With only one episode left, last night’s Scandal loaded the bases and prepared to bring us home.
“We Don’t Condone Rape!”
During a photo op on a Navy ship, Vice President Susan Ross notices that a female ensign, Amy Martin, shows signs of sexual assault, so naturally, Susan takes Amy from the ship and straight to President Fitz Grant’s office demanding that he pursue justice on her behalf.
Although Susan’s lack of protocol is turning her into a fan favorite, Fitz and (especially) Cyrus Beene are not impressed. Fitz says that it’s illegal for him to intervene in military judicial procedures, and Cyrus demands that Susan “put her back!” Despite Mellie Grant’s subsequent plea for Fitz to get involved because “we don’t condone rape!” Fitz refuses to ignore 200 years of legal precedent to help Amy.
It’s all good, though, because Susan goes over Fitz’s head to the real power player, Olivia Pope, and Olivia takes the case with no hesitation because she knows that 1 in 3 women are assaulted in the military, the military considers rape an “occupational hazard” and the victim is prosecuted for filing a false report if the defendant is found “not guilty.”
Olivia learns that Admiral John Holly is the one who raped Amy Martin; enlists Abby’s help; convinces Fitz to get her access to classified security documents and surveillance footage; and, despite having to deal with the “My Cousin Vinny” of Navy JAG Corps lawyers, ultimately proves that Admiral Holly is guilty. Score!
But that’s not all. ShondaLand tackled not only the troubling and pervasive issue of military rape but also Amy’s decision to terminate the pregnancy that resulted from the rape. And ShondaLand boldly took us into the operating room as Olivia held Amy’s hand during the procedure. Many survivors of military rape took to social media to praise Shonda Rhimes, Scandal’s creator, for shining light on their experiences.
Beer, Torture and Daddy Issues
During last week’s episode, Olivia discovered that Franklin Russell is B613, and after she overheard him mention an operation called “Foxtail” on a phone call to her father, she held a gun to his head and demanded answers.
This week Jake Ballard recovers in Olivia’s bed, and in the abandoned apartment across the hall, Huck and Quinn Perkins slice off Russell’s fingernails and drill holes into his kneecaps in an attempt to get him to tell them what “Foxtail” means … to no avail.
Jake explains to Olivia that Russell was handpicked and groomed by her father to get a Ph.D. in all things Olivia in order to attract her and get her to let him into her life. Jake explains, “He’s exactly like me. We both came off the same assembly line. The only difference is that I’m in love with you.” Awww?
In one of this episode’s best scenes, Jake temporarily relieves Huck of his torture shift and unties one of Russell’s hands so he can drink a beer with him. Of course, Jake keeps his gun locked and loaded because, as he says, “Kill me once, shame on me.”
Then Jake and Russell bond over the shared experience of looking up to Papa Pope like an abusive father. They even play a supercute game of who does the best Papa Pope impression: “You can’t take Command, son!” Jake explains to Russell that Olivia catching him was part of Command’s plan because Command needs Olivia to know that he sent Russell so that she can always know that she’s never safe from him. Sick!
Later we discover that the Navy JAG Corps officer assigned to Amy Martin’s case wasn’t really a JAG officer at all. He’s B613! He was sent by Papa Pope to figure out where Olivia was keeping Russell so that he could rescue him, which he did. Daaang! Your favorite Starbucks barista … that girl you swiped on Tinder … definitely the FedEx guy … everybody is B613!
(Spoiler) Is Foxtail?
In the midst of it all, Mellie isn’t polling well among women, and Elizabeth North, her campaign manager, suggests that she do a campaign stop in Springfield, Va.—the very stage on which Mellie’s son, Little Jerry, died (was murdered) the previous year.
Mellie is losing sleep over returning to Springfield and what she’s going to say to the crowd, but Fitz—in a very tender moment as the two cuddle in bed—tells her that Olivia would advise her to “throw your husband under the bus” on his (mis)handling of Amy Martin’s case. And that’s just what Mellie does.
In a riveting speech, Mellie declares, “I love my husband, but on this point, we disagree because I believe our daughters and sons deserve better.” She goes on to propose an independent judicial body devoted exclusively to sexual assault claims. If anyone could get me to vote Republican, it’s Mellie Grant!
Elizabeth had arranged for Mellie to meet with a big money donor after her speech, and as Mellie walks into the meeting, we see one of the Secret Service men whisper into his high-tech walkie-talkie, “Foxtail secure.”
Wayment, Melle is Foxtail??
And the big money donor is … Papa Pope??
Can you believe we’ve only got one episode left? It’s a good thing Scandal just got renewed for another season!
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.