Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Scandal - Air Force Two - Review: "The Devil is in the Details"

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

Scandal - Air Force Two - Review: "The Devil is in the Details"

Share on Reddit

“Air Force Two” wasn’t the episode that I expected to see after the epic magnificence that was the Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder crossover extravaganza, but it was one that succeeded in setting up what is likely to be the final showdown as the series draws to a close. While Olivia Pope was not the main focus of this episode (possibly due to the additional work Kerry Washington had to put in for the crossover), what we did see of her worked to move her further away from the antics of her past and closer to the person who she is hoping to be.

Without further ado, let’s get into “Air Force Two”.

Troubled Skies

The episode opens up with Cyrus Beene laughing over the speech that he wrote for the Al Smith Dinner, an annual white tie fundraiser for Catholic charities that often features keynote speeches of prominent persons. He is close to rolling all over the floor in his mirth when Hannah comes into the room to ask him what has him so amused. When he shares that his speech is the cause, she remarks that he must not have checked his email.

Jump forward to Cyrus in the Oval Office, and he is protesting the change in his schedule. He will no longer be going to the Al Smith dinner, but will instead be attending the digital pirating summit in Lisbon. Cyrus tells her to send David Rosen, and Jake chimes in then to say that David will be attending as well, but that they need to have a White House presence at the summit as well. Mellie further explains that a fundraiser requiring her presence just got moved up, otherwise she would go to the summit herself. Cyrus pleads with her to reconsider, stating that the speech he wrote is a good one. Mellie tells him that he can give his speech to Jake since he volunteered to fill Cyrus’s vacated spot at the dinner.

Flummoxed by this suggestion, Cyrus turns to look at Jake then with the suspicion that Jake had a hand in the change to the fundraiser’s schedule. He believes that Jake intentionally did this so that he could position himself as the one who will be nominated as the next President. (Ain’t it a little early for Cyrus to even be thinking about his turn when Mellie is only in Year 2?)

Cyrus asks if Mellie is “too dumb” to see what Jake is attempting to do, and Mellie warns him to watch himself. In exasperation, she tells him that nobody is out to get him, that the summit is about an issue that harms the American economy and his leadership in the fight against privacy is something that he can run on when it is his time. This doesn’t placate Cyrus who believes that his “time” is slowly becoming Jake’s.

Frustrated now, Mellie tells him to cut it out and says that it’s “just a stupid speech”, to which Cyrus replies that the speech isn’t stupid, that it is “funny” and “perfect”. Before leaving the Oval in a huff, he states that he won’t be handing his speech over to Jake the “hack”. (Ha!)

Elsewhere in DC, Abby is excited that David will be travelling to Lisbon with Cyrus to “fight pirates”. David points out that the pirates are digital ones, and Abby replies that she was merely trying to make the whole thing sound sexy. She goes to take a seat on her sofa when she asks him if he had packed his Dramamine, and when David remarks that he doesn’t need it, she tells him that he always says that only to later regret it.

David asks her why she doesn’t find the summit sexy and Abby replies with some sarcasm that it is a digital privacy summit. This leads David to explain that the event will be the convening of some of the world’s greatest legal minds, including one Gergenschlag. To this, Abby says that nothing spells “sexy” like a man with the name Gergenschlag. (Keep this in mind, folks.)

David then moves on to ask Abby if she has any plans for Thursday night and she distractedly tells him that she doesn’t and wants to know why he is asking. He tells her that he made a reservation at some fancy restaurant, and this pulls Abby’s attention away from whatever she is doing on her laptop to ask him what the occasion is for him to had made plans on a Thursday at a such spot. David says that there is no occasion, that he thought the two of them could enjoy a nice evening since the two of them have been working a lot lately. (Awww…)

Later at QPA, Abby voices to Huck and Charlie her belief that David is going to propose to her during this dinner. She states that the only reason normal people go to this restaurant is if they are getting engaged, and Charlie points out that neither her nor David fall under the normal category. He says that she and David are A-listers, which prompts Huck to say, “At least David is.” (LOL!)

Abby goes on to say that her point is that they aren’t fancy restaurant people; they are takeout people. Charlie offers that David could just be branching out, and Abby latches on to that possibility and questions who gets engaged on a Thursday as if there is some designated day of the week on which people do such a thing. Huck tells her that they could always look at David’s Internet history and credit card receipts to see what he’s been up to. Abby is aghast at what he proposes, and Huck says that he won’t do it if she doesn’t want them to, but when she offers them nothing but silence, Charlie considers this a “yes”. (Ha!)

Meanwhile, Cyrus has arrived at Andrews Air Force Base to board Air Force Two. He is still very much displeased by having to take this trip and he doesn’t hide it. Upon stepping up to the base of the stair truck, he is greeted by his pilot who welcomes him aboard. When he remarks on her inability to get out of taking the trip as well, she tells him that she wouldn’t miss the world. Cyrus sighs in resignation and continues up the staircase with his staff following close behind.

Now in the sky, Cyrus is nursing a drink and watching news coverage of Jake taking his place at the Al Smith dinner when David excitedly pops into the room to comment on how nice the plane is. Cyrus counters his assessment by calling the plane a “dump” and a “flying fleabag motel full of losers with no way to check out”. The cable goes out just then and Cyrus points to this as evidence of what he was just saying about the plane being trash. A moment later, the plane shakes violently and David holds onto the door to keep from falling. He asks what the heck that was and Cyrus takes that to be another point against the plane, and welcomes David to the “minor leagues”.

