Meanwhile, some interesting stuff is happening in the torture chamber across the hall. Russell’s missing a couple pieces of himself and probably a few quarts of blood, but he still won’t talk. He’s not just B613, remember—he’s Rowan’s puppy, so he’s basically a murdering robot who can withstand any torture. “What is Foxtail?” Quinn, Huck, and Liv ask over and over. Of course he doesn’t answer, and when they take the gag out of his mouth for a second, he immediately tries to get at the cyanide caplet in his teeth to end things. But as Olivia told her former flame, “You don’t get to die.”
Very Alive Jake (if he were a Ken doll I would collect them all) is recuperating in Liv’s bed. He’s obviously realized they’re torturing Russell, which he thinks is a completely stupid idea. “He will never talk. He’s not your average B613 agent. He’s like me,” Jake explains to Liv. He lists their similarities and spins a tale of an assembly line, manned by Rowan. “Your father made Russell and he made me,” he says, like Command is a regular old Geppetto. “We both came off the same assembly line. The only difference is that I’m in love with you. Command would call that a defect. Russell does not have that defect.”
This is Scandal‘s writing when it’s back at its best. Jake didn’t have to repeat every phrase six times to ensure we understood, there’s an evocative image, and a sappy-but-not-sappy confession of love. More of this, please, and less of Fitz and Liv breathing heavily into the phone.
Then, Jake goes into Russell’s blood-spattered quarters, ungags him, and the two share a couple beers while talking about Rowan. They toss around lines that seem weirdly wistful—I’m sorry, but I couldn’t get the idea of a pimp and his boys out of my mind. Listen to these lines: “Never met any of Rowan’s others before”; “He talks about you differently. Like he misses you,” “You should feel good about it. He’ll be proud of you.” But when they start imitating Rowan’s pompous speeches and mocking his pretentious obsession with red wine, it’s funny again. Jake explains to Russell that Rowan wanted Olivia to catch Russell—that’s always part of the plan. “She has to know,” he says. “That’s how he lets her know Papa Pope is in charge.” Russell asks if Jake will keep her safe. So he did like her after all? Then he relegates himself back to torture. B613 is weird.
Back to Amy Martin: Liv and co. solve the case (the Admiral was on the ship, just got his minion to swipe his badge elsewhere to make it look like he wasn’t), and then we’re at the press conference with Abby, who explains that the president is confident justice will be served. Fitz tells Mellie, who was understandably nervous to campaign in Springfield because that’s where Jerry died, to throw him under the bus during her speech, so she can further separate herself from his ideology and become her own politician. She calls for an independent judicial body dedicated to fighting sexual assault claims, and the crowd goes wild. Like I said earlier: wish fulfillment. Wouldn’t it be great if government-wide change were so easy for everyone to get behind?
So now, about five minutes from the end of the episode, all the metaphorical little bugs crawl out from under the nice, safe rocks. The moronic, young JAG lawyer shows up at Lois’ place and jabs a needle into Huck, just as Quinn notices, back on the naval base, that the photo above the name “Virgil Plunkett” does not match their guy. Guess what? He wasn’t who he said he was—he’s B613. (Is Olivia going to end up being B613? Is Shonda B613? Who isn’t these days?!) The real Virgil Plunkett was murdered. The imposter unties Russell and makes sure he didn’t spill the beans on Foxtail.
After Mellie’s speech, she’s walking through the halls to meet some important person. I thought she was about to get assassinated or something huge, but fortunately, we were spared any blood. We see a guard say into his radio, “Foxtail secured,” and Mellie comes face to face with… Rowan Pope. MELLIE IS FOXTAIL? Agh!
What does Rowan want with Mellie? Of course this is some sort of ploy to get at Olivia, but how, exactly? Let’s hear your theories, team…