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Scandal - Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself - Review: "The Time to Do Right"

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This Scandal-slash-How to Get Away With Murder crossover event!!! HO MY GAWD! This thing killed and then resurrected me in 86 minutes. This thing had me outchea cutting up like Martin Payne when he won the lottery.

The crossover was very well done, and I am so thankful that they found some way to organically make this fusion work. Kerry Washington and Viola Davis are forces on their own, but together?? They were everything that I knew I wanted, but never thought that I’d ever get.

Given that this is a Scandal recap-review, what transpired during the Murder half of the crossover will be limited to moments having to do with Olivia Pope. I am admittedly several seasons behind on Murder, so the context of Annalise Keating’s world and how it affects Olivia will at most be surface.

Before getting into the meat of this thing, I’d like to note that Marcus Walker (Scandal) and Michaela Pratt (Murder) are the other two characters who make the cross as well. Not that it has to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: all of the characters involved in this crossover are Black, which makes sense when you take what they are working on into consideration. It reminded me of “The Lawn Chair” (414) episode, where Olivia was challenged on her privilege and made to consider a cause that was much larger than herself.

Now let’s begin. The Scandal half (712) is entitled “Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself” and the Murder one (413) is “Lahey v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”.

Adrift in a World (Almost) All Alone

When we come across Olivia again, there is a time jump of some unspecified number of months and she is serving as a guest lecturer at a local university. She is attired in the muted shades gray and black as she walks into class and heads directly to the board. There she writes out “How to Survive a Scandal” before turning to her students to ask who among them can tell her the biggest mistake that people make in a crisis.

A few eager beavers share their thoughts, and one humorously offers “telling the truth” as one such mistake. The class chuckles and Olivia gives him an indulgent smile before she tells her students that crisis managers are often misunderstood as people who lie for a living when in fact “truth is often [their] greatest weapon”. (Keep this in mind.)

Olivia then asks if there is anyone else who has anything more to offer, and a voice from the back gives as an example people not knowing that they are in a crisis. Olivia turns in the direction of the answerer and acknowledges the response as a good one. Not recognizing the attendee, she prompt her for an introduction and the woman shares that she is “Keating. Annalise Keating”. Yeah, baby!

At the conclusion of class, Olivia is breaking away from two students when Annalise comes down to meet her. Olivia remarks that Annalise’s answer was a very informed one, and she asks if Annalise had spoken from experience. Annalise explains that she is a defense attorney who had taught at Middleton Law School for years. She makes some quip about her reputation, but Olivia is unfamiliar with her and offers an apology. Annalise dismisses it and says that she’s glad that her business never caught Olivia’s attention.

As Olivia proceeds to pack up her things, Annalise shares that she is “representing a class-action case that has a potential to reform our entire justice system”. She adds that the case has over 100 plaintiffs who are mostly poor and people of color whose incarceration is due to underfunded public defenders.

When Annalise states that the case has just been shot down by the courts in Pennsylvania, Olivia hums in empathy and says that she wishes her “a lot of luck”. Annalise scoffs at this before replying that people’s constitutional rights are being violated every day in every courtroom across the country, that “luck is for cereal with marshmallows”. (Heh.) Annalise then says that what she needs is Olivia’s help. Olivia tells her that she doesn’t know how she can be of help since she isn’t a practicing lawyer, and Annalise says that she doesn’t need another lawyer, that what she needs is to have her case fast-tracked to the Supreme Court.

Olivia tells Annalise then that she has been out of the White House for some months now, implying that she no longer has the pull that Annalise is looking for, but Annalise counters by referencing news reports that stated that Olivia had left the White House “on good terms”. (Pssh!) Olivia momentarily looks caught flat-footed, but she quickly recovers to say that she did leave on good terms, but that she is presently enjoying her break away from politics. Annalise replies by saying that she is talking about justice, not politics. She proceeds to offer Olivia the case file that she had brought with her, and when Olivia starts to protest, Annalise asks her to at least look over the file before making her decision.

Annalise then starts back up the stairs, but before she gets far, she turns back around and calls for Olivia’s audience once again. She pronounces that America is in crisis and that together the two of them can fix it.

Whoo wee!! This reminds me of the “Lost Girls” (704) episode when Fitz came to Olivia with the missing girls’ case in an attempt to lure Olivia away from the dark side by recalling her to the things that she cares about. She was resistant then, too, claiming that looking for lost girls was no longer in her wheelhouse, but she eventually capitulated.

Over at QPA, Abby and Huck are in the big office updating Quinn on what they have on tap for the day, but Quinn isn’t paying attention. She is instead distracted by whatever it is that she is doing on her laptop. Abby and Huck look at each other before Abby asks if Quinn had heard anything that they had said. Quinn deftly summarizes what they had said (at least what Abby had said) while her eyes remain on her screen. We are finally shown what has Quinn’s attention, and it’s a Google-esque search of Olivia. On the right hand side of the page is a short Wikipedia-like summary of who Olivia Pope is, complete with her birthday of January 31, 1977!

After several seasons, we FINALLY know how old Olivia is! Well, kinda. I haven’t a clue as to what year the show is in, but nevertheless… Olivia and her portrayer share a birthday! (That’s cute, Shonda.)

Needing her feedback on what they are telling her, Quinn distractly agrees to whatever they suggest. Huck eventually leaves the office and Abby steps up closer to where Quinn sat at her desk. When Quinn finally looks up and asks if there is something else, Abby guesses that Quinn has been “Googling Olivia again”. Quinn doesn’t bother denying it, and she turns her laptop around to reveal that Olivia is teaching at DeWitt University as a guest lecturer. Abby is incredulous, but then she remarks that “those who can’t do…” and Quinn is surprised by how harsh she is being.

For those who don’t understand the line, it is a derivative of George Bernard Shaw’s “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”. It is considered a disparaging statement which has been taken by some to mean that those who teach are people who are unable to do anything else. It can also be read to mean that those who fail and learn from said failures are better equipped to teach because they can impart lessons learned on to others.

In any case, Abby’s was intended as a low shot. She says to Quinn that Olivia has done worse, and then she adds, “Good riddance”. There is no conviction to her words as she seeks Quinn’s agreement with her statement, and Quinn gives her one, but she, too, is unconvincing. Neither are doing a good job with selling this idea that they are fine with being on the outs with Olivia.

Later that evening, Olivia is sitting in a noisy, swanky bar with Marcus Walker. She’s having wine and he’s nursing a glass of whisky. Olivia has just shared with him that Annalise Keating showed up in her class and Marcus is geeking out. When Olivia observes that he has heard of Annalise before, Marcus states that Annalise is the “top defense attorney and badass professor from Middleton University”. Of course, he has heard of her. Marcus shares that he applied to law school at Middleton because of her and he considers her a “beast”.

Olivia watches him for a moment and then she remarks that “Google” says that Annalise is a criminal. Marcus concedes that Annalise has been accused of some things, and then he adds, “but haven’t we all”. He pointedly looks over at Olivia then and his meaning is unmistakable. His point is well-noted as Olivia says nothing more for a bit. When she does speak again, it is to say that Annalise would like her help with a case. As she starts to explain what the case is about, Marcus fills in the rest of the details for her, sharing that he had read about it. He says that he had brought the idea to Fitz, but that another project had sidetracked them.

Marcus asks if Olivia is taking on the case, and Olivia laughs at the absurdity of that idea. She asks him if he is serious, and in typical sarcastic Marcus fashion, he points out that black men are having their constitutional rights violated every day; that of course, he’s serious. Olivia tells him that she is out of the “game” and Marcus (again with the sarcasm) says, “Riiiiiiight. You’re a school teacher”. Welp.

