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Scandal - Adventures in Babysitting - Review: "Operation Olivia Pope"

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I hate to say this, but Olivia Pope is unsympathetic to me as a viewer right now.

Yes, this is how I’m starting off this recap/review because I figure that it’s best to get that fact out of the way from the onset. I wish I knew what crawled up her ass and died because maybe then I’d have a better understanding of what has manifested on our screens in spurts since at least mid-season 5 of this series. “Adventures in Babysitting” surely had me wanting to forego this Scandal recap altogether, but it wasn’t exactly episode 509, so here I am. Because I’m a glutton for punishment. And because I want to get back to empathizing with my fave again.

To briefly recap: Upon Fitz’s departure from Washington, Olivia learns that Luna Vargas is behind her husband’s assassination. This leads to Olivia convincing Luna to commit suicide, and Olivia secretly reinstating B613 shortly thereafter. She reveals the latter to her father, who she informs is now retired and who she warns to leave Fitz alone. Rowan risks her wrath and disobeys her, making his way to Vermont to lure Fitz back to D.C. The mission? Operation Olivia Pope. Fitz has some initial success with trying to pull her back towards the light, but that all gets washed down the drain the moment Olivia learns that Rowan is the reason why Fitz has returned.

And this is where we now are. That last bit may very well explain what we see from Olivia in this episode, but I’m going to leave that to your interpretation. If we were to look at this from a project management perspective, one can argue that Fitzgerald went in prematurely and didn’t have the full scope of what he was up against, so what he witnesses here gives him (and us) context as to why Rowan was in such a panic when he came to Vermont. My only thing is this: do I trust Rowan, and is everything as they appear with Olivia? Let’s go with face value for now.

The Pushback

This episode picks up from where the last one left off, and we see Olivia asking Rowan why it is that he insists on making things hard for himself. She says that she doesn’t enjoy punishing him, but to her it seems like her father is unable to appreciate the privileges that she has allowed him. When he attempts to interrupt her, she cuts him off and tells him that speaking to her is a privilege. His ability to do anything, including working on his dinosaur and even going to the bathroom alone is a privilege that she has allowed. She goes on to say that he will be denied these privileges until he is able to prove to her that he can appreciate nice things.

When Rowan once more attempts to speak, she again impatiently cuts him off and stresses that speaking to her is a privilege, and that right now, he has none. She asks him if he understands her and Rowan stares into the face of the monster that he created and carefully nods his head. Satisfied with his reply, Olivia tells him that he is going to deliver a message to Fitz on her behalf, and that the message is that Fitz is to go home.

Rowan is next seen carrying out Olivia’s edict and relaying the message. Upon Fitz questioning the meaning of the directive,, Rowan explains that he is to return to Vermont and do so without hesitating or bothering to pack a bag. Once Fitz gets to Vermont, he is to stay there. Fitz says that he’ll go talk to Olivia, but Rowan tells him that that’s a bad idea. He is earnest as he relays that “speaking to Olivia is a privilege”, adding that it is a privilege that Fitz will lose permanently if he doesn’t do as she says and go back to Vermont that night. Fitz is bewildered by this statement, but he offers no rebuttal.

Rowan apologizes for pulling Fitz into this mess, referring to him as “son” as he pleads with him to heed the warning and return to Vermont. (I’m never not going to get the creeps over Rowan switching from “boy” to “son” with Fitzgerald. I’m sincerely troubled.)

That evening, Mellie addresses the nation from the Oval Office regarding the situation in Bashran. She advocates for the use of the military to remove those who have taken over the Bashrani government and reinstate Rashad as its real leader. She tells the American people that this isn’t simply for peace in the Middle East, but for global peace.

Immediately after her announcement, we see Curtis Pryce going off about her decision on his show. He’s perplexed as to why she intends to have the United States wage war on behalf of a country that has been a long time adversary. Curtis asks who it is among Mellie’s advisors who believes that it is a good idea to send American soldiers in to fight trigger happy extremists. (Well, that would be just one advisor and you know who she is, Curtis.)

I’m glad somebody is asking the question because while Mellie’s rationale for war is laudable, it still doesn’t make sense.

The following morning, Mellie is in the Oval with Olivia, Cyrus, David, and President Rashad. The announcement of war has not been received well by the public, and Olivia reminds Mellie that they anticipated this and adds that the American people can be convinced that this war is in their best interest. (There’s always the weapons of mass destruction excuse.)

David says then that those who will need convincing are members of Congress. Rashad asks why that it, and David explains that constitutionally, only Congress has the power to declare war regardless of what the public or the President wants. Without full congressional approval, war will not happen. (We can always rely on Rosen to show up for five seconds to regale us with an obligatory Civics 101 lesson.) Cyrus speaks up then to say that convincing Congress shouldn’t be too difficult once he convinces them that war is “good for business” and that polls are harder to read when they are buried under piles of cash.

Having listened to this exchange, Rashad says to Mellie that it may be best that he return to Bashran and face his enemies head on. Mellie replies that execution would surely be waiting for him upon his return, and she pleads for him to give them more time to figure something out. She asks him to stay. After a moment, Rashad recalls his niece Yasmeen and says that she will need protection. Whoever is coming after him will also be coming after her. She will harbored some place where his enemies wouldn’t think to look.