The plane’s pilot comes into the room to inform Cyrus that she and her crew have lost control of the plane. David asks her if there is a mechanical issue, and she says that the plane is fine, except it is no longer in her control and that the communication to the ground is not functioning. Cyrus asks if the plane is in auto-pilot and points out that the plane is still flying, and the pilot finally tells him that the plane has been hacked. Some unknown entity has control of Air Force Two now.

Back down on the ground at QPA, Charlie has found that David made a ring purchase at some jeweller and Huck has discovered that David made six different reservations before settling on the final restaurant. Abby gets agitated and can’t decide if she is offended over David proposing or him doing so with a ring that he purchased from a jeweller at the mall. Charlie turns to Huck then to say that the proposal may be fast, and Huck replies that the proposal isn’t that fast since Abby and David are in love. (LOL! What is wrong with these schmucks?)

Abby interrupts their aside to ask what has happened to the “dark and creepy” versions of themselves that has been replaced with these “fluffy” versions that she says may be even creepier than their past iterations. (Ha!) Quinn calls out to Abby then from the big office, and opening her door, she tells Abby that she’ll want to come see what is being reported on the news. All of them hurry into the next room.

Elsewhere in DC, we see Olivia arriving at the fancy apartment where she is still holding her mother captive. Maya is surprised to see her and her haul, and Olivia explains that she has come to celebrate her mother’s birthday. Today is the 27th and so she has brought some of Maya’s favorite French cuisine along with a bottle of du Bellay. Maya wonders how she is expected to eat all of that food by herself, and when Olivia says that she won’t be, Maya is surprised that Olivia will be joining her and then she is suspicious. Olivia chuckles at her mother’s disbelief as she pulls out two plates from the cabinet and hands one to Maya.

Well, well, well. Would you look at this. Olivia spends a little time with Annalise and Ms. Ophelia, and now she’s trying to create something similar with her own mother. Maya is rightly suspicious of this, but she accepts the plate from her daughter anyway.

As Olivia works to open the bottle of du Bellay, she remarks that she used to love when it was her mom’s birthday for she would spend days trying to figure out what to get for her. She would make a card to mark the occasion, and every year, Maya would act surprised whenever she received whatever Olivia had come up with. The memory is clearly one of the nicer ones that Olivia has of her childhood, her smile wistful as she recalls these moments from a long ago time.

The chiming of her phone interrupts Olivia merely looks over at her purse and doesn’t move to retrieve the phone. When Maya asks her if she intends to answer it, Olivia says no and instead pulls down some wine glasses from the cabinet. Maya asks her what if the call is important or whether it has something to do with that Supreme Court case that she is working on, and Olivia retrieves her phone then only to turn it off. Olivia then says that the only thing that she has to do today is celebrate Maya’s birthday with her.

Oh, Livvie. Girl really did get all up in her feels after being around Annalise’s family, didn’t she? She has brought food with her to nourish her mother, yet she’s still holding the woman in a fancy apartment with no chance of escape like Maya is a Barbie doll that she can pull out whenever she is in the mood to play with her. (This will come back in a moment.)

Back over at QPA, the gang is watching the White House Press Secretary discuss the situation that is happening with Air Force Two. She says that they don’t know much about the unresponsive aircraft, but what she can confirm is that VP Beene and Attorney General Rosen are both on the plane. The gladiators all look worried, Abby in particular.

Flash over to the White House and Mellie comes into the Situation Room, demanding to know how this happened. Mellie is given some detail, but they aren’t much by way of telling her the condition of the passengers on board. What they do know is that the plane has been taken over by someone else. Their guess is that this is a hostage or kidnapping situation, and if this is indeed the case, they expect to hear from the people responsible soon. Mellie issues orders for those in the room to come up with tactical solutions in the event that this is indeed a hostage scenario and then she tells Jake to be creative a find some way to get in communication with the plane.

Up in the skies, folks are all offering suggestions when Cyrus has to calm them down. He stresses to them what the Colonel has told them, and that is that there is no way to communicate with those on the ground at the moment. He tells them that it is his insistence that they all be told what was going on and not be kept in the dark. He assures them that they aren’t alone and that the White House is on the situation.

One of the reporters asks Cyrus how it is that he knows this, and when he notices that she is recording him, he tells them all that the GPS is also down and that the White House would have been alerted as soon as that happened. He asks the reporter to please turn off her phone and hand it over to the Secret Service agent. The reporter argues that she is still on the clock, but the agent insists on taking the phone from her and everyone else. The pilot then explains to them all that the malware responsible for taking control of the plane was introduced from within and that it is likely that it was brought on with someone’s infected phone or laptop.

As the pilot says this, Hannah takes a deep breath as if she knows who is responsible. David chimes in then to tell everyone that as a precautionary measure, the crew will be collecting everyone’s devices. He thanks them for cooperating right before the crew goes about collecting said devices.

In a panic, Hannah goes to Cyrus and tells him that she believes that she is the one who brought the malware aboard. She explains that her laptop went missing the morning before, and she didn’t say anything, but when she came back from getting coffee, the laptop was back on her desk. She figured that somebody found it and returned it to her. Hannah is shaken and Cyrus asks her to try to recall who was in her office when she returned from her break. Before she can answer, the plane makes a sudden turn, and Cyrus and Hannah are thrown off their feet. Cyrus hits his head on the side of a table and earns himself a bloody gash.

Back in the Situation Room, Jake notes that the plane is turning around. Mellie speculates that maybe the pilots have regained control of the aircraft, and the many in the room get to flipping through a book to determine where the plane would land since protocol dictates that they would land at the nearest airport. That airport would be Logan International in Boston, but instead, the plane’s trajectory indicates that they are heading right back towards Washington.