Not appreciating his tone, Olivia warns him to watch himself. Both retreat into their metaphorical corners before Olivia says that she doesn’t think that she can do it. At this point, Marcus is over the conversation. He tells her to not do it then, that she can do nothing and go on wasting her life. (Ouch!) He then gets up and says that he has to go.

As he is digging into his pocket for money, Olivia asks him why it is that he comes whenever she calls despite everything that has happened. With a sigh, Marcus explains that they are both Black and what that means is that he will always be there for her and always root for her. He then shrugs and says, “It’s how we do.”

Olivia doesn’t say anything in response to this, but it’s clear that Marcus has given her something to think about. Of all the people who she betrayed with her antics, Marcus has the least history with her, and Black or not, he has proven that he’ll show up for her when she needs someone in her corner (504). Without him, Olivia would have been left completely friendless after having recklessly burned all of her bridges.

Once home, Olivia flips through the case file that Annalise had given her earlier in the day. One of the cases is of Nate Lahey, Sr. As she continues through the binder, there is face after face after face of people of color who have been screwed by the system. On one page, Olivia comes across Annalise’s name, and after a pause, she returns to Googling. She finds lots of information on Annalise’s murdered husband Sam Keating. (Ooo, look! Tom Verica finally makes a Scandal appearance!)

Having looked her fill, Olivia makes her way over to where Annalise is staying. She has the case binder with her and when Annalise opens the door, Olivia immediately launches into how strong the case is and how good Annalise did with her brief. She says that it is evident that these people’s constitutional rights are being violated.

Annalise says that she senses a “but” coming and Olivia states that the only problem with the case is Annalise herself. She tells her that given the research that she did, Annalise Keating cannot be the face of the case. Murdered husband, a stint in jail, nullified tenure at Middleton, almost disbarment for alcoholism. Olivia says that the press would use her for fodder for a least a month, and that even if she were able to spin all of this in her favor, there was no way that the Supreme Court would touch the case.

When Annalise asks if Olivia is saying that she is a “hot mess”, Olivia responds in the affirmative. (LOL!!) Annalise then reveals that the reason she came looking for Olivia was because she believed that she was able to move mountains, that Olivia’s reputation was supposed to speak for itself. She is calm as she says this, her face a picture of resigned disappointment. Olivia looks momentarily taken aback by this, but then she tells Annalise to have a safe trip back to Philly. Annalise says nothing to this and simply shuts the door in Olivia’s face.

Olivia turns to leave, but then she comes to a stop and leans against the wall in contemplation. She glances down at the file that she still had in her possession, and then she heads back to Annalise’s room. When Annalise opens the door, she is surprised to find Olivia standing on the other side. Olivia proclaims that if the two of them are going to work together, Annalise must understand one thing: that thi is “[her] town, [her] game, [her] rules”. (Ha!) A delighted Annalise says that she understands before Olivia stomps off in her usual fashion.

Dusting Off the White Hat

The next time we see Olivia, she is dressed in black covered with a long white coat (yes!), and she is marching into the Fitzgerald Grant Institute with the case binder in tow. Marcus is walking briskly with her, telling her that her being there wasn’t a good idea, that Fitz doesn’t want to see her, and that he himself hasn’t got anything to do with her being there. (LOL!) To each of these statements, Olivia replies with an “I know”. She is essentially on her own.

Marcus breaks off down one hallway as Olivia continues towards Fitz’s office. She walks right in to find him standing as if in wait for her appearance. They stare at each other for a brief moment before Olivia offers him a “Hi”. Fitz watches her a few seconds longer before he impersonally asks how he can be help her. (Eek! No “hi” back.)

Olivia launches into the reason for her visit, and as Fitz steps forward, she extends the case binder to him for his perusal. Fitz tells her that he is familiar with the case and he wonders why she needs their help. Olivia explains that it’s a big case and that she can’t do it alone. Fitz pauses in his examination of the binder and turns back toward her to remark, “Olivia Pope asking for help. That’s a first”. (Somebody is justifiably still upset.)

Olivia absorbs the personal jab, but she can’t allow for their personal conflict to stand between what’s at stake with this case. She tells him that the purpose for her visit was not to seek forgiveness. She says that she knows that he doesn’t like her, but that she also knows that he started the Institute to give hope to those in the country who are “punished because of the disadvantages that they were born into”. His desire to turn their “American nightmare” into an “American dream” is the reason why she is there, so yeah, she, the big, bad Olivia Pope is asking him for help.

Girl sure does know how to turn a situation on its head, doesn’t she?

The following day (or whenever), we see Michaela Pratt arranging documents and writing pads for those who are expected to be a part of their meeting. Marcus spies her from the windows in the hallway, and upon entry into the room, he remarks on Michaela’s early arrival. When she replies that she isn’t early, Marcus points out that the meeting doesn’t start until 9 and as such, she is, in fact, early. Michaela counters by stating that she is not early but ready. (Okay now!)

Moments later, Annalise and Olivia come walking in. Upon Olivia offering a morning greeting, Michaela scurries over to express how much of an honor it is for her to meet Olivia. Amused, Olivia turns to Annalise who introduces Michaela as her associate. Olivia tells the younger woman that it is nice to meet her, and then as she walks past her, she introduces Marcus to Annalise. Marcus welcomes Annalise to DC and offers her a handshake.

Just then, Fitz strolls in with a “Morning, everyone!” When Olivia replies with a “Mr. President”, Fitz gives her a cutting glance before quickly turning his attention towards the others in the room. (Hmph.) He extends a hand to Annalise and he tells her that she can call him “Fitz”, but she strongly declines, insisting on using his official title instead.

Turning towards the other side of the room, he approaches Michaela who is having a deer caught in the headlights moment as she mumbles about Fitz being the 44th President. She’s shaking his hand rigorously as she seems unable to say anything other than the fact that he is the 44th. Annalise on the other side of the room is shaking her head at Michaela’s performance. (LOL!)

Olivia speaks up then to say that they wanted to thank Fitz for agreeing to help them. She goes on to say that the issue is an important one, and Fitz cuts her off by saying that he knows. He isn’t obviously rude about it, but he’s rude. (Hahaha!) He turns towards Annalise then to say that the other President Grant also believes the issue to be of import. Annalise asks if Mellie has agreed to meet with them, and when Fitz replies that she has, Michaela lets out a restrained noise of excitement. Marcus remarks that if they are successful in getting the support of the White House, the Supreme Court will certainly add them to their docket.

When Olivia declares the meeting with Mellie to be “fantastic”, she succeeds in drawing Fitz’s attention towards her, but it was only results in him rolling his eyes away from her and back to the other side of the room. He may have agreed to work with her, but he’s not going to pretend as if he likes it. Olivia is still very much in the doghouse. Arf.

Later at the White House, Mellie welcomes the gang to the Oval. Annalise enters first, followed by Fitz and Marcus, and Olivia takes up the rear. David and Jake also join them. Mellie is all charm as she offers a hand to an awestruck Annalise who had been looking about the Oval in wonderment. When Mellie catches sight of Olivia, she maintains her smile, but ignores her altogether as she and everyone move to claim seats.

Skipping ahead a bit, Mellie is seen flipping through the case binder and asks if all the people within are innocent. Annalise replies that there is no way to tell since none of them were able to afford an adequate defense attorney. Annalise says if they are able to get the Supreme Court to hear the case and if they win, the system can be changed and it can be changed now.

Mellie says to Annalise that she agrees that the system has to change, but then she says that it cannot happen in the way that Annalise is hoping that it will. Annalise argues that the case is solid and all it needs is for the White House to put pressure on the Justices to hear it. Mellie clarifies that she likes the case, but it is the Court as it currently is that she doesn’t like. She states that if Annalise brings the case to the current roster of judges that she won’t win.

