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Scandal - Something Borrowed - Review: "When Russian Roulette Goes Wrong"

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Can we talk about this midseason finale of Scandal or can we talk about this midseason finale of Scandal?! I was so ready to quit this show an episode or two ago, but now it’s looking like I’ll be for the long haul. You got me, writers. You got me.

“Something Borrowed” was a brilliant display of how one fateful decision can have catastrophic, unforeseen consequences that reverberate farther than one could have imagined. If I was a rating giver, I’d give this episode a solid 5. Sublime performances all around, particularly from Kerry Washington who portrays the oft tortured Olivia Pope. Y’all should have been tossed an Emmy in this woman’s direction, but whatever.

Where We Left Off: It was revealed that Olivia and her sidekick killed President Rashad (and his niece) in exchange for agreement on the nuclear treaty from the Bashran rebels. Quinn finds out that Olivia was behind the assassination and confronts her former boss about it. Olivia warns Quinn against doing anything rash with her information, stating that she should instead focus on her family and her marriage. Quinn goes MIA on the day of her wedding and Olivia freaks out as the gladiators try to figure out what happened. The investigation uncovers that others are aware of some of the truth, including Curtis Pryce. By episode’s end, Quinn isn’t found, but Olivia and her sidekick learn that Quinn had in fact been taken.

Something Old

Things kicks off with a flashback to Quinn arriving at QPA. There is someone skulking about with a flashlight in the area housing the controls to the elevator as Quinn appears in front of its cab and opens its door. She steps inside and directs the elevator up. The mystery person watches the ascent of the cab from a shaft several floors above, and when the cab gets up to a certain point, they switch off the pulley mechanism of the elevator, causing the cab to stop.

Confused by her lack of movement, Quinn tries to re-initiate movement by flipping the old-fashioned handle back and forth, but she has no luck. A moment later, the lights go out in the elevator and the mystery person jumps down from a panel in the cab’s ceiling. Quinn screams, but she is soon silenced by what I assume to be chloroform.

Any guess as to who this kidnapper is? I have only one.

Back to the present now and Charlie is in his office flipping through a binder containing autopsy photos of dead white pregnant women who have turned up in the area. Huck steps into the office then to ask him if he knows what a fidget spinner is and Charlie responds by asking if it's one of those little toys that is being sold at all the bodegas. Excited that he is familiar with the item, Huck steps fully into the room to share that he is designing one of his own, except his version will have razor blades at the ends. With the proper ball bearings, the contraption will just keep “spinning and cutting”. (Okay…)

Charlie approves of the idea, and Huck tells him that when they get Quinn back, they can test the invention out on whoever took her. Charlie isn’t so sure that they will find Quinn, but Huck assures him that they will. He has all of his computers scanning for information on her. Charlie wonders why he’s flipping through a book of unclaimed body parts if Huck believes Quinn is going to be back, and Huck tells him that they are merely covering their bases.

Charlie stands up then to say that he will be a little less “millennial” than Huck with the fidget spinner and go old-school. He will head to the junkyard and find the most jagged, rusted piece of metal there, and then have his way with whomever took Quinn. He says that he’ll then wait a few days for the “tetanus to set in” and then he’ll inflict more damage. Huck: “Yeah, that works, too.” (LOL!)

Me, on the other hand…

Abby somberly creeps up then to say that she’s got something. It’s another dead woman who fits Quinn’s description. Her body is in Germantown. Huck asks if Charlie wants them to come along with, but he rejects the offer as he snatches the details from Abby and heads out.

Over at the White House, Olivia is coaching Mellie through what she has to say on an interview and Mellie reminds her that she has already given three interviews that week, that the additional coaching is not necessary. She then adds that the signing of the treaty won’t be happening for another two days. When Olivia asks Mellie if she thinks 48 hours isn’t enough time for something to go wrong, Mellie appears to want to respond to that, but she stops herself. She instead asks Olivia about her missing friend. Olivia shakes her head no upon being asked if there has been any word on Quinn’s whereabouts. Mellie offers assistance should Olivia need it, and Liv assures her that “people” are handling things and that Mellie should focus on getting the nuclear treaty signed.

Flash to Olivia in her sunken place with Jake, and she is frustrated by the fact that they have zero leads. Jake says that they have gone through everything, including security footage within a five-mile radius of QPA and they have found nothing. He tells her that whoever took Quinn was good, and Olivia tells him that he needs to be better than those people. She wants him to go through everything once more, telling him that she wants the entire federal government turned into “one giant machine for finding Quinn”. She adds that she wants the “monster” who snatched Quinn to face Command and then she wants them decimated.

Okay then.

Jake listens to all of this and then gives her a “yes, ma’am” in response. When she turns away, he attempts to comfort her by placing a hand on her upper arm, but she steps away from him like he was a hot poker and orders him to just do as she has ordered and find Quinn. (Welp.)

Elsewhere in the White House, Mellie is giving her interview and it is being broadcast live. As the camera zooms away from the television, we see that Marcus is watching the broadcast in Fitz’s Institute office. While his attention is squarely on the interview, Fitz is preoccupied with whatever document is in front of him. Marcus is excited by Mellie’s performance and he asks if Fitz is paying attention, but Fitz clearly is not. His response is an unenthusiastic “uh-huh” as Marcus wonders about what this treaty does to Mellie’s approval numbers.

Not giving a damn about the interview or how it’ll boost approval numbers, Fitz puts the TV on mute and tells Marcus that the only numbers that they ought to be concerned about are the ones that apply to their work. When Marcus says nothing and just stares at him, Fitz queries as to the look and Marcus tells him that they could use Mellie. Fitz outright pans the idea, and Marcus argues that Mellie is going to earn a lot of political capital with the treaty and she is will need to spend it on something. He figures that Mellie may as well use it on their criminal justice reform initiative.

