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Scandal - Army of One - Review: "Never Say Die"



We got two solid Scandal episodes back to back! Yes, please, and thank you. Here. For. It.

We all knew that Olivia Carolyn Pope wasn’t going to go down without a fight, right? And fight she did! This woman had me cheering her on as if her antics weren’t a direct threat to the stability of the republic. Girlfriend had everyone SHOOK! She was galavanting about town like Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale.



I swear, these writers have a way of making me want to drown a character in their own vomit one day and then erect a statue for them the next. Also kudos to them for injecting some lightheartedness back into this show because gatdamn it it’s been missed. “Army of One” felt like vintage S1/S2 Scandal with its high stakes machinations, outrageous foolery, and a touch of family dysfunction. What more can a girl ask for (besides my faves being together forever by series end)?

Anywho, let’s do this.

Where we left off: Olivia’s friends staged an intervention to get her to see that she wasn’t doing the good that she believed that she is doing by serving as both B613’s Command and the White House’s Chief of Staff. She had killed a head of state (and several others) on the weak excuse of protecting the country and then presumably had Quinn Perkins killed when Quinn learned the truth. Olivia was able to wiggle her way out of their company by pretending to be remorseful for all that she had done, and she told them that she was going to resign from the White House and shut down B613. Neither happened. She instead rejected her family and embraced Jake as her only friend, only to have Jake turn around and steal her jobs from her. (Womp womp.) The last episode ended with Olivia barging into the Oval to confront Mellie.

The Blowtorch

Olivia comes into the Oval with teeth bared, looking for answers from Mellie as to what it is that she had just done. When Mellie responds that she did what she had to do, Olivia is incredulous that Mellie thinks that she had to make Jake her Chief of Staff. She goes on to say that she hopes Mellie isn’t this “stupid, naive, reckless and foolish, but most of all stupid” to have replaced her with Jake. (LMAO! Somebody’s mad.)

Mellie calmly puts down the document she was reviewing to say that the only thing that would be stupid is her continuing to believe Olivia’s lies, playing the “elaborate” game that Olivia set up, and trusting that there is indeed only the two of them “sisters” fighting the good fight out in the world together. Olivia assumes that Jake showed Mellie the kill folder, and when Mellie confirms that he had, Olivia attempts to discredit him by stating that “Jake Ballard has his own motives; his own complexes”. (Look at this kettle here…)

Mellie is quick to state that none of what has happened has to do with the kill folder and everything to do with Olivia having Rashad assassinated. Olivia admits that she did indeed kill Rashad, and then she tries to blame Mellie wanting that treaty signed as reason for why it happened, but Mellie is done with her spin. Mellie tells Olivia that the reason she really killed Rashad was because Olivia believed her to be a bad president.

Olivia has no response to that as Mellie finally gets up from the sofa and heads over to her desk. The two women stare at each other from a distance, and when Olivia begins to speak again, Mellie tells her that she has to go. Olivia says that she understands that Mellie is angry, to which Mellie replies that she is not, but Olivia continues by saying that it would be a mistake for Mellie to allow her anger to cloud the real issue, which is Jake coming between the two of them and getting into Mellie’s head. Mellie again emphasizes that she is neither angry nor is she confused, and tells Olivia once more than she has to leave.

Olivia studies Mellie’s face for a bit, and when it remains stoically confident, Olivia realizes that the door really has shut for her. She begs Mellie not to do “this” and Mellie asks the same of her. Olivia is emotional now and seems frozen in place, but Mellie hasn’t got the time to entertain her further. Mellie tells her that she has until the end of the week to announce her resignation and says that if she refuses to do that, then Mellie will personally announce her termination!

Ooo, y’all should see how quickly them words snapped Olivia out of her self-pity. Her back came right up and she looked at Mellie with eyes that promised retribution. Oh, you haven’t seen the last of Olivia Pope, friends. Hell is coming to find you.

But before Olivia sets Washington ablaze, what I want to know is how she thought insulting the President of the United States was somehow going to win her her job back. Like, where they do that at? You call her stupid, then confused and thought that that was somehow going to work?



Not too long later, there is a special BNC news update where a reporter is sharing unconfirmed reports that Olivia is out as Chief of Staff. The White House has so far refused to issue a statement in response. (Alright now, who’s the snitch?)

Quinn and Rowan are watching the newsbreak, and Quinn is stunned by the development. It’s hard to read Rowan’s expression as he stares at the television. Elsewhere Olivia is watching the development in her apartment as the reporter goes on to say that Washington insiders are already speculating on who will serve as her replacement.

Over at Justice, Jake and Vanessa Ballard are meeting up with David Rosen, and Vanessa tells Jake that he ought to be proud of his pending promotion. White House Chief of Staff, she marvels! David soon gets right down to business, stating that Jake has been vetted before, but that he’d like to know if there is anything that they could have missed during the last go around. Jake turns to look at Vanessa before sharing that he and his wife have an open marriage.

They have a what now?



Well, that certainly explains a few things.

Vanessa is caught off guard by her husband putting their business on front street, but Jake is unfazed. They’ve got to put it all out there so there isn't anything that could crop up later to trip up his move into the Chief of Staff position. He tells David that Vanessa is sleeping with someone else, and that he and his wife have a deal that works for them. David tells Jake that this detail shouldn’t be a problem, that it isn’t as if Jake has asked Russian hookers to pee on him.

You know what…




Jake turns to wifey then to say that he and “Nessa” are getting exactly what they have always wanted and that she ought to be just as proud as he.

Aww...ain’t that cute? Jake is being sweet to the woman that he once encouraged to drink herself under a table. And he’s using couple terminology and nicknames! “We”? "Nessa"? It looks like Jake has found some semblance of happy with his Nessie poo. How adorbs.