Cue QPA. Quinn and Charlie are ushering Yasmeen into one of the offices, and Yasmeen is told that they will need to seize all of her communication devices. Yasmeen agrees to this but she would like to make some phone calls and send some emails first. She says that because she was pulled out in the middle of class, she didn’t get a chance to let anyone know where she was going. Quinn remarks that her whereabouts being unknown is a good thing, and that they taking her devices are for her benefit.

Yasmeen asks if she will get her things back when she returns to Dartmouth, but Quinn informs her that school will no longer be happening for her. She explains that because there was an assassination attempt on Yasmeen’s uncle at the White House, it is likely that those people are going to make an attempt on her life as well, so school is no longer a go for her. Yasmeen figures out that this means that she is going to have to go back to Bashran, and Quinn promises her that everything will be okay, that she is there to help keep her safe. Yasmeen is less than enthused about her latest predicament.

Back over to the White House, Olivia is in her lair with Jake and they are trying to figure out what to do about Bashran. Jake informs her that he has an afternoon meeting with members of the Armed Services Committee to go over the latest intelligence, and he states that these members may be able to be persuaded to support the war if they can be reassured that American casualties will be minimal.

Olivia is looking over various bits of Bashrani information when she says to Jake that there may be an easier way to deal with the matter. She notes that the coup was initiated by members of two Bashrani political parties, both of whom presently share power. If the leader of one party is killed and the other party is blamed for it, it could cause serious infighting. Jake then fills in that the coup would then implode, and Rashad would be able to “swoop in like a hero” and restore order. This option would result in there being not one American casualty.

Impressed by the plan, Jake reminds Olivia of what he had said to her about how being Command would get easier, and Olivia smiles with pleasure from that compliment.

And I want to barf.

Armed with a solution, Olivia is seen making her way down the hall on her way to the Oval. She heads for its door right as it opens and Fitzgerald steps out. Olivia asks him what he is doing, and he replies that he’s doing what is necessary. She then asks him if he hadn’t gotten her message, and he says that he had, but that he isn’t going anywhere. (Welp.)

As Olivia tells him that staying in D.C. isn’t an option, he says to her that he is sorry that “it had to come to this”. Olivia wants to know what he means by that when Mellie demands her immediate presence in the Oval. Noting her mood, Olivia turns back to Fitz to ask him what it is that he told Mellie, and he says that he told her everything. (Oy!)

Drastic times calls for drastic measures.

Mellie is stunned that Olivia had a hand in Luna’s death. Olivia states that Fitz shouldn’t have told her, that he effectively removed Mellie’s plausible deniability by doing so. Mellie instructs her to stop talking as she tries to wrap her head around the fact that her Chief of Staff murdered (technically pressured into suicide) the Vice President. She states that Luna was a mother and friend, and Olivia counters by sharing that Luna was behind her husband’s assassination and that she was going to come after Mellie next. Mellie argues that there are other ways that the matter could have been handled, and Olivia replies that she did what she had to do, and as such, it is now herself who carries the burden so that Mellie doesn’t have to.

Mellie is not buying this excuse. She points out that if this mess gets out, it is she herself who is going to go down for it. She adds that whatever is done in her name is the same as it being done by her. If Olivia conspires against the government, that means that she, too, is conspiring against the government. Mellie then asks her what happened to the “us” that she likes telling her about, and wants to know where she was when Olivia decided to kill Luna or when she diverted funds from the Pentagon over to resurrect B613. Olivia doesn’t have an immediate response, but when she does speak, she says that she was protecting Mellie.

Girl, if you don’t get the fu…

When she didn’t tell Fitz about Defiance, she was protecting him then, too. What is it that Olivia used to say? That dirty little secrets always come out? The woman never learns.

Mellie orders Olivia to shut down B613 and get her the war that she wants the old-fashioned, above-board way via Congressional approval. Olivia tries to argue that the way that Mellie is suggesting isn’t the smart way, but Mellie doesn’t want to hear it. She tells Olivia that she will not be so forgiving if she ever hears about B613 ever again. She then orders her to go get her her war.

Okay then. Mellie is barely 4 months in office and she’s about to wage war on a country because she wants to get a nuclear treaty signed? Really? War for the benefit of peace is the stupidest oxymoron that has ever existed in the history of humankind, one that America is notorious for embracing and further advocating. Even with the pretty reasoning given for wanting to engage in destruction, Mellie here isn’t proving to be any different than her male predecessors, is she? All the railing against the evil men and here she is behaving no different than they.


Fixing For War

Over at QPA, Charlie has been tasked with watching Yasmeen. Coming into the room to keep her company, the young woman is uninterested, instead wishing to know when she will get her phones back. When Charlie tells her that the phones have been incinerated, the girl breaks down into tears and Charlie is at a loss as to what to do.