Fitz again tells Marcus that the idea is a nonstarter before he goes on to share the process he must follow these days in order to pick up his son from the White House. He has all of eight minutes to arrive, go up to the Residence, collect his child from some woman named of Geraldine, and then be promptly escorted right back out of the building. Having shared that, Fitz tells Marcus that they are both an island and so they are going to have to rely on themselves to push their agenda forward. (Sucks.)

Doesn’t this remind you of the obstacle Olivia and Marcus faced in her alternate universe (610)? In the AU, Olivia and Marcus were pushing a criminal justice reform bill, but they had no friends in the White House to whom they could turn to because in that reality, Governor Samuel Reston won the election. So, yeah. No friends. They had to find another way.

Later that evening (and in a scene that looks like it may be out of order), Olivia arrives at her apartment to find Charlie sitting outside of her door. Olivia asks him why he is there and he explains that there is another dead pregnant woman in Germantown, but he doesn’t think that he can look at another dead body. He apologizes for the unannounced drop in, but he says that he had nowhere else to go.

When Olivia states that she is sure that the body isn’t Quinn’s, Charlie stands up to ask her if she has ever played Russian roulette. He concludes that she hasn’t and he goes on to explain that the concept feels very much as he does right now. Every pregnant Jane Doe that isn’t Quinn is like another empty chamber of a gun, and he says that he’s running out of those chambers. One of these days, the body that he sees will actually be Quinn’s and then he’ll be dead.

Olivia tells him that he doesn’t know that this will be the case, and Charlie asks her to level with him because the “two Pollyannas back in the office” (Huck and Abby) will not. He wants her to admit to him that Quinn is likely dead. He figures that Quinn has to be, and he wants someone to say it out loud for him so that he can find some way to move on. Olivia looks as devastated as Charlie does, and before she can give him an answer, Charlie’s phone beeps. He looks at it and it’s an dad-to-be app that is reminding him of the baby’s due date. (Awww man…)

Not waiting for Olivia’s confirmation, Charlie makes to leave. Olivia forces him to look at her, and she tells him that they could get Quinn back tomorrow, that anything is possible. Charlie gives her a small indulgent smile and then says that Quinn was better than him, and Olivia counters by saying that Quinn is better than him. No use of the past tense allowed.

Charlie thanks her and then boards the elevator. When he is gone, Olivia turns to head back to her apartment door. She pulls out her keys to slide it into the lock, but her hand is shaking so badly that she can’t manage the task. She gets to hyperventilating as she holds her hand steady and tries to get herself together.

Lord have mercy.

The following day, Charlie has arrived at the morgue in Germantown. He is wearing a stony expression as he stares down at the covered corpse. A moment later, the medical examiner steps in and recites to Charlie the options he has available to him as alternate ways to see the body. He doesn’t have to view it this close, but Charlie is insistent. He coldly orders the woman to lift the sheet, and when she reluctantly obeys, he glances down at the body.

We next see him exit the room and Abby and Huck are there. When they call out for him, he keeps walking as he tells them that it’s not Quinn’s body but someone else’s. Abby expresses gratitude for that fact and says that maybe she’s still alive, and Charlie turns to her and Huck to ask if it is truly better or worse than this later victim turned out not to be Quinn. (Damn.)

Later, Abby arrives at the White House to see Cyrus. He thanks her for coming and says that he doesn’t mean to take her away from the search, but Abby tells him that his office is the first room that she had been in that day that didn’t smell of death. She takes in a deep breath then and asks Cyrus what exactly is the scent that he has going in his office, and Cyrus points out a Ponderosa Pine candle that Fenton gave him as something Cyrus could use to remember him by while he is away in Montana.

Cyrus gets to the reason why he called Abby over, and he tells her that Fenton should not be a problem moving forward. He says that he managed to talk Fenton down from filing charges against Charlie, and Abby thanks him for the effort. Cyrus goes on to say that Fenton has gone up to stay at his ranch for a while to recuperate from what Charlie did to him. He wonders how it is that they (as a collective) got things so wrong regarding Fenton’s involvement, and Abby explains that the intel that they received from the NSA told them that Brian Ladd used to work for Fenton. She admits that they probably jumped to a conclusion based off of that alone, but in that moment, it was all that they had to go on. Her admission that their intel came from the NSA has Cyrus asking if it came from Jake, and she nods that it did.

Next, Jake is seen walking down the hall of the White House when Cyrus emerges from his office right on time to catch him passing by. He starts with a bit of shade, remarking on how “rough” Jake is looking and asks if he’s been putting in late nights. (LOL!) Jake isn’t dim enough to miss the dig, but he replies that he isn’t putting in any more than usual. Cyrus takes his response to be yes to his question, and he goes on to say that with the Rashad bombing and the treaty signing and now their “missing friend Ms. Perkins”, that Jake must be overwhelmed with it all and that he can understand how some things are bound to slip through cracks.

Cyrus is smooth as he segues to Sergeant Brian Ladd who has been accused of having planted the bomb on the plane. He states that it is Jake’s intel that connected Ladd to Fenton, and without waiting for response from Jake, he says that this intel that was given is “funny” because his own digging revealed no such link between Ladd and Fenton. Cyrus goes on to state that he doesn’t have the fancy equipment that are available to Jake, but if what he found out is indeed true, then Charlie kidnapped and almost murdered an innocent man.

The best Jake could say in response to all of this is that there is a lot going on and that sometimes mistakes happen. (This was no “mistake”.) Cyrus absorbs this, and then he circles back to his original opener to tell Jake that he ought to find himself 15 minutes to take a power nap in his office, that it will to help keep him sharp.

As the two men part ways, Cyrus does not look at all convinced by what Jake told him. And I’m annoyed anew. Did Olivia know that this link to Fenton Glackland was bogus? Whether she did or not, the result would have still been the same. Cyrus is going to be a problem.