I guess Jake won’t be getting the divorce that some are still hoping will come to pass after all. I mean, unless y’all are about to root for polygamy, I think it’s safe to say that your ship is a one-legged blind dog that never was going to hunt. We tried to tell y’all, but…



Back over at the Pope residence, Rowan and Quinn are doing the dishes together, and Quinn is rambling on about how the time is perfect now to go after Olivia because she is no longer running the White House. Rowan asks how it is that she is so sure about that, and Quinn points out what they just saw on the news. Rowan then asks who it is that makes the news, creates the stories, and bends reality to her will, and Quinn belatedly recalls who they are dealing with by verbalizing an OPA tenet that the gladiators once said to her in the pilot episode (101): “we solve problems, manage crises, save reputations”.

Rowan states that Olivia may be licking her wounds now, but that she will be back. Quinn tries to then say that they should strike now before Olivia has a chance to regroup, but Rowan shuts that down. Strongly. This takes Quinn aback. (Girl, just run.)

Coming into QPA, Abby is the first person that Charlie sees and he asks her if she has heard about Olivia being out at the White House, and Abby tells him that her “Olivia Pope Google Alert went bonkers” hours ago and that she called David to see if there is any truth to the rumors.

Wait. Abby has a Google Alert set up on Olivia? I guess when the woman literally can make the world shake with the flick of her wrist, you probably should keep track of what she’s up to.

Abby and Charlie continue further into the suite, and as they get closer to the conference room, Charlie wants to know who the guy is within sitting with Huck. Abby explains that he’s a potential client who works for the State Department. (Oh, it's a case of the week!!)

Before they continue into the room, Abby turns to Charlie to say that she understands that he is grieving, that they all are, but they are either going to have to take on clients to stay afloat or close the doors to the firm. Charlie tells her that he believes that Quinn would want them to do whatever is necessary to keep QPA going. He then adds that they should probably go for a client that has “deeper pockets” because government employees aren’t exactly “rolling in the dough”. Abby replies then that it is funny he should say that…

Skip ahead a bit and we see the client (played by Jonathan Silverman) animatedly explaining to the gladiators his dilemma. He had gone to get himself a hot dog from one of the street vendors, and because he had no cash on him, he went to an ATM to get some money. Upon receiving his receipt, he saw that his account balance was at $12 million! He called his bank about it, but they verified that the transaction was legitimate. The client, however, knows nothing about the money or how it got into his account. None of it made sense to him until he checked his email. He hands his phone over to Huck who sees that the message is in Russian, and he hands the phone over to Charlie to decipher.

Charlie translates the message which says that the client Robert Bacall is now in the Russians’ service, the money was a “signing bonus” and he should await further instructions. Robert says that he doesn’t understand why they would want him, and Abby points out that he works at the State Department. Robert replies that he’s a mid-level employee who is nobody. The email, he says, makes him out to be some kind of super spy. He begs the gladiators to help him return to his life and make this situation go away.

Over at the White House, Jake is working at one of the computer terminals in the sunken place when Mellie shows up. He stands upon her entry and thanks her for coming, but Mellie is not at all appreciative of him summoning her. She tells him that she understands that their relationship is evolving, but that this business of calling her to him is a big not. (Set them boundaries early, Mel!) Jake apologizes and says that summoning her wasn’t the idea at all, that he wants to do as he promised and be completely transparent with her if he is going to be her Chief of Staff and Command. He tells her that this isn’t “Olivia’s B613 anymore” and that all that he knows and the tools that are available to him are also available to Mellie.

Just then, all the tech in the lair goes dark and Mellie remarks that maybe she ought to get Jake some better tools. Despite the quip, they both know that what is happening is unusual. Some moments later, we see Olivia pouring herself some of the hard stuff as her phone lights up with Jake’s name. When she finally answers, she is impersonal as she says, “This is Olivia”. (Hahaha!)

Jake is none too happy as he tells her that she doesn’t want to do “this” and Olivia tells him that she really, really does. (LOL!) Jake replies that this battle only ends with her losing, and Olivia tells him that he taking Chief of Staff was a good move, but that he forgot one thing. When Jake asks her what that one thing is, Olivia says: “You can’t take Command” and hangs up on him.

LMAOOOO!! Girl is about to dangle this fool above a hot flame and I’m tickled.



Back in the lair now, Jake has an engineer trying to figure out how to get things back up and running. He asks her if she’ll be able to get rid of the virus, but the woman tells him that she could if what was causing the issue was a virus. She says that what they are dealing with looks like “phreaking” and she explains that it’s a term that dates back to the 1980s when some hackers used a whistle that came in a box of Capt’n Crunch to hack into AT&T to get free long distance. (Random tech nerd factoid.) The engineer tells Jake that the method is “very old school” and that whoever is responsible for it was “not born yesterday”.

Elsewhere, we see Olivia meeting up with Hector (aka Stan from Martin...I mean, Garrett Morris) under an overpass. The older man immediately lectures her about not having armed guards around her given what they just did to B613. Olivia is amused by his concern and tells him that it’s just “Jake and a skeleton crew” left behind, that the “real guns and money” are with her. (Well, excuse me, Commandress!)

When Olivia asks how long he’ll be able to keep Jake off the network, Hector asks if she has a particular time frame in mind, and her response is fairly open ended. She wishes for him to keep up the hack until "Jake comes to his senses". Hector replies that Olivia is asking for a “whole lot” and Olivia remarks that her father told her that Hector could do anything. (When did you and Daddy Dearest have this discussion, ma’am?) Hector studies her a moment before asking if she has spoken to Rowan as of late, that he and Rowan did not end things on good terms, and Olivia replies that she and her father didn’t end so good either. Hector then tells her that he’ll see what he can do. Olivia questions him about “Phase 2” and he replies that it is waiting for her green light.

Back in the Oval, Jake argues to Mellie that Olivia is merely throwing a “tantrum” and that he’ll have surveillance put on her so that she doesn’t do anything to embarrass them. Mellie counters by saying that “tantrum” is an understatement, and equates Olivia to a “hungry lion loose in a preschool”. (LMAO!)

So Jake’s solution really is to put surveillance on Command and cross his fingers in the hopes that she doesn’t do anything that’ll shake the very foundation of the democracy? Olivia has literally taken B613 on the road, and this man is talking surveillance. This is who you have succeeding Olivia as Chief of Staff AND Command, Mels. Really?