Back over at the White House, Fenton Glackland lets himself into Cyrus’s office and an agitated Hannah is quick on his heels. She immediately explains to her boss that she tried to stop Fenton, but Cyrus assures her that he was expecting him. The other man is going to sit in on his meetings for the day.

Meetings commence between Cyrus and individual congressional members, and the first senator that he meets with is nervous about the prospect of war. Cyrus acknowledges the senator’s concerns, and he tells him that the President has full faith that this particular war will not be an endless one. (Yeah, tell that to those in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

Cyrus goes on to say that the success of this war could lead to the signing of a nuclear treaty that has eluded the United States for decades. He then adds that another silver lining to the war is the awarding of logistics contracts that will in turn lead to the creation of jobs. (Ah, yes. War for jobs! How noble!) This is a point that certainly interests the senator.

As Cyrus is working on the senator, he is momentarily distracted by Fenton who is in the corner playing with his phone. He appears not to be paying any attention, and his phone is making dinging sounds that prompt Cyrus to quit speaking. Fenton notes the silence and looks up to find himself the focus of their attention. He apologizes and puts down his phone. Once Cyrus is able to garner the support of the senator, Fenton resumes his tinkering.

Next, we see Rowan at his workspace and he is packing up what little Olivia’s minions didn’t clear out. He is contemplating a dinosaur sketch and then the room when Olivia in a fury comes stomping in. She yells that she gave Rowan one job, and he replies that he did as she directed and relayed her message to Fitzgerald. Olivia tells him that he clearly failed at his mission because Fitz went to the White House and told Mellie everything.

Rowan pauses at this unexpected turn of events and then chuckles to himself over Fitz’s audacity. His reaction can be summed up as:

Taken aback by this, Olivia points out that Mellie now knows about Luna and about B613. She demands that her father speak when he doesn’t offer her a reply to this, and when he does comply, he tells her that he doesn’t know what it is that she expects from him given that he has already done as she has asked. He wonders if she expects him to keep passing notes between her and Fitz as if they are 9-year-olds at a schoolyard. (Welp.)

Incensed now, Olivia bellows that she has already told Rowan what it is that she wants, and he counters by pointing out again that he has already done as she has demanded. He goes on to say that despite having done this, he still has received nothing in return. When Olivia asks him if he wants to be rewarded for going behind her back and conspiring with Fitz, Rowan blows his top and yells, “I WANT MY BOOOOOOOONES!!!”

The man’s eyes are flashing and all Olivia does for a beat is stare at him. When she finally speaks, she tells him that every single thing about him makes her sad. She then departs and tells him that he won’t be getting his bones back.

Rowan is at his wits end and I almost feel sorry for him. Almost. Olivia is here going off about the fact that her directive delivered by way of her father is being ignored by Fitz, and because Rowan is the one who lured him back to town in the first place, it is Rowan who will be punished for the ineffectiveness of her demand. Have a got that right? I swear...

Why exactly does she want him gone so badly? Hmm.

Later that evening at QPA, the gladiators are off to collect various items for Quinn and Charlie’s wedding when Abby emerges from one of the offices to inform the rest of them that Yasmeen has disappeared. Quinn asks who was responsible for watching her, and it turns out to be Charlie. He is chagrined as he explains that he had momentarily stepped away to write his vows.

Pulling out his phone, Charlie discovers that Yasmeen texted someone from it, and Huck says he can use it to figure out where the girl presently is. As Huck and Abby move into action, Quinn turns to Charlie who immediately offers an apology for allowing Yasmeen access to his phone. He explains that she was crying and he thought to give her some privacy, but Quinn is uninterested in his reasons. She tells him that he better hope that they are able to find her before anyone else does.

Elsewhere in D.C., Fitzgerald is seen enjoying a glass of scotch in an empty bar. There are at least three agents stationed about as Jake makes his way into the spot. He remarks that he has never seen the bar this dead before and Fitz says that it is what happens when a former president wishes to get a drink. A server comes over then with a drink for Jake, and upon Jake taking it, he and Fitz clink glasses together and settle back into their seats.

Without wasting any time, Fitz asks a series of questions that Jake won’t answer. He starts by asking if Olivia is treating him well, assuming that the two of them are working together on B613. He tells Jake that he can speak freely with him, but Jake diverts the conversation to Fitz instead, stating that things must be slow right now for him. Fitz responds that things are actually going well for him, that he’s doing great work via his institute.

Fitz is directs the conversation back to Jake and asks him how he is doing. When Jake says that he’s doing great, Fitz once more tries to get him to talk about Olivia and B613, but Jake doesn’t bite. He tells Fitz stop while he is ahead, and Fitz takes the hint. No talk about work.

Fitz then tries a different tact and asks Jake about Vanessa, but Jake is not interested in talking about his personal life either. Done with the beating around the bush, Jake tells Fitz that he is wasting his time in D.C. He speculates that Fitz called him there for drinks in some vain attempt to put him on notice in the same way that he did with Mellie. He describes Fitz’s goal as one that is about “[taking] away all of Liv’s toys”.