Olivia is pacing back and forth in her office when Jake walks in. She asks him if he has any news, but he’s got nothing. She resumes her pacing when Jake asks her how she is doing, and she says to him that the gladiators have now moved on to morgues and hospitals in their quest to find Quinn. Jake tells her that there is no reason to assume that Quinn would be dead, and Olivia asks him why that would be and he replies that the only two people who have a reason to kill her are standing in her office.

Hmm. The only two people with reason to kill her or kidnap her, right? We know that Olivia doesn’t have her, so that leaves….

Olivia points out that somebody took Quinn and Charlie is out there doing a “tour of dead pregnant white Jane Does”. Jake states that they will find Quinn, and when Olivia asks if she will be found alive, Jake has no response. Olivia tells him then that they are responsible, that they are the ones who did this. Jake counters by saying that it isn’t on them, that the fault lies with the monsters who took Quinn. Olivia replies that maybe those who abducted Quinn aren’t the monsters, that maybe it is they themselves who are. Jake tells her not to worry about any of that and then he states that his present worry is Curtis Pryce and what he knows, saying that the man is a real threat. What Jake leaves unsaid is that Curtis is a threat that needs to be neutralized.

Olivia looks to be weighing what Jake just said when her assistant Lucy loudly interrupts. She apologizes and relays that Rowan has been trying to reach Olivia. He says that the matter is urgent.

Something Borrowed

Some time later, Olivia is seen strutting into a restaurant where Rowan is already waiting. She is impatient as she asks him what it is that he wants, and Rowan is amused by her attitude as he points out the special that’s on the day’s menu. Olivia tells him that Quinn is missing and that she doesn’t have time for him. She again asks him what it is that he deems to be so urgent, and Rowan reveals then that he is the one who has Quinn Perkins!

Say what now?

Olivia is still, not quite sure that she heard him correctly, and Rowan repeats that he has Quinn. His words finally sinking in, Olivia asks him where she is and Rowan chuckles. Olivia claims a seat then and proceeds to tell him that there are people who are worried and out there looking for Quinn. She then orders him to tell her where Quinn is and to explain to her why he thought it was wise to do this, but she doesn’t get far before her father interrupts her to remind her that the reckoning that he warned her was coming (in 701) has finally arrived. He taunts her then, stating that he has in his possession the one person who can take her down.

Rowan continues by saying that he has in his hands Olivia’s downfall and the key to his freedom, adding that he wants his bones back. “I win. You lose,” he tells her. Olivia listens to him with rapt attention, but she appears unbothered. She asks him if he thinks this is some kind of a game, and he replies that what he’s proposing is an even trade: his freedom and his bones for Quinn. Olivia wants to know what the alternative is if she doesn’t comply, wondering if Rowan would kill Quinn. Rowan tells her that her seizing of his dinosaur bones was her declaring war against him, and that he has every intention of killing Quinn if he doesn’t get back what she stole from him. He points out that Quinn is Olivia’s friend and that she is Quinn’s child’s godmother. He says that he is giving Olivia a chance to save both of their lives.

Olivia watches him for a moment and then chuckles before she declares her father pathetic. She says that he won’t hurt a hair on Quinn’s head, that he actually won’t do anything until she tells him to do something. She continues by telling him that it is she who is in charge and that he will hear from her when she decides that he will hear from her. She goes on to say that he will do nothing to Quinn until he hears back from her. (Chile…)

As she gets up to leave after taking a sip of his wine, Rowan grabs her by the wrist and warns her that he is not bluffing. Olivia merely gives him a demented smile as he lets her go, and she tells him to never against waste her time.

Let the twisted Pope games commence!

I really wish they wouldn’t, but here we are.

And I really wish I didn’t notice how spliced together this episode is (even though the narrative is continuous and uninterrupted), but in the scene that follows, Olivia is back in her lair with Jake and they are both in the outfits that they wore in their first scene. I don’t know how they filmed this, but it drives me crazy when they do things like this. A regular, normal person probably wouldn’t have noticed the rearranged storyboard, but I’m not normal. Come on, I write a tome and call it a recap! Normal no es moi. (A little Inglés-Français-Español for you.)

Jake wants to know what it is that Olivia intends to do about Rowan, and she says that she won’t be doing anything. Jake says that he can put together a team and raid Rowan’s house, but Olivia is against that plan and she says that they are to wait Rowan out. Jake counters by saying that Rowan’s actions are ones of aggression, and he suggests that they respond in kind. (Of course, he does.) Olivia believes that Rowan’s actions are instead ones of desperation, detailing that Rowan is “weak, old, grasping for power”, and that he will eventually return Quinn to her. Jake wants to know what’ll happen if she is wrong and Rowan doesn’t comply, and Olivia merely smiles and says that he will.

Since Rowan says that he has Quinn, the question Olivia ought to be asking is how this “weak” and “old” man managed to kidnap a heavily pregnant woman from an elevator right under their noses. Rowan didn’t do that job himself. Somebody helped him, and that same somebody knew to alter QPA’s surveillance video to cover their tracks. Whoever could be spry enough to do such a thing? I wonder if it could be...

The following day, Mellie is at the Residence reading over some things when her assistant interrupts. Mellie thinks she has come to inform her that it was time for her security briefing, but Rachel tells that the briefing isn’t just yet. Instead, Marcus is requesting five minutes of her time. (Marcus was smart to bypass the Oval altogether. Haha!)

A little skip ahead and Marcus is in the room and remarking on the treaty that Mellie is about to sign. He looks totally proud of her. Mellie smiles and replies that someone gave her good advice in telling her to do the right thing, so she went with it. Marcus remarks that he is glad to hear that because he has something more for Mellie. He reaches over to the material that he brought along with him and hands some booklets over to Mellie. What he’d like to discuss with her is the abolishment of private prisons and doing away with mandatory sentencing  minimums. He wants to talk about ending mass incarceration. (Yes!)