The two of them are soon interrupted by Rachel who comes in to inform Mellie that Cyrus would like to have a minute of her time. Mellie okays the request, and before Cyrus comes into the office, Mellie instructs Jake to handle the Olivia situation. As Cyrus steps into the room, Jake is making his way out, and the two men exchange strained greetings to one another before Cyrus shuts the door to the Oval.

Mellie is now back at her desk and reading something on her laptop when Cyrus approaches and asks if Jake stopped by to “tighten the screws”. Mellie distractedly asks him what it is that the is talking about and Cyrus replies that he is referring to Jake. He wants to know if Jake is somehow using her family to blackmail her into submission. He says that he can help Mellie if that is the case.

Stunned, Mellie asks why it is that everyone somehow believes herself to be a victim in this situation. First it was Olivia, now it’s Cyrus. She states that Jake is around because she wants him to be and not because he has something over her head. Cyrus is now confused as he reminds Mellie that Jake was the man who killed Rashad, and Mellie replies that Jake did so at Olivia’s request.

Unable to sit any longer, Cyrus gets up to stand in front of Mellie and tell her that what they ought to be doing is giving Jake a lethal injection (I’m all for it, Cy!) and not rewarding him with a promotion. Cyrus is going all the way off now, and Mellie is just staring at him as if bored by is outburst.

Mellie leans forward and says in a uncompromising tone that Olivia is out and Jake is in, and that that is all Cyrus needs to know. She adds that Cyrus is either going to have to get on board or be somebody that she is going to have to deal with, and then she states in no uncertain terms that today is not the day to be trying his luck and opting to be the latter.

Oh, okay now! Look at Mellie with that steel in her back and her big girl heels on. Ain’t nobody fixing to tell her nothing!



Back to the Pope residence, Rowan is talking to little Robin who he says has a big head. He tells the baby that her having a large dome means that she has a big brain, just like his daughter does. He says that Robin is therefore in very good company. (Ha!)

Rowan is rocking the baby when Quinn comes in and says that she doesn’t know who of them is enjoying the activity better: him or the baby. Rowan replies that he honestly doesn’t know which of them is enjoying it more either, and he looks absolutely in love with this kid. Quinn asks him then if his refusal to go after Olivia now that they have a real chance at taking her down is because doing so would mean that herself and the baby will depart from his world. Rowan replies that Quinn doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and Quinn points out how happy he is having a baby in the house and then she accuses their presence of making him “soft”. (Ooh.)

That was not the right thing to say to Rowan because that statement snapped his head up and wiped the smile right off of his face. Quinn tells him that he is losing sight of the goal, and she states that they are not his family and that they aren’t there to “play house”. Before Quinn can say anymore, Rowan tells her that she has said enough and warns that she does not want to play tough with him. He states that she should not push him, especially not when he has her child in his hands.

Chile...why Quinn was here acting like Rowan is some cuddly bear is beyond me. The man can swift on your in a blink and before you know it, you’re dead. Now he’s got Robin in his arms and is using her to prove a point to Quinn about why he is refusing to go after Olivia. He tells Quinn that it is she who has been misreading the situation.

Quinn is now panicked as she watches helplessly as Rowan rocks her baby up and down while talking about how soft her child is. He moves one of his hands from underneath the baby to position it right at the baby’s neck, and asks how Quinn would feel if he used that hand and applied pressure. Quinn begs him not to do anything, and he replies that he hasn’t yet done a thing to the child and yet Quinn feels the pain of the threatened act nonetheless. He tells her that her reaction to the mere threat to her child’s life is “mother nature”, that it’s “biology.” He goes on to states that he knows that Quinn wants to take Olivia down, but that he can’t allow it for the very same reasons. His “biology” prevents him from allowing any harm to come to his kid.

Now pause because no. First Rowan says that he can’t call his child a bitch (709) and now he’s here talking about how his parental protective instincts are preventing him from allowing Quinn to hurt Olivia? Are we talking about the same Olivia that he has subjected to years of abuse? The same one that he has emotionally and psychologically manipulated for years? The very one who he ridiculed for wasting the power of her vagina because she wouldn’t use it to get herself some real “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue “power? THAT child?!

Miss. Me. With. That.

Boy…



When Quinn demands that he had her child over and she steps forward to take her from him, Rowan pushes her back with a hand to the chest and a finger up in warning. After a moment, he hands the baby over and Quinn departs from the room with her child.

It’s evening now and QPA is still in the office working on their client’s situation. Charlie remarks that Huck has been working on the email for some time now and that he should have already found something. Huck replies that he has indeed found something and he’s fascinated by it. Right as he thinks he’s about to figure out who sent the email, the trail lands him back to where he started. Charlie says to the client then that he has to give them more to go on, that there has to be something that he is leaving out. Robert claims that he has told them everything, but Charlie tells him that there has to be more.

Right then, Abby comes in with a folder full of information that she was able to dig up on Mr. Clean Cut. Dozens of hotel receipts and midday meeting that seem to have slipped the man’s mind. Abby is pissed! Robert stutters as he says that the meetings aren’t anything, but Abby believes that they are indeed something. Robert tells Abby that she’s got it wrong, and Charlie says to him that if Abby isn’t wrong that he should probably tell them. He says that it won’t be a deal breaker, and Abby remarks that the secret meetings would amount to treason, and Charlie intones, “As if you haven’t committed a little treason.” (Ha!)

Robert tells them both that he hasn’t committed any treason, and then he finally admits that he is having an affair with a married woman. (Of course!) As Abby asks him why he didn’t just come out and admit that, Huck tries to get their attention for he has just found something. Robert says that he didn’t tell them because the affair isn’t pertinent and that the woman isn’t even Russian. Huck calls for their attention again, and when he finally gets their attention, he informs them that ole boy is sleeping with Vanessa Ballard!!



Huck turns his laptop around to show what he’s looking at, and it’s a breaking news report stating that the wife of the NSA Director is in a secret relationship with a Russian spy! Robert’s picture accompanies the report as well as freeze frame of he and Vanessa meeting together at a hotel room. The reporter states that Robert is being accused of using his position at the State Department as well as his relationship with Vanessa to access secrets that he is then passing on to his Russian contacts.