Jake speaks then to say that it is no wonder that they haven’t received a ransom note yet because the hackers intend to use the plane as a missile. Mellie concludes that this wasn’t their assumed theory that this was a kidnapping, that this instead is an attack!

On the plane, Cyrus is getting patched up when David pops in to see how he is doing. Cyrus invites him inside and shoos any the colonel who was tending to him. He shuts the door and shares that the malware came from Hannah’s laptop. He explains that Hannah’s laptop went missing from the White House yesterday (she never said it left the White House…) and then reappeared later. David asks what the Secret Service had to say about this, and Cyrus reveals that the Secret Service are unaware of this. David is perplexed and asks why Cyrus didn’t hand Hannah’s laptop over to them, and Cyrus states that it is because he believes that Jake is behind the hacking. (Whuuuut?)

David finds it hard to believe this, and Cyrus goes on to explain that he and Jake have been at each other’s throats as of late (literally), and he says that Hannah’s laptop went missing around the time that Jake stopped by his office to discuss talking points for the summit. He goes on to say that Jake is former NSA and nobody has a means or opportunity to pull off something like this. He states that Jake wants him out of the way, and since only Congress has the power to remove him from office, Jake has opted for this instead.

But to what end though? I’m all for Jake being the bad guy and whatever, but aside from him snatching Olivia’s jobs from her, Jake has never struck me as someone who is looking to ascend higher in politics via subterfuge. He didn’t even want to be Vice President when Olivia originally placed him on Mellie’s ticket, so Cyrus’s suspicion of him being behind this, while not impossible, is a tad shaky. Sure, he’s B613 and he kills people when ordered, but why this moment on plane with all of these innocents on it?

Yeeeeeah. It’s too easy of a setup, and unless something has suddenly changed with the way Jake Ballard operates, Cyrus’s theory doesn’t make a lot of sense. It sounds more like something Cyrus himself would do if he were in Jake’s position.

David remarks then that he and Jake “get along just fine”, not understanding why Jake would also blow him up, and Cyrus replies that clearly David doesn’t matter to Jake. He adds that the point he is trying to make here is that he doesn’t trust Jake or anyone else who receives a check from the federal government. He tells David that if they are to survive, they are going to need help from their “civilian friends”, people who care if they live or die. David points out that they have no way of reaching those people, and Cyrus says that they are going to have to rectify that situation somehow.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Cyrus and David approach the engineer (I assume) of the plane, and Cyrus says to her that he need for her to take the malware causing the disruption off of the laptop that he has and send it to someone on the ground. The woman asks if her superior should be included in this briefing, and Cyrus tells her that they can’t trust anyone. David pipes up then to remark that there must be some way to send out an email or a text, and the Lieutenant exclaims that something can be sent out via the National Weather Service. She explains that since they’ve still been getting updates from NWS, that must meant that their antenna still works. She proposes connecting one of the Wi-Fi routers to the NWS antenna, and before she can go further, Cyrus interrupts to ask her if the maneuver will work. She says that it will, and then she gets right to doing as asked.

On the ground at QPA, Abby is on the phone trying to get more information on the situation, but nobody knows a thing. Huck and Charlie are hacking away on their laptops when they get an alert that someone is trying to upload malware to the network.

Back on the plane, the Lieutenant declares that the upload of the file is going through. Right as they are celebrating this success, there is a beeping alert and the Lieutenant shares that the QPA firewall has caught the virus and may kill it before the gladiators know what is being sent to them. Cyrus asks if she can attach a message, and she nods in the affirmative and turns back to her computer.

Cyrus dictates what she should send to them, stating that the virus being sent is the one that hijacked Air Force Two and that they can use it to free the plane. He adds that they aren’t to trust the White House. Before the message gets sent out, David suggests having something specific added to it so that they know that the virus is coming specifically from them.

Back at QPA, Quinn is ordering Huck to quarantine and destroy the virus, but Huck tells her to slow her roll and tells them all that another message is coming through. The first is what Cyrus had dictated and the last one reads, “Gergenschlag says Hi”. Charlie asks who the hell Gergenschlag is and Abby jumps forward to say that it’s David! (Remember from earlier?)

Huck quickly replies that they are on the job, and the Lieutenant breathes a sigh of relief upon receiving his message. David jumps with elation and Cyrus clasps him on the shoulder. Now they wait.

In the Situation Room, the group is still keeping an eye on things. Mellie is briefed that the plane is about 3 hours and 20 minutes away from reaching D.C. Jake asks the NSA director on an update on the origin of the hack, but the woman has nothing to give him yet. The general who was briefing Mellie states that Andrews AFB has two F-15s on standby that are awaiting orders, and Mellie holds up a solitary hand to stop him before somberly acknowledging what he was saying and his meaning.

Jake stands then to say to the general that they may need to shoot the plane down, and the general asks Madam President if he ought to give the order for take-off. Mellie looks up at Jake in disconcertment and then she orders the room cleared. Once she is alone with Jake, she says to him that she wants Air Force Two on the ground right at that moment, and when Jake replies that he wants the same thing, Mellie questions if he really does. She points out that just a few seconds ago, he proposed shooting the plane out of the sky. Jake explains that they have to plan for the worst, but that it doesn’t mean that they stop trying. (True...)

Mellie then wonders how it is that she has B613, the NSA, and every other asset in their “cyber war chest” and somehow cannot stop one hacker. Jake tells her that they are doing everything that they can, but Mellie isn’t so sure that he is. She wonders if this is his way of taking out Cyrus.