Olivia is watching Mellie closely as she speaks and then she turns her attention towards David who is saying that there are rumors that a couple of the more conservative judges may be considering retirement. He says that by next year, the face of the Supreme Court could look very different. Olivia is taken aback by that, exclaiming in disbelief the suggestion that they wait an entire year.

Fitz jumps in then to say that no one knows if these judges are actually going to retire, and he turns to Mellie to ask her if she’s really going to delay justice for these people based off of a rumor. Mellie counters by saying that her decision is based on the certainty that if the case is brought up to the court now, that it most assuredly be shut down. She then says to Annalise that all the work that she has put into this would be for naught.

Just as Annalise is about to go in with a response, Olivia interrupts with a request to speak with Mellie privately. Fitz cuts in to say that now isn’t the time, but Mellie is fine with them having a moment. Olivia gives Fitz a look, but he just looks away from her. (Lord, he’s really not here for her, is he?) Mellie asks for the room, and before Annalise could depart, she apologizes to her for not being able to be “more accomodating”. (Meh.) Annalise is clearly disappointed and she turns to look at Olivia who gives her a nod, which basically said that she would handle it.

Once the room is cleared out, Olivia asks Mellie why she agreed to take the meeting if she knew that her answer was going to be no. Mellie scoffs at this and says that she only agreed to the meeting as a favor to Fitz, and that she didn’t actually give “no” as an answer. She points out that what she said was “not now”.

Olivia remarks then that that present moment wasn’t the best time for Mellie to punish her for her misdeeds, and Mellie asks if Olivia truly believes her to be that small. (Um, yeah!) What Olivia says she believes is that Mellie is putting the brakes on something that she knows Mellie should want and that there has to be a reason why she is doing so. Mellie maintains that she wants the case to move forward in a year when it has a chance to succeed. She then adds that the only reason Olivia wants the case to happen now is because Olivia needs a win while there is still a chance for her to build back some influence in Washington -- “beyond the occasional teaching gig, that is”. (Ouuuuuch.)

Olivia starts to protest, but Mellie interrupts as she dares Olivia to tell her that she is wrong about her true motivation with this case. She says that it wouldn’t be the first time that Olivia has lied to her face. (Eek! I mean...she does have a point about the lying.) Olivia says nothing for a long moment as she stares at Mellie with an unreadable emotion in her eyes. When she finally does speak, she says that they are going to the Supreme Court with or without Mellie, and Mellie in turn says that if Olivia tries it, she will find herself an adversary of the White House. With that line drawn in the sand, Olivia replies that that wouldn’t be the first time for her either.

As Olivia departs from the Oval, Mellie giving her the look of death. Ah, yes. We haven’t seen this Mellie with darts shooting out of her eyes in Olivia’s direction in a hot minute. Welcome back. You’ve been missed.

The Wrong Thing for the Right Reason

Flash over to QPA and Quinn is pour herself something to drink when someone comes into the office. She assumes that it’s the gladiators, but she turns around to discover that it is Jake. He remarks on how quiet it is there and Quinn tells him that they are all out running down cases. She then asks how she can help him, remarking on not being sure as to what to call him these days. She is sarcastic as she wonders aloud if she should go with Jake, Admiral, or Command.

Jake gets right to the point of his visit and says that there is a case heading to the Supreme Court that Mellie would like to see stopped. Quinn asks why he would be coming to them about it when he has B613 at his disposal (hello!) and Jake replies that he believes that particular case would be of personal interest because it involves Olivia. She is championing a criminal justice class-action lawsuit.

Quinn says that she’s going to take a pass on this case given that she is not interested in anything having to do with Olivia. Jake counters by saying that her RSS feed tells a different story, and he asks of how many articles Quinn has read on Olivia this month. (Creeper.) Quinn is disconcerted by the fact that he has been looking into her Internet history, and Jake states matter-of-factly that he is spying on her and everybody else within the United States. He goes on to say that if Olivia scores a win with this case, that it will clear a path for her back into the “halls of power”, and he asks if Quinn is really going to stand by and watch that happen.

Okay, pause for the cause. So Mellie via her new lapdog is working to deny justice to over a hundred people based solely on their presumption that Olivia is going to use this as an opportunity to reclaim her past “glory”? I understand being afraid of Olivia turning back into Darth Vaedra on a rampage, but isn’t this a bit of a stretch? I mean, couldn’t Jake just have B613 take her out?

Now he’s here looking to draw the gladiators into their shenanigans, and of course, Quinn is game because, well, Quinn is still understandably hurt by what she was subjected to. But what’s Jake’s beef? Mellie wants to war with Olivia and so he just goes along with it? Isn’t a Chief of Staff supposed to offer advice  that would steer a President away from making foolish decisions. Seems to me like Jake is already a failure at one of his fiddy eleven jobs.

Over at the Grant Institute, a dejected Annalise enters into the conference room followed closely by Olivia. Michaela is able to determine from Annalise’s expression that the visit to the White House was unsuccessful. Olivia remarks that the President as made her decision and that nothing they do will make her change her mind. Marcus steps into the room as Annalise turns to Olivia to ask if this is all of the effort that Olivia is willing to put into the fight. She says that Olivia was supposed to convince Mellie to back their cause, and she asks what happened between the two women when the rest of them left the room. Olivia says that what happened doesn’t matter, but Annalise says that it matters to her. (Oh boy.)

Instead of being truthful about what happened in the Oval, Olivia says that she and Mellie talked about Annalise and her messy past. She claims that Mellie made up her mind before Annalise even opened her mouth. (Wawu.) Annalise is visibly upset by this and Michaela looks devastated on Annalise’s behalf. Marcus glances over at Olivia as if he suspects that she’s the lying ass liar that she is.

Having delivered that preposterous blow, we are jumped ahead to Olivia ranting to Fitz in his office about Annalise being “impossible”. Fitz argues that Annalise is merely passionate about the case, which causes Olivia to turn around at what she perceived to be the unspoken suggestion that she isn’t just as passionate about it. She rails that it isn’t her fault that Mellie has chosen to be petty, and Fitz points out that it isn’t Annalise’s fault either. (Girl, what version of the tale did you tell him exactly?) Fitz offers to go back to try to convince Mellie himself, but Olivia says to him that maybe they don’t need Mellie. She says that they are just going to have to put pressure on the Supreme Court themselves.

With the Mary Jane Girls’ “In My House” serving as soundtrack, Olivia is seen taking her case directly to the media. Back at QPA, the gladiators are working to figure out which judges they can dissuade from jumping into the Team Pope-Keating column. (They are so on the wrong side of this thing.) Marcus and Michaela are seen working aides of justices and even trying to convince a justice directly, and Abby is doing the same thing on the opposite end. Olivia makes the rounds on the evening shows to further make her case directly to the public.

Regrouping at their respective caves, both Olivia and Quinn conclude that they are down to needing to convince one Justice Spivey. Abby says that the judge is unpredictable, that one can never tell on which way of an issue that he may fall. Over at the Grant Institute, Marcus come into the conference room to share that he just got off the phone with Spivey’s clerk and that they said that the judge agrees with her. He relays that a bit more media push could get him squarely in her corner.

Olivia considers this news to be satisfactory and says that they should set up a sit down between herself and Noah Baker. Annalise states that she doesn’t believe that to be a good idea, and Olivia says that she’s right and thinks that maybe they should go with a woman instead, possibly Franchesca Hunter. Annalise speaks up again to clarify that what she meant was that she believes that it would be a better if she did the interview instead of Olivia. She states that it’s her case and she ought to be the one who is put on camera.