Everyone in the room is floored by the story, but none more so than Robert himself. Abby turns to him then to scold him for not believing that he sleeping with the wife of the NSA Director warranted a mention.

As the report continues, we are sent over to Olivia who is watching the story unfold from the comfort of her bedroom. She chuckles to herself as she munches from a giant bowl of popcorn and sits with her laptop open in front of her. I suppose we now know what Phase 2 entailed.

A quick aside: the reintroduction of Olivia’s favorite comfort food and its red wine accompaniment is notable. The former has been M.I.A. for quite some time, though she did stick with the wine on its own before briefly switching over to the more potent whisky. Given that the popcorn and red wine have respective connections to her parents, could their combined return signify something more that we’ll see down the line? Hmm.

Anyway, Olivia looks down at her ringing phone, and when she picks it up, she doesn’t bother greeting the other person and instead goes right to informing her caller that she has already started drafting their resignation letter. We soon see that she is talking to Jake, who has been watching the same BNC news report as everyone else has with Vanessa. He is pissed that Olivia has come after his wife.

Ignoring his rambling, Olivia goes on to read from the draft letter that she has already formulated. Not only does she have him withdrawing his name from consideration as Chief of Staff, she has him resigning as Director of the NSA! Jake tells her that the games need to end but when she just keeps talking, he hangs up the phone in frustration and Olivia laughs as she has herself some more popcorn.

The woman is having the time of her life and I’m cheering her on, knowing damn well that she’s good and crazy, and in dire need of a therapist.



Never Say Die

The next day, Mellie is meeting with David and Jake in the Oval and she is lamenting the current state of her administration. She says that she was promised a smooth transition between Chiefs of Staff, but instead, the incoming one’s wife is not only having an affair but is also allegedly selling state secrets. Jake pipes up then to say that Vanessa isn’t selling secrets and David adds that she is only having an affair. (LOL! Only.)

Frustrated, Mellie takes a seat on one of the sofas and holds her head. David informs her that a full investigation into the matter is being conducted, and Jake cuts in to assure Mellie that national security is just fine, his wife is not a spy, and that Robert has never freelanced for Russia. David follows that up by asking how all of what Jake said could be true when there is unexplained millions sitting in Robert’s account, and Jake states that Olivia is framing Robert for espionage. David dismisses that as poppycock, and as he is set to address Mellie further, she cuts them both off. She has had enough.

Both men go silent as Mellie turns to them and says that today was supposed to be a good day for her. She says she has been looking forward to it because today is when she is to get her yearly mammogram! (Who the heck looks forward to that?!) She then asks them if they know how long she has been waiting to get this yearly exam, and David and Jake awkwardly look at each other as if trying to figure out if the question was rhetorical or if they were expected to answer. (LOL!)

Aggrieved, Mellie tells them that she’s been waiting since she became President because no one has had to schedule one for any of her predecessors. She laments that there isn’t a mammography machine in the White House medical unit because the “damn thing would just be sitting there collecting dust!”



Having gotten that off her chest, Mellie forcibly exhales and tells David that Jake is right about Olivia being behind their current dilemma, so David is tasked with using that investigation of his to prove that Olivia is the mastermind and then find some way to make it all go away. She then tells them both to not ruin the day for her, and then she dismisses them.

Across town somewhere, Olivia has shown up at Cyrus’s home. She finds him drinking alone in his study and remarks on it. In response, Cyrus says that he’s actually celebrating Mellie letting her Chief of Staff go. (Welp.) Olivia asks him if he’ll be offering her a drink and Cyrus says, “I wish I could, but unfortunately, I don’t drink with my enemies.”



Olivia steps forward then to apologize for using Fenton as a scapegoat in her Rashad cover-up, stating that “if [she] had other options, [she] would have taken them”.

Now that is a bald headed lie and we all know it. She didn’t have to go with Jake’s option nor did Brian Ladd have to die. Matter of fact, RASHAD AND YASMEEN DIDN’T HAVE TO DIE EITHER, BUT THIS TRICK IS HERE STILL SELLING THIS NONSENSE ABOUT HOW IT HAD TO HAPPEN IN ORDER TO SECURE THE “PEACE” TREATY! What good is that blood pact with rebels when it resulted in the death of innocent people and leaves others to be subjected to harsher oppression?

I really can’t believe this woman is standing here defending what she did and following it up with a statement on how Cyrus did far worse for less. If I didn’t have a soft spot for this character, I’d rewind her back to 413 and press the damn missile button myself.

For her steadfast devotion to foolishness, I take back my cheering gif.



Cyrus guesses that it is she who is behind the Vanessa Ballard business, and Olivia replies that there is a coup in the White House where Jake has made his move, and she has now made hers. (A simple “yes” would have sufficed, Livvie.) Cyrus says to her then that he admires her confidence, and points out that most who take on the government would show a little more humility. (Ha!)

Cyrus asks if she has some secret weapon that nobody knows about, and when she says that he’s that weapon, he scoffs. He wants to know why it is that she believes that he will help her, and Olivia tells him that it is because he is “an adult” and “knows how the world works”. She says that that he knows that what she did was right because “it’s exactly what he would have done”.

Are we seriously using Cyrus Beene as a measure of rightness now?



Olivia goes on to state that Mellie is “lost” and is “listening to Jake Ballard of all people”. (So here for the shade.) She says that if Jake managed to push Olivia out, that Cyrus shouldn’t believe himself to be safe from meeting the same fate. (Push on them buttons, girl.)

Over at QPA, Jake is present with Vanessa and her lover Robert. Three are sitting next to each other in awkward silence as Huck types something up on his laptop on the opposite side of the table. Robert is looking over at Jake and trying to decide if he should say something. When he finally works up the nerve, he offers an apology to Jake for the mess that they are in. Vanessa turns to him and offers a sharp shush in rebuke, and Robert goes mute for but a moment before starting up again. He tells Jake that Vanessa told him that Jake wouldn’t mind, and when Jake turns to him with a death stare, Roberts next words die mid sentence. Vanessa is looking at dude like WTF! (LOL!!)

