S4 E21
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S4 E21
May 08, 2015 at 03:58 AM EDT

This episode was slow. Sure, it started with a big “VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED” warning—which means Huck and Quinn get their fingernail-pulling, leg-drilling torture on—but overall, kind of a bore. In Shondaland, though, a slow episode is a bad sign. It’s the calm before the storm. And after all that “Is Jake dead or isn’t he?” nonsense from three weeks ago (and all that other nonsense if you watch Grey’s Anatomy), I just don’t feel like I have the stamina for a storm next week. Can’t Papa Pope just have a heart attack from all his pontificating and we can call it a season?

In a continuation of the wish fulfillment we saw in “The Lawn Chair,” (Scandal‘s Washington is somehow both scarier and saner than our real world), this episode saw all the ladies—VP Susan, Mellie, Abby, Olivia, and Quinn—working together to get justice for a female naval officer who was raped by a four-star admiral on her ship. Fitz and Rosen, of course, pulled some favors, too, at the ladies’ beckoning.

Everyone’s hero Susan Ross, notices a suspicious-looking bruise on Ensign Amy Martin’s wrist while visiting a naval ship. She immediately figures out how to get Martin alone to ask her about the assault that caused the bruise, and though Martin doesn’t admit it, Susan understands that she was raped. Cut to a hilarious exchange in the Oval Office, where Cyrus and Fitz bellow, “You stole a United States servicewoman!” Fitz goes on about it “not being our place” to prosecute military crimes—they have their own systems for that. But Susan doesn’t waver. Watch out, Olivia—there’s a new psychic “gut” in town.

Susan asks for Liv’s help, and OPA takes on the case. Liv consults Abby, who’s more in the mood for girl talk. So, Jake’s living with Olivia now? What happened to the suave guy with the abs? (Oh, he’s bleeding in Lois’ apartment, next to Quinn and Huck’s torture toys. Missing a few fingernails. More on that later.) As Abby and David Rosen reluctantly tell Liv what is and is not legal when it comes to trying a military case, Mellie gets involved too, because the only thing people want to ask is about the rape case, not about her Senate run. If Fitz will protect Amy, she’ll come forward. “Can I assume because we’re not monsters that the answer is yes?” Mellie asks. Not monsters? Has Mellie met anyone on this show?

The case goes to the military judicial system, and Liv and Quinn meet with the JAG who’s assigned to Amy’s case—a bumbling, green fool named Virgil Plunkett who’s never tried a rape case before, because obviously if the military wants to win, they’re not going to give their opponent a competent lawyer. Liv tries to step in and question the Admiral, but she has “no standing” in a military proceeding, so she has to pass notes to the kid lawyer to get him to ask the right questions. Eventually, the admiral says he wasn’t even on the ship when the rape allegedly happened, but the military won’t turn over the security records to confirm it. Abby shows up at OPA and wants to help: The band’s back together!

I can never decide if it’s a crutch or a smart power move when she calls Fitz and persuades him to do what she says… but anyway, they get the files. The military can’t really say no to the Commander-in-Chief; it’s kind of in his title.

NEXT: Rowan’s boys bond

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