Olivia argues that the interviewer will bring up all of Annalise’s past sins to use against her, but Annalise is not dissuaded in the least. She says that they can “bring it on”. She tells Olivia that she is tired of hiding in the shadows and reminds Olivia of what she said in class about truth being their greatest weapon. Olivia counters by saying that truth can also be unpredictable, and she states that she believes what they ought to be doing is staying on message and selling their case to Justice Spivey. Annalise then asks if she intends to sell this in the same manner that she sold the case to Mellie. (Oooo….) Olivia asks if Annalise is questioning her tactics, and Annalise asks if she should be.


The two women are staring intently at each other when Michaela pipes up to suggest that maybe they could do the interview together. She argues that Annalise could talk about the specifics of the case and try to sway Spivey, and should the interview turn personal, Olivia can steer the subject back to what’s important. Marcus chimes in then to state that what Michaela said what exactly what he was going to suggest. (Ha!)

After a moment, Annalise reluctantly agrees and Olivia follows suit. (Score for Michaela!) Marcus tells Olivia that he’ll set up the interview and Michaela says that she’ll call Spivey’s people to make sure that he will be watching it. Once they depart, Annalise sighs and says for Olivia to tell her that she knows a good hairdresser. Snickering at that, Olivia nods that she does.

Back over at QPA, the gladiators are trying to find dirt on Spivey, but are having no luck. Abby says that if they can’t get anything on Spivey, they are going to lose this thing. She points out that Olivia has succeeded in convincing the public and they now are in favor of reform. Quinn remarks that Olivia thinks that she can get away with ramming her case down the Supreme Court’s throat, stating that this isn’t surprising since Olivia gets away with everything else.

Sigh. These people really are here allowing their saltiness over the personal to cloud their professional judgement. Do they even hear themselves? They’re actually upset that Olivia is succeeding at getting the Supreme Court to hear a worthy case and they are upset that they haven’t yet found a way to stop her. They are all behaving an awful lot like Olivia did in the last episode with her attempts to reclaim control of the White House and B613 by any means necessary. She was as wrong then as they are now with their foolery, but they won’t let it go. They will keep digging until they find something.

Over at the White House, Jake is passing off some briefing or whatever to Mellie and she asks him what the status is on what QPA is doing on their behalf. Jake replies that they are still working on finding something on Spivey and then they do, it’ll nudge the judge over to their side. Jake makes to leave the room when Mellie asks about Olivia. She states that Olivia will find a way to get Spivey on her side and turn the tide against them. Mellie says that what Olivia does is win, and Jake counters by saying that Olivia cannot win without the White House on her side.

Okay, what? LMAO! Is Jake trying to soothe Mellie’s ego or does he truly believe this? Olivia can’t win without the White House backing her? Has he MET Olivia Pope?

In frustration, Mellie states that they are in Olivia’s corner. After all, she “let” Olivia resign and allowed her to “keep her dignity”. She says that everyone still believes that Olivia is still the “competent, trusted, right hand of the king” because she allowed Olivia to maintain her reputation. She then states that Olivia’s latest quest  with this quest is Mellie’s “reward” for the good deed that she did her by not destroying her publicly.

Alright, I’ve got to pause again. So because Olivia opted at the last minute not to blow up Mellie’s spot (and destroy the presidency of the first woman who has ever held the position), Mellie is here talking shit? And all because she believes (based on nothing more than suspicion and a fear of once again being under Olivia’s thumb) that Olivia is trying to usurp her again? She really believes that she is responsible for Olivia walking away with her reputation in tact? LOL...if you say so, Mel.

Jake replies that Mellie had to help Olivia (WTF is this nonsense?), that if the true nature of Olivia’s dismissal had gotten out, it would have not only had hurt Olivia, it would have hurt them, too. Mellie waves this away and says that it would have been a mere “flesh wound” that they could have dealt with easy enough and would have been fine.

Having said that, something occurs to Mellie and she looks at Jake like the cat that got the canary. She states that they will be fine, and Jake catches her meaning. When Jake remarks on her intention of leaking that Olivia had actually been fired, Mellie feigns innocence and says that doing such a thing would be “beneath” them, but then she asks if such a thing would be beneath Olivia’s former team. Jake takes that as an order and walks off to do her bidding.

See the “dream team” work. Again, why don’t they just save themselves the trouble and just eliminate Olivia? Or is that, too, beneath them?

They both can die now.

Airing of the Dirty Laundry

We next see Olivia and Annalise at a beauty salon. They are the only ones there since Olivia rented out the place, and they are cutting it up with their stylists as Black folks are known to do when getting their hair did. Olivia’s smile fades when her eyes catches a glimpse of the news report via the mirror. She is the subject of story. The headline is “Olivia Pope Dismissed From WH in Firing Scandal -- Former Chief of Staff’s Resignation in Question”. (Ah hell…)

Annalise notices that Olivia’s attention as drifted, and she, too, turns to the reflection of the television in her mirror. She asks her stylist to turn up the volume, and when she does, the reporter states that source share that Olivia’s interest in the class-action lawsuit is based on a personal vendetta against President Grant due to Olivia being ousted from the White House.

Well, shit. That’s a bold faced lie, but I guess a lie against the liar is some kind of justice...or something. Annalise’s stylist glasses awkwardly over in Olivia’s direction as the White House press secretary is heard saying that she cannot confirm or deny rumors of Olivia’s firing, but that what she can say is that the President will not be working with Olivia on any recent or future endeavors. (If that isn’t confirmation of the firing, I don’t know what is.)

Olivia is noticeably embarrassed by this truth coming to light, and Annalise is angry that Olivia lied to her about why Mellie refused to work with them. Olivia asks for the stylists to give them a moment, and the two make a hasty exit. Annalise accuses Olivia of lying, and Liv says that she didn’t lie, that her resignation was “complicated”. (Uh…) Annalise replies that her answer sounds like more spin to her.

Olivia points out that it is Annalise who came to her looking for her help, and Annalise says that she approached her because she thought that Olivia had “bite behind that bark”. She states that instead, she found herself a “siddity phony who judged [her] from the moment she laid eyes on [her]”. Olivia argues that she never judged her, but Annalise maintains that she did. She compares the judgement to that of a white man in a boardroom who looked down on her because her skin is too dark and her hips too wide.

Olivia reacts to this as if slapped and wants to know if this is where they are going with the argument. Annalise goes on to say that Olivia must think that they are “soul sisters” now because she “rented out a salon for a few hours on the black side of town”. (Damn!) She goes on to state that she has dealt with plenty of “bougie ass Black women” just like Olivia who “spent most of your life in a boarding school, Ivy League universities, with a horse between your legs and a silver spoon in your mouth.” She then says that Olivia isn’t the only one who knows how to Google.

Annalise recalls Olivia to the fact that she called her a “hot mess” (well, she merely agreed that you were a hot mess), and she says that despite Olivia trying to look down on her on her “little pedestal”, the two of them are actually the same.

Yiiiiiiikes. Now was it just me who thought of a different kind of “horse” when Annalise said what she did? It was just me? Okay. Neh mind.

Annalise dares Olivia to “keep it real” and state the real reason why she left the White House. Instead of Olivia obliging her, she dishes out some clapbacks of her own. She starts by saying that Annalise’s skin tone and measurements are the reason why she is disliked, that people dislike Annalise because she is a bully who insults people and then wonders why they won’t help her. (Facts!) Olivia then says that “keeping it real” can’t be working out to well for old girl if she had to “haul [her] broke ass on the Megabus to beg for [her] help”. (Ohhhh….)

Olivia goes on to say that Annalise may think she knows who she is and what she’s about, but that Annalise shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that the two of them are the same. She then says, “So allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Olivia Pope and I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. Especially you.”