Jake gets out of his seat then as he asks how difficult it would be to prove that the money in Robert’s account is from Olivia and not the Russians, and Huck explains that everything that he has tried leads him right back to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. Abby adds that Olivia is good at covering her tracks.

Vanessa wonders why they can’t just leak that Olivia is behind all of this to the press, and Jake explains that that would be a bad idea because the media is Olivia’s turf. She would just spin everything to her advantage, which would result in him losing his job and Robert getting the electric chair. Poor Robert meanwhile looks like he’s about to shit his pants as Abby is quick to assure the man that they aren’t quite at the point of him being executed just yet. She promises that they will figure something out.

Robert carefully gets out of his seat then and comes cautiously around Jake so that he can take of the breakfast items that are laid out on the other side of the table. With a slice of melon hanging from his fork, Robert thanks Jake for including him in his “concerns”. Jake looks over at the man and tells him to shut up. (LMAO!)

Look at how all of these people are trying and failing at getting a leg up on Olivia. The woman is indeed a one person army and no one seems to be able to breach her wall. She’s in full monster mode and the road for her right now is looking straight and unencumbered.

Back over to the White House now, Jake has come to update Mellie on the Olivia situation. He has no good news and Mellie is livid. Jake tells her that he needs more time, and Mellie replies that she doesn’t have anymore time. It is at this moment that Cyrus lets himself into the Oval, and upon announcing his presence, Jake tells him that he and the President are busy at the moment. Cyrus assures them that it will only take a minute, and when Mellie says that she and Jake are in the middle of something, Cyrus asks how that something is working out. (Rude. LOL!) He concludes that things aren’t working out if the look on their faces are anything to go by.

Pouring himself a cup of tea, Cyrus tells them that he may have a way out of the Vanessa situation. It’ll clear the way for Jake to be Chief of Staff and even make Vanessa’s dalliance look “benign”. He asks if they would like to hear it or if he should come back when Mellie and Jake are less busy. (hahaha!!)

Next we see Vanessa being interviewed by the BNC’s Noah Baker. She denies having any romantic entanglement with Robert. She points out that her husband is one of the highest ranked intelligence officers in the country, and she rhetorically asks Noah if he thinks that she would be able to get away with cheating on him if she wanted to. Noah brings up the photos of her and Robert going into a hotel room, and Vanessa deftly explains that the meeting at the hotel was not for a tryst. She says that she was part of an NSA sting, stating that the NSA had suspected Robert for months of being a spy, but that they needed final proof. Vanessa says because she and Robert knew each other socially from last year’s campaign, Jake thought that she would be the perfect woman for the operation.

Jake is standing by off camera as his wife gives Noah her Oscar-worthy performance. Vanessa goes on to say that she was eventually able to get Robert to open up to her and he confessed the things that he was involved in with the Russians. When she delivers her final line, she looks over at Jake who gives her a proud smile and a subtle nod.

LMAO!!! Look at Nessa being a ride or die chick. Them’s the real Bonnie and Clyde right there.



Olivia is watching the interview in her apartment and she is HOT! Jake and company have finally made a move that she did not anticipate and she is steaming mad. She grabs the remote and turns off the TV, and then she launches the contraption at the wall. Eek!

Ratcheting Things Up a Notch

The following morning, a BNC anchor reports on the Vanessa Ballard interview, giving a summation of all that was said. The anchor states that the interview successfully relieved mounting pressure that was calling on Jake to resign. Meanwhile at QPA, Robert is lamenting his present situation. He’s now out in the cold on his own after Vanessa threw him under the bus on national television. Abby hands him a list of lawyers that they have used in the past who she says will be able to give him a good defense against the charges of espionage. Charlie proposes the alternative of him departing on a flight to Budapest, which leaves in five hours. He then leaves Robert to think on those two options.

Flashing over to Olivia, Cyrus has come to visit her at her apartment and he has a manilla folder in his possession. Upon entry into her space, Olivia shuts the door and follows behind him, guessing that Cyrus has come to dance on her grave after seeing the Vanessa Ballard interview on television. Cyrus replies that he did see the interview, but he hasn’t come to dance on anything. He has brought Olivia a private memo that Mellie wrote to the CIA Director, where she asks the director to corroborate the story that Vanessa told Noah.

Olivia watches Cyrus uncertainly as she takes the folder from him and flips it open. He remarks that what Mellie did is “what the law calls ‘obstruction of justice’” and what fans of werewolf fiction would call a “silver bullet”. Olivia stares at Cyrus a beat before she drops the folder onto her table and declares that she cannot use what he brought her. When Cyrus asks her why, she tells him that what she had asked his help with is getting rid of Jake, not taking down Mellie.

Olivia points out that the evidence that he has brought will lead to Mellie’s impeachment, and Cyrus makes himself plain then, stating that, yes, Mellie will be impeached and he would become president. Olivia is taken aback then, and even looks disgusted by Cyrus’s willingness to backstab Mellie. Cyrus argues that if there is going to be a snake in the Oval that that snake may as well be him. Olivia reminds him that Mellie is his friend (uh…) and Cyrus replies that “Mellie is an amateur”.

Olivia is unclear as to what he means and then Cyrus explains that Mellie didn’t even realize that he was setting her up when he suggested the fake CIA sting to her and Jake as a way out of the mess that they were in. (Wow.)

Olivia considers what he just said before shaking her head and stating that Cyrus doesn’t need her for his plans. She says that the memo is an easy leak to the press and wants to know why he has actually come. Cyrus tells her that it is because Olivia is the best at handling this kind of thing. He says that she has the credibility and would make a better story. He tells her that as the recently deposed Chief of Staff, she calls a press conference, and instead of resigning, she shares with the world that she is being forced out by the White House as punishment for uncovering a conspiracy. Olivia’s bombshell admission would lead to Committees being formed, charges being filed. Mellie would be out and Cyrus would be in as President.

Well, shit.



