The last episode of Scandal ended with Papa Pope showing up at Liv’s door behind Russell, her new stranger with benefits. Now he’s made himself comfortable in his daughter’s house, and tells her she has 48 hours to shut the whole B613 mission down before he lets chaos reign behind the scenes.
I have missed that man dearly, because he does not make idle threats, and he is a man of his word. Plus, he knows how to read Olivia like a Dr. Seuss book. Oh, and Russell is all drugged and bound on the floor, so when Papa leaves, Liv tries to act like they got drunk and he just happened to black out. Ma’am. That’s weak.
The Gladiators get a call, and it’s Marcus Walker, the activist who fought to get Brandon Parker justice after he was killed, and then Parker's father took matters into his own hands by sitting over his son’s body with a shotgun. He’s now a candidate for D.C. mayor, but he’s sleeping with the mayor’s wife, Natalie. When they show up at the mayor’s mansion, Natalie is the bedroom, dead in a pool of blood, and Marcus sitting there looking like a deer in headlights. He’s guilty of being a trifling dude, not murder. They were having sex and they heard someone show up, so he hid in a small closet, but watched everything happen. Three masked men came in, stabbed her five times, and left before he could do anything but watch.
The plan is to clean up the scene, move the body out, and act like Marcus was never there. Also, thank you for the boxer briefs scene, Scandal. Natalie is now “missing.” The mayor does a press conference asking for info on his wife’s whereabouts. Marcus realizes how much of a force Liv really is when he’s picked up by police and taken to the station because they have found emails from him to Natalie, threatening her. Olivia rolls in and asks if he’s arrested, and the police captain says he has not, and she LIGHTS into him in her most badass moment in far too long. “YOU DO NOT SEE THIS MAN STANDING HERE.” She almost convinced ME I wasn’t looking at him. Welcome back, Miss Pope.
Speaking of Brandon Parker, President Fitz is honoring the promise he made to Parker's father by introducing the Brandon Bill to Congress. If it passes, it will also give Mellie a win to present as she tells the public she’s running for office. The Senate is about to pass it, but the vote that remains to break the tie belongs to the vice-president, who is now Susan Ross.
Mellie and Fitz picked her because they wanted a political rookie to mold to their wishes. They didn’t know she’d be the kind of VP who insists on reading a 1,200-page bill in its entirety before voting on it. Cyrus is pissed, but Susan cannot be moved. She takes her position seriously and will not vote “yes” unless she really believes in it. She’s noble, she’s just, and she’s in danger because those are the traits that kill you quickest on Scandal. See also: James Novak. May he rest in peace.
Operation Bring Down B613 continues as Jake testifies to David, with Liv present. The topic of Operation Remington (hey, old friend!) comes up and Jake admits that Rowan Pope ordered a plane — carrying 329 civilians — be shot down for that mission. The person who did the deed: Fitzgerald Grant. AND IT JUST GOT REAL, because now it’s on record that the current President of the United States was part of the top secret, off-the-records government spy agency.
Liv is dizzy with the realization that ALL will fall down in what they’re doing when she goes home. Russell (a.k.a. the One Night Stand Who Won’t Go Away) shows up, at her summoning, and tells her that he knows he wasn’t drunk the other night because he doesn’t even drink that much. He also knows her name is Olivia, not Alex. Miss Pope says Olivia’s life is complicated and Alex’s is not, so she wants to keep being Alex with him. Then she invites him in, he can’t say no, and they end up necking and sexing. Liv is selfish, because even a man who says he wants stability still ends up victim to her feminine wiles, and I must admit that I enjoy the power she wields over them.
Susan Ross is the politician we all need but will never get, because she wants to know what makes the bill that is supposed to address police brutality enforceable, and no one can give her an answer. As various White House folks try to rush her through her review of the Brandon Bill, she is not biting. Even Mellie tries, and Susan ends up showing her that they’ve actually underestimated how smart she is. The FLOTUS’s face was TIGHT when Susan told her she knows she was only made VP so that her Senate seat could be empty, and that Mellie could then take it and use it to eventually become POTUS. I really like what they’ve done with this character, because when she was introduced, she was not to be taken seriously — or so everyone thought. Now they don’t know what to do with her, as she insists on being more than a figurehead.
Finally, Fitz comes in to tell her that time is up, and she needs to pass the bill. Susan is not buying what he’s selling. She tells him that she is not just there to be walked over, and the bill is a 1,200-page paperweight. By the time Cyrus comes in, Fitz and Susan are scrapping the bill and working on a new version, and he is about to blow an internal gasket because he just cannot deal. Mellie announces her run for Senate anyway.
The mayor’s folks planted the threatening emails in Marcus’s inbox, trying to frame him for her murder. The main stabber was his personal longtime driver. Liv tells Marcus that he needs to choose: justice or his career. He cannot have both. He picks his career, and they meet with the mayor, telling him he has to drop out the race, giving Marcus the seat, all in exchange for them not blowing the whistle on the fact that he got his wife killed. He agrees, and as they’re about to speak to the press, he says, “The bitch got what was coming to her.” He resigns, and Marcus takes the podium and flips the entire table, saying Natalie isn’t missing, but dead.
He tells the police everything he saw and walks away with Liv, knowing his political career is a wrap. I’m wondering why no one is asking about the fact that the Gladiators committed a felony by being accessories to the crime, hiding Natalie’s body, and cleaning up the crime scene, but: TV. Also, it’s clear that Marcus is about to join the Gladiators, and I’m okay with it.
Liv gets home, and her father is waiting to give his final warning, because shit will officially be hitting the fan now. She says she is not stopping the B613 Takedown Train because she won’t let someone stop her from doing what is right. Pops is actually proud, because for once she isn’t letting lust/love or whatever she feels for Fitz dictate her actions. Also, they should ALL be afraid now.
Right after, Jake walks into the deserted OPA offices looking for Liv, and is tackled by a masked man. They get into a wrestling match, and I wonder if it’s Charlie. Finally, the person has him pinned down and he removes his mask: RUSSELL! He stabs Jake repeatedly, and says “Rowan always went on and on about how special you are.” AHHH, so he’s B613. Of course he is, and Olivia is Team Bad Decisions because she gave him immediate access to her life without thinking he could be a setup. This is her fail, and Jake might now be dead.
I think Jake’s arc on the show is done. I don’t see his real significance at this point, so I am hoping he died. I kind of mourned Jake for ten seconds before I moved on to planning his funeral services, although promo pics of next week’s episode include him lying on Liv’s bed, recovering.
We shall see. Either way, Papa Pope is back, and I am here for it!
"Are you finding that no matter how far you run ... no matter how WHITE your knight is, that all men are just like you father?"—Rowan Pope to Olivia
“You do NOT see this man standing here, because if you did, I’d want to know how he got here.”—Olivia to the Captain
"I am not here to advance my own agenda. I am not here to be your lap dog. The only reason I am here is to help make real change."—Susan Ross to President Grant
“Look at what you've become: the woman I've always hoped you would be, standing on your own two feet. We may be on different sides, but at least you've become a worthy opponent.”—Rowan Pope to Olivia