This week's episode of Scandal set us up for next week's big winter finale. At the beginning of the episode, Olivia Pope has yet to tell her boyfriend, President Fitz Grant, that she worked with his ex-wife, Mellie, to have her father, Rowan, released from prison in exchange for Rowan stopping the Senate’s impeachment investigation of Fitz's presidency. Yep. That's as messy as it sounds. Olivia knows that when she tells Fitz what she's done, "Olitz" will be over. Or will it?
Fitz's chief of staff, Cyrus Beene, tricks Attorney General David Rosen into discovering that Olivia was behind Rowan's release and has Olivia promptly arrested. We're certain that Fitz won't forgive Olivia for letting the man who killed his son out of prison, but somehow, Olivia talks her way out of it. We're not sure exactly how because, when Fitz confronts Olivia in the interrogation room where she's being held, the powers that be at Scandal wisely decided to mute Olivia and Fitz's argument while playing Roberta Flack's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" over it. My guess is that the Scandal writers knew that we would have to be in love with Olivia like Fitz is to buy whatever hot, steaming pile of garbage she was selling. Does Scandal's DJ take requests? If so, I'd like to request Basic Black's "Special Kind of Fool."
At last, instead of leaving Olivia to rot in jail, Fitz forgives her and commands Cyrus to have her delivered to the White House executive residence, where Fitz can lock her away for safekeeping. Fitz even assigns a Secret Service detail for Olivia. Olivia watches in confusion as Fitz has her clothes, white hat and all, moved into Mellie's old closet, which, if you recall, is the location of the exchange between Mellie and Olivia a few episodes ago when Mellie warned Olivia that being first lady is like being trapped in a prison. So Olivia starts to freak out about assuming the role of the first lady … once again. Sigh.
Speaking of Mellie, the only reason she helped Olivia by getting Rowan released from prison was so that Olivia would help her get elected president. Well, as it turns out, Olivia had her fingers crossed behind her back or something because when Mellie calls her to cash in on this favor, Olivia is like, "New phone. Who dis?" And when Mellie threatens to tell Fitz about Olivia's involvement in Rowan's release, Olivia tells her it's too late because she's already told him. Mellie can't catch a break.
While all of this is happening, Fitz signs a historic peace treaty with the fictional nation of Bandar, which many viewers recognized as a composite of several Middle Eastern nations. In the process, Scandal addresses some of the human rights violations that take place in some of those nations. First, Olivia obtains asylum for one of the Bandar president's translators, who is gay, because homosexuality is punishable by death in Bandar. Also, Vice President Susan Ross gets out a few talking points about the importance of educating women and girls.
Rowan finds Olivia, and over Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You," he tells her that he fears for his life because his B613 "sons" are out to kill him. He leaves her with what sound like final words: "In the event of my death, I have already given you everything you need to survive … I did my best for you, Olivia … I take tremendous pride in who you've become."
When Olivia summons Jake to the Oval Office to let him know that her gut tells her that her father genuinely fears for his life, Jake finally tells Olivia to jump in front of a bus. Actually, he's much harsher. He calls her a "fool with daddy issues." Daaang. Then he continues to read her: "What did you think? You think I'd spoon you? That train has left the station. You don't get to ride this any more." Olivia gets scrappy and says, "Oh, you thought I was supposed to choose you." And Jake is like, nah, "You were supposed to be too good for me; it never crossed my mind that I would be too good for you." He basically calls her a trash person. Right as things are getting heated, Fitz walks in and Jake excuses himself.
Speaking of love triangles, Susan Ross is still crushing on David, and it's adorable! Meanwhile, David is still sexing Elizabeth North, who is depressed that she's been reduced to serving as Susan's chief of staff and having closet sex with David.
Lastly, Jake and Huck are hunting down Rowan. It appears that Huck was initially only intending to help Jake with intel on Rowan's whereabouts, but when Jake goes to find Rowan, his right-hand man, Tom, is already dead, and in the final scene, Huck has Rowan tied up in a chair. Uh-oh. We've seen this scene before. This is how things look right before Huck goes full-throttle, psycho-torturer killer on someone. Is Rowan going to be killed once and for all??
Akilah Green is a recovering Washington, D.C., lawyer-lobbyist-politico turned TV and film writer and producer living in Los Angeles. She currently works for Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea. She has also worked as a staff writer for Kevin Hart’s production company, HartBeat Productions, and as a consultant for Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. In addition, she co-wrote and is producing Scratch, an indie horror-comedy feature film, and is a regular contributor to The Root. Follow Green’s adventures in La La Land on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.