Olivia didn’t see that one coming. Cyrus’s plan would not only take down Jake, it would also take down the first woman President. Hell, it just might land Jake AND Nessa in the slammer. Cyrus would be POTUS, Olivia would have her toys back and all will be right again with the world. Right?

Cyrus goes on to say that Olivia needs him just as he needs her. He refers to them as parasites who suck on each other’s blood to stay alive. (LOL! I don’t think Olivia appreciated that comparison at all.) Cyrus picks up the folder from the table and tells her that what’s within it is their answer. He says that it is the “difference between having all the power and no power at all”, and then he asks her which of those two choice that she would prefer.

Maaaaan. This is a classic case of the serpent enticing Eve with an apple. It reminds me of what Rowan said to Olivia at the beginning of the seasons about how there would come a time when power is taken away from her and she has to decide how far she is willing to go in order to reclaim it. This is Olivia standing right on that precipice and she’s presently hesitant to continue forward. It’s one thing to unleash the fires of hell upon Jake Ballard, but to do the same thing to Mellie? It’s one thing to subject her to a kill folder to keep her in line, but outright torpedoing her presidency? That’s a whole other ballgame.

Later that evening at the Pope residence, Quinn is looking out the window in the living room when Rowan approaches and says that he doesn’t feel like cooking tonight, so they should order in. When Quinn doesn’t immediately offer a response, Rowan apologizes to her for earlier and says that he knows how frustrated she must be. Quinn steps away from the window then and remarks on the Vanessa Ballard interview. Rowan asks her if what was said on the interview means anything to her, and Quinn says that it told her that Olivia is still fighting to regain her position at the White House. She tells him that the interview is merely a setback and that as long as Olivia keeps at it, she will eventually come to him for help. She says that when that happens, Rowan is going to have to choose between Olivia and them. Because she knows that Rowan will not side with her, she proposes a deal. She asks that he allow them to leave unharmed, and in exchange she promises not to go after Olivia.

Elsewhere in some hospital (Walter Reed?), there are select members of the press who are taking snapshots of Mellie in her hospital gown. She poses with her doctor as she gets set to have her first mammogram as President. Rachel soon asks the press corp to allow Madame President some privacy. As the press and the doctor depart, Mellie is left alone in the room.

Soon Olivia appears at the door, looking for entrance, but she is stopped by a Secret Service agent. Mellie grants Olivia access, and the agent steps aside. Olivia is draped in this beautiful blood red cape that I want to burn because red has hardly ever a good sign when Olivia is covered in it. Mellie asks if Olivia has made her decision, and she replies that she has. She informs Mellie that she won’t be stepping down, and Mellie tells her that she is sorry to hear that. Olivia replies that she too is sorry and shares that she has scheduled a press conference for tomorrow morning, and that instead of announcing for her resignation, she will be calling for Mellie’s!

Damn it, Livvie! Whatchu doing?!



Olivia pulls out the folder that Cyrus brought to her earlier and hands it to Mellie, who flips it open to examine its contents. Stunned by what she sees within, she lets out a deep sigh. Olivia says to her that she came there out of “respect” and to give her some “advice on the best way to resign”. (WTF, really?!)

“Be classy. Show grace. And most importantly, take responsibility for your actions. Because there are women coming up the ranks, hoping for what you have accomplished. And because you were the first, any mistake you make closes the door behind you. And I know how you would hate for that to be your legacy.” -- Olivia Pope

This girl cannot be for real. She is telling Mellie to take responsibility for her actions?! REALLY?!



Mellie shoves the folder back at Olivia as if it was a hot plate, and can do nothing more than to stare at Olivia in dismay. Once Olivia is done delivering her message, she wishes Mellie luck on her exam and tells her that “prevention is the key to survival”.

You know, I really want to kick this chick in her left kidney for this, but at the same time, I marvel at how low she seems willing to go just to hold on to this “empire” of hers. Like you’ve got to be bold as hell to do this mess. How “feminist” is she being right now in opting to go with Cyrus’s plan to burn Mellie? Is this how one treats their “friend”? Oh, wait. Olivia has no more friends. Not even Jake. She has instead opted for a symbiotic pairing with Cyrus. It’s a sad day.

Over at QPA, Abby and Huck are packing up their case documents when Charlie comes into the conference room and inquires about Robert. Abby tells him that he opted to go with a legal defense instead of skipping the country. Cool with that, Charlie settles into a chair and asks them what it is that they are on to next. He wonders if they’ll be moving on to another client or advertising their services. When Huck and Abby look at each other, Charlie narrows his eyes and asks them what’s up. Huck replies that maybe the can do as he is suggesting and Abby remarks that the alternative is to not do anything at all.

Confused, Charlie reminds Abby that she was the one who told him that the firm was in danger of shutting down, and Abby replies that maybe they should leave it to do exactly that. Charlie thinks that she’s joking, but Abby says that she isn’t. She says that working the case without Quinn felt wrong. Huck adds that without Quinn, keeping the firm open feels wrong. Charlie tries to give them a bit of a pep talk, but he’s failing at convincing them. It just isn’t the same.

Charlie remarks then that things could be the same eventually. Abby asks him what it is that he is talking about, and Charlie stands up as if ready to spill the beans about Quinn being alive, but when he doesn’t say anything, Abby and Huck look at each other over his weird behavior. Charlie then tells the that he will be back and orders them to just wait for his return.

Off he goes back to the Pope residence, and he’s throwing pebbles up at the window of the room Quinn is staying in while calling out for her. His antics don’t last long for Rowan comes up silently behind him and presses the nozzle of a run to the back of Charlie’s neck. He asks him what it is that Charlie believes himself to be doing, and Charlie replies that he is looking for Quinn. Rowan tells him that Quinn left and that she had told him that she was leaving with Charlie!

Ut oh.

Next Olivia is seen coming into her apartment. She walks straight in and is heading to her bedroom when she hears a baby cooing. Olivia whips right around at the sound, and comes to a dead stop upon seeing the baby carrier sitting by her piano. She takes off her red cape as she approaches the carrier and then cautiously couches down to get a closer look at the child. She’s looking at her as if she’s some kind of apparition.

