Scandal recap: 'Head Games'
Just in time for Mother's Day, someone special makes a return to Washington...
Hey! Look at that! A press secretary answering questions the press asks — this must be fiction. Why yes, yes it is. We’re in the Scandal universe. Marcus is answering all the press’ concerns about those terrorist drones while Olivia and Fitz are getting back to business in the official White House bed sheets. But now we’re sitting at a place where everyone is asking for forgiveness, and in this case, Olivia is asking Fitz to forgive Abby. Yes, Abby messed up like whoa, but who hasn’t accidentally almost turned the country over to terrorists? Fitz tells Abby to “work from home,” which is not something the chief of staff does, but sure… She asks Fitz why he can’t forgive her, but he can’t tell her yet.
Back with the other members of OPA, Huck is on man of honor duty when Olivia breaks in and tells the team they need to put together a presidential pardon case worthy of public respect. In Abby and David’s world, Abby is working from home and having the time of her life when David comes in with a box. Hilariously for all you Se7en fans, Abby demands to know what’s in the box, but when she steals it away and opens it, it’s just Zoe Perry’s head. Thanks for the memories, girl. Sorry you couldn’t take over the country. Of course, it came from Rowan, who passed it on to David as a gift. He sent it so David could identify who she really is, because what evidence is better for DNA collection than an actual human head?
Back at OPA, the team is working on a pardon case for a man named Shawn who might have killed a white supremacist church bomber. That’s a strong might, by the way. The white supremacist was lynched and hung from a tree, and Shawn was charged because he hails from the white supremacist’s neck of the woods, and that’s America. But the real story here is that Olivia leaves her team to solve this issue because she has to vet Mellie’s cabinet. Looks like OPA could be on its last leg.
Back at Abby’s place, Jake comes over to check out Samantha’s head, and once Jake finishes up his inspection, he tells Abby to store the head in the freezer, because much like chicken, once a head thaws completely, you just can’t put it back in the freezer. It’s a crazy notion, but we live in the crazy these days. Olivia is working with Mellie to put together a cabinet, and Mellie suggests her former lover, current press secretary Marcus. Again, crazy isn’t something we should be shocked about.
Huck and Quinn go to the town where Shawn and that white supremacist lived, and they quickly uncover that it was the white supremacist’s bartender friend who blew up that church. He set up Bobby for the murders and then set up Shawn after that. The whole bar ends up turning on Huck and Quinn when they discover it, but Charlie is waiting in the wings, and the three of them take the whole bar back because in a fictional world, HATE NEVER WINS, GUYS.
Speaking of hate never winning, Rowan and Olivia sit down for dinner when
hate, sorry, Rowan is talking about how he has to disappear because he can’t get in Olivia’s way because she’s finally got the Oval. She tells him that he doesn’t have to leave and that she’s not an extension of him, but he argues otherwise. Either way, Rowan insists that he has to leave, so he tells Olivia goodbye one final time and departs.
Now that we know Scandal‘s next season will be its last, it’s almost a treat to be able to watch all the parallels to season 1 move into place. Fitz and Olivia are messing about. Rowan is exiting the picture, and now David and Abby are back in the same bed. Mind you, it’s because there’s a severed head in the freezer and there’s a pillow wall between them, but THEY’RE THERE. Of course, some things can never be undone, including how much of a take-charge lady Quinn has become. She’s waiting in Olivia’s office to let her know that Shawn is innocent. Granted, that’s after a bar brawl founded in no tangible evidence, but still! Olivia isn’t interested though, because she has a cabinet to plan. Quinn calls her out for it because Olivia isn’t who she used to be. A lot of things have switched back, but Olivia? Well, she isn’t one of them.
Quinn is pretty bummed about it because Olivia has always been a hero to Quinn, but it’s Charlie who pumps her back up. He explains that just because Olivia has traded in her White Hat for the White House doesn’t mean they have to stop being Gladiators. And he’s right. Quinn takes herself to the White House, and for the first time in the show’s history, we get to see what Quinn looks like in the Oval. Even she is a little choked up when she gets there to explain Shawn’s case to Fitz.
Fitz respectfully dismisses it, but Quinn pushes back and says she’s not leaving until Fitz signs it because Olivia’s not her boss anymore. Her Olivia is gone. Her Olivia would have pushed for justice, but she’s concerned about America loving her and Mellie. So Quinn is there in her place; she has to fight for the White Hat these days. Fitz agrees because angry, impassioned Quinn knows how to get stuff done.
In other parts of the government, Mellie approaches Marcus to be her communications director, but he tells her that Fitz has already offered him a job running his foundation. Mellie is hurt because she wants him to work for her in the White House, but Marcus wants to make a difference, not gain power. He says it best: “I’m not Olivia Pope.” In that moment, he wishes Mellie the best and goes his own way.
Jake gets back in touch with Abby and David to reveal that Samantha’s name is actually Gertrude (this woman and all her personas, y’all. I’m exhausted). And she and Peus were getting texts from another source; this wasn’t their operation at all. So for all of you disappointed with the anticlimactic finish to the Peus/Samantha story line, hold tight because it appears that we haven’t found the top of the food chain yet.
Back at OPA, Quinn pushes back against Olivia after the president makes his announcement that he’s going to pardon Shawn after all. She’s ready to battle because she’s confident she made the right decision. And so is Olivia, which is why she turns over OPA to Quinn. She shows her the high-level files she’ll use against the White House. She wants to know Quinn will be prepared, because she’ll be going up against Olivia. To repeat… Olivia has turned over OPA to Quinn for good now.
And as the episode ends, Jake turns over the details of who Peus and Samantha were taking orders from. This comes right as Rowan is making his escape from that unknown hangar that exists somewhere in D.C., but Olivia intercepts his departure and demands he help because the woman Peus was reporting to is everyone’s worst nightmare and likely your first guess — Olivia’s mom. So there we have it. The finale is quickly approaching, the final season is on the horizon, and Maya is back. It’s a family affair, and who knows who will survive it.