Whoo wee!! Cyrus really did succeed in planting into Mellie’s head doubt about Jake, didn’t he? And this goes back to right before Olivia got kicked out when he was whispering in Mellie’s ear about how Olivia could not be trusted and neither could Jake. Then there was the whole incident with Jake and a pair of scissors in Cyrus’s office. Yep. Seed planted.

Jake says to Mellie that there is something called RS-522, that 2 mL of this stuff can stop your heart in 10 seconds. Given Cyrus’s heart problems, Jake says that no one would think anything of Cyrus dropping dead from a heart attack should he be given this drug. He asks her why he would go out of his way to kill several innocent people when two drops of the RS-522 in a glass of water would be sufficient to take out only Cyrus.

Mellie listens, but she isn’t convinced. She says that maybe he would take out Cyrus this way because Jake has a thing for planes. She brings up the fact that it is the way that Rashad was taken out, and she states that maybe blowing up planes is a fetish of his. (Heh.)

Frustrated, Jake tells Mellie to order the F-15s into the air and says that that is the only call that makes sense for her to make at the moment. Not appreciating his tone, Mellie proves that she can make one other call and she orders him out of her Situation room.

Well, aren’t y’all a pair? Looks to me like Mellie does not trust her own Chief of Staff. Kind of hard to do so when he’s a spy who also happens to run a covert government operation that he became the head of after maneuvering the position away from the last person who held it. If I were Mellie, I’d be afraid to drink water after that, but like I said, Jake relatively predictable.

Over at QPA, Huck has determined how the virus is controlling the plane and Charlie says that they can find the IP that the hacker is using and pull the plug on their control of the plane through that. Quinn remarks that that is easier said than done, that it’ll be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Abby asks if they could just do an “edit” and “find” on it, and Quinn explains that the code is a half a million miles long. Abby offers to help, but Quinn assures her that they have it under control. She tells Abby that she has to let them work and she should maybe wait in her office. Abby flips out at this and tells Quinn to not treat her like some woman who needs a fainting couch and says that she wishes to help. Quinn acknowledges this desire, but she points out that Abby can’t help and says that Abby knows this to be true.

Now in the Oval, Mellie is staring outside of one of the windows when Rachel comes in to tell her that she wasn’t able to reach Olivia on her cell phone and asks if she should try Olivia at home, but Mellie tells her not to bother.

Let’s pause here. Mellie is calling Olivia? For what reason exactly? She fired her and then had it leaked that Olivia was fired, so what does she want of the woman now? Is she experiencing buyer’s remorse with Jake? How anyone thought they could replace a Maserati with a Megabus is beyond me, but Mellie doesn’t always think through her impulsive decisions, so here we are. She’s stuck with a Chief of Staff-slash-Command who is the lowest of rents version of either of the Popes, and she is just going to have to deal.

Speaking of the Popes…

Olivia is relaying to her mother her experience with Annalise, saying that she was initially worried about her, but then states that there was no way that the case would have gotten heard by the Supreme Court without her. She is going in on Annalise’s positive qualities when Maya interrupts to ask Olivia why she is there. Olivia is confused by the question, and Maya poses it to her again, stating that one cannot play a player. Olivia replies that she is there because it’s Maya’s birthday and she wanted to do something special for her, and Maya shades the quality of the food that Olivia brought her, before saying that if Olivia really want to give her authentic French cuisine, she would get her a “first-class ticket to Paris, a suitcase full of money, and one of those fancy coats [she] be wearing”. Maya adds that Olivia would also let her out of this prison that she has her in.

She asks if Olivia’s visit is out of guilt. She remarks that Olivia went all the way to the Supreme Court to free all of those black people, yet she is holding her own mother captive. Maya says that that’s “kind of ironic or maybe just hypocritical”. (Eek!)

Before moving on to the rest of this pivotal scene, I’d like to make a couple of observations. Olivia is conversing with Maya as one would expect a mother and daughter to do, yet as Maya pointed out, Olivia is discussing with her what she has done for the benefit of others while having her locked up in a swagged out prison. (Y’all peep Mama’s Escada slippers??) It’s a better situation than the one Rowan had her in for 20 years, but it’s really not all that different.

Olivia had claimed that she locked Maya up for her own protection, but in truth, it is more likely because she wanted to have her mother within reach and not off in some far away locale. As a woman who shows more than she tells, Olivia with this prison and her visits wanted to be able to drop in and play house whenever it suited her and Maya would be right where she expected her to be. It’s sad and even desperate, but it makes sense for a woman who has been affected by the abrupt loss of her mother at such a tender age and has been struggling with feelings of abandonment ever since.

In disbelief of what she is hearing, Olivia says that she thought she could come there and spend one lovely day with her mother because it was her birthday. Maya bursts her daughter’s bubble then to say that the 27th isn’t actually her birthday. (Oh hell nah…) Olivia is confused when she says this, and Maya explains that she had so many alias back then that she couldn’t recall which was which, so whenever Olivia came in shouting “Happy Birthday, Mommy!”, she always acted surprised because she couldn’t remember what day her supposed birthday was. She allowed Olivia to tell her when it was and she just played along. (Woooooow.)

Seeing her daughter’s expression, Maya tells Olivia not to act surprised, that she knew that that wasn’t really her birthday. Olivia replies that she really didn’t know, but Maya interjects with a dismissal of her denial. She says that Olivia is a smart girl and that if she had thought about it for a moment, she would have realized the truth of it a long time ago. She states that instead, Olivia likes to live in a fantasy world with a mother who talks to her in a baby voice. Maya then mimics said voice with various phrases that she could say to Olivia in comfort, and then asks her daughter is this is what she wants from her. (Hmph!)