Accepting the materials from him, Mellie looks down at the header and is aghast that he expects her to work with Fitz’s Institute. Marcus says that he does indeed expect that, and Mellie sighs as she verbalizes her realization that Fitz isn’t leaving town. Marcus confirms this fact and says that he isn’t leaving either.

Mellie says to Marcus then that she has a slew of advisors, and he acknowledges this before launching into his sales pitch for how she should use the political capital that she’s about to get with this treaty on addressing mass incarceration. Mellie interrupts to ask him why he is really there. She is doubtful (or maybe even hopeful) that his only reason for coming was to talk chop. Marcus levels with her and says that he is there because he knows that the only reason she would turn down the opportunity to do this amount of good is because Fitz is attached to the project. She could turn it down out of spite. He says that he is there because Fitz can’t be, and he calls the matter “sad”. He tells Mellie that she is better than this. (Erm…)

The moment he said the last part, Mellie’s entire demeanor changed. His words were not the response that she was expecting to get, no doubt hoping that his reason for dropping by was for more personal reasons. Mellie flips on Marcus, remarking that he had come there to not only hand her a folder/booklet, but to also condescend. Marcus is taken aback by her conclusion and he fumbles with his words as he tries to explain himself, but Mellie is done. She cuts off the conversation and hands the booklets back before dismissing him. As Marcus packs up his things and departs, Mellie wavers a moment as she stares down at the booklets that he didn’t take with him, and she reaches for one and starts to flip through it.

Over at QPA (and another one of those out of order scenes), David has brought over binders from the FBI of all missing Jane Does who have turned up in the morgue over the last week across the 50 States. Abby remarks that the information will save them a lot of calls, and then she notices that he sorted the pregnant ones out from the rest. David remarks that when it comes to missing people, sometimes the uterus is missing or all you have is a toe or an arm. Abby cuts off his recitation and says that she has spent the last three days with missing persons and that right at that moment, she really wanted to spend time with a present person. (Abby getting frisky.) David tosses at her that sometimes the missing person lacks a face, effectively killing the mood. He says that he has to get back to the FBI and see if anything turned up in the evidence vault.

Elsewhere in D.C., Rowan is seen exiting from his house and jogging his way over to a car that awaits by the curb. He hops in the passenger side and we see that his visitor is Jake. Rowan is completely comfortable as he asks Jake if Olivia sent him to check out his place. Jake sighs and tells Rowan that the game needs to end, causing the older man to laugh in agreement. Rowan says that unfortunately there is still time on the clock, so he suggests that Jake go right on ahead and make his empty threat.

Jake informs him that Olivia didn’t send him, that he came to warn Rowan that he won’t win this battle with Olivia. He states that Rowan has already lost, that he has forgotten who he is dealing with and what she is capable of. (What is Olivia, the boogeyman?) Rowan counters by saying that Olivia is his daughter, so he knows exactly what it is that she is capable of, and Jake interrupts to reiterate that Rowan no longer knows who she is, that she is going to ride this out to the bitter end. He states that if Rowan does not step out of the way, Rowan, Quinn and her baby will be crushed.

Why is it that Jake is the only one who is convinced that Olivia has changed so dramatically that no one (but him, of course) knows who she is now? Sure she’s wearing Rowan’s coat and clomping about in his oversized dress shoes, but is she really altogether changed? I know I wanted to melt her in a vat of molten lava just the other day, but I’m still having a hard time buying what Jake (and Olivia) have been trying to sell, especially when she’s out here having panic attacks over Quinn and flipping herself inside out to keep her makeshift family from finding out the dirt that she’s into now. Try harder, Pete.

Rowan has no intention of giving up the game and he states that Olivia can do her worst, adding that he will be ready for her. Jake scoffs at this and states that Rowan may not be as ready as he thinks he’ll be.

This is laughable. Jake is here issuing a warning to the man who served as Command for 30+ years about crossing his pipsqueak of a daughter? Now that he has leverage over her, he’s not letting it go. He’d rather kill Quinn and then be killed than to give Olivia what she wants. If this show has taught me anything, it is to never bet against Rowan. I don’t care how formidable Olivia thinks she is. As long as daddy is around, Olivia is never in control.

And Jake says as much to her when he tells her that he went to see Rowan. They are back in their lair and Olivia is pissed that he defied her order to not engage with her father. Jake tells Olivia that he went there to warn Rowan and to also disarm him. Olivia is not appeased as she asks if Jake really believes that his actions are going to make a difference in any of this. He replies that he thought it would buy them a little more time, that they had to do something.

So this man has a problem following orders, huh? Because this is incident number what now where she has given him a direct order and he ignores her? Olivia tells him to do nothing and he takes it upon himself to do something anyway. How many times under Rowan’s Command did Jake step out of pocket and fail to suffer consequences? He didn’t do it often, but when he did, Rowan made him pay. What’s Olivia about to do to him for going counter to her edict?

Olivia tells Jake that he was indeed doing something and that that something was to run out the clock, but now because Jake went to him, Rowan knows that they are panicked. Any advantage that they thought they had with him is now out the window.

Jake is now annoyed and he asks Olivia what exactly it is that she believes Rowan is going to do once the clock runs out. He wants to know if she really thinks that Rowan is simply going to hand Quinn over. He tells her to stop pretending as if Rowan isn’t capable of killing Quinn. He goes on to say that he knows that Olivia believes that her father isn’t the one in control, but he’s starting to think that maybe Rowan really is the one calling the shots here. (Y’all know how me agreeing with Jake breaks me out into hives, but…) He says that she needs to figure out what it is that she is doing and let him know what she decides.