After a stare down with her opponent, Olivia calls Kevin and the other stylist back into the room. She then readjusts herself in her seat as she tells Annalise that she doesn’t have to worry about her wash and press, that she’ll be sure to put in on her “siddity ass no limit, platinum card” and Annalise replies that she can pay for her own damn hair. (LMAOOO!!!)

Who’s going to need salve for their burn? I dare say Olivia, but home girl did get Annalise good with that Megabus quip. I’d have just given up the ghost. This would have been me:

Elsewhere, Abby is in her apartment watching the report on Olivia’s firing. David emerges from the bathroom and joins Abby in the bed. He can’t believe that the White House is playing dirty, and Abby admits that it was actually QPA who released the information. Abby insists that the action wasn’t personal, that Olivia needed to be “stopped for the greater good of our nation”. (Again, do any of these people listen to what they are actually saying?)

David turns to her and says that Olivia is trying to reform our justice system, and before he can say more, Abby states that Mellie wants the same thing, but on a safer timeline. (Uh huh.) David counters by saying that maybe playing it safe is the problem. He tells her that he respects Mellie’s reasoning, but that a “safe timeline” is sending someone to jail for 20 years on a “simple possession charge”. (Speak some sense into her, David!)

Seeing her vibrating with her thoughts on her side of the bed, David turns to her and says that it is okay for her to admit that she misses Olivia. Abby says that she doesn’t miss her, that her issue is that she doesn’t trust Olivia. (Sure, Jan.) David knows otherwise though and he pulls her into a comforting hug as they settle into bed.

Over at QPA, Quinn is heading to her car in the parking garage only to be met by Olivia who is waiting for her by her car. As she approaches, Olivia asks Quinn what it is that she believes that she is going to get out of this. She tells Quinn that she is on the wrong side of this fight, but Quinn tells her that the only side she is on is that of her client. Olivia guesses that Quinn’s client is the White House, and she points out that what Quinn is doing is actually denying many wrongfully imprisoned people their rights. Quinn responds by saying that she isn’t the media and that as such, Olivia can’t “spin” her. She then accuses Olivia of only taking on the case because she wants back into the game. She adds that Olivia doesn’t truly care about those people and that the only person Olivia is thinking about is herself. (Echo chamber much?)

Olivia laughs at this and points out the irony of Quinn saying what she just said to her when she herself isn’t doing any of this on behalf of her client, but instead as some way to get revenge on her. When Quinn admits that maybe she is indeed doing this to get herself some revenge, Olivia reminds her of what she had told her about her QPA being about justice. She advises Quinn not to let go of that or compromise herself because Quinn hates her.

Quinn warns that Olivia will want to walk away before she does something that Olivia regrets (yawn), and Olivia states that Quinn already has done just that by taking on the case. She promises that Quinn will come to regret her decision.

I’m back to wanting Quinn dead.

Later back at the Grant Institute, Olivia is sitting alone in contemplation in the conference room when Fitz starts by, but he stops when he notices her in there. He hesitates a moment before deciding to approach. He doesn’t enter the room, but instead stands in the doorway as he asks Olivia if she needs anything for her interview tomorrow. When Olivia says that she doesn’t, Fitz looks heavenward (or was that another eye roll?) before turning to leave. He has taken but a few steps when Olivia speaks up again to say that they aren’t going to win the case. She states that she will do what she can, but that she can only spin so much.

Olivia continues by saying that Annalise has big problems that she needs to return to Philadelphia with, and she is interrupted by Fitz then who thinks that the only woman who has big problems there is Olivia herself. Olivia scoffs at this before telling him that she isn’t in the mood, and Fitz replies that neither is he!

Pulling the door to the room shut behind him, Fitz finally steps into the room and says to Olivia that she knows how important this case is and how long it has taken for it to have gotten to its present point. Olivia apologizes and tries to place the blame for this on Annalise, but Fitz cuts that off. Olivia can barely look at him as he states that the real issue here is not Annalise Keating, but Olivia Pope. He asks her where the hell is she, and Olivia point out the news reports about herself. She declares their fight on behalf of their case to be over, but Fitz doesn’t accept that and he says that she doesn’t except it either.

He goes on to state that reporters saying mean things about her on television isn’t new territory and neither is her going up against the White House. He further points out that Olivia working with someone who she can’t stand and who calls her out on her bullshit isn’t new for her either, so what gives? He wants to know why it is that she is now having this attack in confidence, and Olivia finally replies that she is no longer the person that Fitz is describing; that she is no longer the woman that he---

Well, she doesn’t finish her sentence, but one could guess as to where that train of thought was going.

In a subdued tone, Olivia proclaims that things are different now and she proceeds to pack up her documents that littered the table. Fitz asks her why it is that she took the case, and she doesn’t immediately answer as she goes over to collect her purse. When Fitz presses her for a response, she says that she took the case because it matters. Fitz remarks that she’s in this because she wants to change the world, and Olivia defiantly replies that she is in it because she wants to change the world. And at that, Fitz says, “There you are”. (GAH!)

Olivia gets emotional when she realizes what Fitz had just managed to do. He has just proven to her that she is still her, but that everyone doesn’t see it, including herself. (Of note, he does not include himself in this statement. Fitz has always known that she was still in there.)

Sighhhh. This two idiots.

Facing the Music and the Truth

The following morning at QPA, Charlie arrives with dirt on Justice Spivey. Quinn is ecstatic over the find and she states that Olivia won’t know what hit her. Abby opens the door to the adjoining office then and Charlie glances over at her. Red doesn’t look convinced that they are doing the right thing. She stands where she is until Quinn notices her, and when she is ask for what is on her mind, Abby states that she is all for playing dirty, but when they play dirty, it is usually for a good reason. Quinn maintains that her reasoning is justified, but Abby walks away unconvinced. Quinn is looks up then with some doubt clouding her expression.

A little bit later, she is seen handing the information that they found to Jake. As he turns to leave with the dirt, Quinn asks him why it is that Mellie is so against this case making it to the Supreme Court, and Jake replies that this isn’t about the case, but about finally getting a chance to stick it to Olivia. He then remarks that it is what they all wanted, and Quinn reluctantly agrees. When Jake finally departs, Quinn looks troubled.

Elsewhere, Olivia and Annalise are on set for their interview with Francesca Hunter. The two women as sitting some distance apart with their bodies angled away from each other. Michaela and Marcus are standing just off camera, and the chill between the two women in front of them is as clear as day. Michaela asks if Marcus thinks this interview is a good idea, and he says, “Not really”. (Ha!) The interview proceeds anyway.

Francesca starts off by thanking both women for being there, and then she says to them that she would like to address a recent news story that came out before they can discuss why they are there. She wants to know if there are any truth to the rumors that Olivia was fired from the White House. (Olivia had not offered comment to anyone since the news broke the day before.) Olivia answers simply that she was indeed fired. Francesca asks if Olivia regrets how she handled anything, specifically during her time at the White House, and Olivia says this:

“I regret that my relationship with President Grant dissolved to the point of my dismissal; that ties were severed between people I am closest with. People who I have served. People I have mentored. People I still love.

“But I am a fighter, so I don’t regret the fight. I can’t. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. And luckily, I am not alone. Next to me is one of the most courageous fighters I have ever met. I am just as proud to be in service of her right to get this case heard by the highest court in the land as anything that I have ever done. And while I understand the interest in me, I have lost very little compared to the men and women--many of them innocent--stuck in prison for decades because of an inadequate defense provided by our legal system. So I respectfully ask the public, including you, Francesca, to shift the focus to what matters: the fight to reform our criminal justice system and the woman who is leading that charge, fighting that fight for all of us---Annalise Keating.”