Maaaaan….sometimes the desire to kick Maya in the face is overwhelming, and yet I can’t even fault her for being brutally honest. I just wish she knew how to land a blow without destroying a person on the inside, you know? She takes a karate chop to your abdomen and leaves your there to figure yourself out.

What she says about Olivia living in a fantasy world is right on the money, but I quibble with her just a tiny bit on ridiculing her child over her not figuring out that the 27th wasn’t really her birth date. Given the pleasant memories that Olivia associates with the date, I doubt that she was sitting about as an adult and concluding that the date was a false one. I suppose she should have extrapolated as much since everything else about her mother’s identity is a lie, but you know, Olivia and fantasies. She couldn’t have allowed her kid to keep that one? Tsk.

Sighing, Olivia gets up and walks away from her. She goes to retrieve her cell phone right as Maya asks her if “mommy” has hurt her feelings. Olivia isn’t paying her any mind as her phone continues to ding with alerts. Hearing all of the racket, Maya asks Olivia what is going on.

Flash over to the Grant Institute, and Marcus is watching the coverage of the Air Force Two situation on the television in Fitz’s office. He remarks that the reporters have been repeating the same thing for over an hour and that one would think that they’d have something new to share by now. Fitz’s cell phone rings and he rushes over to his desk to answer it. Seeing that it’s the White House, he motions for Marcus to give him privacy before he picks up the call.

Mellie starts off their conversation by remarking that she is having a crappy day, and Fitz replies that he can see that and adds that he’s surprised that she called, having assumed that she would be busy. Mellie takes several deep breaths before saying that she isn’t sure why she called, and Fitz guesses that it might be because she wanted to be on the phone with someone who knew how it felt to be president. When Mellie concedes that that may be why, Fitz asks her if she would like to know what he would do in her present situation. Mellie takes a moment to consider his offer, but then she declines. Fitz laughs a little at this before Mellie thanks him for allowing her a moment.

Can I just say how much I love the evolution of Fitzgerald’s relationship with Mellie? These two could have stayed bitter post-divorce, but here they are instead functioning as actual friends. It’s beautiful.

Considering the Future

Up in the sky, Cyrus is huddled together with David when he asks the other man about the status of his relationship with Abby, saying that they must be getting serious. David replies that he is on his end of things, but that Abby can be difficult to read. Cyrus nods and tells him that he has great taste and that he is right to be serious about her. He goes on to say that the moment David takes a woman like Abby for granted, he risks losing her.  Cyrus says that David should trust him on this, that he knows. (Is Cyrus referring here to his wife??)

Right at this moment, the sound of jets come roaring past, and David takes a look at the window to see fighter jets hovering beside Air Force Two. As Cyrus takes a look at as well, David asks if there is any chance that they are there to escort them to safety, but Cyrus replies that the arrival of the F-15s means that Jake is winning. (I guess…)

What is obvious is that Mellie has concluded that what Jake recommended as a strategy is indeed the only call that she can make in this particular circumstance. She tells those with her in the Situation Room that no one is to fire unless she tells them to, and they nod in response.

Over in the White House Briefing Room, the press secretary is answering reporters’ questions about the Air Force Two ordeal. To just about every question, she says that the White House is “prepared for any possible contingency”.

At QPA, Abby is staring blankly out into middle space when Huck comes by to give her an update. He starts to describe in detail what he has done thus far, but upon seeing Abby’s worried expression, settles with saying that they are still working on cracking the virus. He says that they are working as fast as they can on it, and Abby asks if they are working faster than a missle from an F-15. She says as a former White House press secretary, she knows when they offer statements such as “exploring all available options”, that’s the Administration trying to cover their butts because they have already made a decision as to what they’re going to do.

Abby goes on to say that if David had asked her to marry him, she would have told him that she’d think about it and make him believe that the decision was much harder than it actually was when the truth was that she had already made a decision and only said she’d think about it in the hopes that it would soften the blow she had given him. (This is Abby comparing the White House’s “exploring all available options” to how she would handle a marriage proposal from David.)

Huck remarks that David isn’t a bad guy and Abby concurs, her eyes welling up with tears. Huck says that he knows what she went through with her previous marriage and that maybe the problem is that she doesn’t have any good memories associated with being married, hence her hesitation. He offers that maybe what Abby needs are new memories. Abby lets out a humorless laugh and says that she guesses she’s in luck since David’s plane is about to be shot out of the sky, and that’s a memory that’ll stick with her for the rest of her life. (That’s not the kind he was talking about, but okay…)

Back on Air Force Two, David is arguing with Cyrus in favor of trying to talk to the President now that they have a signal to reach somebody down below. Cyrus is insistent that they do nothing for they cannot rely on Mellie to be able to deal with Jake. She can’t have the NSA director detain him for it is Jake who hand-picked his successor. Cyrus says that Jake controls everything. (Jake does? We must be thinking about two different people because…)

Cyrus says that he understands David not wanting to be blown up, but he argues that what would be worse is being used as a bomb against his fellow citizens. He states that this is what will happen if they call Mellie and mess with her head. It could lead to there being thousands of funerals as the plane plummets down into the city verus there only being 39 for those on board the plane. Having said this, Cyrus adds that David’s friends are smart and might still be able to get them out of this situation, but in the event that they do not, they themselves need to prepare for the worst.