Something New

Olivia in a really long red jacket is seen strutting down an equally long hallway. This is juxtaposed with Curtis Pryce sitting at his desk when his phone rings. There is no caller ID, but he answer the call anyway. It’s back to Olivia walking quickly down the hall and there is a man standing sentinel at the end of it. Elsewhere, Curtis is seen entering a hotel room where he calls out for someone and a woman can be heard saying that she is inside. As he steps further into the room, we see that the voice belongs to none other than Olivia’s assistant Lucy!!

Curtis states that he thought he recognized the voice over the phone. Lucy tells him that Olivia doesn’t know that she called him. Curtis takes a seat then and begins the conversation by recalling that Lucy told him over the phone that she has information regarding the assassination of President Rashad. Lucy says that she will tell him what she knows, but that Olivia cannot find out that it came from her.

Flashing back over to Olivia, the guard at the door speaks into his sleeve to announce Olivia’s arrival and he punches a code into the keypad by the door to grant her access. When she steps inside, she calls out for who is within and we see that she has come to visit Maya!!

What in the hell…

Maya hops up out of her seat in delight over Olivia’s unexpected appearance. As they walk to a different part of the large apartment to have a seat, Maya remarks that she thought that maybe Olivia had forgotten about her. Olivia explains that work has been busy, and when Maya asks if she means as Chief of Staff or as Command, Olivia replies that she means both. Maya then says that she had told Olivia that she could have it all. (You encouraged her on this foolishness, Maya?! Why am I not surprised?)

Olivia sits ramrod stiff and her face barely registers any emotion as she engages in conversation with her mother. She asks Maya how she is doing and if she likes the new apartment. Maya replies that she likes the apartment, but she feels like there was really no reason for her to move from where she had been before. She says that the other place she was in had been just fine. Olivia explains that once she found out that her father was scheming behind her back, she couldn’t risk him finding Maya. She recalls what happened the last time that Rowan found her (615).

Olivia goes on to say that one can’t know what Rowan would have done this time around if he knew where Maya was, and Maya speculates that he might lock her up in a place that only he has access to, a clear dig at the fact that Olivia is doing the exact same thing that Rowan had done to her for twenty years. Maya may be in a fancier dungeon, but she’s in a dungeon nonetheless. Maya softens the blow by saying that all is well. She does, after all, have food, cable and no complaints. (Ha!)

When Maya asks her daughter why she is there, Olivia takes in a breath and doesn’t immediately respond. Her expression, however, is a troubled one. Maya surmises that this has something to do with Rowan, and she asks what it is that he has done. Olivia tells her that her father took Quinn, and Maya’s reaction is one that I’d expect from my grandma when I try to explain what the Internet is. Maya’s like, who dat, and Olivia has to quickly explain who Quinn is. (LOL!)

Having received that detail that she undoubtedly didn’t care about, Maya wants to know what Olivia means when she says that Rowan took Quinn. Olivia states that Rowan kidnapped her and won’t let her go unless she grants him his freedom and gives him his dinosaur bones back. Maya is repeating the last bit of this outrageousness to herself before he bursts out into laughter. (You can’t can’t help but to laugh at this foolishness, for real.)

Olivia explains that Rowan has put a clock on his demands and that if he doesn’t receive them, he is going to kill Quinn. With the laugh out of her system, Maya asks Olivia what it is that she intends to do in order to rectify the situation. Olivia struggles to answer before she finally admits that she doesn’t know and says that she thought that maybe her mother could help her. Maya replies that her help is dependent on what it is that she’ll be getting out of it.

Olivia leans forward then and opts to try out her Darth Vaedra persona on Maya, telling her that she can either be her mother or she can be a bitch. (What kind of either or option is that?!) She then shrugs and asks Maya which she is going to be. Maya doesn’t offer an immediate reply and instead just watches her child. Seeing that no response is forthcoming, Olivia lets out a humorless laugh and then gets up to leave.

It is then that Maya utters, “Girl, if you don’t sit your dramatic ass down…” And she points to the space that Olivia just vacated.

Olivia does as told and Maya adjusts herself in her seat. She asks Olivia what it is that Quinn has on her, and when Olivia replies that Quinn has nothing, Maya warns her child not to lie to her. She goes on to say that if Quinn was simply her friend, she would have since traded for her. Instead, Olivia is playing this game with her father and leaving Quinn to sweat it out in the process. Maya wants to know why.

Olivia finally admits vaguely that Quinn knows some things and Maya surmises that these things that Quinn is willing to spill, and Olivia replies in the affirmative. Satisfied that she is now armed with the full context of Olivia’s dilemma, Maya settles back into her seat and concludes that Olivia is there to get her permission.

Olivia has this habit of going to her parents to get permission to do something that would personally benefit her, but which she knows is morally wrong. She has pulled this stunt twice before with her father when she was considering trading dirt on Edison Davis for dirt on Susan Ross (515), and again when she wanted to break up Mellie and Marcus (606). In the latter instance, Rowan said to her then that she was pretending as if she didn’t know what it was that she already wanted to do. The real issue was that she didn’t want to do it, and so she was there for him to give her the go-ahead (which he did).

In this present scene with Maya, Olivia gets called out again for why she has come forth with her dilemma. Maya tells her that she isn’t ready to admit that all of her problems go away if she just leaves Quinn to die, stating that Olivia still has some “tiny little sweetness” about her that she can still see.

Shaken by her mother’s words, Olivia proclaims the trip a mistake and gets up to depart. Maya replies that Olivia shouldn’t “hate the player… Hate the game”. (Lord… LOL!) Maya continues by saying that this is how she will beat her father, stay Command, and protect her empire. Olivia should let the clock run out and do absolutely nothing.

Um, okay. Soooo….what empire is it that we are talking about exactly?

The advice, from a crazy Pope standpoint, makes total sense. Leaving Quinn to die would render Rowan without leverage. Olivia would therefore maintain the upper hand. The only problem with Maya’s advice is what she noted about her daughter in the first place, and that is the “sweetness” that she says still exists within her. Despite that, will Olivia sacrifice Quinn in order to maintain her so-called “empire”?

