You can't be an example without setting one

By Justin Kirkland
March 15, 2018 at 11:32 PM EDT
Richard Cartwright/ABC
S7 E14
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Four episodes, y’all. After this, that’s all we have left of Scandal. Four episodes. And the story lines are nuts. Gary Clark is back to haunt our nightmares. This Olivia Pope fever dream is spiraling dangerously between reality and the cliff we all swore we’d run off with OPA seven years ago. It’s hard to keep up, especially with so much at stake. Let’s take a look.

Ugh, I wanted Cyrus to be good. I wanted to root for Cyrus. I think the Cyrus who was on the brink of death in a plane headed for the White House, wearing a White Hat, is a Good Cyrus. But we don’t get Good Cyrus. We get regular Cyrus, who is perpetually looking to demolish all good karma in the world. And now that Olivia knows the truth about his crazy scheme to lock the White House, she’s ready to take him down, but she has her work cut out for her because QPA wants nothing to do with a case Olivia is working on. And then there’s Mellie, who’s ready to stand beside Cyrus because (a) he’s polling amazingly with people and (b) she admires his faux strength.

That insanity takes a back seat, though, when a man comes to Olivia for help because his daughter has gone missing. Alisha came to D.C. because she admired Olivia (LOL, LORD WE NEED MORE ROLE MODELS), and now she’s gone. She was a congressional aide, and now she’s on the side of a metaphorical milk carton. In short, Olivia has her hands full. Mind you, while that happens, Abby takes the information Olivia gave her about Cyrus and presents it to QPA. Well, kind of. She tells them it comes from David Rosen because if they knew it came from Olivia, well, hoo boy. And it works because Quinn is just interested enough.

Not at QPA, Olivia goes to Alisha’s apartment to check in and see what her roommate knows. As a former D.C. resident, that’s a super nice apartment, especially on an intern’s budget, but whatever. I’ll let it go. Olivia snags Alisha’s laptop for investigative purposes. Turns out Alicia was fired, and her roommate was hired to work for their congressman. On top of that, Alisha bought a gun and sent her boss a message saying that she wouldn’t say anything about what happened if he wouldn’t “GFV” her. GFV stands for gluten-free vegan, which means she won’t put out. That would be hilarious if it weren’t totally gross. But also, how much do you hate that friend at brunch who is definitely gluten-free and vegan? Anyway, Alisha isn’t doing so hot, and the gun and the list and this firing? Can’t be good.

At the White House, Mellie is determined to stand beside Cyrus and figure out who hijacked his plane. Even just typing this I sighed heavily because Cyrus is exhausting, y’all. This whole season is exhausting. I’m going to be really transparent with you guys for a second: Scandal is recapped live, meaning there’s no pausing or rewinding. I’m here doing the Lord’s (Shonda’s) work and essentially typing all of this in real time. So Cyrus is standing next to a painting (the painting his beau gave him a few episodes back) and I don’t know what else is happening because Gary Clark just walked in. If you don’t know who Gary Clark is, that’s good. He’s the man who shot up Seattle Grace Mercy West Grey Sloan Memorial on Grey’s Anatomy in season 6, and it’s a low blow for Shonda to bring actor Michael O’Neill back into the fold because I am triggered. Thus, you get no recap of that scene because I’m still recovering. But don’t hate me. I’m like Olivia. In times of trouble, I’ve got your back, so hold on.

Meanwhile, as Olivia is investigating Alisha’s disappearance, they’re interrupted when Marcus gets a ton of texts. Alisha’s story ends abruptly when her body is found. That gun she bought was used to kill herself. And her dad is devastated — so devastated that he calls out Olivia for the affair she had with Fitz. He says Alisha showed up to D.C. to be Olivia, but she wasn’t ever going to be able to be her because she was GFV. She was a “good person.” She wasn’t going to do what was necessary to advance in D.C. (good God, I hope this isn’t true, but considering our world, it probably usually is), so she was never going to be Liv, which is why she killed herself. And no matter where the motivation for this big speech comes from, Olivia is devastated.