Recall how early on Olivia didn’t want Annalise to be interviewed because she was afraid of how the mess of her life would play out in front of cameras? Michaela had suggested that both women do the interview together so that Olivia would steer the conversation back to the case in the event that the interviewer wanted to dwell on Annalise’s personal life. Instead, it is Olivia who is addressing her mess and deftly turning the conversation back to what matters.

Annalise and Olivia look at each other then, and Annalise gives Olivia a small nod of thanks for finally owning her truth and for the kind words that she says about her. This silent exchange and Olivia’s stellar performance prompts Marcus and Michaela give themselves a high five. (LOL!)

Mellie watches the interview from the Residence and Quinn from her QPA office. Fitz is catching it in his office, and he couldn’t have looked more proud of Olivia. (I swear, this man is forever her #1 stan.) The first part of Olivia’s quoted statement above is clearly meant for the ears of those who she has wronged.

With the interview behind them, Olivia is entertaining Annalise in her apartment. The television is on and they are listening to some talking heads discuss the merits of their case. Olivia has her usual big bowl of popcorn and two wine glasses set on the coffee table. She is set to pour some wine for Annalise, but is stopped and reminded that Annalise can’t have any. As Olivia settles down into the sofa, Annalise marvels at her combination of wine and popcorn, remarking that it looks like a “Megabus special”. (Haha!) Olivia counters by saying that it is more like a “siddity snack”. (Oh, they’ve got jokes now that they’re cool, huh?)

On the heels of this exchange, Olivia’s phone rings. It’s Marcus with bad news. Despite their stellar performance during the interview, Spivey is still a no on moving their case forward. Annalise is crestfallen. After coming so close and doing all that they could to move this forward, they get stopped right at the gate. Damn.

Later, Olivia is alone in her apartment and she is putting away the case files when she gets a knock at her door. She opens it to find Quinn on the other side. Quinn doesn’t say anything for a long moment, but then when she finally speaks, she shares that Justice Spivey’s decision not to hear Annalise’s case wasn’t based on its merits. She hands Olivia a folder containing the dirt found on Spivey and says that she had given the same information to Jake. She believes that Jake used what’s within to sway Spivey’s. She says that there is no way that the judge could have seen Olivia and Annalise’s interview without being affected by it. Quinn goes on to say that if Olivia can find some way to make what’s within the folder to disappear, she might be able to get a different result.

Olivia doesn’t know what to say. Matter of fact, she doesn’t say anything at all. She just looks stuck in stunned confusion. Quinn makes it known that she didn’t do this for Olivia, but that Olivia was right in reminding her of what she had said about her QPA being about justice, and that now that she has handed that file over, QPA still is.

The following morning, Olivia pays Justice Spivey a visit. She has come to try to convince him to change his vote. When he tells her that he can’t give her what she wants, Olivia hands him the folder and tells him that he can now. Upon seeing what is within the folder, Spivey wants to know how Olivia got a hold of it, and she tells him that she got it from the same people who have given it to the White House yesterday. She says it cannot be a coincidence that his decision came shortly after they got the material.

Spivey assumes that Olivia is trying to blackmail him, but Olivia makes clear that blackmail is not what she is there for. She tells him that she is “done trying to influence people with anything but the truth” (YES!). She says that because the one witness to the crime has died, the hush money that the judge paid could be easily buried. She can make it go away. All she wants for him to do is to vote his conscience when it comes to this case.

Olivia continues by saying if Spivey’s son had been put on trial for what he did, she knows that he would want for his child to have the best representation possible. She goes on to say that the families of the plaintiffs in her case all want the same thing.

Look at my girl appealing to the good side of people instead of threatening them with dismemberment and sudden death. Keep on keeping on, Livvie! Keep on keeping on.

Olivia’s gamble with Spivey works! The case is placed on the Supreme Court’s docket! According to the news report, Spivey made an impassioned plea to his fellow justices to not only consider the case, but to also fast-track it. Mellie is disappointed by the news, while Quinn and Abby look proud of having corrected course and seen to it that this case made it to the Court.

The report goes on to say that this development is not only a success for Olivia and Annalise; it is a big step forward in an effort to reform America’s broken criminal justice system. (Black girl magic, baby!)

Emerging from the Supreme Court, Olivia is met by Annalise who is ecstatic by the change in their fortune. She says that she ought to call Olivia a miracle worker.

Once they reach the bottom of the stairs, Annalise wants to know what they’re to do now, asking if Olivia is going to return to her teaching while she heads off to the Supreme Court. Olivia asks her if that is what she would like to happen, and Annalise says “not exactly”. This isn’t what Olivia wishes to do either. Annalise asks if this is Olivia’s way of saying that she’ll join her in this fight, and Olivia asks if this is Annalise’s way of asking her. (LOL! These crazy ass women…) Of course, they will be working together.

And this ends the first half of the How to Get Away With Scandal crossover. Now for the Murder half.

Preparing for the Fight Ahead

“Lahey v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” kicks off with Olivia helping Annalise prepare for her showdown at the Supreme Court. They are in Annalise’s hotel room simulating what Annalise may face in front of the Justices.

Elsewhere, Annalise’s opponent Ingrid Egan (played by the talented Sharon Lawrence) is being interviewed by Noah Baker. She has experience arguing in front of the Supreme Court, while Annalise has none. She remarks that the only reason Annalise had success in getting this case to the Court is because she has “made friends with some very influential people”. Noah remarks that Ingrid is alluding to President Fitzgerald Grant, and she replies a bit snootily, “Among others.”

Oooo...the shade force is strong with this one.

At some point, Olivia and Annalise take a break from their sparring and we see Annalise watching a bit of the interview where Ingrid is doing her best to poo-poo her case. She states that there are a number of other issues that one could be focused on, and then she tossed out that Annalise just recently was a criminal defendant herself. Noah is quick to point out that Annalise was cleared of all charges, and then he adds that Annalise has stated that her experience is what inspired the class-action suit.

Olivia comes back into the room then carrying a bottle of champagne in a bucket and a notecard in hand. She shows Annalise the gift, and Annalise’s eyes goes directly to the card. When she sees who it is from, she asks, “Is he trying to win you back?” (LOL!) Olivia tells her that the gift is for her.

Annalise takes the card as Olivia goes to set the bucket down and we see that the gift is from Fitz via his Institute. The note is simple: “Dear Annalise, I’m rooting for you” and is then signed Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III. Looking up from the card, Annalise advises Olivia to hide the champagne before she has the chance to “shotgun” it. Lawd…

Turning back to the television, Olivia catches some of what Ingrid is saying, and she tells Annalise that the woman is merely trying to get into her head. Annalise responds that she has heard worse things. As they continue to watch, Ingrid turns to attacking Olivia, describing her as someone who “is well known for finding ways around the law, not protecting it”. She goes on to say that she’s “concerned” that Olivia and Annalise are merely using this case to distract people from their own criminal acts.

Wow. Y’all just going in on these two, huh?

The following day, Annalise walks into the Supreme Court and she can’t seem to believe that she is standing within the Supreme Court. She marvels as she steps into the courtroom, taking it all in as she proceeds down the aisle. Her survey of the coveted room is interrupted when Olivia speaks up from where she stood by a back window. She smiles as she shares with Annalise that Ingrid’s interview had the opposite effect of what she had intended. Now the ACLU and various other groups have all offered to join in on this fight. Olivia tells her that these entities all have lawyers who have argued and won cases in the Supreme Court. To this, Annalise asks how then is it that she is the one who has managed to bring this case this far and not them. Olivia studies Annalise a moment before going on to remind her of a career goal that Annalise had set for herself, which was to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court and win. Olivia tells her that if she argues this case and loses, it will set criminal justice reform back decades, so what she is asking Annalise to do is consider some outside help.