Just then, Quinn emerges from wherever she was hiding and remarks on the cuteness of her kid. Recognizing her voice, Olivia’s face breaks into confusion as she comes to her feet and turns around to face the friend who she thought was dead. She asks what is happening and how it is that Quinn is there. (LOL! She’s the ghost of Christmas past, Liv.) Quinn tells her that she wanted Olivia to see her goddaughter, and Olivia risks a glance back at little Robin. She has a smile on her face as she turns back towards Quinn, who has no revealed the gun that she has in her hand.

Olivia’s smile disappears and she pleads with Quinn to put the gun away. She states that there are obviously things that she doesn’t know, but she says that there are also things that Quinn doesn’t know also. Olivia approaches Quinn, but then redirects to head towards her windows. Quinn tells her that she isn’t to be talking or offering any speeches or emotional appeals. Olivia tries to point as some spot right outside of the window, but Quinn isn’t paying her any mind.

Olivia tries to again to get her to listen, but Quinn just keeps talking. She says that Olivia this time has lost, and she informs her that she has typed up a confession for her, one that includes everything having to do with the Rashad assassination. Olivia steps forward and takes the sheet from Quinn, but then her eyes go back to scan her unshielded windows. She again tries to get through to Quinn, telling her that they can talk all of this out later, but that right then she was in danger.

Quinn raises her gun up to Olivia right then and says that Olivia will spend the rest of her days in prison where she will be safe in the even that Quinn should “lose [her] admirable self-control”. (Haha!) Olivia says to her then that since Quinn died there were days that she, too, was dead. She tells her that she deserved death because she killed her best friend, but even if she wanted to die, she’s Command and therefore too important. (Wait….what?)

Olivia goes on to inform Quinn that there are B613-trained snipers across the street scopes on her, that at any second they are going to get tired of them pointing her gun at her and they will take Quinn out. Quinn thinks Olivia is bluffing and says that she won’t fall for it the way that Rowan had. Olivia insists that if Quinn doesn’t put the gun down, she is going to die this time for real. Quinn orders Olivia to shut up, but she won’t.

When Olivia attempts to take the gun from Quinn, the two get to struggling and then there is a shot that comes from outside! The two women go flying backwards and little Robin starts crying. Whoever is behind the scope searches for their target, but Quinn stays low and out of sight. When she gets her bearings, she sees that Olivia has been shot in the arm!

Jaysus Christ….



Quinn exclaims in concern for Olivia as the latter struggles to get to her door and open it. She yells at Quinn to get out of there, and Quinn grabs her baby and runs like hell out of the door.

Ole Lindsay was about to have her head blown clean off because she didn’t realize that even though Olivia was out of the White House, it didn’t mean that she was no longer Command. And to have a gun with Baby Robin present?? Talk about a major miscalculation that could have ended up with her and that baby being deader than Verna. And Olivia, for her part, took a bullet for her friend and her child because, thankfully, the woman who truly does care for her friends isn’t completely gone. Lettuce pray to the on high.

The Reset Button Has Been Hit

Over at the Oval, Mellie has summoned Jake, and when he arrives, she informs him that Olivia has arranged a press conference for the morning and that Olivia is aware of what it is that they did. Mellie says that she is going to admit to the deception and take the fall before things get worse. Jake tells her that he is certain that whatever Olivia has won’t hold up in court, and he says that they can still fight, but Mellie tells him that it is over. She says that she can leave his name out of it and take the hit herself, but that when Cyrus is President, he will be on his own.

Mellie really is out here having the buck stop with her. I’s so proud.



Over at the Pope residence, a ring of the bell has Rowan going to open the door, and on the other side is a wounded Olivia. (Quinn did say that she would eventually make her way to him, didn’t she?) She is clutching a bloody cloth to her arm as she stumbles in pain into the house.

Flash forward a bit and we see Rowan roughly stitching together her torn flesh and he’s doing so without local anesthesia! Olivia’s outchea letting out ragged breaths as her father pulls a needle and thread through her freaking skin, and I just want to pass out.

Livvie, girl, youse a real G.



As Rowan works, Olivia remarks that he lied about Quinn and he laughs as he states that she lied as well. Rowan reminds her of what she had said that day about not caring about what happened to Quinn. Olivia replies that she had been bluffing, and Rowan chuckles as he says that he knows. Olivia then asks that since he knew she was bluffing, why did he let her think that Quinn was dead, and Rowan asks her if she would have given him his bones back if she knew the truth. When Olivia says that she wouldn’t have, Rowan tells her that that’s her answer.

Completing his work on her arm, he states that all he has left to do is to bandage her up, and he gets up from his seat to fetch bandages. Meanwhile, Olivia sits there in contemplation, her expression pensive. As Rowan steps back into the room, she brokenly tells him that Quinn hates her. Olivia looks on the verge of tears, and Rowan looks at her with genuine empathy. He puts down the things that he has in his hands and approaches his daughter.

Olivia lets out a humorless chuckle when he is next to her, and then there is a look of confusion on her face as Rowan kisses the top of her head before he offers her a consoling hug. He then launches into a speech about how there is currently a debate among paleontologists as to whether dinosaurs feel love for their young or not. He states that many seemed to believe that they did not, but then a team in Montana discovered the fossils of one type of dinosaur who was couching over the fossils of three young ones and 14 nests of eggs. The theory is that that dinosaur was protecting them. Rowan states that it is something that he has been thinking about a lot lately.

Oh yeah? It would have been nice if you had thought about this some 30 years ago, but whatever. Now you’re some dino who is crouching over his young, huh? Now you want to protect her.



Olivia allows herself to lean into the comfort that he is offering, closing her eyes and just taking it in. I can’t help but to feel bad for her in this moment because all she has wanted for so long was for this very man to treat her like any caring father would. Instead, he subjected her to harm and called it “tough love”, said that it was him “protecting” her. And like any apple that doesn’t fall far from its tree, Olivia adopted some of his less than stellar habits and inflicted it upon others, albeit to a lesser degree.

