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Scandal - Standing in the Sun - Review: "A Change is Coming"

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Leave me with some of my edges, Scandal! Sheesh. If this is what we get in the penultimate episode of this series, I am anxious to see what the heck we are in for in the finale!

I won’t even lie to y’all. This was probably THE best episode of the season, and this has been a solid season. Taking the series in its entirety, “Standing in the Sun” was appropriately named and appropriately placed as a setup for the bookend that the final episode is likely to be. The only thing that I’m sad about pacing-wise is that it all feels like it’s rushing towards a conclusion when there are still so many questions left to be answered.

As any longstanding Scandal fan will know, the phrase “standing in the sun” has come to be synonymous with Olivia and Jake. It is during a scene between the two in “No Sun on the Horizon” (313) that the phrase was first uttered, the context of which had to do with stepping away from the dark deeds that they constantly found themselves committing and them opting instead to do better. This was at a time when Olivia was running Fitzgerald’s reelection campaign and Jake was doing his first stint as Command.
Olivia had vowed going into this campaign that she would approach things differently, there would be no shady dealings, and that she would be honest with Fitz about everything. But then Sally Langston kills her husband, and when Olivia approaches Cyrus about it, he asks her to keep this information from Fitz. Olivia refuses by saying, “I want to walk into the light and feel the sun on my face, Cyrus. You’re on your own.”

Later in this same episode, Jake (who had been playing “beard”) comes to Olivia’s apartment with dinner and notices that something is off with her. He asks her to share whatever her secrets are with him, but she won’t. To this, Jake says: “I’ve done terrible things, too. … But I want to stop doing them. I’d like for us to stop being these people. I’d like for us to--” And Olivia says, “Stand in the sun.”

I share the above because some folks tend to forget the original meaning of the phrase and instead cling to the co-opted Jake version, which in a nutshell is about he and Olivia running off to be together. This remix appeared in the season 3 finale (318) and again in the season 4 premiere (401), etc etc. Olivia went along with it whenever it suits her, but her intended meaning did occasionally rear its head, such as in “The Last Supper” (408), where she is working to convince Jake to go along with a plan that she and Fitz had concocted in order to take down B613. She says to him: “I know you want blood. So do I, but that’s not who we are. That’s for people who live their lives in the darkness. But you and me, we stand in the sun. We stand in the sun, Jake. That’s what we do.”

Did y’all barf a little, too? I’m sorry. I had to go back for reference purposes. You understand.

So now that you’ve been reminded as to why that phrase exists and also why your stomach recoils whenever you hear it said by a particular character, let’s get into this here episode.

The Truth Armor Gets Dinged

The episode opens up with Olivia and Fitz some time after their impromptu rendezvous. The 10pm time slot is apparently being used for PG-13 Olitz scenes, so all the fun parts are skipped and we see Olivia as she is buttoning her clothes back up. Fitz is laid out on the bed and giving us Adonis bod as he and Liv banter over concerns that he has with how his presidential portrait will turn out. Though she assures him that the final product will be just fine, it is clear that Olivia is enjoying the anxiety that he is having over it. The woman is all smiles and giggles, and one can venture a guess as to why this may be.

Olivia has to go that very night because she must prepare against the next day, which is when Mellie will be questioned by the special prosecutor. And just like that, the room is sapped of its jauntiness like a bucket of iced water onto a pile of burning embers.

With reality now sitting like a fat cat in the middle of the room, Fitz remarks that he supposes that his presidential portrait should be the least of his worries given that his ex-wife’s presidency is on the line. Olivia notes the shift in his mood and she steps back into the room to say that she knows that whatever happens with Mellie will also affect him, recognizing that it is also his legacy on the line. Fitz agrees with this and then asks Olivia if she has any ideas as to how this story will end. A loaded question to be sure and one that Olivia is unable to answer.

Elsewhere that same evening, The Liberty Report and Sally Langston return! She is reporting (with some fervor) that President Melody Grant will be questioned about whether she was involved in attempting to kill Cyrus by paying an assassin (Charlie) to crash Air Force Two. She states that Mellie has denied the charges, but then she wonders if Mellie will risk perjury and deny the accusations again under oath.

The following day, Mellie is being prepped by her attorney and Olivia as to what to say when questioned. The lawyer is advising her on invoking the Fifth Amendment, but Olivia is against it. She says that doing so would make it appear as if Mellie has something to hide. She instead advises that Mellie answer all questions that are asked of her and for her to stick to the truth.

Off Mellie and her crew of bad bitches go to meet up with Lonnie Mencken. Their journey towards the interview room is complete with a slow motion shot of all of them walking down the hall with Mellie out front. If this was meant to convey strength and confidence, it failed because Mellie looks like she was experiencing incontinence. Maybe that’s what they were going for? (If so, why Sway?)

As they are rounding a corner, they pass by Cyrus who taunts Mellie by commenting on her hair and saying that he believes that it’ll look good on camera. Mellie gives him a glare and then rolls her eyes as she continues past him and says nothing. Olivia turns around to give him a look of her own, one that we don’t see, but my guess is that it promised near future pain.

Now sitting in front of Lonnie and his team, Mellie swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

A few miles away, Marcus is walking past the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) when he is spotted by a former colleague. (This is the first of a number of scenes that the cast filmed in actual Washington, DC.) Marcus asks her what she is doing on that side of town, and she replies that her meeting at the Justice Department let out a little early so she is going to play hooky and visit the new Smithsonian (the NMAAHC). She invites Marcus to join her, but he tells her that he has a meeting to get to.

