You can't take Command, but you can force him to stand in the sun.
Somewhere along the way, Shonda lost you. I’m not mad. I get it. Scandal has been a long, complicated journey that has taken us off several cliffs (and also that one time where Olivia was in a bunker being held and auctioned off because, why the hell not?). But here we are, at the penultimate episode of a series that has asked us to never stop being shocked, and you know what? I know you’re tired. I’m tired. We’re all tired. But I think Olivia might pull it off. I think Shonda might have brought her back. Ultimately, I think we’re back to some good ol’ fashioned Scandal, because this week, we’re solving a huge one: the near (and planned) assassination of the vice president via hijacking. Good times, great oldies.
We open with Olivia emerging out of bed with Fitz because old habits never die. They’re discussing his upcoming presidential portrait, but Olivia has to dip out because Mellie is being interviewed about not killing Cyrus. I’m going to be really transparent with you…I’m so Team Mellie. I’m ankle deep in hoock, throwing fried chicken at passers-by. So, I’m seriously hoping she pulls it off. But it doesn’t look great because guess who’s back? Sally Langston and The Liberty Report. She catches us up on Mellie’s upcoming questioning, and boy does it sound bad.
But Olivia is confident they can pull this off. The truth is Mellie’s armor. She tells Mellie not to plead the fifth because she can pull this off. So Mellie walks to meet Lonnie for questioning while passing Cyrus on the way there. Drama! While all this is happening, Marcus passes a colleague who says she works for the intel committee, and he should be happy he doesn’t work in the White House. This is outside of the African-American Museum, and I look at the comments. I see you people down there, getting all marred up in the details, so I’m going to pull the former-D.C. resident and join you. Marcus runs all the way from the National Mall to the White House, and y’all, believe you me…as someone who once told people he gingerly ran the Mall, that is not a short sprint. That’s a jaunt, especially in a full suit, so when he finally makes it to Fitz (God knows where he is), he tells him that Mellie is about to get blasted. And he’s right! The questioning has turned to be about Olivia Pope.
The next thing you know, Lonnie rolls some video out about the assassination of President Rashad. Things start falling apart real quick, and that’s when Mellie leans in the other direction and invokes the hell out of that fifth amendment. I see you, Mellz. I see you. Immediately, Lonnie subpoenas Olivia, and it’s a tough time for all. Mellie heads to the Oval and calls out Jake into that surprise camera, and somehow the villain of Scandal has become Jake. I shouldn’t be surprised, but also I am? This is all Jake’s jilted lover approach, and it’s insane. Even Lonnie realizes that, as he calls out Jake to Cyrus.
Back at QPA, Huck and Quinn argue about whether or not Olivia should have killed Cyrus when they’re interrupted by Sally Langston, looking for a scoop about Olivia’s subpoena. As she explains that she’s willing to pay what’s needed for her information (this is not ethical!), I can’t help but recognize that even under her unethical standards, Sally’s hair is fire. Do you, girl! As that plays out, Olivia heads home to find Jake sitting in the dark at her apartment. He brought her a vial of sand from the island they lived on while they stood in the sun. When Olivia turns it down, he says “of course.” She tries to explain that her father got in the way, and Jake corrects her by saying “our father,” which is gross because I don’t know if y’all watched the past seven seasons, but Jake and Olivia went over the Biblical cliff…a couple of times. And that’s when Jake punctuates his visit by saying, “If you starve a dog long enough, he’ll tear you to pieces.” Gross, Jake.
At QPA, the team is looking through the past seven seasons of indiscretions to figure out how to incriminate Cyrus. The bad news is, everything they think of — even Amanda Tanner — leads back to B6-13 or Olivia. Yikes! But when all else fails, we see Rowan watching the news, which can only mean one thing. No one has taken Command. Olivia heads to the African-American Museum to reflect on her past so that she can piece together what to do. It all builds to the moments when her father told her that both everyone was worth saving, but that she had to be twice as good to get half as much. And all of a sudden it makes sense. Olivia can’t exist without Rowan, and vice versa. Olivia is the good. Rowan is the necessary evil. So she heads to meet Lonnie for her questioning.
Lonnie opens up strong and asks if Mellie gave her the orders to kill Rashad, which, if I’m not mistaken…did not happen. He pushes Olivia further, and Olivia says no. That’s when she says that she gave the order, as Command of B6-13. And that Jake Ballard currently runs it, from beneath the White House. And just like that, B6-13 is exposed. Lonnie goes downstairs to see the entire B6-13 office, and when Jake questions Olivia about it, Olivia says she’s standing in the sun. While that happens, Lonnie confronts Jake, and I can’t help but to feel like he’s about to meet his second Shondaland bullet. But when his investigators go downstairs, they find nothing. So Jake decides that he’s going to take Olivia’s testimony and make it go away.
But while Jake’s threats continue, Olivia argues that it’s time for the truth. Yes, treason is at stake, but this isn’t about them. It’s about this country and keeping it alive. The rest of the room is terrified of that though because it means actually putting the power back in the hands of the people. Even Fitz blasts Olivia, but Olivia argues that they are not the heroes of this story. They are all the villains, and Olivia is going to make it certain that the truth comes out because this is the only true way to stand in the sun. Damn.
After Olivia tells QPA, Quinn comes up with the idea of leaking the truth to Sally Langston. But Sally wants proof before she rings her bell. It feels like even if Sally doesn’t have evidence, the truth is going to come down on everyone soon enough. And while they all try and dodge the collateral damage, Marcus gets really honest with Mellie and explains that if they really cared about the country, they’d submit. If anyone is having trouble seeing that, it’s Jake, who goes to Rowan to explain that Olivia is standing in the way of the Republic, and he has to save it, so he’ll have to deal with her as he sees fit. But all Rowan says is “ok.” It’s not enough for Jake though because as Rowan points out, Jake isn’t there reporting on what needs to be done. He’s looking for Rowan’s approval. But as Rowan explains all that to him, Jake pulls his gun, but Rowan simply says, “I am power. I’ve been waiting on one of you to step up and join me because it’s lonely at the top.” And suddenly, the notion of not being able to take Command makes sense. You can’t take command because it’s trapped in the essence of who Rowan is. Jake puts the gun to Rowan’s face, but he can’t pull the trigger.
Back at the White House, Fitz makes a tour of presidential photos, taking in all the men who came before him. But that all ends with him joining Olivia on the couch discussing on how they have to wait… on Sally Langston of all people. But at least their story ends with them doing what is right for the country. Granted, that depends on QPA coming up with evidence against B6-13. Then again, Abby argues whether Olivia should pay the price for everyone’s sins. Maybe there’s a way around this after all. That’s when Olivia’s team goes to her and explains that Abby, Huck, and Quinn are all willing to testify on her behalf and take down B6-13 because they all agreed: over a cliff.
Before it all finishes up, Olivia heads to Mellie and explains that she’s willing to defend Mellie, if she wants, but Mellie says that she’s okay with this being the last thing they ever do together. So, that is that. Sally Langston hits the air for The Liberty Report to expose B6-13 for what it is. Cyrus is shook. David Rosen is trying on different sizes of White Hats. Lonnie and Jake watch from afar, and QPA stands together on the side of justice. But alongside Fitz, Mellie, and Marcus, all Olivia has to say is “here we go.”