Did you enjoy one blessed week fee and clear of B-Ieber? Because it’s BACK, and it’s opening its gaping, salivating mouth and preparing to chow down on the remaining four episodes of this show.
We begin in David Rosen’s office, where almost nothing good ever happens, if you think about it.
Jake refuses to sign his immunity deal and help bring down B-ReathofStaleAir, because he was once Command, and a whole slew of other boring reasons about death and danger and The Great and Powerful Oz. David Rosen vows to do it without him, and sets about rounding up the three most powerful members who once worked with Jake and could therefore feasibly be leverage to force him into joining their ranks. David is extremely confident that this is a brilliant plan to dismantle this irritating vortex of suck, which is your guarantee that it will fail spectacularly and explode in his face. Because not only does nothing good happen in David Rosen’s office, but in fact, nothing good happens TO David Rosen. Period. He is the Ziggy of Scandal.
And sure enough, we learn Jake has a bug under David’s desk — like, RIGHT under there, where his leg would totally have brushed it by now if it weren’t a total plot contrivance — and is cocking his gun and ready for action. Who is doing security in these government buildings, and why aren’t they routinely swept for bugs? Oh, wait, of course: B-Everywhere.
Speaking, too, of cocked guns and action:
Olivia is still getting her yard stomped. They’re doing sleepovers and everything. This seems EXTREMELY unusual and incautious for a woman who a) has the president on speed dial, and b) was recently kidnapped in a brutal home invasion, watched her neighbor get murdered, and has been keeping a gun nearby while awake and shouting out names during her nightmares. Like, at this point, just have sex with Jake and then kick him out when he wants to talk about feelings. At least you know he won’t go rogue on you. I guess she has completely closed the door on that guy.
Let’s Case of the Week for a second: Fifteen years ago, this guy’s teenage sister killed herself because she was having an affair with her much-older math teacher and then he dumped her. Their father confessed to the murder and is about to be executed, but — this will shock you — the dude doesn’t think his father is guilty. The problem is, his father always rejects any lawyer he sends in to help, and yada yada yada Olivia of course talks to the man for two seconds and decides he’s INNOCENT and LYING ABOUT IT and that she will take his case regardless of what he wants. Because when she puts on her Big White Hat, she doesn’t care if something gets clocked by the brim.
Scandal LOVES shots of her stomping down prison corridors in her snowy coats. This one of course has another impractical belt keeping it closed, which is not only dumb in real-world ways, but would she really have worn it to a facility that would make her unbuckle it, remove it, take off the coat, get searched and/or put through a metal detector, and then reassemble the entire outfit on the other side? Like, just wear a hoodie that zips, Olivia, and save yourself ten minutes.
Also, apparently when you visit a Death Row inmate these days, you and however many cohorts you want can be totally alone in a room with him — no guards, no protective glass; he’s not even handcuffed to anything except himself. They could hand him a cake with a bomb in it and nobody would notice because I guess it’s time for a Diet Coke break at the prison.
It will not surprise you, as it did not me, that the son is the guilty one. He shot his sister’s paramour, but the father insisted on taking the heat, and the son has spent the last decade and a half feeling terrible about it but evidently powerless to do anything about it and gee it’s just real sad for him. I dispute you, sir. If you REALLY wanted to say anything, you would’ve just walked into a police station and handed them the murder weapon that you kept in your safe, instead of waiting for daddy’s say-so that you knew would never come. It makes NO SENSE that we’re asked to believe he’s felt bad about this THE ENTIRE TIME. He blows his cover by hiding the too-well-preserved murder weapon in the dead man’s wife’s house as if it had been in her basement the whole time, and then trying to lead Quinn and Huck down that primrose path. In the end, he confesses, the dad goes free, no one seems to care much about either of them, and we move along.
Mellie has a half-sister, out of her father’s indiscretion (and eventual second marriage). Harmony is a southern jar of spice who makes soaps out of animal fat and professes her total support for Mellie that comes with a mostly sincere smile.
And when Harmony talks about Mellie, Portia de Rossi hears the blast of an air horn that might signify an emergency alert. Portia is also back to slicking back her hair, which seems to be her Peacocking Mode — as opposed to last week, when it was soft and bobbed and side-parted, which she has only worn twice: when Cyrus was trying to railroad her, and when Mellie was scolding and belittling her. The bouffant tells the story, y’all. Read it like tea leaves.