Elsewhere in the plane, the reporter from earlier makes her way towards where the Lieutenant is working and catches her off guard. She remarks that she had turned her phone on earlier and for a moment caught a Wi-Fi signal. The Lieutenant demands to be given the phone, but the reporter ignores this and instead pleads to have the signal sent to the main cabin so that she may do her job the same as the Lieutenant. She adds that people have a right to know what happened on the plane. When one of the crew members spots her and orders her back to her seat, the Lieutenant is left contemplating what the reporter had just said.

All passengers are ordered to take their seats and to fasten their seat belts. Once everyone is seated, Cyrus comes out and stands up front to speak directly to them all. He says that he has no doubt that the White House is still working to bring them home safely, but that nevertheless, there they all were stuck on this hacked plane. He proceeds to say that he knows that none of them said goodbye to their loved ones that morning thinking that they won’t ever see them again. He says that he knows he didn’t and that if he had known, he would have called his daughter and may have even called his ex-husband to tell him that everything that he was right about that Cyrus never wanted to admit.

As this bit gets a small chuckle out of his fellow passengers, the reporter from earlier pulls out her backup cell phone from her coat pocket. She starts to record what Cyrus is saying, and it ends up getting broadcast to the people down below (because, you know, the Lieutenant caved on the Wi-Fi). Cyrus says that he isn’t there to talk to them about regrets, that he is instead there to speak to them about patriotism.

“I know that sounds kind of old and crusty of me, but hear me out. We live in a time where very little is asked of us as citizens. We take our freedoms for granted, those all unencumbered choices that we make each day in the course of pursuing our individual happiness: how and whether we worship; who we love; what we say, write, and read; even whether or not we trust our own government. We believe we are owed those freedoms. And we forget that freedom itself has enemies, enemies who would like to see our beautiful, brave, pluralistic society reduced to a regime built upon fear, violence, and oppression.

“At this moment in history, fewer than 1 in 10 Americans have taken up arms for their country. As individuals in this proudly individualistic nation, vanishingly few of us are called upon to serve. Today, for every one of us on this plane together, that has changed. We may not know the banner under which this place has been hijacked, but we can be certain that whomever is behind this attack is an enemy of freedom. Those jets outside represent our government’s commitment to protecting our country and its citizens. Unfortunately today, it may be their duty to to take measures to prevent this plane from crashing in a major population center, killing thousands of Americans on the ground.

“I know none of us would have chosen this ending for ourselves, which is why I hope we can think of it as an honorable one. Our sacrifice will help keep our fellow citizens safe. It will keep our country safe. We all have things to live for. This is something to die for. I’m proud to do that will all of you, my fellow Americans.”

Whoever writes these speeches (Shonda, is that you?!), they sure do know how to tie the fictional back to to what is happening in reality. Take a look at that first paragraph and tell me it isn’t addressing the shenanigans of this past election.


The speech is watched by everybody. Olivia is (weirdly) watching it on her laptop in her apartment; Fitz watches with Marcus in his office; Mellie is catching it with others in the Situation Room; Jake is watching it in his office; and the gladiators are catching it at QPA.

Cyrus is emotional as he delivers this speech, and it moves his present audience and those watching it via the sneak broadcast from the reporter. Interestingly, the moment reminds me of the speech Cyrus gave when Fitz stood by him to endorse him as the next President (611). It was aspirational and touching and convincing as hell that Cyrus had learned from his experience in jail. We all know how that turned out, yeah?

Olivia (who obviously never left her mother’s apartment, yet the edit above suggests that she did...SMH) is pacing up and down as she tries to reach anyone by phone, but no one is answering. Maya tells her to have a seat and to calm down, but Olivia says that says she can’t do that. She asks Maya if she knows what the protocol is when a plane gets hijacked, and Maya responds that protocol is to have the plane shot down. (Duh! Maya is responsible for at least one plane coming down due to the suspicion of a bomb being on it. Operation Remington anyone?)

Maya goes on to say that they in charge are going to handle the situation the way that they choose to, that Olivia shouldn’t worry about something that she can’t control. Olivia shakes her head at this advice as Maya again tries to coax her into taking a seat. She pats the arm of the chair that she is sitting in and Olivia finally listens and claims the seat.

Olivia still has her phone in her hand, but she follows Maya in doing some deep breathing in an effort to relax. She’s struggling not to go into a full panic and continues to the exercise as Maya rubs soothingly up and down her back. Maya says in a regular voice that she’s proud of Olivia, and then she switches to the high pitched baby voice as she continues with her ministrations.

Hearing the switch and taking it for the mockery that it was meant to be, Olivia rips herself away from her mother and turns to her in outrage. When she asks Maya what is wrong with her, Maya asks her daughter if she thinks she likes playing these games with her. She says that Olivia doesn’t listen and that this penchant of hers is unbecoming and downright embarrassing. She goes on to say that she raised her to be better than this (she did?!), but instead Olivia is crying over the people who kicked her out of the White House and worried about what is going to happen to them. “Who gives a damn?” Maya wants to know.

Well, shit. I want to know the answer, too, because here Olivia goes looking to take on a problem that isn’t hers to fix. The White House and what is happening within it is no longer Olivia’s responsibility, and yet here she is about to lose it because she’s unable to somehow handle the situation. Maya, in her cruel and unusual way of going about it, is essentially telling her hard-headed only child to mind her own. It’s wise advice that is easy to dish yet hard to follow when the one receiving it has spent most of their adulthood fixing and handling as a way to have some control over an unpredictable world. Tough love and all that rot.