Olivia then leaves Annalise alone to “soak up the glory” of being in that courtroom because on the day of, things will be very different. Annalise proceeds to do just that, looking about the quiet space.  After a while, she takes out her phone and calls up her mother.

The next day, Olivia arrives at Annalise’s hotel room and asks if she has made a decision on accepting additional help. Annalise says that she has decided to do it on her own, and Olivia is okay with that, saying that she isn’t “in the mood to make new friends”. (Ha!) She then says that unlike them, their opposing counsel is all about making friends. Olivia had learned that Ingrid is trading information with one of the Justices. She doesn’t know which, so tasked Marcus and Michaela with finding out who they are.

Just then there is a knock at the door, and when Olivia asks if Annalise is expecting company, she replies that she’s expecting her parents. She says she will to try to get rid of them. When she opens the door, she is warmly greeted by her mama (played by the incomparable Cicely Tyson) who is excited that her baby is going to be arguing a case in front of the Supreme Court. Her father is just as excited as he gives her a hug.

Mama drifts further into the room, and upon seeing Olivia, she asks Annalise as to who she is. Olivia steps up then and introduces herself. Mama plays hard of hearing and asks her to repeat herself. Annalise calls out to her in warning, and mama says to her daughter that she wasn’t talking to her. (LOLOL!) She then turns back to Olivia and asks her for her name again. When Olivia repeats that her name is Olivia Pope, mama laughs and says that she was just messing with her, that she knows who she is.

Mama then turns to daddy and remarks on how she told him the “lady from the TV was gonna be here”. Olivia exchanges pleasantries with Annalise’s father, and then Annalise tries to get her parents to come along with her to the room she has reserved for them down the hall because she and Olivia have work to do. Mama, however, was not going to let Annalise get to work without first eating. She brought some stew and biscuits along with her. She turns to her husband then and says, “Get out the Tupperware, Daddy”. (Hahaha! I love these people.)

Elsewhere, Marcus and Michaela have staked out Ingrid’s home. Michaela isn’t paying attention to the house, instead highlighting whatever document she is looking over. Marcus points out in a stakeout, two sets of eyes are better than one. Michaela replies that their opposing counsel isn’t stupid enough to have a Supreme Court justice visit her house in the middle of the day. As she states this, she looks up and catches sight of pizza being delivered to Ingrid.

Back at the hotel, Olivia and Co. have finished their meal, and Mama is talking about how she’s seeing single Black women everywhere. She reasons that it is because the police keep sending the men off to jail. She then adds that it is no wonder that Annalise “ran off and married a white man” (LMAOOOO!!) Annalise declares lunch over at that point, but Mama says that all she is trying to say is that she is thankful that she and Olivia are working to fix the justice system.

There is a knock at the door and Annalise opens it to find Nate Lahey standing on the other side. (Hey boo!) He came by to see how Annalise is doing. When he steps inside, he greets Annalise’s parents and mama introduces him to Olivia. As they shake hands, he tells her to call him “Nate” and Olivia immediately connects him name. Nate is quick to say that he isn’t the “face-case guy”, but his son. Olivia does this neck roll thing that she does whenever she is uncomfortable with something and looks over at Annalise who can’t quite look at her.

Out in the hallway now, Olivia is incensed that their face-case is Annalise’s ex-boyfriend’s father. Annalise counters by saying that Olivia’s ex is the President and she doesn’t hear her judging. (Ha!) Olivia reminds her that their opposition is looking for anything at all to crucify them with, and when Annalise implies that she is the one who will be attacked, Olivia recalls her to Ingrid’s performance where she was just as much a target as Annalise is.

Annalise asks Olivia then if this is the reason why she wanted her to bring on those other lawyers. Olivia replies that she left that decision to her to make and Annalise says that she made her choice as she saw fit. When she says that she is going back inside, Olivia asks if she is going back in to work or “to eat mama’s stew”. (Olivia...)

Annalise watches her for a moment and then guesses that Olivia is terrified of having to rely on Annalise’s messy behind to help her save her reputation. Olivia counters by saying that they are actually trying to save Annalise’s reputation (uh huh) and then adds that she doesn’t understand how inviting “distraction into her life the day before the biggest case of her career is a good idea”. (I’m back to wanting to smack this girl. Give me di stenf to not, Ho Lawd…)

She’s still going on about family being a distraction, huh?

Annalise is taken aback as she tells Olivia that the people she is referring to as “distraction” is her family. When Olivia asks her about the plaintiffs’ families, Annalise cuts her off and tells her that they are doing things by her rules this time around. She says that Olivia needs to stop worrying about her being prepared. Olivia admits that she is worried and Annalise asks if she is worried about her losing or the loss reflecting badly on Olivia, and Liv answer that she is worried about both.

Annalise then says to Olivia that this case isn’t about saving her reputation, but about doing something that she knows matters. She says that she knows that Olivia wants the same thing because she can see it in her. Annalise adds that this is the reason why she has asked her family and Olivia to be there because winning this case will matter to her like nothing in her life ever has.

Annalise again instructs Olivia to stop worrying about her, to stop handling her, and allow her to do her job the best way that she knows how. Olivia is obviously shaken by Annalise’s words (which are reminiscent of her own words to Fitz) as she agrees to leave Annalise be.

It must be weird for Olivia to observe Annalise embracing her parents as a source of strength when Olivia has long been preached to by her own father that family (and by extension, vulnerability) is a distraction that should be discarded if you wish to reach higher heights.

The next day, the Scooby Gang (Annalise’s version of the gladiators) have arrived in DC. Asher is his usual corney self as he introduces himself to Marcus, and then the two of them go off to get tickets for the gang to get into the courtroom. When they come back, Michaela recognizes that the clerk walking with one of the Justices was the guy who delivered pizza to Ingrid! They have finally figured out which judge has been in communication with the opposition.

Olivia is present with Annalise and Ingrid as the two women are set to sign themselves into Supreme Court guest book, which has been signed by such influential figures as Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The pen for signing is passed to Ingrid, but she insists on Annalise going first since “she has never done this before”. (This wench…)

Once Annalise signs, she passes the pen off to Ingrid and then goes to stand by Olivia’s side. Olivia remarks that Ingrid has no idea what she’s up against just as her phone chimes. She sees that it’s Marcus, and she tells Annalise that she will have to step outside to answer it. Annalise wonders if anything is wrong, and Olivia assures her that there isn’t. She encourages her to “do [her] thing” before proceeding out of the room.

Out in the hallway, Marcus and Michaela inform her of their discovery regarding Justice Stickland. Olivia guesses that what was actually in the pizza boxes were prep questions for Ingrid. Michaela takes this to mean that Annalise is screwed.

Meanwhile, Annalise is starting to feel anxious. She spirals into a full blown anxiety attack when she answers a call with an unknown number only for it to be someone who has been trying to reach her for some time. She manages to get herself into an isolated area before sliding her way down a wall and to the floor.

Out in the halls of the Court, Olivia has tracked down pizza guy. She is trying to have him get her in to see Justice Strickland, but he’s not bending. When Olivia says that she has a photo of him in a pizza uniform, that catches his attention, but he concludes that Olivia is bluffing. She tells him that she’s Olivia Pope, that she never bluffs (ha!). Her phone rings then, distracting her, and the clerk uses that as an opportunity to hightail it out of there. Olivia attempts to go after him, but she can’t move as fast in heels.

The call was to alert her to the crisis with happening with Annalise. As Olivia reaches the room, she finds Michaela standing outside of it and she asks if this was brought on by the Strickland news, but Michaela says that she hadn’t had the opportunity to even mention the judge, that she found Annalise as is.