Olivia takes that devastation and heads to Fitz because she wants to act. Fitz wants to use the list to illustrate and implicate all the men who have abused their power, but Olivia insists that it’s not enough. But then Olivia sits and thinks…there may be some leverage after all. She finds Alisha’s roommate Megan on the list. She’s listed as a “prime rib,” which means that she was game for, um, meat? Anyway, Megan says, “You know these guys. They get so butt hurt if you don’t go along with them.” Olivia asks her to do the impossible: call out her boss for what he’s guilty of. While Olivia tries to tackle it all from the inside, Marcus heads to Mellie to get legislation passed from above. But Mellie insists that she can’t help him because it’ll look like she’s just doing personal work as the president. She says, “I can’t give you what you want,” and he says, “When it comes to you, you can never give me what I want!” Okay, aggressive sexual energy!

Back to that Cyrus craziness. Rosen has to recuse himself from the hijacking investigation because he could be a witness, and QPA gets frustrated. It’s at that moment that Abby admits the tip came from Olivia. And if the case weren’t shut down before that, Quinn slits its throat then and there. She is not interested in getting in bed with Olivia Pope again. (Recap continues on page 2)

Back at the White House, Mellie is starting to consider that sexual harassment bill. But there’s so much going on, and she has a budget that she has to get passed through Congress. Jake advises her to hold off, and you can see it all piling up on top of Mellie. Mind you, that’s also coming with some serious back pain. Being a president? It’s a stresser, y’all. So she dials back to my personal favorite era and phones in to say, “Rachel, we’re going to need fried chicken.” God Bless Chicken Fried Mellie.

Later that night, Abby and Olivia meet up to discuss just how terribly everything is falling apart. Abby admits that she had to tell Quinn and company that the theory came from Olivia, and in turn, they bailed on the idea. She says they have to take Cyrus down, but it can’t be from their group. It has to be from something bigger than them. And ultimately, that’s probably going to be Mellie. And like I said, Mellie is trying to tend to all the mounting pressure and this terrible back of hers, which came from a terrible yoga pose. So next thing you know, she’s on the floor with a glass of hooch and a plate of fried chicken. Jake joins her down there, and they share a moment. No, not a moment. A Moment. They hold hands for a minute, laughing, but she’s reminded of what happened the last time she developed feelings for anyone, so she tells him he should probably go. Poor Mellie. It’s so lonely at the top.

In quite a turn of events, Shonda goes to a place that I never really expected Scandal to go. Fitz asks Olivia if their relationship, particularly his role in it, was inappropriate. Olivia says no and that she would cross the line — but the very notion is so important. The fact that Scandal is retroactively tackling the very complicated lines of the #MeToo movement is so incredibly important. This world is very complex, and discussing power dynamics is paramount. But just then, Alisha’s roommate Megan says that she’s willing to come forward and discuss the inappropriate behavior on Alisha’s behalf, and you know what? Maybe Mellie’s influence isn’t totally necessary after all.

Good thing we don’t have to live in that world. Mellie throws her weight behind the sexual harassment bill. Jake wants to apologize for misreading the situation the night before, and then Mellie says that she’s not interested in being in another love triangle with Olivia Pope. And when Jake tries to quell that, Mellie launches in again and asks if it’s a power play on Jake’s behalf, which really rubs him the wrong way. But Mellie stands strong. And that’s what tonight is about. Women standing strong. Olivia is holding strong on this Cyrus situation because she needs to stand strong with Mellie. And Abby is on her side.

Past the patriarchy, the new problem at hand is that once the virus that infected Air Force Two is traced, it dials back to Charlie’s computer. Yeah, Charlie. Quinn immediately goes to call him out on it, and he vehemently says that he wasn’t behind it. He wants to be Quinn’s husband and their baby’s father, and Quinn believes him. They put the pieces together, but it’s too late. The FBI breaks in and arrests him. What’s the resolution though? Who did it? Oh, just you wait, friend. Because these Scandal recaps may be done live. I may be drinking red wine. I may be triggered by Grey’s finale past, but there’s always resolution.

You remember Gary Clark? The Gary Clark I freaked out about before? Well, in Scandal‘s world, his name is Lonnie Macon. Lonnie, which is a super dumb name, is the deputy to David Rosen’s attorney general status. He’ll be leading the investigation into the hijacking of the plane, and he was definitely compromised by Cyrus. Y’all, I’ll do my best to put my Grey’s bias and red wine haze aside moving forward because the end is nigh. Gary Clark…damn it, old habits die hard…Lonnie is here to dismantle everything we know: Mellie’s presidency, common justice, and the White Hat altar that we’ve come to worship at. Olivia is not done, and neither am I.

Episode Recaps

Shonda Rhimes’ political drama: Sex! Murder! Olivia’s suits!
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seasons
  • 7
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  • 04/05/12
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