Generational abuse is a subject that I’m ill equipped to discuss, but it truly is worthy of further examination, particularly within the context of the Pope family. This woman is broken and battered because her father was broken and battered, and as the saying goes, hurt people hurt people. The Rowan of the past would have done away with Quinn the moment he could, so maybe there is something that shifted within him during this battle with his kid. We shall see.

The moment seems to have left Olivia unsure as to how to interpret it and Rowan emotionally shaken. Olivia is facing away from him as he tells her that she’ll have to clean the wound twice a day and be sure not to get it wet. She has mentally moved into a space where her emotions reside because she looks like she is feeling all of them right then.

The following morning, the press is gathered in anticipation for the public statement that Olivia will be making. No one has any idea what she will be saying, but “insiders” speculate that she will be announcing her resignation.

Flash over to Olivia in her apartment and she is staring at herself in the mirror with sad eyes. She is no longer the hungry monster that she had been prior to her confrontation with an alive Quinn. She does eventually snap herself out of her reverie and steps out of her bedroom. She grabs the folder with the damning Mellie evidence inside and heads out the door.

Out in front of some government building, Olivia approaches the podium that is set up in front of a throng of waiting news people. Cameras are snapping, microphones are pointed at her, and there is a clamor of voices. Strategically standing about are members of the Secret Service, and some short distance away on the other side and behind all of the reporters is a Marcus Walker.

Here is how Olivia starts off her press statement:

“When I was named as Chief of Staff to the first female President of the United States, I was filled with immense pride and gratitude. Unfortunately…”

And here she stumbles and doesn’t say anything for what feels like forever. It is obvious that there is a war going on inside of her. Should she kill the presidency of the first woman to ever hold the office or should she do as she had promised her family she would do and resign?

She stares down at the memo in front of her for a long while, and as Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” starts to play, Olivia looks up at the crowd in front of her and finally continues.

“Unfortunately, my time working for this administration has come to an end. Effective today, I am hereby resigning as Chief of Staff to President Mellie Grant. This is not a decision that I came to lightly. Working at the White House came with its challenges, certainly, but it also came with extraordinary rewards. Reform at the Justice Department. Free college. Nuclear disarmament in the Middle East. These things seemed like crazy dreams when the administration began, and today, they are realities.

“As proud as I am of all that we accomplished together, it’s now time for me to move on to other pursuits. To find some new crazy dreams. But I will always support President Grant in any capacity that I can because her dreams are bigger than all of us. They’re the size of America; as diverse and vast as this great nation. Her dreams take sacrifice, vision, courage. And fortunately for the American people, she’s not just a dreamer. She’s a doer. A selfless public servant. An incomparable leader. She’s the person this country needs to unite us, to see us through the tough times and the good.”

Olivia’s announcement causes a stir among the reporters present. As she speaks, we are shown the other characters who are watching it all unfold television. Cyrus looks like he’s suffering from indigestion for Olivia has taken a hard right turn and opted for a different path. Jake is seen packing up his things from the B613 lair, and right as he is set to walk out the door, the lights come back on. Olivia has apparently also let go of B613. (Yes!!) Abby and Huck are watching from the conference room in the office, and they both look pleasantly surprised by the latest development. Abby turns to Huck and says that it looks like they won’t be the only ones looking for jobs.

Turning away from the television, Huck’s attention is drawn to the area just beyond the conference room, and he looks like a deer caught in the headlights. He steps away from the table and just stares as his breathing becomes a little labored. He calls out for Abby to get her attention, and when she turns to look at whatever it is that he is looking at, her face freezes in disbelief.

Out in the hallway is Charlie with Quinn and little Robin. Abby rushes out to great them, and as she gets close, Quinn hands the baby off to Charlie so that she can give her friend a hug. (Awww!) Huck has tears in his eyes as he comes close. He’s completely about to lose it as Quinn turns back to Charlie to retrieve Robin. Quinn passes the baby to Huck who now has tears running down his face!

This is so bewrriful.



“On a personal note, I want to say thank you to the President for the opportunity to serve, for her confidence in me, for her friendship. I hope I continue to be worthy of it. Thank you.”

Yes, Olivia!! YOU MURDERED THAT!

In the end, Olivia just couldn’t cross the bridge to total annihilation. She seemed ready to toss it all in the trash, but Quinn’s appearance seemed to shake something loose and stopped her short of complete destruction. She opted instead to stand by her friends.

I transcribed the speech in full because I thought it was fabulous. It was a fleshed out version of what Olivia had outlined in Vermont of what she would say upon announcing her resignation. What hadn’t been included then was all of the added aspirational stuff, things that could serve as a source from which Mellie can draw to do and be better as Olivia leaves her to fly without her.

As Olivia steps away from the podium, she makes eye contact with Marcus who gives her an approving head nod, and Olivia gives him an acknowledging one in return.

And the episode comes to an end. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!

I haven’t been proud of Olivia Pope in a long ass time, but that all changed by the end of this episode. I saw a return of the Olivia that I’ve long rooted for, and I got all kinds of emotional.


What’s about to happen now?? Olivia has a lot to figure out, and I suspect that one of the first things will be her working out what she is to do now career wise and how she is going to mend her relationship with her makeshift family. What’s to become of her and her father? Is Maya free now that Olivia has handed B613 over to Jake? What’s going to happen when she once again come face to face with Fitzgerald? Ooo, you know he was mad over her deception. Never has she done that before. Eek!

The next episode (which airs in 3 weeks) is a crossover with How to Get Away with Murder, so things are about to get really interesting. We got a sneak peek at the end of Murder of what Olivia has been up to since she left the White House, and that is guest lecturing at universities. As Annalise claims a seat in one particular class, Olivia walks in and heads directly for the chalkboard. She picks up a piece of chalk and writes out “How to Survive a Scandal” before turning to her hall of eager students. It’s about to be on like donkey kong, people!

So what did YOU think about this latest episode of Scandal? Was it better than sliced brioche bread? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or hit me up on Twitter!

This is the end of the recap/review of Scandal episode 711. Thank you for reading and catch you in a couple of weeks!


 
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