“There is a reckoning coming for you, Olivia. You think you have it under control. You think you have all the power buttoned up inside you, behind your eyes, lighting you up. But one day you’ll glance in the mirror, and you will discover that some of that power is missing. The lights are going out. Then you’ll have some difficult decisions to make. Do I want that power back? Who am I willing to hurt to get it?” -- Rowan Pope, “Watch Me” (701)

“What if what suited you was my death?” -- Quinn Perkins, “Vampires and Bloodsuckers” (706)

We get flipped back over to Lucy who has picked up her phone and dialed. The person she is speaking to? Flipping Jake Ballard. She announces to him that “it’s done” and we then see Curtis Pryce passed out on the floor. Dude is dead to the bed. Rest in peace, dawg.

So Olivia’s assistant is B613?? Does Olivia know this?! WTF!

Early the following morning, Olivia is lying in bed wide awake in distress. She starts to breathe harshly as tears roll down the side of her face and she pats herself on the chest. She has painted herself in a corner from which she can’t figure a way out. Let her pregnant friend die and protect herself or give in and lose all that she worked hard to get? Dilemma.

(Y’all throw all the awards at Kerry Washington for this here moment, mayne. She had a thug ready to shed a tear. But I persevered.)

A little later that morning at the White House, Cyrus has come to the Oval to see Mellie, but Rachel informs him that she has stepped out for a moment. Cyrus says that he will wait, and then he turns to the report that is playing on the television regarding a missing Curtis Pryce. His car was found abandoned by the Potomac River, and within was an empty bottle of bourbon and cans of beer. The star journalist is presumed dead even though his body has yet to turn up.

As Cyrus is watching this, Jake creeps up behind him and remarks on how much of a shame it is that such a thing happened to Curtis. Jake remarks that Curtis was a dogged pursuer of the truth and his death is a “real loss to our nation”. Then he goes on to say that Curtis was essentially a “professional snitch” and when one is in such a profession, he is bound to create a lot of enemies. (Laying it on a little thick there…) Jake’s message is not at all missed by Cyrus who says nothing.

Later that evening (but not really because...just...never mind), David returns to QPA and Abby is flipping through one of the binders that he brought over earlier. Abby is in a snit over how he left before, using the dead bodies as a way to reject her, but David says that he wasn’t rejecting her. What he was rejecting was the terrifying world that she is mixed up in. In that world, Harrison was killed, Olivia was kidnapped, Huck nearly died and now Quinn is missing. David wonders how long it’ll be before it is Abby who is in danger. He tells her that he doesn’t want to end up in Charlie’s position. (Awww…)

Abby assures David that none of the body parts in the books are Quinn, stating that Quinn is a survivor. It is because of this, she says, that Charlie took a risk on her, and when Quinn is found alive, Charlie will get to marry her. Abby goes on to say that their world is indeed terrifying, but they have all taken risks. In her estimation, the risks have paid off. Then she gives him a sweet kiss. (Oh, Dabby.)

Back over to the White House, Fitz is seen arriving at the Residence and he is surprised to be met there by Mellie. He checks his watch and tells her that he still have six of his eight minutes left to pick up Teddy and leave. Mellie ignores his remark and instead dismisses the SSA who escorted him in. Fitz queries as to Geraldine’s whereabouts and then about Teddy, and Mellie tells him that Teddy will be down in a moment. She then says that in the meantime, she would like to speak with Fitz about something, and Fitz replies that he thought Mellie wasn’t allowed to talk to him about anything.

Mellie goes straight to the point and brings up the issue of criminal justice reform. Fitz isn’t sure where she is going with that, but she adds that it is a goal that they both share, and she invites him to a discussion about it.

I swear to gawd Shonda has the most progressive Republicans in the history of fiction existing in her universe. If only they bled over into reality…

Something Blue

Back to Olivia, Jake has just arrived at her apartment and her greeting of him is less than enthusiastic as she downs a glass of wine. She opens the door for him and then immediately heads back towards the sofa. She is really out of it. The apartment is dark save for the light coming from the dining room.

While stepping inside and closing the door, Jake asks her if she heard what happened to Curtis, that he’s missing and presumed dead. Olivia tells him that she doesn’t need to know the details and then remarks that there’s “tragedy all around” as she settles into her sofa.

How many innocent people have died or been hurt because of this bombing that Olivia and Jake orchestrated? The dominoes just keep falling. Oh, and yeah. My grasping at straws speculation that maybe the whole bombing was faked and Rashad and Yasmeen could possibly be alive somewhere? That got blown out of the water in this scene and I just want to fight somebody.


Olivia asks Jake if he’d like some wine, and when he says that he would, she tells him that he is answer is a good one. He takes off his coat and then proceeds into her dining area to retrieve a wine glass. He then joins her on the sofa and she pours him some wine. They sit for a moment before Olivia speaks again, this time confessing that she is tired, that the game that she is playing is exhausting. It just never ends. She goes on to say that she thinks that it is the energy it takes to hide that is depleting her.

Jake merely sighs before reminding her that the clock runs out in the morning. When Olivia replies that she knows this, Jake adds that she also knows that she needs to decide what it is that she is going to do. Olivia doesn’t respond right away as she lapses into thought. After a beat, she turns to him to say that she cannot let Quinn die. She tells him that she knows that doing so would solve a lot of her problems, but she cannot do it. Jake then reminds her that she allowed Rashad to die, and Olivia tells him that Rashad wasn’t Quinn.