As he starts to walk away, he asks her if she is still at the Department of Agriculture, and she informs him that she is now on the Hill. She mentions the Senator who she is now working for, and Marcus asks if they’re the one who is on the Intel Committee. When the woman confirms that they are one and the same, Marcus quickly puts two and two together and asks what her meeting at Justice was about. The woman tells him simply that he should be glad that he no longer works at the White House. That bit of information is enough to set Marcus to running!

Back over to the White House, Lonnie states that Mellie does not deny knowing the suspect who is in custody for the hijacking, and Mellie confirms this to be correct. Lonnie then asks if she was aware that Charlie, a man of many aliases, was also in the employ of Olivia Pope & Associates. When Mellie states that she was aware, Lonnie scribbles something down on his notepad. After a moment, he looks up to ask Mellie why she had fired Olivia!

Yeah. That question caught them all off guard.

Meanwhile, Marcus seems to have run all the way to work and right into Fitz’s office to share that he believes that Mellie is about to get sideswiped by Lonnie.

Back at the White House in the B613 lair, Jake is watching the proceedings via a camera installed in the interview room. He stands up from his perch in interest of the answer that Mellie is going to give to the question posed. Mellie’s lawyer leans in to advise her on what to say, but Mellie holds her off as she stares Lonnie right in the eyes and says that she didn’t fire Olivia, that Olivia resigned. (Um, but you leaked to the press that she was indeed fired and then Olivia publicly admitted that she was fired, sooooo….what’s the truth?)

As Mellie explains why Olivia is there now in an advisory role, Olivia’s phone starts to vibrate. She checks on it and sees that it is Fitz calling, but instead of answering, she turns the phone off. Mellie tells Lonnie that she and Olivia worked together very closely for an extended period beginning with her campaign and then in the White House, and that after a while tensions rose. She adds that such things happen. Lonnie asks if these supposed tensions had anything to do with Olivia’s plot to assassinate President Rashad of Bashran!

Whoo chile! This one was a dropkick to the GUT!

Right as Mellie says that she has no idea what they are talking about, one of Lonnie’s associates pulls up video of Mellie and Olivia speaking about the the nuclear treaty situation (705). The lawyer remarks then that she doesn’t understand what this video has to do with anything, and Lonnie says that it is being used to establish motive for the hijacking. He goes on to address Mellie directly, sharing his theory that Cyrus found out about the assassination attempt on Rashad and disapproved with it, and so Mellie figured that she had to kill Cyrus to keep him silent.

Mellie has no idea how to respond. She is wringing her hands something fierce and she turns to Olivia all wide-eyed before looking over at her lawyer, who whispers something to her. After a long, tense moment, Mellie finally invokes her Fifth Amendment privilege. (Welp.) Just as Mellie’s lawyer declares them done with the inquiry, Lonnie says that since Mellie won’t be of any assistance, that maybe Olivia will be. And he presents her with a subpoena of her own right on the spot!

Later in the Oval, Olivia looks a little dazed as Fitz remarks on how the video shown during the questioning couldn’t possibly be admissible in court. Marcus wonders how the hell they got their hands on it in the first place, and Mellie replies that it likely came from B613, that there are cameras everywhere. Fitz turns to David then to have him confirm that the video wouldn’t hold up in court, but David said that thanks to the PATRIOT Act, privacy goes out the window once you are believed to be working against the State.

Mellie says then that she suspects that Jake was watching the whole thing unfold from his “dumb, stupid pool” and sitting in front of some monitor “with that dumb, stupid face of his”. She then looks directly up at the camera in the ceiling and asks if Jake liked what he saw and if he is proud of himself. (Jake shade via Mellie is the best thing, writers.)

Marcus asks then what would happen if Olivia doesn’t testify, and David supplies that Olivia would be held in contempt. Fitz adds that the alternative is worse, which is that she will be assumed to be guilty. He goes on to say that they need to go work the Hill before Congress votes to impeach Mellie. A back and forth ensures between he and Mellie about why that strategy will or won’t work, and Olivia, who has been silent this entire time, speaks up here. She explains that going to Congress won’t work because Jake made sure that they already knew about the video before they themselves did. The narrative, she says, has already been set and they are backed into a corner.

In the White House kitchen, Cyrus meets up with Lonnie to ensure that they are on the same page as to what should happen next. Lonnie explains that he has turned the inquiry in the direction of Olivia just as Jake had suggested. Cyrus detects a note in Lonnie’s voice and asks him about it. Lonnie states that he knows what he signed up for when he joined in on this endeavor with Cyrus, but he is at a loss as to why Jake is in it. He refers to Jake as a “ghost”, stating that Jacob Ballard did not exist prior to joining the Navy. (Be careful there, Lonnie.)

Cyrus is surprised that Lonnie has been looking into Jake, and Lonnie wonders aloud how it is that a man with no past has managed to “climb so far, so fast”. (QOTD, Lonnie. QOTD.) He states that Jake may be pretty, but he isn’t that pretty. He is sure that there is something more here than meets the eye. Indeed.

It’s evening time now and we are flashed over to QPA where Huck is pouring himself some cereal. Quinn comes over to say that she will be working from home, and when she sees the cereal, she asks if it’s his dinner. Huck replies that it is also his breakfast and lunch, adding that they have been going so hard with this Cyrus business that he hadn’t eaten since the day before. Quinn states then that they wouldn’t be going through all of this had Olivia killed Cyrus when she had the chance, and Huck says to her that they are happy that Olivia didn’t follow through on that. (Ha!) Quinn is like yeah, but…. Huck cuts in to repeat himself, this time with some emphasis, and Quinn says that she won’t be happy about anything as long as Charlie remains jailed.

As Quinn walks away from him and towards the office’s exit, she comes face to face with an expected visitor. Sally Langston! (Say what??) Who would have ever thought that we’d see Sally step foot into OPA/QPA?? This is another one of those “they’ve never before shared a scene” moments that we’ve seen happening throughout this season.