Fitz denies that this is why he is back, but Jake goes on, stating that whatever Fitz is intending to do with Olivia isn’t going to happen. Unlike Fitz, Jake says that he isn’t going to waste his time when it is clear that Olivia is a lost cause. He tells Fitz that he has no idea who Olivia is anymore, that he is here trying to go back in time and resurrect “some image that [he] can’t bear to let go of instead of letting [Olivia] become the person she’s always been destined to be”.  When Fitz asks him who that person is, Jake simply replies, “Command.”

See this ish right here? This is exactly when I don’t fugs with the fool. At all.

So Jake isn’t all about “standing in the sun” anymore, huh? Ever since Olivia walked up to Rowan’s doorstep after killing Andrew, has Jake ever again mentioned the sun? There was that moment of insanity when he thought that he and Olivia could share a boring life on some boring street and have unimpressive boring children, but that soon passed. The man only knows how to exist in derangement, and I cannot for the life of me understand why people like him so much.

Command is where Olivia is destined to be, he says. She’s a “lost cause”, he says. Well, you know what, not-even-your-actual-name Jake Ballard?

If ever there was an angel and a devil situation where each man is perched on Olivia’s shoulder, this would be it. Some part of Jake must be feeling a measure of triumph over Olivia diverting away from who she had been to delve deeper into this murky world of violence and mayhem. It takes her away from golden boy Fitz and guarantees that she will be closer to him in filth. If living an above-board life is anathema to who Jake is, then it’s all the better that Olivia joins him in the muck, right? Who is he then to stop her descent when it means that he’ll get to have her by his side? A real life Bonnie and Clyde.

Spare me.

The meeting wasn’t entirely a lost cause. If anything, Fitz was able to confirm that Jake is indeed serving as Olivia’s lieutenant. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher that, but Olivia is in deeper than he knew and Jake was not going to be an ally in helping pull her back.

Elsewhere in D.C., Olivia has finally gotten Curtis in her actual bed. (Thank y’all kindly for sparing us the visual.) Olivia is sitting up while Curtis is lying down, and she’s trying to convince him to have President Rashad on his show as a guest. Curtis relays that what Olivia is actually asking him to do is have Rashad on and go easy on him after years of Rashad being on the wrong side of human rights. He then says to Olivia that he doesn’t know what it is that she believes it is that they have going, but she doesn’t get to call him up and just expect him to do whatever it is that she wants. (Call her out, bruh!)

Not anticipating that response, Olivia pulls back and then climbs out of bed with an unamused chuckle. She slips on her robe and then manages to spin Curtis’s statement into him misunderstanding the nature of their relationship, accusing him of mistaking her for the “kind of woman who scribbles [his] name on a notepad with little hearts”. She goes on to say that she doesn’t know what she did to give him that impression, but that she apologizes for hurting his feelings.

Okay, first of all, what? Dude is saying that their arrangement isn’t one that includes her telling him how to do his job, and she’s flipping this into him having his feelings hurt, into him interpreting their relationship to be more than it is? Olivia is seeking to exploit his platform because she’s giving him nookie, and now she’s mad that he’s calling her out on it?

Olivia tells him that she isn’t telling him how to do his job, that she is instead giving him an opportunity to do the right thing and play a “tiny role in the greater good”. (She’s telling him how to do his job.) A master at mind games, Olivia says that she can’t make him do anything, and she asks him if he wants to build peace or if he wants to ding Rashad for his record just to spite her.

Of course, Curtis caves like a moron. As Mellie has said in the past, Olivia does have those magical thighs. Any man who has ventured within has never come out the same. I’m mad, but not mad at the same time. Curtis could have just said no, but magical thighs.

The following day, we see President Rashad on Curtis’s show. He is in the middle of explaining to Curtis what is truly at stake with this coup that has occurred in his country, and he says that the best way to deal with it is to have him restored to power. Olivia is watching the exchange from her office as Curtis comes back with some hard hitting questions about Rashad’s past record on human rights. He tells Rashad that he even considered not inviting him onto his show because he found himself to be in agreement with Rashad’s critics.

Curtis then reveals that he did some homework and found that Rashad has done a number of things positive things such as providing shelter to battered women and safe haven to persecuted refugees. Curtis asks why it is that Rashad doesn’t highlight these positives that he does, and the president explains that his country is full of discrimination that he has been working to eliminate. He then says that the rebels who have staged the coup are looking to pull Bashran backwards. He sees a bright future for Bashran, but in order for that to come to pass, they need the help of America to fight the “darkness”.

At some point during the interview, Olivia leaves her office to come see Mellie in the Residence. When Olivia steps into the room, Mellie is irritated and asks her what it is that she wants. Olivia replies that she wanted to make sure that Mellie is seeing the interview. When Mellie turns back towards the TV, Olivia goes on to say that Cyrus made a lot of headway with Congress yesterday and that she is confident that this interview is going to go a long way in convincing others to approve the war.

Olivia clearly knows that she is still in the doghouse, and here she is trying her best to get Mellie to reengage with her. Mellie, however, is uninterested. She tells Olivia that she wants to hear the rest of the interview, and Olivia is left with no choice but to leave.

