I have to say, I think Scandal would be well-served to limit itself to fewer episodes EVERY season. Because, as rushed as it was to find ourselves on the doorstep of the presidential election — without even a word as to who Sally Langston’s running mate even is — I am glad we didn’t have four more episodes on top of these. It felt like a lot of water-treading as it was, the number of times Olivia would let out a shaky breath and realize that she does horrible things in service of horrible people who pretend they’re America’s heroes.
So, last week, we left off with Harrison being romanced by Adnan Salif’s pistol, Rowan Pope brutally stabbed and bleeding out all over Olivia’s office floor, Squick setting records for being the Foulest On-Screen Pairing in the Universe on account of how they make out like they’re horny cannibals, and Cyrus being willing to vaporize a bunch of innocent people — and Jon Tenney — just to make election night easier for him. We pick up with Fitz rehearsing his eulogy and Cyrus becoming increasingly agitated, because he has realized that maybe, just maybe, the karma police like to throw you in solitary with moldy bologna if you effectively mass-murder a Church full of people just so you can keep your fancy office.
Meanwhile, Mama Pope, one of the most wanted women in the WORLD, is standing outside the Church she plans to bomb — a Church crawling with Secret Service and other security personnel because the people inside are all government types — WITHOUT WEARING A DISGUISE or even sunglasses and a kicky but inappropriate hat. No, she’s just merrily chatting on the phone about how Fitz will show up, for sure, no problem, and they can blow that joint into holy smoke, while NOBODY NOTICES THAT THE TERRORIST WHO THEY KNOW WANTS TO KILL THE PRESIDENT IS STANDING THERE IN PLAIN SIGHT CLAD IN GLOWING GREY AMID A SEA OF MOURNING BLACK. COME ON.
This blurry shot of Jon Tenney is one of VERY few we get of him in this episode, which is a shame, because the show went to all that trouble to set up emotional stakes for him and Mellie and then just wiped that off like they’re a dry-erase board. I can’t remember at what point they decided to cut the order to 18 episodes from 22, but perhaps not with enough time for them to cut down their planned arc for him in a way that made sense, and as a consequence, he got left with nothing. ANYWAY: Jake Ballard interrupts just as Cyrus is about to confess to Fitz about the bomb, and more or less doesn’t point the finger at Cyrus, which was nice of him — or at least, any implications he makes seem not to concern Fitz in the slightest. Instead, they clear out the funeral.
And then, while they’re in the bunker, and Jake Ballard is swearing up and down that there REALLY IS a bomb and they will not end up looking foolish…