Quinn isn’t all that enthused to see Sally, who quips as she strolls deeper into the suite that she didn’t know that people still worked there. Sally has come because she heard a rumor that Olivia has been subpoenaed to testify against Mellie and she wondered if QPA would like to comment on that. Huck asks her why they would comment against Olivia, and Sally points out that it wasn’t all that long ago that QPA leaked the news that Olivia had been fired from the White House, so she figured that they and Olivia weren’t on good terms. She asks if they can help her, and Quinn says that they sure can help her find the door! (Heh.)

Sally, however, won’t be easily dismissed. She says that if retribution isn’t incentive enough for them to speak out against Olivia, that she is prepared to pay them or at least buy them a proper meal. On this last bit, she is looking at Huck and his cereal bowl with some concern. Huck tells her that he actually likes cereal and says that it is full of nutrients. (LOL!)

Turning back to Quinn, Sally states that lawyers are expensive and that Quinn is going to need a lot of money to liberate her “baby daddy” from prison. (Did she did just say baby daddy?) She adds that from what she remembers of her time at the White House, it is that “ugly things happen to people in the bowels of the Pentagon”.

Seeing that this didn’t compel either Quinn or Huck to agree to her proposal, she presents them with her card and says that they can call her at her studio should they change their minds. Neither make a move to take the card, so she leaves it on a nearby desk and bids them a “blessed evening”.

Next we see Olivia arriving at her apartment. She steps in and shuts the door, but then immediately freezes. She senses that she isn’t alone. After a moment, she calls out Jake’s name, and sure enough, it’s him. Olivia clicks on the lights then and turns around to face him. As she starts further into the apartment, she asks if his presence is supposed to be scary, and he replies that no, he actually brought her something. He says it’s a gift.

He rises from the chair and approaches Olivia while reaching into his coat pocket and pulling out a vile that looks to contain some kind of coarse powder. When Olivia just stares at it, he encourages her to take it, but she makes no move to do so. She asks him what it is and he tells her that it is sand from the island. He calls it his “little piece of the sun, [their] sun”. (Oh, for the love of God…) He says that he wants her to have it, but Olivia tells him that she doesn’t want it.

Jake proceeds to say that given the trash ass people that he comes from, that he would never call himself a happy person, but that being on the island made him happy. He shares that he was happy “standing in the sun” with Olivia. (Yawn.) He concludes by saying that lessons have been learned on that front.

Olivia looks at him as one would a man with an unfortunate case of the clap, and then she steps past him and says that the two of them never had a real chance. She starts to say something about her father, but Jake interjects to correct her determiner to their father ( romantic!). He argues that they did indeed have a chance, but that Olivia decided that there were things that she wanted to accomplish and presidents that she wanted to make. He says that now, he is the one who has things that he wishes to accomplish.

Olivia pleads with him not to follow through on his plans, but he says that he is taking what is his his now and that she will not stand in his way. He tells her that when she is questioned tomorrow, she is to admit to killing President Rashad at Mellie’s request and that he in return will ensure that she is pardoned once Cyrus becomes President. (I’d not take that gamble if I were Olivia.)

In response to his proposal, Olivia says to him that he doesn’t have to be this person, that what he’s doing now isn’t him. (Um, girl, it is him. Leave it alone.) When she states that she knows him, Jake cuts her off and speaks some truth about their relationship, a truth that he damn sure should have realized years ago. He says that Olivia only dealt with him and treated him like a human being as long as he “carried [her] bags, fetched [her] toys, kept [her] warm and defended, like a good watchdog”. (I mean…)

Olivia is now looking at him with the expression she wears whenever she knows she is guilty as charged. She has not one comeback to anything that he says, and Jake follows it up by adding that the thing about dogs is that if you starve it long enough, “it will tear you to pieces”. He then takes her hand and presses the vial of sand into it before he takes his leave.

Soooo….this mofo’s been holding on to sand all of these years from a time when he and Olivia were both pretending to be people other people? To make matters worse, he seems to have convinced himself at some point that he and Olivia would’ve been a thing if it weren’t for her looking to accomplish more careerwise. Because, you know, nothing screams meant for each other quite like blackmail, threats, and B&E. How unfortunate.

Come to think of it, was Jake’s co-opted version of “standing in the sun” supposed to be like his and Olivia’s bootlegged Great Value imitation of Olivia and Fitz’s Vermont?

Playing the Only Card Left in Her Arsenal

The following day, Olivia is at QPA with the gladiators and they are still trying to figure out a way to take down Cyrus. Abby shares that tracking the hacker responsible for the hijacking was a literal dead end, and when Olivia asks if there was anything left behind that could connect the hacker to Cyrus, Huck replies that there wasn’t anything left that could connect the hacker to hacking. The team goes quiet for a bit, their faces long with the realization that they have no card to play on this front.

Abby speaks up after a moment to say that since they can’t nail Cyrus on this hijacking thing, they could get him on something else from his past, stating that Cyrus isn’t exactly lacking in sins. Quinn enthusiastically chimes in then to offer Defiance (S2) as one of those sins, and Huck reminds them that Defiance would blow back on Olivia, and Olivia adds that it would also ensnare Mellie. That option bites the dust.

Abby then offers up that Cyrus ordered a drone strike against Olivia. Olivia is shocked to learn of this, having not known of it before, and Quinn looks horrified. Abby explains that it happened when Olivia was kidnapped (413) and that she witnessed Cyrus directing the CIA to take her out. Given that Olivia is an American citizen, Abby figures that that should be some kind of crime, but Olivia counters by saying that using this would mean telling the world that Fitzgerald went to war for his girlfriend. Option #3 gets shut down.