Whew. Let’s just pause here because I’m mad all over again. This woman really killed these innocent people for a nuclear treaty with a band of rebels who are looking to further oppress their countrymen. I just…

Having received that response from Olivia, Jake tells her that she should go on and give Rowan his bones back, and Olivia is not for doing that either. Jake cannot understand why she won’t just give him what he wants, and she explains that today her father is asking for his bones, but then tomorrow will be something else. Olivia states that this is about power and how Rowan will begin to assert it over her because she was foolish enough to confirm his theory that he can control her by kidnapping her friend. She says that he can’t know that his ploy actually works. He may be asking for his bones today, but tomorrow it’ll be B613, Mellie, the White House. The entire empire that she has built. (WHAT IS THIS EMPIRE?!?!)

She has a point and I can’t even blame her for believing herself to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. The question I have for her is why it is that she wants to hold on to these things that have her living her life partially in the shadows. What is the power that she feels B613 and the White House gives her that is worthy of this stress? If Rowan isn’t coming for one friend, he’ll be coming for another. The only solution available to her to stop the immediate bleeding is to kill her father.

And this is exactly what Jake proposes, but Olivia isn’t trying to do that either. She tells Jake that he isn’t listening to what she is saying, and Jake directs her to listen to how she is sounding right then. On one hand, she is saying that she cannot let Quinn die, and on the other, she has it that her father cannot win. Frustrated, Jake rips off the bandaid and tells her that she does not get to have it all.

Olivia stares at him a moment and then concludes that that the evening is late. She starts to tell him that he should probably leave, but Jake interjects to tell her to stop hiding. He says that she has to come out of the shadows and make a decision.

Sigh. I really hate when they have me agreeing even remotely with anything that this man has to say because my forever mood whenever he is on my screen is...

...but Olivia really has to shit or get off the pot. An expert at nondecisions (409), she knows that the things that she wants here are mutually exclusive, so she will have to either relinquish her “empire” or let Quinn and her unborn die. Tick tock.

Having heard enough from Jake, she orders him to get the hell out of her apartment. Once he leaves, she takes a swig of wine directly from the bottle.

The following morning, Olivia is seen brooding in some room in the White House. The space has been set up for the treaty signing that Mellie will be partaking in later in the day. Olivia is pulled out of her dark thoughts upon Mellie’s entry into the room. Liv stands from where she is sitting and immediately shifts into Chief of Staff mode, but she’s far more mellow than she is ordinarily. She is running through various things that Mellie needs to know as Mellie walks down the aisle with pride in each of her steps. Today is a historic day.

Upon completion of her recitation, Olivia wishes Mellie luck and says that she will see her after the ceremony, but Mellie implores her to stay there with her and share the moment. Mellie launches into a rah-rah girl power speech about how it took several decades, wars, and countless lives lost for this moment to come to fruition. How the six prior presidents before her attempted what she is about to do today, but failed. How if it weren’t for Olivia, she would have failed as well.

Mellie tells her that had she gone through with seeking revenge for Rashad’s assassination, his death would have been rendered meaningless. She goes on to say that it is because of Olivia that Rashad’s death is a “sacrifice for the greater good”. It is Olivia who saw the big picture and got them to the point that they are at now. (Chile…)

Olivia is staring at Mellie as she speaks, but she doesn’t show much of any reaction to anything that it is being said. It’s as if the words are floating about her and not quite hitting their mark. This treaty day would have read much differently if Olivia’s world wasn’t currently teetering on the brink of collapse because of what she did in order to ensure that the treaty did happen.

Oh, delicious irony.

Mellie goes on to say that it may be difficult for Olivia to accept her words as the truth given that Quinn is on her mind, but she wants Olivia to know that she is a champion and that this is only the beginning. At that last bit, Olivia balks, but recovers by saying that she hopes so. Mellie is confused by her use of “hope” and tells her that they are going to make it a certainty. Olivia reluctantly agrees as Mellie states that they should do what they ought to be worthy of the sacrifices made. She then continues by reciting what Olivia said to her in 701 about it being the two of them together, and Mellie directs her to say it with her. When Olivia complies, Mellie adds that nothing, no one and no man shall stand in their way. As Olivia repeats this bit, the words take on a more direct meaning.

Later, Olivia is in her office staring out the window and looking out at nothing in particular as she again becomes lost in her thoughts. Jake steps in then to tell her that time is up and that Rowan is summoning her. Jake asks her which choice she has decided on, but she doesn’t respond. She appears to still not know the answer as her eyes shine with tears.

When Russian Roulette Goes Wrong

Olivia is next seen arriving at her childhood home, and once she is inside, it is apparent that she has decided that she is going to stick to her Command persona and play the one who has the upper hand. She tells her father that he doesn’t get to summon, push or rush her. (But you there though.) Rowan is standing there meekly as she speaks, but then from behind him, he pulls forward a gun and directs it at her!

Didn’t Jake say that he took away ALL of his guns?

With the gun directed at her head, Rowan orders her to pick an option: Quinn’s life or his freedom. Olivia tells him that he isn’t going to kill her, and he lowers the gun then and tells her that he won’t have to kill her because Olivia won’t be able to live with the blood of Quinn and her unborn baby on her hands. Olivia tells him that actually him not killing her is a bad move because her death is his only way out of this debacle. She goes on to state that what she is saying is what he would tell anyone if they were in a similar situation. They should eliminate the problem, sever the head of the snake. Olivia points out that for him, she is the problem and that his only chance at freedom will be a bullet to her head. And just like that, Rowan cocks the gun and has is directed at Olivia yet again.

I find it interesting that Olivia took what Jake said to her the night before about eliminating Rowan since he’s the problem and flipped it around to use against her father, knowing full well that despite her death being the key to his freedom, Rowan won’t be able to do it. He has the gun directed at her and even as she encourages him to pull the trigger, his hand is shaking like a leaf. He eventually drops the gun onto a nearby sofa.

The dysfunction of these Popes is too much for me. I have reached my quota of crazy.

When Rowan fails to follow through on killing her, Olivia taunts him by saying that since he couldn’t do the deed, it means that he has no cards left to play. She then echoes what he said to her earlier in the restaurant about her winning and him losing.