Maya goes on to say that since Olivia was taken down by them, it is now their turn to go down. She proposes that they stop celebrating her “fake ass birthdays” and start celebrating the demise of those who demoted her. Olivia isn’t keen on what she’s hearing from mama, so she grabs her things and leaves.

One of these days, Rowan and Maya are going to appreciate the fact that their kid gets emo over things that they don’t quite get. While I’m all for Olivia learning to limit the amount of other people’s burdens that she takes on and for her accepting that she cannot and should not try to handle everything, it is in her nature to want to help. Expecting her to sit on the sidelines and do nothing is like asking her to commit to a chastity belt. That just won’t be happening, dawg.

Accepting Reality

Over at the White House, Mellie has come to Jake’s office, and closing the door behind herself, she asks Jake to level with her about his involvement with the plane situation. Jake tells her that he had nothing to do with the hijacking. He then tells her to give him an order, that she should tell him what she needs. He states that he has and always will serve at the pleasure of the President. (Well, this is actually true.) Mellie considers him for a long moment before letting out a sigh.

On the plane, the pilot is saying to Cyrus that she predicts that they have no more than 10 minutes before the order is given from below for the F-15s to shoot them down. She states that they are quickly running out of ocean. Cyrus says to her that they are to keep trying no matter what, and she nods in agreement.

Looking about at the others as if in a daze, Cyrus makes his way down the aisle and we see how the other passengers on the plane are dealing with their pending demise. When he looks over at the reporter who had surreptitiously broadcast his speech, she gives him a head nod and he returns it. (Hmm.)

Cyrus makes to his destination at the back of the plane, where he grabs a bottle of whisky and then claims the seat next to David. He notices the meds that David was examining and asks him if it is a sedative, but David says that it is Dramamine. He remarks that Abby must have slipped it into his pocket before he left that morning. Cyrus states then that maybe Abby isn’t as tough to read as David believes.

Over in the Sit Room, there is a countdown clock that reads that there is only one minute left before the plane will have to be shot down. Huck, Charlie, and Quinn are over at QPA rapidly typing away as they race to crack the code with time running out. The passengers on the plane hear the F-15s pulling back and gasp at the sound that they make, glancing outside of the windows to see what is going on. David asks Cyrus what that is about and Cyrus says that the planes have been ordered back so as to get in position to shoot them down!

Tension mounts in the Sit Room as the clock goes down to 30 seconds. The general speaks up to state the obvious about them running out of time and needing to act, and Jake says to him that Mellie is aware. She in turn orders them both to be quiet as she focuses on the task at hand. On the plane, David says to Cyrus that it has been a pleasure serving with him and Cyrus returns the sentiment before the clank their drinks together. At QPA, Charlie has finally found a way into the virus! Huck pushes Charlie out of the way so that he can quickly work to kill the virus.

Flashing back to the Sit Room, there are only 19 seconds left and Mellie orders for the general to attempt communicating with the plane one last time. She says that they were broadcasting from the aircraft just a moment ago, so there has to be some way to reach somebody within it. As the general tries to get someone to respond, Huck’s fingers are flying across the keyboard as he hurries to kill the virus. Mellie is staring at the screen as if willing for a miracle to happen and those on the plane are braced for the end of their lives.

Suddenly, the plane shattles and all those on board grip their armrests. The general makes several attempts to reach the plane, but there is still no response. What happened?!

Later that evening, Abby is pacing about in her apartment when her doorbell rings. She dashes to the door and opens it to find David. She sighs with relief and embraces him. When she pulls away, she orders David to just to “it” right now, and he initially has no idea what she is talking about. She proceeds to go on a ramble about how she is ready now to accept his proposal, especially after his plane almost crashed, and that he should just spit out the question. It ought not be anything poetic or even involve him getting down on one knee. She just won’t stop talking.

When David finally is able to say something, he tells her that he wasn’t planning to propose. He explains that the trip to the jewellers was for his mother and that the reservations to all of those restaurants is because Abby is a picky eater. David says that because of her past experience with marriage, he wouldn’t propose to her unless he was trying to lose her. Abby is touched and equally relieved to hear this, and she gives David a sweet kiss. (Awww….)

Over at the Residence, Fitz is sharing a drink with Mellie, and he says to her that she made the right call with that situation. She says that she knows, and Fitz asks her if she now wants to know what he would have done, and Mellie maintains that she really does not. The two of them laugh it off and continue to enjoy their drinks. (I really, really do love this version of Mellitz.)

Elsewhere in D.C., Olivia is seen listening to a news report about the plane while putting the finishing touches on a large gift box. Her front door is wide open and a delivery man stands on the other side in wait. She places a bow on top of it and then carries the box to the man. The reporter states that just hours ago it seemed like Cyrus was about to fall victim to “the most audacious terrorist attack in American history”, but the accounts of fellow passengers paints Cyrus as the ordeal’s hero.

Once Olivia is done with her business with the delivery man, she returns to the television to catch Mellie’s remarks about Cyrus’s “fortitude” is the reason why she chose him for the office. (Pssh!) She adds that it is what makes him “so extraordinary in that office” and why she expects that his future will be “more extraordinary”. This statement causes Olivia pause and roll something about in her head.

Back at her gorgeous prison, Maya is chilling when one of her guards walks up to her with the box that Olivia had sent out via messenger. Olivia is seen shrugging into her coat when her phone rings. She answers by asking if her mother likes the coat. Maya is standing in front of a mirror with a long white coat on and thinks that this is some joke from Olivia. When Olivia instructs her to read the card that came along with the gift, Maya receives the card from her guard and opens it up. It includes her flight ticket information and a Swiss bank account.