Huck offers that Cyrus killed Amanda Tanner (105), but Quinn corrects him to say that it was actually Charlie who murdered her and adds that the Amanda situation isn’t something that Charlie needs to be brought up. Olivia further states that last thing Mellie needs is to be reminded of Fitz’s philandering. (LMAO! But wouldn’t Olivia herself be a constant reminder? I mean, she’s still riding the pony...) Option #4 is dead on arrival.

Quinn wonders about them instead using Jake and Huck gets excited about this as a possibility, stating that removing Jake from the equation would leave Cyrus vulnerable. Olivia doesn’t see how that would work either since everything that Jake did was with her blessing as Command or done in Mellie’s name. Abby says that this is true about his recent activity, but wonders if maybe they can use something from his past. She points out that he did act alone when he murdered James Novak (314) and that David was there as a witness. Olivia, however, maintains that this a non-option, stating that Jake committed the murder in his role as Command and did what he did to keep James from spilling that “Sally Langston murdered her husband, a murder that Charlie and Quinn covered up for B613”.

Five different options and there isn’t a one that they can use without hurting themselves in the process. Anything that they accuse Cyrus and Jake of will lead right back to themselves or to B613. Their little exercise may have proven to be worthless to their current strategy, but it does later influence Olivia’s eventual plan of attack.

Next we see a news report on where it is being shared that Olivia will be testifying in front of the special prosecutor in a matter of hours. Reporter Mike states that no one knows what Olivia has to say to Lonnie Mencken, but that insiders expect a “smoking gun”. Rowan is seen catching that bit of news from his dinosaur workspace as the reporter goes on to state that soon after Olivia was served her subpoena, the House Judiciary Committee began drafting articles of impeachment. (Well, damn.)

The following scene is of Olivia arriving at the NMAAHC and stepping into the Contemplative Court. The space features an indoor waterfall and several notable quotes. As Stevie Wonder’s “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday” plays, Olivia takes a seat on a bench. Behind her on the wall is a large Sam Cooke quote of “A Change is Gonna Come”, a direct reference to his song of the same name that was made popular during the Civil Rights Movement.

Olivia considers the quotes on two other walls:

“I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom.” -- Nelson Mandela, 1991

“We are work and fight until justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” -- Martin Luther King, Jr., 1955

Within the context of Scandal, these quotes have specific (Olivia) and wider (everyone else, the country at large) implications. The decision to film Olivia’s “bench moment” in this space and in this museum and with this particular Stevie song was brilliant. Add in the memories that come back to Olivia while she is in this moment, and you have an absolute masterpiece.

The flashbacks start with Rowan asking Olivia how many times it is that he has told her that she has to be twice as good to get half of what their white counterparts have (301), and then it moves to Abby telling Olivia that she is the gladiator who she would gladly follow over a cliff (104). It returns back to Rowan taunting her into an answer and Olivia starting to give him one. It then flashes over to Olivia and Fitz marveling over the real Constitution (208) before it is back to Rowan reminding her of that hard lesson Black people teach their kids. Then it’s back to Abby telling Olivia that she has to show up and be a warrior, that she doesn’t get to pick and choose when the real Olivia Pope shows up.

As the memories flood in, Olivia gets emotionally overwhelmed. The recollections shift to a moment with her father on a bench in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial, where she had said that she didn’t know what the point was of “democracy and freedom and patriotism if there are no white hats, if everyone is evil, if the deck is always stacked, if everyone [she] loves is a monster” (314). When she wonders why anything matters if no one is worth saving, Rowan replies that it is these very things that do, in fact, make everyone worth saving. This gets interspersed with Abby saying that Olivia is the gladiator and then Rowan looking for her to answer the “twice as hard” question.

There is a flash of Olivia standing with her original gladiators (101), her having just “handled” Amanda Tanner; her toasting with Mellie; her trying to escape her kidnappers (410); a return to her and Fitz in front of the Constitution; her walking away from the White House (107); her with Cyrus on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (616); her abortion (509); her approaching Brandon Parker’s father (414); her putting on the white hat; and finally back to her and Fitz at the Constitution and her stating in awe that “it’s a new world”.

The images that she conjures up are of the various prices that she has paid, wrongs she has committed, things she has lost. It is interesting that the one moment that features Fitzgerald is specifically this Constitution scene, a scene where they stare at the document with absolute reverence, acknowledge its significance, and in which Olivia first declares her love for Fitz.

These moments go off like flashing camera bulbs, and over them are Rowan’s and Abby’s voices, which echo like warring factions, though they are colliding into one message: Olivia as the gladiator is to gladiate for everyone. Throw in the scene of her and Fitz looking over the Constitution as well as the “twice as good” recollection, and the message becomes one that says that she is to fight on behalf of the nation and that she must do so by beating the other side at their own game. (Neither Cyrus nor Jake are part of these flashes.)

This entire segment was hands down one of my favorites of the episode. Well done.

Following her time at the NMAAHC, Olivia arrives for her testimony with the special prosecutor. She is alone and without an attorney. She is sworn in, and as the questioning begins, Jake is watching the proceedings from his lair. Lonnie goes right to the recording of Olivia and Mellie on the balcony, and he asks Olivia if Mellie had given her the order to assassinate President Rashad. There is a long pause as Olivia considers Lonnie, and when she finally speaks, she says that “there are many presumptions included in that question”. Lonnie tells her that the question is a simple one that requires her to answer yes or no. Olivia replies that the question presumes that President Rashad was assassinated.


Lonnie patiently states that there is evidence submitted to the record that supports his statement, and Olivia argues that “evidence is evidence. It’s not fact”. (Girl, what are you saying?! Is Rashad alive somewhere??) A frustrated Lonnie reminds Olivia that she is compelled to answer his questions by the authority vested in him by the Justice Department and by the Constitution. He tells her that she can either answer or plead the Fifth.