A Snag in the Plan

Elsewhere in the White House, Cyrus is seen concluding a meeting with yet another senator. As she is leaving his office, she shares that her vote was swayed after watching Rashad’s interview. Fenton is still in the corner playing on his phone.

Once the senator is gone, Fenton gives Cyrus the thumbs up on successfully getting another senator on board. Cyrus shows his annoyance over Fenton not having paid any attention to what he’s been doing, he choosing instead to play video games on his phone. Fenton informs Cyrus that what he was actually doing was plugging in numbers into some algorithm that he used to determine if a new product is worth investing in, and that while Cyrus was speaking to those senators, he was working on Cyrus’s behalf to determine if this war is a good deal. The algorithm concludes that the war is a dud.

Fenton goes on to use Samsung (though unnamed) and its exploding phones as an example. The recall of those phones cost the company billions of dollars, and even though they released a new model that fixed the issue, no one wants to buy the new one because all they remember is the last bad product that was offered.

Fenton’s point is that selling the people a bad product will result in it being more difficult for him to get these same people to buy anything from him ever again. In other words, this war will harm this administration’s downstream agenda. (And I have an instant love for quirky Fenton Glackland.)

Over at QPA, Yasmeen has been found by Huck and Abby, but she isn’t alone. She was at a rest stop with her girlfriend Gillian. (Oh!) Quinn is miffed at Yasmeen for running off. The young woman replies that they weren’t even going to let her say goodbye, and Quinn explains that all Yasmeen has succeeded in doing is putting Gillian in danger as well.

Gillian pipes up then to say that no one knows where she is and that she is the only one in school who really knows who Yasmeen is. She states that Yasmeen’s secrets are her secrets. Huck says then that that if someone really wanted to make her spill those secrets, they’d find a way. Huck takes a step closer to Gillian and she instinctively takes a step back. (LOL!)

Yasmeen begs to be let go, saying that they can run off and take on assumed names. She states that she has been pretending to be an American college student for three years and she can do it again. Quinn shoots that idea down and tells her that the only thing that both girls are going to do is stay right where they are until she can figure out what to do next with them.

Quinn retreats to her office and Charlie comes in after her, asking if she heard anything that Yasmeen said. He states that Yasmeen was terrified and people tend to do stupid things when they are in that frame of mind. Quinn turns this statement against him and asks if he was afraid when he handed his phone over to Yasmeen. Charlie attempts to defend himself, but Quinn is upset that his action led to their current mess and she refuses to hear his defense. Charlie leaves her office without saying anything more.

Back over at the White House, Cyrus has come to see Olivia in her office. Upon his appearance, Olivia says that she hopes that he some good news to impart because such news has “been in drastically short supply”. Unfortunately, Cyrus comes bearing bad news. He tells her that they failed to garner the necessary votes for the war with the Senate split 50-50 on it. Olivia reminds him that in the case of a tie, it is the Vice President who casts the tie breaking vote, and Cyrus informs her that is vote will be a “no”.

Upon receiving this blow, Olivia gets up and wants to know what it is that Cyrus wants. He looks at her in confusion and says that what he and America doesn’t want is war. Olivia then proceeds to threaten him, stating that if he doesn’t give her what it is that she wants, she will consider it an act of war. (Ohhhhhhkay.)

Cyrus stares at her for a moment in bewilderment and then says, “Well, that certainly escalated quickly.” (Hahahahaha!!!)

When Olivia asks if he finds the situation amusing, Cyrus says that he doesn’t at all. He tells her that he’s certain that he can expect her B613 goons to show up at his house in the middle of the night. After all, “no vice president is safe from the wrath of Olivia Pope”. (Heh.) Cyrus goes on to ask her what happens then if she opts to hurt him. He says that what would result is her losing him for good. She won’t get his vote nor her war, and she will also lose a friend and an ally.

Cyrus continues by saying to her that “no one can govern by themselves”, and he tells her as her friend that this war is a bad idea. He reiterates that he doesn’t want the war and that the American people don’t want it either. He concludes by telling her that she, too, shouldn’t want it.

It’s a sad state of affairs when Olivia thinks that she can threaten everyone into submission. I believe I’ve said this before, but the White House is not OPA. She knew that this war was a stupid idea from the onset, but she allowed Mellie to convince her that it was for the greater good. Now she won’t let go of it because she has already committed to foolishness. Hmph!

Later that evening, there is a knock at Fitz’s hotel room door and he opens it to find Olivia on the other side. She orders him to move out of her way as she charges in. Armed with a yellow Prada purse, Olivia asks Fitz if his people have updated him yet on what’s happening in the White House. Fitz calmly orders her to sit down, but Olivia isn’t listening. She rails at him about her failure to get the war, which in turn means that they aren’t going to get their nuclear treaty, which then in turns means that the Middle East will continue developing nukes. This will put not only the lives of Americans at risk, but that of the entire world.

Soooo did she come there to vent? Because Fitzgerald certainly has nothing to do with their inability to get the votes needed for them to go to war. It’s much like how she went to Rowan earlier to bitch about the fact that Fitz failed to listen to her edict and instead went to Mellie with her secrets. Rowan couldn’t actually force Fitz to leave, so why had she gone there? Is it that she has no other outlet for her frustration? Now here she is again.

