Also in this episode: Mellie and Andrew are off again, we meet the Italian-Renaissance archetype of explosives, and Olivia’s mother tells her daughter to find a new line of work. Let’s dig in, shall we?
I was wrong about the live-interview bomb. The Fitz Family Hour is long over, and because Mellie didn’t seize that moment to broadcast the fact of Big Ger’s crime to the world, Fitz’s poll numbers remain stuck in the basement. We learn this from Helen Bishop, who has decided to throw on a white suit and be Liv for a day. The costume is not a great success, as “Gabby” soon finds out.
While Abby’s imitating Liv, the real Olivia is taking a meeting with Dad. We learn that Daddy Pope has used the Office Space Method to fund B613: a penny here, a penny there, and presto! BILLIONS.
Problem is, Daddy Pope isn’t B613 Command anymore — and only Command has “the code” to all those billions. Olivia directs her tech wizard Huck to obtain The Code. He tells the boss that if she really wants to do this, she’ll have to “get near Jake’s phone” for a certain amount of time. We all stand and look meaningfully at each other, and some of us picture Jake Ballard shirtless.
It’s not that Olivia doesn’t have motive and opportunity, Scandal Nation! The man gives her plenty of chances.
I’m drunk and I’m standing outside your door. – Jake Ballard
She just needs to focus! She needs to stop fighting with the President of the United States, asking him what he wants her to be today (“Am I your fluffer, Fitz?!”), waiting for him to comprehend the difference between want and need. By the time Olivia gets around to the Jake Caper, we’ve already told Andrew Nichols to pick Mellie or the White House, joined forces with Sally to make Reston’s poll numbers go down, and watched Mama Pope send a lovely woman named Claire to certain death. Tick tock, Olivia! We only have like 18 shirtless minutes left!
She makes it happen, in a very B613 kind of booty call. Liv lets herself in to Command Central: Jake is already in bed, and comes out shirtless, with his gun drawn. (Heh.) Liv, all white coat and big eyes, just sets her keys down and stands there.
Is this why you’re here? Is this what you want? Is it? – Shirtless Jake to Silent Liv
Because he’s not Don Draper, Jake doesn’t require an answer. He kisses her, it’s on — and once again, the absence of chemistry here is remarkable. Put clothes on these two and a door between them, and sparks fly. Put them in bed together? Nope.
The Gladiators are impressed, though!
Dude could probably kill you with a bendy straw, but at the end of the day he’s just a guy, right? – Harrison
Olivia gets it done. She also sets poor Mellie (who deserves a lot better than Fitz) up for success with an audience of female vets, puts an end to Melliedrew, and takes another lunch with Daddy Pope. Which — surprise! — Mom crashes.
I’m your mother. I love you. You need to find yourself another line of work. – Maya to Olivia
Liv appears to consider this advice, at least until Helen Bishop drops by to shed her Liv-For-A-Day costume and hand the boss some of her own advice. “You’re a Gladiator. You don’t get to run,” she says.
While Abby and Olivia are reminding themselves of their team’s great importance, B613 has eyes on Mama Pope and her very special delivery: a box of long-stemmed roses, and a bomb.
That’s not just a bomb. That’s the Mona Lisa of boom. – Charlie, to Quinn and Jake
Unfortunately for Team Sugar Trousers, Huck has found the B613 money, systems, and central network. (The phone caper worked!) The Gladiators sit and admire it together for a moment, and then Olivia utters the fateful words. “Shut it down,” she says.
He does. They do. And it seems the Supreme Court was right: speech is money, and also power. The lights go out in Jake’s office, Charlie and Quinn lose their view of Mama Pope and the bomb, and Jake quickly figures out what’s happened here. He charges into the Pope & Associates office, demanding some answers.
WHAT DID YOU DO? – Jake to Olivia
This is when we realize that B613 might have value beyond staging fake carjackings and putting cameras in people’s kitchens. This is when we think back to things like wiretaps and sweeping laws passed in a matter of hours, and muse for a second on all we might not know about what they do. Do we really want to deprive our country of these things?
Is that what we want, Scandal Nation? IS IT?
Final thoughts, and a schedule note:
I will be out of town for the next two weeks, and I may not be able to recap both episodes separately. Look for a summary recap after the season finale!
Governor Reston is obviously as much a murderer as Fitz and Sally. So here are the revised requirements for Presidential candidates: you must be at least 35 years old, have been born in the United States, and recently killed at least one person in cold blood.
In a very Olivia-Pope touch, the Gladiators toast the shutdown of B613 with red wine, not champagne.
Random of the Week: Fitz’s fake girlfriend Jeannine Locke, the policy geek whose “affair” with the President acted as cover for Olivia’s, has written a book about the fling she didn’t have. It’s silly and forgettable. Shall we move on?
Is anybody else hoping the Mona Lisa of Boom takes out Charlie? That guy is jumping up and down on my last nerve. What kind of man asks a lady for her list of boyfriends, then refuses to admit he’s ever dated anyone else? Who DOES that?!
It’s nice to see Olivia and her father on close speaking terms again. That daddy-daughter lunch looked like sweet, wholesome family time — at least until Mama Pope came and crashed it.
Mama Pope still bores me. Even with the Mona Lisa of Boom in her possession? Yup!
I am so over President Fitzgerald Grant. Dude is pointlessly cruel to Mellie, and a big baby besides — why throw all your nice ties on the floor, you big jerk?
Completely off topic: Kerry Washington has never looked more beautiful.
Line of the episode: Sally is “sorry” that scandals continue to “plague” the President. “I will keep him in my thoughts,” she adds.