Having said this, Lonnie again poses his original question to Olivia, and Jake watches with bated breath to see if she will do as he instructed her to and implicate Mellie. Olivia instead answers that Mellie didn’t instruct her to kill Rashad, that she made that call herself!! Lonnie had to blink twice at that, not sure if he had heard her correctly, but Olivia repeats her answer, saying that it was she who gave the order by the authority vested in her by her post as Command of B613!!! (WHAT?!)

Jake hops out of his seat in dismay, shocked AF that Olivia was spilling the beans about the existence of the secret spy unit. She tells Lonnie that the organization has existed for decades and that it is currently being run by Jake Ballard “out of the old pool under the White House briefing room”. When she adds that the organization is funded by a loophole in the defense budget, Lonnie pumps the brakes on the information overload. He wants to clarify that Olivia is admitting to assassinating Rashad on Mellie’s behalf, and Olivia says that Rashad was assassinated on behalf of the Republic, which she says B613 has protected or PRETENDED to protect for the last 30 years.

Chile, listen. Y’all got me out here laid out, man.

Lonnie is having one hell of a hard time wrapping his head around what Olivia has just dropped on him. He tries to understand what it is that she is saying exactly and asks if she means that there is a secret CIA being controlled from the White House, and she states that B613 isn’t controlled from the White House, that it controls the White House!

All kinds of tea is just a spilling. Lord have mercy…

To verify what Olivia has just told him, Lonnie calls for a break in the proceedings and he hurries out of the room. Meanwhile, Olivia takes a moment to collect herself after having unleashed the mother of all bombs out into the open. Lonnie is next seen arriving at the location Olivia indicated and Jake is standing outside of it in wait. He asks Lonnie if he is already done with his questioning, but Lonnie is not interested in conversation. He orders the Admiral to step aside, and when he does, Lonnie proceeds into the old pool area. Inside, he sees evidence of of the B613 operation in all of its glory, and he is stunned.

Hurrying around the corner and towards the old pool room is Olivia, and when she gets close enough to the entrance, Jake asks her what the hell it is that she believes that she is doing, and she tells him that she is….standing in the sun.

Reclaim your phrase, sis! While he wants to cry over not being able to stand in some literal sun, you go right on ahead and cleanse that conscience of yours. His sun has set, but yours is still rising.

Steady in the Storm

In a brief scene, David informs Mellie that Olivia testified to the existence of B613 and outed herself as Command. Mellie is stunned.

Back over to Lonnie, he is now alone in the interview room with Jake. He confronts the younger man about the truth to Olivia’s testimony, and before Jake answers, he asks if the camera that is directed at him is on. He says that he doesn’t see the little red light which would indicate that it is recording. And then as if just recalling this fact, he states that it must be because Lonnie hasn’t yet served him with a subpoena, and so this means that he doesn’t have to answer any of his questions. Lonnie confirms this to be true, but then says that Jake will have to answer his questions eventually. He relays that he isn’t a computer guy, but that he has a number of young people in his office who will have the time of their lives going through all of the things that are in that pool room. After that, Jake will be served with a subpoena, the camera will definitely be on, and every question will be answered.

Right at that moment, Lonnie gets a phone call. It’s from an FBI agent who is informing him that they are at the location that he specified, but that there isn’t anything there. Lonnie mistakes her for meaning that there isn’t anything on the servers, but she states that there is nothing in the room. The camera pans out then to show that the pool room has indeed been cleared of everything. Lonnie ends the call when he realizes what has happened.

Jake is smug as he stands and advises Lonnie to not pursue anything having to do with B613. He tells him to forget Olivia’s testimony and to make it disappear. He then offers to handle that business for him and he proceeds to take the card containing Olivia’s testimony from the camera. He adds that he will also need the transcripts, and before he departs, he tells Lonnie that he is in over his head and that he should walk away from this business now. (When will Jake die?)

Over in the Oval, Olivia is stunned to learn from David that Jake succeeded in burying her testimony. The others in the room are Mellie, Marcus, and Fitzgerald. Fitz guesses that Jake probably covered everything up, and Mellie expresses relief at that. Fitz adds that Jake just helped them out “big time”. Olivia looks at them all as if they were speaking gibberish.

Mellie asks Olivia if she is out of her mind, and Olivia says that she isn’t crazy and that her testimony was not a mistake. She states that the truth is the answer and that all of it must come out. Mellie says to her that B613’s existence implicates all of them and makes them complicit in the agency’s unknown number of crimes. David chimes in to say that treason is one of those crimes, which is punishable by death, so all the hundreds of others committed by the organization doesn’t exactly matter. (LOL!)

Olivia points out to Mellie that she didn’t know about Rashad and that Mellie could always deny that she knew anything about B613 -- or she can opt to tell the truth. Mellie comes to her feet then, outraged that Olivia would suggest such a thing. (Mellie is kind of allergic to the truth when it involves her catching hell for it. See the bunker scene between her, Olivia, and Fitz in 301.)

Olivia stands firm on the truth being the only way forward and the only weapon that they have to stop Cyrus and Jake. She says that ending all of this will require them to “open the doors to this secret underground world and fill it with light”. When she adds that they have to speak up, an irate Mellie demands to know what it is that Olivia believes that they should say and Olivia says that she doesn’t know. Fitz then asks her what her plan is, and Olivia again says that she doesn’t know.

Wow. Olivia Pope has no answer, no plan, no nothing?! Both Fitz and Mellie look at her like she has lost her mind. This was undoubtedly new territory for all of them.

