[Mellie] has NEVER been loved right. Her ex-husband…treated her like a cheap accessory and when she finally had an affair, that fucker turned out to be more of an asshole than her husband. It was only a matter of time before she hopped on Marcus’ magic stick and road into dicked-down-right-land. Oh and what a land it is! …You remember that land, don’t you Liv? That place Jake took you regularly? Hahaha! Yeah, I said it.
Where to begin with this episode? Well, for starters it was all about DRAMA. Seriously. And the drama came from the dialogue between characters, not necessarily from the plot.
We start off the episode with an Olitz moment. Olivia is in bed with Fitz at the White House and she is wearing his Navy t-shirt once again (something I was so glad to see). Olivia wakes up momentarily confused about where she is and then rolls over to see a sleeping Fitz. She seems a little startled and uncertain of what to do, so she quietly rolls out of bed leaving him asleep. Now, I was somewhat disappointed that she did this, BUT I can only assume that it has been 24 hours since their make-up session and 1) we don’t know if she and Fitz have talked in the intervening time and 2) it’s probably still a lot for her to take in (being back with Fitz). So, I am going to give her a break for this one…
The next big scene we get is Olivia visiting Papa Pope in the bunker where Fitz has courteously sent breakfast. Right off the bat, Rowan is his usual old self, shutting down Olivia and manipulating her ability to properly communicate by claiming he needs to leave immediately. Seconds later, before Olivia can even respond, Fitz walks in and plants a “good morning/hello” kiss on her lips in front of Papa Pope and, let’s just say, Rowan isn’t happy AT ALL that Fitz has the nerve to do that in front of him (cue the “Mr. Pope, Mr. President” dialogue). After their impromptu argument (which Olivia desperately tries to mediate), Rowan goes to leave, only to realize he cannot. As it turns out, Fitz’s courtesy only extends so far; for him, Rowan is still a prisoner (who could really blame Fitz? The man killed his son, so his irritation/anger is understandable). On a side note, I couldn’t quit grinning at Fitz’s salty af attitude (cue the “do I look like a travel agent?” question) and the fact that he employed his best French accent when noting that Papa Pope could “eat as many of his croissants as he would like”… After realizing that he cannot leave the White House (thanks to Fitz and Olivia), Rowan sits down and pretends to busy himself by reading a newspaper, while Fitz and Olivia remain in the room. Angry that they haven’t left, Rowan turns around, slams his newspaper on the table, and tells them to GET OUT.
Next, we see Abby going through some PTSD-like memories of her recent actions while she is in bed with Leo. Poor Leo takes her unwillingness to talk as a sign that he has done something wrong, to which Abby tries to tell him it isn’t him, only to no avail. We end the scene with an angry Abby storming out of the bedroom, presumably to get dressed for work. This is followed by a scene of Mellie and Ponytail Lady discussing Mellie’s new role as PEOTUS. Mellie presents Ponytail with a list of who she would like in her cabinet and insists that she should be able to pick her advisors, only to have her plan shot down by Ponytail. She is reminded that both Peus and Ponytail have bugged all of her devices and that her new assistant (aka some mysterious woman we have never seen before) will be keeping a close eye on her, should she try anything.
The next big scene that occurs is Olivia’s confrontation with Peus who has conveniently decided to hold his meeting at OPA. Huck, scared for Olivia, refuses to let her be alone with him. The Peus/Olivia meeting is rather interesting. Peus attempts to intimidate Olivia in order to get her to cave to his demands (which include taking Jake off the VP ticket and having Mellie announce that her new VP will be Peus). When Olivia notes that she won’t be bothered so easily, Peus lets her know he has photos of Jake cleaning up Elizabeth North’s dead body and that he will use them, if he finds it necessary. Olivia, realizing that Peus cannot win if he releases the photos, tells him to go ahead and destroy Jake, noting that they will implicate Peus and Ponytail, as well, if exposed. Peus genuinely seems surprised, as if he had not considered the ramifications of that scenario, but bluffs his way out of the situation with more threats. Olivia, realizing she has won this battle, escorts him to her office door and let’s him know she has made it her mission to destroy him.