When Fitz repeats his order for her to have a seat, Olivia yells at him, asking when she has ever before listened to him. (Girl, boo. Don’t even get me to whipping out them receipts.)

Fitz sighs as he crosses his arms across his chest and waits for the real reason why she has come. Olivia finally gets around to it, and asks him if he is happy now that he has run to the “principal” and “tattled” on her. Fitz replies that yes, it did feel good. Matter of fact, he is delighted. Ecstatic! (Okay, enough with the adjectives. I think she gets the point.)

Fitz tells her that he is glad that he told Mellie the truth, and then says that somewhere along the line, Olivia misplaced her white hat and what he has just done is given it back to her. In response, Olivia proceeds to mock him. She remarks that from his perspective, she has “suddenly turned into some power-hungry boss bitch who thinks she can play and use the President like a pawn”. She then gives him a newsflash and says that she’s been doing that for years with him ever since she put him in that office. When Fitz interrupts to ask her to listen to herself, she continues by saying that she stole B613 right from under him, it being easier than she thought it would be. She then adds that on further contemplation, Fitz makes everything so easy.  (Yeah, something is definitely off with homegirl.)

Taunting him further, Olivia asks him if he honestly believed that he could make some kind of difference with her by buddying up to her father and worming his way back into her life. In her continued jeering tone, she says, “I’m sorry, Fitz” and tells him that he won’t be able to change anything with her.

And it is at this point that I seriously want to kick this bitch in the teeth. Toss her to the wolves. Have her make merry a B613 hole. Give her the ole heave-ho off the plank. Commission to have her kidnapped again. I don’t like her at all right now and I’m sad. Can y’all send my Livvie back because this woman is just a hell to the no.

She went from going showing a bit of her old in the last episode to turning into whatever the hell this is just because she found out that Fitz’s return is due to Rowan reaching out to him. Now she’s launching nasty things at Fitz because her will alone won’t move him to do as she wants. Again, why does she want him to be gone so badly? Is there something more to this than simply wanting him out of the way?

Now before the five of you even bother thinking it, this isn’t at all the same as the stunt she pulled with Jake in 518. The majority of what she said then was and continues to be backed up by piles of receipts. If I’m bored enough, I’ll actually compile them for you, but I don’t like wasting energy on irrelevance. In this case, however, most of what she says to Fitz is trash because it isn’t at all backed up by facts. You’d have to rewrite history in order to have the things that she says make sense, so I’m just cancelling her out.

Nobody believes you, homie.

Thankfully Fitzgerald is made of sterner stuff because he is unfazed by her tantrum. As Olivia makes to leave, Fitz tells her that she can say all the horrible things that she wants to him, but that he isn’t going anywhere. Frustrated, Olivia asks him what it will take for him to leave, and Fitz says that he will leave as soon as he sees someone that he recognizes and when she does, too. He then tells her that she should do them both a favor and let him know when that Olivia Pope returns. Oop!

Oh, man. Olivia’s day keeps getting worse. She just launched all the grenades in her arsenal at Fitz and his response was to dismiss her like an inconsequential child. He wasn’t budging. What he was going to do and did was sit his butt down and turn on the television as if the crazy person in the room with him didn’t have the ability to send killers in his direction. And Olivia is HOT! LOLOL!!

A news break shares that Mellie does not have the votes necessary to go to war in Bashran.

At the Residence, Mellie is trying to convince Rashad not to return to his country, pointing out that he does not have the support nor the protection of the United States. Rashad tells her that he understands her concerns, but that he cannot abandon his country. While it is true that there are people who are looking to murder him, he cannot simply stay hidden away and pretend like his people do not need him.

Mellie is wasting so many words on not saying what it is that she really wants to say to him, but Rashad is able to read between the lines. (Say what you mean, ladies!) He compliments her on her abilities as a leader, and then tells her that Bashran is not her fight. He recalls for her what he had said to her previously about his biggest fear being him failing his people, and he states that him not returning to those people would constitute a failure on his part.

Having said that, Rashad and Mellie give in to their impulses and get to kissing! (Hot mama!) Hands are all over the place, clothes are shifting, but it all comes to an end much too quickly. Mellie recalls herself and pulls away despite the fact that she clearly and quite desperately wants to ride the pony. (Damn shame.)

Readjusting Direction

Over at QPA, we see Olivia standing in her old office. She is staring out of the window and appears to be deep i contemplation. (Could Fitz’s words had resonated in any way?) She is brought back to the present by Quinn’s entry into the office. Quinn is happy to see her and thinks that Olivia is there to take Yasmeen off of her hands, but Liv tells her that things aren’t working out so well with the Bashran business and so Yasmeen will have to stay in Quinn’s care a bit longer.