Undaunted by their looks and anger at her for suggesting this, Olivia addresses them all, Mellie directly. She says that what she knows is that this moment is bigger than all of them, that it is about the country. She states this is about them being patriotic. It is a moment where politics ends and leadership begins. She says that everything must come down and that they have to admit their sins and clear the air for the sake of the nation’s future.

She goes on to say that if the country knew what has been happening right under their noses for the past three decades -- but she doesn’t get to finish her thought for Mellie cuts in to say that people would pick up their pitchforks and their semi-automatic rifles and storm the gate! She says that the people will lock them away forever, and David says that Mellie’s prediction is the “nice version” of what could happen.

From the corner, Marcus remarks that maybe Mellie’s version could happen or the people would wake up and take their country back. It’s now Marcus’s turn to be looked at as if he has lost his mind, and Mellie tells him that people are unpredictable, and that if word of B613 gets out, they themselves would have no way to control what happens to them. Olivia acknowledges that the truth is scary, but adds that it is also powerful and happens to be the only thing that they have at their disposal to keep Jake and Cyrus out of power and save the country. (See how that scene at the NMAAHC plays comes into play here?)

Fitz, who has been quiet for a while, speaks up then to say that Olivia made he and Mellie Presidents and that what she is suggesting would strip them of all of their power, credibility, legacy, and ability to make positive change in the world. He states that her “ludicrous confession” would defined everything that he and Mellie have done in their roles as President and kill all his efforts for his foundation to help the country. (Whew. He is mad!)

With tears swimming in her eyes, Olivia asks him if he believes that she would have done this if there had been any other way and then asks if he thinks that she wants to go down for the things that she has done on their behalf and on behalf of the country. She gives them a reality check as she tells them that none of them are the heroes of this story, that they are all actually the villains! (YESSSSSS!!!) She says that this is their chance to be a hero; that it is this that is actual positive change.

Olivia vows to find a way to pop the lid off of this biatch, and she says to Mellie that when it happens, she will not be able to protect her. She admits that she won’t even be able to protect herself, so Mellie and the rest of them are going to have to decide on whether they want to “dodge and weave and protect [their] legacies” or stand before all and cop to their wrongdoings and hope that the next generation of leaders decide to be better than they were.

On that note, Olivia grabs her purse and exits from the Oval. She is going to do this whether they are with her or not. And all I can do is give my girl a standing ovation.

I have been looking for this Olivia since she laid damn near comatosed in the bed over wanting to come clean over Defiance (212), and here we have come full circle. The white hat may be dingy right now, but it’s about to be dunked into a bucket of bleach. Bring it!

Later, Olivia is seen at QPA and she has shared with them that she admitted to the existence of B613 to Lonnie Mencken. Quinn is astounded and Abby says that Olivia essentially just committed suicide. Olivia tells them that she has had enough lectures about her decision and that what she needs right now from them is some help. She says that she needs a way to convince Lonnie to act on what he now knows. Huck offers to get his toolbox (LMAO) and Olivia says that that isn’t the pressure she’s going for. Quinn offers that they can let America change Lonnie’s mind for them.

Cue Sally Langston! (You knew her showing up at QPA would come back around.) Quinn goes to tell her about B613, but Sally is openly skeptical. She tells Quinn that this isn’t a scoop that she brought her, but is instead some poor attempt to trick her into spreading “fake news”. (If I never hear that term again, it will be too soon.) Quinn says that she is is there because Cyrus is the devil, which Sally already knows, but that what Sally doesn’t know is that Cyrus has corrupted the special prosecutor. She states that Lonnie is a good man who can still be convinced to do the right thing if pressure is put on him via Sally’s viewers.

Sally says that she will need proof before she puts any of this on the air, and Quinn quips that B613 is a secret spy agency and as such, they don’t give receipts. (LOL!) Basically, there is no evidence that B613 exists, which is the point. Sally replies that she won’t be risking her “spotless reputation” without proof, but adds that if Quinn brings her something, she will broadcast it.

Later that evening at the Residence, Mellie is out on the Truman balcony nursing a drink with Marcus and contemplating the events from earlier. Marcus asks her what it is that she is going to do, and Mellie says that she doesn’t know. Marcus states that he knows that this can’t be easy for her, and Mellie seems to take offense to his remark. She goes on to say that what isn’t easy is watching her father leave and never come back, seeing her husband shot in the head, and burying her first-born child. She adds that while those were all trying, each of them was a “God-given challenge” that allowed her to become the first woman President and make all her pain and suffering worth it. (Zzzz….) She then wonders what the lesson now is supposed to be.

Marcus replies that maybe the lesson this time around is her being judged by the company that she keeps. Confused, she asks him what he means, and before he proceeds to answer, he asks Mellie if she wants him to keep it all the way one hunnid and she says yes. Marcus tells her then that they (her, Olivia, Fitz, Cyrus) are all sharks. He says that during his time hanging around them he has heard things having to do with election rigging, blackmail, murder. Mellie argues that she never killed anybody, but Marcus points out that she surrounds herself by people who have.

Oh, so now Mellie is claiming to never have killed anybody, huh? Wasn’t she the same person who was telling Olivia that she kills people every day in her capacity as President?

Marcus goes on to say that Mellie associates with criminals and sharks, people who work for her and helped her get to where she is now, and here she is now acting surprised by the fact that one of her sharks attacked her just as a shark would. (Tell her, Brother Walker!) Mellie says then that Cyrus is a traitor to not only herself, but to the country. Marcus is doubtful that any of this for Mellie has anything to do with the country, and when she states that it has always been about the country, Marcus counters this by saying that it is actually always about her. (Whew, chile. Bring me some fresh lemons for this fresh pot of tea, please.)

Marcus tells her that she cares about doing whatever is necessary to keep her job and protect her legacy, which he says is fine, but that Mellie shouldn’t then try to have a “pity party” over a situation that she is responsible for creating.