Meanwhile, Ponytail has coerced Mellie into a meeting at the White House where she will “demand” to use the press briefing room/podium to announce her new VP candidate. Fitz has already been briefed on this situation and just when Ponytail begins making her demands/threats, the scene is interrupted by secret service barging into the room and scooping everyone up, noting that a drone has breached the WH grounds no-fly zone (thanks to Huck who is remotely controlling the device). As the secret service are quickly escorting people down the halls of the WH, Ponytail and Abby are separated from the rest of the group and taken to the bunker. Abby, being the brilliant gladiator that she is, quickly appears to have set this whole situation up with Fitz, Olivia, and OPA so that the team could figure out a way to rescue Mellie. Ponytail, however, is not taking her separation from Mellie well and demands to be let out of the bunker. Abby, playing the “I-am-as-clueless/powerless-as-you” card, tells her to sit down and buckle up because they’re stuck in the bunker for a while.
Upstairs, in the Residence, we see everyone else (Fitz, Olivia, Mellie, Cyrus, Marcus, David, and Jake) has gathered for a meeting to figure out a way to take out Peus/Ponytail. The meeting starts off relatively well (if one discounts a shaken up Mellie), but quickly turns chaotic when Rowan shows up. We discover that Olivia has requested that he be a part of the meeting solely because he has “expertise” in these situations. Unfortunately, the minute Papa Pope shows up, what could have been a normal strategizing session quickly goes to shit, with the tension and drama becoming PALPABLE.
Fitz, who is quite unhappy at having Rowan there in the first place - but has swallowed his anger for Olivia’s sake (seriously, this man has the patience of a saint) - is forced into a disgustingly degrading situation where he must BEG Rowan for help. Rowan, being the manipulative asshole he is, demands that Fitz ask him for help, out loud, in front of everyone else (who, apart from Cyrus, Jake, Olivia, and Mellie) appear a little clueless as to the nature of their hatred towards each other. During this incredibly intense scene, Olivia (knowing and seeing where this is going) tries to get Rowan to stop, but cannot. We see Fitz’s jaw clench and you can almost feel him fighting to not get up and beat the shit out of Rowan right there. Fortunately, whatever the hell Fitz is doing to control his anger works because he ends up asking for help. HOWEVER, Rowan - again being the annoying and manipulative son of a bitch he is - decides that once is not enough and demands AGAIN that Fitz beg him for help. Fitz, fighting his emotions again, caves to Rowan’s “”“request”“”. As if this isn’t enough (I mean the man is literally pleading with his son’s killer to help him) Rowan says that “No” he won’t help Fitz..
Now, when I saw/heard that I was ready to jump through the TV screen and beat the fuck out of Rowan. You DONT force the man who’s son you killed to BEG for you help in front of everyone else only to say no… But, this scene ACTUALLY GOT WORSE!!! Rowan ended up basically calling Olivia a whore in front of EVERYONE and you could hear the gasps/see the jaw drops. He said that the only reason Fitz had him in the WH was so that he could sleep with Olivia again and that Rowan’s safety was nothing more than “another dollar bill at the feet of a stripper”. That “stripper”, he says, is Olivia… On top of that, Rowan made a dig at Fitz’s father and for Fitz that was THE LAST STRAW. He charged towards Rowan like he was gonna beat the shit out of him right there (tbh I wanted him too). The ONLY reason he didn’t was because Jake and David managed to hold him back…
Y'all I was screaming I was so mad. Goddamn that man. I want to see Rowan’s ass killed TF off. He is TOXIC AF for everyone and I mean EVERYONE because as soon as that bombshell was dropped, the whole room erupted into chaos and EVERYONE started arguing/going after each other. Olivia ends up calling for 5 and what should’ve been a comfort moment for her and Fitz turned into Olivia (who was visibly shaken) saying “don’t” and walking out to find some fresh air along with everyone else.