Mellie is frustrated, both because Portia went to Harmony to vet her without asking, and because the show has dug up these cropped cardigans again, which she is back to trotting out in every color of the rainbow, as if she bought out Land’s End. Portia points out that all it will take is one enterprising reporter and maybe a very slim wad of cash, and Harmony will be on 60 Minutes spilling all of Mellie’s secrets, so Mellie needs to suck up to her sister and play along. Mellie doesn’t care for this advice, but Portia’s hair is in Authoritative Mode, so she has no choice but to obey.
Meanwhile, Charlie arrives for his shift at the safehouse with the cooperating assassins, and finds them all dead on the floor, and Jake Ballard hiding in the next room.
So they engage in a little Greco-Roman wrestling.
Jake eventually clobbers Charlie and leaves him panting on the floor, which should have been EVERYONE’S first clue that Jake is not actually the bad guy here. Instead, Huck starts Eyeball Acting again and huffing that they have to kill Jake. He posits that Jake isn’t Jake anymore; he’s Torture Hole Jake, and his survival training has been triggered, and he’s an automaton who just wants to either kill or be killed. And people listen to him, even though Huck himself is a homicidal deathbot. Also, Huck is DIRECTLY CONTRADICTING what we just saw happen. If Jake were now a mindless killing drone, he would have shot Charlie, rather than running off with his gun in hand and no bullet in Charlie’s face. Huck of all people ought to recognize that, and yet here he is saying ALL IS LOST and WE HAVE TO KILL JAKE and WE HAVE TO GO BACK KATE and all that stuff. Nobody should ever listen to Huck about anything, and also, by his own logic, someone should have unplugged HIS lifeline weeks ago.
Mellie can’t turn off her First Ladyness during Harmony’s visit, so — apart from insulting her sister’s high heels — she plasters on a smile and gives her a blisteringly sunny tour of the White House. Fitz is less thrilled to see her, which Cyrus gleefully suggests to Abby will result in him getting so sick of the drama in Mellie’s family that he will spike Mellie’s Senate bid and kill her presidential career. Which is a little short-sighted of Cyrus, given that once Fitz is out of office, Cy will need a job and be deprived of all his tantalizing power. Anyway, sure enough, at dinner Fitz is listening politely to Harmony’s stories about soap and the cleansing properties of duck fat, when an argument blows up between her and Mellie in which Mellie accuses Harmony’s mother of being a tramp who stole her father.
Harmony doesn’t care for that. And I kind of like Harmony. She’s got a thick Southern drawl and, yeah, the ingredients in her soap might be better used in a saucepan to fry potatoes or something. (I don’t really want my flesh to smell delicious in a tasty way.) But she also has some dignity because she’s correct that Mellie treats her like trash without her having done anything to Mellie to deserve it; she’s been loyal up to this point, and it’s not her fault that Mellie’s father ran off with another woman. I actually think Mellie and Harmony need to go out drinking together and cause some serious trouble, but for right now they’re sticking to potshots. And then Mellie gets up to check on little baby Whathisname OH WAIT no she doesn’t because nobody remembers that baby exists.
Later, Mellie is sipping on her father’s homemade moonshine, courtesy of Harmony, and doesn’t like that Fitz is coming in to lecture her. So she explains, exhaustedly, that it’s his turn to be her. She is the candidate, and he needs to be the one who steps in with the anecdote or the olive branch or any other kind of social salve. I don’t know if that’s entirely fair in this scenario because Mellie never gave her half-sister a chance and was, in fact, the one who initiated the unpleasantness because she couldn’t keep her scorn and her hurt feelings in her handbag. But, whatever, anything that requires Fitz to wake up and stop being THE WORST is an okay dictate with me.
Quinn and Huck — who I guess doesn’t care about his family that much, temporarily? — have started tracking Jake’s phone. Because, again, Huck seems to have forgotten that Jake knows all his tricks, is just as smart as they are, and is not going to go on the grid around town unless he WANTS them to find him. If neither Huck NOR Quinn can read these situations that are being HANDED to them neatly bound like books, then what good are they? You people are TERRIBLE AT YOUR SPY JOBS.