Deflated, Quinn tries to bribe Olivia with Gettysburger if she takes Yasmeen with her right then. She says that things have been a mess for her there at the office as well, and she shares that Yasmeen took off on them. Upon Olivia’s exclamation, Quinn says that they were able to find Yasmeen...and her girlfriend. Quinn goes on to say that everyone in the office now hates her because she is sending the girlfriend back to school and “nipping your love in the bud”.

Taking a seat on the arm of the sofa, Olivia remarks that it is hard to be the boss, and Quinn concurs, stating that she blames herself for this mess. She says that she should have treated Yasmeen like a client and not have been so focused on her wedding. She states that she didn’t follow the cardinal rule of Olivia Pope 101 and that is to figure out what it is that the client wants. She says that she would have saved herself a lot of trouble if she asked that one question.

Something clicks for Olivia then and she gets up to leave. Quinn begs her to take some of the food off of her hands, and offers her some Union rings, but Olivia declines as she heads out. Quinn bids her farewell as she bites down on an onion ring. (LOL!! They’re going to kill me with Quinn and this food.)

Before moving on, I thought it interesting that Olivia found her way back to her old office following her confrontation with Fitz. Yasmeen needing to stay a bit longer at QPA wasn’t something that Olivia needed to relay in person, and prior to Quinn’s arrival, Olivia really was in some serious thought. What was on her mind? Hmm.

Back at the White House, Cyrus is with Fenton who is set to depart for the night. Cyrus invites him to stay for a drink, and after he pours something for them both, he dedicates the drinks to Fenton. He thanks him for saving American soldiers from an unnecessary war and for keeping him from being the one who sent them into it.

Fenton is appreciative for the toast and he tells Cyrus that when it comes down to it, he will always choose “data over tact”. Fenton concludes that because he is someone who says what he means and means what he says, he is likely unsuitable for the world of politics, but Cyrus tells him that he believes that Fenton would actually be a good fit. Fenton is touched by this and asks if Cyrus truly means that, and Cy replies that he does. The two men then kiss in front of the C├ęzanne.

Looks like Cyrus done gotten himself a new boo.

Over at the Residence, Olivia has arrived to find Mellie out on the Truman balcony. She asks Mellie what it is that she wants, explaining that this is something that she has never asked her and should have asked early on. Mellie states that Olivia went behind her back, and in acknowledgement of this, Olivia promises that it won’t happen again. (Uh huh.)

Taking a seat next to Mellie, Olivia says that in order for her to help come up with a solution for Mellie, she has to know what Mellie’s goal is. Mellie replies that Olivia already knows what it is that she wants, and Olivia tells her to remind her. Mellie finally admits several things: she wants Rashad, she wants him alive, and that she wants the treaty. She also wants America and the world to once again feel safe, and she wants the war.

Olivia proposes building an international coalition and starting a domestic campaign to gain the public’s favor for the war, but Mellie says that going about it that way will take too long. Rashad would be long dead. Mellie is uninterested is taking the long way to dealing with the matter.

After a moment, Mellie says to Olivia that something needs to be done now. The music changes over the scene as Olivia asks Mellie what it is that she is saying, and Mellie says that as President, she isn’t saying anything. She gives Olivia a knowing look and says nothing more for a time. She then says that she doesn’t need to know the details, but what she will need is some semblance of deniability. Catching her meaning, Olivia says that Mellie should consider the situation handled.

Both of these women are the biggest hypocrites that ever walked the face of the Earth (and I do realize that I’m being extremely hyperbolic right now). So since Mellie is desperate for an immediate solution to the Bashran situation, she is now okay with the existence of B613, huh? What happened to doing things above-board?

Forgive me for failing to believe that Mellie’s desire for war hinges heavily on her desire to foster peace because when it comes down to it, there is no guarantee that war will bring about any such thing. There is no guarantee that stability will return to Bashran upon the toppling of the coup either.

Who is to say that Rashad’s standing hasn’t already been compromised by his association with America? There are so many unknowns and also other ways that this matter could have been handled that would not require the United States unilaterally going to war on behalf of one man under the guise of protecting Americans.

Mellie’s declaration for war was therefore (in my probably unpopular opinion) a “below the belt” decision that Olivia foolishly went along with because nothing and no one was going to stop the two of them from checking off that they did something that all the men before them hadn’t been able to do, right? Give me a break. And now they are both cool again because Olivia is going to use the very B613 that Mellie was  mad about to get her what it is that she desires.

Talk about being an enabler.

Later in the Oval, Mellie summons Rashad to tell him that he will be sent back to his country via Turkey and that he will be going home as President. Rashad is stunned by this news and would like to know how it happened, but Mellie tells him that she can’t share any details with him. What she can tell him is that the coup will not stand.

Mellie goes on to say that the hardest part of all this is saying goodbye to him, and Rashad tells her that this isn’t goodbye, that he has every intention of returning. He says that he is committed to the treaty and to her. (Lawd…) Mellie says that she is committed as well, but when he attempts to kiss her again, Mellie holds him back and recalls him to their respective duties to their countries.

And the valley of between her thighs shall remain drier than the Sahara Desert. Might be able to strike a match off of her booty, it remains ever so parched. Damn.