It’s always funny watching how these characters react after Marcus slaps them with his brand of straight talk. It’s like they’ve been tossed into a tub full of water along with a plugged in microwave. Straight electrocution.

Next scene is of Jake showing up at Rowan’s workspace. (Oh goodie…) Rowan is putting away some tools when Jake casually strolls in and asks if what he does ever gets boring. Rowan chuckles and says that it doesn’t, and then he asks why it is that Jake has come. Jake tells him that he wanted to see him, and he follows this up by remarking on the current situation involving Olivia. He says that he knows that everything that has been happening hasn’t been easy and that he wanted Rowan to know that the things he is doing are all for the right reasons.

When Rowan just stares at him, Jake adds that Olivia happens to be an “unfortunate casualty” because she is “standing in the way of what needs to be done” and is endangering the Republic that he is working to save. Rowan watches him a bit longer and then simply says, “Okay”. Jake is perplexed by this nonchalant response as Rowan returns to gathering up his tools. He poses the answer back as a question and Rowan confirms what he had initially said by repeating himself.

Turning fully to Jake then, Rowan asks him if he knows why it is that he loves his dinosaur so much. He explains that the dino is a “sum of her DNA, a portrait of survival, a monument to lessons learned”. He says that her “superiority is owned in her history”, and this fact does not change with a shift in conditions such as evolution and extinction. None of that matters. Her species can forever stand proud, he adds.

As Rowan is set to say more, Jake rudely interrupts to tell the “old man” that he didn’t come there for a lecture, but Rowan reclaims his time by instructing Jake to shut his trap and listen. He then says that Jake has taken the title of Command and now thinks that he has finally made it to the promised land. He states that Jake should be feeling all warm inside over his accomplishment, but that Jake instead senses that something is missing. Rowan says that Jake has thus come to him, not for a lecture, but for applause. If Jake had come for a lecture, that would mean that he understands that he still has something to learn.

He goes on to state that what brought Jake there is his need to get validation from “daddy” because Jake thinks that that is what is missing. He says that Jake thinks Rowan expressing pride in him will somehow fill up the empty crevices that he feels still remains and that this will then somehow actually make him the king. Rowan then says that they should try that theory out and see how it works, so he steps up to Jake, grabs his hand and pumps it up and down as he mockingly praises him for a job well done. He pulls him into a hug as he says that he is “so proud” of him. He then backs away and applauds his surrogate son with a “bravo”.

Jake is not at all appreciative of this display. In a show that was meant to make the other shake in his boots, Jake gets up in Rowan’s face and announces that the reason why he came there is to let Rowan know that he is Command now and that he can be either kind or cruel to him. (Yawn.) He’s going on about having the power now, and Rowan interjects to tell Jake that he has absolutely nothing and that this is the point that he has been trying to make.

Sighing, Rowan wonders at how it is that he managed to fail both Jake and Olivia in conveying what true power is. He asks how it is that they have learned so little being as close to him as they were and absorbing nothing at all. He tells Jake that if he has to tell him how powerful he is, then he ain’t shit. He’s got absolutely nothing. Rowan goes on to say that real power is silent, that it is hidden. He says that it is something that is within, that it cannot be gained, and that it also cannot be lost. He states that this power is a part of who you are.

This conversation is like deja vu in that Rowan has said something similar to Jake in “Dog Whistle Politics” (504). Like this current conversation, the earlier one included Rowan stating that “power--true power--is never lost” and him lamenting how he had failed Jake as a teacher of this lesson.

Upon Rowan turning away to take a seat on a nearby bench, Jake draws his gun from its holster and holds it down by his side. Rowan notes this move and then chuckles in disappointment. He tells Jake then that he himself is “absolute, total, unyielding power” and always will be. He says that he keeps waiting for he or Olivia to join him on his level because “it is so lonely at the top”.

Wait a doggone minute. Is Rowan saying what I think he’s saying??

He continues by saying that running the world and seeing all of its moving parts is exhausting. He then states that Command may be a title, but that it isn’t a job. He says that both Jake and Olivia may have called themselves Command, and he asks Jake if he really believes that they actually ever took Command from him. He says that he wishes that they had!

So he is saying what I think he’s saying!

He says that he wishes that one of this children had evolved so that he could have been able to consider himself extinct. Following a weary sigh, Rowan tells Jake, “You cannot take Command, son”, that Command is trapped in his bones. (Back to the dinosaur metaphor.)

Having said all of that, Rowan encourages Jake to “run along” and leave him in peace with the other dinosaurs, but Jake instead opts to cock his gun and direct it at Rowan’s head. Rowan just sits and stares Jake directly in the eyes as Jake says that he could kill him right then, but Rowan confidently says that he won’t. Jake stands with the gun pointed at Rowan for a long moment before he finally decides to lower it. Rowan says to him then that he will be there for him when he falls. (Foreshadow?) Jake tells him to just stay out of his way, and then he turns to leave.

What a lame ass. Rowan sure was on the money as to why Jake was there, and not liking this truth, Jake decides to flex some muscle. I’d laugh if the whole display wasn’t rather pathetic. And then he had the nerve to come with the head’s up about what he is likely to do to Olivia, who we all know isn’t going to stand down. You walk up into her father’s spot and essentially threaten her life? Rowan’s “okay” response was him acknowledging that Jake had just signed his own death certificate. Do you, Ballard.

Since Rowan has been Command all of this time, what in the world has he been doing while Olivia has been running about having planes carrying innocent people blown up? What’s he up to?

They’re in this Together

Fitz is seen at the National Portrait Gallery wandering through the section that features all of the Presidents who have come before him. He stops in front of Washington, Truman, and Lincoln, and then glances over at Nixon before turning to face an empty wall where his own portrait is slated to hang. What is to be his legacy?