Coming into the room, Olivia puts down her purse and then turns to Annalise, asking her if she is okay. With tears streaking her face, Annalise says that she can’t do the case anymore, that Olivia will have to do it instead. Olivia kicks off her shoes and comes down to Annalise’s level as she reminds Annalise that she is the only one who can present the case because she herself does not have standing with the court. Olivia then says that Annalise is going to have to tell her what it is that she needs that’ll get her to walk into the courtroom, and Annalise answers that she needs vodka.

Olivia nods in response and then stands to instruct Michaela to find Marcus and have him find vodka. Michaela states that Annalise is an alcoholic and drinking to very well get her disbarred. Olivia says she knows, and when Michaela continues to argue, Olivia cuts her off and tells her to do as told.

Once Michaela is off, Olivia returns her attention to Annalise who is now worried over her potentially failing. She says that she doesn’t want to let all those people down. Olivia orders her to stop worrying about those people, and she tells her that she is doing this not for her parents or Nate or even for Olivia; that she is doing it for herself.  She tells her that she is doing it for the little girl who clawed her way out of Memphis after being told that she wasn’t good enough.

Annalise nods in response and then says that she can’t believe that she is a “grown ass woman asking for help” and Olivia amends that to say that Annalise is a terrified grown ass woman who is about to embark on something terrifying. She then says that this case chose Annalise, so she is going to have to pick herself up and walk into that courtroom for nobody else but herself.

Right then, Marcus and Michaela come rushing in with the bottle of vodka. Marcus tells them that they are working with two minutes now. Olivia displays the bottle of liquor to Annalise as she orders Marcus and Michaela to skiddaddle. She says to Annalise that she knows that whatever it is that Annalise believes is in that bottle that it is already inside of her, but that since she doesn’t have time to convince her of that, Annalise is free to take the bottle and have herself a drink. (Ah, reverse psychology!)

Annalise stares down at the bottle in contemplation and then at Olivia who is struggling to keep her own emotions in check. Finally Annalise brings herself to her feet and pats her face dry of her tears. She’s going in!

As Olivia walks towards the courtroom with her, she shares with her what has been learned about Justice Strickland and she tells her that she ought to be prepared for him to go hard on her. Just then Annalise’s parents show up. Her mother is rushing towards her with a flask in her hand, imploring her to eat something before she goes into the courtroom. Daddy explains that mama is having a bit of an episode (associated with her Alzheimer’s), and Annalise tries to make mama understand that they had already had breakfast, but mama is insistent.

Olivia offers to eat with mama instead so that Annalise can go on in to the courtroom, but mama says no. A small struggle ensues and Olivia ends up with the soup all over her jacket! (Oh gosh...LOL!) Mama is now sad that she has ruined Olivia’s clothes and Olivia insists that everything is okay. She instructs Annalise is hurry on to the courtroom.

In front of the Justices now, Annalise starts to present her case. Justice Strickland, as predicted, goes hard on her about her own points. Meanwhile, Mama is still apologizing to Olivia as she tries to clean her jacket of the soup. Olivia again insists that she is fine, and she tells the older woman that she ought to be in the courtroom watching her daughter work. Mama says that Annalise doesn’t need her mother right then, that she needs Olivia. Olivia says that she believes that Annalise will be fine on her own, and it is then that Mama tells Olivia to quit her yapping and to come sit down with her.

Now seated in a corner, Olivia attempts to clean the jacket off herself. Mama observes that Olivia is just like her Anna Mae, always taking care of everybody else but themselves. Olivia looks up at Mama at this, and Mama tells her that she sees it on the TV. One moment Olivia is standing next to the man President and then the lady President, always fixing. She then adds that sometimes always doing for others leaves them without any time to take care of themselves. She goes on to say that she sometimes thinks that the whole country would fall apart if they (Black women essentially) weren’t around to clean up its mess.

This ain’t nothing but a word!

Mama’s words resonate with Olivia as she appears to be in contemplation of how those words apply to her. Interestingly enough, what Mama says echoes the sentiments expressed by Olivia’s mother in “Tick Tock” (615) about how Black women are expected to be everything and do everything, and yet no one is doing for them. At the time, none of that resonated with Olivia, but she was also in a different frame of mind then.

Back in the courtroom, Annalise is having her butt handed to her. She asks to use the remainder of her time to prepare a rebuttal, and her request is granted. She writes out a ruling for Michaela to look up, and she tells her that finding it is pivotal to them winning the case. Off Michaela and Marcus go to look up the information. Meanwhile, Ingrid is working to tear apart Annalise’s case. Olivia and Annalise’s parents finally make it into the courtroom.

Just as it is fine for Annalise to make her rebuttal arguments, Michaela comes running in with sheets of paper and hands it over to Annalise who steps up to the podium with it. She reads off a direct quote from the top sheet, and Justice Strickland remarks that it seems as if Annalise wants to waste her time making arguments that she has already made earlier, but Annalise tells him that what she had just read were his words that he wrote during a ruling in 1985. (See Spoiler TV’s Murder review for more details.)

“Racism is built into the DNA of America. And as long as we turn a blind eye to the pain of those suffering under its oppression, we will never escape those origins. The only safeguard people of color have is the right to a defense, and we won’t even give them that, which means that the promise of Civil Rights have never been fulfilled. Due to the failure of our justice system, our public defense system in particular, Jim Crow is alive and kicking. Laws that made it illegal for Blacks and Whites to be buried in the same cemetary, that categorized people into quadroon and octaroons, that punished a Black person for seeking medical attention in a White hospital.

“Some may claim that slavery has ended. But tell that to the inmates who are kept in cages and told that they don’t have any rights at all; people like my client Nathaniel Lahey and millions of people like him who are relegated to a subclass of human existence in our prisons. There is no alternative to justice in this case. There is no other option. To decide against my plaintiff is to choose lining the pockets of prison owners over providing basic defense for the people who live in them. And is that the America that this Court really wants to live in? Where money is more important than humanity? Where criminality is confused with mental health?

“The Sixth Amendment was ratified in 1791. It has been two hundred and twenty-six years since then. Let’s finally guarantee its rights to all of our citizens.”


I just had to quote that whole thing because MESSAGE! Y’all’ll deal.

Following the hearing, the press is asking questions of both Annalise and Ingrid. Reporters are looking for all kinds of feedback, and judging from Ingrid’s answers, I think she realizes that Annalise knocked that bad boy right out of the park. Annalise thanks the team of people who helped her get the case to the Supreme Court, including her former law students, members of the Grant Institute, and Olivia Pope. (Aww…)

Later that evening, Annalise is seen standing about outside with Olivia as the latter concludes a phone call. Girl has the biggest cheese on her face. (Who you talking to, homie?) To the man President, of course. She turns to Annalise to share that Fitz thinks that the Justices are swinging in their favor, and Annalise says that she will believe it when she sees it in writing.

Olivia considers this the smart way to go about it, and then she tells Annalise that she set up an meeting with the Pennsylvania Bar Review, that they are going to do a profile on her. Annalise immediately shoots down this plan and tells Olivia that she doesn’t have to handle her anymore. Her job with her is done. Olivia reluctantly nods in agreement and remarks that they did good. She tells Annalise to take care of herself and then she departs.

This, my friends, is the conclusion of the How to Get Away with Scandal crossover event!

That was a lot. If you hung in here all the way to this point of this mega recap, I thank you. You’re the real MVP, my G.

Now it’s your turn. Share your thoughts on the episode(s) in the comments section below or shoot them at me over on Twitter!

This is the conclusion of the recap/review of Scandal episode 712 (and part of How to Get Away with Murder episode 413)!! Thank you for reading and see you next week!

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