Scandal is back for the last time season. This is the final season. Woosah, let’s keep it together. Anyway, Linda Vargas is dead and the public thinks it was a heart attack, but we know better. Mellie Grant and Cyrus are the president and vice president of the United States, but you know Olivia Pope really pulls the strings. The episode opens with Olivia persuading a senator to vote for the Vargas Bill (his education bill that would make college free for all Americans) that he is staunchly against. You know Olivia is persuasive, and that everyone in this world has dirt on them. Said senator has a lot of career-ending dirt on him and Olivia has receipts. He knows what’s up so he bends to her will.
In fact, this entire episode, and possibly season, is about Olivia and keeping the massive amount of power she has been given.
The gladiators, led by pregnant Quinn, get a new case that turns out to be a big one. A woman comes through, desperately seeking her father, who went missing. Her dad is a traveling college professor with an affinity for teaching in extremely dangerous countries and he was last heard from in a shady country that has a contentious relationship with the US (over nuclear warheads), at some sort of symposium. That’s just surface level though, we know he’s not really a professor.
Olivia and Rowan Pope link up for dinner and we already know that daddy is a straight shooter. Papa Pope tells her not to become a slave to the power she has because it can take her to dark places and she can lose control. Olivia is a bit naive and insists that she will be in charge at all times, but Rowan used to be her so he knows. He warns her that there is a reckoning coming for her, meaning that one day she will be forced to make terrible decisions in order to keep her power because she “can’t have it all.” Olivia naively disagrees and tells daddy to watch her werk.
But we know that Papa Pope is always right.
Speaking of power, Olivia and Jake are getting it on again. They’re not in a relationship, as per Olivia’s wishes, but it’s going to get complicated again. Jake is a glutton for punishment.
We find out the missing professor is actually a CIA agent who got captured. Jake gets the scoop and he’s nervous that this man will give away classified info on the US so he wants to follow protocol, which is to kill captured spies, but they must authorize this quietly. Olivia is reluctant so she says she’ll think about it. Jake informs her that being command gets easier–you know, once you’ve lost your soul, but Liv isn’t budging. This is definitely a source of contention between the two of them.
Later on, Cyrus meets with a democratic senator who tells him that he should vote against Mellie on the Vargas Bill for now and then wait until he becomes president to push the bill again. Said senator says that the bill is really the democratic platform anyway, and that even though he’s a registered republican, all signs still point to liberal. He’s gay, adopted a black baby, he’s the VP to the first woman president, he stumped for Frankie Vargas, etc. Cyrus is hesitant at first, but the senator already put the bug in his ear and you know how Cyrus is when it comes to the allure of power.
By this point Jake went behind Olivia’s back and convinced Mellie to agree to killing “the professor.” Meanwhile, Olivia reaches out to the country’s ambassador, who is in DC for peace talks, and demands to know where the spy is. He plays dumb at first, but l Liv has Huck on standby, ready to shoot the man’s son who is on the playground being a kid (cold blooded). At the same time, Jake and Mellie are watching the strike set up to kill the spy (and play it off as a casualty) only to discover that the man has been moved. Basically, Olivia got what she wanted. “The professor” was delivered to the US embassy unharmed.
Olivia always wins.
The episode winds down with Cyrus deciding against colluding with the democratic senator and remaining loyal to Mellie. Then the announcement comes that Mellie got all the votes she needs to pass the Vargas Bill. College will be free for all Americans. Too bad that isn’t real life.
Olivia breaks up with Jake again.
And then we find out that Olivia was actually colluding with the democratic politician as a way to test how loyal Cyrus is.
Finally, Mellie goes off on Olivia for side stepping her authority. Mellie demands that Olivia bend to her will, but Olivia makes it clear that she bows to no one. Olivia delivers a convincing speak in a way that only a Pope can, about how they’re fighting the patriarchy together and that Mellie has to stop thinking of her as an employee and thinking of her as what she is, the boss–that’s if she wants to be iconic.
Mellie wants to be iconic.