Then we get Cyrus and Rowan drinking in the cellar of the WH. That was interesting for 2 reasons. 1) Cyrus and Rowan almost looked/acted like work colleagues socializing over a glass of wine and 2) Cyrus tried to kill Rowan (too bad he didn’t succeed)… (Interesting tidbit from the setting of that scene though. Apparently Fitz added the cellar to the WH and seems to have stocked it with only wines/scotch 😉).
Anyways, around the time of the Cyrus/Rowan blow up, David and Fitz have a conversation that is just EVERYTHING. David questioned why he always falls in love with women who are like “tornados”, wondering why he couldn’t simply like “normal girls”. Fitz, being the precious bae he is, tells him that when he was younger he would imagine having a perfect and attentive wife who unquestioningly stood in the shadow of her husband, but then realized that it wasn’t what he wanted. He basically said that strong, powerful women, who cause him heartache and pain, are far better because they helped him become the man he is - a better man. So, Fitz says to David, if you love a woman who is like a “tornado” it’s okay because as long as she loves you, she can be as crazy as she wants/needs to be (cue my gross sobbing over his heart-to-heart).
While David and Fitz are bonding over their tumultuous romances with women, Jake and Olivia have a convo and, naturally, it made me want to throw up. The primary reason for this is that Jake tried to weasel his way back into Olivia’s arms via the sympathy card and attempted to entice her with running away again and how Fitz wasn’t good for her, and so on… (Jake give me a fucking break and quit talking BS into Olivia’s ear). Fortunately, Olivia shut that down IMMEDIATELY and let him know he wasn’t welcome to talk to her about that again, noting that she was there to help Mellie, not play the “choose me” game.
Finally, FINALLY we get to the ending of the episode and it’s revealed that the new VP isn’t going to be Cyrus Beene (so much for that unity ticket, though I commend Cyrus for being man enough to voluntarily give it up), but rather Luna Vargas… Now, I am confused as hell as to how tf the writers came up with that, but I’ll take it if it fixes this whole mess. As the episode continues to draw to a close, we see that Quinn and Charlie will be staying together and that though she loves Huck, it’s different from what she feels with Charlie.
For the concluding scene we go back to Abby and Ponytail hanging out in the bunker (still arguing about who’s in control) and then it’s revealed that Abby was duping Ponytail all along (which is not really a surprise at this point). Ponytail is furious that she has been played and naturally starts up with her threats again, but she’s interrupted by Olivia walking through the door… Now, I swear when I saw Olivia walk through those doors in the bunker it gave me flashbacks to that episode where she killed Andrew and for a moment I thought she was going to take a chair to Ponytail. Thankfully, she didn’t. She “kindly” let Ponytail know she had lost and that she would be arrested (cue Olivia’s “You can’t take Olivia Pope. Olivia Pope takes you” quote). Interestingly, Olivia is now saying she’s Mellie’s chief-of-staff, but we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out over the rest of the season.
Overall, I was not too thrilled with this episode, but it did have some good scenes stashed in between the bad ones. That dramatic scene with Rowan and the team still has me shook, but it’s looking like next week’s episode might remedy that (from the preview it looks like Fitz and Olivia are going to realize that working with Rowan is a mistake. Also, poor Fitz is at his wits end I guess because in the preview he grabs Rowan up by the collar quite violently - but who could blame him?). Until then, we will have to wait and see what’s in store for everyone.
Now here me out: Marcus could be to Olivia as Susan is to Fitz. Susan seems like the hella chipper person that Fitz once was before life and people nearly beat it out of him. It seems like Susan is drawing it back out of him (see the Brandon Bill). Maybe Marcus will do the same for Olivia. Inspiring her to help more of the true underdogs (not just the Upper to Upper-Middle class [even though they pay her bills so keep some]) like she seems like she wants to do more often.
Maybe Susan and Marcus are more a lot closer to who Olivia and Fitz want to be. *Throws a glitter bomb of optimism into the universe*