight “blood with blood.”

As Jake is speaking, Fitz glances across the room at Olivia who shakes her head at Jake’s suggestion. She then tells Jake that the decision of what to do next isn’t theirs to make but Mellie’s. She explains that if they take on these people, it is Mellie who will suffer the consequences, and if Mellie isn’t up to that---

And just at that moment, Mellie walks into the room with some presidential music accompanying her entry, and she says to the group that if the enemy pushes at them, they will push back even harder. (And all I want to know is what this Hillary Clinton-esque voice is that Mellie is using in this moment.) Fitz asks Mellie what it is that she is suggesting be done, and she looks over at Marcus before she answers that she is naming her own VP.

Surprised by this, the room watches as Mellie heads over to Cyrus and offers him her hand. He stares at Mellie a moment and then declines the offer. Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Now virtually out of time, the group has to figure out who in the world could serve as Mellie’s VP since both Jake and Cyrus are out of the running. Olivia states that the person has to be someone pure and unimpeachable. (Well, that eliminates every damn body in the room.) She then says that the person must be unafraid to toss in with them and not back down from the fight.

Everyone looks to be thinking hard about who such a person could be, and then a moment later, we see everyone finally filing out from the room. Olivia is last to leave as she calls Quinn to tell her to stand down.

Quinn wishes Olivia good luck and then shares with Huck that they are officially off the clock. She asks him if he would like to go with her to get a bite to eat, and Huck tells her that his answer depends on whether she wants to hang with him or if she’d rather hang with Charlie. Taken back by the question, Quinn wonders why he is asking and Huck shows her on his screen that he was able to pinpoint Charlie’s present location.

Flashing over to where Charlie is in his car chowing down on a messy sandwich, Quinn surprises him by opening the passenger side door and sliding into the car. Before he can ask her what she is doing there, Quinn orders him to chew so that he doesn’t choke. She then proceeds to get a few things off of her chest. She reveals that Huck shared with her their conversation from the previous day, and she says that she understands where Charlie is coming from. She explains that she had a lot of feelings having almost lost Huck and that she had to work through them.

Charlie tries to interject then, but Quinn once again orders him back to chewing. She goes on to say that she doesn’t want to pretend as if Charlie has been worrying over nothing, and that she doesn’t blame him for feeling threatened because he did see love.

Charlie nods in acknowledgement of her words and he looks as if his heart has just shattered into a thousand pieces, but Quinn quickly tell him that the love she has for Huck isn’t like the love that she shares with him. She states that she doesn’t ever want to lose Huck, but the truth is that she could not see herself living without Charlie. (Aww….)

Back over at the White House, Abby and Ponytail are still in the bunker, and Ponytail is at her wit’s end at this point. She turns to ask Abby how it feels to be utterly useless that no one comes to collect her, but Abby directs her attention to the news that is breaking on TV.

Mellie is set to make a statement from the Briefing Room and this gets Ponytail out of her seat. Wondering out loud at what it is that Mellie is about to do, Abby pipes up about how it is that presidents are sometimes like children and tend to do whatever they want even when you want them to do something else entirely.

Taking to the podium, Mellie starts off with a remark about the lockdown to break the ice with the press and inject some levity to the room. She wastes no time in announcing that her choice for Vice President is none other than Luna Vargas!

Hold the hell up. What?!

Needless to say, Ponytail is seeing fireballs as the two women embrace on stage. At this point, Ponytail attempts to threaten one of the agents into opening the door, and just then the door does open. She remarks that it is about time that they are finally allowed out, but when she looks up, she is surprised to find Olivia coming into the room.

Ponytail greets her by stating how wonderful it is to finally make Olivia’s acquaintance, but Olivia isn’t here to make small talk. She informs Ponytail that she has taken Mellie back, that she is now Mellie’s Chief of Staff, and that Ponytail is now their prisoner.

Olivia then goes to stand by Abby as she asks what it is that they should do with Ponytail. She tosses out Guantanamo as an option, but Abby shoots that down as being too nice. She instead thinks something cold and damp beneath the Pentagon would be more appropriate.  Olivia then instructs the agent that Ponytail was yelling at earlier to handcuff her..

Ponytail makes to say that this move is the biggest mistake that Olivia has made, but Olivia is in her face in a flash and tells Ponytail that her mistake was in believing that she could take what belonged to Olivia. She warns her that should Ponytail think to make such a mistake again, she wants her to remember that, “You can’t take Olivia Pope. Olivia Pope takes you.”

Okay there, Command Jr. Do not come for Olivia Pope unless she sent for you!

Olivia then motions for Ponytail to be taken away. Once she is gone, Abby remarks that Mr. Android won’t be too happy about this move of theirs. Olivia confirms that Peus is going to be furious, and she asks Abby if she is ready for a fight. Abby tells her that it is the least she could do.

Only on Scandal would the presidential election not only somehow manage to exceed the crazy of the real life election, but it would also make history by installing a female president, vice president and chief of staff. Yep, only in Shondaland.

So what did you think of this episode? Is Olivia back to form? What do you think should be done with her father? Why is he adamant about running? Is he in on this with the mystery people? Was the surprise pick of Luna Vargas a smart move? Do you think Mellie is actually going to make it to the White House?

Be sure to leave your thoughts below in the comments section or share them with me on Twitter.

This concludes the recap/review of Scandal 612, and I thank you for taking the time to read through it all. See you all next week!