Next we see Olivia opening the door to her apartment and she is surprised to find Fitz. Skipping forward a little, the two of them are now in the apartment and Olivia is offering Fitz a glass of whisky as he tells her that he would like to help. She thanks him as he takes the glass and claims a seat on the sofa. He says that he doesn’t think there is anything for him to actually do in this situation, calling himself completely useless, and Olivia tells him that the only thing that either of them can do at this point is wait and see what happens with Sally.

Olivia comes over and settles down into the space adjacent to Fitz on the sofa, and neither of them say anything for a beat. Fitz then remarks that at least they have figured something out. Olivia asks him what that is and he says that they’ve figured out how the story ends. When Olivia gives him a questioning look, he says that it ends with them, that it ends with them doing what’s right for the country. Olivia gives him a barely perceptible nod before she shifts over to be closer to him, and she leans into his body and rests her head on his shoulder.

They get on my nerves sometimes.

Judging from the sigh that Olivia releases as she settles into Fitz, I’d guess that she was relieved to not have to walk into the unknown alone and without him. They tend to be stronger together, so it makes perfect sense that Fitz would be the first to agree to stand beside her despite the real possibility that this could be their last days of physical freedom.

Over at QPA, the gladiators are having no luck finding physical evidence that would help prove that B613 exists, so they have nothing to give Sally. After a moment, Quinn wonders if maybe them not finding anything is a good thing. She asks how much good would actually come out of Olivia going to prison, and Abby says that a lot would come out of it if it means that Cyrus wouldn’t become president. Quinn counters by saying that the presidency is just a job and that they are actually talking about Olivia’s life and their own. She states that turning over evidence of B613 would implicate them all. Huck says that Olivia will protect them, and Quinn asks what if she can’t.

Abby interjects then to say that the point is being missed here and that this isn’t actually about Mellie’s job. She tells them that this is about the “rot in the core of American democracy” and doing whatever it takes to flush that rot out. She says it’s about restoring transparency, trust and common stewardship for the Republic. She bangs on the table with her fists for emphasis, and Quinn remarks that what Abby’s words sounds so much better when Olivia says them. (Ha!) Abby agrees and then makes another pitch. She says that this is about Olivia handling this and wanting to go down in order to make things right. This, she tells them, is how they know that she is their old Olivia again. Quinn says that Abby is right, but adds that without proof, Olivia can’t do what it is that she is hoping to. Huck then says that there is “something”.

The next morning, the gladiators are seen standing by the Reflecting Pool (another scene the cast filmed in D.C.) and telling Olivia that they couldn’t find any evidence. They say that they instead found witnesses who are willing to testify about B613. Olivia is like, cool, who are these witnesses? When all of them just stare at her, Olivia realizes that they mean themselves and she refuses their offer. Quinn and Huck argue that they know enough about B613 to paint a detailed picture and Abby says that as a witness, she can corroborate all that the other two say.

Olivia reminds them that she had told them that this was her decision and that she will protect them from the consequences, and Quinn says that they know this and that it is exactly why they are all by her side. Olivia is incredulous as she asks them if they even know where she is heading, and Huck says “over a cliff”. Olivia looks over at him with a swiftness that conveys how unexpected it was for her to hear him use that phrase. Quinn and Abby concur with Huck, saying that they will be by her side. Over a damn cliff!

Next, Olivia is seen meeting with Mellie on the Spanish Steps (another DC-shot scene) and she again reminds Mellie of her options: she can keep Mellie’s name out of it or she can tell the truth about everything. Mellie says that everything in her is telling her that letting the world know about B613 is the biggest mistake that she will ever make, but then she says that she has already made the biggest mistake that she will ever make and that is not listening to her.

Olivia says then that if they go through with this, that this may be the last thing that they ever do together and Mellie nods in acknowledgement of her meaning. The two of them then agree on moving forward with the truth.

E’erybody’s standing in the sun now! Hurrah!

Flash over to Sally Langston and she is finally sharing with her audience information about B613! She tells her “lovers of liberty” that she comes to them not as the usual critic of the Mellie Grant, but as a defender. She says that thanks to the courage of some brave individuals (Quinn, Huck, Abby), it has come to her attention that for the last 30-plus years, the country has been led not by the President, but by the secret spy organization known as B613!!

Olivia, Fitz, Mellie and Marcus are watching this broadcast from the East Wing, and the gladiators are catching it from QPA. David is at Justice. Cyrus is in his office barely paying attention when Sally announces B613 to the world. He leaps out of his seat and is in denial of what he is seeing. He rushes over to Jake’s office to find him watching the broadcast as well. Jake looks pissed. (Teehee.)

Sally shares with her audience that it is B613 who are responsible for hijacking Air Force Two and then attempting to frame Mellie for the crime. She goes on to say that it is these “traitors” who Lonnie should be dragging “out of the darkness and into the light” so that they can be held accountable. (Lonnie is also watching the program.) Sally says that taking down the secret organization won’t be easy, but that it is necessary. She asks her followers to take action and demand justice.

Once the segment is complete, Olivia puts the television on mute and says, “Here we go”. Some seconds later, all of their phones start to simultaneously ring.

And the episode is over!!!!

So what did you guys think?! What the heck is about to happen?? Is everyone about to go down for conspiracy against the Republic? Who fitna die? (I’ve got a candidate!) Will Mama Pope be back? What’s Rowan about to do now that we know that he’s been Command all of this time? Are we ever going to get that heart-to-heart between Olivia and Fitz? Will Mellie tow the line and stick with the truth?

Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or send them my way on Twitter!

This is the conclusion of the recap-review of Scandal episode 717! One more to go! Thank you for reading, and see you next week for the final review of the series!!

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