As she steps away and towards her purse, Rowan states with certainty that Olivia still has a soul left and that she will not let Quinn die. Olivia reaches down into her purse then, and when she sees Rowan take a step back, she assures him that she doesn’t have a gun and says that she doesn’t need one because she has better weapons at her disposal.

Having retrieved her phone, she makes a phone call. She is putting in a kill order for her father! Unless the person she is speaking to hears back from her, the kill order begins in 20 minutes. They are to shoot to kill.

Olivia ends the call and tells Rowan that he has 20 minutes to live unless he gives in right then. She says that she can pretend like this whole saga was nothing that a “senior moment”. (The disrespect!) Rowan reclaims his gun and tells Olivia that he will kill Quinn, and Olivia asks him if he thinks that she is bluffing.

Darth Vaedra goes the extra mile to try to prove to daddy that she means business, stating that Rowan is mistaken if he thinks that she can’t handle the idea of Quinn and her baby dying. She ridicules him for believing that there is a “soft, chewy center” within her, and she says that she cannot understand why. (Your mama believes it, too, but I’ma let you finish.)

Now here’s where things get interesting. To prove that her father is wrong in his assumption about her still having a soul, Olivia lists several things that her father has done that shaped her into who she is at present. She states that Rowan gave her a dead mother and a life in boarding school, only to then tell her that everything that she thought she knew about her life was a lie. She goes on to say that he took away the “only man that [she] ever truly loved” and then killed said man’s son. Rowan, she says, consistently erased her hopes, dreams, and ambitions. It was he who taught her that the only constant worth holding on to is the Republic, that he made her in his own image.

Facts upon facts upon mickey flicking facts! How long has this woman been holding all of this in? So she knows that her father jacked her up and she’s still outchea acting a gatdamn fool?

I’m not even going to talk about the “only man” she’s ever truly loved comment because, I mean, it’s obvious. Except to the five of y’all. Also, I don’t know why Rowan is here shaking his head in rejection of what she is saying because I’m trying to find the lie. Which part in anything that she said above is a lie? Show it to me.

Olivia continues by quoting something that Rowan had said to her in “I’m Just A Bill” (419) about the apple not falling far from the tree, “poison though it may be”. She tells him that she is just as he made her, and then she says that the ray of light that he thinks he sees in her “isn’t a warm campfire” but a blowtorch. Lawd…

Having brilliantly summarizing the ways by which Rowan has chipped away at her humanity, Olivia wonders why it is that he would think that she would choose Quinn over the Republic. (WARNING: Spin Master Hard At Work.) Olivia claims a seat on the arm of a nearby chair and tells Rowan that he has to make a choice. He will either kill Quinn or hand her over. She tells him that it is that or he can spend the next 20 minutes waiting to die.

Rowan is watching her closely as she speaks as if he is looking for that which she is not saying. He tells her that she is bluffing and Olivia replies that she believes that he is the one who is bluffing. She says that if she is who Rowan believes her to be, then killing Quinn and her baby would completely destroy her, but if she’s already beyond saving, killing Quinn gets Rowan nothing.

Rowan continues to watch her and he again states that Olivia is in fact bluffing, that he can see it showing. He looks like he has figured out a puzzle, but there seems to be a tiny bit of doubt. He’ll have to test out his hypothesis before he can be sure. Olivia dares him to try her and Rowan does just that as he heads out of the living room.

Before he can get far, Olivia remarks that if Quinn has to die for the Republic, then she has to die. She continues her 60 second countdown and Rowan steps back into the room to give her face another long searching look before he walks off towards the dining area. The beeping of a keypad can be heard followed by the sliding open of a door.

Several seconds pass before the first gun shot goes off, snapping Olivia right out of her Darth Vaedra mask, and Quinn could be heard begging for her life. There is a second gunshot and Olivia comes right out of her chair. Her face breaks with pain and she is violently shaking. Her bluff was called and she lost!

Olivia tries her best to push her emotions back in before her father returns to the living room, but she only succeeds in going numb. Rowan has blood splatter on his shirt and he asks Olivia if she wishes to see the body. Olivia instead takes several steps away from him and says nothing.

Lord have mercy. I don’t even know what to say. Should I even bother asking if Quinn is or isn’t dead? I’m batting 0-1 here with the speculation, so maybe I should just quit while I’m ahead.

Olivia gambled major and LOST. She gambled with the life of a friend and lost not only that friend and said friend’s unborn child, but also lost her position as Command. Think about it. In order for her to maintain her position as Command, she will now have to kill her father. He has been the problem from the beginning, and she refused to allow those who deserved retribution to mete it out when it was their due. Now look at this hot mess.

I know they’ve got to cover Katie Lowes’ maternity leave somehow, so I’m not buying into the Quinn is dead thing until I see a body, but Rowan did shoot at someone...or something. Those gunshots were real and so was the blood splatter. And it was definitely Quinn in that room.

Now riddle me this: how did Jake supposedly disarm Rowan, yet he somehow was unable to find and breach the room where Rowan kept Quinn? Jake has lived in that house. Unless that room is new, he knew that it was there, so what gives? Did he or did he not disarm Rowan? If he did, he did a suck ass job, and if he didn’t? Well…

Also, what is Rowan playing at? I’m still not sure that he has no ulterior motive here. What it is exactly that he wants? He’s like Maya in that he doesn’t do anything without him benefiting from it in some way. Is he truly out to save Olivia or is his antics a way to push her to further embrace Command? What’s about to happen to Olivia now? Will she go full out dark or will this moment escalate the spiral that she is already on?

This closes out S7A of the last season of Scandal. I thank you all for hanging with me to the very end of this recap/review of episode 707. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below or share them with me on Twitter.

Do have an amazing holiday season and see you in 2018!

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