So, sure enough, when they track Jake to Olivia’s place and decide he’s gone full RoboChop and is going to hurt her, they hurry over there and find that Olivia is simply drinking in her wine cardigan and reppin’ Theta with her gentleman caller. She’s like, “Hi, nothing to see here, GOOD NIGHT,” and slams the door in their faces.
Naturally, Jake is across the hall in Dead Mrs. Thing’s apartment, and he totally lured them there to talk BECAUSE COME ON EVERYONE SAW THIS COMING BUT THOSE TWO. He tells them that if they call off the hunt, he will guard Olivia and keep her safe — from himself, as much as anyone — but that if they kill him or continue to chase him, he can’t promise anything. Huck and Quinn are completely surprised that Jake has won this round, because they are totally divorced from logical thinking.
And so the Drab Four drink their Failure Coffee and commiserate and give up, even though Ziggy Rosen wants one more stab at slaying the dragon. Nobody else agrees. And Lord knows every single one of these people has SUCH RELIABLE INSTINCTS.
Fitz gets Harmony to back off, not by kissing her ass or telling cute stories, but by laying some truth bricks at her feet: He tells her Mellie lashes out at her as a way of protecting herself, and hiding how hurt and angry she is at their father. He promises it’s a defense mechanism because she’s in a lot of pain, and not because she dislikes Harmony herself or means half the stuff she’s saying. Harmony gets it, because Harmony might secretly rock, and so she hugs Mellie and I guess we can assume she will stay quiet and loyal now? Screw that, girl. Bring a case of moonshine back to the White House and set up shop and wreak some HAVOC. David Rosen needs a sex partner immediately.
Mellie is very happy with Fitz’s performance. Maybe she will treat herself to a new style of cardigan.
Cyrus, however, is extremely irritated that Harmony did not yield discord. HAR. But seriously, he eavesdrops on Fitz being continually supportive of Mellie’s career aims, and obviously intends to bring them down, for reasons that are unclear to me because of how they affect him NOT AT ALL as the lame-duck administration’s Chief of Staff.
David Rosen has flashbacks to Jake killing James and all those other people, their blood splashing onto his lenses. So he calls Huck and announces HE will be a witness who testifies against Jake Ballard, because bringing down one Command is as good as all of them. Naturally, Jake is listening to this, what with the bug and all. And so out comes his gun. David Rosen is SO DOWNTRODDEN.
I mean, even when Jake corners him and his assistant in the parking lot at gunpoint, the look on his face is more like, “Oh my God, AGAIN? MY LIFE IS AWFUL.”
But AHA: Jake asks David to step aside, and it turns out his assistant is packing heat. She and Jake begin a tense negotiation as David looks between them, puzzled…
… and then Jake abruptly ends the peace talks by spraying her flesh all over David’s face. This has happened exactly two too many times to this poor man. Harmony, where are you? Please come and woo him. He needs moonshine and a warm bed.
Anyway, now there’s some absurdity wherein Jake tells us — with helpful flashbacks — that Assistant Ashley is B-OfCourseSheIsBecauseEveryoneIsApparently. And SHE was the one who called a Shadowy Figure with information about the plan, and got instructions to assassinate all the trained killers who were going to testify. Jake apparently was playing all the taped information he got for Olivia, and is on their side, but needed to pretend he wasn’t because the show is addicted to WTF moments and was desperate to pad out the season with one more. I am not especially sure I buy Jake knowing Ashley was B-Sigh and sitting around doing nothing about it except JUST miss the chance to save three people’s lives. Why didn’t he plug her earlier? And why is Scandal making me demand faster, EARLIER murders? MORE HOMICIDAL EFFICIENCY PLEASE, is what I am forced to say, and I do not like these bloody eggs and ham. I do not like them, Shonda-I-Am.
Oh, hey, Brian J. White. Why so somber? Did you lose your pocket square? Has your yard gone unstomped today?
Oh, I SEE. Well, actually, I don’t, not yet — he might be an agent of Rowan Pope, or he might be some dude Rowan Pope used to make Olivia open the door. It’s PROBABLY the former? But maybe Rowan will start cutting off his appendages as a way of making Olivia call her dogs to heel. I guess we’ll find out next week. Prepare yourselves. I believe Joe Morton is going to use an entire bucket of saliva.
Also, how weird is this reaction? Olivia is totally calm. Even her wine cardigan looks comfortably placid. If she’s too bored to care, how am I supposed to feel?