Back at QPA, Quinn is breaking it to Yasmeen that she is due to return to Bashran with her uncle. Yasmeen is less than enthused to be returning home, and Quinn empathizes with how she must be feeling after having lived a life where she could make her own choices and now having to return to a place where those choices are taken away.

Asking her what it is that she wants, Quinn is able to get Yasmeen to say that she wishes to be herself and to be with Gillian. Quinn tells her that the only shot that she has at both of those things coming true is her returning to Bashran with her uncle. She points out that Rashad intends to change things in Bashran upon his return, and she tells her that going back home could lead to her helping change things for the better in her country.

Quinn explains that the alternative of her staying and running off together with Gillian will lead to someone finding her and causing her real harm. Yasmeen starts to sob then and Quinn sits down next to her, telling her that the choices seem unfair, but that they are the only choices that are available to her. It is either she stay behind and risk her life and Gillian’s or she returns home with her uncle and have a future. Sad over her options, Yasmeen nods in agreement to the latter choice. (Poor thing.)

The following morning, Olivia steps into the Oval and informs Mellie that President Rashad is on his way to the base and he will arrive in Turkey the next day. Olivia is set to continue on, but Mellie says that she doesn’t need to know about the rest. She then says to Olivia that they are back to it being just the two of them, but Olivia says that there is one more thing that she needs Melllie to do.

Next we see Fitz strolling down the White House hallway like a doofus and saying hello to everyone as if he wasn’t just there five seconds ago. Once he gets to the Oval, Olivia is coming out of it and she repeats to him what he had said to her earlier about being “sorry that it had to come to this”. When Fitz asks her what she means, she gives him the evil eye and continues right out of the room.

When Fitz steps into the Oval, he finds Mellie standing with her arms crossed and a not so friendly look on her face. Asking her what is going on, Mellie repeats verbatim what Rowan had said to Fitz in the beginning of the episode about him needing to return to Vermont. He isn’t to pack a bag or waste time. He is simply to go. When Fitz attempts to interrupt, Mellie holds up a hand and says to him that speaking to her is a privilege that he no longer has.

Mellie continues by saying that all further communications between them is to be submitted through Geraldine at the Office of Scheduling and Advance. It is Geraldine who will be responsible for coordinating visitation with the kids and passing along any messages that Fitz may have for her.

After Mellie spits all of this out, she looks at him as a hostage would when they are being forced to read a message off of of a notepad in front of a camera while a gun is levelled at their head. Fitz immediately notices her odd behavior and is dismayed by what he’s seeing. Mellie then whispers an apology to him before ordering him to leave. It is clear that Mellie, like Jake, will be of no help when it comes to pulling Olivia way from the flames.

Raise your hand if you think this directive from Olivia via Mellie is going to make Fitzgerald leave.

I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see, aren’t we?

Elsewhere at the base (I assume Joints Base Andrews), Rashad is seen boarding what looks like a private jet. He waves out to his niece who has just climbed out of a car with Quinn and Charlie.Yasmeen thanks them for all that have done for her, and she apologizes to Charlie for running away on him. Charlie wishes her good luck and offers her his hand, but she instead gives him a big hug. (Awww…)

Yasmeen thanks Quinn as well, and says that her girlfriend is proud of her making the decision to go back, sharing that Gillian wants her to become Bashran’s Gloria Steinem. When Quinn tells Yasmeen that her country will be lucky to have her, Yasmeen gets emotional and Quinn gives her a hug of her own. The young woman then proceeds to the plane.

Over at The Pryce of Power set, Olivia has shown up, and upon sighting her, Curtis asks Olivia what it is that Olivia wants. She says that she came there to thank him, and Curtis remarks that she didn’t exactly give him a choice in the matter. Olivia waves that off and asks him if she is really so scary, and Curtis replies that he isn’t scared of her, but that he just doesn’t like her.


Olivia laughs uncomfortably at this and Curtis goes on to say that he was attracted to her beauty and power, and that he honestly still is, but he realizes that he made a mistake. When Olivia asks him what that mistake is, Curtis relays that he thought that there was more to Olivia, other qualities, specifically human ones. He then says that he’ll see her around, and he walks away.


Did he just...dump her?

Back to the tarmac and Yasmeen is giving Quinn and Charlie one last wave before she disappears into the plane. Charlie apologizes to Quinn then for allowing Yasmeen to use his phone. Quinn waves that off and she offers him an apology of her own.

They turn to return to their car as the plane starts to pull away, and before the plane can get far, it blows up!!

Who, what, where…. Who blew up the plane?! Are President Rashad and Yasmeen dead?! (Can’t take anything at face value with this show, man.) Whoa. This is literally a hot mess.

Is Fitz going to return to Vermont or will he remain defiant and remain in DC? His mission, after all, is not complete and he has lot of work that he has committed to doing via his foundation. Is he about to abandon that because Olivia wants him out of her way? Why is it that she is adamant that he leave DC anyway? How is this assassination (real or fake) going to impact the White House and QPA?

Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or share them with me on Twitter.

This is the end of this recap/review of Scandal episode 705. Thank you for hanging with me, and I will see you all next week!

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