Maya asks what all of that is supposed to be and Olivia explains that it is her one-way ticket to Paris and a Swiss account with enough money in it to cover Maya eating only the finest of French cuisine for the rest of her life. Maya is giddy with excitement, but she still thinks that Olivia is on some jokes. Olivia tells her that she is giving her what she wants, and that she no longer wants to play their “messed-up version of Mommy and Me” any longer. She says that she can’t dress her mother up and make her play with her on Maya’s fake spy birthday; that Maya was right about it being unbecoming and embarrassing.

As Olivia is saying this, Maya comes to realize that her daughter is serious. There is resignation in her voice as she shares her realization about what she was doing with her mother, and so she is letting Maya go. Olivia congratulates her for having won and Maya does not immediately know how to respond. She is shaken.

When she does finally speak, Maya states that her birthday really is on the 27th, but the damage is already done. Olivia doesn’t even bother pretending as if she cares anymore. She scoffs before wishing her mother a happy birthday and then hanging up. Maya is surprised by this turn of events and she has to sit down as becomes overwhelmed with emotion.

So now mama feels bad, huh? She sure enough succeeded in snapping Olivia right out of the fantasy that she has long held onto of getting something resembling real mothering out of Maya, but what Maya didn’t expect was Olivia calling it quits altogether. She gave Maya what she claimed she wanted and then removed herself from the game.

Good on you, Livvie! Jump off that crazy train.

Maybe now that she has been forced to accept that the normal that she was hoping to get from Maya will never be forthcoming, the two of them can start on something new and build from there. It’ll take a while and require some serious work on both sides, but they can get there if they’re both committed to it.

That said, I wouldn’t blame Olivia if she opted not to go further with a woman whose existence has been largely comprised of lies and deceit, a woman who just told her that one of the things that Olivia cherished about her childhood was built upon a lie. It leaves one to wonder if there has been anything about Olivia’s youth that was real.

Contrary to Maya saying that she wants to be off to Paris, I suspect that she isn’t going anywhere. Not this time. She may have gone about it in an odd way, but I think it’s safe to say that Olivia wants her mother around. My guess is that Maya will try to give that much to her. We’ll see. It’ll be quite the adjustment for both women.

We next see Olivia visiting Cyrus at his home. He thanks her for being “so kind” as to stop by, and Olivia says that she came to see if he was okay. Cyrus replies that he is still suffering from a case of the nerves, but that he believes that he will be fine. He offers her something to drink, but she declines.

When she continues to stare at him, Cyrus queries her as to why.  Olivia wonders aloud why an attacker would settle for Air Force Two. Cyrus doesn’t understand her question, so Olivia elaborates saying that terrorism is spectacle, so if one has the capability of hijacking an executive military aircraft, why would anyone setting for Air Force Two instead of going for the big enchilada that is Air Force One? Cyrus says that he can’t help her understand the attack, that all he did was survive it. To this Olivia adds that not only did he survive it, he also managed to land himself right into his “extraordinary future” as Mellie put it during her statement earlier. Cyrus remarks then that Mellie is “too kind”.

As he claims a seat on the sofa, Olivia notes that Jake wasn’t at all mentioned in Mellie’s statement and Cyrus is sarcastic as he says, “Poor guy”. He states that Jake missed the Al Smith dinner and everything, that that sucks for him. Olivia replies that the situation almost sucked for Cyrus as well, given that those F-15s were mere seconds away from sending him and all the other people on the plane to a fiery death. She calls that one hell of a gamble that Cyrus took, and Cyrus replies that “gambling is for fools”.

This statement from him confirms Olivia’s suspicions, and she finally claims the seat opposite him. She asks him if he doesn’t believe that him staging all of this to making himself into a national hero is a tiny bit premature……

Wait a cotton-picking minute! Cyrus did what now??

Olivia wants to know what his long game is for setting all of this up now when his presidential bid won’t likely come for another seven years. Cyrus scoffs at this and Olivia asks him if he believes that Mellie will be out of office after three years (end of her current term). When he remarks that even three years is too long of a wait, Olivia sits up straighter in her seat, clearly alarmed. Cyrus tells her that of his many virtues, patience is not one of them.

Olivia asks him what it is that he intends to do in order to fast track his rise to the top, but Cyrus doesn’t bit. Instead he thanks her for stopping by. Armed with knowledge of Cyrus’s treachery and possible threat to Mellie’s life, Olivia exits from Cyrus’s home.

And the episode ends.

See what I meant earlier about this likely being the final showdown? Teacher versus student. The “used to be bad but was really still good on the inside” soldier on one side versus the “always been evil son of a bitch” on the other side. What the heck is about to happen??

Cyrus has always been one hell of a mastermind, season after season after season. He has a moment there where it seems like he has repented of his evil ways, but then something happens to place him right back on that same well-travelled road. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cyrus turned out to be the one behind Olivia’s kidnapping!

That was one turn of events that I didn’t see coming, but which I should have seen coming given the vast history of Cyrus Beene concocting scenarios that are to his benefit.

So what did you all think of this bridge of an episode? Good, bad, okay? Who do you think Cyrus has planned? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or with me on Twitter!

This is the end of this recap/review of Scandal episode 713! Only five more to go. (Sadz.) I thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next week!

Sign Up for the SpoilerTV Newsletter where we talk all things TV!


SpoilerTV Available Ad-Free!

Support SpoilerTV is now available ad-free to for all subscribers. Thank you for considering becoming a SpoilerTV premmium member!
Latest News